“Bexar County Chief Justice Ira Leslie Hewitt”
by Alexander Stevens

Son of Robert Hewitt and Catherine Strope, Bexar County Chief Justice Ira Leslie Hewitt married Maria del Carmen Seguin in San Antonio on July 20, 1845 in a Protestant ceremony. Interestingly, his marriage meant that Hewitt would eventually be related by marriage to two other Bexar County Chief Justices. Erasmo Seguin, his wife's second cousin, had served as Bexar County's third Chief Justice from December 1837 to January 1840. Years later, the Hewitts' son, Mortimer Julius Hewitt, wed Mary Siemering, whose father Augustus served as Chief Justice from August 1865 to August 1866.

Hewitt practiced law in San Antonio before he became active in county politics beginning his political career as Chief Justice of the Bexar County Court, from August 29, 1848 to June 19, 1849, a period that included a six week cholera epidemic in San Antonio that began April 2, 1849 and took 500 to 600 lives. During Hewitt's short tenure, the court divided Bexar County into seven road precincts to expedite the construction of roads to New Braunfels, Seguin, Cibolo, Goliad, Laredo, Castroville and Fredericksburg. As Chief Justice, Hewitt also served on a committee with San Antonio city officials to oversee the construction of a Bexar County jail, a two story structure called “The Old Bat Cave” just in front of the Spanish Governor's Palace on Military Plaza.

After his term as Chief Justice, Hewitt ran unsuccessfully for a seat in the state senate; he owned the San Antonio Ledger before selling to Michael Burke, who then established it as the city's first daily newspaper. The record is silent regarding Hewitt's later years, and the circumstances and date of his death remain unknown.

Bibliography:

Bexar County (Texas). Commissioner's Court Minutes, Vol 1. San Antonio: Spanish Archives, 2006.

Chabot, Frederick C. With the Makers of San Antonio: Genealogies of Early San Antonio Families.. San Antonio: Artes Graficas, 1937.

Joyce, Janey Eaves, ed. San Antonio, Texas Newspapers, Abstractions: November 17, 1848 - November 11, 1865. San Antonio: San Antonio Genealogical and Historical Society, 2001.

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