BIOGRAPHY OF CLINTON MCKAMY WINKLER
WINKLER, JUDGE CLINTON McKAMY, lawyer of Corsicana, Navarro county, and Judge of the Court of Appeals, was born in Burke county, North Carolina, on the nineteenth day of October, 1821. His father, David Tate Winkler, was a North Carolina farmer, who in 1844 immigrated to Robertson county, Texas, where he died in February, 1849. Conrad Winkler, the progenitor of the family in America, was the grandfather of Judge Winkler, and came from Germany at a very early date, settling in North Carolina, where he followed husbandry until the time of his death. The family had a predilection for agricultural pursuits, and were among the thrifty and industrious of the farmers of the Carolinas, as well as energetic and public spirited citizens. The cultivation and ownership of the soil was, however, their decided preference, and Judge Winkler was early accustomed to farm labor, both in his native state and in Indiana, where his father resided from 1835 to 1844, the date of his immigration to Texas. Many men of eminence in public and private life have been sons of the soil, springing from the toiling millions, emerging from the farm and workshop into the arena of intellectual manhood. A proper amount of physical labor is the most excellent of all mental disciplines, for thereby is acquired those habits of energy, activity and industry so essential to success in after life. The farm, the workshop--labor--is the nest in which genius incubates; it is the resource of life and the lot of man, without which success is not attainable or ambition satiated. The mother of Judge Winkler was Lavinia Gates Owen, of North Carolina, a lady of many accomplishments and possessed of much practical common sense. She was the daughter of Harrison Owen, justly celebrated in Carolina as an educator of great merit. The family of Owen are of English descent. Their ancestors in this country came directly from England, and settled in Virginia at a very early period, and then took standing among the first families of that commonwealth. During the Revolutionary struggle they were loyal to the colonies, and assisted in the prosecution of the war for independence, and though not successful in engraving the name on the scroll of fame to be written in immutable history, they were none the less deserving, and with thousands of their compatriots, who for a century have slept the peaceful sleep of death, remembrance of their noble deeds will be forever preserved fresh in the history and traditions of the nation.
In 1840 Judge Winkler came to Texas. Having examined somewhat into the business prospects in the various localities of the state, he finally settled at Franklin [now referred to as Old Franklin], then the county seat of Robertson county. His first employment was in the capacity of deputy county clerk, in which he continued for about one year, in the meantime devoting his leisure hours to reading law under the guidance of Charles H. Raymond, a gentleman of great renown in the early history of Texas, as a pioneer citizen and public and professional man. In 1843 he was appointed clerk pro tem of the District court, the duties of which office he discharged for about two years ably and faithfully, still continuing the study of law as time and opportunity afforded, and the same year (1843) was admitted to the bar. In 1844 he was elected clerk of the District court, and two years afterward entered on the practice of law at Franklin. In 1848 he permanently located at Corsicana, where as a lawyer he has since resided. His professional career as a member of the Texas bar has been marked by fidelity to clients and a persevering industry in the preparation of his causes; and in trials he is always respectful to the court, kind to his colleagues, civil to his antagonist, but would never sacrifice [p. 160] the slightest principle of duty to an overweening deference toward either. In the conduct of litigation he is comprehensive and pointed, and has the mental faculty of quickly perceiving what lawyers call the gist of the action.
In 1861 Judge Winkler, along with the leading minds of the South, saw the utter hopelessness of longer endeavoring to maintain friendly relations with the North without sacrificing constitutional rights and abolishing the peculiar institution of slavery. The election and inauguration of Abraham Lincoln, by a political faction hostile to the South, had tendered an issue of arms which a brave people could not otherwise do than accept, and accordingly, when war's dread alarm was sounded, Judge Winkler repaired to the field as captain of infantry in the Confederate army. The company he commanded had been enlisted in his own county, and became part of the Fourth Texas regiment of infantry, Colonel White commanding. His military services extended over the entire period covered by the war, and ended with the surrender of General Lee at Appomattox. He was on duty with the army in the campaigns in Tennessee, Maryland, Virginia and Pennsylvania, and actively participated in the great battles of Seven Pines, Gaines Mills, Second Manassas, Sharpsburg, Gettysburg, Wilderness, and the battles immediately preceding the final surrender. In the battle of Gettysburg he was seriously wounded in the right thigh. His first promotion was to that of major, subsequently becoming lieutenant colonel, which position he held at the conclusion of the war. His courage as a soldier is unquestioned, and his efficiency as an officer is conceded. Many incidents might be recorded and much more said in truth highly flattering to Judge Winkler in connection with his services in the army, but a detailed biography will not accord with the original plan of this work.
We now turn to the Judge's labors as a legislator. His first experience in that capacity was in 1848, when he served in the second legislature ever convened in Texas. From thence he was not directly concerned in matters of legislation until 1873, when he was elected and took his seat in the Thirteenth legislature of Texas. Three years afterward (1876) he was elected judge of the Court of Appeals, and upon the expiration of the term of his predecessor, immediately ensconced himself in the judicial robes. Upon the bench he is noted for legal learning, sound decision, courtesy to the bar, and promptness in the disposition of business before the court.
The Judge was married in December, 1848, to a most estimable lady, Miss Louisa R. Smith, of Navarro county, who died in 1861. In January, 1874 , he married Miss Augusta V. Smith, a lady of Virginia. He is a denominational Christian belonging to the Methodist church.
In politics he has been from the first a firm and consistent Democrat, and through all the long years of national agitation and state controversy down to the present time, has been and still is fixed and unalterable in the faith.
*Biographical Encyclopedia of Texas (New York, N.Y.: Southern Publishing Co., 1880), pp. 159-60.