Weatherford, Thomas Jefferson (1811–1867)

By: Cecil Harper, Jr.

Revised by: Randolph B. "Mike" Campbell

Type: Biography

Published: 1952

Updated: September 24, 2019

Thomas Jefferson Weatherford, state senator, was born in Bedford, Tennessee, on December 29, 1811, the son of John M. and Frances (Spraggins) Weatherford. His full name was Thomas Jefferson Weatherford, but he was always known by his middle name. As a young man he migrated to Macoupin County, Illinois, where he later served as second lieutenant of Capt. John Harris’ company during the Black Hawk War. In 1846 Weatherford moved to Texas, settling just east of Wilmer in Dallas County, where he farmed and operated a saw mill. Weatherford had very little formal education, but he soon won recognition as one of the county's political leaders. He served in the state senate in 1853-1857. In 1856, when Parker County was organized from territory lying within his Senate district, its county seat was named Weatherford in his honor. Following the election of Abraham Lincoln in November 1860, Weatherford was an ardent advocate of secession and played a prominent role in the drive to whip up enthusiasm for that course in North Texas. He was again elected to the state Senate in 1861 and 1863. Weatherford was married three times. His first wife was named Milberry, but her surname remains unknown. His second wife was Mary Stadden, whom he married in Macoupin County, Illinois. She died in Dallas County in 1851. His third wife was Sarah Martin Neely. He was the father of twelve children. Weatherford died and was buried at the family homestead near Wilmer in Dallas County in 1867.

A History of Greater Dallas and Vicinity, Vol. 1, by Philip Lindsley; Vol. 2, Selected Biography and Memoirs, ed. L. B. Hill (Chicago: Lewis, 1909). Members of the Texas Legislature, 1846–1962 (Austin, 1962). Florence Booster Warren, History of Wilmer 1883-1983 (n.p., n.d., 1983).

  • Politics and Government
  • Government Officials
  • Senate
  • State Legislators
  • Fifth Legislature (1853-1854)
  • Ninth Legislature (1861-1863)
  • Sixth Legislature (1855-1856)
Time Periods:
  • Antebellum Texas
  • Civil War
  • Dallas/Fort Worth Region
  • North Texas

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

Cecil Harper, Jr. Revised by Randolph B. "Mike" Campbell, “Weatherford, Thomas Jefferson,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed June 29, 2022,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

September 24, 2019

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