Pix, Sarah Ridge (1814–1891)

By: Kevin Ladd

Type: Biography

Published: May 1, 1995

Updated: January 8, 2021

Sarah Pix, Cherokee Indian and early Texas settler, was born in 1814 on her family's plantation, near the site of present-day Rome, Georgia, to man named the Ridge and his wife, Sehoyah. Her father was known by the Whites as Major Ridge; her mother's name appears in some records as Susannah. Sarah was educated at missionary schools in the Cherokee Nation and completed her schooling at a seminary for young women in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, from 1826 to 1829. Sarah, commonly called Sallie by her family, also learned the Cherokee methods of treating illnesses with herbs and other natural products. Her father Major Ridge and brother John were among the Cherokee leaders who signed the Treaty of New Echota with the United States in 1835. This treaty exchanged the Cherokees' eastern land for land west of the Mississippi. Although the Cherokees who signed the treaty believed it offered their tribe protection from increasing United States settlement near their lands, its ultimate result was the infamous Trail of Tears, on which approximately 4,000 Cherokees died in the move from Georgia to what is now Oklahoma and Arkansas. Because of their support of this controversial treaty, the Ridge and John, as well as a cousin of Sarah's, Elias Boudinot, were murdered by antitreaty Cherokees at Honey Creek, Washington County, Arkansas, on June 22, 1839.

Sarah was married in East Brainerd, Tennessee, on February 27, 1837, to George Washington Paschal, an attorney. They settled at Van Buren, Arkansas, near the home of her parents. Paschal, a native of Georgia, had helped move the Cherokees west and later served on the Arkansas Supreme Court. He also represented the Cherokees in their appeals to the United States Congress. The Paschals had six children, of whom three survived to adulthood. The family moved to Galveston in 1848 and built a home at Fourteenth and Avenue H. Sarah, using medical lore from her Cherokee background, helped to treat many yellow fever victims in Galveston in 1850 and turned her home into a hospital. The Paschals were divorced in Galveston on December 30, 1850. Sarah retained the house and the dozen slaves. She married Englishman Charles C. S. Pix on May 18, 1856, in the home of Mirabeau B. Lamar in Richmond. When she traded her Galveston home for land at Smith Point in Chambers County, the Pixes moved there and operated a successful cattle ranch, with six slaves and 520 acres of land. Their only child was born in 1857 and died as a teenager. Mrs. Pix reportedly recorded a cattle brand in the shape of a lizard in 1856 while Smith Point was still a part of Liberty County. The same brand had been used by Major Ridge in branding cattle on his plantations. Sarah filed for divorce at Wallisville, then county seat of Chambers County, in 1880. After a celebrated trial, the divorce was granted in September 1880. She died on her Smith Point ranch on January 8, 1891, and is buried in the McNeir Cemetery at Smith Point. She was an Episcopalian. A state historical marker was erected for Sarah Pix in 1979 on Farm Road 562 north of Smith Point.

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Gloria Jahoda, The Trail of Tears (New York: Holt, 1975). Myra Hargrave McIlvain, Shadows on the Land-An Anthology of Texas Historical Marker Stories (Austin: Texas Historical Commission, 1984). Forest W. McNeir, Forest McNeir of Texas (San Antonio: Naylor, 1956). Marker Files, Texas Historical Commission, Austin.

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

Kevin Ladd, “Pix, Sarah Ridge,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed August 11, 2022, https://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/entries/pix-sarah-ridge.

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May 1, 1995
January 8, 2021

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