SONS OF DEWITT COLONY TEXAS
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The Lista de los Havitantes de la Colonia de DeWitt en el Departmento de Texas 1828 was the first formal government record of residents of the DeWitt Colony which recorded name (Nombre), marital status (Casado o Soltero), previous residence (Estado), age and sex (Edad de Varonil or Edad de hembra), horses (Caballos), cattle (Ganado), donkeys (Jumentos) and swine (Marranos). The list enumerated 10 families with children, 29 single men (present without wives), 82 total individuals, 35 able-bodied workers (Labradores), 7 slaves (Esclavos), 58 horses, 372 head of cattle, 12 donkeys and 276 hogs. Six settlers held more than 15 head of cattle with John Hibbens and John Williams holding the most at 100 and 75, respectively. The most common stock in the colony in 1828 was hogs with ten households holding ten or more head. William Nash and Josiah Taylor were the largest hog raisers with 41 and 75, respectively. Josiah Taylor was the largest combined stockraiser in the colony with his 12 horses, 39 cattle and 75 hogs. Of the 12 donkeys in the colony, Benjamin Fulcher held 10 of them.
As for all censuses and this early one in particular, it is incomplete and does not enumerate those who from other records potentially could be counted as residents of the colony at the time. Those individuals who received title for land grants in the DeWitt Colony for which the records indicate an arrival before the end of 1828 are enumerated in DeWitt Colonists 1828 By Land Record with marital status, date of arrival and number in family. All may not have been residents in 1828 since the arrival date in DeWitt Colony records could refer to time of arrival in another part of Texas. Arrival dates on DeWitt Colony land grants have been shown to be off by 6 months to a year in multiple cases. The census also failed to list several Hispanic-born grantees who claimed residence in the colony prior to 1829 in land grant applications who are enumerated in DeWitt Colonists 1828 By Land Record. Biographies and links where available are presented (DeWitt Colony Census 1828: Biographical Sketches).
Of the residents listed in the census, there are land records in Texas for all but 8 (Briuno, Callahan, Clark, Harvey, Lawrence, Philips, Porter and White). Briuno, Callahan, Clark, Harvey and Philips are listed with only one horse or none and no other livestock. The holdings of horses and cattle by Lawrence and White (no hogs or donkeys) indicate they may have been traders that happened to be in the colony at the time of census, the others were probably transients. Coleman, Durbin, Gregg, Looney, Smeathers (Smothers), Wightman and Williams received grants in Austin's Colony. Smeathers (Smothers) and descendants were clearly long term residents of the DeWitt Colony. Wightman, a surveyor, and later instrumental in the establishment of Matagorda on the coast in the Austin Colony may have been in the colony for surveying work or as a cattle trader (he is listed as holding 30 head). James DeWitt and Nash received grants in northeast Texas on the Red River in 1835 and Perry received a grant in the Powers and Hewetson venture in 1834. Addition of the residents by land records suggests that the DeWitt Colony at the end of 1828 consisted of 14 families with children, 36 single men and 113 total individuals. It is unclear if native-born grantees Gortari and Marjilo Chirino (widow of Jose Salinas) and families, actually lived on their grants and were residents of the colony. Jose Salinas sold his tract to the Hodges families that arrived in the colony in the 1830's.
DeWitt Colonists of 1828 by Census
Elizabeth Berry, widow, 43, F, Missouri; Nancy Berry, 14, F; James Berry, 11, M; Rheney
Berry, 8, F; Tillman Berry, 6, M---1 horse, 16 cattle, 23 hogs. ["Viuda," or
DeWitt Colony Landholders &
Residents of 1828 by Land & Other Records
Biographies here are DeWitt Colonists (surnames beginning A-G) who were in the colony by census, land or other records through Dec 1828. Other biographies can be found at The Battle of Gonzales-Old 18, Gonzales Alamo Relief Force, Land Grantees & Residents, Gonzales Town Residents and Citizens-Free State of Lavaca.
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BERRY. The Berrys were among the earliest permanent DeWitt Colonists. Elizabeth Berry is thought to be the widowed sister or sister-in-law of Francis Berry. The fate of her and family as listed in the 1828 census is currently unknown. According to land title documents, Francis Berry arrived with wife and total family of six on 12 May 1825 and the two families are assumed to have arrived together from Missouri. Francis Berry arrived with children John and Esther Berry and John and Elizabeth Oliver. John Oliver and Betsy Oliver were grown children (or son and spouse) of his wife by a previous marriage. The labors of land granted to Francis Berry and to widowed daughter, Esther Berry House, were located in the cluster of homesteads between the south border of the Gonzales town tract and the Guadalupe River that also included choice lots owned by Empresario Green DeWitt, Samuel Highsmith, J. Gibson, Adam Zumwalt, David Burket, Charles Braches and Eli Mitchell. Esther Berry Houses land grants were issued in her maiden name after the death of her husband Isaac House in 1830. Her labor is also in the cluster between F. Gibson and Adam Zumwalt. Leagues of land granted to Francis Berry and daughter Esther Berry House (originally granted to husband Isaac House) as well as the quarter league grant to William House were in Caldwell County just east and southeast of the current town of Lockhart which was on one of Byrd Lockhart's leagues.
Members of the Berry family were listed in the 1850 census of CaldwellCo: BERRY: Tilman 24 m MO; Caroline 22 f NC; Sarah Ann 4 f TX; John 2 m TX; Tilman 1 m TX BERRY: Francis 88 m VA; Sarah 60 f SC; James 30 m MO; Sarah Ann D. 7 f TX; NEAL: Francis 11 m TX.
Esther Berry House Floyd Clark--Alamo Widow
"She was brave, patriotic and hospitable and deserves to be recorded among the honored women of her time."
Among the pioneer women of her day should be recorded the name of Esther Berry Clark. Her father, Francis Berry, of Scotch Irish ancestry was born in 1760 and died at Lockhart, Texas in 1853. The family lived first in Brooks County, Esther was born March 25, 1808. After leaving Missouri in 1821, they joined there an emigration party to settle in DeWitts Colony in Texas. Their family, Francis Berry, his wife, two children, John and Esther, and also his stepchildren, John and Betsy Oliver, was among the first to arrive. They came in the fall of 1825, a few weeks after Major John Kerr had made the first settlement on Kerr's Creek, east of the present town of Gonzales. Danger and bloodshed soon beset them. In 1826 a Fourth of July celebration was planned at a settlement on the Colorado near where Columbus is situated. To this John and Betsy Oliver accompanied by Basil Durban and a negro servant started on horseback. Camping at night about fourteen miles away, they were attacked by Indians and Durban was wounded. They made their escape into the thickets, losing their horses and all supplies. After walking home they found that the Indians had also attacked Major Kerrs house, killing and scalping John Wightman and attempting to burn the house. On their own door was written "Gone to Burnam's on the Colorado", so they walked back to this place. Berry and his family had reached there in safety, but their terror and hasty flight and the danger to her older brother and sister were never forgotten by Esther. She married first Isaac House (a runaway match) and her father settled them not far from Gonzales, the home in a beautiful grove of trees remaining long in the possession of the family. He died in 1830, leaving her with three young children, Jane, William and Alfred. In 1832 she married Dolphin Floyd, a young man who had immigrated to the colony in 1826 from Nash County, North Carolina. To them were born three children, Dolphin, John and Elizabeth. They were soon in the midst of the perils of warfare. Her husband was among those taking part in the defense of the cannon at Gonzales, the first struggle of the revolution. Later he was a member of the gallant company of thirty two men who marched to the relief of Travis at the Alamo. Twenty seven of the terrified wives, among them Mrs. Floyd, gathered at the home of Mrs. Braches and here the news came to them of the fall of the Alamo and the death of their loved ones. Short time was left them for grief and inaction. General Houston in his retreat with his army ordered the abandonment of the town, and the families gathered together their most immediate necessities and joined the move eastward. Mrs. Floyd, like many others, had only a two wheeled cart or freighter as it was called. Grease was scarce, and to prevent the wooden axles from firing, she kept them lubricated from her precious gourd of soft soap. At the crossing of the Brazos their cart overturned and all, including a baby a few days old, were spilled into the water. This baby, none the worse for her dangerous ride, was named Elizabeth Whitfield for her father's only sister and lived to mature age. After the Run Away Scrape and the battle of San Jacinto, safety came again and the settlers returned to their homes. [On the return to Gonzales, Alamo Widow Floyd was met and aided by the family Robert Hancock Hunter, described in his narrative of 1860--WLM]
In 1838 Mrs. Floyd was married to Captain John Clark of Kentucky and six children were born to them, namely, Alonzo, Eveline, Sarah, Frank, Catherine and Jesse. Of the twelve children the only ones surviving in 1925 are the youngest son, Jesse and the youngest daughter, Catherine, now Mrs. J.W. Griffin of Nickel, Texas. As often happens where several families are reared together, there was a disagreement because of the children, and in 1849 Captain Clark left for the gold fields in California from which he never returned. To the mother alone then fell the burden of rearing her family, endeavoring to educate them and train them in good citizenship. In 1848 or 1849 she made a profession of faith and united with the Cumberland Presbyterian Church under the leadership of Reverend Henry Renick. She and her children were also baptized in this faith in which she continued a loyal member to the end of her life. Their home was often visited by Indians, usually friendly, but on one occasion they chased her twelve-year-old son, so alarming her that the citizens made the Indians leave the vicinity. For many years the members of the court and bar found accommodation in her home, and the traveler and stranger were entertained. In those days when even the necessities of life were often difficult to secure, she yet managed to provide a table where all might have their needs satisfied. Sorrow still remained with her as she saw four of her children pass away. During the Civil War she sustained a heavy loss in the death of her eighteen-year-old son, Frank Clark, who was killed in the battle of New Hope Church, Georgia in May 1864. She died January 21 1870 and was buried in the Masonic Cemetery of Gonzales. She was brave, patriotic and hospitable and deserves to be recorded among the honored women of her time. [The foregoing was probably written about 1925 by Catherine Clark Griffin, daughter of Esther and John A. Clark. Reprinted from the contribution by Hercel Orts Dilworth in The History of Gonzales County, Texas. (Reprinted by permission of the Gonzales County Historical Commission)]
The single Esther Clark and family were listed in the 1850 census of GonzalesCo, Town of Gonzales: Clark, Easter, 42, f, $2,000, Mo; Clark, John, 15, m, Texas; Clark, Elizabeth, 14, f, Texas; Clark, Evaline, 10, f, Texas; Clark, Francis, 8, m, Texas; Clark, Catherine, 5, f, Texas.
John Oliver also received title to a league and labor as a married man in 1831. The labor is in the cluster just south of his stepfather Francis Berrys labor. The marriage of John and Nancy Curtis is thought to be the first marriage performed in the DeWitt Colony by the authority granted under the Empresario system to Empresario Green DeWitt in absence of a Catholic Priest.
GonzalesCo marriage records (Book A, pg. 10 #1) recorded the marriage as 05 Mar 1829. The details of their marriage and its fate is unclear. Nancy Curtis Oliver married George Washington Cottle on 21 Jun 1835 according to GonzalesCo marriage records (Book A, pg. 12, #35). George Cottle was a part of the Gonzales Alamo Relief Force who died in the Alamo 6 Mar 1836 at which time Nancy Curtis Oliver Cottle became one of the 27 Gonzales Alamo widows. Nancy subsequently married John C. Cooksey. Nancy Curtis Oliver Cottle Cooksey was the daughter of the colorful, hard-drinking ranger and patriot and one of the Old 300 Austin Colonist, James Curtis Sr., said to be the oldest active combatant at the Battle of San Jacinto.
Along with Major James Kerr, his black servants Jack, Shade and Annis, Deaf Smith, Geron Hinds and Bazil Durban, the Berrys and Olivers were among the first settlers at the first settlement at Gonzales on Kerr Creek which was temporarily abandoned because of Indian attack described by John Henry Brown in History of Texas:
Erastus "Deaf" Smith. Smith was born in DuchessCo, New York 19 Apr 1787, the son of Chilab and Mary Smith. His family moved near Natchez, Mississippi in 1798 where current Grand Gulf is located. Erastus was in Texas in 1821 for a short time for health reasons and returned in 1822. His health apparently recovered except for a partial loss of hearing hence the nickname "Deaf" Smith. Smith, also known as "El Sordo," appeared in wide areas of Texas and was in most significant actions related to development of the region both under Mexico and during evolution of independence. He had a place at one time below San Jose Mission where he introduced fine stock of Mulie cattle from Louisiana to the San Antonio area, which before were primarily the Longhorn breed. He used San Antonio de Bexar as a base and his family lived at the southwest corner of Presa and Nueva Streets. Smith married in 1822 a Tejana, Guadalupe Ruiz Duran (b. 12 Dec 1797), the widow of Jose Maria Vincente Duran (m. 1812; children Refugia, Josefa, Lucinda). The couple had four children, Susan Concepcion (b. 15 Aug 1823; d. 22 Jan 1849), Gertrudes (b. 1825; m. Macario Tarin), Travis (b. 1827; d. 1833 cholera) and Simona (b. 28 Oct 1829 in Mission Espada; d. 11 Nov 1890). Susan C. Smith married Nathaniel Fisk (b. 4 Sep 1815 Scranton, VT; d. 5 Apr 1876) in 1839. After her death, Fisk married her sister Simona Smith on 1 Aug 1849. Guadalupe Ruiz Duran Smith was the daughter of Salvador "Bernardino" de Castaneda Ruiz and Maria Ignacia Robleau. The Ruiz family were said to be from Andalusia, Spain first settling in Zacatecas. Salvador was a horse trader in Louisiana and then settled in San Antonio. The Robleau family was said to be political refugees from France who were from Louisiana and Nacogdoches.
Deaf Smith moved freely between both Anglo and Hispanic Tejano societies, was known to be a man of few words, fiercely loyal to his superiors and dedicated to the job at hand. Because of his knowledge of both Anglo and Hispanic cultures and the terrain of Texas, he served as a guide, scout and spy. Similar to a majority of DeWitt Colonists, after attempts to remain neutral in the increasing conflict between colonists and the centralista Mexican government, he was one of the first to join the Texas Republican Army in Gonzales. Smith was essentially the "eyes and ears" of commanders in all the major engagements leading to the victory at San Jacinto. His intelligence gathering was important at the Battle of Concepcion in Oct 1835, he discovered the mule train that brought on the Grass Fight, in Dec 1835 he guided troops into San Antonio in the Siege and Battle of Bexar where he was wounded atop the Veramendi House at the same time that Ben Milam was killed. After the evacuation of centralista troops from San Antonio in the latter engagement, he moved his family to Columbia and met Gen. Houston at Gonzales after the declaration of independence of Texas at Washington-on-the-Brazos. Houston relied on him to determine the fate of the Alamo garrison. He met and escorted Mrs. Almeron Dickinson and party to report to Gen. Houston in Gonzales the fate of the Alamo defenders.
In Gonzales, Smith was assigned to Capt. Karnes Cavalry Company of the 1st Regiment of Volunteers and placed in command of new recruits. Smith operated continuously on the way to, at, and after the Battle of San Jacinto with small groups of volunteers from the cavalry unit and sometimes other units, successfully generating intelligence and special missions almost continuously. At Harrisburg, he captured a Mexican courier with dispatches revealing the strength and position of Santa Anna's army. On 21 Apr prior to the Battle of San Jacinto, he and his men destroyed Vince's Bridge, the means of any retreat or reinforcements of both armies. He joined his unit to participate in the main battle. He was the courier that took the captured Santa Anna's orders to Gen. Filisola's army to retreat from Texas. He captured Gen. Cos who had escaped from the main battle.
After the Battle of San Jacinto, Deaf Smith returned to Columbia and later moved to Richmond in Ft. BendCo. At one time he raised a company of rangers and in 1837 he and twenty men fought a battle near Laredo with a superior Mexican force which he defeated by killing ten and capturing forty horses. Smith died in Richmond, Texas at age 50 at the home of Randall Jones and is buried in the Episcopal Churchyard with a modest marker "Deaf Smith, The Texas Spy, Died Nov. 30, 1837." A legislative act of 11 Nov 1836, Republic of Texas, granted Deaf Smith "any house and lot in the city of Bexar, which may be confiscated for public use." His widow chose the old Granado homeplace at the southeast corner of Main Plaza and Commerce St.. Smith was also granted a sitio of land for his service. His widow returned to San Antonio, died there on 1 May 1849 and is buried in the Catholic Cemetery.
BURNS. Arthur Burns, who arrived here with Empressario Green DeWitt's first colonists August 1, 1826, was born in 1780 in Pennsylvania of Irish descent. At an early age he moved with his parents to Iowa or Kentucky, then moved to Pike County, Missouri in 1800. He had a very meager education and belonged to no church. His first marriage on 28 Nov 1805 produced one daughter Permilla (Pamellia or Pamela) (b. September 19,1806) who married William Simpson May 7, 1826 in Pike County, Missouri and came to Texas about the same time as her father. Simpson was a silversmith and one of the first jewelers in Texas. They lived out their lives in Austin.
Arthur Burns then married Mary, last name unknown, and they had four children: Squire (August 5, 1809); Cynthianne "Synthia" (July 7,1813) married Lige Williams and lived in Lavaca County, some historians credit her with helping Evaline DeWitt design and make the "Come and Take It" flag; Zilla "Lillah" (July 3,1816 - 1837); Emily (August 23, 1819 - 1858 Austin) married John Buchanan at Columbia, Brazoria County. Mary Burns died April 20, 1822 in Missouri. Arthur Burns married for the third time December 14, 1825 in Missouri. His wife Sara "Sally" Moore bore their son Columbus (December 11, 1829) in the settlement of Gonzales. Columbus was said to have been the first white child born in the Gonzales area of DeWitt's colony. Their daughter Ardelia (March 19, 1832) married Thomas Cook, a Methodist minister and circuit rider, and died at Burns Station.
Arthur Burns home from History of DeWitt County) Arthur Burns' headright of a sitio was granted July 9,
1831. This was located along the east bank of the Guadalupe River both north and south of
Irish Creek about six miles east of Cuero. He built a two story log structure that is
thought to be the first and for a time the only house between Gonzales and Victoria. The
house was a refuge from Indian attack and said to once be visited by Sam Houston in 1836.
In Jan 1836, Gen. Houston authorized Burns to perform the service described in the
Burns was a farmer, stockman and had one of the early water-powered grist mills. The 1828 census showed he had three horses, seven cattle, twelve hogs, and livestock of all kinds. The Arthur Burns home was designated by the Victoria County Court as the place where the road commissioners of Victoria County were to meet those of Gonzales County May 2, 1841 for the purpose of carrying into effect plans for the proposed Victoria---Gonzales road by the most direct route. He was present at the organization of DeWitt County in 1846 but had no official connection with this work. In 1856 Arthur Burns died and was buried in Iowa where he had gone on business. Sarah died in 1861 at Burns Station.
As a single man, son Squire Burns, who arrived August 15, 1826 was granted as his headright one-fourth sitio July 10, 1831. This extended along the north boundary of his father's grant. Squire never married. He taught school for a time and was active in defending the settlers from both the Indians and Mexicans. Family history showed that in 1829 or 1830 he and two others led by Tonkawa braves tracked the murderers of a neighbor [John McSherry] from the scene of the murder to the Comanche hideout near Gonzales. Arthur and Squire were both scouts and as such Squire was accidentally killed near San Antonio shortly before the fall of the Alamo by the discharge of his pistol which he carried before him in a holster attached to his saddle. Arthur was in charge of an ox wagon train in the Runaway Scrape.
In 1850 Columbus Burns, youngest son of Arthur Burns, married Mary Ann DeMoss (December 1, 1830-February 5, 1871) in Caney, Matagorda County, Texas. He was a stock farmer, served in the CSA under Col. Rip Ford and was a trail driver and livestock inspector. Mary was the daughter of Lewis and Katherine Tumlinson DeMoss. They had five sons and five daughters, Lewis, Arthur, Martha, Ardelia, Mary Ann, Julia, James, Ella, John and Wade. Ella (October 10, 1864 Burns Station-March 29, 1949 Cuero) married Robert Abner Partain February 11, 1891. They had a son and two daughters, one of whom was Roberta Ardelia born April 12, 1894 at Deming's Bridge, Matagorda County, Texas. The Burns family returned to Gonzales County shortly after this marriage. Modified from Elizabeth Lawley Tinsley (From The History of Gonzales County, Texas. Reprinted by permission of the Gonzales County Historical Commission).
CAMPBELL. Joseph Campbell arrived married with a family of 7 on 22 Mar 1827 and received a certificate for sitio of land on 24 Aug 1831. Campbell died near the time of title transfer and his grant was transferred in the name of a son Cyrus Campbell. The tract is on the San Marcos River in northern Guadalupe County.
CANTU, GORTARI, MANSOLO. Jesus Cantu, Eligio Gortari and Anastacio Mansolo who received special land grants together on the south side of the Guadalupe River in current GuadalupeCo were members of prominent and related old San Antonio families. Pedro Jesus Cantu, Cabo, married Maria de los Santos Gortari. He was the oldest son of Fernando Rodriquez Cantu and Maria Santa Menchaca. The couple had children Miguel (b. abt 1811; m. Maria Gertrudis Navarro, daughter of Angel and Concepcion Cervantes Navarro), Lucia (b. abt 1819; m. Nicolas de los Santos), Jesus (b. abt 1823; m. Teresa Veramendi, daughter of Juan and Josefa Navarro), Maria Luisa, Jose Miguel Felipe, Jose Jesus, Vicente (b. 1828; m. Maria Jesusa de Carvajal) and Juan Antonio. Maria Santos Gortari Cantu was the sister of Eligio Gortari.
Eligio Gortari, who married Maria Josefa Courbiere (widow of Lt. Miguel Dias de Luna), was the son of Miguel Gortari and Maria Candelaria de la Garza (m. 1822, also had children Maria Ursula Cecilia and Maria Santos). Miguel Gortari, killed by Indians in Jun 1843, was the son of Ignacio Miguel (b. 1764) and Concepcion Charle Gortari. Ignacio Miguel Gortari was the oldest son of Miguel Gortari, a peninsulare who purchased a lot, jacales, horses and cows and fruit trees from Francisco de Urrutia for 200 pesos on 13 Feb 1769. He married Maria Polonia Alvarez Travieso and they had at least 7 children. According to family, he "was a Spaniard from over the seas; and died in his room at night, without sacrements" in 1787. Maria Candelaria de la Garza Gortari was the daughter of Jose Antonio and Gertrudis Mansolo. The relationship of Jose Antonio Mansolo to Anastacio Mansolo, if any, is currently unknown to this author.
COTTLE. The earliest record found of Harriett Cottle, a pioneer Texas woman, was a marriage bond signed at Gonzales in DeWitt's Colony July 2, 1829. She was born in Missouri April 1, 1813. The bond was signed, sealed and delivered in the presence of Green DeWitt, A.M. Clare and Norman Woods. Clare later married Harriett's first cousin, Sally Turner, and Woods was the son of Zadock and Minerva Cottle Woods, the sister of Harriett's father. The next record which gave identification to her was in the probate records of Bastrop County, Texas. It identified her as a daughter of Stephen Cottle who married Sarah "Sally" Turner June 10, 1808 in Upper Cuivre Township, St. Charles District, Missouri. The same records showed that in 1842 she had two living sisters, Laura and Mary "Polly," and four living brothers, Joseph, Sylvanus, Darney, and Zebulon Pike Cottle. An older brother, Leonard W. Cottle, had died some time during the year 1840.
The Texas General Land Office provided more information on Harriett. In the Spanish Room at the General Land Office there was found the DeWitt Certificate No. 9, issued in Gonzales January 27, 1830 to her husband, Andrew Tumlinson. Also in the same records under date of May 1, 1831, Harriett, at the age of nineteen, completed the application of her husband for land, stating that he had been killed by the Indians earlier, as had her father-in-law, that she had one son and was pregnant. She was confident that she could comply with all of the requirements of the law. Possession of one league of land on the Guadalupe River was given to her in her maiden name [The Harriett Cottle league was on the San Marcos River in central Guadalupe County--WLM]. The law of the land at that time required that all marriage ceremonies, to be legal must be performed by a member of the Roman Catholic clergy. The marriage bond was accepted as legal under most circumstances. Since Andrew and Harriett had not presented themselves to a member of the Roman Catholic clergy for the official ceremony, she could complete the application only in her maiden name.
Harriett went to Texas with her parents and the rest of the family in 1828. According to the register kept by Stephen F. Austin at San Felipe de Austin, there were twelve in the family, the parents, four boys and six girls. No records were found concerning the Tumlinson son or the unborn child mentioned in the application. The next record of Harriett was her marriage to Thomas Thompson in Fayette County, Texas February 12, 1832. Her two sons, William Thompson and John Thomas Thompson, inherited her one-sixth share of the Sarah Cottle League on the Colorado River in Bastrop County, Texas when the headright was divided by order of the probate court. Harriett had died prior to the division of her mother's estate. Clifford E. Zearfoss (From The History of Gonzales County, Texas. Reprinted by permission of the Gonzales County Historical Commission).
DEWITT. It is unclear if James C. DeWitt, brother of Empresario Green DeWitt, was a resident or visitor to the area when he was listed on the 1828 census since there is no other evidence of him as land grant records. He was a veteran of San Jacinto and according to files of L.W. Kemp:
......On December 1, 1835 he was granted title to a league and labor of land by the Mexican Government. The certificate was issued by Charles S. Taylor at Nacogdoches and the land was surveyed in what is now Walker County. Mr. De Witt was a member of Captain William Ware's Company at San Jacinto and on June 13, 1838, he was issued Donation Certificate No. 327 for 640 acres of land for having participated in the battle. One June 13, 1840 he received Bounty Certificate No. 3843 for 320 acres of land for having served in the army from February 12 to May 12, 1836. Mr. De Witt founded and owned the town of Cincinnati, Texas, in 1838, the site of which is now in Walker County. The Probate Records of Montgomery County show that he signed his will at Montgomery August 2, 1838, and that it was probated October 29th of that year. He left his property to his widow, Mrs. Sarah Ann C. De Witt and their one child, Georgina.
DICKINSON. The Gonzales County Dickinsons arrived in North America in the 1820's, emigrating from England. Edward and his older brother John migrated without other members of their family, disembarking either in the United States or in Texas. They were some of the earliest colonists arriving in Texas, Mexican records citing the date April 25, 1825. John was killed by Indians while boating on the San Antonio River, and Edward joined DeWitt's Colony around Gonzales. He was one of the first settlers to claim land, in 1828 or 1829. Edward was single so he received one quarter of a sitio of land (1107 acres) located on the east bank of the Guadalupe River eleven miles west of Gonzales between plots granted to Eliza and Green DeWitt. Edward joined Houston's army at Gonzales in March, 1836. A number of his acquaintances died at the Alamo, including Almaron Dickinson, who was no relation to Edward. Edward, a member of Captain Kuykendall's company, remained in Harrisburg to guard the wounded men and the supplies as Houston's army moved to confront Santa Anna at San Jacinto. After the battle Edward was discharged at Victoria in May. For his service he received a section of land in Jones County which he never surveyed or settled. After the revolution, Edward's life was less solitary and more community oriented. He owned a town lot in Columbia and there was some evidence that he operated a retail business in partnership with Joseph Hamilton. Edward was a charter member of the Masonic Lodge in Gonzales, becoming a Master Mason in 1846.
In 1841 Edward married Rachel Hemmingner (1823-1906) in Columbia. She had gone to Texas from Esslingen, Germany in 1834 with her father Frederick and his other daughter and son. Edward and Rachel lived on his headright in Gonzales County. In 1843 John Leonard was born, and in 1844 the twins William and Edward, Jr. were born. Edward served his last military service during the invasion of General Woll and his Mexican army in 1842. As a citizen soldier, Edward armed himself, mounted his horse and rode to San Antonio as a part of the army to resist Woll. He saw no action in that campaign. Edward died July 27, 1848 while visiting New Braunfels on undetermined business. He was buried there but in 1850 the Masons exhumed his body and reburied it in the Masonic Cemetery at Gonzales. Rachel Dickinson married Josiah Randolph in 1851 and then James Booth in 1854. The family moved to Lavaca County in 1861. The three boys, John, William and Edward Jr. joined Confederate armies in 1861 and 1862. Edward Jr. received a bounty for enlisting. They were infantry privates in Waul's Texas Legion. Marching to Mississippi with the legion, the boys took part in a successful action against two federal gunboats on the Yazoo River. The legion moved to Vicksburg arriving just about the time Grant's siege began. John and Edward Jr. Dickinson were paroled, but William disappeared from the records. He may have died after the surrender in September, 1863. One story related that he died of measles which was rampant in Vicksburg during the siege.
Both John and Edward Jr. settled in Gonzales County on the family lands. John married Elizabeth A. Fitzgerald in 1866 and occupied his father's headright and home. Edward Jr. married Kate Vancil (1848-1934) in Lavaca County in 1867 and moved to his father's homestead on the Guadalupe. He was a county commissioner and a delegate to various conventions maintaining an active interest in politics. John and Elizabeth raised six children: William Edward (1870-1960); John L. (1873-1939); Nettie May; Mary Estelle who died in 1920; Otis Alphonso (1884-1960); and Holly Clio (1886). Edward and Kate had three children: Conrad Edward (1876-1948); William Calvin (1877-1916); and Olive (1880-1967). Edward bought 1577 acres in Jones County, adding to the 640 acres that his father had received for military service in the revolution. In 1904 he moved to Jones County. John continued to live on the original homestead on the Guadalupe River and died in 1915. Edward died in 1927 in San Antonio and was buried with his father in the Gonzales Masonic Cemetery. W. Calvin Dickinson (From The History of Gonzales County, Texas. Reprinted by permission of the Gonzales County Historical Commission).
In a letter of 18 Mar 1826 to the Political Chief in San Antonio, Stephen F. Austin refers to a incident involving Edward Dickinson with Empresario Martin DeLeon of Victoria:
DOWLEARN. Patrick Dowlearn is in the document appointing the Baron De Bastrop to represent the colonists in the Colony on the Colorado and Brazos in 1824, in the convention for the state of Coahuila and Texas. Dowlearn was one of the signers of the document. Patrick Dowlearn was registered on May 31, 1827 at "Old Town" in DeWitt's Colony. This was before people were forced by the Mexican government to abandon this site and move inland to their grants in DeWitt's Colony proper. This entry in the register stated that Patrick Dowlearn was born 1799 in Missouri and arrived in DeWitt's Colony from Louisiana. The next mention of Dowlearn is in his application for 1/4 league of land from the Mexican government in DeWitt's Colony, June 24th, 1827, single, and swore allegiance to Mexico. The Land Grant was finalized on July 25, 1831. This piece of land is located on the Guadalupe River near Cuero, Texas, next to the Josiah Taylor league. The first few years of Dowlearn's time in Texas are hard to follow, but after 1830 everything found appears to be the same man, Patrick Dowlearn, who married Hepzibeth Luker Taylor, widow of Josiah Taylor, July 25 1830. Josiah Taylor's league was awarded posthumously to his widow in July 1831. Family stories say Patrick was a widower, but this has not been proven. Patrick and Hepzibeth had one son, Joshua Dowlearn, who married Jane Lowe. Hepzibeth also had nine children from her marriage to Josiah Taylor.
Hepzibeth died circa. 1840 and Patrick then married Nancy Harvey in October 1841. This marriage produced one son, John, who never married and was supposedly killed in the Battle of Pea Ridge, Arkansas during the Civil War. In 1845 a series of land transactions were begun by Patrick involving himself, and other nearby settlers. These transactions involved a considerable amount of property and the reason for them occurring was finally determined to be Patrick's wish to free his estate from that of his stepchildren, the Taylor's, who were entitled to inherit the Josiah Taylor League (in name of widow Hepzibeth Taylor). These transactions were concluded in 1846. Patrick is known to have served in the Texas Army with William Riley Taylor, his "stepson" after the war. While it is almost certain Patrick served during the revolution, no proof has been found to substantiate this. In 1838, Patrick Dowlearn served on the first jury to ever hang a man in the Republic of Texas. This occurred in Victoria. Patrick died in 1849 and a deed of trust was executed by his wife, Nancy Harvey Dowlearn shortly thereafter.
Joshua Martin Dowlearn Sr. was born in approximately 1831 to Hepzibeth Looker Taylor Dowlearn and Patrick Dowlearn who were married on July 25, 1830. Josh had nine older half brothers and sisters whose surname was Taylor. Joshua's mother died when he was about eight years old and his father married Nancy Harvey. They had one son, John, who was killed in Arkansas during the Civil War, On October 20, 1850 Joshua married Jane Lowe and is listed in the census of that year as living in the same household as his step-mother who was now married to his brother-in-law, B.F. Lowe. Joshua and Jane became the parents of ten children her before her death in 1871. They were, in order of birth, Mary E., Patrick H., Josephine, William, Rufus, Alfred, Jeff, Susan L., Dora, and Sophronia. Joshua then married Rebecca Harkins and fathered five childen. They were Joshua Martin, Jr., Alice, Annie Hepzibeth, Walter Hollis, and Cyrus. Joshua died in 1891 and is buried in Burn's Station Cemetery south of Cuero beside his first wife, Jane Lowe. Joshua served in the Civil War and was a Brand Inspector in DeWitt county at one time. He and his large family lived on Chicolete Prairie and it is said that he kept count of how many of the boys were home by counting the saddles hanging on the porch. At least one and perhaps other of his children were involved in the Sutton-Taylor Feud after the Civil War. Next to Joshua and Jane at Burn's Station Cemetery is Rufus Dowlearn, Sr. who was this writer's great-grandfather. Rufus married Annie Meeks in 1881 and had one known child, Rufus Tony Dowlearn, Jr. Rufus, Sr. died of pneumonia in the fall of 1887 when his son was 4 months old. Annie Meeks Dowlearn then married Ben F. Alexander and they had at least four children whose names were Ben, Buck, Si, and Nell. Rufus Tony Dowlearn, Jr. married Rosa Hoffer in 1906 and they had seven children, four of whom lived to maturity. They were Anita, John and James, twins, and Joseph. John was this writer's father. He married Hazel Thomas on November 16, 1938 and they had five children, Dwayne, Thomas, Gary, Anthony and Star. Thomas A. Dawlearn (Reprinted by permission of DeWitt County Historical Commission and Curtis Media Corporation)
DUNCAN. Benjamin Duncan (1793-1866) was a Scotchman who established and operated Duncans Ferry on the San Marcos River at Gonzales at the beginning of the Gonzales-San Antonio Road. As a single man, he received a quarter sitio on the west bank of the San Marcos River across from the Gonzales town tract. Local tradition says that Susannah Dickinson first stopped at the Duncan home to tell of the fate of the Alamo on the way into Gonzales town. Duncans Ferry was burned along with the rest of Gonzales by Houston's Army as it retreated from Gonzales toward San Jacinto after the fall of the Alamo. Duncan returned to rebuild the ferry and operated it until 1866. (In part from A Texas State Historical Marker at the old site in GonzalesCo).
SONS OF DEWITT COLONY TEXAS