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De Cordova, Phineas (1819–1903)

Carolyn Hyman Biography Entry

Phineas De Cordova, early Austin newspaperman and land agent, was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on March 28, 1819, the son of Raphael and Leah De Cordova. He went to Jamaica as a young man and engaged in business. He married a Miss Delgado in 1847 and moved to Texas later that year, first to Galveston and Houston, then in 1848 to Austin to work with his half-brother, Jacob De Cordova, on the Texas Herald. He also edited an Austin weekly called the Southwestern American for a time. In the 1850s he established a general land and agency business, which he operated with his son until poor health forced his retirement in the 1890s. De Cordova was a member of the Odd Fellows and of Temple Beth Israel of Austin. He died in Austin on May 8, 1903, and was buried in the Jewish section of Oakwood Cemetery. He was survived by one of his two children.

Austin Statesman, May 9, 1903. Frank Brown, Annals of Travis County and the City of Austin (MS, Frank Brown Papers, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, University of Texas at Austin). James M. Day, Jacob de Cordova: Land Merchant of Texas (Waco: Heritage Society of Waco, 1962). Natalie Ornish, Pioneer Jewish Texans (Dallas: Texas Heritage, 1989).


  • Journalism
  • Newspapers
  • Editors and Reporters
  • Peoples
  • Jews

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

Carolyn Hyman, “De Cordova, Phineas,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed May 11, 2021,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

August 1, 1995