John Freeman Pettus

John Freeman Pettus

Madison County, Virginia, USA
Death 3 Jan 1878 (aged 69)
Bee County, Texas, USA
Burial Goliad County, Texas, USA
Memorial ID 45171004 · View Source
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John Freeman Pettus was born 4 Oct 1808 to William Albert "Uncle Buck" Pettus and Elizabeth Patrick, in Madison County, Virginia. In 1822 his family moved to Alabama, near Huntsville. He moved to Texas with his family in October of 1823, after his father and uncle had helped established the first settlement on the San Jacinto river, about a year and a half earlier.

John lived with his family in a "suburban villa (probably a two-room log house with an covered open space between them, and fireplaces at both ends) in the west end" of San Felipe de Austin (now in Austin County) on the Brazos river until 1832, when they moved to Mill Creek, near the present town of Industry, Texas, where he worked as a rancher, earning his first cattle by helping with a horse drive to Louisian with (Capt.) John York.

On 7 Oct 1835, John joined the Brazos Guard in the Federal Army of Texas, as a second lieutenant under Capt. John York (his future brother-in-law). He fought in the Battle of Conception, in the "grass fights" around San Antonio, and helped secure San Antonio following a 4 day, house-to-house struggle. On Dec 15, 1835, he had received his honorable discharge.

But then General Santa Anna returned to Texas to reclaim land from the rebels. On March 1, 1836, John joined Capt Moseley Baker's First Regiment Texas Volunteer's Company. On April 21, 1836, John Freeman Pettus helped gain Texas' independence by serving on the fields of San Jacinto, defeating Gen. Santa Anna's army. 29, May, 1836 saw John receive his honorable discharge from the Texas Army.

From July to October 1836, John served as a 1st Lieutenant in the Texas Rangers, again under John York, fighting both Indians and Mexicans in the newly formed Republic. A few months after the end of this service, John was married to Sarah York on Dec 20, 1836, by Justice of the Peace (Austin County) Robert Kleberg.

In the 1840 Republic of Texas census, Austin County, John owned 1 town lot, 2 slaves, 100 cattle, 25 work horses, 4,444 acres of land.

On Feb 17 1845, John is issued a land grant signed by the Republic of Texas president, Anson Jones, for "1 league and one labor situated between Guadalupe River and Coleto creek, about 18mile Northwest of the town of Victoria." (This is near the present town of Yorktown, DeWitt County, Texas).

John and his family is listed in the 1850 Census as living in DeWitt County.

About 1857, he bought property in what is now Bee County, and began earning his reputation as a rancher. This business was interrupted by the Civil War, where he was released from service on May 13 1865, from the North Carolina Home Guard.

Returning to Texas, he grew his ranch into one of the largest South of San Antonio. The 1870 census lists: "John Pettis (sic), 62yo, Stockraiser, $3000 real estate, $15,000 personal property, married, with 6 children."

Around 1876, he moved his family to a new, 2-story house overlooking a lake near the present town of Charco, Goliad County, Texas.

Two years later, on Jan 3 1878, John Freeman Pettus died, and was buried in the family cemetery which now bares his name.

Death Notice:
Brenham, Texas
Published Friday, January 18, 1878
Page 1, Column 4
Col. John T. Pettus, one of the original three hundred colonists who came to Texas with Austin in 1822, died at his plantation in Bee county, on the 3rd inst., aged 77 years.

Brenham, Texas
Published Friday, January 18, 1878
Page 1, Column 5
San Jacinto Veteran.
BRENHAM, Jan. 12, 1878.
EDITOR BANNER: I see in your paper of to-day a notice of the death of John T. Pettus, of Bee county, etc. I have no doubt the Pettus referred to is John F. Pettus, who I have known since January, 1831, and was the son of William Pettus, who was one of Stephen F. Austin's 300 families--first settlers inthe wilderness of Texas. John F. Pettus was the only child of Col. Wm. Pettus, and was a small boy when his father came to Texas in 1823 or 1824.

John F. Pettus was second lieutenant company D, first regiment volunteers in the battle fo San Jacinto, 21st April, 1836, Capt. Mosely Baker commanded the company. I was a sergeant in the same company. John Freeman Pettus was not over 65 years at his death, as I remember him as a young man at San Jacinto. Thus are the Texas veterans passing off and will soon all be gone from earth. Your, etc.,


"Aged 70 Years"
"A Soldier of the Texas Revolution from her Infancy until She gained her Independence"


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  • Created by: Robert Pate
  • Added: 6 Dec 2009
  • Find A Grave Memorial 45171004
  • Find A Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for John Freeman Pettus (4 Oct 1808–3 Jan 1878), Find A Grave Memorial no. 45171004, citing John Pettus Cemetery, Goliad County, Texas, USA ; Maintained by Robert Pate (contributor 47210965) .