Paschal, Thomas Moore (1845–1919)

By: Randolph B. "Mike" Campbell

Type: Biography

Published: 1952

Updated: January 31, 2017

Thomas Moore Paschal, lawyer, judge, and congressman, was born on December 15, 1845, in Alexandria, Louisiana, the son of Isaiah Addison and Mary C. (Richardson) Paschal. He was the nephew of George W. Paschal. He moved to San Antonio with his parents in 1846 and attended St. Mary's College in San Antonio and Centre College in Danville, Kentucky. He graduated from the latter in 1886, read law with his father in San Antonio, and was admitted to the bar in July 1867. Paschal's career as a public officeholder began during Reconstruction. He served as the United States Commissioner for the Western District of Texas in 1867–69 and as city attorney for San Antonio in 1869. In October 1870 Governor Edmund J. Davis appointed him district attorney for the Twenty-fourth judicial district, a position he held until 1875. He moved to Castroville in 1870 and to Brackett (now Brackettville) in 1873. In 1876, after adoption of the new constitution, he was elected judge of the Twenty-fourth District Court and moved back to Castroville. He was reelected three times-in 1880, 1884, and 1888-and served until 1892. Thoroughly conservative, he won acclaim for refusing to naturalize an immigrant who held socialist beliefs. During this period Paschal also received appointments from governors Richard Coke and John Ireland as an agent to handle extradition arrangements between the United States and Mexico. In 1892 he ran successfully as a Democrat for a seat in the House of Representatives of the Fifty-third Congress. He distinguished himself as an opponent of the income tax and a proponent of conservation. He was especially concerned with protecting the forests of southeastern New Mexico as a means of preserving the headwaters of rivers that ran through West Texas. When he failed to win renomination in 1894, he returned to San Antonio and resumed a private law practice. He was a delegate to the Democratic national convention in 1896. Paschal died of pneumonia in New York City on January 28, 1919, and was buried at Mission Burial Park in San Antonio. He was a Mason and a Presbyterian. He married Florida A. Mays on April 13, 1871. They had five children, all of whom survived him.

Biographical Directory of the American Congress. Frank W. Johnson, A History of Texas and Texans (5 vols., ed. E. C. Barker and E. W. Winkler [Chicago and New York: American Historical Society, 1914; rpt. 1916]). San Antonio Express, January 29, 1919. William S. Speer and John H. Brown, eds., Encyclopedia of the New West (Marshall, Texas: United States Biographical Publishing, 1881; rpt., Easley, South Carolina: Southern Historical Press, 1978). A Twentieth Century History of Southwest Texas (2 vols., Chicago: Lewis, 1907).


  • Law, Law Enforcement, and Outlaws
  • Politics and Government
  • Judges

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.

Randolph B. "Mike" Campbell, “Paschal, Thomas Moore,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed December 03, 2021,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

January 31, 2017