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Milam County, Texas

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John H. Bickett

SOURCE: History of Texas, Together with a Biographical History of Milam, Williamson, Bastrop, Travis, Lee and Burleson Counties. (Chicago, IL: Lewis, 1893), p. 473 & 474.

JOHN H. BICKETT - In the old State of South Carolina, which has furnished to the New Southwest so many men of sterling worth and ability, John H. Bickett, the present popular and efficient Sheriff of Milam county, was born March 19, 1861. He bears the Christian name of his father, grandfather and great-grandfather, being fourth in descent from John Bickett, a native of Ireland, who came to this country some time during the last century and settled in Abbeville district, South Carolina. This John Bickett, as tradition has it, was a man of industrious, thrifty habits and an active, ingenious mind, a planter by occupation and the builder of the first gristmill in the locality where he settled.

The father and grandfather of John H. Bickett were born in Abbeville district, and there the grandfather died, a man of some means, but no record beyond that of a useful citizen. The father was killed in the late war, at the battle of Malvern Hill, July 29, 1864, being a member of the Nineteenth South Carolina Regiment. He was a brave soldier and good citizen. The mother of John H. Bickett bore the maiden name of Sarah Weed, and was a daughter of Andrew J. Weed, a South Carolina planter of Abbeville district. The Weeds, like the Bicketts,were among the early settlers of that district, and in ante-bellum days were people of means. But the ravages of the Civil war reduced their estates, and this added to the loss of her husband, left the mother of the subject of this sketch in straitened circumstances. Her courage and industry were often put to the test in providing for her four small children. Of necessity the education which they received was restricted to such as they could get in the local public schools, and even of this the share that fell to John H. was obtained in fragments and at irregular intervals, his time being taken up mostly with his duties on the farm. Tiring of this state of things and being desirous of doing something for himself, he went to a friend one day and borrowed $25, added to it $13 of his own money, being all he had, and put the whole of it into a railroad ticket, boarded the cars and came to Texas. His ticket reached to Hearne, in Robertson county. From that point he continued his way west afoot, crossing the Brazos and striking into Milam county.

He began at once to inquire for work along the route and found his first job at Maysville, in this county, where he took employment at $12.50 a month on a farm. This was in December 1879. For four years he made that his home and was variously engaged, mostly at farm labor, when, in 1883, he came to Cameron and clerked for a year and a half in a store for B. Vogel, and then about the same length of time for R. F. Pool.

January 1, 1887, he went into the Sheriff's office as deputy under A. J. Lewis, and held this position until 1890, when in a "free-for-all race," where there were six candidates in the field, he was elected Sheriff by a vote of 2,257 out of a total vote of 4,140. He gave such satisfaction that he was made the Democratic nominee for the office in August 1892, by acclamation, and in November following was elected, by a vote of 2,907 out of a total vote of 4,837 cast. It is the generally expressed opinion among the people of Milam county that John Bickett is one of the best Sheriffs they ever had. His courage, industry and executive skill make him a model officer in a position like that of Sheriff, which requires the constant exercise of these qualities.

Mr. Bickett married in Brenham, this State, September 10, 1891, Miss Minnie Muse daughter of Dr. J. S. Muse and sister of Judge E. B. Muse, present County Judge of Milam county.

We must say a special thank you to Sylvia Thomas of Georgetown, Texas, for typing the above biographical sketch for use on the Milam County TXGenWeb site.

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Created on 21 May 2004 and last revised on ____________