Carroll, Joseph Alexander (1832–1891)

By: Aragorn Storm Miller

Type: Biography

Published: March 25, 2011

Updated: June 26, 2012

Joseph Alexander Carroll, surveyor, lawyer, judge, and Confederate officer, was born in Pike County, Missouri, on November 28, 1832, the son of Joseph and Isabella (Henry) Carroll. Carroll remained in Pike County throughout his youth and received a common education and worked as a clerk for Edward Draper & Brothers in the town of Louisiana. In September 1853 Carroll moved to Texas and settled in Denton County. For the next few years, he worked as a surveyor and read law in his spare time. In 1857 Carroll was admitted to the bar by Nathaniel M. Burford. After admission to the bar, Carroll continued surveying, laying out the town of Denton, as well as practiced law and served as commissioner on the county court. On March 28, 1858, he married Celia J. Burrows. This couple had three children.

When the Civil War began, Carroll enlisted on June 1, 1862, as a second lieutenant in Capt. Otis G. Welch's Company of Charles DeMorse's Regiment, Texas Cavalry. On June 20, 1862, Carroll's company was mustered into service in the Confederate Army and became Company E of the Twenty-ninth Texas Cavalry. This unit was part of D. H. Cooper's, Bankhead's, and Gano's Brigade of the Trans-Mississippi Department. As a result, Carroll saw action in the Indian Territory, Arkansas, and Louisiana. On November 27, 1862, Carroll was promoted to the rank of major. He served with the Twenty-Ninth for the remainder of the war and was discharged at Hempstead, Texas, when the Twenty-ninth disbanded in May of 1865.

Carroll returned home and worked briefly as a farmer before resuming his law practice. Following the death of his wife in 1869, he married Martha Inmon of Tennessee. In February 1876 Carroll was elected district judge of Denton County for a district that included Denton, Tarrant, Parker, Jack, Wise, Montague, Clay, and Cooke counties. He held this post until January 1881, when he declined reelection and went into business as a banker, organizing the Exchange National Bank. He served as president of this institution until his death on October 12, 1891. Carroll is the namesake of the Joseph A. Carroll Administration Building which stands today in Denton County.

Compiled Service Records of Confederate Soldiers Who Served in Organizations from the State of Texas, National Archives and Records Service, Washington. Joseph H. Crute, Jr., Units of the Confederate States Army (Midlothian, Virginia: Derwent, 1987). Edward Franklin Bates, History and Reminiscences of Denton County (Denton, Texas: McNitzky Printing, 1918; rpt., Denton: Terrill Wheeler Printing, 1976). William S. Speer and John H. Brown, eds., Encyclopedia of the New West (Marshall, Texas: United States Biographical Publishing, 1881; rpt., Easley, South Carolina: Southern Historical Press, 1978).

  • Law, Law Enforcement, and Outlaws
  • Politics and Government
  • Judges
  • Lawyers
  • General Law
  • Exploration
  • Surveyors and Cartographers
  • Military
  • Confederate Military
  • Regimental and Staff Officers
  • Soldiers
Time Periods:
  • Civil War
  • Antebellum Texas
  • Reconstruction
  • Late Nineteenth-Century Texas

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

Aragorn Storm Miller, “Carroll, Joseph Alexander,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed August 11, 2022,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

March 25, 2011
June 26, 2012

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