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The Pieratts—A Founding Family in Santa Anna

While few would recognize the name today, in Santa Anna’s panoply of founding fathers and mothers, no name stands out more than Pieratt. In fact, when Santa Anna’s very first mayor was sworn in June 7, 1906, his name was S. J. Pieratt.

Silas Jefferson Pieratt was born in Kentucky in 1862. He came to Coleman County in 1892, farming north of the mountain first, then later a place south toward Home Creek. Soon the Pieratt family moved into town, and S.J. opened a grocery, furniture, and dry goods store in the building immediately east of the two-story section of Santa Anna National Bank. The grainy old newspaper photograph shown here shows the Pieratt Store with a substantial crowd standing in front. According to the archive of the Santa Anna News, Pieratt had the structure built in the summer of 1906.

The Pieratt family was involved in many social and political aspects of our city. They were staunch members of the Methodist Church. The picture of the workers building the Methodist church includes S. J. as a trustee. He was also a trustee of the Santa Anna High School in 1910 as well as Secretary of the Odd Fellows Lodge and Clerk of the Woodmen of the World Lodge. Mrs. Pieratt was deeply involved in the life of the Methodist Church from Sunday School to the Women’s Circle.

S. J. Pieratt served as mayor of Santa Anna from 1906 to 1908, beginning a lifetime of public service in one office or another. He ran for and was elected Justice of the Peace Precinct 7 in Coleman County in 1920, then ran for and won the position of County Judge in 1922. That same year, he and his wife Mary Lou moved to Coleman, perhaps thinking living in Coleman would insure re-election to his position as County Judge.

Even though the Pieratts lived in Coleman, S. J. was a frequent visitor to his hometown of Santa Anna. Numerous mentions are made by Santa Anna News editors of S. J. visiting in the offices of the newspaper. His relocation to Coleman did not seem to benefit him, as he was defeated in his re-election bid in 1924. He became a real estate broker after his term as County Judge but continued to run for political offices for some time. He ran for County Judge again in 1926 and 1932, then ran for Justice of the Peace again in 1936. He was appointed Santa Anna City Judge after moving back to Santa Anna in 1940. The Pieratts were integral to Santa Anna life for many years. S. J. died in 1945 and was buried in the City Cemetery beside his wife who died in 1934.

S. J. and Mary Lou Pieratt had ten children, five girls and five boys. All of the children made lives for themselves scattered across the nation. Some went to California where they led productive careers, while others went back to Fort Worth and East Texas and successful professions. One of the younger sons, Dewey, joined the then-named First National Bank of Santa Anna and rose to the position of Assistant Cashier by 1920 and Cashier in 1937. In 1939, Dewey Pieratt and his family moved to Beeville where he took the position of Cashier at the Beeville National Bank. The Pieratts were as vital to the Beeville community as they had been to Santa Anna. Dewey was named President of Beeville National Bank and later assumed the position of Bank Director. He was selected to Who’s Who in Banking in America. Dewey Pieratt died and was buried in Beeville in 1965.

The Pieratt family was important to the development of the City of Santa Anna. They led exemplary lives of dedication to their community and to its social features. They were devoted to their church as well as their town, leading by example in various ways. Santa Anna is a better place because of the dedication of the Pieratt family. They helped make us what and who we are today.