Joseph Pybus was one
of the pioneer Texans who came from England and spent a long and
useful life in Matagorda County. He married the daughter of one of
the oldest settlers of Texas, William D. Lacy, who had an active
part in the events leading up to the establishment of the Republic
and was a sailor of the revolution.
Joseph Pybus was
born March 12, 1838, in England, and died November 20, 1920, at his
home in Palacios. In 1861 he came to the United States landing at
Indianola in the month of March, just before the outbreak of the
Civil War. He was a cabinet maker by trade and for a number of years
carried on a general contracting and building business at Indianola.
Later he lived in Matagorda County and was county commissioner in
1878-79, and served four years on the City Council and was a
director of the Palacios State Bank and in the Blessing State.
He married, Sept. 5, 1866, Sarah Jane Lacy and they lived in
Palacios. She was the mother of five children: John L., born in
1867; Nannie L., born in 1870; and Joseph E., born in 1883; The son,
John, a contractor at Palacios, married Mattie Anderson of Lockhart,
Texas and they had a daughter, Mary L., who was the wife of Carlton
Crawford who operated a packing plant at Palacios. Mr. and Mrs.
Crawford had a daughter, Mary C., who was born in 1927. The
daughter, Nannie L. lived with Mrs. Pybus at Palacios. Agnes J.
married Joseph E. Lothridge, a farmer of Palacios, and had one
child, Joseph Fulton Lothridge. Fred was in the interior decorating
business at Houston. He married Laura Harris and had four children,
Fred R., Jr., Joseph H., Laurin and Jane Elizabeth. Joseph, a
contractor at Palacios married Mabel Nelson and had a son, Joseph.
William D. Lacy, father of Mrs. Pybus, was born in Virginia on Sept.
15, 1808 and was reared in Logan, Kentucky. After the death of his
parents he and his two older brothers moved to Christian County,
Kentucky, and when a young man of nineteen he started with several
other young Kentuckians on horseback for Texas, arriving in what was
then a province of Mexico in 1827. He acquired a tanyard near
Columbus and employed a number of men in this growing industry. In
1832 William D. Lacy married Mrs. Sally McCrosky.
William D. Lacy in the election of Feb. 1, 1836, was chosen as a
delegate from the Colorado District to the general convention which
met at Washington on the Brazos March 1. He was in favor of an
absolute Declaration of Independence. He had previously enlisted in
the Texas army. When Houston decided to fall back from his position
on the Colorado to the Brazos River, William D. Lacy secured
permission to move his family to Harrisburg, and from there they
went with other refugees to Galveston Island. In the meantime
William D. Lacy had rejoined the army and took part in the battle of
San Jacinto. After that battle he established his family at
Matagorda and then revisited his old home at Columbus, where the
invaders had left everything in ruins. He was on a fair way to
building up a fortune, and the total destruction of his property was
a property sacrifice such as few other Texans suffered as a result
of the war for independence. He started rebuilding his fortune on a
labor of land on the Tres Palacios River and remained there until
1848, when he removed with his family to Paducah, Kentucky, and
died there Oct 14. 1848. His widow subsequently returned to Texas
and lived for many years, passing away June 4, 1880, at the age of
seventy-one. Their only son, Richard, died in 1855. Of these six
children the only survivor at the writing at of this book was Mrs.
Sarah J. Pybus.
William D. Lacy
bought at auction the old rifle which Colonel Milam had used in the
siege of San Antonio, and the rifle in 1866 was given to Mrs. Sarah
Jane Lacy, and she retained this historic weapon until some years
ago when she presented it to the Texas State Historical Association.
Texas Under Many
Flags, Clarence W. Wharton, American Historical Society, 1930
Genealogical Society Publication, Oak Leaves, Vol. 8 #4,
THE EXPERIENCE OF MR. JOSEPH PYBUS,
Has Farmed on the Trespalacios for 50
Words are Worthy of Consideration.
The following interview with Mr. Joseph
Pybus, Sr., Palacios' oldest citizen, and one who is the peer of any
other in the esteem and confidence of the people of not only the
city but of the entire county, and who has been a resident of this
particular section of the country for the past fifty years, is one
of the most conclusive and convincing evidences that has ever
appeared in print of the productiveness and versatility of the coast
country soil. This interview appeared in this week's issue of the
While in Palacios on business last week, an hour of leisure before
boat time we hunted up Mr. Joseph Pybus the original owner of the
famous Pybus ranch up the Trespalacios river, where the Leaman and
Hartwell farms and the Pybus pear orchard are located.
Mr. Pybus, whose standing is unquestioned by all who know him,
speaks with authority when he has anything to say and what he said
to us was certainly reassuring.
Mr. Pybus raised cattle as a business, but did some farming on a
smaller scale both for feed for his stock during the dull season and
for food for the table. "I always raised my own feed," he said. "In
addition, I made my own bacon, mutton, and kept my table supplied
with nearly all kinds of vegetables and fruit."
"I have no great stories of 100 bushels of corn to the acre, but I
am free to say that our corn averaged 25 to 40 bushels for the fifty
years. We have gone up to 80 bushels and have fallen below 40. Only
once in forty years did we fail to get a crop of corn, however. That
year a Kansas hot wind came down and burned it up. Cotton, one of
our sure crops, averaged three-quarters of a bale per acre year in
and year out, while I have raised as high as one and a half bales on
prairie land. We planted our cotton early as a rule, but our bale
and a half crop was planted in June. Oats planted in November made
fine sheep and calf pasture for the winter after which they were cut
and have then yielded as high as 60 bushels per acre. Truck, turnips
and all root crops we raised for feed with the best results. Sweet
potatoes, celery, onions, in fact, anything reasonable gave good
One thing Mr. Pybus emphasized, and that was that he worked his
land. Men cannot expect crops without ample tillage. Many have said
discouraging things about this country just because they could not
get results without work. As to fruit, he pointed to the pear
orchard up the river as telling its own story. He raised peaches for
years, and the only reason he did not put in larger orchards was
that there was no demand in those days. Many peach orchards ran out
because new ones were not put in to replace the old each years. Mr.
Pybus' rule was to plant three rows of new trees every year, taking
out the same number of old trees. The Spanish strains of peaches
were recommended. Not so fine but more prolific. "Forty years ago we
shipped peaches out of here by schooner loads," he said. "All had
orchards then, but the cattle paid better and were more easily
handled and the orchards died out."
The gentleman expressed much disgust at people asking "Can you raise
corn here? Can you raise oats?" etc. "Why, the question never was
considered by residents here who really farmed," he said. "We sowed
our fields and expected to reap a harvest with never a suggestion of
a question, any more than the Illinois or Iowa farmer had. All men
have to do is to go to work and work and plant and keep on working."
One bit of advice he gave which we count valuable to our farmers. It
was this--"Live at home." Do not buy a ton of feed if you can raise
it, and you can. Every load of feed you haul from town is so much
that should go on the payment or improvements on your farms. Get a
cow or two, keep plenty of hens, plant a strawberry patch, keep a
succession of truck crops for home use and live on them largely
until you can afford luxury.
As to present prospects Mr. Pybus stated that this season had the
promise of being the best possible year for crops. The heavy rains
and showers following have put the land in fine shape. "Corn will
make now," he said, "without another drop of rain."
There are other farmers who gladly vouch for such experiences, and
our farmers who are doubtful, should interview these men whose
energy and intelligence has given them this measure of success in
this resourceful section.
May 26, 1911