Alfred Brown Peticolas was an attorney, diarist, artist, and Civil War vetern who left his mark on Texas. He was born on May 27, 1838, in Richmond, Virginia, to Julius Adolphus and Mildred Warner (Brown) Peticolas. He came to Victoria, Texas, in 1859 and set up a law partnership with Samuel White. On September 11, 1861, he joined the Confederate Army. He participated in the New Mexico Campaign and Louisiana Campaign before illness led to his reassignment as a clerk at the quartermaster headquarters.
After the war, he returned to practice in Victoria. On May 3, 1866, he married Mary Dunbar, the daughter of trail driver Margaret Borland, and they had one daughter. Unfortunately, Mary and their infant daughter died the following year of yellow fever. On June 22, 1869, Peticolas married Marion Goodwin, daughter of Dr. Sherman and Lydia Cook Goodwin. They had three sons. In addition to his law practice, Peticolas also served as editor of the Victoria Advocate from 1881-1888. He had several other hobbies, including drawing, traveling to Europse, playing chess, and building fine furniture. He died in Victoria on January 27, 1915.
Peticolas left a wonderful legacy for historians. He was a dilligent diarist, even keeping a journal while serving with Company C, Fourth Regiment, Texas Mounted Volunteers (part of Sibley's Brigade) during the Civil War. Although part of this journal was destroyed during the war, the remaining volumes are an invaluable resource. Don Alberts has compiled the sections relating to the New Mexico campaign into a book, Rebels on the Rio Grande.
Peticolas also left other significant writings, documents, and sketches. He wrote a law book, The Index Digest of Civil and Criminal Law of Texas, which became a standard text for the State Bar of Texas. As an amateur artist, Peticolas sketched many of the buildings in Victoria in the 1800s. Often, these sketches are the only visual record that remains of these buildings.
Peticolas' works are as dispersed as his travels. Many of his personal papers can be found in the Victoria Regional History Center (see contents below). An extensive collection of his drawings is housed at the Witte Museum in San Antonio, TX. Other writings and sketches are held by the Arizona Historical Society.
- Personal Journals, 1859-1862
- Correspondence, 1860-1890s
Contents of Peticolas Collection: Personal and business papers of A.B. Peticolas, including original journal (1859); photocopies of some sketches; ledger from Civil War.
Alberts, Don E. Rebels on the Rio Grande. Albuquerque: Univ. of New Mexico Press,1984.
Curlee, Kendall. "Peticolas, Alfred Brown." The New Handbook of Texas. Ed. Ron Tyler et al. Vol. 5. Austin: Texas State Historical Association, 1996. 168-69.