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ELGIN, JOHN EDWARD (1850–1938). John Edward (Jack) Elgin, surveyor and lawyer, was born in Austin on July 31, 1850, the son of John Edward and Mary Elizabeth (Mitchell) Elgin. He graduated from the engineering school of Waco University in 1871. He served as captain of the Waco Greys, a local militia unit that protected residents from Indians. He led a survey party from Coleman and Brownwood to the foot of Double Mountain in Stonewall County and also assisted in the survey of railroads from Brenham to Austin, from Bremond to Waco, and from Calvert to Dallas.

Elgin went to the University of Virginia to study law in 1876 and was admitted to the bar in 1882. In 1887 he bought the Waco Examiner and began an editorial campaign, particularly against prohibition. In 1888 he was a delegate to the Democratic convention in St. Louis, where he wrote the "heart of oak" plank in the party platform. He left the party as an independent at the time of the James Stephen Hogg-George Clarkqv campaign in 1892. On December 24, 1899, Elgin married Hedwig Schramm at Seguin. They lived at Rockport, where Elgin organized and promoted the first Intracoastal Canal Convention. He worked to secure federal aid for a deepwater port for Texas. He was also a member of the committee that consolidated Waco University with Baylor University in 1886 and served as secretary of the board of trustees of Baylor. In 1904 he moved to San Antonio and established a private practice. He was one of the first members of the Texas Bar Association and belonged to the Odd fellows and the Knights of Pythias. Elgin died in San Antonio on September 22, 1938, and was buried in Oakwood Cemetery, Austin.


Ellis A. Davis and Edwin H. Grobe, comps., The New Encyclopedia of Texas, 4-vol. ed. San Antonio Express, September 23, 24, 1938. Grace Miller White, "Captain John E. Elgin," Frontier Times, May 1944.


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

"ELGIN, JOHN EDWARD," Handbook of Texas Online (, accessed November 28, 2015. Uploaded on June 12, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.