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.