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Pledger Family


Dr. John Walton Brown                     Pledger Community

Pledger Family

By Dexter Hodge

Phillip Pledger, the first Pledger to arrive In America, emigrated from Wales. He and Mary Ann Ellis of Virginia were wed, and in 1752 moved from Amelia County, Virginia, to Marlboro County, South Carolina.

John Christifor Pledger and his two brothers moved south from Darlington
, South Carolina, about 1825-1830. It is believed that John Christifor and his two brothers were the sons of Phillip and Mary Ann Ellis Pledger. John Christifor settled in Marianna, Florida, where his great-grandson, S. A. Pledger, was born. S A. Pledger later lived in Tallahassee, Florida. One brother settled in Alabama and another brother settled in Texas.

William Ellis Pledger, who wed Mary Ann Dalton
, migrated from South Carolina to Texas in 1836 or 1837. It is believed that William Ellis Pledger was the brother of John Christifor and son of Phillip and Mary Ann Ellis Pledger. The name of the other brother of John Christifor, who migrated to Alabama, was not known.

When William and Mary came to Texas they were accompanied by their children and the Reverend Caleb Ives, the first Episcopal Minister in Texas, who ministered Christ Church, Matagorda. William A. Pledger, a son of William and Mary, was born about 1821 in South Carolina. James Pledger, another son, was probably born in South Carolina. Their other three children were daughters: Desdemona, Narcissa Dalton, and Mary Eliza. Desdemona died young; Ann Eliza lived until about 1900 and was buried in Rock Creek Cemetery, Washington, D. C., Narcissa Dalton died in March of 1867 William Ellis Pledger died prior to April 5, 1847, and his wife, Mary Ann Dalton Pledger, died in May of 1856.

On August 19, 1853, Mary Ann Dalton Pledger purchased 300 acres of land from Celia Shrock who had acquired It from Colonist Lawrence Ramey on February 7, 1852. This tract was part of the Stephen F Austin grant of May 23, 1827, to Colonist Lawrence Ramey, and was described as a league of land lying between the San Bernard River and Caney Creek, Survey No. 14. It was the most northeast league of land in Matagorda County

At the time of her death Mary Ann Pledger was survived only by her daughters, Narcissa and Ann Eliza. They were also the only surviving heirs of their deceased brothers and sisters. The two daughters continued to operate the Pledger Plantation from May of 1856 to March 3, 1862. On March 3, 1862, Narcissa Dalton Pledger and Doctor John Walton Brown were married by John Owen, Rector, Christ Church, Matagorda.

Doctor John Walton Brown was born in North Carolina about 1825 and died in Van Vleck on August 9, 1908. During his lifetime he owned vast tracts of land, of which 3437 acres were in the Z. Woods League. The only other tracts in the Z. Woods League were  two tracts of 572 acres each owned by the Lawson and the Loverin families. During their marriage, John and Narcissa lived in a huge house located on the west bank of Caney Creek. Passing by the house was a trail leading south and west to such places as Podo, McCrosky, and terminating in Matagorda. Leading north and east, the trail crossed Caney near the Brown house and joined with a trail called Lane, which divided the  Lawson and Loverin tracts. The trail continued onward to the Pledger Plantation and to Columbia, on the Brazos River. By 1984 traces of the Brown house were practically non-existent, however it was located just a few yards southeast of the home of Ignac and Charlene Kocurek. Traces of the old trails south and west can still be located passing through the properties owned by the families of J. O. and Charles Sherrill in 1984. That part of the trail called Lane is the most northern street in the present Pledger Townsite. Subsequent owners of the lands around the old Brown house refer to the area as "Bobcat Plantation" and "Garland Plantation."

John and Narcissa had only one child, a daughter named India Valmon Brown. After the death of his wife Narcissa, John sold a fifty acre strip off of the northwest end of the 300 acre Pledger Plantation. The owners of this fifty acres in 1984 were Oliver L. Hodge of Pledger, Mrs. Louise Hodge Sisson of Corpus Christi, and Roy Walker, who lived on part of the Pledger Plantation.

On June 1, 1896, John, by deed of gift, transferred the remaining 250 acres to his daughter, India Valmon Brown. As time passed the old trails through the Pledger Plantation were improved and FM 1301, which passed through the plantation crossed and recrossed the old trail. India Valmon Brown and Zachary Joseph Reese were married on March 22, 1886. They had one child, Nonie Valmon, who was born on March 1, 1887. When India Valmon subsequently married Willard B. Mason, Nonie Valmon Reese took the name Nonie Valmon Mason. India Valmon Brown Mason died at Calvert, Texas, on April 12, 1925.

Scott Field, born in Canton, Mississippi, on January 26,1847, to Henry and Mary Jane Bates Field, moved to Calvert, Texas, in 1872. He and Mrs. Lucy Garrett Randolph were married in 1878. One of their three sons, Scott Field, Jr, wed Nonie Valmon Mason on November 3, 1909. To them were born two daughters, Lucy Ellen and Nonie Valmon. In 1984, Nonie Valmon Mason Field was residing in Alexandria, Virginia, at the age of eighty-nine. Her daughter Lucy Ellen Field and Donald S. King were wed on June 3, 1937, and resided near Hartfield, Virginia. Her other daughter, Nonie Valmon Field and William Thomas McDonald of Bryan, Texas, were wed and had two children. Their son, William Thomas McDonald, Jr., lived in Bryan and their daughter Lucy Ellen McDonald Sanders lived in Garland.

When India Valmon Brown Mason died at Calvert, Texas, on April 12, 1925, it was found that her will passed the title of the Pledger Plantation to her granddaughter, Lucy Ellen Field King. Lucy Ellen Field King, the great, great, granddaughter of William Ellis Pledger and Mary Ann Dalton Pledger was the owner of the south 250 acres of the Pledger Plantation in 1984. This part of the plantation had been owned and operated as a farm by descendants of the Pledger family since August 19, 1853, a period of over 122 years. Thirty acres of the original plantation had been owned and operated as a farm by descendants of the Hodge family since February 20, 1914, a period of over seventy-one years. The remaining twenty acres was purchased by Roy Walker in 1972 from a member of the Hodge family

The area around the Pledger Plantation is still referred to as "Old Pledger." When the Galveston, Harrisburg and San Antonio Railroad constructed a branch line in 1899-1901, from Wharton to Bay City. The railroad passed about one and one-half miles west of Old Pledger It was probably for this reason that the Bolton Town Company platted the present Pledger townsite on the railroad and recorded the plat on March 3, 1902. As stated previously, the townsite, as laid out, has its most northern street on the dividing line between the Lawson and Loverin tracts. Between this street called Lane and FM 1301, the Deanette Addition was platted. One other addition, the Woodland Addition, was platted on the east of the original Pledger Townsite. Lane, once a part of the trails called the Alabama Trails, still leads to the cradle of the Pledger name in Matagorda County, Old Pledger, the location of the Pledger Plantation.

Historic Matagorda County, Volume II, pages 407-409

Pledger Family photo courtesy of Matagorda County Museum


The ledger of James Selkirk included this account for Mrs. Pledger in 1855 and 1856.


Jany 1

Amt Fees due to me as Probate Clerk from Estate of W. E. P.


Feby 26

1 cord wood del 4.50 Mar 10th 1 cord wood del 4.50


Mar 28

1 cord wood del 4.50 May 1st of cord wood del 4.50


June 1

cord wood del 2.25 Jun 5 cord wood del 2.25


July 7

1 cord wood del


Aug 9

1 cord wood del 4.50


Sept 11

1 cord wood del from yard


Oct 8

1 cord wood del from river


Oct 19

Daguerreotype of Miss Narcissa


Nov 19

1 cord wood del, Dec. 22 1 cord wood


Dec 21

1 cord wood del from yard




Daguerreotype of Miss Narcissa



Daguerreotype of Peter J. Pledger


Mrs. Pledger paid this bill by sending two of her workers to work for Mr. Selkirk.
She also paid some of it in cash.


Calvert Cemetery photos courtesy of Larry Scarborough

India Brown Mason

Nonie Reese Mason Field - granddaughter of Dr. Brown
Scott Field, Jr.


Copyright 2014 - Present by Carol Sue Gibbs
All rights reserved

Jan. 6, 2014
Jan. 6, 2014