HON. FRANCIS MARION COCKRELL. Francis M. Cockrell was born in Johnson County, Mo., October, 1834, and was brought up by his father, who was a practical farmer, a man of good business qualifications and respected wherever known for his integrity and moral worth. Francis inherited these characteristics and was studious, industrious and practical, his education, like that of farmer's sons generally, being of that character that develops the muscles while expanding the mind. In the common schools of his native county his initiatory training was received, and there he prepared himself for the academic course subsequently pursued in Chapel Hill College, Lafayette County, Mo., which had then attained a high reputation as an institution of learning, and had turned out some of the most brilliant scholars; in the State. He entered in 1850 and graduated with honor in 1853. Mr. Cockrell possessed a decided liking for the profession of law, and to the study of this science he applied himself with great diligence, in order to fit himself for its practice. In 1855 he was admitted to the bar and began immediately to practice his profession in Warrensburg, Johnson County, in partnership with James O. Silliman, a nephew of Lewis Cass, and his application to his profession and his talents soon brought him into prominence and secured him a desirable practice which be continued until the opening of the great Civil War. Long before this, however, the intelligent public mind saw that there would be waged a bloody conflict, and in the winter of 1860-61, when the Missouri Legislature made provision for the organization of the Home Guard, every body knew that it undoubtedly meant war. Although the national difficulties were much regretted by Mr. Cockrell, when the army was actually to be formed, he responded with great alacrity and enlisted as a private. He was soon advanced to the rank of captain, and during the first three months of the war took part in the engagements at Carthage, Springfield and Lexington. Soon after the battle he joined the regular Confederate army and was assigned to the command of the Second Missouri Infantry, with the rank of captain. After the battle of Pea Ridge, in which he took part, he accompanied Gens. Van Dorn and Price to the east side of the Mississippi River. He was elected lieutenant-colonel in May, 1862, and a month later was commissioned a colonel. He participated in the battles of Iuka, Corinth and Hatchie; was with Pemberton's army in its retreat from Holly Springs to Grenada; took part in the bombardment of Grand Gulf and the battle of Port Gibson; was in the fight at Champion's Hill and that of the Big Black, and when the Confederate army was driven back into Vicksburg, he took a prominent part in its defense and endured the dangers and privations of the besieged. Within the fortifications of that city he had command of Fort Hill, the most important and conspicuous of the city's defenses, against which the heaviest columns of the enemy were hurled. This fort was the key to Vicksburg, and three days after its destruction by the explosion of a mine, in which Col. Cockrell was severely wounded, Pemberton surrendered the city to Gen. Grant. He was paroled at Demopolis, Ala., and was promoted to the rank of brigadier-general. After recovering from his wound and being exchanged he was in the army of Lieut. Gen. Polk, in front of Sherman in his movement from Vicksburg to Meridian. He then joined Gen. Joe Johnston's army near Rome, Ga., and. was with it in front of Sherman when the latter advanced upon Atlanta. He was wounded at Kenesaw Mountain; was with Hood in his march in the rear of Atlanta into Tennessee; was in the battle of Altoona, October 5, 1864, and in that of Tilton on the 13th of the same month; was wounded three times in-the battle of Franklin; was left at Mobile in February, 1865, in command of the French division, and was captured on the evening of April 9,1865, the day.of Lee's surrender. He was sent as a prisoner to Fort Gaines, on Dauphin Island, and was paroled on May 14 following. He at once returned to Warrensburg, Mo., and resumed the practice of law in partnership with Col. T. T. Crittenden. In 1874 be was a prominent candidate before the Democratic convention for governor, and was defeated by Charles H. Hardin, the latter receiving one-sixth of a vote more than the former. In January of the following year be was elected by the Legislature of Missouri to succeed Carl Schurz in the United States Senate, his term extending six years from March 4 succeeding. Politically Col. Cockrell has always been an unswerving Democrat, and, although by no means disputatious, is always ready to discuss the principles of his party when occasion demands it., Since 1851 he has been a member of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church, and for years. was an elder in the Warrensburg congregation. He was married in July, 1853, to Arethusa D. Stapp, of Lafayette County, Mo., and to them were given three sons. Mrs. Cockrell died in December, 1859, and in April, 1866, Gen. Cockrell married Anna E. Mann, daughter of James B. Mann, of. Mercer County, Ky. She died of consumption in August, 1871. In July, 1873, he was married in St. Louis to Anna Ewing, eldest daughter of the late Judge Ephraim B. Ewing, of the Supreme Court of Missouri. They have two children, a son and a daughter. Gen. Cockrell is possessed of wide intelligence, quick wit and great geniality, and his presence in any society is always welcome. His life has been pure and blameless beyond the ordinary, and, being intelligent and far-seeing, his endorsement of any enterprise is the highest evidence of its merits. His business qualities are of a high order, and no client fears his treachery, or neglect of his case. His prominent characteristics are moral principle that is never betrayed, steadfastness of aim and honesty of purpose--an upright, honorable and high principled gentleman.
Springfield-Greene County Library