Dougherty, Edward (1819–1877)

By: J. L. Bryan and Laurie E. Jasinski

Type: Biography

Published: December 1, 1994

Updated: April 23, 2020

Edward Dougherty, attorney and legislator, was born in County Caven, Ireland, on June 9, 1819. He immigrated to the United States in 1820 with his parents, James and Ann (Sheridan) Dougherty, and they settled in New York City, where Dougherty was raised. He traveled to Texas in July 1846 as a soldier in David Emanuel Twiggs's Second United States Dragoons during the Mexican War and participated in the first battles of that conflict at Palo Alto and Resaca de la Palma. After his discharge he settled at the newly established town of Brownsville. Dougherty married Marcela García on November 13, 1847, and they were the parents of seven children.

Dougherty founded the trading town of Rudyville near Relampago in Hidalgo County about 1850. He acted as United States deputy collector at Rudyville in the 1850s. On November 29, 1852, he was admitted to the bar at Brownsville. He served as justice of the peace and county judge in the early days of Cameron County. In 1856 he was elected district attorney of the Twelfth Judicial District and held that office until 1863, being removed when the Union forces captured Brownsville during the Civil War. Dougherty also served one term in the House of the Eighth Texas Legislature, having been elected without opposition in August 1859. He served on a number of committees and chaired the Stock and Stock Raising Committee. He represented Hidalgo County in the Texas Secession Convention of 1861. On February 25, 1874, Dougherty was appointed commissioner for the extradition treaty between the United States and Mexico. He was a judge in two judicial districts: the twenty-fifth district at Laredo in 1874 and the fifteenth district at Brownsville in 1877. He died in Brownsville on May 25, 1877. According to Hidalgo County Historical Commission information, he was originally buried in the Rudyville Cemetery, but after a flood there in 1909, Dougherty and his wife were reinterred in Zacatal Ranch Cemetery, located about a mile north.

“Edward Dougherty,” Find A Grave Memorial (, accessed April 29, 2020. Legislative Reference Library of Texas: Edward Dougherty (, accessed April 29, 2020. William DeRyee and R. E. Moore, The Texas Album of the Eighth Legislature, 1860 (Austin: Miner, Lambert, and Perry, 1860). Valley By-Liners, Roots by the River: A Story of Texas Tropical Borderland (Mission, Texas: Border Kingdom Press, 1978).

  • Law, Law Enforcement, and Outlaws
  • Politics and Government
  • Judges
  • Lawyers
  • Criminal Law and District Attorneys
  • Peoples
  • Irish
  • Eighth Legislature (1859-1861)
  • House
Time Periods:
  • Antebellum Texas
  • Reconstruction

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

J. L. Bryan and Laurie E. Jasinski, “Dougherty, Edward,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed August 09, 2022,

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December 1, 1994
April 23, 2020