Bethel Coopwood, soldier, lawyer, judge, and historian, was born on May 1, 1827, in Lawrence County, Alabama. He moved to Texas in 1846 and fought in a cavalry regiment in the Mexican War. In 1854 he moved to California, where he was admitted to the bar. He returned to Texas and became recognized as an able lawyer and Spanish scholar in the lower Rio Grande valley. In 1859 he married Josephine Woodward; they eventually had fourteen children. Coopwood entered the Confederate Army as a captain in the cavalry and served until 1863. After the Civil War he spent a year in Coahuila. He contributed articles to and wrote book reviews for early issues of the Texas State Historical Association Quarterly, in which he published "Notes on the History of La Bahía del Espíritu Santo" in 1898–99 and "The Route of Cabeza de Vaca" in 1899–1900. Judge Coopwood died in Austin on December 26, 1907.