Wilbarger, Josiah Pugh (1801–1844)

By: Roy A. Clifford

Type: Biography

Published: 1952

Updated: March 19, 2019

Josiah Pugh Wilbarger, early settler, son of John and Ann (Pugh) Wilbarger, was born on September 10, 1801; some sources claim that he was born in Bourbon County, Kentucky, but other sources say that he was born in Rockingham County, Virginia, and moved to Kentucky in 1818. Wilbarger moved to Pike County, Missouri, in 1823 and married Margaret Barker in September 1827. They left for Texas soon after the wedding, arriving at Matagorda on December 26. Wilbarger taught at Matagorda for a year before moving to La Grange, where he taught and did surveying until he settled in Stephen F. Austin's colony in a bend of the Colorado River ten miles above the site of present Bastrop. He was granted a league of land in January 1832. In August 1833 Wilbarger was a member of a surveying party that was attacked by Indians near Pecan Springs, about four miles east of the site of present Austin. He was scalped but was still living when he was found the next day by Reuben Hornsby and taken to the Hornsby home for treatment. Wilbarger never completely recovered from his wound although he lived for some eleven more years. He died at his home near Bastrop on April 11, 1844, survived by his wife and five children. Wilbarger County was established in 1858 and named in honor of Josiah Wilbarger and his brother, Mathias. On April 21, 1932, the bodies of Josiah Wilbarger and his wife were reinterred in the State Cemetery.

Biographical Encyclopedia of Texas (New York: Southern, 1880). Frank Brown, Annals of Travis County and the City of Austin (MS, Frank Brown Papers, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, University of Texas at Austin). Zachary T. Fulmore, History and Geography of Texas As Told in County Names (Austin: Steck, 1915; facsimile, 1935). Margaret Belle Jones, Bastrop: A Compilation of Material Relating to the History of the Town of Bastrop, with Letters Written by Terry Rangers (Bastrop, 1936). Kenneth Kesselus, History of Bastrop County, Texas, Before Statehood (Austin: Jenkins, 1986).

  • Peoples
  • Native American
  • Captives and Victims of Attack
  • Exploration
  • Surveyors and Cartographers
  • Founders and Pioneers
  • Pioneers
Time Periods:
  • Texas Revolution
  • Republic of Texas

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

Roy A. Clifford, “Wilbarger, Josiah Pugh,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed June 25, 2022, https://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/entries/wilbarger-josiah-pugh.

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

March 19, 2019