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Posted: 1154558472000
Classification: Obituary
Surnames: Pettus
PETTUS, SAMUEL OVERTON (?-1836). Samuel Overton Pettus, victim in the Goliad Massacre, was born in Virginia and volunteered for service in the Texas Revolution by enlisting as a private in the First Company of the New Orleans Greysqv on October 22, 1835. His commander was Capt. Thomas Breece. He was elected first lieutenant on January 1, 1836. After James Walker Fannin, Jr.,reorganized the unit into the San Antonio Greys at Goliad in mid-February 1836, Pettus became captain. He was wounded in the battle of Coleto, was left on the field for days like most of the Texan casualties after Fannin's surrender, and was among the last brought into Goliad by the Mexicans on the night of March 22. He was murdered with the rest of Fannin's command in the Goliad Massacre on March 27, 1836. His heirs received a total of 3,840 acres of Texas land by 1846 for his service and sacrifice.


PETTUS. William Albert and Edward Craddock Pettus received grants of 2 and 1 sitio, respectively, in 1831 through petition and direct from land commissioner Navarro. Notes in land records indicate that William received his grant because he had "fought Indians and helped keep quiet in the country. He also helped DeWitt and had given him and poor people both money and property." It was noted that Edward Pettus had been in the country since 1822, his father was very poor and had suffered hardships. Both grants were on the San Marcos River in northern Guadalupe County. It is unclear to what extent each of the Pettus family members lived in the DeWitt Colony prior to independence. William was the son of Samuel Overton Pettus and Jane Freeman. William A. Pettus was born in MecklenburgCo, VA in 1787 and counted among the Old Three Hundred first Austin colonists. He was near Huntsville, AL in 1815 where he probably married an Elizabeth Patrick. With his brother, Freeman Pettus (b. MecklenburgCo, VA 1781), and a group which included the James L. Bailey family, William Pettus arrived in Texas on the vessel Revenge in 1822. Pettus was known as Uncle Buck, received grants in current Wharton, Fort Bend and Waller counties and was listed in the 1826 census of the Austin Colony as a farmer and stock raiser with wife, two sons, a servant and eight slaves. The family lived on Oyster Creek and San Felipe until 1832 when they moved to current AustinCo. William Pettus served on the ayuntamiento of San Felipe 1828-1830 and was involved in security of the area against Indian attack. With Patrick Jack, he was an agitator leading to the altercation with Col. Bradburn at Anahuac in 1832 and a member of the San Felipe committee of vigilance and safety. Pettus was a supplier for the Texian army in 1835. At San Jacinto he was with the rear guad at Harrisburg. Pettus was involved in the Houston and Brazos Railroad in 1840 and the Archive War, an attempt by Houston to move the state archives from Austin to Washington-on-the-Brazos. William Pettus died at Washington-on-the-Brazos on 27 Jul 1844. There is no evidence he ever developed his grant in the DeWitt Colony.

John Freeman Pettus (b. 4 Oct 1808, MadisonCo, VA) has been listed in most older sources as the son of Freeman and Elizabeth Craddock Pettus, who also are listed as parents of Samuel Overton and Edward Craddock Pettus. More recent evidence shows that John Freeman Pettus was the son of William Pettus (contributed by descendant Brenda Perkins). An archival petition for land states "John Pettus hijo mayor y emancipado de William Pettus ante U. con el mayor respeto, hago presente que ir el año de 1822 emigre a este pais con mi Sr. padre....Villa de Austin á 27 de Agosto de 1830 John F. Pettus." However, Edward C. Pettus is thought to be a son of Freeman Pettus, thus a cousin rather than brother of John Freeman Pettus. Freeman Pettus, with wife Tabitha was the guardian for a Martha Craddock in Alabama, and it is suspected that Craddock was the surname of Tabitha, mother of Edward Craddock Pettus. The John F. Pettus family migrated from Virginia to Alabama and came to Texas in the spring of 1822 along with William Pettus. The Pettus' were among the original "Old 300" Austin colonists. and received titles to land in current Colorado, Fayette, Matagorda and Brazoria counties in 1824. Edward C. and John Freeman were members of Capt. Baker's company in the Battle of San Jacinto, serving as 2nd sargent and 2nd Lt., respectively. Both also served in Capt. York's Company at the Battle of Bexar. Edward Pettus is said to have been in the lead in the burning of San Felipe as it was abandoned by Capt. Baker's unit fleeing the Mexican army from the Alamo to San Jacinto. Edward served in 1837 as Lt. in a ranger unit charged to protect Austin County. Another brother, Samuel O. Pettus (wife Martha and child May), served as head of a company in the Siege and Battle of Bexar. John Freeman Pettus married Sarah York (b. 1819 Alabama) on 29 Dec 1836 in AustinCo. Samuel O. Pettus was married to Sarah's sister, Margaret/Martha York. A Samuel Overton Pettus from Virginia, who joined the New Orleans Greys as a private under Capt. Thomas Breece, was promoted to Captain by Col. Fannin in the renamed San Antonio Greys and was killed in the Goliad Massacre in 1836.

In 1840 Freeman Pettus is recorded with ownership of 4,444 acres, two slaves, 100 cattle, and twenty-five horses in AustinCo and also held a lot in San Felipe de Austin. He was an AustinCo grand juror in the spring of 1845. The 1850 census of DeWittCo lists household no. 173 as John F. Pettus, 42, M, Farmer, Virginia; Sarah Pettus, 32, F, Alabama; William A. Pettus, 11, M, Texas; Sarah B. Pettus, 8, F, Texas; Martha W. Pettus, 5, F, Texas; Altha Pettus, 3, F, Texas; John M(ilam) Pettus, 1, M, Texas with assets of $7000. John Freeman Pettus died in Charco, GoliadCo, TX 3 Jan 1878 and is buried there with wife Sarah (1819-1894) and his mother, Elizabeth Cartwright (1790-1873). John Freeman had daughters who married a Hodges, a James Lincoln and a Lott. They are said to have had 7 children and may have had sons J.Y. and J.E. Pettus. Pettus, Texas in northern Bee County is named in honor of John Freeman Pettus.

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