James W. Flanagan

James Winright Flanagan (September 5, 1805 – September 28, 1887) was an American merchant, lawyer, and farmer from Henderson, Texas. He served as the eleventh Lieutenant Governor of Texas in 1869 and 1870, and then represented Texas in the United States Senate from 1870 to 1875.

James W. Flanagan
James W. Flanagan - Brady-Handy.jpg
United States Senator
from Texas
In office
March 30, 1870 – March 3, 1875
Preceded byLouis Wigfall
Succeeded bySamuel B. Maxey
11th Lieutenant Governor of Texas
In office
Preceded byGeorge W. Jones
Succeeded byDonald Campbell
Member of the Texas Senate from District 9
In office
Preceded byDavid Gage
Succeeded byMalcolm D. Graham
Member of the Texas House of Representatives
In office
Personal details
James Winright Flanagan

(1805-09-05)September 5, 1805
Gordonsville, Virginia
DiedSeptember 28, 1887(1887-09-28) (aged 82)
Longview, Texas
Political partyRepublican

Early lifeEdit

James was born to Charles and Elizabeth (Saunders) Flanagan in Albemarle County near Gordonsville, Virginia. Before his tenth birthday, the family moved to Boonesboro, Kentucky. As a young man he moved to Cloverport, Kentucky, on the Ohio River and became a prosperous merchant. He also read law and was admitted to the Kentucky bar in 1825. He married Polly Moorman in 1826 and the couple had several children before moving to Henderson, Texas, in 1844.


Flanagan established himself in Henderson by opening a store. He bought a farm, speculated in land, and practiced law. Politically, he was a Whig and an active supporter of Sam Houston. He later became a moderate Republican. Flanagan served in the Texas House of Representatives (1851–1852) and the Texas State Senate (1855–1858).

When the Civil War came to Texas, Flanagan was a Unionist, but he withdrew to his farm and lived quietly. He returned to active politics during the Reconstruction. He served as a delegate to both Constitutional Conventions. The first, in 1866, produced a state constitution that was rejected by the Radical Republicans in the U.S. Congress. The second, in 1868–1869, was successful.

Under the new Constitution, Flanagan was elected Lieutenant Governor. He served there only until 1870, when Texas was readmitted to the Union. The legislature named him, along with Morgan Hamilton, to the U.S. Senate. He served one term as a Senator, until 1875 when he was replaced by the Democrat Samuel Maxey. In the Senate he was a supporter of the Grant Administration.

Later lifeEdit

After his Senate term, Flanagan took up residence on one of his farms near Longview, Texas. He married again (he was widowed twice and married three times), this time to Elizabeth Lane. The three marriages produced a total of eleven children. One of Flanagan’s children was David Webster Flanagan who also served as Lieutenant Governor in Texas.

Flanagan died on his farm in Longview in 1887 and was buried next to his first wife, Polly, in their family graveyard in Henderson, Texas.

External linksEdit

Texas Senate
Preceded by Texas State Senator
from District 9

Succeeded by
Political offices
Preceded by Lieutenant Governor of Texas
Succeeded by
U.S. Senate
Preceded by
U.S. senator (Class 1) from Texas
Served alongside: Morgan C. Hamilton
Succeeded by
Notes and references
1. Because Texas seceded from the Union in 1861, seat was declared vacant from 1861 to 1870 when Louis T. Wigfall withdrew from the Senate.