ZUBER, WILLIAM PHYSICK (1820-1913)
William Physick Zuber, farmer, soldier, educator, and amateur historian, son of Mary Ann (Mann) and Abraham Zuber, was born on July 6,1820, near Marion, Twiggs County, Georgia. He moved with his parents to Montgomery County, Alabama, in 1822; to East Feliciana Parish, Louisiana, in 1824; to St. Helena Parish in 1827; to the site of present-day San Augustine, Texas, in 1830; to Harrisburg in 1831; and to what is now Brazoria County in 1832. Finally, in 1833, the family established permanent residence when the Austin colony granted Abraham Zuber a headright of a league of land on Roan's Prairie, near the headwaters of Lake Creek, in what is now eastern Grimes County. Although only fifteen at the outbreak of the Texas Revolution, Zuber served in the Texas army, Fourth Company, Second Regiment, Texas Volunteers, from March 1 to June l,1836. During the battle of San Jacinto he was a member of the rear guard, which was stationed on the north bank of Buffalo Bayou opposite Harrisburg to secure the army's baggage and attend the sick and wounded. For his services he obtained a bounty grant of 640 acres, land that is now part of Grimes County.
From 1837 to 1840 he participated in campaigns against the Indians on the south central Texas frontier, and he served in the Somervell expedition after the invasion of Mexican general Adrian Woll in 1842. Although largely self-educated, Zuber taught at rural schools in the area of present-day Walker and Grimes counties from 844 to 1848 and intermittently for many years thereafter.
On July 17, 1851, Zuber married Louisa Liles, and they had six children. He enlisted on March 20,1862, in the Confederate Army, Company H, Twenty-first Texas Cavalry, and campaigned in Arkansas, Missouri, and Louisiana until the spring of 1864, when he was disabled by an attack of pneumonia and furloughed until the end of the war. He returned to his home in Grimes County to resume farming and teaching and served as county commissioner from 1876 to 1878.
Late in his life Zuber began composing articles on the early Texas military conflicts and biographical sketches of Texas veterans; many of these were eventually published in various newspapers around the state. His account of the escape of Louis Rose from the Alamo was published in the Texas Almanac 1873. As a charter member of the Texas State Historical Association, Zuber was made an honorary life member because of his participation in the Texas Revolution. Eight of his articles and notes appeared in the Quarterly of the Texas State Historical Association (later the Southwest the Historical Quarterly) between 1897 and 1902. In 1905 his Ancestry and Kindred of W. P. Zuber was published at Iola.
A volume of memoirs composed between 1910 and 1913, after many years in the Texas State Archives, was published by the University of Texas Press in 1971 under the title My Eighty Years in Texas. In 1906 Zuber moved to Austin and found employment as a guide in the Senate chamber of the Capitol, where the decorations included an oil portrait of himself. In 1909, he was honored by the Texas legislature as the last surviving veteran of the Army of San Jacinto. Zuber was a Methodist and a Mason. He died in Austin on September 22,1913, and was buried with Masonic honors in the State Cemetery. His name is listed with other Grimes County veterans of the Texas Revolution on a marker erected by the Texas Centennial Commission on the courthouse grounds at Anderson.
Robert Bruce Blake
BIBLIOGRAPHY: Austin Statesman, September 23,1913. E. L. Blair, Early History of Grimes County (Austin, 1930). Grimes County Historical Commission, History of Grimes County, Land of Heritage and Progress (Dallas: Taylor, 1982). Harold Schoen, comp., Monuments Erected by the State of Texas to Commemorate the Centenary of Texas Independence (Austin: Commission of Control for Texas Centennial Celebrations, 1938). William Physick Zuber Papers, Barker Texas History Center, University of Texas at Austin.
The New Handbook of Texas
©1997 Texas State Historical Association.
Photo: Archives Division, Texas State Library