Old Pioneers of Van Zandt County

Van Zandt County Genealogical Society


This page will be devoted to the Old Pioneers of Van Zandt County. These stories have come from a variety of sources, some from old newspapers, some from descendants and some have been previously published in the Van Zandt County Genealogical Society's quarterly publication, "Our Heritage." Our thanks to Sue Wilkinson, quarterly editor, for permission to reprint these stories. All biographies are welcomed and if you have one that you would like to submit, just write it in your own words and send it to Sibyl and we will be very happy to post it on this website.


James Samuel Pirtle


James Samuel Pirtle was born 26 Oct 1819 in Tennessee [This varies from KY to TN on the different Census reports] and he died 06 Sep 1892 in Canton, Van Zandt Co., Texas.
His parents were John B Purtle who married Susan Polly Story on 13 Jul 1813 in Caldwell Co., Kentucky. In 1820, the family was in Murfreesboro, Rutherford Co., TN, so James Samuel Pirtle could not have been born in Caldwell Co., Kentucky in 1819 for them to be on the census this far away and still be on the 1830 Hardeman Co., Tennessee Census, which is when they settled in Hardeman County.

"The History of Van Zandt Co., TX, USA, Vol. II." On page 279 under Judge Isaac Bolivar Hubbard, Jacob Pirtle is listed as one of the earliest settlers of Hardeman Co., TN - Jacob's son John Barnett Pirtle was the father of James Samuel Pirtle who moved to Van Zandt co in 1854 according to Prof John Cagle's book "The Pirkles" as well. Mary Ann Pirtle, daughter of William Pirtle and Abigail Gregory was Isaac Hubbard's wife. She was the granddaughter of Jacob Pirtle is listed as one of the earliest settlers of Hardeman Co., TN.

Why James switched back and forth on his place of birth on the 1850 census and the 1880 we do not know, unless he was born on the trail and they were not sure if they were in Tennessee yet. Yet even Elizabeth's place of birth appears on the 1850 Hardeman County, Tennessee Census as Kentucky as does his. Even his sons were inconsistent in the 1900 census when George Washington Pirtle listed his father's birthplace as TN and James Riley Pirtle listed it as KY. This was typical of the Pioneers on the trail, so the logic of the 1820 and 1830 census comparison is sound

He was married 05 May 1847 in Toone, Hardeman Co., Tennessee to Elizabeth Ann Priest, who was born in 1821 (one census has her as born in 1825) in Hardeman Co., Tennessee and she died abt 1900 in Canton, Van Zandt Co., Texas and was buried in The High Cemetery, Van Zandt County, Texas, but her grave marker is gone. Only the foundation stone is remaining next to her husband and her husband's parent's graves. She was the daughter of John Anderson Priest born 1797 in North Carolina and died 1876 in Lonoke Co., Arkansas and Mary Gamble born Abt. 1800 in Tennessee.

According to the book "The History of Hardeman County, Tennessee" by The Hardeman County Genealogy Society, it states that in 1854 James Samuel and Elizabeth Ann Pirtle with their children, moved from Hardeman County, Tennessee to Canton, Van Zandt County, Texas

He then received a Texas Land Grant according to The Texas Land Title Abstracts Grantee James S. Pirtle Patentee Jas S Pirtle Patent Date 06 Oct 1862 Acres 160 District - Nacogdoches Co - Van Zandt File 785 Patent #44 Patent Volume 16 Class Nac. Scrip Sent to Texas GLO for this Abstract on June 12, 2006 WPC

Land deeds in The Van County Courthouse in Canton, Texas for him are Grantee Book "I" page 478, 08 June 1860 James S. Pirtle purchased land from E. W. Gibbs and in Grantee Book "O" page 134, 135 and 136 07 July 1871 James S Pirtle purchased land from Isreal Spikes. Written March 11th 1871. I have certified copies of each of these deeds from The Van Zandt County Clerks' Office.

James and Elizabeth Ann had nine children:

1. John Pirtle born 1848 in Hardeman Co., TN died before 1860 since he does not appear on the 1860 Texas census with his parents
2. Ephram Pirtle born Sep 1849 in Hardeman Co., TN died before 1860 since he does not appear on the 1860 Texas census with his parents and his twin brother
3. James Riley Pirtle, Sr. born Sep 1849 in Hardeman Co., TN died 21 Apr 1920 Canton, Van Zandt, TX
4. George Washington Pirtle born 12 Jun 1851 in Bolivar, Hardeman Co., TN and died 08 Apr 1908 in Van Zandt Co., TX, USA, buried High Cemetery, Van Zandt Co., TX
5. William W Pirtle born 10 Jan 1853 in Hardeman Co., TN died 15 Jan 1892 in Van Zandt Co., TX, USA buried with wife Nannie J Rodgers in High Cemetery, Van Zandt Co., TX
6. Edward G Pirtle, Sr. born Feb 1855 in Canton, Van Zandt Co., TX, USA died unknown
7. Susan Ann Pirtle born 23 Apr 1857 in Canton, Van Zandt Co., TX, died in Van Zandt Co., TX, buried High Cemetery with her husband James F High
8. Mary Ann Pirtle born 1859 in Van Zandt Co., TX died unknown she married a Mr. Butler
9. Benjamin Franklin Pirtle born 09 Feb 1863 in Van Zandt Co., TX, USA died 16 Mar 1955 Van Zandt Co., TX, USA buried High Cemetery with wife Edna Lambeth

The 1850 Census has the James S Pirtle family living in Hardeman Co., TN with sons John Pirtle Age: 2 Est birth year: abt 1848 Birth place: Tennessee Gender: Male, Ephram Pirtle Age: 1 Est birth year: abt 1849 Birth place: Tennessee, and James R Age: 1 Est birth year: abt 1849 Birth place: Tennessee.

The 1860 Census has the James S Pirtle family living in Canton, Van Zandt Co., TX with Name: Jas S Pirtle Age in 1860: 39 Est. Birth Year: abt 1821 Birthplace: Tennessee
Home in 1860: Canton, Van Zandt, Texas Gender: Male, Post Office: Canton Household Members: Name Age Jas S Pirtle 39 Elizabeth Pirtle 39 Jas R Pirtle 10 Geo W Pirtle 8 Wm Pirtle 6
Edwd Pirtle 4 Susan Pirtle 3 Mary Pirtle 1

The1870 AR Census Washington Elm Springs Purtell James living next to several of his brothers. They then moved back to Van Zandt Co., TX

The 1880 TX, Census Van Zandt Dist 119 Purtle James S and Eliz A. Priest and grand daughters, who are believed to be the young children of his son Edward G Pirtle who had four wives three who died in childbirth. The children all died very young and are buried in High Cemetery in Van Zandt Co., Texas near their Grandfather James Samuel Pirtle.

Submitted by Wanda Pirtle Cronauer


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This page last updated 3 June 2007

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