Cave, Eber Worthington (1831–1904)

By: Linda S. Hudson

Type: Biography

Published: 1952

Updated: January 29, 2016

Eber Worthington Cave, editor, Texas secretary of state, and promoter of the Houston Ship Channel, was born on July 14, 1831, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He received his early education in Philadelphia and learned the printing trade in New Jersey before he moved to Nacogdoches in January 1853. He became foreman on the Nacogdoches Chronicle and purchased the newspaper in early 1854. He soon became one of the most influential editors in Texas and was the first Texas editor to mention James Buchanan as a Democratic presidential candidate in 1856.

Cave opposed international improvements by the state but also opposed the reopening of the African slave trade. He supported Sam Houston as candidate for governor in 1857 with an extra, the Campaign Chronicle, printed every Saturday during the campaign. When Houston ran for governor again in 1859, Cave revived the Campaign Chronicle and Houston was elected. Cave served as Texas secretary of state during the Houston administration. He resigned his office when Houston was deposed in 1861 and initially refused to support Texas efforts to join the Confederate States of America. Cave moved his family to Houston and when war came supported the Confederacy by organizing and preparing military companies for service in the defense of Texas.

After the war he formed a partnership with Edward Hopkins Cushing, editor of the Houston Telegraph (see TELEGRAPH AND TEXAS REGISTER), to engage in the book and stationery business in Houston. Cave sold his interest in the book business after a few years and from 1869 until 1874 was manager of the Houston Navigation Company, owned by Charles Morgan of New York. Cave made an intensive study of the possibility of a ship channel from Galveston to Houston. He was responsible for collecting information that would enable Houston to become a port, and he compiled additional information that led to the successful completion of the channel in later years. He was appointed treasurer of the Houston and Texas Central Railway, also owned by Morgan, in 1874; he remained associated with that company for twenty-five years. In 1877 he was made a director.

On April 15, 1857, Cave married Laura Sterne, daughter of Nacogdoches pioneer Adolphus Sterne. They had two daughters. Mrs. Cave died on August 26, 1872. Cave died on March 28, 1904, after falling from a streetcar several days before. He was buried in Glenwood Cemetery, Houston.

Biographical Files, Special Collections, Steen Library, Stephen F. Austin State University. William DeRyee and R. E. Moore, The Texas Album of the Eighth Legislature, 1860 (Austin: Miner, Lambert, and Perry, 1860). Douglas Ann Johnson, Press-stone to Politics: The Career of Eber Worthington Cave, Nineteenth-Century Texas Editor (M.Journ. thesis, University of Texas, 1956). Amelia W. Williams and Eugene C. Barker, eds., The Writings of Sam Houston, 1813–1863 (8 vols., Austin: University of Texas Press, 1938–43; rpt., Austin and New York: Pemberton Press, 1970).

  • Journalism
  • Newspapers
  • Editors and Reporters
Time Periods:
  • Antebellum Texas
  • Late Nineteenth-Century Texas
  • Progressive Era
  • Houston
  • Upper Gulf Coast
  • East Texas

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

Linda S. Hudson, “Cave, Eber Worthington,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed May 20, 2022,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

January 29, 2016

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