sidebar menu icon


CLARK, WILLIAM H. (1861–1931). William H. Clark, attorney, was born to William H. and Mary (McDowell) Clark near Brandon, Mississippi, on May 2, 1861. He attended Brandon Academy and graduated from the University of Mississippi in 1882. He returned to his hometown as principal of Brandon Academy immediately after receiving his college degree. He continued to study law in his spare time and resigned from the academy in 1883 to enter the law school at Cumberland University, Lebanon, Tennessee. He completed his legal education in 1885 and moved with his mother to Dallas, Texas. He worked in a series of positions-in the office of Seth Shepard, in the United States Court of Appeals in Washington, and subsequently in a number of other firms-before establishing a private practice in 1905. He married Virginia Maxey Falls of Brandon, Mississippi, on June 9, 1886. The couple raised seven children.

Clark was elected president of the Texas State Bar Association (see STATE BAR OF TEXAS) in 1897. At the time, he was the youngest attorney ever to hold this position. In a practice limited to civil law he successfully argued a number of cases before the United States Supreme Court, including Brown Cracker and Candy Company v. City of Dallas, in which he convinced the justices that a local ordinance reserving a portion of the city for bawdy houses violated the state constitution and state laws. Clark frequently advised committees of the state legislature in the framing of statutes. He was a Democrat and frequently served as a Dallas County delegate to the party's state conventions. He died in Dallas of a heart attack on September 17, 1931.

Dallas Morning News, September 18, 1931. 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]).
Brian Hart

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:

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, Brian Hart, "Clark, William H.," accessed October 23, 2017,

Uploaded on June 12, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.