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Thomas W. Cutrer

PETTUS, JOHN FREEMAN (1808–1878). John Freeman Pettus, participant in the battle of San Jacinto, was born on October 4, 1808, and immigrated to Texas in 1822. According to most sources he was born in Madison County, Virginia, the son of Elizabeth (Craddock) and Freeman Pettus and the brother of Samuel Overton Pettus and Edward Craddock Pettus. One more recent descendent, however, has traced his parentage to Elizabeth (Patrick) and William Albert Pettus of Mecklenburg County, Virginia, and placed his birth on March 20, 1808; if this claim is correct, Freeman Pettus would be John Pettus's uncle. Pettus participated in the siege of Bexar in December 1835 and served as second lieutenant of Capt. Moseley Baker's Company D of Col. Edward Burleson's First Regiment, Texas Volunteers, at the battle of San Jacinto, where he lost a pack mule valued at $50. He was discharged on May 29, 1836, but reenlisted in Capt. John York 's company on July 1 and served until November 20, 1836.

On December 29, 1836, he married Sarah York, who was born in Alabama in 1819 and who was also then residing in Austin County. The couple had seven children. Samuel O. Pettus was married to Sarah's sister, Margaret York. In 1840 Pettus owned 4,444 acres, two slaves, 100 cattle, and twenty-five horses in Austin County, as well as a town lot in San Felipe de Austin. He served on the Austin County grand jury in the spring of 1845. By 1850 the family was living in DeWitt County, where they owned $7,000 in real estate. Pettus died at the Goliad County community of Charco according to most sources, but in Bee County according to others, on January 3, 1878. His wife died on January 20, 1894, and both are buried at Charco. Pettus was a member of the Texas Veterans Association.


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). Sam Houston Dixon and Louis Wiltz Kemp, The Heroes of San Jacinto (Houston: Anson Jones, 1932). Telegraph and Texas Register, January 18, 1837, May 14, 1845. Homer S. Thrall, People's Illustrated Almanac: Texas Handbook and Immigrants Guide for 1880 (St. Louis: Thompson, 1880). Gifford E. White, 1830 Citizens of Texas (Austin: Eakin, 1983).

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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, "PETTUS, JOHN FREEMAN," accessed December 07, 2019,

Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Modified on May 4, 2019. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
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