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

Support Texas History Now

Join TSHA to support quality Texas history programs and receive exclusive benefits.

Become a TSHA Member Today »

Flanagan, David Webster (1832–1924)

Myrtis Watkins Biography Entry

David Webster Flanagan, Republican leader, was born in Cloverport, Breckinridge County, Kentucky, on January 9, 1832, the son of Polly (Miller) and James Winwright Flanagan. When he was eleven the family moved to Henderson, Texas. Flanagan attended local private schools and Henderson College and read law in the office of his father. Though the Flanagans, father and son, were opposed to secession, David served in the Confederate Army. During Reconstruction both Flanagans took a prominent part in Texas politics as members of the moderate wing of the Republican party. David Flanagan was a Texas senator and member of the Constitutional Convention of 1875. He served as collector of internal revenue from 1897 to 1913 and was a prominent figure in Republican national conventions for many decades. He also took an active part in the civic affairs of his hometown and helped to promote the building of the Henderson and Overton Branch Railroad, of which he was president. His love of fine cattle and horses led to great improvement in livestock breeding in Rusk County. Flanagan was twice married, first to Elizabeth Graham, who died in 1872, and later to Sallie Ware. He died at Henderson on May 5, 1924, and was buried in the nearby family cemetery.

Dictionary of American Biography. Seth Shepard McKay, Making the Texas Constitution of 1876 (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania, 1924).

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

Myrtis Watkins, “Flanagan, David Webster,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed October 28, 2020,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.