Abbott was born January 15, 1840 near Decatur, Alabama and attended the public schools. He moved with his parents to Freestone County, Texas, in 1853.
During the American Civil War, he served as a first lieutenant in the Twelfth Regiment of the Texas Cavalry. He later studied law and was admitted to the bar in 1866. He began his legal practice in Springfield, Limestone County, Texas. He later moved to Hillsboro, Texas where he continued his legal career.
He was a member of the Texas House of Representatives in 1870 and 1871. He was appointed a district judge in the Twenty-Eighth judicial district by Governor Oran M. Roberts. In 1880, he was elected for a full four-year term for that position. In 1887, he was elected as a Democrat to the United States House of Representatives, and served in that capacity through the end of Fifty-Fourth Congress in 1897. Upon leaving Congress, he resumed his legal career in Hillsboro, Texas, where he died on February 11, 1908.
- Joseph Abbott (Texas politician) at the Biographical Directory of the United States Congress Retrieved on 2008-02-13
- Biographical Directory of the United States Congress, 1774-1989: Bicentennial Edition. United States: Government Printing Office, 1989. ISBN 0-16-006384-1
- Joseph Abbott (Texas politician) at Find a Grave Retrieved on 2009-04-20
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