Chrisman, John H. (1821–1922)

By: Sylvia Edwards

Type: Biography

Published: 1952

Updated: June 23, 2020

John H. Chrisman, pioneer settler in Coryell County, was born in Charleston, Indiana, on May 25, 1821. He married Samantha Minnis in Illinois and moved by 1846 to Arkansas, where his wife died. Leaving his two children temporarily, he returned to Illinois and married Sarah Mitchell. The couple reclaimed his children in Arkansas and moved to Texas, where they arrived at Fort Gates on April 4, 1854. With his second wife Chrisman had nine more children. He surveyed the original townsite of Gatesville in 1854 and made a plat map of Coryell County. He built the first Coryell County Jail in 1855 and served as justice of the peace from 1855 to 1861. At the same time, he sold dry goods and groceries for a period of three years, buying goods in Houston and hauling them to Gatesville in ox wagons. He carried mail between Gatesville and Comanche beginning in 1858. In 1859 Chrisman drove a herd of cattle to Shreveport, Louisiana. During the Civil War he served with the Frontier Regiment under James M. Norris and J. E. McCord. He was admitted to the bar on March 29, 1866, and practiced law in Gatesville, where he died at the age of 100 in February 1922.

Clyde and Mabel Bailey, Vignettes of Coryell County (Gatesville, Texas: Gatesville Printing, 1976). H. L. Bentley and Thomas Pilgrim, Texas Legal Directory for 1876–77 (Austin: Democratic Statesman Office, 1877). Coryell County Genealogical Society, Coryell County, Texas, Families, 1854–1985 (Dallas: Taylor, 1986). Zelma Scott, History of Coryell County (Austin: Texas State Historical Association, 1965). Vertical Files, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, University of Texas at Austin.

  • Law, Law Enforcement, and Outlaws
  • Activism and Social Reform
  • Civic Leaders
  • Lawyers
  • General Law

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

Sylvia Edwards, “Chrisman, John H.,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed June 30, 2022,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

June 23, 2020