Cocke, Thomas Robert (1816–1894)

By: Jennifer Eckel

Type: Biography

Published: April 30, 2008

Updated: November 19, 2014

Thomas R. Cocke, Texas legislator and physician, was born in Springfield, Washington County, Kentucky, on April 20, 1816, son of Stephen Jones and Harriet A. (Nance) Cocke. Thomas Cocke attended the University of Virginia from 1834 to 1837. Following graduation Cocke traveled to Philadelphia and attended medical lectures at the University of Pennsylvania; he received his medical degree during 1838. Cocke established his first practice in Big Lick, Virginia, and married Rebecca Bland there on June 12, 1839. In 1844 Cocke and his family moved to Hempstead County, Arkansas.

In September of 1845 Cocke, with a group of nine men, traveled to Victoria, Texas, to examine the town site for possible settlement. Impressed with what he saw Dr. Cocke moved his family to a plantation a few miles south of Victoria on June 10, 1846. Cocke was put in charge of the military hospital in Victoria which served soldiers en route to the Mexican War. He owned twenty slaves and his estate was valued at $15,000 in 1850. Cocke built a pine and oak home for his niece in Victoria in 1854; in 2008 it still stood and had a national historic site marker as the Callender House. Cocke served in the House of the Eighth Texas Legislature from March 18, 1861, to November 4, 1861. Following the Civil War Cocke was elected president of the Gulf Coast Fair Association, but resigned due to health concerns. From 1885 to 1890 Thomas R. Cocke served as postmaster for Victoria.

Cocke was an elder for the Presbyterian Church in Victoria and spent the final years of his life living "the quiet, unassuming life of a country gentleman" on his plantation, called Bellevue. Thomas and Rebecca Cocke had six children. Thomas R. Cocke died October 6, 1894, in Victoria.

Victor M. Rose, Some Historical Facts in Regard to the Settlement of Victoria, Texas; Its Progress and Present Status (Laredo, Texas: Daily Times Print, 1883).

  • Eighth Legislature (1859-1861)
  • House

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

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

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

April 30, 2008
November 19, 2014