Biographical or Historical Information
This collection consists of the papers from attorneys Charles Hodges, J. J. Greve, and Jack C. Pierce, all having practiced law at this particular firm over the years. The firm located on Main Street, between Fredonia and Pecan Street, in downtown Nacogdoches is believed to have first belonged to Hodges, though when he started the practice is unknown. Charles Albert Hodges was born in Florida on September 10, 1871 and two years later the family moved to Nacogdoches. Hodges married his wife Edna in 1897, and they had a daughter, Carrie born in 1898. Though much is unknown about Hodges's background or specifically when his legal career began, the 1900 U.S. Census records Hodges's occupation as salesman. However, according to 1910 census records, he was the Precinct 1 Justice of the Peace for Nacogdoches County. According to what can be derived from Hodges's documents in the collection, he practiced law since circa 1900, and served as a county judge through the 1910s and 1920s.
J. J. Greve began at the firm with Hodges in 1918, and carried on working at the firm well after Hodges's death on October 8, 1933. James Joseph Greve was born in Lafourche Parish, Louisiana on February 19, 1880. Ten years later, the family moved to New Orleans. Greve finished his public school education in New Orleans and then pursued his higher education by attending night school. Beginning around 1900, he worked for the Morgans' Louisiana Railroad and Steamship Company, a subsidiary of the Southern Pacific Company. On February 9, 1907, J. J. Greve married May Cauwenberg of New Orleans, Louisiana with whom he had four daughters: Irma, Elsie, Louise, and Bernie. In 1909, Greve was transferred to the general office of Southern Pacific at Houston, Texas, where he served in the Freight Claims Department. In 1914, he was appointed agent for the Southern Pacific office at Nacogdoches, Texas. While employed with Southern Pacific, Greve continued studying law, and on June 14, 1916 was admitted to the Texas State Bar. In early 1917, Greve left Nacogdoches to serve as agent for Southern Pacific in Houston during World War I. In December of 1918, after the Armistice, Greve was granted a leave of absence to pursue practicing law. Greve left Houston to return to Nacogdoches and began working at the law firm of C. A. Hodges.
Hodges and Greve continued from that time forward as partners until the senior member of the firm passed away. After Hodges's death, Greve maintained the firm as his personal practice until Jack C. Pierce came in 1958. Pierce recalled that many people referred to Greve as Judge Greve, although he was not technically a judge. According to Pierce, in those days it was customary for a well-respected lawyer to be called judge after many of years of practice. Greve earned a reputation for being honest and fair through his frequent handling of delicate matters while solving problems for many people in the community and continued to practice until just prior to his death on November 20, 1958; after which Pierce took over the firm.
Charles Aubert Jack Pierce was born in Nacogdoches, Texas on August 31, 1928. Pierce grew up in Nacogdoches, where he attended public school and Stephen F. Austin State College. As a young man, Pierce worked as a stock boy for McCroys General Store downtown and as a swamper for Coca Cola and the Ideal Bread Company. He also worked for Oakley Metcalf Funeral Home driving the hearse for funerals and, as a public service, taking new mothers home from the hospital. Pierce went on to open his own insurance company, which he owned and operated until he was drafted into the Army during the Korean War. While serving in the Army, he reached the rank of Second Lieutenant, and he gained legal experience working in the Judge Advocate General's Office at Fort Benning, Georgia. During his time working in the JAG office, Pierce was injured in a terrible car accident. The injury would eventually lead to his discharge from the army. Pierce then served as assistant to the sergeant-at-arms at the state capitol in Austin, Texas. Pierce left Austin and moved to Waco, Texas to attend law school at Baylor University. In 1958, Pierce graduated from law school and on August 6th that same year married Willene Joan Bird. They had two daughters, Mary Elizabeth born March 11, 1963 and Rosemary born November 4, 1967. They took up residence back in Nacogdoches where Pierce opened his own law practice for a short time before going into practice with Greve.
Just five years after taking over the former practice of the late Greve, on September 2, 1963, Pierce was sworn in as judge of the 145th District Court of Nacogdoches County. He would remain on the bench for the next thirty-seven years earning a reputation for fairness and consistency in his rulings. In 2000, Pierce retired from his position as District Court judge, which was immediately followed by a sharp decline in health that left him very ill. It was discovered that his illness was the result of arsenic poisoning by a close female companion, with whom he had become involved well after the death of his wife Willene in 1991. After his recovery, Pierce went on to work as a visiting judge throughout the state of Texas. In 2006, Pierce remarried and now lives with his new wife Sue in Georgia, though he still retains his residence in Nacogdoches.
In March 2008, the owners sold the building where Hodges and Greve had practiced, and where Pierce still maintained an office. The documents, which constitute the Hodges, Greve, and Pierce Collection, as well as other items, were cleared out to make way for renovations to the building. It was during this time that the collection was discovered accidentally by SFASU faculty and was then transferred into the possession of the university.