The Handbook of Texas is free-to-use thanks to the support of readers like you. Support the Handbook today.

Font size: A / A reset

Cook, Gustave (1835–1897)


Gustave Cook (Cooke), lawyer and judge, son of Nathaniel and Harriet Anthony (Herbert) Cook, was born in Lowndes County, Alabama, on July 3, 1835. After traveling to Texas alone in 1850, he found work as a clerk in a drugstore. During this time he educated himself and began to study law. Judge John B. Jones later directed his studies, and in 1855 Cook was admitted to the bar. On July 13, 1853, he married Eliza Jones; they had four children. Cook was clerk of the district court of Fort Bend County and from 1856 to 1858 served as county judge. He favored secession. In 1861 he enlisted as a private in the Eighth Confederate Cavalry, Terry's Texas Rangers. He served for the duration of the war and saw action in numerous engagements, including Shiloh, Murfreesboro, and Chickamauga. He received six or seven wounds during the war and reached the rank of colonel.

Cook moved to Houston in 1870 to practice law and was elected to the Thirteenth Legislature in 1872. He was appointed judge of the criminal court for the district comprising Galveston and Harris counties in 1874 and held the position until he resigned on October 1, 1888. He was a delegate from Texas to the Philadelphia Peace Convention in 1866 and a delegate in 1876 to the Democratic state convention at Galveston, where he opposed endorsing the constitution submitted to the legislature. In 1887, as an antiprohibitionist, he canvassed a great portion of the state, and in 1888 he helped to campaign for the reelection of Roger Q. Mills to Congress. In 1890 Cook ran in the convention for the Democratic nomination for governor but was defeated by James S. Hogg. In 1892 he moved to San Marcos for his health. He died there in 1897.

Lewis E. Daniell, Types of Successful Men in Texas (Austin: Von Boeckmann, 1890). Norman Kittrell, Governors Who Have Been and Other Public Men of Texas (Houston: Dealy-Adey-Elgin, 1921). Memorial and Genealogical Record of Southwest Texas (Chicago: Goodspeed, 1894; rpt., Easley, South Carolina: Southern Historical Press, 1978). Rupert N. Richardson, Texas: The Lone Star State (New York: Prentice-Hall, 1943; 4th ed., with Ernest Wallace and Adrian N. Anderson, Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey: Prentice-Hall, 1981). 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).


  • Law, Law Enforcement, and Outlaws
  • Lawyers
  • General Law
  • Thirteenth Legislature (1873)
  • House

Time Periods:

  • Antebellum Texas
  • Reconstruction
  • Late Nineteenth-Century Texas


  • Houston

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

Anonymous, “Cook, Gustave,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed September 25, 2020,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

All copyrighted materials included within the Handbook of Texas Online are in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107 related to Copyright and “Fair Use” for Non-Profit educational institutions, which permits the Texas State Historical Association (TSHA), to utilize copyrighted materials to further scholarship, education, and inform the public. The TSHA makes every effort to conform to the principles of fair use and to comply with copyright law.

For more information go to:

If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond fair use, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

This entry belongs to the following Handbook Special Projects: