JOHN HOSTETTER, Danville Mounted Riflemen


© Karen McCann Hett  All Rights Reserved 2003-2014

John Hostetter, often called ďUncle Jack,Ē led quite an adventurous life. He was born in Kentucky on March 1, 1799, to Isaac Hostetter and his wife, Mary “Polly” Keithley.

Johnís father, Isaac Hostetter, was born August 2, 1770, died December 24, 1844, and is buried in the Hostetter Cemetery near Frankford, Missouri. Isaac was the son of Francis Hostetter and his wife, Franzinia Schutz.

Johnís mother, Mary “Polly” Keithley, was born September 26, 1779, died March 15, 1855, and is also buried in the Hostetter Cemetery. Mary was the daughter of Jacob Keithley and Barbara Rowland.

Isaac moved his family to St. Charles, Missouri, the same year that John was born, 1799. Then in 1817, the family moved to Pike County, Missouri. John was married that same year to Hannah. Hannahís maiden name is uncertain. It has been reported to be Donovan, Donnely, Donahue, and other variations, but no proof has been found for any of these possible surnames.

According to Johnís obituary in the Louisiana, Missouri Journal, April 15, 1871, he and his family emigrated to Dubuque, Iowa, in 1835, and were there until 1836, when he returned to Ralls County, Missouri. From there he went to Texas in 1838. He received a conditional headright of 640 acres of land in Montgomery County, Texas, on April 30, 1839. He is listed on the Montgomery County tax list of 1840. Then on November 6, 1843, he proved that he had “resided in the Republic of Texas three years and performed all the duties required of him as a citizen” in regard to the land grant.

Around 1849, John joined the gold rush and took his family to California, settling near Sacramento. His family is enumerated on the 1850 Sacramento County census. In California, he was engaged in the garden and dairy business. About 1851, the family returned to Texas. On November 2, 1853, he wrote to the county clerk of Montgomery County requesting a license for retailing liquor.

He appears on the 1860 Montgomery County census as a sixty-one year old farmer. He lived in the vicinity of Danville; he is enumerated with his wife, “H” (Hannah) age sixty. John was the owner of four slaves at this time.

John Hostetter, one of the original incorporators, joined the Danville Mounted Riflemen as a private on May 4, 1861. He appears on the muster rolls of September 13, 1861 and of February 14, 1862. He was elected second corporal, and this is indicated on the February muster roll. John was also marked “Over age” on that roll. His name does not appear in any Texas regiment during the Civil War.

It is interesting that John's grandson, Roland Truitt, was also a member of the Riflemen.

After the war, John signed the Amnesty Oath in Montgomery County. This was necessary in order to have his voting rights restored, since he had served the Confederacy as a member of the militia. His name was copied into a list and bound into the book in the county clerk's office.

John is listed in the membership of San Jacinto Masonic Lodge 106.

In 1867, following the Civil War, John and Hannah once more headed for Missouri. A letter written to some of his children on March 12, 1868, tells about the move. In it, he says he is concerned about how he will make a living; he also says that the “Old Ladies hart is thare with you and I am not far behind her.”

The 1870 Pike County, Missouri, census shows John as a merchant and Hannah keeping house. When Hannah leased their property following Johnís death, the lease refers to “one house formerly owned and occupied as a confectionery by John Hostetter.”

John wrote his will on Apil 6, 1871, and died the same day.

He refers to his “aged and beloved wife, Hannah, who has shared with me during more than half a century all the toils incident to mortal life. ” His funeral service was conducted by the Masonic fraternity, according to his obituary.

John is buried in the Hostetter Family Cemetery on the old Isaac Hostetter farm three and one-half miles northeast of Frankford, Missouri.

After his death, Hannah went to California to live with a daughter. She died in Sonoma, California, on July 11, 1893. Her obituary from the Franklin Chronicle, Vol. XV, 4 Aug. 1893, repeats the saga of their travels. It states that she was the mother of nine children.

One of John and Hannahís daughters was Martha Jane Hostetter, who married William Lindley in Montgomery County, Texas. William was the brother of James, John, and Elijah Lindley.

The information on the life of John Hostetter has been compiled by Suzanne Reese based on many items generously shared by Kevin Daniel, Gary Bryant, Mary Lee Axtell, and Pat McAllister, all Hostetter descendants. Suzanne can be reached at Johnís record of service in Danville Mounted Riflemen is from the Muster Roll on file in the Texas State Archives. His membership in the San Jacinto Lodge #106 is from the Lodge history compiled by John Massey.

For further information and records of all Confederate soldiers of Montgomery County, Texas, as well as histories of the regiments they served in, see Montgomery County, Texas, CSA by Frank M. Johnson. The book may be purchased by visiting Frank's website at or by contacting Frank at

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© Karen McCann Hett  All Rights Reserved 2003-2014
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