Brackenridge, Robert J. (1839–1918)

By: Elizabeth N. Kemp

Type: Biography

Published: 1976

Updated: June 18, 2020

Robert J. Brackenridge, businessman and Confederate soldier, son of John Adams and Isabella (McCulloch) Brackenridge, was born in Boonville, Indiana, on December 28, 1839. The family moved to Texas in 1853. Brackenridge was a cowboy and laborer on his father's farm as a boy and attended common schools. In 1860 he entered Hanover College, in Indiana. At the outbreak of the Civil War he returned to Texas and entered Confederate service under his brother John Thomas Brackenridge. At Aransas Pass he was captured by Gen. Nathaniel P. Banks's command, but was paroled through the influence of his brother George W. Brackenridge and Governor A. J. Hamilton, both Texas Union men. During his parole he studied medicine in Mankato, Minnesota, and fought in a few skirmishes against the Sioux Indians. He graduated from Rush Medical College, Chicago, in 1867, then settled in Jackson County, Texas. He moved to Austin in 1874 and gave up the active practice of his profession. He held the position of cashier of the First National Bank of Austin until the sale of all the stock of the bank held by his family. In 1885 he married Mary T. Lyons; they had one child. Brackenridge was president of the Frontier Telephone and Telegraph Company for some years. He was active in the First Presbyterian Church, U.S.A., and in many religious endeavors. In 1886 he helped originate an organization known as the Seven Churches, which had as its object the promotion of practical and everyday religion, and for many years he served as president of the Austin Bible Society. He was an active worker in the bond election in 1914 to build a new city hospital, which about 1930 was renamed Brackenridge Hospital in his honor. He died in Austin on June 26, 1918.

Austin Statesman, June 26, 1918. LaPrelle Brackenridge Papers, Austin History Center, Austin. Vertical Files, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, University of Texas at Austin.

  • Health and Medicine
  • Activism and Social Reform
  • Advocates
  • Social Workers
  • Religion
  • Presbyterian

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

Elizabeth N. Kemp, “Brackenridge, Robert J.,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed May 23, 2022,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

June 18, 2020

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