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 »


Matthew K. Hamilton

HEAD, JOHN W. (ca. 1827–?). John W. Head, farmer and Confederate military officer was born about 1827 in Georgia. Sometime before moving to Texas, he resided in Alabama where he married a “Nancy E.” It is unclear when he arrived in Texas, but it was most likely before 1855, because the 1860 census listed a family of five children—all born in Texas. The eldest was six years of age. Head and his family resided in Edom, Van Zandt County, Texas, where he worked as a farmer. He estimated his real property in 1860 to be worth $1,000 and his personal property to be worth $600.

Head did not immediately enlist into military service at the onset of the Civil War, however, he organized a Confederate military unit in early 1864 that was designated Head’s Cavalry Battalion. He served as the unit’s commanding officer at the rank of major. Head’s service was short-lived as the battalion disbanded in April 1864. While in service, Head’s Cavalry Battalion was assigned to Charles DeMorse’s Brigade, Sam Bell Maxey’s Division, District of the Indian Territory, Trans-Mississippi Department.

After the war, Head resided in Van Zandt County, and by 1870 he lived in the town of Canton. He reported that year that he was employed as a farmer and estimated his real property at $810 and his personal property at $500. In 1880 he and his family still resided in Van Zandt County and he continued to work as a farmer. The census listed eight children—three sons and five daughters. It is unclear when John W. Head died.


Stewart Sifakis, Compendium of the Confederate States Armies: Texas (New York: Facts on File, 1995).

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, Matthew K. Hamilton, "HEAD, JOHN W. ," accessed June 01, 2020, http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/fhe88.

Uploaded on January 2, 2013. 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...