Collinsworth, James

Born: 1806-XX-XX Davidson County, Tennessee

Died: 1838-07-11 Gulf of Mexico

Collinsworth attended school in Tennessee and earned admittance to the state bar in 1826. A Jacksonian, he served as U.S. attorney for the Western District of Tennessee from 1829 to 1834. Collinsworth then moved to Matagorda, Texas, and served as a delegate to the convention of 1836. He was a signer of that convention's declaration of independence, served on its military committee, and helped draft the new republic's constitution. Sam Houston made Collinsworth his aide-de-camp and he served well through the Battle of San Jacinto. David G. Burnet appointed Collinsworth as his secretary of state for a month before assigning him as commissioner to the United States to negotiate annexation. In November 1836, he won election to the Texas Senate and a month after that received appointment as Texas' first chief justice. Collinsworth announced his candidacy for president of Texas in June 1838, but in early July, after a week of drunkenness, he died by either falling or jumping into Galveston Harbor.

Gravestone, Founders Memorial Park, Houston, TX; Joe E. Ericson, Judges of the Republic of Texas (Dallas: Taylor, 1980), 73; Joe E. Ericson, "Collinsworth, James," Handbook of Texas Online,, accessed 29 January 2020.