John H. Chrisman, pioneer settler in Coryell County, was born in Charleston, Indiana, on May 25, 1821. He married Samantha Minnis in Illinois and moved by 1846 to Arkansas, where his wife died.
Leaving his two children temporarily, he returned to Illinois and married Sarah Mitchell. The couple reclaimed his children in Arkansas and moved to Texas, where they arrived at Fort Gates on April 4, 1854. With his second wife Chrisman had nine more children. He surveyed the original townsite of Gatesville in 1854 and made a plat map of Coryell County.
He built the first Coryell County Jail in 1855 and served as justice of the peace from 1855 to 1861. At the same time, he sold dry goods and groceries for a period of three years, buying goods in Houston and hauling them to Gatesville in ox wagons. He carried mail between Gatesville and Comanche beginning in 1858. In 1859 Chrisman drove a herd of cattle to Shreveport, Louisiana.
He was admitted to the bar on March 29, 1866, and practiced law in Gatesville, where he died at the age of 100 in February 1922.