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 »


Mary Cole Farrow Long

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).

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, Mary Cole Farrow Long, "COLE, JAMES POPE," accessed August 04, 2020, http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/fcobf.

Uploaded on June 12, 2010. 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...