A Guide to the Pettus Family Papers, 1822-1972
Born in Mecklenburg County, Virginia, William Albert Pettus (1787-1844) settled near Huntsville, Alabama, in 1815 and married Elizabeth Patrick, with whom he had at least two sons. In 1822, he sailed to Texas with his wife and brother Freeman (b. 1781) on the Revenge. As members of Stephen F. Austin’s colony, each brother received two leagues and a labor of land. William settled in present-day Wharton, Fort Bend, and Waller Counties as a farmer and stock raiser. Freeman’s land was in Colorado, Fayette, Matagorda, and Brazoria counties. Before coming to Texas, he married Elizabeth Craddock, with whom he had sons Samuel and Edward.
From 1824 to 1832, William Albert Pettus served as sindico procurador in San Felipe, before moving to present-day Austin County, where he opened a house of entertainment in 1836. He was a member of the central standing committee established by the Convention of 1832 and was appointed to the San Felipe committee of vigilance and safety in 1835. In 1840, Pettus became director of the Houston and Brazos Railroad Company. Two years later, Sam Houston sent Pettus to Austin in an unsuccessful attempt to move the republic’s archives from Austin to Washington-on-the-Brazos, an act known as the Archive War. His son William Albert Pettus (b. 1838) became a farmer and stockraiser in Goliad.
“Pettus, Freeman.” Handbook of Texas Online. Accessed February 18, 2011.
“Pettus, William Albert.” Handbook of Texas Online. Accessed February 18, 2011.
Comprising microfilm of legal and financial records, printed material, and maps, the Pettus Family Papers, document the land, cattle, and legal and financial business of descendants of William Albert Pettus (1787-1844) and Freeman Pettus (b. 1781). Relating primarily to William Albert Pettus (b. 1838), the legal and financial papers contain records of land litigations, land grants, land patents and surveys, field notes, deeds, power of attorney, and tax receipts and statements, invoices, promissory notes, bills, and purchase receipts. The papers also include inventories of property, agreements, certificates, letters, and a death notice. Participants in the transactions include John Hodges, Dennis and Thomas O'Connor, and members of the Gantt family. Additionally, the collection contains newspaper clippings and maps.
This collection is open for research use.
Pettus Family Papers, 1822-1972, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, The University of Texas at Austin.
Basic processing and cataloging of this collection was supported with funds from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC) for the Briscoe Center’s "History Revealed: Bringing Collections to Light" project, 2009-2011.
Detailed Description of the Papers