SONS OF DEWITT COLONY TEXAS
© 1997-2006, Wallace L. McKeehan, All Rights Reserved
Alamo Defenders-Index

The DeWitt Colony Alamo Defenders
Members of the Garrison & Surviving Couriers & Foragers
Alamo Widows & Mothers

The Immortal 32 Gonzales Rangers A-E F-K L-Z

For additional biography, search Handbook of Texas Online


Isaac G. Baker, 21, was born 15 Sep 1814, probably in Lawrence County, Alabama.  He was a Private in the Gonzales Ranging Company of Mounted Volunteers. According to land records, he arrived single in the DeWitt Colony 13 Aug 1830 and received title to a quarter sitio of land on the Guadalupe River in northwest Guadalupe County. He also owned 4 lots in the west outer town Gonzales between the Guadalupe and San Marcos Rivers in the outer Gonzales town tract near those owned by his father Moses Baker and brother John Baker.  On the Gonzales County Tax rolls of 1839, J.D. Clements (husband of Rachel Baker), brother-in-law and son-in-law, respectively, of Isaac Baker and Moses Baker is listed as administrator of their estates.  Various historical entries vary in respect to the age of Isaac Baker.  The entry in his brother John Baker's journal giving Isaac Baker's birthdate as 15 Sep 1814 notes that he fell in the Alamo fighting in the cause of Texas 6 Mar 1836 at "age 20 years, 6 months and seven days."  If the birthdate is correct, the calculation should have been "21 years, 6 months, 22 days."  If birthdates and land records concerning Isaac Baker's arrival are correct, he would have been under 16 years old at the time of his arrival prior to that of his parents.  This date would place him at age 17 when he received title to his land grant in 1832.  Heirs of Isaac Baker received bounty warrant 4038 for 1920 acres in DeWittCo for service 24 Feb to his death on 6 Mar 1836 and donation certificate 451 for 640 acres in GonzalesCo for having fallen in the Alamo.


John Cain/Cane/Kane, 34, was born in PA. He was a Private and artilleryman in Captain Carey’s Company. He also owned 2 or 3 lots in inner Gonzales town. He took part in the Battle of Bexar and received a land certificate for 640 acres. John Kane was a voter in Gonzales for delegates to the independence consultation of 1835 in San Felipe. He was a part of the Alamo garrison, was at his home in Gonzales when the Alamo was surrounded and returned to his post with the Gonzales Rangers.


George Washington Cottle, 25, was born in 1811 (some records say 1798) in Hurricane Twp, LincolnCo, MO and a member of the Gonzales Rangers. He was granted a league of land on Tejocotes Creek and the La Vaca River 28 miles from Gonzales in Fayette County near where current Gonzales, Lavaca and Fayette County lines come together (near David Burket’s League). On his league are some of the headwaters of the Lavaca River. The Cottle family owned multiple properties in the inner and outer Gonzales town tract. They had a home at the corner of St. Louis and St. John Streets. He came to the DeWitt Colony with parents Jonathan and Margaret Cottle from MO on 6 Jul 1829 together with sister and brother Louisa and Almond. His uncle Isaac Cottle (m. Mary Ann Williams) and family also emigrated to the DeWitt Colony where they received a league of land east of Gonzales in Mary Ann Williams name just north of the land granted to Mary Ann's brother, Allam B. Williams. George Washington Cottle married their daughter, his cousin, Eliza, on 7 Nov 1830. They had a daughter Melzina and four months later the marriage was annulled by bond signed by George Washington, Eliza and Eliza’s next husband, James Gibson. George Washington married second Nancy Curtis Oliver on 21 Jun 1835 according to GonzalesCo marriage records.  They had twin boys born after his death at the Alamo.

Nancy Curtis Oliver Cottle first married to John Oliver in 1829 was the daughter of James Curtis, a veteran of the War of 1812 from Tennessee and one of The Old Three Hundred of the Austin Colony. James Curtis (b. 1780), also known as "uncle Jimmie" at age 56 was said to be the oldest man at the Battle of San Jacinto which he is said to have joined to avenge the widowhood of his daughter and the death of his son-in-law Wash Cottle who he never got along with well in real life.   General Thomas Rusk related in his anecdotes of the battle:

"On starting out from our camp to enter upon the attack, I saw an old gentleman, by the name of Curtis, carrying two guns. I asked him what was his reason for carrying more than one gun. He answered: 'D---n the Mexicans; they killed my son and son-in-law in the Alamo, and I intend to kill two of them for it, or be killed myself.' I saw the old man again, during the fight, and he told me he had killed his two men, and if he could find Santa Anna, he would cut a razor-strop out of his back." 

Other legends say he accompanied each shot at the Mexicans in the battle with the words "Alamo! You killed Wash Cottle." At the end of the battle as Texan officers began to stop the carnage, Curtis was terrorizing a Mexican officer with a knife and yelling "You killed Wash Cottle. Now I’m going to kill you and make a razor strap from your hide." When Col. Wharton pulled the officer up on his horse stating "Men, this Mexican is mine," Curtis raised his rifle and coolly blasted the Mexican officer off the horse. Col. Wharton reacted with rage, Curtis calmly took a drink of whiskey, turned his back and walked away muttering "Remember Wash Cottle." Uncle Jimmie Curtis' fondness to his jug of 1836 homebrew was also the subject of an earlier episode related by Noah Smithwick in The Evolution of a State and in Kemp's biographies of San Jacinto veterans as the Texans were evacuating Bastrop toward San Jacinto in front of Gen. Cos' forces from San Antonio. 

George W. Cottle served as a courier rallying reinforcements for the Battle of Gonzales and, with his brother Almond (one of the Original Gonzales 18) was in the confrontation for the Gonzales cannon 2 Oct 1835. He joined his brother-in-law Thomas J. Jackson in the Gonzales relief force to the Alamo where both died. Descendants say Cottle focused on protection of the garrison's ammunition supply during the battle and died in the magazine room of the Alamo Chapel. Cottle County in northwest TX is named after him. Heirs of Cottle received bounty warrant 9479 for 960 acres in ClayCo for service and death on 6 Mar 1836 at the Alamo, but was lost, another was issued for 960 acres and again lost, but re-issued for 820 acres in ShelbyCo which was patented. 104 more acres were patented soon after. Two tracts of 480 and 160 acres in YoungCo were also patented for his service.


David P. Cummings, 27, was a surveyor by trade born in Lewiston, MifflinCo PA. Not a permanent resident of Gonzales, he came to TX by boat from New Orleans in Dec 1835 and went by foot to San Felipe where he sold a rifle for $30. He was the son of David and Elizabeth Cathers Cummings of Harrisburg, PA who claimed to be friends of Sam Houston. David Cummings, a Harrisburg canalman sent a case of rifles with his son to the TX cause. He traveled to Gonzales and then Bexar where he joined the Alamo garrison in Jan or Feb 1836. While surveying land on the Cibolo Creek, he was met by the Gonzales Ranger force and entered the Alamo with them. He was cousin to John Purdy Reynolds who died in the Alamo with him. Insight into Cummings view of the situation in Texas prior to the Alamo defeat is given in letters to his father in Jan from Gonzales and Feb from San Antonio (from Jenkins, The Papers of the Texas Revolution. 1835-1836):

Gonzales Texas Jany 20th 1836
Dear Father  The scarcity of paper together with other difficulties I have had to labor under has prevented me from writing before this and indeed it is a matter of Claim whether this letter will ever reach the United States. I arrived at the mouth of the Brazos about a month ago in a vessel from New Orleans and have traveled on foot by San Felipe to this place leaving my trunk with books, and two rifles with Mr. White at Columbia 10 miles above Brasoria having sold my best rifle for $30 at San Felipe. I saw Genl. Houston and Presented him your letter. He advised me to get a horse & proceed to Goliad where he would see me in a short time again. I have accordingly come on thus far with that intention as to connect myself with a Company of Rangers on the Frontiers to keep off the Indians, But it is most probable I will go on to San Antonio de Bexar and there remain until I can suitably connect myself with the Army or until an occasion may require my services. Every man in this country at this time has to go upon his own footing as the Government at present is unable to make any provisions for the Army. However a change for the better is expected soon and affairs is expected to be in a better condition. Provisions are very scarce here and travelling or living is attended with considerable expense---All owing to the great number of Volunteers from the U. States besides the Emigration of Families into the upper Colonies is unprecedented for the past five months. Though under rather indifferent circumstances myself at this time, I have no reason to complain of my coming to this country as I find nothing but what might have been expected. On the contrary I have the satisfaction of beholding one of the finest countries in the world and have fully determined to locate myself in Texas I hope to be better situated to write you more about this country, and as I have not much time Can say very little at present, More than inform you what I am about &c &c. A Gentleman is going East to day by whom I intend Sending my letter. Letters have been intercepted to the Mexican citizens of Bexar informing them of the arrival of 2,000 troops on the Rio Grande, and now coming on to retake that place in consequence of which, Many of the Mexicans have secretly left the place, and preparations are now making to fortify the town. All our Troops have been ordered to Copano to proceed against Matamoras.
I remain yours Affectionately D. P. Cummings

San Antonio de Bexar February 14th 1836
Dear Father  I wrote you from Gonzales and soon after left ther for this place, yet under different views from what I stated in as a sudden attack was expected on our garrison here and were called on for assistance. It is however fully ascertained that we have nothing of the kind to apprehend before a month or six weeks as the Enemy have not yet crossed the Rio Grande 180 mi. distant from this place nor are they expected to make any movement this way until the weather becomes warm or until the grass is sufficiently up to support their horses we conceive it however important to be prepared as a heavy attack is expected from Sant Ana himself in the Spring as no doubt the despot will use every possible means and strain every nerve to conquer and exterminate us from the land---in this we have no fear and are confident that Texas cannot only sustain what she now holds but take Mexico itself did She think on conquest. The northern Indians have joined to our assistance and the volunteers from the United States are every day flocking to our ranks which from the liberal promises of the Government and desirable resources of the Country seem determined to sustain themselves or sinke in the attempt, Many it is true have left the country and returned home to their friends and pleasures byt of such Texas has no use for and her agents in the U. States should be careful whom they send us for assistance we want men of determined spirits, that can undergo hardships and deprivation Otherwise they are only a pest and expense to their fellow Soldiers-to the first class (tho I would be the last to advise in any case), I say come on, there is a fine field open to you all no matter how you are situated or what may be your circumstances. At least come and see the country, as a farmer, mechanic or a Soldier you will do well-I believe no country offers such strong inducements to Emmigration, affording all the conviences of life that man can devise-what I write is from my own observation and from what I hear from those who have resided for years in the Country. I am to leave this to return to the Cibilo Creek in company with 10 others to take up, our lands we get as citizens which in more then I 100 acres for single men, men of family 4428 acres our our volunteer pay is 20$ per month & 640 acres at close of war. Any communication to San Felipe de Austin you may make with postage paid to the Boundary line I will get or send to Stiles Duncan Natchitoches, he could mail it to San Felipe as I would be very glad to hear from you all. It might be that I might be of some benefit to you here provided any of you could have a mind to come out and indeed to speak sincearly this would be the Country for us all, nothing could induce me from my determination of settling here, tho my disposition may not be like most others. I should like you could once see it.-a visit by Jonathan would improve his health I have been very healthy since I have been here and am improving.
Yours affectionately, D. P. Cummings
P.S. There is one thing might be proper for me to add members have been elected to a convention of all Texas to meet on Ist March, which will make an immediate declaration of independence--upon the faith of this event great speculation is going on in Lands, tho the office for the disposal of the public lands is not yet opened but is expected will be in a Short time. The price of Land has risen greatly since the commencement of the war, and a declaration of Independence will bring them to vie with those of the U. States tho---they can be purchased from 50 cts to 5$ per acre by the Lelague depending as their improvement. Or convenience to settlements---not Country is now settling faster---As I will most likely be engaged in surveying of public lands I might be of service to some of our friends in procuring disirable or choice locations. D.P. Cummings

Two tracts of 640 and 1280 acres in ZavalaCo were patented to heirs for service in the Alamo as well as 640 acres in El PasoCo.


Squire Damon (Daymon), 28, was from TN and a Private artilleryman in Captain Carey’s Company. He took part in the Battle of Bexar and remained there under Carey. After 2 Feb 1836, he went to his home in Gonzales where he joined the relief force.


Jacob C. Darst, 42, was a farmer born 22 Dec 1793 in WoodfordCo, KY, a Private in the Gonzales Rangers and son of David and Rosetta Holman Darst. David Darst was born in ShenandoahCo, VA 18 Dec 1757 and died in St. Charles Co, MO on 2 Dec 1826.  Darst married Rosetta Holman, who was born in Maryland about 1763 on 4 Jan 1784.  Rosetta Holman was the daughter of Henry Holman who was killed in WoodfordCo, KY by indians in 1789.  They had 7 children, one of whom was Jacob Darst.  Darst's Bottom in St. CharlesCo, MO was named for the family.  Jacob Darst left MontgomeryCo, MO with two of their nine children Jacob and Abraham in 1830 and according to land records arrived in the DeWitt Colony 10 Jan 1831. Jacob Darst first married Elizabeth Bryan (1796-1820) on 25 Mar 1813 in CharlesCo, MO. Elizabeth Bryan’s father David Bryan (1757-1837) was a first cousin of Rebecca Bryan Boone (1739-1813), wife of Daniel Boone. Jacob and Elizabeth Bryan Darst had a daughter Nancy Darst.  Nancy married Cyrus Crosby and they had a daughter Mary.  Nancy and an infant child were captured by Comanches in their raid on the coast in 1840 and her baby's brains dashed out because it refused to stop crying.  Nancy Darst Crosby was later killed by her captors during their defeat at the Battle of Plum Creek. 

Jacob Darst married second Margaret C. Hughes 3 Oct 1820. On 24 Apr 1831 he received title to a league of land on the Guadalupe River north of Gonzales in current GuadalupeCo. His 24/25 sitio was on current Darst Creek which runs south seven miles to the Guadalupe River. His labor which was east of Hallettsville, south of Sweet Home, in LavacaCo was registered in Jul 1831. The Darst's had a residence at the corner of St. John and St. Lawrence Streets in inner Gonzales town when the town was burned after the Alamo defeat in 1836. Darst also owned property in the outer Gonzales town west. Darst was among the Old Eighteen who originally refused to give up the Gonzales cannon to the Mexicans in Sep 1835. Darst was involved in supplying the new Texas Republican army evidenced by an affidavit of 15 Dec 1836 signed by him in Gonzales:

"I hereby certify that I went to the grist mill belonging to Joseph S. Martin of this place during the month of September last and that I delivered to the written and verbal order of Valentine Bennet Comisary for the use of the troops then at Gonzales twelve bushels of meal belonging to Joseph S. Martin from his mill."

Jacob C. Darst (signed). On the back Capt. William Patton wrote:

"From my knowledge and the statement of Major Bennet I have no doubt the within acct is correct and the meal worth one dollar & 25 cts per bushel." W.H. Patton (signed).

Fifteen year old son David Sterling Hughes Darst (1821-1906) accompanied his father Jacob on a trip to Goliad sometime in 1836 and was a witness to many events of the period which he related into the early 1900's. David Darst was the son-in-law of DeWitt Colony pioneer "Red" Adam Zumwalt. The heirs of Jacob Darst received 960 acres in GuadalupeCo for his service in the Alamo (name Jacob Durst on warrant 9353) and an additional 640 acres in AtascosaCo.


John Davis was a Private and rifleman in the Gonzales Rangers. A John Davis who arrived in the DeWitt Colony in 1830 received title to one quarter sitio as a single men on the west bank of the Lavaca River between subsequent towns of Hallettsville and Petersburg on 28 Oct 1831. Lack of clarity and controversy surrounds the identity of John Davis in DeWitt Colony records of which there were clearly more than one individual. A John Davis was described by author A.J. Sowell in Indian Fighters of Texas as an Indian fighter who left Kentucky and a twin brother as a teen. Alamo defender John Davis has been confused with Alamo defender, John Gaston, whose stepfather was George Washington Davis of Cuero Creek and who may have used the surname Davis at some time. Most researchers believe that the John Davis who died in the Alamo is distinct. Some descendants of DeWitt Colonists Daniel and Elizabeth Davidson Davis and writers have suggested that Alamo defender John Davis was their Tennessee-born son who preceded them to the colony. Others contend that the son John Davis appeared in Harrisburg during the Runaway Scrape, returned to Gonzales and died there in 1848. A John Davis was a voter in the election for delegates from Gonzales to the Texas Consultation of 1835 and also in Capt. Gibson Kuykendall's Company in the rear guard of Houston's Army camped at Harrisburg during the Battle of San Jacinto.

The heirs of the John Davis who was killed in the Alamo received tracts of 1920 and 640 acres in ErathCo for his service.


William Dearduff, b. about 1811, 25 or older, arrived single from Tennessee 20 Mar 1830 and received title for one fourth sitio in the DeWitt Colony on 5 Nov 1831 with arrival date on 20 Mar 1830. His grant was on Sandies Creek north of current Cuero. He owned four lots, a block, in the northwest outer Gonzales tract near the San Marcos River. Dearduff was a private in Robert McAlpin Williamson's Rangers at one time and joined the Gonzales Rangers on 24 Feb 1836. He was the son of Henry and Edna Thornhill Dearduff of GreeneCo, OH. Edna Thornhill was the daughter of William Thornhill, an officer in the Revolutionary War from Virginia.  His sister Elizabeth Dearduff George Rowe petitioned the probate court of Gonzales on 25 Jun 1838 for administration of the estate of her late former husband James George and brother William Dearduff. She collected $12.50 backpay for service. Frederick Rowe is listed as agent for William Dearduff on GonzalesCo tax roll of 1838. On the tax roll of 1839, Elizabeth Rowe is listed as the agent of William Dearduff. It is thought that William Dearduff accompanied his brother-in-law James George to the Alamo in the Gonzales relief force, although George may have already been present in the garrison. Like some other members of the force, Dearduff was a customer of Joseph Martin's store. In the seven months beginning Feb 1835 he purchased on his account a woolen vest, pantaloons, a woolen roundabout, striped and flannel shirts, yards of red check material, shoes, leather stirrups, bridle, 13 pounds coffee, a set of cups and saucers, set of plates, four bowls, 0.5 pounds tobacco, axe, tin cups and plates, skillet, a pound of gunpowder and two bars of lead.

A hundred years before William Dearduff joined the Gonzales relief force and paid the ultimate sacrifice in relief of his fellow Texans, his ancestor Anthony Dierdorff and wife Christina immigrated to America from Bavaria with a group of Dunkards (also called Tunkers or Old German Baptists). They settled around Germantown, PA. About 1730, they moved to what is now HunterdonCo, NJ and settled near Amwell. An Act of the New Jersey Assembly naturalized Anthony Dierdorff and his sons Peter, John, Anthony Jr. and Christian on 8 June 1740. Anthony Dierdorff Jr. married Anna Marie Yager and in about 1762 moved back to PA where he settled in Washington Twp, York County. He died as one of the largest landowners of the township. By will, he divided his assets equally among his children. Peter Dierdorff married Christina (Anna) Swyer and lived near Conewago Creek in YorkCo, PA until their move to BedfordCo, VA. Peter was a farmer and like his father and grandfather, he was active in the Dunkard Church. Some of Peter and Anna Dierdorff’s family moved to OH. The oldest child was Henry Dierdorff who married Margaret Watson in 1798 in BedfordCo, but she died a few years after their marriage. Henry then married Edna Thornhill in 1802. The family is thought to have moved to TN and then GreeneCo, OH where oldest son Henry Dierdorff’s oldest child Elizabeth married James George in 1821. Elizabeth and James George came to DeWitt's Colony in 1830. Elizabeth’s brother, William Dearduff, either came with them or joined them soon after in TX.

Heirs of William Dearduff received 1920 acres in DeWittCo and 640 acres in La SalleCo for his service and death in the Alamo.


Charles Despallier, 24, born 1812 in LA with residence in Rapides Parish, was a Private rifleman, raider and courier. According to author Ted Schwartz of Forgotten Battlefield of the First Texas Revolution: The Battle of Medina, Charles was the second son of Frenchman from Natchitoches, Bernardo Martin Despallier and his wife Maria Candida Grande. His older brother, Blaz P. Despallier fought in the Siege of Bexar, was wounded and died of cholera shortly after. Bernardo Despallier received a military appointment from Louisiana Governor Carondelet in 1794 and moved from New Orleans to Nacogdoches where he met and married wife Candida Grande. The family lived in the area of Villa Trinidad before its official designation in 1806. He was expelled from Texas by the royal Spanish government for illegal trade with Natchitoches and Louisiana. He was active in the movement under Gutiérrez de Lara to separate Texas from Spain in 1813 and was the author of literature aimed at Creole inhabitants of the provinces of Mexico explaining the aims of the movement. Charles Despallier's mother, Maria Candida Grande is thought to have been a relative of Luis Grande from Trinidad, who along with Anselmo Bergara, were underground couriers for the Gutiérrez forces across the Sabine River in Louisiana to San Antonio de Bexar. They were betrayed by representatives posing as deserters of Spanish Governer Salcedo on the road outside San Antonio, captured and executed.

He was a companion of James Bowie mentioned in a letter to James B. Miller in Nacogdoches from Bowie on 22 Jun 1835 at Labaca Rutches Plantation, "I am detained hre today on account of the bad health of my traveling companion Mr Dispalier who is sick with a fever." C. M. Despallier signed the Goliad Declaration of Independence of 20 Dec 1835. Charles Despallier was in Bexar in Feb 1836. He was in Gonzales as a courier from the Alamo after 25 Feb 1836 and returned with the relief force. Col. Travis cited Despallier for bravery in a letter of 25 Feb from the Alamo garrison to Sam Houston: "and Charles Despallier and Robert Brown gallantly sallied out and set fire to houses which afforded the enemy shelter, in the face of enemy fire." In a letter from Sam Houston from Gonzales 13 Mar 1836 to H. Raguet in Nacogdoches reporting on the Alamo defeat, Houston mentions the now controversial intelligence that "our friend Bowie, as is now understood, unable to get out of bed, shot himself as the soldiers approached it. Despalier, Parker, and others, when all hope was lost followed his example. Travis, 'tis said, rather than fall into the hands of the enemy, stabbed himself." An affidavit signed by Acting Adjutant General of Texas, H.P. Brewster in 1851 certifies that Despallier was "Aid to Travis" and "...fell with Travis in the Alamo." Heirs received 1920 acres in DentonCo and 640 acres in RainsCo for his service and death in the Alamo.

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Alamo Defenders-Index
SONS OF DEWITT COLONY TEXAS
© 1997-2006, Wallace L. McKeehan, All Rights Reserved