In the little town of Gurdon, Clark County, Arkansas, on August 28, 1908, their first son was born to William Jefferson and Mattie Hinsley, who named him John Carroll. The father was at that time Pastor of the Baptist Church in Gurdon. Subsequent moves brought the family, then consisting of the father and mother, the son, and two daughters, to the small town of Booneville in the western part of Arkansas, where the father was Pastor of the First Baptist Church for the next 14 years and where J. Carroll Hinsley entered and completed the public schools.
The family then moved to Arkadelphia, where the young son of the family attended Ouachita Baptist College, from which he received the degree of Bachelor of Arts Summa Cum Laude in 1929. Brother Hinsley then taught in the public schools at Hope, Arkansas, for the next two years.
In 1931 J. Carroll Hinsley came to Texas and entered the Law School of the University of Texas at Austin, from which he graduated in 1934 with the degree of Bachelor of Laws, with Highest Honors. He immediately went to work for the Supreme Court of Texas in June, 1934, in which employment he continued until May, 1936, when he entered the private practice of law in Austin.
Brother Hinsley continued in the practice of law in Austin until the present time, with the exception of the period during World War II, when he served in the Armed Forces of the United States from December, 1942, until June, 1946. He entered the Army as a Private and advanced to the rank of Captain before his release from service.
In 1940 Brother Hinsley was married to Miss Louise M. Conrad, a native of Ohio who had moved to Austin with her family in 1931. This couple has continued to reside in Austin since that time with the exception of the period of Brother Hinsley’s military service.
Early in his professional life Brother Hinsley began to specialize in the field of public school law and has come to be recognized as the outstanding authority in this field of law in Texas. He has been the editor of three separate editions of “The Handbook of Texas School Law,” and since 1946 has been Editor and Publisher of “Texas School Law News,” a periodical published primarily for school Administrators and Attorneys representing school authorities. Brother Hinsley has been a prolific writer, many of his articles having been published in periodicals such as the “Texas Law Review,” “Texas Bar Journal,” “The Texas Outlook,” “The New Age,” “The Texas Grand Lodge Magazine,” and “The Texas Freemason.”
A Baptist, Brother Hinsley has been active in several Baptist Churches in Austin, having been a member at various times of the First Baptist Church and the West Austin Baptist Church, and having been a charter member and one of the organizers of the Central Baptist Church. He has served in various capacities in these churches, having been Sunday School Teacher, Sunday School Superintendent and Church Organist, among others.
The Masonic Record of Brother J. Carroll Hinsley is as follows:
He was raised to the Sublime Degree of a Master Mason on December 16, 1950, in Austin Lodge No. 12, Austin, Texas. After serving in successive offices in Austin Lodge No. 12 he was installed Master of the Lodge in June, 1958, serving as Master in 1958-1959. During the same period he was President of the Masters, Wardens and Secretaries Association of the 50th Masonic District.
He was one of the signers of the petition for a dispensation for the Texas Lodge of Research and was a charter member of Texas Lodge of Research, having been a member from that time.
He received the Capitular Degrees in Lone Star Chapter No. 6, R. A. M., Austin, Texas, in 1953. He served that Chapter as its High Priest in 1959-1960.
He received the Cryptic Degrees in Austin Council No. 2, R. & S. M., Austin, Texas, in 1953, serving as Thrice Illustrious Master in 1959-1960.
He received the Orders of Knighthood in Colorado Commandery No. 4, K. T., Austin, Texas, in 1953, and served as Commander of that Commandery in 1960.
He is a member of Nazareth Tabernacle No. XXXIV, H. R. A. K. T. P. and Texas York Rite College No. 14.
He is a member of Texas Priory No. 23, Knights of the York Cross of Honour, serving as Warder in 1965.
He served as District Deputy Grand High Priest, 21st District, Grand Royal Arch Chapter of Texas in 1961 and 1963, and as District Deputy Grand Master, 21st District, Grand Council of Royal and Select Masters of Texas, in 1963.
He received the Order of High Priesthood and Order of the Silver Trowel in 1959.
He served as Chairman of the Grievances and Appeals Committee of the Grand Commandery Knights Templar of Texas from 1960 to 1962 and in 1964-1965, and as member of the Committee on Templar jurisprudence from 1962 to 1966, serving as Chairman of that Committee in 1965-1966.
He received the Scottish Rite Degrees in the Austin Scottish Rite Bodies in October, 1951. Since that time he has served as Venerable Master of Fidelity Lodge of Perfection, Wise Master of Philip C. Tucker Chapter of Rose Croix, and Commander of James D. Richardson Council of Knights Kadosh. In 1965 he held the office of Preceptor in Austin Consistory.
He was Invested with the Rank and Decoration of Knight Commander of the Court of Honour in 1959 and was coroneted a Thirty-third Degree Inspector General Honorary on November 30, 1963.
He has served as a member of the Board of Directors of the Scottish Rite Foundation of Texas, Inc., since 1962, of the Texas Scottish Rite Schools Committee since 1962, and as a member of the Executive Committee of the Scottish Rite Educational Association of Texas from 1963 to 1965.
He has been a member of Austin Chapter No. 304, Order of the Eastern Star, since 1951.
He was a charter member of St. Austin Conclave, Red Cross of Constantine, Austin, Texas, serving as Senior General in 1965.
He is a member of Ben Hur Temple, A. A. O. N. M. S., Austin, Texas, and has been prominent in many of the activities of that Temple, having been Potentate in 1961.
He was elected Representative to the Imperial Council, A. A. O. N. M. S., for six consecutive years from 1960 to 1965, declining further election to that office. In 1964-1965 he was a member of the Finance and Accounts Committee of the Imperial Council, A. A. O. N. M. S.
He is a member of Texas Chapter of Acacia Fraternity.
Shortly after he became a Past Master of Austin Lodge No. 12, he was appointed to a vacancy on the Committee on Grievances and Appeals No. 2 in 1959. He then served as a member of the Committee on Masonic jurisprudence in 1960 and 1961, resigning the balance of his 7-year term when he was elected Grand Junior Warden.
He was Chairman of the Special Committee on Study of Public Schools Week Program in 1960, a member of the Special Committee on Establishment of a Home or Homes for Aged Masons and their wives Who Are Able to Pay in 1962, 1963 and 1964, a member of the Special Committee on Formulation of Rules for Lodges to Follow in Sponsoring Chapters of The Order of DeMolay for Boys and Assemblies of The Order of Rainbow for Girls in 1963 and 1964, serving as Chairman in the latter year, and of the Special Committee to Study Revisions of Grand Lodge Monitor in 1962, 1963 and 1964.
He has held a Certificate from the Committee on Work since 1951.
He was elected Grand Junior Warden in 1961, Grand Senior Warden in 1962, Deputy Grand Master in 1963, and was elected and installed Grand Master of Masons in Texas on December 3, 1964.
While Grand Master he gave the Keynote Address at the Conference of Grand Masters of Masons in North America in Washington, D. C., on February 23, 1965. He was also the principal speaker at the Grand Master’s Banquet at the Communication of The Grand Lodge of Arizona in Mesa, at the Centennial Communication of The Grand Lodge of West Virginia in Wheeling, and at the Grand Master’s Banquet at the Communication of The Grand Lodge of Iowa in Burlington. In addition, he also addressed the Communication of The Grand Lodge of Wyoming on the subject Civil Rights. Soon after he became a Past Grand Master he brought the principal address at the Stated Communication for the Installation of Grand Officers and Celebration of the Anniversary of St. John the Evangelist of the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts on December 27, 1965. On this occasion he was presented with the Henry Price Medal, the highest and most honored gift in the power of the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts to bestow.
The following comments, in the closing moments of the One Hundred Thirtieth Grand Annual Communication, are indicative of the character and personality of this sincere and dedicated Mason: “I shall always work for the eventual advancement of this Fraternity, regardless of anything else that may come. We may have temporary setbacks in our Fraternity, we may disagree as to methods of solving our problems, but let us always work together in brotherhood, let us work together in unity, and let us have no other purpose except the eventual good of the Fraternity, the development of the brotherhood and the final great glory of the Supreme Architect of the Universe.”
Grand Master Hinsley has contributed the kind of leadership that is in keeping with the Heritage of this Grand Lodge. Resolute and steadfast in his conviction of right and justice, eloquent in diction and address, possessing a thorough knowledge of Masonic Laws, customs, usages and traditions, his administration is deemed one of the most efficient and productive in the history of this Grand Lodge.