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T. J. Pilgrim House

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Thomas Jefferson Pilgrim was born December 4, 1805, in East Haddam, Middlesex County, Connecticut, the first of eleven children born to Thomas and Dorcas Pilgrim. While attending a theological institute in New York, he heard that Moses Austin was taking families to Texas. He joined a group of sixty people who came by water, eventually landing in Matagorda Bay, Texas. Pilgrim and three others set out on foot for Austin's capital eighty miles away. Pilgrim was the only one who made it. In 1829 he organized the first Sunday school in Texas but the Mexican government forced him to close it. In 1838 Pilgrim married Lucy Ives and they moved to Gonzales to start a new school. However, Lucy died soon after their arrival and school plans were postponed. On April 13, 1841, he married Sarah Jane Bennet. Sarah Jane was the daughter of Valentine Bennet, one of the "Old Eighteen." Thomas and Sarah were among the nine charter members of the First Baptist Church of Gonzales. Thomas was the first clerk of the Gonzales Baptist Association. Sarah Pilgrim purchased the lots for this house in 1848. Over the next few years, she and her husband bought and sold several lots in the area, but in 1877 they built their Greek Revival style home here. Thomas served on the board of visitors of Baylor University in 1852-1853, was president of the board of trustees of the Gonzales College chartered in 1852, was county treasurer and also served three terms as Justice of the Peace.
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