Named in honor of Thomas J. Pilgrim (1804-1877), noted pioneer educator. Born in Connecticut, he came in 1828 to Texas, where in 1829 he organized a school at San Felipe, in Stephen F. Austin's Colony. Also started first Sunday School in Texas.
In 1838 he received a land grant of 1,476 acres (including this site) from Texas Republic. Settled in Gonzales in 1840; started a Sunday School and was superintendent until 1871.
Community became a prominent trading post in early 1840s and a hideout of famous gunman John Wesley Hardin in 1870s.