Ragan, Cooper Kirby (1905–1986)

By: Diana J. Kleiner

Type: Biography

Published: June 1, 1995

Updated: June 29, 2017

Cooper Kirby Ragan, lawyer and historian, the son of Daniel Jones and Leila (Lee) Ragan, was born in Newton, Texas, on June 15, 1905. He received a bachelor of arts degree from the University of Texas in 1925 and an LL.B. in 1928. He was admitted to the Texas bar in 1928 and worked as an attorney with Huggins, Kayser, and Liddell in Houston for a year. He was then general counsel and director of Kirby Petroleum Company in Houston from 1930 to 1956. Ragan married Susan Menefee Wilson on June 6, 1945. After 1964 he was a partner in the firm of Ragan, Russell, and Rorschach and a director of the Edson Petroleum Company and the Pritchard Rice Mills Company. During World War II he served as a lieutenant commander in charge of LST-462, Seventh Amphibious Force, in the South Pacific. He was chairman of the Texas Civil War Committee from 1959 to 1963 and secretary-treasurer of the Jefferson Davis Association. Ragan became a member of the Texas State Historical Association in 1946 and served as president from 1970 to 1971. He was an avid collector of Texana. He was a thirty-second-degree Mason, president of the Houston Civil War Round Table, and a member of the Philosophical Society of Texas, Sons of the American Revolution, Sons of Confederate Veterans, Phi Delta Phi, and the American Law Institute. Ragan authored numerous articles in professional journals, along with two books, Josephus Somerville Irvine, 1819–1876: The Worthy Citizen (1963) and Massachusetts Bay and the Lone Star State: Shall the Twain Never Meet? (1971). He died on December 30, 1986.

Houston Post, January 1, 1987. Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Clippings, October 1987. Who's Who in America, 1978–79.


  • Law, Law Enforcement, and Outlaws
  • Lawyers
  • Oil and Gas and Natural Resources Law

Time Periods:

  • Great Depression
  • World War II
  • Texas Post World War II


  • Houston
  • Upper Gulf Coast
  • East Texas

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

Diana J. Kleiner, “Ragan, Cooper Kirby,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed October 25, 2021, https://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/entries/ragan-cooper-kirby.

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

June 1, 1995
June 29, 2017

This entry belongs to the following Handbook Special Projects: