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.