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Col. Thomas P. Ochiltree    

THOMAS P. OCHILTREE. Col. Thomas P. Ochiltree’s death at Hot Springs, Va., November 25, 1902, of heart trouble, brought a feeling of sadness to his many friends in Texas. The end came to him without pain.

He was a son of Judge Wm. B. Ochiltree, who was distinguished in the early days of the Republic and the annals of State until secession, his last public service being as a delegate to the provisional Congress at Montgomery, Ala.

Thomas P. Ochiltree was born in Livingston, Sumter county, Ala., October 26, 1839, and was reared at Nacogdoches and Marshall, Texas, where he secured a good classical education. Entering the United, States army, he served in a campaign against the Indians on the Texas frontier in 1854 and 1855.

He was first assistant chief clerk of the House of Representatives of the Sixth Legislature at the adjourned session in 1856; filled the same position in the House of the Seventh Legislature in 1857-8; secretary of the Democratic convention for the eastern congressional district of Texas that met at Tyler, May 13, 1857; one of the sergeants-at-arms of the State Democratic convention that met at Waco, May 14, 1857, (the first held in Texas) ; secretary of the State Democratic convention that met at Galveston in April, 1860; had his disabilities as a minor removed and was admitted to the bar by a special act of the Legislature at the winter session of 1857-8, and thereafter practiced both at Marshall and Jefferson with his father, and for a time at the latter place in the office of his brother-in-law, Gen. James H. Rogers; edited, in 1860, the Jeffersonian, a newspaper published at Jefferson; participated, as a delegate, in the national Democratic convention that met in Charleston, April 23, 1860, and at the session of that division of the delegates who later (after the split) met at Baltimore, June 23, 1860, and nominated John C. Breckenridge and Joseph Lane respectively for president and vicepresident of the United States, and volunteered as a private in Bass’ company, First Texas Regiment, Hood’s brigade, army of Northern Virginia, early in the war between the States, and was promoted, in the order named, to the positions of lieutenant, captain, and major of the adjutant general’s department, serving with distinction on the staffs of Generals Sibley, Tom Green, Dick Taylor, Longstreet, and Maxey, in the armies of Northern Virginia, New Mexico, Louisiana, Indian Territory, and Arkansas. While serving as volunteer aide on the staff of General Sibley he was entrusted with the duty of bearing important dispatches to Richmond, which he accomplished, bringing back replies. Gen. Tom Green accorded him, in an official report, the praise of being a gallant and true soldier.

After being released from the Federal military prison on Johnson’s Island, Lake Erie, at the close of the war he went to Europe, where he spent a few months. He then returned to the United States where he wrote for the New York News along with Roger A. Pryor, Thomas A. Sneed and S. S. Cox. He returned to Texas late in 1865; practiced law for a short time at Galveston; was afterwards legislative correspondent and junior editor, and later part proprietor of the Houston Daily Telegraph; went to Europe in 1867 as representative of the banking and shipping house of T. H. McMahon & Co., and other leading merchants, for the purpose of inducing the establishment of a direct line of steamers between Liverpool and Galveston, an object he accomplished, but the line was later discontinued owing to heavy losses and want of patronage; was a candidate for Congress in 1869 against W. T. Clark, but withdrew from the race just before the election; was principal agent in Europe for Texas during the existence of the Immigration Bureau established by the State Constitution in 1869;. was later United States marshal for the eastern district of Texas; was candidate for sheriff of Galveston County in 1878, but was defeated, and in 1882 was elected to the United States Congress as representative of the Seventh Texas district, after which he made his home in New York, where he was identified with J. W. Mackay and his various enterprises for several years as a lobbyist. He espoused the candidacy of Gen. U.S. Grant for the presidency, was a frequent visitor at the home of the general at Washington, and upon going to Europe was supplied by him with letters to United States ministers and others, that gave him the entree to the best society in every country he visited.

If it is a safe rule to accept the opinions of those who know men best as a criterion to judge of their good qualities, Thomas P. Ochiltree possessed many amiable and noble traits. The name is a historic one in Texas. He will be ever kindly remembered in this State for the days of auld lang syne and for the gallant service he rendered while he wore the Confederate gray.

Year Book for Texas: party conventions, election returns, inauguration of Governor Lanham and Lieutenant-Governor Neal, legislative work, public officials and current reports of departments and state institutions, important events, obituaries of distinguished dead, industrial development, statistics, biographical sketches, and historical manuscripts never before published. Raines, Cadwell Walton, Austin, Tex.: Gammel-Statesman Pub. Co., 1903, pages 162-163. View image of this page on line.  Search Hundreds of 1880s-1920s Texas History Books for biographies and historical information on your ancestors.  View the book page images on line and print them out for your genealogy file!  Try the family history collection for free for 14 days!

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