Strangers to Us All
Lawyers and Poetry

Julien Capers Hyer


Julien Capers Hyer was born in Greenville, South Carolina in 1894. In 1913, he graduated from Wofford College in Spartanburg, South Carolina, with an A.B. degree. He received his LL.B. degree from Georgetown University Law School, Washington, DC, in 1916. Before moving to Waco, Texas, he worked in the Law Library of the United States Supreme Court. He was admitted to the Texas Bar in 1916. He practiced law in Texas for the rest of his life, except during World Wars I and II.

During World War I, he was a captain in the trench artillery of the 36th Division of the United States Army (where he served in France). Hyer moved to Fort Worth, Texas, after the war.

In 1919, Hyer married Agnes Barnhart of Whittier, California. They had three daughters: Agnes Ann, Martha, and Jeanne. Martha Hyer was a movie actress during the 1950s and 1960s.

Hyer was elected to the Texas Senate in 1929, serving one term. From 1931 to 1932, he was president of the Lions Club International.

In 1941, Hyer was recalled to active military service as a Major in the Judge Advocate General's Department. He was stationed at Fort Sam Houston, Texas, for several months, promoted to Lieutenant Colonel, and then to Colonel, serving as Judge Advocate of the 8th Service Command. While in the 8th Service Command, he produced a radio program titled "Ask the Judge Advocate," which served to help military men and their relatives with legal problems. In 1944, he served as Judge Advocate of the Fifteenth Army in Belgium and Germany. Hyer served as the last Judge Advocate for General George S. Patton. As Judge Advocate, he participated in the prosecution of war criminals during the Nuremberg trials.

Hyer returned to Texas in 1945, where he was attached to the Dallas office of the U.S. Veterans Administration. He served as civil district attorney of Dallas County from 1950 to 1956. Texas Governor Price Daniel, who had served under Hyer as a private during World War II, appointed Hyer to the judgeship of Dallas County Court-at-Law No. 2 in 1956. He was elected to a full term in 1958. He was appointed judge of the 44th District Court in 1961 and was re-elected several times before retiring in 1972.

Hyer contributed a short devotional column, "The Shepherd," to newspapers across the country, starting in 1951. Hyer moved from Dallas to Fort Worth in early 1973. He died in Fort Worth in March 1974.

Hyer's poem, "The Shepherd" follows:

The Shepherd

WORDS - "Not in word but in power." I Cor. 4:20
Few souls are saved by spoken word
Folks soon forget the things they've heard
But lives we live our neighbors see
And pattern theirs unconsciously
By our way.
The Master wrote no book
And his apostles quote bits of his sermons.
But His way of life survives unto this day. . .
Your children more attention pay
To what you do than what you say.

[I am indebted to Professor Dave Rausch, Department of History, Political Science, and Criminal Justice, West Texas A&M University, who has done research on Judge Hyer for so graciously preparing the bio for Hyer.]

[Professor Rausch's bio expands on the basic biographical information found in Florence Elberta Barns, Texas Writers of Today 254 (Dallas: Tardy Publishing Co., 1935)(Ann Arbor, Michigan: Gryphon Books, 1971)(Hyer's "poems have appeared in the Poetry Review (England), Westward, Texas Outlook, and other publications."]


Julien C. Hyer, Wild Women of the Odyssey (Kansas City, Missouri: The Joli Press, 1931)

___________, The Land of Beginning Again: The Romance of the Brazos (Atlanta: Tupper & Love, 1952)([Waco, Texas]: Texian Press, 1970)

___________, The Shepherd to Illustrate a Point (Los Angeles, California: CC Cowman Publications, 1955)

[The Shepherd (New York: Phaedra, 1972)(2 vols.)]

___________, Texas Lions, 1917-67: A History of 50 Years of Lionism ([Hillsboro, Texas]: Hill Junior College Press, 1969)