Vernon, John Alexander (1831–1891)

By: James A. Hathcock and Bruce Allardice

Type: Biography

Published: June 1, 2011

Updated: July 29, 2011

John Alexander Vernon, county sheriff and Confederate army officer, was born in South Carolina in 1831. In 1850 and 1860 John was a farmer in Webb and Karnes County, respectively, living with the family of Edward and Ann H. Winfield. The presumption is that Ann was either his mother or aunt. In the mid-1850s he served as sheriff of Nueces County.

With the outbreak of Civil War, John A. Vernon volunteered for service in the Confederate Army and received a commission as captain, Company A, Fourth Texas Artillery Battalion on December 10, 1861. The regiment was commanded by Capt. Daniel D. Shea. The Texas Fourth Artillery Battalion under Shea was consolidated with the Eighth Texas Infantry Regiment in February 1863 and placed under the command of Col. Alfred M. Hobby. John A. Vernon and the men of the regiment served along the Texas Gulf Coast during the war and took part in the battles of Corpus Christi on August 16–18, 1862, Lavaca from October 31 to November 1, 1862, and Saint Joseph's Island on May 3, 1863. On May 14, 1864, Vernon received a promotion to major and served at that rank until the end of the war. Vernon and the men of the Eighth Regiment officially surrendered on May 26, 1865, along with the rest of the Trans-Mississippi Department.

After the war he married Mrs. Celestia Shannon of Washington County, Texas, on May 4, 1865 and settled down to run her farm properties. Celestia's daughter by her first marriage, Huldah, lived with them. Active in local government, he served as justice of the peace, and made a run for county sheriff. In 1887 he was called before the United States Congress to testify about election-related murders in Washington County. Major Vernon died on January 1, 1891.

Compiled Service Records of Confederate Soldiers Who Served in Organizations from the State of Texas, National Archives and Records Service, Washington. Madison County Historical Commission, A History of Madison County (Dallas: Taylor, 1984). Stewart Sifakis, Compendium of the Confederate Armies: Texas (New York: Facts on File, 1995).


  • Peoples
  • English
  • Military
  • Soldiers

Time Periods:

  • Civil War

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

James A. Hathcock and Bruce Allardice, “Vernon, John Alexander,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed January 22, 2022,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

June 1, 2011
July 29, 2011

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