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Last Updated on Tuesday, 19-Jul-2005 00:45:53 MDT
Atascosa Co., TX - 30 Nov 2001 - John Swanson Yarbrough

Pleasanton Express Newspaper
Friday's Internet Edition, 2:26 PM, November 30, 2001.

John Swanson Yarbrough links McMullen, Atascosa Co.

Special To Express by Jane Wheeler - The final resting place of one of the earliest settlers in both Atascosa and McMullen counties, John Swanson Yarbrough will be honored with a historical marker in Tilden on Saturday, December 8.

Cecelia Walker, Chairperson of the McMullen County Historical Commission, said the marker dedication is set for 2 p.m. at Hill Top Cemetery.

John Swanson Yarbrough first settled on the Atascosa River, near present day Pleasanton in 1856, prior to the organization of Atascosa County. The first court of Atascosa County was held at Navatasco, the county’s first county seat. On April 14, 1858, Yarbrough filed a judgement at Navatasco, Atascosa County, in the District Court.

In the Spring of 1858, John Swanson Yarbrough, along with his extended family, led a group of settlers to a bend in the Frio River in newly created McMullen County, establishing that county’s first permanent settlement. Named in his honor, the settlement was called Yarbrough Bend, and was located approximately five miles downstream on the Frio River from present-day Tilden.

By 1859, approximately eight to ten cabins had been built and the population had reached about 30 people.

The attraction to the Frontier of Texas was the many thousands of wild cattle and mustangs that had been left behind by Spaniards who came to settle Texas for the King of Spain. The early settlers of McMullen County began to utilized these assets, converting the wild cattle and the gallant mustang into private property.

Swanson Yarbrough was a true Texas hero, having been at the Siege of Bexar (October-December, 1835) and the Battle of San Jacinto on April 21, 1836. Yarbrough served in the 2nd Regiment of the Texas Army under Colonel Sidney Sherman at San Jacinto. That regiment formed the left wing at San Jacinto that victorious day in 1836, leading the charge that was the first to encounter the Mexican Army of Santa Anna.

John Swanson Yarbrough was born in North Carolina on December 25, 1774; died on October 20, 1862; and was buried at Yarbrough Bend Cemetery, a few hundred yards from the bend of the Frio River that bore his name. His wife, Frances Coker Tope Moore Yarbrough, was later buried at his side.

In 1981, as the final stages of construction of the Choke Canyon Reservoir were being completed by the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, several 19th Century graves and cemeteries had to be relocated in compliance with Texas State Law.

The Yarbrough Bend Cemetery was relocated to Hill Top Cemetery in Tilden. Hurley Funeral Home of Pleasanton began the work of moving the old graves on September 20, 1982.

John Swanson Yarbrough will gain his due recognition as one of the great Texas heroes with the placement of this historical marker by the McMullen County Historical Commission.

Transcribed by Renee Smelley

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