Asa Hoxie Willie (1829-1899), jurist and soldier, was born in Washington, Wilkes County, Georgia, on October 11, 1829, the son of James and Caroline (Hoxie) Willie. He attended private schools near Washington and taught at Powelton, Georgia, for a time before he moved to Texas in 1845 at the age of sixteen. He lived for a while in Independence with his maternal uncle, Asa Hoxey, but in 1847 he began the study of law at Brenham in the office of his older brother, James Willie. He was admitted to the bar in 1849, and from 1852 until 1854 he was district attorney for the Third Judicial District.
In 1857 James Willie became attorney general and was commissioned to index the state's criminal codes. Asa Hoxie Willie moved to Austin to assist him and for a year took on the greater part of the duties of the attorney general. In 1858 Asa Willie moved to Marshal where he established a partnership with Alex Pope, and in 1859 he married Bettie Johnson of Brandon, Mississippi. The couple had ten children, five of whom lived to maturity. With the outbreak of the Civil War Willie joined the Confederate army and was commissioned a major in the Seventh Texas Infantry on the staff of Col. John Gregg. He was captured with the rest of his command at Fort Donelson in February 1862 and was confined for nine months at Camp Douglas, Illinois. The regiment was exchanged in time to take part in the battle of Chickamauga, Tennessee, in September 1863 and the remainder of the battles of the Army of Tennessee.
After the war Willie returned to Brenham, where he was elected associate justice of the Texas Supreme Court but was removed from office the following year by the military government of Gen. Charles Griffin as an "impediment to Reconstruction." In 1866 Willie moved to Galveston, where in 1871 he formed a legal partnership with Charles Cleveland. In 1873 he was elected to the House of Representatives of the Forty-third United States Congress, serving until 1875. Willie chose not to run for reelection and returned to Galveston, where he was elected city attorney in 1875 and 1876. In 1882 he was appointed chief justice of the Texas Supreme Court and served until his retirement in 1888. Willie died in Galveston on March 16, 1899, and was buried in Mount Olivet Cemetery.
BIBLIOGRAPHY: Biographical Directory of the American Congress. 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]). Amelia W. Williams and Eugene C. Barker, eds., The Writings of Sam Houston, 1813-1863 (8 vols., Austin: University of Texas Press, 1938-43; rpt., Austin and New York: Pemberton Press, 1970). Marcus J. Wright, comp., and Harold B. Simpson, ed., Texas in the War, 1861-1865 (Hillsboro, Texas: Hill Junior College Press, 1965).
Thomas W. Cutrer
Reprinted with permission from the Handbook of Texas Online, a joint project of the Texas State Historical Association and the General Libraries at the University of Texas at Austin. © 2003, The Texas State Historical Association.