Jeremiah V. Cockrell

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Jeremiah Vardaman Cockrell, also known as Vard Cockrell, (May 7, 1832 – March 18, 1915) was a U.S. Representative from Texas, after having served as a field commander in the Confederate States Army during the American Civil War. He was a prominent member of the famed South–Cockrell–Hargis family of Southern politicians.

Early life[edit]

Cockrell was born near Warrensburg, Missouri, to Joseph Cockrell (the sheriff of Johnson County) and Nancy (Ellis) Cockrell, who had emigrated there from the Upper South. He attended the common schools and Chapel Hill College in Lafayette County, Missouri. He was the older brother of Francis Marion Cockrell, who also served as a Confederate officer and later as a US Senator from Missouri.

As a young man, Cockrell went to California in 1849 during the Gold Rush, where he was a miner and a merchant near the Bear River. Cockrell returned to Missouri in 1853, where he engaged in agricultural pursuits, studied law, and, for a time, was a minister in the Methodist Church.

Marriage and family[edit]

On April 7, 1852, he married Maranda "Jane" Douglas. They had five children together.

Civil War[edit]

Cockrell entered the Missouri State Guard and Confederate States Army as a lieutenant and served throughout the Civil War, in which he attained the rank of colonel. He was nominally in command at the 1862 Battle of Lone Jack, Missouri. He was wounded so severely in 1864 that he could not return to field duty.

Post-war and politics[edit]

At the close of the war, Cockrell settled with his family in Sherman, Texas, where he practiced law. He became Chief Justice of Grayson County, Texas, in 1872. He served as delegate to the Democratic state conventions in 1878 and 1880.

He and his family moved from the northern area to Jones County, in the center of Texas. There he was appointed judge of the Thirty-ninth judicial district court in 1885. He was elected to the position in 1886 and re-elected in 1890.

In 1893 Cockrell was elected as a Democrat to the US Congress, where he served until 1897. He was not a candidate for renomination in 1896. He returned to engage in farming and stock raising in Jones County.

Cockrell died in Abilene, Texas, on March 18, 1915 at the age of 82. He was interred in the Masonic Cemetery. His son, Joseph E. Cockrell, founded the Southern Methodist University School of Law.

References[edit]