Last governor of Confederate Texas. Legal scholar and statesman. Born in Kentucky. Admitted to the bar there. Came to Texas in the 1840s. Developed extensive lands and resources. President of Indianola Railroad, 1859. Counsel for the Southern Pacific R. R. Member of Texas Senate 1857-61, and of State Secession Convention, which placed him on Committee on Federal Relations, to draw up the Ordinance of Secession, and on the committee to draft Constitution.
Served in 1861 as military aide to Gov. F. R. Lubbock, and as a major on the staff of Gen. T. H. Holmes, Commander of the Confederate Armies west of the Mississippi River, in 1862-63. Stood for state election in 1863 and was elevated from office of lieutenant-governor when on June 11, 1865, Gov. Pendleton Murrah left state with other southern leaders for Mexico in the hope of making a later fight for independence. Served as chief executive until August 2 deposed by A. J. Hamilton. Pioneered after the war the refrigerated shipping of Texas beef, to help restore state economy. Aided moves to end Reconstruction. Was a leader in the 1875 Texas Constitutional Convention. Died at his home in Cuero Feb. 4, 1890. Buried in Kentucky.