Richard H. D. Sorrel (Sorrelle, Sorrell), a Wharton County planter of French ancestry, the son of Francis and Lucy Irland (Moxley) Sorrel, was born in Savannah, Georgia, on February 7, 1825. During his early life he was a successful planter in Georgia. In the 1850s he moved to Texas with his wife, Martha E. (Gordon), and there acquired extensive plantation holdings on Caney Creek in north central Wharton County, southeast of the site of present Glen Flora. The Sorrels had five children. In 1860 the plantation produced 7,000 bushels of corn and 300 bales of cotton; at one time it had 123 slaves and comprised 1,000 acres of land. During the Civil War Sorrel served the Confederacy as a colonel and helped to found the Wharton Rangers. After the war, in 1866, he returned to Bibb County, Georgia, where he was forced to declare bankruptcy in 1869. He came back to the family plantation in Wharton County in 1870 and died there in 1871. His widow ran the estate until 1882, when his son, Richard H. D. Sorrel II, who later became a Wharton County state legislator, took over. Under the younger Sorrel's direction the plantation flourished.
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Lewis E. Daniell, Personnel of the Texas State Government, with Sketches of Representative Men of Texas (Austin: City Printing, 1887; 3d ed., San Antonio: Maverick, 1892). Margaret Kennedy Donoghue, An Abstract of Biographical Data in the Texas Supreme Court Reports, 1874–1881 (M.A. thesis, University of Texas, 1938). Clarence R. Wharton, ed., Texas under Many Flags (5 vols., Chicago: American Historical Society, 1930). Annie Lee Williams, A History of Wharton County (Austin: Von Boeckmann-Jones, 1964).
The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.
Diana J. Kleiner,
“Sorrel, Richard Henry Douglass,”
Handbook of Texas Online,
accessed May 28, 2022,
Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
Original Publication Date:
July 1, 1995
Most Recent Revision Date:
October 18, 2013
This entry belongs to the following Handbook Special Projects: