January, James Belvarde Pope (1811–1890)

By: Charles Spurlin

Type: Biography

Published: 1952

Updated: February 1, 1995

James Belvarde (Belvarid) Pope January, soldier and physician, son of Samuel and Elizabeth (Marshall) January, was born at Maysville, Kentucky, on May 27, 1811. The family name was originally spelled Janviere but was changed to January by J. B. P. January's grandfather, Peter January. J. B. P. January moved to Mississippi in 1834 after attending Transylvania University. He enlisted in the Red Rovers for service in Texas in December 1835 and left New Orleans on January 1, 1836, aboard the steamboat Brutus. When he arrived in Texas he was very ill and soon thereafter returned to New Orleans. He returned to Texas in April 1836 as a private in Capt. William Graham's company. January was made assistant surgeon in Col. Thomas J. Green's unit and, on July 4, 1836, became surgeon. While stationed at Camp Independence in 1837 he attended Albert Sidney Johnston, who had been severely wounded in a duel by Felix Huston. January became a recruiter at Velasco for the First Regiment, Infantry, and commanded Company F in the regiment during Col. Edward Burleson's northwestern campaign against the Comanches in 1839–40. He remained company commander until the spring of 1841, when the regular army was disbanded (see ARMY OF THE REPUBLIC OF TEXAS).

After leaving the army January moved to Jackson County. There, in the summer of 1841, he helped raise and commanded irregular troops from Victoria when fear of a Mexican invasion swept through the area. He represented Jackson County in the Eighth Congress of the republic (1843–44). January enlisted as a private in Samuel H. Walker's Texas Mounted Rifles not long after the United States Congress had declared war against Mexico (see MEXICAN WAR); he served until July 1846. Instead of returning to Jackson County after leaving the service, he settled in Victoria and soon earned a local reputation as a physician who treated the poor and rich alike. He was married twice, first to Mrs. Frances Ann Wright, on August 13, 1851, and second to Mary S. Wright, on January 28, 1863. He had three children by his first wife and three by his second wife.

In September 1861, after Texas seceded from the Union, January joined Capt. James E. Ferguson's Victoria Cavalry Company, Twenty-fourth Texas Brigade, as a private. The following year he helped form the Victoria cavalry company that became Company A, Thirteenth Texas Cavalry Battalion, commanded by Col. Edwin Waller, Jr. January was captured by Union soldiers at Bonnet Carre, Louisiana, on September 8, 1862, but was released soon thereafter. He returned to Victoria in 1863 and tendered his resignation as company commander, which was accepted in 1864. He resumed his medical practice in Victoria and remained an active physician until his death on April 10, 1890. He is buried in Evergreen Cemetery, Victoria.

Victor Marion Rose, History of Victoria (Laredo, 1883; rpt., Victoria, Texas: Book Mart, 1961). Texas House of Representatives, Biographical Directory of the Texan Conventions and Congresses, 1832–1845 (Austin: Book Exchange, 1941).
  • Health and Medicine
  • Physicians and Surgeons
  • General Practitioners
Time Periods:
  • Texas Revolution

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

Charles Spurlin, “January, James Belvarde Pope,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed June 27, 2022, https://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/entries/january-james-belvarde-pope.

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

February 1, 1995

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