Todd, William Smith (1808–1864)

By: Cecil Harper, Jr.

Type: Biography

Published: 1952

Updated: July 1, 1995

William Smith Todd, lawyer and judge, the son of George T. Todd, was born on a plantation in Caroline County, Virginia, in 1808. He received his early education at home from tutors and graduated from the University of Virginia in 1832. After graduating he served two terms in the Virginia legislature and married Eliza Ann Hudgins. Around 1840 the Todds and their two small children moved to Texas. They settled in Boston, Bowie County, where Todd established a law practice. Eliza Todd opened Ringwood Female Seminary in 1844 and began a highly successful career as the director of a school for wealthy young ladies. In 1848 the couple moved to Clarksville, where Todd continued to practice law and Eliza opened the Clarksville Female Institute. In 1850 Todd was elected judge of the Eighth Judicial District. He acquired a reputation as a highly competent judge and was reelected in 1854 and 1858. He moved his family to Jefferson in 1856, and in 1861 he was elected a delegate to the Secession Convention from Marion County. Todd retired from the bench because of ill health in 1862. He died in Jefferson on May 20, 1864.

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]).
  • 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.

Cecil Harper, Jr., “Todd, William Smith,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed August 11, 2022,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

July 1, 1995