To Everything A Season: James EDGAR and Selah WITHERINGTON EDGAR Family


1889 Family



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On this page: Biography; Descendants

Latest update: Sunday, 04 February, 2018

Find details, photos, and sources in the Family Tree Database.

JOHN EDGAR (October 1819 - 12 September 1906) (Family Tree Database)

The second son of James and Selah, John was born in October 1819 in Maury County, TENNESSEE.

In his 1887 Claim of a Survivor of the Mexican War for Pension, sixty six year old John was described as

"5 feet 10 inches high, of florid complexion, blue eyes, Red or Sandy hair, and by occupation Farmer."

"John Edgar had no biological children, but he raised my great grandfather [William Thaddeus KNOX, Sr] as his own son. John

Edgar played a very important part in Thaddeus Knox's life. Thad lost both of his Knox grandparents and his father while he

was an infant, and his mother only 5 years after she married John Edgar. My own grandfather was named John Edgar Knox in

his honor. John Edgar is an important part of my family history, it is up to us to keep his memory alive.  Since he was a father

to Thad he is my great great grandfather and I owe him the dues of a great grandson." Dwayne Earl KNOX, 05 May 2011

The 18201830, and 1840 censuses for Maury County show John living with his father, mother, and siblings.

In the Maury County Circuit Court Minutes Book of 09 September 1844, there is a record of James EDGAR giving his second

son John, 25, a Power of Attorney for the deceased Joseph Smith Edgar, James' first son, who had been given land grants for

his immigration to TEXAS and participation in the Battle of San Jacinto, during the Texas Revolutionary War.

Sometime between 1844 and 1846, John emigrated from Maury County, TENNESSEE to TEXAS, probably to claim and settle

the land grants of his brother Joseph. John may not have left for TEXAS immediately upon securing the Power of Attorney in

September 1944, but it probably wasn’t long after that. It took him awhile to make the trip, probably by horseback.  Then, he

had to find his way around TEXAS, find where to go and what to do for patenting the largest parcel of land that had been

granted to his brother’s heirs, then go through the presentation process to get approval, then secure the Land Grant Patent

No. 488 on 10 March 1845.  So, from September 1844 (Power of Attorney) to March 1845 (Land Grant Patent No. 488) wasn’t

really all that long.  How serious he must have been with this huge responsibility, and the with future of his parents and

surviving siblings hinging on his success.

Based on the above documentation, there are three historical records with inaccurate dates of

John's immigration to TEXAS.

"In about 1840, Joseph’s younger brother, John, went to Texas to claim that land  on behalf of Joseph’s heirs."

San Jacinto Museum: Veteran Biographies

"James and Selah's second son, John Edgar who was born in 1820 in Maury Co., Tennessee, immigrated to Texas

about 1850 to clear his brothers grant, which was located in northeastern DeWitt County."

Sons of DeWitt Colony Texas

"John, the second Edgar son, came to Texas about 1850." A History of DeWitt County by Nellie MURPHREE

(edited by Robert W. Shook, Victoria College, 211 pp. Graham Printing Co., Victoria. $4, 1962).

Between the Battle of Gonzales in 1835 and the Battle of San Jacinto in 1836, TEXAS fought for it's independence from

MEXICO. TEXAS was an independent Republic until 1845, when it was annexed into the United States.

On 11 May 1846, the United States declared war with MEXICO due to hostilities over TEXAS.

Less than two weeks later, on 20 May 1846, John Edgar, 27, claimed Joseph's land grant of 320 acres in Montgomery County,

TEXAS, and he started the required process to have a duplicate Certificate 764 issued for Joseph S. EDGAR's Goliad Bounty

of 650 acres.

Within two months, John joined the fight against MEXICO.

It is easy to speculate that, in addition to a family history of patriotism -- John's mother’s father, Joseph WITHERINGTON, was

a Revolutionary War patriot; his own father, James EDGAR, was a War of 1812 veteran, and his elder brother Joseph Smith

EDGAR fought for the Texas Revolution --  John’s reasons for enlisting in the U. S. Army to fight in the Mexican War surely

must have included his practical realization that were Mexico to prevail in that conflict, the EDGAR family’s claims to the three

parcels  of land (2,000+ acres) in TEXAS, earned by his deceased brother Joseph, would all be lost.

On 24 July 1846, in Austin, Travis County, TEXAS, John began a six month tour of duty in the U. S. Army, TEXAS Mounted

Volunteers, Grumbles' Company. Due to changes in enlistment requirements, this first tour ended on 23 September 1846. A

day later, 24 September 1846, in Austin, TEXAS, John EDGAR began a twelve month tour of duty with the same U. S. Army,

TEXAS Mounted Volunteers, Grumbles' Company. His second tour ended 23 September 1847, and once again John re-

enlisted for a third tour of duty with the U. S. Army, TEXAS Mounted Volunteers, this time in McCullough's Company. On 04

July 1848, peace was ratified by the United States and Mexico, and on 08 December 1848, John ended his third and last tour

of duty in McCullough's Station, TEXAS. (Details and sources are available on the EDGARS in the Military page.)

In his 1887 Claim of a Survivor of the Mexican War for Pension, John describes his life over the next several years: since his

discharge from said service [in October 1848] "in Austin in the employ of the Quarter Master's department in 1848 & 9 and

from there went with Capt French quarter Master of the San Anton in the years 1849 and 1850, when I went to Austin and took

employment as wagon yard master under Lieut Tree(?) which position I held for some two or three years..."

Perhaps John's twenty-year-old memories were mis-remembered, because "Mr. Edgar" in the 1850 Census for Austin, Travis

County, TEXAS, is most probably John living with a farmer from TENNESSEE, Benjamin PIPER and his family of eight. (Note,

in the 1840 Census ( Transcript), Benjamin PIPER was the head of his family of ten in Smith County,

TENNESSEE, not far from Maury County, where John was living in 1840.) Obviously, the 1850 Travis County Census

enumerator did not have access to accurate information about "Mr. Edgar" since his first name and birthplace are missing and

his occupation is just "laborer." Perhaps John was away at his wagon master job at the time of the census; perhaps John was

not a laborer for Farmer PIPER (since Mr Edgar is not recorded as a farm laborer); perhaps John was just a guest in the

PIPER residence. In any case, even John indicated he was employed in Austin in 1850, and there has yet to be discovered a

more compelling enumeration of John EDGAR in the 1850 Census.

John was an "Overseer" on the farm of -- and enumerated with the family of -- Dr. Robert PEEBLES during the 1860 Census in

DeWitt Co, TEXAS. John’s employer in 1860 was very wealthy, had quite an ancestral history, and was noteworthy in TEXAS

history; Dr. PEEBLES was a physician, legislator, land speculator of interesting ethics. His final land transaction was the

purchase of the plantation on which John EDGAR became the overseer. The PEEBLES Plantation was on the Churchill

Fulcher land grant just across the Guadalupe River from the EDGAR Family Homestead. Note, Robert PEEBLES organized

the first Presbyterian church in DeWitt County  and John's paternal uncles were very active in the Presbyterian church;

perhaps there was connection between John's employment and his family religious affiliations.

"The 1840 Austin County tax roll listed Peebles as the holder of title to 1,062 acres of land worth $2,124

and an additional 1,800 acres under survey valued at $1,800. Around 1850 he sold these holdings

and began to operate a plantation in the vicinity of Cuero. He represented Fort Bend County in the House

of the Seventh Congress, 1842–43, and in 1851 was chosen to represent DeWitt and Goliad counties in

the Fourth Legislature. He was excused from the legislature on December 13, 1851, because of illness and

is presumed to have died soon afterwards."

Texas State Historical Association

" In 1849 Robert Peebles and his wife, Mary Trigg Peebles, bought land from Churchill Fulcher in Dewitt Co.,

and built a home on this land across the Guadalupe River from Concrete. It was under the large old live oak

tree near their house that friends and neighbors gathered on July 8, 1849, and organized the first

Presbyterian church in the county."

PEEBLES Family, F698, pages 653-654

The History of DeWitt County, Texas, by The DeWitt County Historical Commission

A reference in Sons of DeWitt Colony Texas, indicates, "John was married three times. His first wife was Molly Brown... also

buried in the family cemetery [EDGAR Family Cemetery]."  Mary J. "Molly" BROWN (08 Aug 1842 in  MISSISSIPPI to 27 May

1870 in TEXAS) was the daughter of James BROWN and Mildred MAYS BROWN and the sister of Tabitha Jane BROWN, wife

of John's younger brother Henry, and the sister of Harriet Elizabeth BROWN, wife of John's younger brother Arthur. John and

Molly were one of four EDGAR-BROWN marriages. Their marriage license indicates they were married in Clinton, DeWitt

County, TEXAS on 04 Jan 1864, when John was about forty five (45) and Molly was about twenty two (22).

Molly died in 27 May 1870 in DeWitt Co, TEXAS, at age twenty seven (27). According to the 1870 Mortality Census for DeWitt

Co, TEXAS, Molly’s cause of death was “child birth,” so John and Mary did have a child.

“From the DeWitt County, TX 1870 Mortality Census, we now know that John Edgar’s first wife, Mary J. “Molly” Brown

died in childbirth.  That probably means their child was either buried in her grave with her, or buried in a now-unmarked

grave nearby.  Absent any indications or references otherwise, I speculate the child was either stillborn or died soon

after birth.  I think this is the first reference we’ve found to either Molly’s cause of death or that she and John Edgar had

a child who did not grow to adulthood and probably didn’t survive birth. We have Joyce and Bob Manning to thank for

finding this record.” Robert Merritte WEBB, 20 September 2007

The June 1870 Census of DeWitt Co, TEXAS recorded John as a fifty-year-old, widowed, farmer with $500 of real estate and

$100 of personal property. (The only other household occupant was a female, "domestic servant.") He lived two "dwellings"

away from his brother Henry's oldest daughter, Nancy Jane EDGAR BATCHELOR and her family.

John's second wife was Cynthia Jane CULPEPPER (20 Jan 1841 in Chambers Co, ALABAMA  to 5 Jul 1877 in Lavaca Co,

TEXAS);  "the widow Knox was a Culpepper by birth. She had a son, Thad, that John Edgar raised," according to Sons of

DeWitt Colony Texas. John and Cynthia were married 8 Jan 1872, and Cynthia died in 1877. There is no record of children to

this marriage.

On 12 Jan 1879 in Sweet Home, Lavaca County, TEXAS, John, fifty three (53),  married the widowed Ellen D. JONES

DELOACH (October 1833, ALABAMA). Although there is no record of children to this marriage, Raphael S. DELOACH (May

1867, ALABAMA) was twelve when he and his mother went to live with John.

According to the 1880 Census of DeWitt County, TEXAS, John, sixty one (61), was still a farmer, now living with his wife, Ellen;

his step-son Raphael S. DELOACH was away at school in ALABAMA.

By 1898, John and Ellen had moved to Karnes County, TEXAS.

The Cuero Record newspaper article and photo, dated 28 August 1898, reports the 27 August reunion of six of the nine

EDGAR brothers born to James S. EDGAR and Selah WITHERINGTON EDGAR.  "Yesterday the six Edgar brothers, who

came to Texas together in 1853 met at the original home of the family when they first landed in Texas, now owned by Dock

Edgar, some few miles north of this city. The six brothers, their residence and ages are given below: John, the eldest, 79 years

old, lives in Karnes County; Hyman the next to the youngest, 68 years old, lives in Tom Green County, while Henry, 77 years,

Doc, 73 years, Joshua, 71 years and Frank, 63 years, all reside in De Witt County."

The 1900 Census of Karnes County, TEXAS records John,  eighty one (81), and Ellen, sixty seven (67), farming, and Raphael,

a carpenter, living with them.

According to his death certificate, signed by  G. W. Sims M.D., John died at the age of eighty six (86), in Karnes City, Karnes

County, TEXAS, on 12 September, 1906, "the cause of his death being acute dysentery."

John is buried in the EDGAR Family Cemetery, located on the EDGAR Family Homestead in DeWitt County, TEXAS. The icon

on his headstone indicates he was a Mason.

(Third wife Ellen D. JONES DELOACH EDGAR, applied in April 1908 for John's Widow Pension for the Mexican War.)


Although John raised two step-sons, William Thaddeus KNOX and Raphael S. DELOACH, there is no record John fathered a

child. “John Edgar, brother of Joseph, came to Texas in about 1840 and served in the United States Army under Benjamin

McCullough in the Mexican War. He had no children.” San Jacinto Museum: Veteran Biographies