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DeWitt Colony Captains-Index


DeWitt Colony

Militia Captains

"We are all captains and have our views."

Mexican colonization policy charged the Empresario with military authority to lead and organize the local defense. In the early days of the DeWitt Colony, military leadership consisted of primarily a person with the title "Captain" earned by initiative and performance rather than official appointment. Minuteman groups were assembled on the spot from willing and able settlers in response to specific threats and the Captain elected by majority vote. In many cases, individuals earned the title Captain by recruiting their own company in response to specific actions by enemies or for longer term security purposes. With establishment of a provisional and then official government just before and after independence, mandates for organization of companies for regional defense were issued. Even then the "Captainship" was usually by election except where an identifiable Captain had raised the company from the beginning. Many early DeWitt Colonists distinguished themselves as minuteman leaders from the onset in resistance to both Indian attacks and in the move for Texas independence. Most returned to their homesteads, farms and ranches when the specific duty was accomplished. Despite the egalitarian atmosphere represented by the famous quote of Robert Coleman "We are all captains and have our views," the sustained records and leadership of a number of individuals whose service in some cases began when they arrived in the colony through the late 1800's emerged head and shoulders among the others as DeWitt Colony Militia Captains. The first official DeWitt Colony Ranger Company, the Gonzales Ranging Company of Mounted Volunteers and biographies of Captains/Lieutenants Almeron Dickinson, George Kimble, and Albert Martin, whose service was cut short by death in the Alamo, are covered in detail elsewhere.

Iin January 1837, the Congress of the Republic of Texas passed legislation which provided for a company of fifty-six Rangers for the frontier of Gonzales County. President Sam Houston appointed San Jacinto veteran Joel Walter Robison, who was involved in the capture of Santa Anna after the battle, as first lieutenant for a company of mounted riflemen for duty in Gonzales County and Nathan Mitchell as second lieutenant. An impact of these official appointments in the area are not evident from the records. Volunteers for Ranger duty were granted tax exemptions. Again official legislation on 3 Feb 1841 authorized the formation of volunteer minutemen for protection from Indian attacks. Each company consisted of no fewer than twenty nor more than fifty-six men who were to elect their own officers and be ready for instant activity. Minutemen were exempt from poll tax, taxes on a saddle horse and from the performance of road duty. As illustrated by the muster rolls available for different Captains below, the same individuals often served in different companies at different times.

Most captains and their companies used as a base of operations and focused on security of a particular region of the colony where they lived at the time in addition to joining forces with other regional companies in larger military actions where necessary. Therefore, the composition of the different companies was largely those individuals living in the specific sector. Capts. Bird and McCulloch focused on and recruited from the immediate vicinity around Gonzales town and covered security of current Gonzales County east into Fayette County; Capt. Caldwell, who used Gonzales town as a base, covered a broad area of the colony and beyond from San Antonio to the Rio Grande; Capt. Callahan operated and recruited from Seguin covering the northern sector of the colony from the western frontier across Guadalupe and Caldwell Counties; Capt. Tumlinson operated out of current Cuero covering the Guadalupe River area south of Gonzales and into Victoria County and Capt. Zumwalt focused on the Lavaca River area. Capt. Cameron operated outside the colony area in the Victoria-Goliad areas.


Security Surrounding Gonzales Town
Siege and Battle of Bexar 1835
The Battle of Plum Creek 1840

Captain James Bird was involved in security and command of minutemen companies in the immediate area around Gonzales town. He received a headright certificate 30 Jan 1838 for a league and labor of land from the Washington County Board which states he came to Texas in 1832. He received 320 acres of land for service (Certificate No. 1745) 21 Jan 1838 for October 6 to December 20, 1835 and Donation Certificate No. 477 for 640 acres of land 26 July 1838 for participation in the Storming and Capture of Bexar, December 5 to 10, 1835.  Bird served with Captain William J. E. Heard's Company at San Jacinto.  While living in GonzalesCo,  he appointed Arthur Swift his agent to survey bounty land in DeWittCo on 19 April 1845.

Capt. Bird commanded a company of 20 to 30 Gonzales men at the Battle of Plum Creek where he had set up camp on 10 Aug 1840 and was on guard for the approach of the Comanche force moving north after the raid on Linnville on the coast when joined by other Texan companies to meet the Indian force. Robert Hall in his memoirs Life of Robert Hall related the following story about Capt. Bird:

It was very seldom that the Comanches ever spared a life, but there is one instance to be recorded in their favor. Capt. Jim Bird, an old Texan, and Rufe Perry were camped on the Clato, about twenty-five miles from Gonzales. They were locating land. They had not seen any signs of Indians, and at that time there was not much fear of a raid from the red devils. Just about sundown the two old veterans were in the act of lying down by their camp fire when about a hundred well mounted warriors dashed up to the fire. The white men thought they were Tonkaways, and they were so sure of it that they hardly felt inclined to rise up. Capt. Bird understood Spanish and Comanche, and he no sooner heard the first words uttered than he whispered: My God, Rufe, they are Comanches. The chief told them to get up, and he then stepped in front of Capt. Bird, whom he well knew, and said: I will spare your lives on one condition. The Tonkaways are camped not far from here, and if you will show us their trail I will let you go. If you do not, I will skin you alive.

Capt. Bird was a brave and an honorable man. He did not like to betray his friends, the Tonkaways, but he thought that while they were hunting the trail he and his friend might get a chance to escape. He accordingly told the chief he would go with him. They made a circle of many miles without striking a trail. The old chief rode up to Bird and caught him by his collar and shook him. He placed his lance against his breast and savagely said: I will give you one more chance, and if you don't find that trail I will run this lance through your heart. They made another long ride, and, fortunately for the prisoners, they heard the low moaning voice of a Tonkaway squaw. She was doubtless cooing over her little baby. The chief ordered them all to dismount at once. A reconnoitering party was sent forward, and they returned in a few minutes, reporting that they were within a few hundred yards of the enemy's camp. Capt. Bird said he felt like a traitor, for he had no idea that the Comanche chief would keep his word and spare his life. The chief mounted about twenty-five of his men on the best horses and rode away. In a short time he returned with four hundred Tonkaway horses---every one that the tribe had. It was a master stroke in Indian warfare. Not a dog barked, not a shot was fired. The Comanches hurried forward towards the mountains, and when a few miles away the chief rode up to Capt. Bird and said, "Buena Hombre," and told him to go. Perry was in an ecstasy of delight, but Capt. Bird was silent and mortified with shame. The Tonkaways never recovered their horses.


Henry Stevenson Brown

Wide Ranging Minuteman & Indian Fighter
Battle of Velasco


Security Central DeWitt Colony-Gonzales, Guadalupe, Caldwell Counties
Signer Declaration of Independence
Council House Fight
Battle of Plum Creek
Santa Fe Expedition
Battle of Salado 1842

Muster Roll 1839
Caldwell's Ranger Company, Gonzales Regiment
Captain Mathew Caldwell
First Lieutenants R.C. Ackland, James Caldwell
Second Lieutenant C.C. Colly
First Sergeants H.H. Haynie, George D. Miller
Second Sergeants John R. King, William Mitchell
Third Sergeant William N. Henry
Fourth Sergeant John Archer
Seth Baldridge, M.L. Bibee, Nathan Burkett, Curtis Caldwell, James Campbell, William Clinton, Green Cunningham, I.M. Day, J.M. Day, M.G. Dikes, A.S. Emmett, James Forrester, Daniel Grady, John B. Gray, Thomas Grubbs, F.W. Happle, V. Henderson; David Henson, Everett Harris, W.N. Henry, John S. Hodge, W.J. Hotchkiss, N.G. Hudson, Maury Irvin, E.R. Jones, William H. Killen, E.R. Killert, H.B. King, John R. King, Henry McCulloch, T.M. Minter, George Washington Nichols, G.H. Nichols, James Wilson Nichols, John W. Nichols, Solomon G. Nichols, Thomas R. Nichols, William S. Osburne, James Pinchback, D.N. Poore, William Putman, David Reynolds, Abram Roberts, Alexander Roberts, James R. Roberts, Jerimiah Roberts, D.W. Russell, John R. Russell, Ezekiel Smith, French Smith, J.R. Smith, William Smith, Andrew J. Sowell, Asa J.L. Sowell, John Newton Sowell, John S. Stump, James A. Swift, A.R. Switzer, T.W. Symon, Nathan Trotter, Nathan Wadkins, Isaac Wallace, W.W. Warren, George W. White, Francis Williams, J.D. Woffin.

The above are compiled from muster rolls and pay voucher records in the Texas Archives.   According to Weinert in History of Guadalupe County, the troop was known as the Gonzales Rangers, over 20 of those on the above list were among the founders of Seguin and at least 30 were residents of GuadalupeCo at one time.


Battle of Coleto Creek-Goliad
Security Gonzales, Caldwell Counties, Seguin Region
Battle of Salado 1842

Capt. Callahan was born 10 Sep 1814 (some say 1812) near Marion (or Marietta), GA and came to the aid of the Texas struggle for independence with the Georgia Battalion in 1835, Capt. J.C. Winn's Third Company, which served at Goliad. He was at the Battle of Coleto Creek and was captured along with Fannin and his men. Because he was a skilled "mechanic," Callahan was among the 20 physicians, nurses, interpreters and mechanics who escaped death in the massacre through the intervention of Se´┐Żora Alvarez and General Francisco Gray. Other sources say he was away on a work detail in Victoria and escaped the action.  Callahan was a co-founder of Walnut Springs (later Seguin) and lived in CaldwellCo in the 1840s where he owned a 350-acre farm and ran a store. He married Sarah Melissa Day in 1841 and had at least four children according to census.

Callahan was an active participant in defense of the area as a Ranger and organized his own company eventually. He led the troop that stopped horsethieves operating clandestinely out of Jose Navarro's ranch on Geronimo Creek.  He served as a Lieutenant in Capt. James Bird's company at the Battle of Salado. In the 1850's, he moved to current Blanco in BlancoCo. He is known for the Callahan Expedition of 1855 in which he commanded three ranger companies in pursuit of Lipan Apache and Kickapoo Indians into Piedras Negras Mexico. Capt. Callahan initially was aided by Mexican authorities in pursuit of the Indians, but later they turned on him and together with the Indians forced him to retreat. In his retreat, he burned the town of Piedras Negras and was dismissed from the Ranger service for the act, although the public generally supported his action. Capt. Callahan was killed in 1856 in a dispute with the Woodson Blassingame family. At first buried in the Blanco Cemetery, the bodies of Capt. and Mrs. Callahan were re-interred in the Texas State Cemetery in 1931. It is believed to be Capt. Callahan and family that were listed in the 1850 census of CaldwellCo: CALAHAN: James H. 36 m GA; Sarah M. 28 f AL; Wesley 7 m TX; James S. 6 m TX; Josiah A. 3 m TX; Catherine1 f TX.

Author John Henry Brown in Indian Wars and Pioneers of Texas writes of Capt. Callahan:

"This modest but gallant man was a volunteer from Georgia and one of those who escaped slaughter in the Fannin massacre in March, 1836. He long lived at the exposed frontier village of Seguin and from 1838 to 1855 was in most of the expeditions from that section against both Indians and Mexicans, frequently serving as commander of a company or detachment. In March 1842, he commanded a company in the retreat from San Antonio before the Mexican column of Vasquez, the writer of this being a subordinate officer under him. He also commanded a company in the battle of Salado, September 18th, 1842. As senior officer of three small volunteer companies, in 1855 he pursued a party of Lipan and Kickapoo Indians across the Rio Grande to their chief encampment near San Fernando, twenty-seven miles inside of Mexico and there had a bloody fight. He was soon confronted by overwhelming odds, including large numbers of Mexican outlaws, and was compelled to retreat, but in doing so displayed such admirable tact and courage as to not only preserve the utmost coolness among his followers, but to repulse the frequent attacks of his pursuers. His wounded, including little B. Eustace Benton, whose brains were oozing through a bullet-hole in his eye, were successfully brought away. This heroic youth, now of Pine Bluff, Ark., was carried for that long distance by Capt. Wm. A. Pitts, of Austin, who placed the wounded and unconscious boy in his saddle and rode behind him on the same horse, tenderly holding his little friend in his arms. This scene with bullets whizzing from a relentless foe, and the father (Col. Nat. Benton) wrought almost into frenzy by what he considered the death wound of his only child, involuntarily recalls the legend of Damon and Pythias. Another youth, Willis, the son of the Hon. William E. Jones, was left dead on the field. The enemy expected to greatly cripple Callahan's force while recrossing the Rio Grande at Eagle Pass, but in this they were disappointed by the timely action of the United States commander, Capt. Burbank, of Fort Duncan, on the Texas bank, who turned his guns so as to rake the western bank and by this ocular demonstration said to the pursuers: "If you attack my countrymen while they are crossing the river, I shall pour shot and shell into your ranks." The admonition had the desired effect and unquestionably saved many lives. It won the heart of Texas to that gallant officer, who hazarded his commission in the cause of humanity, as did his second in command, Capt. John G. Walker, afterwards a Confederate Major General. Capt. Callahan about this time settled on the Rio Blanco, in Hays County, and soon afterwards fell a victim to assassination, regretted by all who knew his worth and his services to the country. It was the privilege of the writer, joyfully exercised in the Legislature of 1857-8, to name the county of Callahan as a tribute to his memory."

Muster Roll 1841
Callahan's Gonzales County Minute Men
Captain James H. Callahan
First Lieutenant William P. Kinkennon
Second Lieutenant James M. Day
First Sergeant John R. King
John Baker, William Baker, Tilman Berry, Ira Bisbee, S.A.M. Boyd, Hosea Marea Cardenas, Joseph D. Clements, William Clinton, S. N. Cockrell, C.C. Colley, Allen A. Crane, James M. Day, S.J. Denyer, M.G. Dikes, E.N. Farris, Isaac A. Farris, James Foster, Robert Hall, William A. Hall, Fred W. Happell, H.C. Henderson, David Henson, Henry B. King, John R. King, W.G. King, Joseph H. Martin, J.S. Martain, Benjamin McCulloch, Andrew Neill, George W. Nichols, James W. Nichols, Thomas R. Nichols, L.L. Peck, George W. Price, James B. Roberts, Jeremiah Roberts, Byrd Smith, Charles A. Smith, Ezekiel Smith, Paris Smith, Byrd Smyth, Andrew J. Sowell, John Newton Sowell, W.G. Steffy, Arthur Swift, Sam Tanner, Samuel Towner, Calvin Turner, John A. Veach

The above is a list of all the names that were on over 30 individual muster rolls for the company in the Texas Archives. All with precise dates of service were signed by "James H. Callahan, Captain, Commander of the Company, Gonzales County Minute Men" and Edmund Bellinger, chief justice, Gonzales County.

Parents teach the name of Cameron to you children!......His acts speak volums more for him than all writers of the world could say. Long last the memory of butchered Cameron!--Joseph McCutchan 1845

Cameron Memorial-La Grange

Security Victoria-Goliad to Rio Grande
Battle of Salado 1842
Mier Expedition (Executed)

Although he was not based in the DeWitt Colony area, a significant number of former DeWitt Colonists and residents during the period of the Republic served under his leadership, primarily in actions against Mexican forays attempting to take back Texas territory. Cameron was a Scottish Highlander by birth in 1807-1811. According to the Handbook of Texas, he was named for the Scottish hero Sir Ewen Cameron of Lockhiel, laird of Clan Cameron and a staunch supporter of King Charles II. The Telegraph and Texas Register hailed him on September 14, 1842, as "a bold and chivalrous leader" who promised to become "the Bruce of the West." He came to Texas as part of or joined soon after arrival the Kentucky Volunteers to aid the fight for independence. He can be described as more in the adventurer class than a landholding settler and builder of Texas society. His base of operations was in the Victoria-Goliad region to the border where he was a cattle trader until 1842 when he formed a minuteman company known as the "Victoria Cowboys." The "cowboys" obtained their name because of their rugged character and ability to live off the land and maverick, if not "rustled", beef, usually confiscated from Mexican ranches during retaliatory raids on the border. Cameron served in the Army of the Texas Republic in various capacities from spring 1836 serving under Clark L. Owen, G.C. Briscoe and George W. Bonnell. Cameron sometimes fought with the losing cause of the Mexican Federalists in their attempts to regain control of Mexico and establish the "Republic of the Rio Grande." While serving with the Federalists under Samuel W. Jordan in Jun 1840, Cameron lost his horse and found in in possession of a Mexican on the Nueces and demanded its return. Col. Antonio Canales, commander in chief of the Federalists, ordered Cameron to give up the horse. After drawing his pistol and refusing, Canales ordered him court-martialed in which Cameron was exonerated and the horse returned to him. The incident made a bitter enemy of Canales. Cameron was a member of the San Patricio Rangers in 1841 whose mission was to protect the cattle trade between Texas and Mexico from bandits on both sides of the border. He participated in most actions resisting attempts by Mexican centralistas to take back Texas after 1841. However, he became an enemy of one time Federalist Gen. Canales. The author's second great granduncle Nathan Boone Burkett periodically joined Cameron's minutemen troop and served with him in the confrontation of Gen. Canales's troops at Lipantitlan in early June 1842 and in the Battle of Salado in which Gen. Woll's forces were routed back to the Mexican border.

Cameron was a prominent leader in the disastrous Mier Expedition in 1842 and the primary leader of an escape attempt at Salado in Dec 1842 as the prisoners were being taken to Perote Prison in Mexico City. After days of wandering in the wilderness without proper guides and provisions, the group surrendered to Col. Domingo Huerta. The escape precipitated the infamous "Black Bean Episode" in which every tenth man of 170 was executed by the draw of a black bean from a mixture of black and white. Capt. Cameron intially drew white, but was ordered executed because of his leadership role by direct order of Dictator Santa Anna on 25 Apr 1843. The order was said to be a result of a petition for the execution to Santa Anna by Capt. Cameron's former comrade and subsequent enemy, Col. Canales. Capt. Cameron's remains along with others of the Mier Expedition were removed to Monument Hill in La Grange where the men of both ill-fated troops of the Dawson Company at Salado and those of the Mier Expedition are memorialized. Cameron County is named in Cameron's honor.

Muster Roll Somervell Expedition 20 Nov 1842
Capt. Cameron's Company, 1st Regiment South Western Army
Col. James R. Cook Commanding
Captain Ewen Cameron (E)
First Lieutenant J.R. Baker
Second Lieutenant A.A. Lee
Sergeant I. Canfield
J. Adams, George Anderson, F. Arthur, L. Bobo, F. Bray, J. Brennan, H. Brown, John Callahan, J. Canty, John L. Cash (E), A. Chaves, James D. Cocke (E), S. DeBow, J.T. Dillon, George N. Downs, C. Egrey, James A. Glasscock, J. Harper, James Johnson, A.B. LaForge, Gideon Lewis, George Lord, Samuel McClellan, J. McGrue, Alexander McKinnell, James M. McMichen, Patrick Maher (E), John Mills, Lawson Mills, J. Moody, J.T. Morehead, T. Murray, J. Neill/Nealy, W.T. Parker, William Ripley, William Simmons, J. Snook, Thomas Tatem, William Thompson, I. Tower, R.W. Turner, William H. Van Horn, A. Walker, William Ward, H.D. Weeks, J.L. Wells, Henry Whalen (E), T. Wheeler, A.E. White, F. White, James Wilkinson, M. Wilkinson

E = Executed by black bean draw at Salado

From Texian Prisoner Joseph D. McCutchan's Journal 1845: Captain Cameron's Death. This great and brave, but neglected man, was Scotchman by bearth. He came to Texas, enlisted in the service of the country, and well did he do his duty. He resided on the western frontier at or near Victoria. It mattered not at what time or in what force the enemy came, Ewing Cameron was ever in the front rank of her defenders. His breast was ever placed to the foe, and ever ready was his arm to strike the blow in defense of the liberties of his adopted Country. He had been in several engagements previous to that of Mier, and had ever, as he did thare, show a determined, firm, resolute bravery, not to be excelled by heroes, either ancient or modern. Yet he had never been noticed, save by those immediately around and acquainted with him. He never made any boast of his own actions but showed himself by his acts to be a modest, unassuming, brave, and determined man. In the Battle of Mier he was captain of the Victoria Company, and he and his men did honor to themselves and their country in that well fought but badly ended battle. I once heard him say that he did not expect the Mexicans would let him escape. He was well known to many of the rio Grande Mexicans personally, and known by character to all. Canales was a personal enemy to him. It was partly through his personal exertions that the "break" was attempted, and dearly did he pay for it. He was unanimously chosen to lead them in the charge at the Salado, and well did he fulfill the duty placed upon him. He gave the word, lead the charge, and acted as cool and heroic as ever man could act. He drew the first bean at the Salado on the twenty-fifth of March. It is said that the Mexicans placed the white beans at the botom and the black at the top, and did not shake them up till Cameron had drawn, thare by plainly showing that it was their wish to murder him, and do it with some show of right. Even a people so base as they wished to have some pretence for an act so barbarous. On the night of the 24th of April 1843, at the solemn and awful hour of midnight he was taken out from his companions, and on the following morning was shot. Why did they not commit the horrid deed by night? It was too murderous for the light of day! Oh! Why could not some saving hand have interposed to snatch the brave, the noble victim, from his barbarous enemies-hurling them into eternity, and thus have saved one brave Texian. The murder of Cameron was an act which should have called fourth the vengance of the world on an insolent and savage race! It was a high, a horrid act of barbarity! It was an awful act! enough to make angels weap! Devils laugh! and man lament! When the Mexican Government saw that he did not draw the "Black bean," it then had him taken out and shot like a dog. May the blood of Cameron and his companions be on the heads of their murderers. We did not see him shot. The following is told by a Mexican who saw it.

They lead him out, and wished to blindfold and tie him; he refused saying that he feared not death, and he would die as a man and a soldier should die, free and unfetered. They then shot him, but not to kill, only to cripple. After wounding, they tied, blindfolded, and shot him as if he had been a dog! but he received his death bravely, without a murmur or shudder. Thus died your leader.

This was, recollect, told by an enemy. Even they could not but give credit for his heroism. Even though they murdered, they could not but admire him, for the calmness with which he met his death.

Parents teach the name of Cameron to you children! May his name live! Nay it will live while time lasts, and when time shall be no more, Eternity itself shall catch and dwell with increasing rapture on the name of Cameron, a man neglected while living, but lamented and revered, now dead. That Noble man met an untimely and bloody end. But he met it with that cool and laudable front which he had ever presented to danger. His acts speak volums more for him than all writers of the world could say. Long last the memory of butchered Cameron!


Security Washington, Gonzales County Area
Battle of San Jacinto 1836
Somervell Expedition

Muster Roll Somervell Expedition 20 Nov 1842
Capt. Coe's Company, 1st Regiment South Western Army
Col. James R. Cook Commanding
Captain Phillip Coe
First Lieutenant R.D. Heek
Second Lieutenant J.H. Tom
First Sergeant H.C. McIntire
Second Sergeant John B. Duprey
Third Sergeant A.M. Tandy
Fourth Sergeant Stewart Pipkin
First Corporal W.P. Darby
2nd Corporal G.M. Buckman
James Borin, Mathew Borin, J.C. Bridgman, L. Clemmons, William A. Cole, Benjamin Culbirth, John Ellis, Jordin A. Ervin, Thomas Ervin, Wister Evans, Jesse Farral, Ralph Fuller, Joshua Graham, G.D. Greer, George Guinn, W.W. Hackworth, John Harrell, H.H. Helfer, John Herington, Thompson Higgins, William A. Higgins, Jesse H. Johnson, Nelson Lee, Jermiah Leekin, J.W. Mitchell, Nelson Mory, Peter Mullen, R.P. Odum, M.T. Owen, Elijah Pennington, Elisha Pennington, William Pepkin, R.R. Puckett, Thomas Ransom, William M. Tandy, B.E. Tarver, Alford Tom, Charles Tom, George West, Richard Whitehead, William Winn


Muster Roll Somervell Expedition 9 Nov 1842
Capt. Fisher's Company, 2nd Regiment South Western Army
Col. James R. Cook Commanding
Captain William S. Fisher
First Lieutenant Warren Wilkinson
Second Lieutenant Claudius Buster
First Sergeant A.C. Hyde
Second Sergeant William A. Jackson
Third Sergeant Thomas Smith
Fourth Sergeant William Mitchell
James C. Armstrong, J.H. Arnett, S.W. Biggs, G.W. Bonnell, R.F. Breham, A.F. Burrus, George W. Bush, James H. Calvert, William Connell, R.M. Crawford, Campbell Davis, Leonidas Edwards, S.L. Hackstaff, William H. Harrison, Charles Hensley, William Hensley, Benjamin Humphrey, John E. Jones, Richard Keene, Elias Lester, Stanley Lockerman, James Matson, W.E. Millen, L.P. Moore, J.M. Ogden, Thomas Ransom, John Shannon, James Simpson, Gabriel Smith, John Toops, J.L. Vaughn, Thomas H. Webb, L. Wilkinson, J.W. Willis, Benten Wills


Security Lower Guadalupe River, DeWitt County
Battle of San Jacinto 1836
The Battle of Plum Creek 1840
Battle of Salado 1842
Somervell Expedition
Mier Expedition

Capt. Friar recruited from and operated from his base in the current vicinity of Cuero. He first came to Texas in 1828 as part of Austin's Colony at Washington-on-the-Brazos. In Oct 1835, he was appointed by the General Council at San Felipe de Austin to form and command a company of rangers looking after security between the Brazos and Colorado Rivers with headquarters at Ouchaco, current Waco. Although he does not appear in official records records, Capt. Friar commanded a volunteer company at the Battle of San Jacinto as attested by an order by joint resolution of the Congress of the Republic in 1838. Accounts of the Battle of Salado in 1842 refer to Capt. Friar and his 35 men from Cuero. Capt. Friar and presumably some of his men are listed on the muster roll of 23 Nov 1842 of Capt. Clark Owen' Company for the Somervell Expedition

Daniel Boone Friar often called Captain D.B. Friar, was born April 4, 1800. He came to Texas from Carolina with Robertson's Colony, Stephen F. Austin's second colony. Friar was a Mason and a Democrat of Protestant faith. He was an educated man, a real leader of men and played a prominent part in the military history of Texas in 1835-36. D.B. Friar was in command of Rangers between the Brazos and Colorado Rivers in 1835; he was a Scout at the Battle of San Jacinto and was also Captain of one of the volunteer companies. He was active in defending against Indians. In March of 1840 Dan Friar fought in the last battle of the Great Indian Wars, the Battle of Plum Creek, near Lockhart, Texas. He was also a member of the historic Mier Expedition which was formed to retaliate against the capture of Texans during the Santa Fe Expedition. Friar was probably saved from death because he followed Sam Houston's order to turn back at the banks of the Rio Grande River.

After military duties were over, Friar managed a mercantile establishment in Washington County under the name of Daniel B. Friar and Company. His business thrived during the years 1837-8. On September 21, 1839 Friar bought 1261 acres of land of the Sam Lockhart Survey, then Gonzales County, later DeWitt County, for $2500. On the La Grange-La Bahia Road which crossed his land, Friar erected a two story house. For more than a quarter century it was used as a home, store, stage-stop, post office, public hall, tavern and general community center. May 22, 1846 DeWitt County's first U.S. Post Office was established there and he served as the first Postmaster. When the county's first railroad came through Cuero, four miles south of the Friar Stage-stop, the post office was moved to Cuero. Friar had a helpful part in the early organization and progress of the area. He taught school on Cuero Creek for two years (1840-42), In 1842-46 he was appointed Commissioner to select a site for the county seat of DeWitt County. He tried to give one hundred acres from the Sam Lockhart Survey for town site lots. It was not accepted after much bickering. In 1850 the county seat was moved to Clinton, west of the Guadalupe River. Business developed in Concrete and Clinton, causing a decline at Friar's store. In September 1849 he sold 661 acres to Crockett Cardwell. Daniel remained active as a stockman in this area. Some time later he moved to Yorktown, Texas, continued ranching and established another stage-stop.

Daniel Boone Friar's wife was Anne Friar. There are conflicting facts as to her name, birth date and place. One appears on her obituary. It follows:

A Texas Pioneer Dead, Born: March 19, 1802 at Milledgeville, BaldwinCo, Georgia. Died: March 21, 1899 at Cuero, Texas. Mrs. Ann Friar died in this city yesterday at the residence of her daughter, Mrs. Aaron White, at the advanced age of 87 years. Mrs. Friar was truly an old Texan, having been a resident of the state for 71 years. She, along with her husband, Daniel B. Friar, were among the first families who came as colonists with Stephen F. Austin. She was well acquainted with all the great men of Texas of early days. Generals Robert E. Lee and Joseph E. Johnston were frequent guests at her house while they were in Texas, and it is said that General Lee was there when the news of Virginia's secession first reached him. Hers was, indeed, a life full of honor, and whose character might well be emulated by all.

Another theory concerning their marriage is in their Marriage Bond:

I, Bridget Lamb, widow of Bernard MeGairy, deceased, do hereby give my free consent to my daughter Anne McGairy to marry with Daniel B. Friar of this parish (St. Landry, Louisiana). In witness whereof I have hereunto signed at Opelousas the 5th day of October in the year 1826. Daniel B. Friar, son of Daniel Friar and Elizabeth Garrot, native of Columbia, South Carolina."

Still another place of birth comes from DeWitt County Census of 1850 - "Dan, birth place Georgia, Anne, birth place-South Carolina."  Conclusion: one wife bearing all names, or two wives, each named Anne. Anne enjoyed reading Shakespeare. She was a whiz with a rifle. In January 1858 Daniel was ambushed and killed for his coins and gold. He was returning home to Yorktown from San Antonio where he had sold cattle. Dan B. and Anne are buried in Yorktown, Texas.

The Friars became parents of the following children: Sarahann, who married William Miskell, reared a family and passed the greater part of her life in DeWitt County. Alfred L., who was a soldier in General Sam Houston's army, later took part in the Mexican and Civil Wars, and passed the rest of his life as a farmer and stockman in DeWitt County. Stephen, who died unmarried. Fannie, who was the widow of Dr. Aaron C. White. Susan who was the wife of William Weisinger, sheriff of DeWitt County as long as he could be induced to hold that office. Mary, who married George Williams and spent her life in Victoria. William S., who was the father of Sidney Johnston Friar. Jack, who spent his career as a cattleman in DeWitt County and left a family by his marriage to Dordelia Peace. Ella, who was born and died in Yorktown and married John Rutledge, one of the most prominent Texas cattleman, who died in Kenedy. Edward B. who died a minor serving on the Somervell Campaign for the Republic of Texas. Anne Friar Thomas, Margaret A. Thomas, Jean Ann Friar Sheppard (From The History of DeWitt County, Texas. Reprinted by permission of Curtis Media Company)


Security of Gonzales Area
Battle of San Jacinto 1836
Peach Creek ca. 1838
Comanche Raid on Linnville 1840
The Battle of Plum Creek 1840
Raid on Gonzales 1841
Battle of Salado 1842

Texas State CemeterySee also Henry E. McCulloch


Security Upper Lavaca River, Fayette County
Battle of Salado 1842
Somervell Expedition

Muster Roll Somervell Expedition 11 Nov 1842
Capt. Mitchell's Company, 1st Regiment South Western Army
Col. James R. Cook Commanding
Captain Isaac Mitchell
First Lieutenant J.H. Evetts
Second Lieutenant Alvin Nye
First Sergeant J.H. Brown
Henry Bridger, J.D. Brown, Edward Clark, George Wilson Clark, William Coates, N.G. Cox, W.L. Ellis, B.C. Greenwood, Francis Hancock, William Hopson, Robert Johnson, Edward Linn, J.H. Livergood, J. Millican, J.H. Millican, L. Millican, D. Overton, W.M. Phillips, W.S. Powell, J. Price, L. Rector, M.C. Rountree, Jonathan Scott, O.H. Stapp, W.P. Stapp, W.W. Stapp, J.C. Stuterville, W. Vandyke, William Vess, W. Walker, G.W. Walton, James Young, William Young, Isaac K. Zumwalt, John Ewes, John P. Smith


Security Lower Guadalupe River
Siege & Battle of Bexar
Comanche Raid on Linnville 1840
The Battle of Plum Creek 1840

Tumlinson was born 19 Dec 1804 in probably NC (some records call him a native of Tennessee), was a military leader and Indian fighter involved in security of the DeWitt Colony, particularly the area around current Cuero covering most of current DeWitt County and northern Victoria County. He arrived in the DeWitt Colony in Dec 1829 with a family of 2 in land records and received a sitio on the east bank of the Guadalupe River adjacent to the Jose Valdez tract on which Cuero became located through purchase by Samuel Williams subsequent owners. He was commissioned by the Provisional Government of Texas in Nov 1835 to form a company of rangers for protection of an area northwest of current Austin and is considered one of the earliest "official" Texas Ranger captains. With his company, he served in the Siege and Battle of Bexar.

In Feb. 1836, Capt. Tumlinsons company was in the area when Mrs. Hibbins appeared at the Hornsbys after her escape from Comanches which had taken her and children captive after murdering her husband and brother (and subsequently her baby) while returning from a visit to her home in IL. Capt. Tumlinson knew Mrs. Hibbins well who had lived in the Cuero area where her previous husband McSherry was also murdered by Indians. Capt. Tumlinson gave immediate pursuit following Mrs. Hibbins description. According to author John Henry Brown, Tumlinson knew the country and was sure he could intercept the Indians further up the country. After traveling all night stopping only to rest his horses, he encountered the Indians about 9 AM just as they were breaking camp which Capt. Tumlinson described in his own words.

"The Indians discovered us just as we discovered them, but had not time to get their horses, so they commenced running on foot towards the mountain thickets. I threw Lieut. Joseph Rogers, with eight men, below them--and with the others I dashed past and took possession of their route above them. The Indians saw that the route above and below them was in our possession, and struck off for the mountain thicket nearest the side of the trail. I ordered Lieut. Rogers to charge, and fell upon them simultaneously. I saw an Indian aiming his rifle at me, but knew that he must be a better marksman than I had seen among them to hit me going at my horse's speed, and did not heed him till I got among them. Then I sprang from my horse quick as lightning, and turned towards him; at the same instant he fired; the ball passed through the bosom of my shirt and struck my horse in the neck, killing him immediately. I aimed deliberately and fired. The Indian sprang a few feet into the air, gave one whoop and fell dead within twenty-five feet of me. The fight now became general. Pell-mell we fell together. The Indians, thirteen in number, armed with bows and rifles, were endeavoring to make good their retreat towards the thicket. Several of them fell, and two of my men were wounded; when finally they effected an entrance into the thicket, which was so dense that it would have been madness to have attempted to penetrate it, and we were forced to cease the pursuit. I dispatched Rogers after the child, the horses and mules of the Indians, whilst I remained watching the thicket to guard against surprise. He found the child in the Indian camp tied on the back of a wild mule, with his robe and equipment about him fixed on for the day's march, and had to shoot the mule in order to get the child. He also succeeded in getting hold of all the animals of the Indians, and those they had stolen. My men immediately selected the best horse in the lot, which they presented to me in place of the one that was killed. We watched for the Indians a while longer and in the meantime sent a runner for the doctor to see to the wounded. I sent a portion of the men under the command of Rogers with the child, and the wounded men and I brought up the rear. The wounded were Elijah Ingram, shot in the arm, the ball ranging upwards to the shoulder; also Hugh M. Childers, shot through the leg. Of the Indians, four were killed. We arrived that night at Mr. Harrell's, where we found Mrs. Hibbins, the mother of the child. Lieut. Rogers presented the child to its mother, and the scene which here ensued beggars description. A mother meeting with her child released from Indian captivity, recovered as it were from the very jaws of death! Not an eye was dry. She called us brothers, and every other endearing name, and would have fallen on her knees to worship us. She hugged her child to her bosom as if fearful that she would again lose him. And---but tis useless to say more."

The following is the uncompleted roster showing dates of service of Capt Tumlinson's Rangers who participated in the rescue of the Hibbons child.   The compilation was contributed by and is part of the ongoing research of James D. Gray.  It has been compiled largely from records in the Texas General Land Office and Archives of the Audited Claims of the Republic of Texas.  Capt. Tumlinson received his appointment as a result of the independence Consultation of November 1835 at San Felipe de Austin.  As indicated on land claims, the troop was under command of Major Robert M. Williamson who was also appointed at the consultation.

Captain John J. Tumlinson
(28 Nov 1835-17 Aug)
1st Lt. Joseph Rogers (28 Nov 1835-9 Aug; Died 9 Aug)
2nd Lt. George M. Petty (28 Nov 1835-March 1836; resigned)
Hugh M. Childress
(17 Jan-18 July) (Wounded)
Joseph Cottle (3 Feb-26 Apr)
James Edmunston (9 Feb 1836 -)
Felix W. Goff (17 Jan-17 Apr)
James P. Gorman (3 Feb-3 May)
Daniel Gray (3 Feb-20 Jul)
Joshua Gray (4 Feb-27 Apr) (Died 27 Apr)
Thomas Gray (3 Feb-26 Apr)
James Haggard (3 Feb-27 Apr)
Howell Haggard (1 Feb-14 May) (Died 14 May)
Eligah W. Ingram (18 Jan-14 Feb)
(Badly wounded, discharged at Hornsby's)
Robert B. Owen (2 Feb-15 Mar)
Henry P. Redfield (10 Feb-15 May)
Noah Smithwick (29 Jan-29 Apr)
Joseph Weakes (8 Feb-15 Mar)

Ruben Hornsby/ Scout
Conrad Roarer (Rohrer)/ Wagon Master

By consensus, Capt. Tumlinson became the commander of companies led by Capt. Ben McCulloch from Gonzales and "Black" Adam Zumwalt from the Lavaca River settlements in pursuit of Comanches moving through the colony on to Victoria and Linnville on the coast.

Capt. Tumlinson served in Company F under Capt. Heard at San Jacinto. He was a farmer, rancher and land trader in addition to his role as a minuteman ranger in security of the colony against Indian and Mexican raids. His first wife Laura Cottle was the daughter of Stephen and Sarah Turner Cottle of the Austin Colony. Laura Cottle was the sister of Harriett Cottle, wife of Capt. Tumlinson's brother Andrew. After wife Laura and their son Joseph died, Capt. Tumlinson moved to the community of Clinton on the Chisholm tract across the Guadalupe River from current Cuero. Tumlinson married Delaney Aster then her sister Mary Ann Aster. John Tumlinson died in May 1853 leaving one known heir, daughter Amanda L. Tumlinson. She was raised by John's brother Peter in Atascosa County and married Cullen W. Edwards.


Capt. John York

Siege & Battle of Bexar
Security DeWitt County (Killed in Action)

Muster Roll Battle of Bexar 1835
Capt. John York's Company, Texas Republican Army
Captain John York
First Lieutenant John P. Gill
Lieutenants John Freeman Pettus, Edward Peters, Euclid M. Cox, J.A. York, D.M. Jones
Horace Alsbury, Charles Amsley, Ephraim Anderson, James B. Alexander, Moses Allison, John Balsh, William Barnett, James Madison Bell, Pleasant Bell, William Bell, John S. Black, William S. Brown, Squire Burns, John William Burton, Thomas Clifton, Michael Coda, Peter Conrad, Robert Cunningham, Andrew Devault, William Drake, Alex Dunlavy, Alfred Dunlavy, William Edwards, Davis Gregg, F. Haligan, A.H. Jans, Henry W. Karnes, Thomas King, Robert Justus Kleberg, James Lewis, Byrd Lockhart Sr., Byrd Lockhart Jr., Washington Lockhart, Green Berry Logan, William McDowell, Dr. Moore, William G. Neill, Dempsey Pace, E.P. Pallam, John Pamie, John Pickering, Dr. Amos Pollard, Albert Pratt, C.K. Reese, Wm. P. Reese, Albrecht von Roeder, Louis von Roeder, Samuel Ralph, Samuel Srafer, V.W. Swearingen, John R. Taylor, Thomas, William Thornton, James Tumlinson, Littleton Tumlinson, R.C. Wallace, Walsh, Robert White

Spies/Scouts: Rufus Taylor, William Taylor, John J. Tumlinson


Security of the Lavaca River Valley
Battle of Gonzales
Comanche Raid on Linnville 1840
The Battle of Plum Creek 1840
(not documented)
Battle of Salado 1842

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