PEEBLES, ROBERT (1798–ca. 1852). Robert Peebles, physician, land speculator, and legislator, was born in South Carolina in 1798. He arrived in Texas from Louisiana on October 10, 1828, already a married man and a physician, and little more than a year later secured a provisional license to practice medicine in the municipality of San Felipe de Austin. In 1830 he was appointed to the Board of Physicians and in 1831 became a member of the first board of health in San Felipe. In his medical practice he was an associate of Dr. James B. Miller until 1834.
In 1831 Peebles obtained title to a headright of a league of land on the west bank of the Brazos River in what is now southeastern Fort Bend County. Experience in the trading of town lots in San Felipe kindled his interest in land speculation, which he pursued by taking up residence in the administrative center of Monclova, Coahuila. In 1835 he and two partners received an immense grant of 400 leagues from the governor of Coahuila and Texas, to be parceled out as bounties for service in a new company of Texas militia. However, no such militia was levied, and the partners distributed the land in ten-league parcels among some two-score Texas settlers. Peebles returned to Texas later in 1835, his Mexican dealings still unknown, and was made land commissioner for Stephen F. Austin's colony. He ignored the Consultation's decree of November 1835 to cease the issuance of land patents. Yet, four days before Antonio López de Santa Anna and the Mexican army reached San Felipe, Peebles loaded the Texas land records in a wagon and transported them to Fort Jesup, Louisiana, for safekeeping. In October 1836 he delivered the records, including the evidence of his own illegal transactions, to Austin at Peach Point Plantation.
After the revolution Peebles returned to his property on the Brazos River; in 1839 he sold half of his grant to Miller. The 1840 Austin County tax roll listed Peebles as the holder of title to 1,062 acres of land worth $2,124 and an additional 1,800 acres under survey valued at $1,800. Around 1850 he sold these holdings and began to operate a plantation in the vicinity of Cuero. He represented Fort Bend County in the House of the Seventh Congress, 1842–43, and in 1851 was chosen to represent DeWitt and Goliad counties in the Fourth Legislature. He was excused from the legislature on December 13, 1851, because of illness and is presumed to have died soon afterwards.
Members of the Legislature of the State of Texas from 1846 to 1939 (Austin: Texas Legislature, 1939). Pat Ireland Nixon, The Medical Story of Early Texas, 1528–1853 (Lancaster, Pennsylvania: Lupe Memorial Fund, 1946). Texas House of Representatives, Biographical Directory of the Texan Conventions and Congresses, 1832–1845 (Austin: Book Exchange, 1941). Clarence Wharton, Wharton's History of Fort Bend County (San Antonio: Naylor, 1939).
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The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this article.Charles Christopher Jackson, "PEEBLES, ROBERT," Handbook of Texas Online (http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/fpe11), accessed November 30, 2015. Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
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