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Yoakum, Charles Henderson (1849–1909)

Brian Hart Biography Entry

Charles Henderson Yoakum, attorney, state legislator, and United States Congressman, son of Narcissus (Teague) and Franklin L. Yoakum, was born near Tehuacana, Texas, on July 10, 1849. His father, a physician, educator, and Presbyterian minister, was the brother Henderson King Yoakum, attorney and friend of Sam Houston, and author of a two-volume history of Texas published in 1855. Charles Yoakum was educated at Larissa College, Larissa, Texas, which his father served as president, and at Cumberland College. Upon completion of his education, Yoakum became a schoolteacher. He studied law in his spare time, was admitted to the bar, and began a practice at Emory, in Rains County, in 1874. Two years later he was elected county attorney, a position that he held for several years. Yoakum moved to Greenville, the county seat of Hunt County, in 1883 and established a law practice. Three years later he was elected district attorney of the Eighth Judicial District and remained in this position until 1890. His experience in public office no doubt aided in his election to the Texas Senate in 1892. Four years later Yoakum won election, as a Democrat, to the House of Representatives of the Fifty-fourth Congress. He declined a reelection attempt in 1898 due to ill health and in that year, seeking a healthier climate, moved his law practice to Los Angeles, California. He met with continued success in business and legal affairs in California. In 1904, having received an appointment as general attorney for the Frisco Rail system in Texas-a system made up of the Fort Worth and Rio Grande, St. Louis, San Francisco and Texas, and Paris and Great Northern lines-of which his brother, Benjamin F. Yoakum, was chairman, Charles Yoakum returned to Texas. He settled in Fort Worth, headquarters of the Frisco lines in Texas. Yoakum died of a heart attack at his home on January 1, 1909. He was a lifelong Democrat, a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South, and the Masonic, Odd Fellows, and Grand fraternities. Charles H. Yoakum was buried in his family's plot at Myrtle Cemetery in Ennis, Texas.

Dallas Morning News, January 2, 1909. Fort Worth Record, January 2, 1909.


  • Law, Law Enforcement, and Outlaws
  • Lawyers
  • General Law

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

Brian Hart, “Yoakum, Charles Henderson,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed November 26, 2020,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.