James Cochran, pioneer merchant, farmer, and public official, was born in New Hampshire and taught school in various sections of the South before 1825, when he moved to Texas. He settled in San Felipe, where he became a successful merchant. At the approach of the Texas Revolution he sold supplies to the Texas army. In October 1835, for example, the General Council received $100 credit from Cochran with which to forward arms, ammunition, and other necessities to the army. Not long thereafter his store was burned in advance of the arrival of Antonio López de Santa Anna's Mexican forces. In service with the Texas army, Cochran was detailed to assist in the evacuation of settlers during the battle of San Jacinto in April 1836. In 1837 he took up residence on a large tract of land at the mouth of Caney Creek on the west bank of the Brazos River, in what is now northeast Austin County. There he prospered in farming and stock raising and established the first mill and cotton gin in that part of the state. The county tax roll of 1838 listed Cochran as the owner of 15,468 acres of land, forty-four cattle, three horses, and ten slaves, an estate valued at more than $20,000. He represented Austin County in the House of the Fourth Congress of the republic, 1839–40, where he served on a committee to erect a monument to Benjamin R. Milam. Cochran died in 1847 and was survived by his wife and five children.