Short, Daniel McDowell (1819–1902)

By: Robert Bruce Blake

Type: Biography

Published: 1952

Updated: June 1, 1995

Daniel McDowell Short, attorney, legislator, and soldier, was born on December 14, 1819, in Smyrna, Delaware. He was reared by an uncle and clerked in a store for eight years before leaving for Texas in 1842. He studied law at Shelbyville with Oran M. Roberts, whose law partner he became after being admitted to the bar in 1845. Short was a lieutenant in the Twelfth United States Infantry under Zachary Taylor in the Mexican War. He was a member of the Eighth Legislature in 1859 and represented Shelby County in the Secession Convention in 1861. At the outbreak of the Civil War Short, an ardent secessionist, owned ten slaves and land valued at $5,000. He raised Company E of Col. Elkanah B. Greer's Third Texas Cavalry, C.S.A., and was elected its captain; he served in the Trans-Mississippi Department until spring 1862. Thereafter the company saw action at the battles of Iuka and Corinth, Mississippi, before becoming part of Lawrence Sullivan Ross's brigade, with which it engaged in heavy fighting in Tennessee and Georgia. In 1866 Short was elected a member of the Eleventh Legislature. Governor Roberts appointed him inspector of the prison system, a post he held from 1878 to 1886. On January 10, 1852, Short married Sarah Dickerson. After her death he married Ann Evaline Ballard, on July 11, 1855; they were the parents of three sons. Short had nine children with his third wife, Maggie M. (Casey), whom he married on September 9, 1862. In 1876 he moved from Shelbyville to Center, where he practiced law until his death on April 8, 1902.

William DeRyee and R. E. Moore, The Texas Album of the Eighth Legislature, 1860 (Austin: Miner, Lambert, and Perry, 1860). Douglas Hale, "The Third Texas Cavalry: A Socioeconomic Profile of a Confederate Regiment," Military History of the Southwest 19 (Spring 1989). 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]).
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The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.

Robert Bruce Blake, “Short, Daniel McDowell,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed May 29, 2022,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

June 1, 1995