Pettus, Samuel Overton (1803–1836)

By: Craig H. Roell

Revised by: Randolph B. "Mike" Campbell

Type: Biography

Published: 1952

Updated: December 17, 2021

Samuel Overton Pettus, victim in the Goliad Massacre, was born in Madison County, Virginia, the son of William A. and Elizabeth Pettus. He volunteered for service in the Texas Revolution by enlisting as a private in the First Company of the New Orleans Greys on October 22, 1835. His commander was Capt. Thomas Breece. He was elected first lieutenant on January 1, 1836. After James Walker Fannin, Jr., reorganized the unit into the San Antonio Greys at Goliad in mid-February 1836, Pettus became captain. He was wounded in the battle of Coleto, was left on the field for days like most of the Texan casualties after Fannin's surrender, and was among the last brought into Goliad by the Mexicans on the night of March 22. He was murdered with the rest of Fannin's command in the Goliad Massacre on March 27, 1836. His heirs received a total of 3,840 acres of Texas land by 1846 for his service and sacrifice.

Harbert Davenport, "Men of Goliad," Southwestern Historical Quarterly 43 (July 1939). Hobart Huson, Refugio: A Comprehensive History of Refugio County from Aboriginal Times to 1953 (2 vols., Woodsboro, Texas: Rooke Foundation, 1953, 1955).

Time Periods:
  • Texas Revolution

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

Craig H. Roell Revised by Randolph B. "Mike" Campbell, “Pettus, Samuel Overton,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed May 20, 2022,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

December 17, 2021