McFarland Family History
Joe McFarland's professional life (1945-1970)
as an attorney and judge which includes his relationship with his partner
and some of the many cases that he was involved with after World War II.
The Scottish
Sample Chapters

Joe McFarland 1944 The "War to End All Wars" was over now, and Joe was finally back in Bay Springs. This chapter will be devoted to Joe's professional life and the law partnership with his brother, Bob McFarland. Before Joe even left the South Pacific, he was elected to county prosecuting attorney. This position would offer him the experience he needed one day in the future to be the district attorney. However, this part-time position as county attorney continued to place him on the opposite side of the table in court with a very famous criminal defense lawyer, Alex McFarland.

When Bob McFarland was released from the Army in 1945, he returned to Ole Miss for Law School. In 1947 he was admitted to the bar as an attorney. However, before Bob ever became a lawyer, he and Joe had a complete verbal agreement about their future partnership. That same year Joe and Bob formed the partnership of "McFarland and McFarland." This firm would continue for 19 more years, terminating only in 1966 with Joe's rise to the judicial bench.

While the partners were able to develop some interesting litigation, their "bread and butter" was real estate title work. The work was hard, but there was no shortage of work. The book shows that the partners came close to becoming very wealthy in the late forties with the "16th Section Case." Yet, they did not "get a nickel" from this case and had to continue to struggle with the day-to-day law cases just to support their growing families.

McFarland Brothers In 1948 Joe ran and was elected to the part-time position of district attorney and received a monthly salary of $325.00. Joe had to try cases in all five county seats: Bay Springs and Paulding in Jasper County; Raleigh in Smith County; Magee in Simpson County; and Collins in Covington County.

Joe's brother and partner played an equal role in the development of the business for the partnership. He was elected to the Oil and Gas Board, and the partners received direct and indirect business from this relationship. A humorous example of Bob's attempt to obtain justice for a criminal defendant is set out in the book as the "Willie and Ross Barnett" story. Bob's plea in the 1950's to the most powerful man in Mississippi for a black client was "Well, Governor, you've got a 'cousin' down in Heidelberg that's in the penitentiary, and I want you to consider letting him out."

The book lists numerous interesting and high profile cases in the 1940's and 1950's that Joe prosecuted. Just two examples are the Ross Hawkins murder case in Smith County and the "Peach Orchard" murder case in Jasper County.

Through these and hundreds of other cases, Joe had developed a reputation as a prosecutor. This reputation helped the partners develop both lucrative criminal and civil cases in these other counties. An example given is the $13,000.00 judgment the partners obtained for the Smith Estate in their case against Southern Pine Electric Power Association.

McFarland Law Office While the partners had a reputation for being very good attorneys, what was more important to them is that they had a reputation for being forthright and honest.

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In court they would prosecute their cases to the best of their ability. It was said that they would fight their opponents "tooth and toenail." This tradition goes back to the original cases that Joe McFarland had against his own father, Alex McFarland, as described in Chapter Seven.

The partners' reputation can be traced back through their forefathers as set out in earlier chapters. Their grandfather's reputation and integrity as a sheriff set the tone for honesty and integrity to be followed by Bob and Joe. Also, the excellent reputation of their father as a trial attorney in the twenties and thirties preceded the partners. When they began their practice, it was assumed that they were honest and that their word could be taken as true. They never violated this code. Even today, elderly people in Jasper County will tell stories about how Bob and Joe went out of their way to help them.