McCord, James Ebenezer (1834–1914)

By: David Paul Smith

Type: Biography

Published: 1952

Updated: February 25, 2011

James Ebenezer McCord, member of the Texas Rangers and the last commander of the Frontier Regiment, was born in the Abbeyville District of South Carolina on July 4, 1834, to William Pressly and Lucinda (Miller) McCord. In 1853 the family moved to Henderson, Texas, in Rusk County, where McCord learned the surveying business. Three years later he led a surveying party to locate a new chain of counties on the western fringe of the Texas frontier. In January 1860 the Texas legislature passed a frontier protection bill that called for a regiment of rangers to patrol the frontier from the Red River to the Rio Grande. McCord served as first lieutenant in the company of Capt. Edward Burleson, Jr. He remained in that capacity until he was mustered out in September, whereupon he reenlisted in the command of William C. Dalrymple, in charge of all ranger forces on the northwestern frontier of the state.

In the early months of the Civil War McCord worked as a supply officer and purchasing agent for the state. When the legislature established the Frontier Regiment on December 21, 1861, McCord became one of the ranking officers. On January 29, 1862, Governor Francis Richard Lubbock appointed McCord major of the regiment; Col. James M. Norris was commander. Discipline problems in the regiment throughout the summer and fall centered on the unpopularity of Colonel Norris. When the state reorganized the regiment in the winter of 1862–63 in hopes that it would be accepted into Confederate service, McCord was elected colonel.

McCord abandoned the passive patrol system begun by Norris and instituted a series of aggressive actions against the Indian raiding parties. With McCord in command the Frontier Regiment saw its greatest success during the summer and fall of 1863. To abrogate the expense of maintaining the regiment, the state transferred it to the Confederacy, effective in March 1864. McCord removed the six southern companies of the regiment from the frontier in May 1864 and remained in command of the detachment for the rest of the war in posts near the coast. After the war he returned to Rusk County and worked on his family's farm. In 1867 he moved to Prairie Lea in Caldwell County, where he married Sarah Elizabeth Mooney on January 30, 1868. On March 17, 1876, McCord moved to his ranch at Home Creek near the site of present Coleman. There he engaged chiefly in the real estate business. In 1892 he established the Coleman National Bank and became its first president. He died in Coleman on December 23, 1914.

Coleman County Historical Commission, History of Coleman County and Its People (2 vols., San Angelo: Anchor, 1985). William Curry Holden, "Frontier Defense in Texas during the Civil War," West Texas Historical Association Year Book 4 (1928). Michael Reagan Thomasson, James E. McCord and the Texas Frontier Regiment (M.A. thesis, Stephen F. Austin State University, 1965).

Time Periods:
  • Civil War

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

David Paul Smith, “McCord, James Ebenezer,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed June 28, 2022,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

February 25, 2011

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