While our physical offices are closed until further notice in accordance with Austin's COVID-19 "stay home-work safe" order, the Handbook of Texas will remain available at no-cost for you, your fellow history enthusiasts, and all Texas students currently mandated to study from home. If you have the capacity to help us maintain our online Texas history resources during these uncertain times, please consider making a 100% tax-deductible contribution today. Thank you for your support of TSHA and Texas history. Donate Today »


Hobart Huson
Claude V. Birkhead
Photograph, Portrait of Claude V. Birkhead. Image courtesy of the Texas Military Forces Museum. Image available on the Internet and included in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107.

BIRKHEAD, CLAUDE V. (1880–1950). Claude V. Birkhead, Texas jurist and soldier, was born on May 27, 1880, in Phoenix, Oregon. His family moved to Texas during his youth, and he attended Waco public schools and Fort Worth University. He was admitted to the State Bar of Texas in 1899 and moved to San Antonio. In 1910 he was appointed to the bench of the Seventy-third District Court; after his election to that post in 1912, he resigned to resume law practice. He was recognized as a leader of the bar of Southwest Texas.

He enlisted in 1899 as a private in Company K, First Texas Infantry, and his long military record ended only with his death. He was a colonel of field artillery in the Texas National Guard at the outbreak of World War I. He entered federal service as a colonel of the Thirty-first Field Artillery and served in the American Expeditionary Force in France until the end of the war. He stayed in the Texas National Guard after the war and received numerous promotions. In 1923 he was brigadier general of field artillery of the Thirty-sixth Division. In 1936 he was promoted to major general and made commanding general of the division, which was federalized on November 25, 1940. In September 1941 Birkhead was placed in command of the internal security force of the Third Corps area, with headquarters at Baltimore. He was placed on the retired list, effective May 27, 1948. On December 6, 1947, he was appointed major general of the Texas State Guard Reserve Corps and assigned to be its commanding general. On August 2, 1948, he was promoted to lieutenant general. With an indefatigable interest in the welfare of veterans, he served as first department commander of Texas of the American Legion. He was also president of the National Guard Association of the United States. He was on the board of directors of Peacock Military Academy for many years, and one of its dormitories was named in his honor. Birkhead died on November 19, 1950, in San Antonio.


San Antonio Express, November 20, 1950. Vertical Files, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, University of Texas at Austin.

Image Use Disclaimer

All copyrighted materials included within the Handbook of Texas Online are in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107 related to Copyright and “Fair Use” for Non-Profit educational institutions, which permits the Texas State Historical Association (TSHA), to utilize copyrighted materials to further scholarship, education, and inform the public. The TSHA makes every effort to conform to the principles of fair use and to comply with copyright law.

For more information go to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml

If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond fair use, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.


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

Handbook of Texas Online, Hobart Huson, "BIRKHEAD, CLAUDE V.," accessed May 28, 2020, http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/fbi20.

Uploaded on June 12, 2010. Modified on December 10, 2018. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
visit the mytsha forums to participate

View these posts and more when you register your free MyTSHA account.

Call for Papers: Texas Center for Working-Class Studies Events, Symposia, and Workshops
Hi all! You may be interested in this call for papers I received from the Texas Center for Working-Class Studies at Collin College...

Katy Jennings' Ride Scholarly Research Request
I'm doing research on Catherine Jennings Lockwood, specifically the incident known as "Katy Jennings' Ride." Her father was Gordon C. Jennings, the oldest man to die at the Alamo...

Texas Constitution of 1836 Co-Author- Elisha Pease? Ask a Historian
The TSHA profile of Elisha Marshall Pease states that he wrote part of the Texas Constitution although he was only a 24 year-old assistant secretary (not elected). I cannot find any other mention of this authorship work by Pease in other credible research about the credited Constution authors...