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Family of Joseph Pybus


Pybus-Koerber House


Joseph Pybus

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

Matagorda County Genealogical Society Publication, Oak Leaves, Vol. 8 #4, August 1989



Has Farmed on the Trespalacios for 50 years.

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 Collegeport Chronicle:

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 returns."

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.

The Palacios Beacon, May 26, 1911

Joseph Pybus Dies At Palacios Home
Farmed in Matagorda County For 60 Years--82 Years Old

Joseph Pybus, at the advanced age of 82 years, 60 of which he had spent as a resident of Matagorda county, died peacefully at his Palacios home last Sunday afternoon.

Born in Thornton La Beans [Thornton-le-Beans] county of York, England, March 12, 1838, he was a cabinet maker by trade. He sailed from England with a pioneering instinct, and landed at old Indianola, then an ocean port near the present site of Port Lavaca in March 1861.

He was united in marriage with Miss Sarah Jane Lacy in September, 1866, and to the union five children were born.

On his Matagorda County farm, he experimented with, and made a success of stock raising, general farming, fruit growing, and gardening. On his farm he, with his sons, planted one of the first pear orchards in the county. He was also one of the first to demonstrate that a farmer in this county can grow all his own vegetables.

In his early life he united with the Episcopal church, holding to that faith until death. Living monuments to his Christian teachings and example are his five children, J. L. Pybus, Miss Nannie Pybus, Mrs. Agnes Lothridge and F. R. Pybus, all of Palacios, and J. E. Pybus of McAllen. These, together with his wife survive him.

Mr. Pybus joined the Free Masons in the early seventies and until the past few years has been an active member of the order.

For the past six years he has suffered great pain, but bore his afflictions with patience and passed to the great beyond quietly and peacefully, sitting in his chair Sunday afternoon, November 28, 1920 at the age of 82 years, 9 months and 16 days.

Services were held at the family home, where Mr. Echols read the Episcopal service for the dead and prayer was offered by Rev. Gillespie, after which the Masons took charge and with their impressive ceremonies laid the body to rest in the Palacios cemetery. The pall bearers were M. Lipscomb, H. B. Farwell, C. A. Tatum, D. Ruthven, J. F. Barnett, Dr. A. B. Cairnes.

To show their respect for the departed and his family, all places of business in Palacios were closed during the funeral hour.

Palacios Beacon, December 3, 1920



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Apr. 11, 2007
Apr. 11, 2007