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About John Redus


Memoir by his wife at age 90, written in a letter and transcribed to pdf.

JOHN REDUS, son of Aaron Redus and Lucy Ann Oglesby, was born In Athens, Alabama on Christmas day, 1833. In the 1850 Federal Census, he was 17 years old and living with his parents in Aberdeen, Mississippi. He was the eleventh of thirteen children born to Aaron and Lucy Ann Redus. Aaron Redus's entire family suffered from tuberculosis, as did the families of his half brothers, James, William, and Thomas. Aaron encouraged his sons to move west to a drier climate for their health. With this in mind, he furnished John with a span of horses, a buggy, and a negro slave. They set out for Texas in 1854. After a long and tiring journey, they finally came to the newly established town of Austin, Texas, where he found a large assembly of people, many of whom were from San Antonio, who came to hear General Sam Houston, the hero of the battle of San Jacinto and conqueror of Santa Anna, President of Mexico. This was a colonization rally to bring settlers to Texas. John Redus bought land about twelve miles southwest of the town of Castroville, Texas. This was a rather extensive tract of land embracing several thousand acres along the Hondo and Seco creeks. His father sent him more money, and he continued to buy land and cattle. He bought out the Adams brothers who had large holdings nearby.

John visited the McLemore family north of Castroville and got well acquainted with Sallie, whom he married on December 11, 1859, on her 20th. birthday. The following day they moved into their new home, which John had built. This is Sally McLemore Redus's life story that was published by the Devine News in 1929, which shows the hardships she endured. "I was born in Benton County, Alabama the eleventh day of December 1839. My parents moved to Mississippi when I was two years old and lived there for ten years. We started to Texas in wagons, bringing eleven slaves with us, there being twenty-two in all. After getting through the bog of the Red River, everything, horses, wagons, and family were put on a boat at Delta, Mississippi, and landed at Galveston, Texas, in December 1851. It was there that we experienced our first Texas norther. After staying there a few days, we resumed our journey, and next landed at Indianola, where we camped on the white sands of the beach. The next morning the horses were put to the wagons and we set out for Gonzales. The horses seemed as happy as we children did. On reaching there, my father, Daniel McLemore, met an old Alabama friend who took him to the Erskin farm. I presume we could not have gone any further, as all of our means had been used up. My father rented land from Mayor Erskin in Gonzales County on the Guadalupe River.

We lived in two log cabins on a ditch, which caused us to have chills and fever all year. We would pick cotton one day and have the chills the next. When a number of stockmen were going west to raise cattle, my father went with them. In Castroville, Medina County, he met Charles DeMontel, who was a land speculator and surveyor. He went with my father to the Hondo creek and sold them land at two dollars an acre without improvements. He rented his father his farm, which was a mile above Castroville. That year the crops were poor. We didn't have cotton to pick as we had hoped since we knew nothing of the long spells of drought. That fall after crops had been gathered; my father decided to build a house on the land we bought. He and the negro men went to the creek and hauled rocks to build the house. My mother saw that we would not have a house ready for winter, so she took us all out there and lived until they could put up a shack with a shingle roof. Our temporary home consisted of four iron bars stuck in the ground with straw thrown on the top. It was a very cold winter, but we had plenty of bedding. We slept on a feather bed and covered with another. When the house was finished, all hands went to work clearing land, building fences, which were made by packing brush between pickets.

The German people had towns at New Fountain and Quihi. They had to live there because of Indian raids, but we didn't know then why they all lived in settlements. They were very good to us, loaning us cows to milk, and inviting my sister and me to their parties. They would warn us when they knew the Indians were about to raid so we could have the horses penned up. The Indians finally got the ten fine head of stock we had. After we had been there for two years, three other families came from Mississippi. One, a newly married couple, Mr. and Mrs. John Malone. The bride, a college graduate, decided to open a school, as her husband was away so much looking after his cattle. This was the first school I had attended in four years, and I might say the only real school I had ever attended. Mrs. Malone was my life long friend. She died several years ago in Luling, Texas.

Our spiritual life had not been entirely neglected through all these years while we had been wrestling for a living. We had been here three or four years when the first preacher, with his wife, came. I presume they had been sent out by some missionary. They were Methodist and came in an open one-horse buggy. They would go from one house to another and hold meetings. We would call him a very poor preacher now, but he could preach and sing, and we were always glad to have him and his wife come. (The Methodist preacher was Brother Fisher). He would go as far west as Uvalde, which was a perilous part of the country in those days. He drove his buggy with his gun within reach but never had to use it. Our next preacher was Mr. Briggs, who was an invalid. My mother, the Malones, and the Franks were Baptist. Several families, including the Heaths, Rackley's, and others, bought land six miles below us on the Hondo creek. They organized a Baptist church with seven members. I had been converted while on a visit with one of my sisters in Guadalupe County. When I came home, I united with this church, which was the first church in the County. The church house was made of pickets set in the ground and covered with straw. There was no floor, and the seats were made of split logs. Our meetings didn't last long as it was droughty, and most of the people had to leave. The church members were given letters of dissolution before they left. We had no church for a long time, but the Methodists had a circuit preacher by the name of Myers, and we worshipped with them. With the Malones and relatives came my first sweetheart. He was the only young man and I the only young American lady, be we didn't get up a big courtship. We spent Sunday evenings pleasantly but had no places of amusement.

Soon there came a young man, John Redus, from Mississippi, who was a friend of the Malones, and he boarded with them. I was still the only young lady, as my three sisters had married Gonzales men, so Mr. Redus and I were very much together. After he had lived here a year, his father Aaron Redus sent him money to buy land and cattle for himself and two brothers, George and William. During this time, he had gotten acquainted with the Adams boys, who owned a big ranch down on the Hondo Creek, thirteen miles below our home. He bought land near there and stayed with them to learn the cattle business. He came to see me quite often as he was my real sweetheart. Soon we were engaged, and just after his father died, he had to go back to Mississippi to settle business affairs. While he was there, his sisters chose a wife for him to bring back to Texas, but he brought only her picture. I told him I didn't blame his sisters as they knew I was a backwoods, ignorant girl. His two brothers, William, George, a 12-year-old nephew, Tally Burnett, and a family of negroes came back with him; and a family of negroes came back with him; three of them Tom Sullivan, Sarah, and Monroe Brackins, are still alive. They built a two-room house with a stick chimney, and the old colored woman, who used to be a cook for their mother, Lucy Ann Redus, kept house for them. He didn't come to see me very often, and he didn't say a word about getting married, and I had begun to get very unhappy, but I didn't let him know it. I acted very independent and had another beau by this time. I got acquainted with his brothers and had them up to the house several times, so he became to come regularly, and shortly he asked me to name the day to be married. On the11th of December 1859 on my 20th. birthday, we were married.

He had bought a new buggy and a fine horse and the next day we drove to our new home, the Redus ranch. What would that Mississippi bride be said to have gone to such a home? Not a family nearer than four miles, in a country where Indians came to every light moon. The Adams ranch house was within a quarter of a mile of our house. There were seven brothers who owned it. They soon divided their cattle and went west, and this started others selling out and going west too. We held on and prospered. The men would go on round-up and be gone for weeks at a time. I stayed home with the negroes. I had a gun as did Nelson, the old negro slave who was too old to go on the round-ups, so we kept things going home. During one of the round-ups, a bunch of men came riding up to our house as the Indians were after them, I held the candle while old Nelson molded bullets for the men to fire upon the Indians. I was only in my nightgown and nightcap as I didn't have time to dress. Will Redus, brother of my husband, bought Tom Sullivan for sixteen hundred dollars, a hundred dollars for each year he was old. He was sixteen. Ester Bell Wright, one of my slaves, was given to me by my father. She resides in Hondo. My husband bought more land and cattle every year.

Soon the Civil War came, on and our men all went. When the Indians knew that most of the men were gone, they came in big bunches and killed someone every trip. The folks had to go to the bigger settlements, and I took the negroes and went to my father's place near the German village. The colored men and nephew Tally Burnett would go back to the ranch and put out salt for the cattle.

When peace was declared, our men came back home, and we went back to the ranch home, very thankful that none were hurt. George Redus and my sister Annie Kie were married, and we had two babies by this time, so it was necessary for one of us to move. My husband bought the Adams ranch, and we had plenty of room there. We had a home for all of the cattlemen coming along the road. We had a rock schoolhouse built and advertised for a teacher. A nice lady from St. Louis came to take the school, but before the term was out, she married at my house and went to live in Del Rio, Texas. My husband had been in failing health for some time. He was confined to his bed for six months before he died on July 25, 1895. Our financial affairs were not running so smoothly by now. Crops were poor, and we barely made enough to pay taxes. I began to take in borders in an attempt to make ends meet. It was decided that it would be best to sell the ranch. I sold it to a land speculator, J.E. Adam,s for $7.50 an acre. I am now ninety and keep the house. My health is fairly good, and I have much to be thankful for. When I look around and see how few of my dear old friends are left, I realize that 1, too, will soon pass on. Not one of my husband's family is living, and I am the only one out of a family of nine. I have 28 grandchildren living, 33 great-grandchildren, and one great-great-grandchild. There are 5 generations still living.

  • Written by Sallie Redus in 1929 at age 92
  • Originally shared by jtg1959 on 18 Feb 2008 and
  • it was converted to a PDF file by tdeboor1 on 21 Jun 2014.
  • John Redus was born on December 25, 1833, in Athens, Limestone County, Alabama, USA.


John Redus was born on December 25, 1833, in Athens, Limestone County, Alabama, USA.

John married Sarah Sallie McLemore on December 11, 1859, in Devine, Medina, Texas, USA. Together they had the following children:

He died on July 25, 1895, in Devine, Medina County, Texas, USA and was buried Devine Evergreen Cemetery, Devine, TX.[]


Husband of Sarah "Sallie" McLemore. Father of William Hugh Redus, Mary Janetta Redus, Lucy Willa Redus, John Otis Redus, Robert Moore Redus, Elizabeth Lee "Lizzie" Redus, James Presley Redus, Sallie John Redus, Lena Love Redus and Fannie Laura Redus. Pvt. Co A 33 Texas Cavalry, Confederate States of America

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John Redus's Timeline

December 25, 1833
Athens, Limestone County, Alabama, USA
November 14, 1860
Redus Ranch On Hondo Creek, Medina, Texas, USA
August 9, 1861
John Redus Ranch,Medina,Texas,USA
August 2, 1864
Hondo, Medina, Texas, USA
June 20, 1867
Redus Ranch On Hondo Creek, Medina, Texas, USA
December 23, 1869
Redus Ranch, Medina, Texas, United States
December 22, 1872
Redus Ranch On Hondo Creek, Medina, Texas, USA
December 29, 1874
Redus Ranch On Hondo Creek, Medina, Texas, USA
May 1, 1876
Redus Ranch On Hondo Creek, Medina, Texas, United States