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COLE, JAMES POPE (1814–1886). James Pope Cole, early settler of Galveston and chief justice of Galveston County, son of John and Susan Jane (Pope) Cole, was born on January 31, 1814, in Beaufort District, South Carolina. He graduated from South Carolina College (now the University of South Carolina) in 1832 with an A.B. degree. He taught school for three years near his home and pursued his legal studies under Robert W. Barnwell, then a member of Congress and afterward president of South Carolina College. Cole arrived in Galveston in 1839 and began a law practice. He served in 1842 in the Texas militia as a member of the Galveston Fusilier Company of the Fourth Militia Regiment. He rose to the rank of captain and served as judge advocate for the regiment. In 1854 he replaced his friend Gail Borden, Jr., as secretary and agent of the Galveston City Company, which owned the site of Galveston. Cole was probate judge and served as city recorder for two years. He was sworn in as a county commissioner on August 16, 1856, and served as chief justice for the county commissioners' court from the August term of 1858 until July 18, 1864. As chief justice, he administered funds to the poor of Galveston County. He was an ardent secessionist and chaired a Committee of Public Safety constituted to popularize secession. Cole was a devout Baptist and a states'-rights Democrat. He was married on June 29, 1843, to Mary Jane Graham, daughter of a Scottish clergyman, James Graham, of Beaufort, South Carolina. Five of the couple's twelve children died as infants. Cole died on February 16, 1886, in Galveston.

Biographical Encyclopedia of Texas (New York: Southern, 1880). Mary Edith Cole Papers, Texas Collection, Baylor University. Milton Harsteen Cole Papers, Texas Collection, Baylor University. Charles Waldo Hayes, Galveston: History of the Island and the City (2 vols., Austin: Jenkins Garrett, 1974). Mary Cole Farrow Long, Stranger in a Strange Land: A Biography of Judge James Pope Cole, 1814–1886 (Belton, Texas: Bear Hollow, 1986).
Mary Cole Farrow Long

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Handbook of Texas Online, Mary Cole Farrow Long, "Cole, James Pope," accessed November 25, 2017,

Uploaded on June 12, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.