Carothers, Thomas (ca. 1818–1867)

By: Jennifer Eckel

Type: Biography

Published: August 31, 2009

Thomas Carothers, legislator, stock raiser, and superintendent of the State Prison at Huntsville, was born about 1818 in Pennsylvania, probably in Cumberland County (see TEXAS STATE PENITENTIARY AT HUNTSVILLE). He was the son of Thomas and Elizabeth (Loudon) Carothers. Carothers (also spelled Caruthers) arrived in what would become Walker County, Texas, probably in the late 1830s.

In 1846 he served as justice of the peace for Montgomery County. That same year, Carothers was one of four men commissioned to mark and lay out a road in newly-formed Walker County from Huntsville to the Montgomery county line. During the Second Texas State Legislature, 1847 to 1848, he served in the House of Representatives for Montgomery County. The 1850 census listed Thomas Carothers, age thirty-two, as a stock raiser and farmer in Walker County with real estate valued at $3,000. His wife Mary, age thirty from Kentucky, was also listed. Thomas Carothers was the first master of the San Jacinto Masonic Lodge, #106, which was located in Danville at the time of its founding in 1853. He had received a third class land grant, patented in 1859, for 160 acres from the Texas General Land Office.

Thomas Carothers served as the superintendent of the State Prison at Huntsville from 1859 to 1866. Throughout the Civil War the prison held Confederate lawbreakers as well as Federal prisoners of war, perhaps most notably the officers and crew from the Federal gunboat, Harriet Lane. Carothers regularly entertained the Union officers in his family's home above the prison office.

Outside of his experiences in public office, Thomas Carothers farmed and raised stock in Walker County but also appeared often as a land agent or as a partner in a joint holding in other areas of the state. Carothers was trusted by his cousin Sam Houston and was named as one of the executors of the famous Texan's will. Thomas Carothers died in Anderson, Texas, on April 17, 1867, while traveling home to Huntsville.

D'Anne McAdams Crews, ed., Huntsville and Walker County, Texas: A Bicentennial History (Huntsville: Sam Houston State University Press, 1976). Montgomery County History (Conroe, Texas: Montgomery County Genealogical Society, Inc., 1981). Genealogical Society and Walker County Historical Commission, Walker County (Dallas, 1986).
  • Second Legislature (1847-1848)
  • House

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

Jennifer Eckel, “Carothers, Thomas,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed July 03, 2022,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

August 31, 2009