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Arthur Gray Powell

Arthur Gray Powell, 1907-1912


ARTHUR GRAY POWELL served on the Georgia Court of Appeals 1907-1912. He was born in Blakely, Early County, Georgia, September 3, 1873, and died August 5, 1951.

He attended Mercer University for 18 months. He was admitted to the Bar at age 18. He practiced law a total of 57 years, the last 39 after he left the Bench, first with his father, then with J. R. Pottle, who would succeed him on the Court, and later with John D. Little. He was recognized as a specialist in litigation involving land and was active in insurance law.

He married Annie Wilkin of Colquitt, Ga., on December 31, 1896. Born of this union were Arthur W. Powell, Frances P. Laws, and Grace P. Hammond.

He authored Powell on Actions or Land, Powell on Land Registration, and on his seventieth birthday his autobiography, I Can Go Home Again.

Recorded in 87 Georgia Appeals Reports, pages 927-938 is a memorial providing details of his life. It is there suggested he worked with unbelievable speed. On a case argued January 8 he prepared an opinion concurred in by two other judges released and announced three days later on January 11. One speaker said, "But once in a while a man mounts the Bench with the salt of life, the spice of wisdom, and the sweetness of humor blended in him so subtly yet so successfully that those who are quite unlearned in the law glimpse some of its beauties."

Judge Marcus Beck said he "knows the law and he loves the Bible." It is said that some of the many brilliant opinions written by him contained in the first 10 volumes of the Georgia Appeals Reports personify George Eliot's epigram, "Wit is wisdom, raised to a higher power." Justice Bond Almand called him "a four-dimensional man, an advocate, a counselor, a judge, and a leader. His work was outstanding...gave the best of his talents." Possessing rare ability, he has been ranked with other legal giants such as "the elder Lumpkin, Nisbet, Bleckley, Blackstone, Kent and Marshall."