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Phil R. Johnson

POLK, JOHN, JR. (1798–1864). John Polk, Jr., also known as “Jackey” or “Colonel,” businessman and state representative, was born in Mecklenburg County, North Carolina, on October 25, 1798. He was the son of John and Elizabeth “Nancy” (Alderson) Polk. The Polk family members were descendants of President James K. Polk. John married his cousin, Cynthia Polk, on October 28, 1825. They moved to Texas about 1838 and settled near the town of San Augustine. They had six children and maintained an active role in community affairs. John and Cynthia Polk were charter members of the Bethel Presbyterian Church in San Augustine. Polk served as representative for San Augustine County in the House of the Third Texas Legislature from November 5, 1849, to November 3, 1851. He was listed as a farmer in the 1850 census. Polk and his wife eventually left San Augustine and relocated to Leon County, Texas, in the 1850s. After Cynthia’s death in 1855, Polk married Mary Floyd McIlhenny on July 30, 1856. They had twins, but only one child, a daughter, survived to adulthood. Polk’s second wife died in 1859. The 1860 census listed John Polk as a farmer in Madisonville, Madison County, Texas. An older son, Ben, and Polk’s young daughter, Bettie, were living in the household. In December 1861 Polk married Mary Newsome; they had a daughter. John Polk died in Madison County on February 16, 1864.


“John Polk, Jr.,” Find A Grave Memorial (, accessed August 6, 2014. Legislative Reference Library of Texas: John Polk (, accessed May 14, 2014.

Phil R. Johnson

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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, Phil R. Johnson, "POLK, JOHN, JR.," accessed August 24, 2019,

Uploaded on May 14, 2014. Modified on August 6, 2014. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

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