While our physical offices are closed until further notice in accordance with Austin's COVID-19 "stay home-work safe" order, the Handbook of Texas will remain available at no-cost for you, your fellow history enthusiasts, and all Texas students currently mandated to study from home. If you have the capacity to help us maintain our online Texas history resources during these uncertain times, please consider making a 100% tax-deductible contribution today. Thank you for your support of TSHA and Texas history. Donate Today »


Gustave Cook
Photograph, Portrait of Gustave Cook (Cooke). Courtesy of Ancestry. Image available on the Internet and included in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107.

COOK, GUSTAVE (1835–1897). Gustave Cook (Cooke), lawyer and judge, son of Nathaniel and Harriet Anthony (Herbert) Cook, was born in Lowndes County, Alabama, on July 3, 1835. After traveling to Texas alone in 1850, he found work as a clerk in a drugstore. During this time he educated himself and began to study law. Judge John B. Jones later directed his studies, and in 1855 Cook was admitted to the bar. On July 13, 1853, he married Eliza Jones; they had four children. Cook was clerk of the district court of Fort Bend County and from 1856 to 1858 served as county judge. He favored secession. In 1861 he enlisted as a private in the Eighth Confederate Cavalry, Terry's Texas Rangers. He served for the duration of the war and saw action in numerous engagements, including Shiloh, Murfreesboro, and Chickamauga. He received six or seven wounds during the war and reached the rank of colonel.

Cook moved to Houston in 1870 to practice law and was elected to the Thirteenth Legislature in 1872. He was appointed judge of the criminal court for the district comprising Galveston and Harris counties in 1874 and held the position until he resigned on October 1, 1888. He was a delegate from Texas to the Philadelphia Peace Convention in 1866 and a delegate in 1876 to the Democratic state convention at Galveston, where he opposed endorsing the constitution submitted to the legislature. In 1887, as an antiprohibitionist, he canvassed a great portion of the state, and in 1888 he helped to campaign for the reelection of Roger Q. Mills to Congress. In 1890 Cook ran in the convention for the Democratic nomination for governor but was defeated by James S. Hogg. In 1892 he moved to San Marcos for his health. He died there in 1897.


Lewis E. Daniell, Types of Successful Men in Texas (Austin: Von Boeckmann, 1890). Norman Kittrell, Governors Who Have Been and Other Public Men of Texas (Houston: Dealy-Adey-Elgin, 1921). Memorial and Genealogical Record of Southwest Texas (Chicago: Goodspeed, 1894; rpt., Easley, South Carolina: Southern Historical Press, 1978). Rupert N. Richardson, Texas: The Lone Star State (New York: Prentice-Hall, 1943; 4th ed., with Ernest Wallace and Adrian N. Anderson, Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey: Prentice-Hall, 1981). William S. Speer and John H. Brown, eds., Encyclopedia of the New West (Marshall, Texas: United States Biographical Publishing, 1881; rpt., Easley, South Carolina: Southern Historical Press, 1978).

Image Use Disclaimer

All copyrighted materials included within the Handbook of Texas Online are in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107 related to Copyright and “Fair Use” for Non-Profit educational institutions, which permits the Texas State Historical Association (TSHA), to utilize copyrighted materials to further scholarship, education, and inform the public. The TSHA makes every effort to conform to the principles of fair use and to comply with copyright law.

For more information go to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml

If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond fair use, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.


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

Handbook of Texas Online, "COOK, GUSTAVE," accessed July 12, 2020, http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/fco51.

Uploaded on June 12, 2010. Modified on November 21, 2016. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
visit the mytsha forums to participate

View these posts and more when you register your free MyTSHA account.

Call for Papers: Texas Center for Working-Class Studies Events, Symposia, and Workshops
Hi all! You may be interested in this call for papers I received from the Texas Center for Working-Class Studies at Collin College...

Katy Jennings' Ride Scholarly Research Request
I'm doing research on Catherine Jennings Lockwood, specifically the incident known as "Katy Jennings' Ride." Her father was Gordon C. Jennings, the oldest man to die at the Alamo...

Texas Constitution of 1836 Co-Author- Elisha Pease? Ask a Historian
The TSHA profile of Elisha Marshall Pease states that he wrote part of the Texas Constitution although he was only a 24 year-old assistant secretary (not elected). I cannot find any other mention of this authorship work by Pease in other credible research about the credited Constution authors...