Chenoweth, James Q. (1841–1909)

By: David Minor

Type: Biography

Published: 1952

Updated: December 1, 1994

James Q. Chenoweth, lawyer, judge, and auditor of the United States Treasury, was born in Louisville, Kentucky, in 1841. He was raised in Harrison County, Kentucky, by his grandparents and attended the local public schools. He then studied law at the offices of Elmore, Keys, and Gunter in Montgomery, Alabama. The Civil War interrupted his studies, and he served in the Confederate Army for four years. After being discharged as a colonel he returned to his studies and in 1865 was admitted to the bar before being elected a senator in the Kentucky legislature. After his wife's death he resigned from the Kentucky Senate in 1872 and left for Texas. He moved to Bonham, where his legal and political skills led to his appointment by Governor Richard Coke as special district judge of the criminal courts of Fannin, Lamar, and Red River counties. Two years later Chenoweth served the first of two consecutive terms in the Texas legislature. In 1885 President Grover Cleveland appointed him auditor of the United States Treasury.

After Cleveland was defeated in 1888, Chenoweth returned to Texas. In 1892 he waged his first successful campaign for the position of Fannin county judge. After three terms, he worked as publisher of the Bonham Daily Favorite before accepting appointment as superintendent of the Confederate Home for Men (see TEXAS CONFEDERATE HOME) at Austin in 1903. Illness forced him to resign from this position. He spent the last year of his life in Virginia, where the Elks provided a home for him. He died there on June 20, 1909.

W. A. Carter, History of Fannin County, Texas (Bonham, Texas: Bonham News, 1885; rpt., Honey Grove, Texas: Fannin County Historical Society, 1975). Fannin County Folks and Facts (Dallas: Taylor, 1977). Floy Crandall Hodge, A History of Fannin County (Hereford, Texas: Pioneer, 1966).
  • Law, Law Enforcement, and Outlaws
  • Politics and Government
  • Judges
  • Lawyers
  • General Law
Time Periods:
  • Civil War

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

David Minor, “Chenoweth, James Q.,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed May 17, 2022,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

December 1, 1994

This entry belongs to the following Handbook Special Projects: