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Alexander William Stephens

Alexander William Stephens, 1918-1943


ALEXANDER W. STEPHENS served on the Court of Appeals of Georgia from 1918 until the 16th of December, 1943. He was born January 14, 1874, in Atlanta and died December 16, 1943.

His family moved to Crawfordville and later to Washington, Georgia. He attended a private school and also Washington Academy. He attended Means Military High School, later known as Gordon High School and thereafter Boys High School, all in Atlanta. He graduated from the latter in 1891, entering the sophomore class of the University of Georgia and receiving his A.B. degree in 1894. He studied law in the office of Atlanta attorney John C. Reed and was admitted to the Bar in 1896.

Judge Stephens never married but was a member of an illustrious family. His grandfather was a brother to the famous Georgian Alexander Hamilton Stephens, who was Vice-President of the Confederacy, member of Congress, and Governor of Georgia. The latter's brother was an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of Georgia. Judge Stephens was survived by a brother, Dr. Robert G. Stephens.

He practiced law in Atlanta from 1896 to 1918, spending a year at Harvard University at Cambridge to pursue a special course in the law. He was a member of the Presbyterian Church, the Knights ofPythias, and the Fraternal Order of Eagles. He was elected a Judge of the Georgia Court of Appeals in 1918 and remained on the court approximately 25 years until his death.

He wrote an article appearing in the Georgia Bar Association Annual Reports on "The Career of Lord Erskine" in 1925 and in 1931 another on "Constitutional Conventions." In 1937 he wrote and delivered an elaborate address before the Georgia Bar Association which was printed in its annual report.

Many kind expressions about him are recorded in the memorial dated May 15, 1945, in 72 Georgia Appeals Reports, pages 893-902. "While in his legal opinions Judge Stephens was inclined to the liberal side, somewhat after the manner of the late Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes," in his other views he was a conservative.