A Guide to the W. Lee Estes Papers, 1865, 1885-1937
Judge William Lee Estes (1870-1930) was born in Boston, Texas, to Judge Benjamin Thomas (b. 1833) and Jessie (Hicks) Estes (d. 1909). He graduated top of his class from Wytheville Military Academy in Virginia in 1888 and received a scholarship to Hampden-Sydney College in Virginia, from which he graduated as valedictorian and with a bachelors in literature in 1891. He earned his law degree with honors from the University of Texas at Austin in 1893. He maintained a private practice in Texarkana from 1894 until 1899, when he co-founded the firm of Glass, Estes, King, & Burford. During these years he also served as vice president the Port Arthur Canal and Dock Company, director of the Texarkana National Bank, director and president of the Texas Bar Association, trustee of Austin College in Sherman, as well as president of the Texarkana Board of Education. President Woodrow Wilson nominated him as a judge on the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas in Tyler, a position he held from 1920 until his death in 1930.
In 1903, Estes married Annie Poindexter Dunn (1883-1939), the daughter of Congressman Poindexter Dunn of Arkansas. The couple had three children: Evelyn (1904-1945), Annie Dunn (Mrs. John W. Mayo; 1907-1976), and Leigh (1910-1922).
W. Lee Estes Papers, 1865, 1885-1937, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, University of Texas at Austin.
Biographical Directory of Federal Judges. “Estes, William Lee.” Federal Judicial Center. http://www.fjc.gov/servlet/nGetInfo?jid=719&cid=999&ctype=na&instate=na (accessed August 11, 2010).
Handbook of Texas Online, s.v. “Estes, William Lee,” http://www.tshaonline.org /handbook/online/articles/EE/fes7.html (accessed August 11, 2010).
Johnson, Francis White, Eugene Campbell Barker, and Ernest William Winkler. A History of Texas and Texans. Chicago: American Historical Society, 1914.
The W. Lee Estes Papers, 1865, 1885-1937, contain speeches, newspaper clippings, correspondence, diary, resolutions, an oath of office, scrapbook pages, printed material, ephemera, and books. The papers relate to his schooling at Wytheville Military Academy and Hampton-Sydney College as well as his career as a U.S. District Court judge. One letter dated April 14, 1965, from William Estes to his “Dear Child” discusses her husband’s capture as prisoner of war, and W. Lee Estes’ 1885 diary relates to his experience in New Orleans. An oath of office, resolutions, and correspondence, 1919-1930, pertain to his nomination, commission, and service as a U.S. District judge, while the typescript and handwritten speeches, 1911-1929, concern presentations given to the Texas Bar Association, Hampton-Sydney College, and other local Texas associations. The printed material and ephemera, 1920-1930, contain banquet programs and menus, pamphlets with photographs and newspaper clippings, a pamphlet on Jefferson Davis, notes, and a 1926 dinner program with photographs of Will Rogers and an inscription from Rogers to Estes. Oversize scrapbook pages, 1893-1937, consist of newspapers clippings about Estes’s career and death, correspondence to him and his family, his marriage certificate and wedding invitation, photographs, and certificates for practicing law and becoming a U.S. District judge. Additionally, the collection has one American history book, one book of proceedings from the Texas Bar Association, and an empty medallion box.
This collection is open for research use.
W. Lee Estes Papers, 1865, 1885-1937, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, The University of Texas at Austin.
This collection contains unprocessed materials.
Basic processing and cataloging of this collection was supported with funds from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC) for the Briscoe Center’s History Revealed: Bringing Collections to Light project, 2009-2011.
Detailed Description of the Papers