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LITTON, JOHN

LITTON, JOHN (1811–1856). John Litton, pioneer, was born in North Carolina in 1811 (his grave marker reads 1812) to Lemuel and Anne (Forrester) Litton. He traveled to Texas on horseback from his family home in Lincoln County, Missouri, around 1827 to join Stephen F. Austin's "Little Colony," which settled on the east side of the Colorado River north of the Old San Antionio Roadqv near the site of present Bastrop several years later. Litton married Sarah E. Standifer around 1835 and established a homestead. The couple eventually had eleven children. In 1836 Litton joined Texas revolutionaries forming Capt. Jesse Billingsley's Mina Volunteers (Company C, First Regiment, under the command of Col. Edward Burlesonqv) to defend Texas against Mexican general Antonio López de Santa Anna's approaching army. Sarah joined other women, children, and elderly settlers ordered to evacuate the area toward the Sabine River in what became known as the Runaway Scrape. John and Sarah Litton's first child was born and died during the frantic flight. Litton later served with 250 soldiers to form a rear guard and protect supplies for Gen. Sam Houston's Texas forces. He received a section of land in Williamson County, along with bounty grants in Bell, Lampasas, and Bastrop counties, for his military service. After the revolution he and his wife settled on the Colorado River near Bastrop. Four years later he joined a volunteer militia to launch a surprise attack and defeat the Comanche Indians in the battle of Plum Creek, August 12, 1840.

By 1845 John and Sarah Litton had joined Michael Young and Sarah's brothers to establish Young's Settlement, also known as Perryville. The Litton home became the Concord Stage Line station and post office. Litton was appointed the first postmaster of Young's Settlement by President Zachary Taylor in 1849 and was reappointed by President Franklin Pierce in 1853. He served as postmaster until 1855, when he resigned to develop his property. Litton's eldest daughter, Martha Ellen Litton Turner, was postmistress at Young's Settlement during the Civil War. Litton eventually settled his family on a tract of land at the headwaters of Little Sandy Creek northeast of Young's Settlement, in the first house in the area built entirely of sawed lumber. He died of acute appendicitis on July 6, 1856, and was buried in the State Cemetery in Austin.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: 

Bill Moore, Bastrop County, 1691–1900 (Wichita Falls: Nortex, 1977). Vertical Files, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, University of Texas at Austin.

Jan Bullock

Citation

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this article.

Jan Bullock, "LITTON, JOHN," Handbook of Texas Online (http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/flilj), accessed August 23, 2014. Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.