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 »


W. St. John Garwood

POWELL, BENJAMIN HARRISON (1881–1960). Benjamin Harrison Powell, lawyer and judge, was born in Montgomery, Texas, on November 12, 1881, the son of Benjamin Harrison and Eleanor Inez (Meacham) Powell. In 1903 he received Litt.B. and LL.B. degrees from the University of Texas, where he was an editor of the Texan, predecessor of the Daily Texan. In 1949 he received an honorary doctorate from Sam Houston State Teachers College. Powell practiced law at Huntsville with the firm of Dean, Humphrey, and Powell from 1903 until 1919, when he became judge of the Twelfth Judicial District. From 1920 to 1927 he served on the Commission of Appeals to the Supreme Court of Texas. In November 1927 in Austin he founded and became senior partner in the law firm Powell, Wirtz, Rauhut, and Gideon. Senator Alvin J. Wirtz was an early associate in Powell's law firm. Powell was chairman of the board of directors and president of the Texas Bar Association. He served on a special committee to assist the Supreme Court in writing the Texas Rules of Civil Procedure. He was also a member of the House of Delegates of the American Bar Association, the National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws, and the American Law Institute. He strongly supported the statute requiring all Texas lawyers to belong to the State Bar of Texas, successor to the old voluntary Texas Bar Association. He was chairman for over thirty years of the Salvation Army Advisory Council in Austin and was active in several public, civic, cultural, and patriotic organizations. He was a leader in Austin business and financial development. On November 12, 1913, Powell married Marian Leigh Rather, who helped found the Austin Public Library; they had two sons. He died on December 3, 1960, and was buried in Oakwood Cemetery, Huntsville.

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, W. St. John Garwood, "POWELL, BENJAMIN HARRISON," accessed July 03, 2020, http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/fpo34.

Uploaded on June 15, 2010. 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...