Huling, Thomas Byers (1804–1865)

By: Robert Wooster

Type: Biography

Published: 1952

Updated: February 1, 1995

Thomas Byers Huling, merchant and politician, son of Thomas and Rebecca (Berryhill) Huling, was born in Perry County, Pennsylvania, on October 19, 1804. After operating a steamboat business on the Mississippi River, he moved to Texas in 1834 and obtained a land grant on the south bank of the Angelina River in what later became Jasper County. A merchant and land speculator, Huling sold and transported provisions to Capt. James Chesser's locally raised unit during the Texas Revolution. He served as judge and postmaster after the war and owned the land on which Zavala was founded. Huling's first wife, known only as Sarah, apparently never came to Texas; she died in 1838, leaving him with one child. He was remarried in May 1839 to Elizabeth Bullock; this couple had eleven children. Huling represented Jasper County in the Fifth Congress of the republic, 1840–41. Seeking to stimulate the growth of the county, and especially his project at Zavala, he attempted unsuccessfully to persuade some sixty English families to colonize the area in 1847. Nonetheless, many of Huling's economic ventures paid high dividends; by 1850 he owned seventeen slaves and estimated the worth of his real property at $100,000. In 1855 he moved to the Sulphur Fork of the Lampasas River. He died on November 2, 1865.

Adele B. Looscan, "Elizabeth Bullock Huling," Southwestern Historical Quarterly 11 (July 1907). Madeleine Martin, More Early Southeast Texas Families (Quanah, Texas: Nortex, 1978).

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

Robert Wooster, “Huling, Thomas Byers,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed August 16, 2022,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

February 1, 1995