Chenoweth, John M. (unknown–unknown)

By: Thomas W. Cutrer

Type: Biography

Published: 1952

Updated: December 1, 1994

John Chenoweth, soldier and legislator of the Republic of Texas, arrived in Texas in 1835, apparently with Capt. John W. Peacock's company, the United States Invincibles. He is said to have paid his own way from Louisiana, where he left his wife and family. Chenoweth and his company joined the revolutionary army at Bexar on November 26, 1835. When Peacock was killed at the siege of Bexar, December 5–10, 1835, Chenoweth was elected to command of the company, which officially enlisted for the duration of the war on December 27. On December 25 Chenoweth requested that the General Council allow him to recruit a new company of volunteers to garrison Copano. His Invincibles were officially mustered into service in February 1836, and Chenoweth still commanded them as late as that month, when they were stationed at Refugio under Col. James W. Fannin, Jr. He was, however, detached from Fannin's command and given command of the garrison at Copano as he had requested. Soon thereafter Fannin's men, including most of the Invincibles, were captured and executed in the notorious Goliad Massacre. Chenoweth thereupon joined Sam Houston's army at Gonzales as a private and served in Capt. William H. Patton's Columbia Company of Col. Sidney Sherman's Second Regiment at the battle of San Jacinto. Houston commended him to James Collinsworth, chairman of the military committee, as "very active."

After San Jacinto, Chenoweth was elected captain of the Zavala Volunteers, on August 20, 1836. The company was assigned to the First Regiment of Gen. Thomas J. Green's brigade and stationed at Camp Johnston. From there Chenoweth ranged the coast gathering supplies and horses for the brigade. He paid for much of this material with his own money. Nevertheless, he reported to Gen. Mirabeau B. Lamar that his requisitioning of supplies resulted in many citizens' leaving the area and taking their livestock with them. Before July 6 he was promoted to major. The death of his wife in Louisiana necessitated his return there for several months in 1836. While still commanding his company, Chenoweth was furloughed to attend the First Congress of the Republic of Texas, to which he had been elected from Goliad County on October 3. During the spring term of the Harrisburg (now Harris) County district court, Chenoweth served on the grand jury.

On October 8, 1842, Houston denied Chenoweth's application for a commission to raise a company of rangers for the defense of the upper Colorado River frontier but instead appointed him to take charge of those Indians captured by Texans and return them to their homes in compliance with a recent treaty. On December 3, 1847, Chenoweth married E. H. Reed. He lived in Harrisburg County and then in Burleson County, where he was residing on September 12, 1850. He was awarded a 690-acre bounty certificate for his participation in the battle of San Jacinto, which he sold for sixty dollars. Later he received an additional 1,280-acre warrant, which he also sold.

Daughters of the Republic of Texas, Muster Rolls of the Texas Revolution (Austin, 1986). John H. Jenkins, ed., The Papers of the Texas Revolution, 1835–1836 (10 vols., Austin: Presidial Press, 1973). Telegraph and Texas Register, June 5, 1839. Texas House of Representatives, Biographical Directory of the Texan Conventions and Congresses, 1832–1845 (Austin: Book Exchange, 1941). Amelia W. Williams and Eugene C. Barker, eds., The Writings of Sam Houston, 1813–1863 (8 vols., Austin: University of Texas Press, 1938–43; rpt., Austin and New York: Pemberton Press, 1970).

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

Thomas W. Cutrer, “Chenoweth, John M.,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed July 05, 2022,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

December 1, 1994