Nettles, Timothy Dargan (1838–1923)

By: Jennifer Eckel

Type: Biography

Published: May 25, 2011

Timothy Dargan Nettles, Confederate officer, schoolteacher, and farmer, was born on February 14, 1838, near Darlington, South Carolina. He was the son of Caleb Harvey and Mary (Cox) Nettles. Named for the physician who delivered him, Timothy Dargan was one of five children. Although he attended school as a young man, he left home at sixteen and went to sea and served on ships up and down the Atlantic seaboard. After two years, Nettles settled in Florida, where he worked in a shipyard. After recovering from an injury sustained on the job, Nettles moved to Texas and arrived near Harrison in 1858. In Texas he worked for several years as a telegraph line contractor.

Timothy Nettles enlisted as a private on August 17, 1861, at Columbus, Texas, in a cavalry unit designated as the Fifth Regiment, Texas Mounted Volunteers. Nettles headed west with Sibley's Brigade for the Confederate invasion of New Mexico (see SIBLEY CAMPAIGN). He was wounded near Apache Pass but was promoted to first lieutenant of the newly-created artillery unit, the Val Verde Battery, in May 1862. Nettles became a captain and the commander of the battery in April 1863, when Joseph D. Sayers was wounded at the battle of Camp Brisland in Louisiana. The Val Verde Battery, with Nettles at its head, served throughout the war.

Upon his discharge from the army, Timothy Nettles settled in Fairfield, in Freestone County, Texas, where he undertook the "reading of medicine" with a Dr. Gantt. In October 1874 he married Mary E. Gantt, who died the following year. In May 1877 Nettles married Virginia Caroline Durant of Leon County. The couple had five children. For the next several years Nettles, due to his "better-than-average education" and "meaningful experiences," taught school in Leon and Freestone counties. Sometime after 1880 he stopped teaching and tried his hand at farming, an enterprise at which he had only "limited success." Timothy D. Nettles died at this home south of Buffalo, in Leon County, on October 20, 1923. His wife lived more than two decades and died on March 4, 1945. They are buried in Nettles Cemetery, a small family graveyard in Leon County.

P.D. Browne, “Captain T.D. Nettles and the Valverde Battery,” Texana 2 (Spring 1964). James A. Mundie, Jr., with Bruce S. Allardice, Dean E. Letzring, and John H. Luckey, Texas Burial Sites of Civil War Notables: A Biographical and Pictorial Field Guide, (Hillsboro, Texas: Hill College Press, 2002).

Time Periods:
  • Civil War

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

Jennifer Eckel, “Nettles, Timothy Dargan,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed July 03, 2022,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

May 25, 2011

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