Van Ness, Cornelius (1803–1842)

Type: Biography

Published: 1952

Updated: February 2, 2019

Cornelius Van Ness, lawyer and legislator, son of Governor Cornelius P. Van Ness, was born at Burlington, Vermont, in 1803. He served as secretary of legation under his father, who was minister to Spain from 1829 to 1837. Young Van Ness returned to the United States in 1836 and after a few months in Washington and New York began to practice law in San Antonio, Texas, in March 1837. His brother, George Van Ness, joined him in San Antonio in 1838. In December 1837 Cornelius Van Ness was appointed district attorney of the Fourth Judicial District. He represented Bexar County in the Third, Fourth, Fifth, and Sixth congresses of the republic, 1838–42. He died in San Antonio on May 2, 1842, from a wound inflicted by an accidental gunshot.

Telegraph and Texas Register, March 16, May 18, 1842. Texas House of Representatives, Biographical Directory of the Texan Conventions and Congresses, 1832–1845 (Austin: Book Exchange, 1941). Amelia W. Williams and Eugene C. Barker, eds., The Writings of Sam Houston, 1813–1863 (8 vols., Austin: University of Texas Press, 1938–43; rpt., Austin and New York: Pemberton Press, 1970).

  • Law, Law Enforcement, and Outlaws
  • Lawyers
  • General Law
  • Politics and Government
  • Government Officials
  • Republic of Texas Congressmen
  • Fifth Congress (1840-1841)
  • Fourth Congress (1839-1840)
  • Sixth Congress House (1841-1842)
  • Third Congress (1838-1839)

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

Anonymous, “Van Ness, Cornelius,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed May 23, 2022,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

February 2, 2019