Simkins, Eldred James (1839–1903)

Type: Biography

Published: 1952

Updated: June 1, 1995

Eldred James Simkins, attorney, son of Eldred J. and Pattie Simkins, was born in Edgefield District, South Carolina, on October 13, 1839. He graduated from South Carolina College in 1859 and at the beginning of the Civil War volunteered for Hampton's Legion. He was appointed to the First Confederate Artillery Regiment in 1862. On December 27, 1864, he married Eliza Trescott of Beaufort, South Carolina. They moved to Monticello, Florida, where Simkins was admitted to the bar in 1866. He also edited the Monticello Advertiser and served as chairman of the county Democratic executive committee. He and his brother, William S. Simkins, organized the Florida Ku Klux Klan. In 1871 the two men moved to Texas and opened a law firm in Corsicana. Eldred Simkins became editor of the Navarro Banner and was chairman of the Democratic party in Navarro County until 1876. From 1872 to 1876 he was district attorney of the Thirty-fifth Judicial District. He was appointed to the board of regents of the University of Texas in 1882 and worked to secure money for the opening of the institution; he served until 1896. In 1886 and 1890 he was elected to the Texas Senate from the Corsicana district and was instrumental in the establishment of the Railroad Commission. He was appointed associate justice of the Court of Criminal Appeals by James Stephen Hogg in 1892 and served until 1894, when he returned to private law practice in Corsicana. He died there on June 25, 1903.

Lewis E. Daniell, Personnel of the Texas State Government, with Sketches of Representative Men of Texas (Austin: City Printing, 1887; 3d ed., San Antonio: Maverick, 1892). Memorial and Biographical History of Navarro, Henderson, Anderson, Limestone, Freestone, and Leon Counties (Chicago: Lewis, 1893). Charles S. Potts, "Old Simp and His Jackasses," Southwest Review 31 (Fall 1945). Proceedings of the Texas Bar Association, 1905.
  • Law, Law Enforcement, and Outlaws
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The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.

Anonymous, “Simkins, Eldred James,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed August 14, 2022,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

June 1, 1995