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 »


Andrew Forest Muir

RICORD, JOHN (1812/13–1861). John Ricord, whose name was probably Jean Baptiste Ricord-Madianna, Texas state official, lawyer, and world traveler, son of Jean Baptiste Ricord de Madianna and the poetess Elizabeth Stryker, was born on September 5, 1812 or 1813, in New Jersey, probably at Belleville. His father was a doctor and naturalist. He grew up at the home of his maternal grandparents in Bellville after his mother and father separated. He began the study of law in 1829 in the office of his uncle, James Stryker, and was admitted to the bar in Buffalo, New York, on March 12, 1833. In 1826 another uncle, John Stryker, encouraged him to go to Texas. Ricord reached Velasco in the summer of 1836 and was immediately retained by President David G. Burnet as his private secretary. Ricord served in the same capacity under President Sam Houston, who rewarded him with appointments first as chief clerk in the State Department and later as district attorney of the Fourth Judicial District.

In 1837 Ricord left Texas; he never again settled down. He practiced law at various times in New York, Florida, and Arizona; he joined an emigrant train to Oregon, worked for a time with the Hudson Bay Company, attempted quicksilver mining in California, and later participated in the gold rush. He was twice in the Hawaiian Islands; on his first trip he swore allegiance to Kamehameha III and served for a time as attorney general of the kingdom; six years later he returned as United States vice consul. In Hawaii he drafted a code of laws and drew up a constitution for a Hawaiian constitutional monarchy. He spent short periods in Siam, the Malay states, and the Philippines and tried to obtain a government position in British Columbia.

In the winter of 1859–60 Ricord was in Austin and persuaded the Texas legislature to pass two acts granting him land and salary for his early immigration and services to the republic. He then returned to New Jersey and after a few months set out for Liberia. He died in Paris on March 26, 1861, at the home of his uncle Dr. Philippe Ricord, personal physician to Napoleon III. Ricord is believed to have been buried in the Cimitière du Père Lachaise.

Ralph Simpson Kuykendall, The Hawaiian Kingdom (3 vols., Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 1938–67). Vertical Files, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, University of Texas at Austin.

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, Andrew Forest Muir, "RICORD, JOHN," accessed July 12, 2020, http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/fri16.

Uploaded on June 15, 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...