Witt, Andrew Jackson (1815–1870)

By: R. Matt Abigail

Type: Biography

Published: November 15, 2014

Andrew Jackson Witt, state representative, was born in Pope County, Illinois, on August 13, 1815, to John and Ellender (Penny) Witt. Witt was raised in Pope County, but his family later relocated to Greene County, Illinois, at some point in the 1830s. He married Harriet Rattan there on May 6, 1841. They had nine children. Witt’s older brother, Frank Witt, represented Greene County in the Illinois State Senate, and Andrew Witt was elected sergeant-at-arms for the Twelfth General Assembly from 1840 to 1842. He also served as a census enumerator in 1840.

Witt’s brother-in-law, Hamp Rattan, was among the first European men to arrive at the site of present-day Dallas, Texas, in November 1841. However, he was killed by Indians there within a month. In 1845 Witt immigrated to Peters Colony along with his father and several extended family members from Tennessee and Kentucky. They settled near White Rock Creek in present-day Dallas County, Texas, joining Witt’s brother Preston who had arrived in 1842, and established a successful general store and gristmill. Here, Andrew Witt engaged as a successful farmer and horse breeder. His brothers also expanded their mill operation and eventually opened a gristmill bearing the name of present-day Trinity Mills.

Witt soon became active in state and local politics and served as representative for Dallas County from 1853 to 1859 in the Fifth, Sixth, and Seventh Texas legislatures. During that time, he also served as a justice of the peace and county commissioner in Dallas. In 1856 he presented the charter for the city of Dallas to the Texas legislature. In 1861 Witt volunteered for service in the Civil War and served as a captain and quartermaster in the Sixth Texas Cavalry. After the death of his first wife, Witt married Mary Elizabeth Hawpe in Dallas County on May 19, 1864. They had two children. Witt died in Kleburg, Dallas County, on February 9, 1870, and was buried in Oakland Cemetery.

John Henry Brown, History of Dallas County, Texas, from 1837 to 1887 (Dallas: Milligan, Cornett, and Farnham, 1887). Dallas County Pioneer Association, Proud Heritage: Pioneer Families of Dallas County (Dallas, 1986). Danella Dickson, “Andrew Jackson Witt,” The Heroes of the Confederacy: Texas (http://www.ourconfederateheros.org/andrew-jackson-witt/), accessed November 14, 2014. George Jackson, Sixty Years in Texas (Dallas: Wilkinson Printing, 1908; rpt., Quanah, Texas: Nortex, 1975). Journal of the Congress of the Confederate States of America, 1861–1865 [Volume I]
THIRTIETH DAY—TUESDAY, December 24. 1861 (http://memory.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/r?ammem/hlaw:@field([email protected](cc001128))), accessed November 15, 2014. Memorial and Biographical History of Dallas County (Chicago: Lewis, 1892; rpt., Dallas: Walsworth, 1976).

  • Fifth Legislature (1853-1854)
  • Sixth Legislature (1855-1856)
  • Seventh Legislature (1857-1858)
  • House
Time Periods:
  • Antebellum Texas
  • North Texas
  • Dallas/Fort Worth Region
  • Dallas

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

R. Matt Abigail, “Witt, Andrew Jackson,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed May 17, 2022, https://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/entries/witt-andrew-jackson.

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

November 15, 2014

This entry belongs to the following Handbook Special Projects: