John H. Pinchback, planter, the son of John T. and Mary (Anderson) Pinchback, was born in the Chester District of South Carolina on November 21, 1814. According to later testimony, he arrived in Texas with his brother James in 1836. James participated in the battle of San Jacinto and received a bounty and donation land grant of 1,280 acres on Plum Creek in the Gonzales land district. John received a 640-acre headright in Colorado County by virtue of being a single male who had arrived in Texas before October 1837.
In 1840 John and James both appeared in the census for Colorado County, at which time John also owned half of a town lot in Columbus, twenty-six cattle, one silver watch, and three slaves. James died before 1845.
In 1859 John was joined in Texas by another brother, William, who bought a portion of the plantation and brought his family, including their mother, from South Carolina. By 1860 the brothers were among the prosperous planters of Colorado County, with a combined property evaluation of $277,300 and 132 slaves. United States census data for 1860 show that both were among the 263 wealthiest Texans.
During the Civil War John served in Company K of the Eighth Texas Cavalry, C.S.A., better known as Terry's Texas Rangers. He was mustered out of service on April 28, 1865.