Marcus George Settle was a rancher, Civil War officer, and Methodist minister. He was the son of Marcus George Suttle and Susannah Dune, and was born in Tennessee on April 13, 1819. He married his wife Irena, and they had two children, Joshua and Mary (b. 1838 and 1840). By 1841 Suttle moved to Texas under the new name of Settle.
Following the 1842 arrival in Texas, the Settle family welcomed another child, William H (b. 1842). From 1842 to 1847 Settle worked as a farmer. As his wealth increased, so did his family. In 1845 Marcus George was born, followed by Wesley in 1846 and James J. in 1847. By 1847 Marcus may have arrived in Lamar County and set up a 100-acre farm under the name of Charles. By 1848 Charles appears on the tax rolls as M. G. Settle.
During his years in Lamar County, 1847–1858, he concentrated on livestock. By 1850 the value of his livestock exceeded the total value of his farm and farm equipment. That same year he also acquired a slave. He integrated himself within the community through his livestock sales. In 1854 he acquired another young slave, but by 1858 both of his slaves were sold. In Lamar County the Settle family saw the birth of two additional sons, Newton T. (b. 1852) and Lafayette Washington (b. 1857).
Settle moved to a 190-acre farm valued at $800 in Hopkins County in 1859. At that time his holdings included a herd of sixty cattle, fourteen horses, and one slave. By1861 his total land and livestock value had increased, and he owned two slaves. With the outbreak of Civil War, the forty-one-year-old Settle at first used his skills to feed the army.
In 1863 Settle followed many of his old associates from Lamar County and on December 5, enrolled in Joseph W. Speight's First Battalion Texas Infantry (State Troops). This home defense unit saw most of its service within the boundaries of Texas, although contingents of this base went to fight in Louisiana; Settle's detachment was home-based. Quick to utilize his talents, he was made a lieutenant colonel. He continued faithful service to this company until May 11, 1864, when he was elected captain of Company B in a newly-created battalion, Chambers' Battalion Reserve Corps. The war ended with his units having seen no action.
At war's end, Settle adopted "little Frank," the now thirteen-year-old boy, who had been his slave. By 1868 he sold his land, and his family moved to work "Running Stock" for the U.S. Army at Fort Concho, in present-day Tom Green County.
In 1871 at the age of fifty-two, Settle set out for California. He purchased a plot of land in the tiny village of Los Nietos near modern-day Norwalk and became a leader in the community. He became lay minister to the first church in the area, Corazon de los Valles Methodist Church, in 1872. He performed the funeral of his adopted son Frank. Frank was buried at the Little Lake Cemetery under the headstone "Frank Settle—Negro Boy." Marcus G. Settle died on November 20, 1896, and was buried at Little Lake Cemetery next to his wife and Frank. The bodies of all three were later reinterred at nearby Artesia Cemetery.
Is history important to you?
We need your support because we are a non-profit organization that relies upon contributions from our community in order to record and preserve the history of our state. Every dollar helps.
Stewart Sifakis, Compendium of the Confederate Armies: Texas (New York: Facts on File, 1995). Joseph H. Crute, Units of the Confederate States Army, Midlothian, Derwent Books, 1987. Denise Ramirez, "The History of Norwalk."
The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.
“Settle, Marcus George,”
Handbook of Texas Online,
accessed June 27, 2022,
Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
Original Publication Date:
May 31, 2011
This entry belongs to the following Handbook Special Projects: