Peter Harmonson, pioneer farmer and law officer, son of Wallace and Polly (Curry) Harmonson, was born on December 18, 1797, in Bourbon County, Kentucky. After attempts at farming in Indiana, Missouri, and Arkansas, he traveled to North Texas, where he accepted a land certificate issued in 1850 by the Texas Emigration and Land Company (see PETERS COLONY). Under an agreement signed in 1841 with the Republic of Texas, the company was to attract settlers to the Red River and upper Trinity River country by offering tracts of land for colonization, preferably to heads of households. Harmonson had married Anna McGee on August 8, 1816, and the couple brought their ten children to their grant of 640 acres in Denton County. As one of the first settlers in the area, the fifty-three-year-old farmer helped to organize the county and Denton's first Methodist church. Subsequently, county residents elected him their first sheriff. In 1854 Harmonson moved to Fort Belknap, where two years later he became Chief Justice for Young County. He helped organize Young County's first Methodist church. He continued to be active in county affairs until his death on January 9, 1865, which resulted from arrow wounds inflicted by an Indian raiding party. Harmonson was buried at Johnson Station in Tarrant County.
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C. A. Bridges, History of Denton, Texas, from Its Beginning to 1960 (Waco: Texian Press, 1978). Seymour V. Connor, The Peters Colony of Texas: A History and Biographical Sketches of the Early Settlers (Austin: Texas State Historical Association, 1959). Carrie J. Crouch, Young County: History and Biography (Dallas: Dealey and Love, 1937; rev. ed., A History of Young County, Texas, Austin: Texas State Historical Association, 1956).
Law, Law Enforcement, and Outlaws
The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.
Handbook of Texas Online,
accessed May 17, 2022,
Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
Original Publication Date:
Most Recent Revision Date:
January 1, 1995