Texas Pioneer Settlers & Peters Colony

Peters Colony & The Pioneer Settlers of Texas texas hflag23

The first land contract agreement was signed August 10, 1841 between the Texas Land and Emigration company and the Republic of Texas.  This agreement was not the start of  colonization. This “land company” was started by a group of businessmen from Louisville, Kentucky and London, England.

The Peters Colony settlement covered a large portion of North Texas.  Many counties cover this area known as Peters Colony, including Dallas. Many people may not realize that about two thirds of the settlers came by boat via New Orleans to the Port of Galveston and then overland to their Peters Colony Land Grant.

Founders & their origins

Twenty individuals were the originators of a petition to the Fifth Congress of Texas. Nine men were from Louisville, Kentucky and eleven from London, England. The men from England did not settle or visit Texas as far as records have shown. They sold their part in the company to another group of men later on. It is believed that William Smalling Peters was the man responsible for the promotion of the colony. The company that had been formed had purchased eight hundred sections of land in Eastern Texas. These families were to be the first to settle. The Caddo Gazette notes the emigrants were to ascend the Red River on a raft then overland to the Cross Timbers. The families were supplied with horses and wagons. Men rode horseback with women and children in the wagons.

England’s men:

William Byrne, Daniel S. Carroll, Robert Epsie, Rowland Gibson, Robert Hume, William Oldmixon, Alexander McRea, Henry Richards, John Salmon, Daniel Spillman, and Robert Stringer


John Bansamere, Samuel Browning, Timothy Cragg, Phineas J. Johnson, W. S. Peters, Henry J. Peters, John Peters, W. S. Peters and William Scott

Settlers Origins

In the fall of 1842 Phineas J. Johnson and Henry J. Peters visited the colony bringing with them twenty-two emigrants from, Kentucky. They came via a wagon train. By September, 1842, fifty- four families were the total number of emigrants to the colony. The settlers also came from Missouri and Illinois. Carrollton, Texas is named after Carrollton, Illinois where many migrated from. Per the Louisville Journal of April 22, 1842 there was the “Emmigration Extra” noting the steamer Embassy, from Louisville, arrived at Shreveport, Louisiana with one hundred families.  One marriage was reported to have occurred.  These settlers had to retreat to the fort and then to Bowie county due to Indians. They felt they could find refuge among the settlers there. There crops of corn had been destroyed from the cattle and buffalo. Most all of the settlers were farmers that came to Texas.

Counties of Texas involved in settlement

More than twenty counties eventually made up all of the Peters Colony Settlement. Only Cooke, Denton and Tarrant are completely in the Colony. Most of Dallas and Grayson were in the Colony. Per the 1850 census, 78% of people in Dallas County were colonists compared to 59% in Grayson County. About 66% from Collin County were included.

  4 Contracts of settlement

The first contract was signed August 10, 1841 between the Texas Land and Emigration company and the Republic of Texas.

Second Contract: November 9, 1841

Third Contract: July 21, 1842

Fourth Contract: July 1, 1843

The third and fourth contracts enlarged the area to be settled and extended the time period by five years. These settlements encompassed Old Fannin County, Old Nacogdoches and part of Old Robertson Counties.

Statistics & Sources Involved

Several sources have been used to determine the settlers, their origins and location of land. There were the contracts made by the company of men that formed Peters Colony with the Congress of the Republic.  Some of the other sources are as listed:

Federal Census of 1850 (counties of Collin, Cooke, Dallas, Denton, Ellis, Grayson, Navarro and Tarrant)

The largest percentage of settlers was in Dallas county. 27.8% of all emigrating to Texas settled in this area even though the whole county was not included in Peters Colony. Collin County the second at 14.4%, Denton 3rd at 8.2% and Tarrant 7.2%.

Colony Agent Reports

For fiscal years ending June 30, 1844 and June 30, 1845, agents of the empersario company reported the number of colonists in living the area in accordance with the contracts. Agent Ralph Barksdale certified 197 families and 184 single men had all settled prior to July 1, 1844. His list was divided into five groups by location of settlers:

1. East of the Trinity River on White Rock in Nacogdoches County

2. East Fork of the Trinity and McGarrahs in Fannin County

3. Cross Timbers, Fannin County

4. West of the Trinity in Robertson County

5. Head of Elm Fork of the Trinity and on Mineral Creek in the Cross Timbers, Fannin Co.

He had a chart indicating 305 cabins, 482 children, 29 slaves, 286 rifles, 35 muskets and shotguns, 2541/2 (lbs.) of powder, and 566 pounds of lead.

For the June 30, 1845 year end his report was in the form of a certificate known as “Emigrants Certificate.” 398 names were listed on six pages, but only page one and three had marital status. These papers are on file at Texas State Archives.

Listing of State Origins (partial list)

Per the Federal Census the settlers origin prior to Texas included several states. Among some were Arkansas, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Missouri, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, a few other states and only about 1.5 percent from Europe. The largest group of settlers came from Missouri at 27.5%. Arkansas had 14.2%, Tennessee 12.9% and Kentucky only 11%. Farmers comprised 87.5% of all the occupations with Artisans and Professionals at 4.5%.

Submit your surnames here if known Peters Colony Settler

If you have family that was part of the Peters Colony Settlement please submit the names and where they located from and what area they settled in – if known. Watch for a transcribed list to come soon.

Collin County, TXGenWeb

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