William Bourke Cockran

William Bourke Cockran

William Bourke Cockran (February 28, 1854 - March 1, 1923) was a United States Representative from New York. Born in County Sligo, Ireland, he was educated in France and in his native country, and immigrated to the United States when seventeen years of age. He was a teacher in a private academy and principal of a public school in Westchester County, New York. He studied law, was admitted to the bar in 1876 and commenced practice in Mount Vernon, New York; two years later he moved to New York City and continued the practice of law.

Cockran was elected as a Democrat to the Fiftieth Congress (March 4, 1887-March 3, 1889); he was not a candidate for renomination in 1888 to the Fifty-first Congress, and was a delegate to the Democratic National Conventions in 1884, 1892, 1904, and 1920. He was a member of the commission to revise the judiciary article of the New York Constitution in 1890, and he was elected to the Fifty-second Congress to fill the vacancy caused by the death of Francis B. Spinola. Cockran was reelected to the Fifty-third Congress and served from November 3, 1891, to March 3, 1895; he was not a candidate for renomination in 1896, because of his opposition to the Free Silver platform of William Jennings Bryan and Sewall and campaigned for William McKinley. In 1900 he returned to the Democratic Party and supported Bryan, and was elected as a Democrat to the Fifty-eighth Congress to fill the vacancy caused by the resignation of George B. McClellan, Jr.. He was reelected to the Fifty-ninth and Sixtieth Congresses and served from February 23, 1904, to March 3, 1909; Cockran declined to be a candidate for renomination in 1908 to the Sixty-first Congress and resumed the practice of law in New York City.

Cockran was an unsuccessful candidate for election in 1912 to the Sixty-third Congress, and was again elected as a Democrat to the Sixty-seventh Congress and served from March 4, 1921, until his death in Washington, D.C., March 1, 1923; he had been reelected to the Sixty-eighth Congress. Interment was in Gate of Heaven Cemetery, Mount Hope, Westchester.

Cockran, a noted orator, nominated Al Smith at the 1920 Democratic National Convention. Bourke also helped future British Prime Minister Winston Churchill get introduced with America in the late 1890s.



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