BIOGRAPHY OF JOHN HUGHES COCHRAN
John Hughes Cochran, a pioneer
settler of Dallas County, Texas, was the eldest child of
William M. Cochran and Nancy Jane Hughes.
This biography was published in
Memorial and Biographical History of Dallas County, Texas (1892).*
Bracketed matter was added.
JOHN HUGHES COCHRAN, who has been a resident of Texas since his early childhood, is the subject of the following sketch. As he reached the age of maturity he became so closely identified with the history of Dallas county [Texas] that this record would not be complete without a review of his personal career. He was born in Columbia, Maury county, Tennessee, June 28, 1838. John Cochran, his grandfather, was an Irish gentleman, and he married Margaret McClanahan, whose ancestors were from Scotland. They resided in Abbeville district, South Carolina [now Abbeville County, S.C.], where the grandfather died. The father of our subject [William M. Hughes] was born in Abbeville district in 1807, and removed with his widowed mother to Maury county, Tennessee. There he married Nancy J. Hughes, in 1837. She was a native of Virginia, and had removed to Tennessee with her parents. When John H. was three years of age they removed to Texas, and settled at the place now known as Farmers' Branch, Dallas county. Mr. Cochran broke the first sod that was ever turned for a field in Dallas county, in 1843. When the county was organized in 1846 he was elected the first Clerk, and in August, 1847, he was sent to the Legislature of the State of Texas. He took a leading part in the deliberations of that body, and gained a wide reputation for his wisdom and excellent judgment in the formation of the laws of the new country which he was assisting to develop. He died April 24, 1853. His widow, a pious and resolute woman, took charge of the family of six children, and reared them to honorable manhood and womanhood. John H. is the oldest of the children. He was graduated with high honors from McKenzie Institute, Red River county, Texas, and in 1858-'59 served as a member of the faculty. In 1860 he went to Young county, and took the census of that year. Also this year he commanded a company of Texas Rangers, under Governor Sam Houston.
Upon the declaration of war between the North and South he enlisted in Company C, Sixth Texas Cavalry, and served from September, 1861, to June, 1862. He did valiant service in the cause he had espoused, but on account of ill-health he was obliged to resign. He returned to his home, and in 1862 was elected Assessor and Collector of Dallas county. After his term of office had expired he went to the frontier, meeting with many adventures and narrow escapes from death. He was one time attacked by the Indians, and with two comrades made a brave defense; they repelled the attack, but witnessed the horrible butchery of many of their neighbors who failed to reach the shelter. A short period of these harrowing experiences sufficed, and he returned to Dallas county.
The people of the county testified to the confidence which the reposed in Mr. Cochran by electing him to represent them in the fourteenth, fifteenth and sixteenth Sessions of the Legislature. He was Speaker of the last named Assembly, and in 1882 he was re-elected to the eighteenth session, and in 1890, to the twenty-second session. During the fifteenth Assembly he was Chairman of the Committee on Taxation and Revenue, and really formed the laws known as the Tax Laws, which raised the credit of the State from fifty cents to par. During his long career as a legislator no suspicion of trickery has ever been cast upon him, and he is regarded as above chicanery. He is able, conscientious and fearless in the discharge of his duty. There has been no better Representative in the House in the past twenty years. He was appointed Postmaster of Dallas by President Cleveland, and served with much credit for four years, two months and two days. It was while he was in office that the city made its most rapid growth, and the mails were handled with a promptness and accuracy that challenged the admiration of all parties. For twenty-five years he has been a member of the Masonic fraternity, and he is also a Knight of Honor. He belongs to the Methodist Episcopal Church, and is a liberal supporter of the society.
Mr. Cochran was married June 20, 1860, to Miss Martha Jane Johnson, of Young county, Texas. Six children were born to this union. The two elder sons, William R. and James A., died just as they had attained manhood. They were bright, promising youths, an honor to their parents and a credit to the community in which they were reared.
*Memorial and Biographical History of Dallas County, Texas (Chicago: The Lewis Publishing Company, 1892), pp. 685–86. This book is available online here.