Armstrong, James (ca. 1811–1879)

By: Robert Wooster

Type: Biography

Published: 1952

Updated: November 1, 1994

James Armstrong, politician, was born in Kentucky about 1811. He came to Texas shortly before the Texas Revolution and joined Capt. James Chessher's company of Jasper Volunteers on March 3, 1836. He was discharged on July 26 of that year. Armstrong was elected to represent Jasper County at the Fourth Congress of the Republic of Texas in 1839–40. He subsequently was district attorney for Jasper in 1840–41 and served as president of the board of land commissioners of Jasper County before moving to Beaumont. Jefferson County voters elected him to serve in the House during the Ninth Congress (1844–45) and in the Convention of 1845. After annexation he was elected to the House of the Second Legislature from Jefferson County. Armstrong moved in 1848 to Williamson County, where he became an attorney and a rancher. He subsequently returned to public life and served in the Fourth, Fifth, and Sixth Texas legislatures as the senator from his home district, which included Williamson County. By 1860 he owned three slaves and had a total estate of some $6,000. He had at least five children. He returned to Beaumont about 1868. He served as a member of the Constitutional Convention of 1868–69, where he was one of the leaders of the conservative faction, and represented the First District, including much of Southeast Texas, in the Thirteenth Legislature. Armstrong was listed as an attorney in the census of 1870, when his estate was valued at $13,000. He was a Mason. He died of pneumonia on December 21, 1879.

Texas House of Representatives, Biographical Directory of the Texan Conventions and Congresses, 1832–1845 (Austin: Book Exchange, 1941). W. T. Block, A History of Jefferson County, Texas, from Wilderness to Reconstruction (M.A. thesis, Lamar University, 1974; Nederland, Texas: Nederland Publishing, 1976). Galveston Daily News, December 23, 1879. Members of the Texas Legislature, 1846–1962 (Austin, 1962).
  • Second Legislature (1847-1848)
  • House

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.

Robert Wooster, “Armstrong, James,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed May 22, 2022,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

November 1, 1994