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 »


SLAYDEN, JAMES LUTHER (1853–1924). James Luther Slayden, United States representative, son of Thomas A. and Letitia E. (Beadles) Slayden, was born in Mayfield, Kentucky, on June 1, 1853. Upon the death of his father in 1869, he moved with his mother to New Orleans, Louisiana, where he worked for two years before attending Washington and Lee University at Lexington, Virginia, in 1872–73. He returned to work in New Orleans until November 1876, when he moved to Texas. He settled in San Antonio by 1879 and became a cotton merchant and rancher. In 1892 he was elected to the House of Representatives in the Twenty-third Legislature. In 1896 he was elected to represent Texas as a Democrat in the Fifty-fifth Congress. He was reelected to ten succeeding congresses. As a legislator and later as a congressman Slayden promoted the growth of the railroad system in Texas. In Congress, while a member of the Committee on Military Affairs, he encouraged the expansion of Fort Sam Houston and was instrumental in making San Antonio a military center. He was appointed one of the eight envoys to the centennial celebration of the Mexican republic in September 1910 and was appointed by Andrew Carnegie as one of the original trustees for the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in October 1910. For several years Slayden was president of the American Peace Society. He was also chairman of the American group of the Interparliamentary Union. After his retirement from Congress in 1919, he divided his business interests between an orchard in Virginia, a ranch in Texas, and a mine in Mexico. He married Ellen Maury (see SLAYDEN, ELLEN M.) in 1883. Slayden was an Episcopalian, a Mason, an Elk, and an Odd Fellow. Washington and Lee University honored him with the Phi Beta Kappa Key. He died in San Antonio on February 24, 1924, and was buried in Mission Park Cemetery.


Biographical Directory of the American Congress. Sondra Wyatt Gray, The Political Career of James Luther Slayden (M.A. thesis, University of Texas, 1962). 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, "SLAYDEN, JAMES LUTHER," accessed June 03, 2020, http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/fsl05.

Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Modified on September 1, 2019. 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...