Jeremiah Vardaman Cockrell, congressman and judge, son of Joseph and Nancy Cockrell, was born near Warrensburg, Johnson County, Missouri, on May 7, 1832. In 1848 he made a trip to New Mexico, and in 1849 he went overland to California, where he settled at McKinney's Ranch on the Bear River and for two years engaged in mining and merchandising. He returned to Missouri in 1852, married Maranda J. Douglass, and began farming. During the Civil War he served as a colonel in the Confederate Army and was wounded so seriously in 1864 that he was not able to engage in active service again. He took his family to Dallas, Texas, where they remained until the close of the war. He farmed in Grayson County until 1874, when he was admitted to the bar. Cockrell was a delegate to Democratic state conventions in 1878 and 1880. He moved to Jones County and in 1885 was appointed district judge of the Thirty-ninth District, a post he held until his election to Congress in 1893. He was elected as a Democrat to the Fifty-third and Fifty-fourth congresses. In 1896 he resumed farming and ranching in Jones County. He died at Abilene, Texas, on March 18, 1915, and was buried in the Masonic cemetery.
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Biographical Directory of the American Congress. 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).
The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.
Anne W. Hooker,
“Cockrell, Jeremiah Vardaman,”
Handbook of Texas Online,
accessed May 17, 2022,
Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
Original Publication Date:
Most Recent Revision Date:
December 1, 1994