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John Pickering

Death 20 Oct 1838
Bexar County, Texas, USA
Burial San Antonio, Bexar County, Texas, USA
Memorial ID 73656827 · View Source
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John Pickering served at the Battle of San Jacinto during the Texas Revolution of 1836. On February 17, 1838, he married Serena Morris in Brazoria County, Texas. The year of his birth is unknown, but he was living in Texas by May of 1835. He died in October 1838 near San Antonio in a skirmish with Comanche Indians.

His widow, Serena Morris Pickering, married Wilson VanDyke in 1840. Wilson VanDyke was a solider in the Mier Expedition and was held prisoner by the Mexicans until September of 1844. Apparently, thinking her husband was either dead or that he would never be released from captivity, Serena married William Charles Abercrombie on May 8, 1844. After VanDyke's return, Serena was sued by the Republic of Texas for bigamy. What happened afterward is not entirely clear, but census documentation indicates that she had two children with VanDyck before he was taken prisoner and then three with Abercrombie. After the death of her third husband, Serena married a fourth time on November 14, 1865, to John Hill. No children were born to this union. Serena died in 1910 in McMullen County, Texas.

The following is from the Web site of the San Jacinto Museum of History:

"PICKERING, JOHN--Served under Lieutenant William J. Russell at the battle of Velasco in June 1832. It is not known when he came to Texas. In the Headright Certificate issued to him March 2, 1838 by the Brazoria County Board of Land Commissioners for a league and labor of land, it is stated that he came to Texas prior to May 2, 1835. He was a member of Captain John York' s Company in 1835 and received a Donation Certificate, dated June 12, 1848, for 640 acres of land for having participated in; the Storming and Capture of Bexar, December 5 to 10, 1835. He did not apply for land due him for serving in the army in 1836. He was a member of Captain William H. Patton's Columbia Company at San Jacinto."

"Mr. Pickering was married to Sumia Morris in Brazoria County, February 17, 1838. He was killed October 20, 1838 while serving as a volunteer under Captain Benjamin F. Cage against the Indians on Leon Creek four miles from San Antonio. His body and those of his slain companions were returned to San Antonio and buried just outside the Catholic Cemetery, now Milam Square."

Although we know that John Pickering was buried in Campo Santo near the current Milam Park in San Antonio, it is not known whether his remains were among those removed in the 1840s to San Fernando Cemetery #1. His grave is therefore unmarked.

In spite of the clear historical record that John Pickering, the hero of San Jacinto, died in 1838, John G. Pickering, who lived and died in Angelina County, Texas, claimed around the turn of the nineteenth century that he was the John Pickering who had fought at San Jacinto. Apparently, he was able, before his death in 1917, to convince the state of Texas to give him a veteran's pension for service during the Texas Revolution.

His claim, in spite of an entertaining article in Texas Escapes, does not hold up to the scrutiny of historical documentation. Aside from the record showing that the "real" John Pickering of the Revolution died in 1838, there are also these considerations:

John G. Pickering was a brother to Andrew Jackson Pickering who was born in Covington County, Mississippi in 1829. The apparent father of the two brothers is the Aaron Pickering who appears on the 1840 census with two sons under twenty years of age, therefore both sons being born after 1820.

John G. Pickering married Martha Rainwater, his first wife, December 28, 1844 in Washington County, Alabama. John and Martha appear on the 1850 census of Washington County and the 1860 census of Tyler County, Texas. The census data suggests this couple moved to Texas during the 1850s. John's brother, Andrew Jackson Pickering, first appears in a Texas record in 1851.

John G. Pickering was born about 1825, according to the 1850 and 1860 census. All our available evidence indicates that John G. Pickering was living in Mississippi in 1836 and was only ten or eleven years old; consequently, he could not possibly be the same person as the John Pickering of the Texas Revolution.

Unfortunately, we know nothing about the genealogy of the John Pickering who fought at San Jacinto. No available documentary record mentions where he lived before he came to Texas, nor are the names of any of his Pickering relatives known to researchers.

Family Members

Gravesite Details John Pickering was buried just outside the Catholic Cemetery near what is now Milam Square in San Antonio. In the 1840s most of the bodies were removed to San Fernando cemetery #1 west of the city.





  • Created by: Gary B. Sanders
  • Added: 20 Jul 2011
  • Find A Grave Memorial 73656827
  • Find A Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for John Pickering (unknown–20 Oct 1838), Find A Grave Memorial no. 73656827, citing Milam Park, San Antonio, Bexar County, Texas, USA ; Maintained by Gary B. Sanders (contributor 47044379) .