A former judge from the Lone Star State passed away in Chicago on Dec. 31, 1867, never knowing he would soon be immortalized in a short story that may be based more on fact than fiction.

Four years later, a San Francisco newspaper carried a freelance piece from William Rhodes, a Texas attorney-turned science fiction writer. “The Case of Summerfield” opens with the author recalling his boyhood meeting in Galveston with a well-known jurist named Summerfield. The lad is bowled over by the famous magistrate, whose brilliant intellect qualifies him as an authority on everything from mathematics to philosophy.

Bartee Haile writes This Week In Texas History which appears every Sunday. He welcomes your comments and questions barteehaile@gmail.com or P.O. Box 130011, Spring, TX 77393 and invites you to visit his website at barteehaile.com.

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