Barbara L. Young

HUFF, JOHN (ca. 1801–1855). John Huff, early settler, soldier, and judge, was born in Pennsylvania around 1801 and traveled to Texas in the early 1820s, in time to be one of Stephen F. Austin's Old Three Hundred colonists. On July 10, 1824, he received title to a sitio on the west side of the San Bernard River, at the head of Bay Prairie, now in Wharton County. George Huff, who was probably his brother, acquired title to the adjoining sitio six weeks later. In the 1826 census John Huff was classified as a blacksmith, a single man aged between twenty-five and forty. In May 1830 he married Sarah Emiline Savage by bond in Austin County. He was elected a sublieutenant for the fourth militia district in 1829. In 1830 he presided over the alcalde election held at Lawrence Ramey's In February 1836 he was a teller for the election to choose delegates from Bay Prairie to the Convention of 1836. He was on the 1838 committee at Preston that nominated Mirabeau B. Lamar for president of the republic.

Huff served in the Goliad campaigns of 1835 and 1836. On October 15, 1835, he joined George Collinsworth and Philip Dimmitt at Goliad, which they had captured five days earlier. After Collinsworth left, Huff stayed on at Goliad to serve under Dimmitt. On November 21, 1835, he signed the Goliad Resolutions protesting Stephen F. Austin's dismissal of Dimmitt. He remained at Goliad until January 15, 1836, when he and the other Bay Prairie men were sent home. On February 1 he joined Col. Albert C. Horton's company and went back to Goliad. During the 1836 campaign he served as a scout with the advance troops and escaped capture. He caught up with the Texas army at the Brazos River and joined Capt. William Walker's company of volunteers, assigned to help Capt. Wyly Martin defend the crossing at Thompson's Ferry. Greatly outnumbered, they could not hold back Santa Anna and his troops and so withdrew. Martin then dismissed the men and sent them to help the women and children in the Runaway Scrape. Huff received a total of 1,280 acres in bounty and donation grants for this service.

At the first Matagorda County election in July 1837 he was elected justice of the peace for the Third District. On December 5, 1837, he and his wife were married again in Matagorda County by Seth Ingram; this was to ensure that their marriage would be legal under the laws of the Republic of Texas. In the spring of 1838, D. D. D. Baker, Charles DeMorse, and Huff were promoting the new town of Preston, located at the head of Bay Prairie. They predicted that it would become the county seat of a new county to be formed north of Matagorda County. Preston grew, and a post office was established; Huff was postmaster in 1839 and 1840. But when Wharton County was formed in 1846 the town of Wharton became the county seat, and Preston soon disappeared. In 1851 Huff was operating Huff's Hotel, one of the earliest resort hotels on the Texas coast, at Decros Point, overlooking Cavallo Pass on Matagorda Peninsula. John and Sarah Huff both died in Lavaca City, Calhoun County, in 1855.


Eugene C. Barker, ed., The Austin Papers (3 vols., Washington: GPO, 1924–28). Lester G. Bugbee, "The Old Three Hundred: A List of Settlers in Austin's First Colony," Quarterly of the Texas State Historical Association 1 (October 1897). Daughters of the Republic of Texas, Founders and Patriots of the Republic of Texas (Austin, 1963-). Daughters of the Republic of Texas, Muster Rolls of the Texas Revolution (Austin, 1986). Hobart Huson, Captain Philip Dimmitt's Commandancy of Goliad, 1835–1836 (Austin: Von Boeckmann-Jones, 1974). Matagorda County Historical Commission, Historic Matagorda County (3 vols., 1986–88). Annie Lee Williams, A History of Wharton County (Austin: Von Boeckmann-Jones, 1964).

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:

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, Barbara L. Young, "HUFF, JOHN," accessed August 23, 2019,

Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Modified on February 5, 2019. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

Get this week's most popular Handbook of Texas articles delivered straight to your inbox