Loading...
AC215_SMITH_CRAWFORD_AND_SONFIELD_LAW_RECORDSTYRRELL HISTORICAL LIBRARY AC -215 The Smith, Crawford, and Sonfield Law Records Dates: 1884-1971 Description The inception of the Smith, Crawford, and Sonfield Law Firm coincided with the birth of the modern fuel age. The genesis of the firm began at Beaumont in 1897 with the association of young Walter J. Crawford and Judge W.H. Ford, of Beaumont. Crawford, a native Texan, was a graduate of the University of Texas Law School. Leon Sonfield, a native of Tennessee, left the Spencer and Kincaid Law Firm of Galveston, andjoined the firm of Ford and Crawford in late 1900. Stuart R. Smith joined the firm in 1902, after the death of Judge Ford. The firm then became known as Smith, Crawford, and Sonfield. Smith was born in Tyler County in 1867, and moved to Beaumont during the oil "boom" in 1901-1902. Smith was considered a brilliant attorney by his peers and was famous across the state for his celebrated jury addresses. He was also known for his political activities on the state and national level. The firm enjoyed a successful practice, and was rated one of the leading legal organizations in the state. In 1913, Judge Sonfield retired from the firm to become a member of the Commission of Appeals in Austin. He was replaced by C.E. Mead, former Attorney General of Texas. Mead was succeeded by John Daily, former Assistant United States Attorney, and upon his death, William N. Foster became a member of the firm. After the death of Judge Crawford in 1924, the firm of Smith, Crawford, and Sonfield was dissolved in 1927, and the firm became Smith, Smith, and Boyd. Stuart R. Smith became senior member of the firm in 1930, and died in 1937. Scope and Content The collection consists of 287 folders, pertaining mostly to various legal cases involving the oil and lumber industries and agricultural lands in Southeast Texas. They include case papers, correspondence, financial statements, and title abstracts. The collection focuses on litigation procedures and real estate transactions. Of particular interest are several correspondence files dealing with the Jesse C. Humphries lineage and the Stowell Canal Company. There are at least eighty-eight (88) folders relating to case file documents, twenty-two (22) folders relating to various legal correspondence, forty-two (42) folders of various legal documents that relate to lands in Jefferson County, Texas, including seven (7) folders that relate to lands outside of Jefferson County and the State of Texas. Twelve (12) folders relate to real estate property within the Beaumont city limits, twenty-two (22) folders of Stuart R. Smith correspondence, 1917-1923, and thirty-six (36) folders relate to the Estate of Stuart R. Smith, and forty-three (41) folders that relate to Federal, County, State and City estate records, two (2) folders containing to photographs of Stuart R. Smith, c. 1920. Also included are maps and plats in Jefferson and Hardin Counties. The inclusive years of the collection vary from 1884 to 1971. No restrictions apply. Processed: Joe Walker, July 1995