Garrett, Christopher Columbus (1846–1905)

By: James L. Hailey

Type: Biography

Published: 1952

Updated: January 1, 1995

Christopher Columbus Garrett, attorney and judge, son of Oliver Hazard Perry and Nancy (Garrett) Garrett, was born on February 3, 1846, in Chappell Hill, Texas. He attended Baylor University when it was in Independence and then Soule University in Chappell Hill. He served two years in the Confederate Army as a coastal guard at Galveston but did not see any combat. After the war Garrett attended Washington College (now Washington and Lee University) in Virginia. He graduated in 1869, returned to Brenham, and taught school before he was admitted to the bar in 1871. He practiced law at Brenham until he was elected judge of the Twenty-first Judicial District in 1888; the district comprised Washington, Burleson, and Lee counties. Garrett assisted in the beginning of graded schools in Brenham. He was elevated to the Commission of Appeals in 1890, and when the legislature established the Court of Civil Appeals he became its first chief justice, at Galveston, in 1891. He was subsequently reelected to that office until his death.

Garrett married Dora Rial of Washington County on September 27, 1870, and nine children were born to their union. Garrett, a strong advocate of public education, served on the board of directors of Texas A&M University. He was appointed to the position by Governor John Ireland and elevated to the presidency of that board in 1887 by Governor Lawrence Sullivan Ross. He died on September 15, 1905.

Frank W. Johnson, A History of Texas and Texans (5 vols., ed. E. C. Barker and E. W. Winkler [Chicago and New York: American Historical Society, 1914; rpt. 1916]). Vertical Files, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, University of Texas at Austin.
  • Education
  • Activism and Social Reform
  • Advocates
  • Board Members
  • Law, Law Enforcement, and Outlaws
  • Politics and Government
  • Judges

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

James L. Hailey, “Garrett, Christopher Columbus,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed June 28, 2022,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

January 1, 1995