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Earle, Thomas (ca. 1790–1850)

Rev. by Brett J. Derbes Biography

Thomas Earle (Earl), one of Stephen F. Austin's Old Three Hundred colonists, was most likely born in Ireland and traveled from Ross County, Ohio, to Texas in the early 1820s. He received title on July 7, 1824, to a league and a labor of land in what became Harris County; in 1825 he settled on Buffalo Bayou near William Vince. In March 1825 Earle wrote Austin requesting some timberland on Green's Bayou and asked also for land for his son James and for Alexander Kilpatrick. In September 1825 he got into difficulties for taking equipment from the schooner Mary. The census of 1826 classified Earle as a farmer and stock raiser aged between forty and fifty. His household included his wife, Jane, two sons, five daughters, and two servants. In April 1827 Earle arrived at the mouth of the Trinity River on the schooner Augusta with four or five families on board. In February 1834 Earle was defendant in a lawsuit. In 1836 he owned two male and two female slaves that he purchased from Monroe Edwards. He was administrator for Luke Moore's estate in 1837. In February 1838 Earle offered half his league on Buffalo Bayou for sale. By 1838 Earle was no longer married to Jane but had taken a second wife, Mary Ann, a resident of New Orleans. According to the minutes of the district court in Harris County, Thomas and Mary Ann Earle then divorced in May 1840. On December 22, 1840, Earle married Ann Gunn, and the couple had one daughter. He served on the grand jury in Houston in 1840 and purchased a slave from Flourney Hunt on September 27, 1841. Earle was still living on Buffalo Bayou in 1845. In 1847 he compiled The Life, Travels, and Opinions of Benjamin Lundy, which detailed Benjamin Lundy’s time in Texas. By 1850 Earle no longer cohabitated with Ann and instead lived with his daughter and son-in-law. Earle died in July 1850 and divided 3,597 acres of land, twenty-five head of cattle, and personal property among his children and grandchildren. Earle’s third wife was not included in the will, which she unsuccessfully contested in court.

Eugene C. Barker, ed., The Austin Papers (3 vols., Washington: GPO, 1924–28). Lester G. Bugbee, "The Old Three Hundred: A List of Settlers in Austin's First Colony," Quarterly of the Texas State Historical Association 1 (October 1897). William Fairfax Gray, From Virginia to Texas, 1835: Diary of Colonel William F. Gray (Houston: Gray, Dillaye, and Company, 1909). Houston Telegraph and Texas Register, February 10, 1838; March 3, 1838; May 6, 1840. Adele B. Looscan, "Harris County, 1822–1845," Southwestern Historical Quarterly 18–19 (October 1914–July 1915). Benjamin Lundy, The Life, Travels, and Opinions of Benjamin Lundy, Including his Journeys to Texas and Mexico (Philadelphia: William D. Parrish, 1847). Marion Day Mullins, First Census of Texas, 1829–1836, and Other Early Records of the Republic of Texas (Washington: National Genealogical Society, 1959). New Orleans Times-Picayune, August 29, 1840. Marilyn McAdams Sibley, Travelers in Texas, 1761–1860 (Austin: University of Texas Press, 1967). "Reminiscences of Mrs. Dilue Harris," Quarterly of the Texas State Historical Association 7 (January 1904). William Barret Travis, Diary, ed. Robert E. Davis (Waco: Texian, 1966). Dan M. Worrall, Pleasant Bend: Upper Buffalo Bayou and the San Felipe Trail in the Nineteenth Century (Fulshear: Concertina Press, 2016).

Time Periods:

  • Mexican Texas


  • Houston

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

Rev. by Brett J. Derbes, “Earle, Thomas,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed September 29, 2020,

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