Shearn, Charles (1794–1871)

By: Craig H. Roell

Type: Biography

Published: 1952

Updated: November 23, 2017

Charles Shearn, early Harris County official, was born in Bath, England, on October 30, 1794. He married Mary Pode in 1818 and immigrated to Texas in 1834. The Texas Revolution induced him to join the Revolutionary Army. He served with Philip Dimmitt's command of volunteers at La Bahía, where he signed the Goliad Declaration of Independence in 1835. He and his son John were captured by Mexican forces under José de Urrea but were subsequently released as British citizens. Shearn moved his family in 1837 to Houston, where he was involved in mercantile operations, served on the city council as an overseer of the San Felipe Road from Houston to Piney Point, and held the post of Harris County chief justice for six years. In 1844 he founded a Methodist church in Houston that bore his name until 1910, when it was no longer listed in the Houston city directory. His wife died, and he married Ann Maria Caldwell Waltmon in 1844. He was the financial agent of the Texas Christian Advocate (later the United Methodist Reporter) from 1852 to 1855 and 1864 to 1865. He also was an original trustee of the Houston Scientific Institute, incorporated on November 10, 1866, "for the increase and diffusion of knowledge." Shearn died on November 21, 1871.

Daughters of the Republic of Texas, Founders and Patriots of the Republic of Texas (Austin, 1963-). History of Texas, Together with a Biographical History of the Cities of Houston and Galveston (Chicago: Lewis, 1895). William S. Speer and John H. Brown, eds., Encyclopedia of the New West (Marshall, Texas: United States Biographical Publishing, 1881; rpt., Easley, South Carolina: Southern Historical Press, 1978).

  • Peoples
  • English
  • Business
  • Law, Law Enforcement, and Outlaws
  • Politics and Government
  • Religion
  • Methodist
Time Periods:
  • Texas Revolution
  • Republic of Texas
  • Antebellum Texas
  • Houston
  • Upper Gulf Coast
  • East Texas

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

Craig H. Roell, “Shearn, Charles,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed May 20, 2022,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

November 23, 2017

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