Pinckney, John M. (1845–1905)

Type: Biography

Published: 1952

Updated: April 28, 2019

John McPherson Pinckney, United States congressman, the son of Carolene (Finney) and Thomas Shubrick Pinckney, was born on May 4, 1845, near Fields Store in what was then Grimes County but is now Waller County. When the Civil War began in 1861, he enlisted in the Confederate Army. As a member of Company G, Fourth Regiment of Texas Infantry, Hood's Texas Brigade, Pinckney fought at the battles of Eltham's Landing, Gaines' Mill, Second Manassas, Antietam, Wilderness, Chickamauga, and Gettysburg and was present at the Confederate surrender at Appomattox in 1865. Pinckney joined the Confederates as a private and left the army as a lieutenant.

After the war he returned to Fields Store and worked as a cotton weigher and justice of the peace while he studied law. After admission to the bar in 1875, Pinckney moved to the county seat, Hempstead, where he was district attorney for the Twenty-third Judicial District of Texas from 1890 until 1900. From 1900 to 1903 he served as Waller county judge. He won election to the United States House of Representatives as a Democrat in 1903 and filled a seat vacated by Thomas H. Ball. Pinckney represented the First Congressional District of Texas in the Fifty-eighth and Fifty-ninth congresses. He was a prohibitionist. On April 24, 1905, he died from gunshot wounds received while attempting to stop a fight at the Waller County Courthouse, where he and members of the Prohibition League were considering a petition calling for the Texas Rangers to enforce a recently enacted prohibition law. Pinckney, who was unarmed, his brother Thomas D., and two other men died. His accused murderer, Roland Brown, was acquitted. Pinckney, a bachelor, was survived by his sister, Susanna S. Pinckney, and a brother, Robert Pinckney. After a funeral conducted by a Baptist minister and members of the Masonic lodge, Pinckney was buried in the Hempstead City Cemetery. As a result of the publicity surrounding his death, the town of Hempstead became known as "Six-Shooter Junction."

Biographical Directory of the American Congress. C. L. Sonnichsen, Ten Texas Feuds (Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 1957; rpt. 1971). Vertical Files, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, University of Texas at Austin.

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

Anonymous, “Pinckney, John M.,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed June 30, 2022,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

April 28, 2019