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PICKETT, GEORGE BIBB

PICKETT, GEORGE BIBB (1832–1914). George Bibb Pickett, rancher, soldier, politician, the son of William M. and Lucy (Boller) Pickett, was born on July 9, 1832, at Owensboro, Kentucky. At the age of ten he traveled to Clarksville, Red River County, Texas, with his family; his father, a popular Baptist minister, established churches throughout the North Texas area. In 1850 Pickett married Cordelia Scarborough. After the birth of the third of their five children Pickett decided to search for a new and promising area to raise his family. In August 1854 he traveled southwest from Clarksville through Denton County into central Wise County. Attracted by abundant pastureland, he purchased the claim of Jim Rogers, four miles north of Decatur. Later he moved his homesite a mile southeast to be near the banks of Catlett Creek.

Shortly after Texas voted in favor of secession, Pickett raised a company of 100 men and was elected captain of Company B, Fifteenth Texas Cavalry. In March 1862 he was promoted to major. When the regiment was reorganized at Little Rock, Arkansas, Pickett was promoted to lieutenant colonel. Soon after his promotion, James W. Throckmorton requested that Pickett be transferred to Decatur to recruit more men for service and to assist in negotiating with Indians in the area who had begun attacking farms and ranches. A week before Gen. Robert E. Lee surrendered, Throckmorton ordered Pickett to find and return a band of 100 deserters from the Confederate Army who were attempting to escape into New Mexico. Pickett captured the soldiers and returned them to face trial for desertion. This action produced numerous threats on Pickett's life from angry citizens in and around the county. But with the war's end and the remembrance of Pickett's reputation as one of the leading citizens of the county, the anger subsided and was soon forgotten.

By 1870 Pickett was one of the prominent stockmen in North Texas. He ran cattle on land near Decatur in Wise County, as well as on rangeland in Jack and Young counties. In the early 1870s many of his cattle were driven off his land by Indian raids. Although he continued to raise cattle, the size of his herd never approached the number he held before 1870. Pickett was elected to the first of five terms as a member of the Texas House of Representatives in 1874. In 1876 he sponsored a bill to organize the Texas Rangers to assist in subduing the Indians in the county. Between 1876 and 1878 he served as county judge. He returned to the legislature in the early 1880s for three more terms as representative. Throughout the 1890s he was a popular public speaker. He remained active until his death, on July 2, 1914.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: 

Cliff D. Cates, Pioneer History of Wise County (Decatur, Texas: Old Settlers Association, 1907). Buckley B. Paddock, History of Texas: Fort Worth and the Texas Northwest Edition (4 vols., Chicago: Lewis, 1922).

David Minor

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Handbook of Texas Online, David Minor, "Pickett, George Bibb," accessed September 25, 2016, http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/fpi06.

Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Modified on March 8, 2011. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.