sidebar menu icon


THURMOND, COLUMBUS LAFAYETTE (1833–?). Columbus Lafayette Thurmond, a pioneer land agent, public official, and merchant, was born on November 13, 1833, in Lauderdale County, Tennessee, the youngest child of Dr. John G. and Ann Eliza (Sturges) Thurmond. He moved to Texas at an early age with a brother and settled in Victoria. He worked as a salesman for Jesse O. Wheeler and by the 1850s had become a principal Victoria merchant and grocer. He served at various times in a number of public offices: county treasurer, 1856; United States marshal, 1858–61; county assessor and tax collector, 1858–65; census taker for Victoria and Goliad counties, 1860; county sheriff, 1874–80 and 1886–92. "Zip" Thurmond, as he was called, was a Unionist bitterly opposed to the Civil War, during which he operated stores in Goliad and Brownsville. He moved to Lavaca County in 1869 and farmed for three years before returning to Victoria. In addition to his prominent grocery business in Victoria, he farmed and ranched 2,700 acres in Victoria County and worked as a land agent with his son, C. L. Thurmond, Jr. Their firm, Thurmond and Company, which operated from the 1850s to the 1890s, specialized in locating tracts for owners, many of whom were Easterners who had accepted unseen land in payment of debts. Thurmond married Maggie McGrew in 1857, and the couple had eleven children. Thurmond's papers comprise more than 7,800 pages and deal with his activities as a merchant, tax collector, land dealer, and sheriff. Although he was active as county sheriff as late as 1892, his death date is unknown; the Memorial and Genealogical Record of Southwest Texas, published in 1894, makes no mention of his death.

Memorial and Genealogical Record of Southwest Texas (Chicago: Goodspeed, 1894; rpt., Easley, South Carolina: Southern Historical Press, 1978). Victor Marion Rose, History of Victoria (Laredo, 1883; rpt., Victoria, Texas: Book Mart, 1961). Columbus Lafayette Thurmond Papers, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, University of Texas at Austin.
Craig H. Roell

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, Craig H. Roell, "Thurmond, Columbus Lafayette," accessed November 19, 2017,

Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.