While our physical offices are closed until further notice in accordance with Austin's COVID-19 "stay home-work safe" order, the Handbook of Texas will remain available at no-cost for you, your fellow history enthusiasts, and all Texas students currently mandated to study from home. If you have the capacity to help us maintain our online Texas history resources during these uncertain times, please consider making a 100% tax-deductible contribution today. Thank you for your support of TSHA and Texas history. Donate Today »


Thomas W. Cutrer
George William Chilton (1828–1883)
George William Chilton (1828–1883). Courtesy of the Lawrence T. Jones III Texas Photographs, Southern Methodist University, Central University Libraries, DeGolyer Library
Texas Ordinance of Secession
Texas Ordinance of Secession. Courtesy of the Texas State Library and Archives Commission. Image available on the Internet and included in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107.
George William Chilton Grave
George William Chilton Grave. Courtesy of Claudia Jansen Hartley Photography. Image available on the Internet and included in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107.

CHILTON, GEORGE WILLIAM (1828–1883). George William Chilton, Confederate Army officer, was born to Thomas Chilton and Francis Tribble Stoner on June 4, 1828, in Elizabethtown, Kentucky. He briefly attended Howard College at Marion, Alabama, but with the outbreak of the Mexican War he enlisted as a private in Capt. Christopher B. Acklin's Company B of Col. John C. Hays's First Regiment, Texas Mounted Rifles. After being discharged on September 13, 1846, he returned to Alabama, where he was admitted to the bar in 1848 and set up practice in Talladega. Chilton moved to Texas in 1851 and became an attorney in Tyler. The following year he married Ella Goodman of Tyler; the couple had two children. Chilton was a fiery orator, a member of the Knights of the Golden Circle, and outspoken in his proslavery beliefs. He favored reopening the African slave trade and believed that every white man should own a black to perform menial labor, thus saving the energies of the "master race" for "self-improvement." The owner of five slaves, Chilton believed that a life of physical labor was God's will for the black race and that slavery was an improvement over a life of barbarism in Africa. Chilton was elected as a delegate to the Secession Convention, served from January 28 until February 4, 1861, and then was elected major of Col. Elkanah Greer's Third Texas Cavalry regiment. Samuel Barron, a trooper in the regiment, said of Chilton that "whenever an opportunity offered, [he] showed himself to be brave and gallant." Chilton commanded a battalion of the regiment at the battle of Wilson's Creek, Missouri, on August 10, 1861, and received a slight gunshot wound to the head at the battle of Chustenahlah, Indian Territory, in December 1861. When the regiment's one-year enlistment period expired on May 8, 1862, new elections for officers were held, and J. J. A. Barker was elected to Chilton's place. For the last year of the war Colonel Chilton served as ordnance officer on the staff of Gen. Hamilton P. Bee. After the war he was elected to the United States House of Representatives but was refused his seat by the radical majority in Congress. In 1876 he was a presidential elector on the Democratic ticket. Chilton died in 1883 and was buried in Oakwood Cemetery, Tyler. He was the father of United States senator Horace Chilton.


Samuel Barron, The Lone Star Defenders: A Chronicle of the Third Texas Cavalry, Ross' Brigade (New York: Neale, 1908; rpt., Waco: Morrison, 1964). Douglas Hale, "The Third Texas Cavalry: A Socioeconomic Profile of a Confederate Regiment," Military History of the Southwest 19 (Spring 1989). Sidney S. Johnson, Texans Who Wore the Gray (Tyler, Texas, 1907).

Image Use Disclaimer

All copyrighted materials included within the Handbook of Texas Online are in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107 related to Copyright and “Fair Use” for Non-Profit educational institutions, which permits the Texas State Historical Association (TSHA), to utilize copyrighted materials to further scholarship, education, and inform the public. The TSHA makes every effort to conform to the principles of fair use and to comply with copyright law.

For more information go to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml

If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond fair use, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.


The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this article.

Handbook of Texas Online, Thomas W. Cutrer, "CHILTON, GEORGE WILLIAM," accessed August 07, 2020, http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/fch29.

Uploaded on June 12, 2010. Modified on March 14, 2016. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
visit the mytsha forums to participate

View these posts and more when you register your free MyTSHA account.

Call for Papers: Texas Center for Working-Class Studies Events, Symposia, and Workshops
Hi all! You may be interested in this call for papers I received from the Texas Center for Working-Class Studies at Collin College...

Katy Jennings' Ride Scholarly Research Request
I'm doing research on Catherine Jennings Lockwood, specifically the incident known as "Katy Jennings' Ride." Her father was Gordon C. Jennings, the oldest man to die at the Alamo...

Texas Constitution of 1836 Co-Author- Elisha Pease? Ask a Historian
The TSHA profile of Elisha Marshall Pease states that he wrote part of the Texas Constitution although he was only a 24 year-old assistant secretary (not elected). I cannot find any other mention of this authorship work by Pease in other credible research about the credited Constution authors...