State Bar of Texas Blog

Dueling and Law Licensing in 1853

As the newest lawyers in the State of Texas prepare to be sworn in on May 14, the Archives Department of the State Bar presents one of its most unusual items: a law license from 1853.

The item, donated to the Texas Bar Historical Foundation by Robert M. Minton, shows that the new attorney was certified by the Supreme Court to practice law in Texas. The faded signature of Chief Justice John Hemphill can be seen on the front. The reverse side of the law license (see below) shows a very different Oath of Attorney. Careful reading shows that Jesse H. Parsons swore that “since the adoption of the Constitution of this State by the Congress of the United States, I, being a Citizen of this State, have not fought a duel with deadly weapons within this State nor out of it, nor have I sent or accepted a challenge to fight a duel with deadly weapons, or aided, advised, or assisted any person thus offending. SO HELP ME GOD.”

More information about the Archives Department can be found in the March 2012 Texas Bar Journal or by visiting our web page.


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