Monday, January 16, 2017

Return to Texas

The veterans who traveled to Mexico were probably fewer than five, but a larger number of participants eventually returned to Texas as settlers in the years following Mexican independence. Of the 120 men identified as participating in the expedition, only 39 named participants are known to have survived the expedition, with five dying in the next few years. Of the remaining 34 alive when Mexico opened Texas to immigration in the 1820s, seventeen of them can be definitively identified among the settlers, with two more probable. These included “Old 300” colonists Aylett Buckner, Martin Allen, John W. Hall, and A.W. McClain, as well as possibly John McFarland and William Parker. Others who came to other colonies included Warren D.C. Hall, James Gaines, Edmund Quirk, William McLane, Henry Munson, George Orr, Andrew Robinson, Goodwin Brown Cotton, John Gladden King, Horation Biglow, Samuel Barber, Josiah Taylor, and John Villars.[1]
Warren D.C. Hall fought in four filibusters in Texas before settling in 1828 with his wife Julietta near Columbia in Brazoria County. He fought in the Battle of Velasco in 1832, where fellow Gutiérrez-Magee veteran Aylett Buckner was killed. During the Texas Revolution, he served as the temporary Secretary of War for the Republic. James Gaines, who also fought in the Long Expedition, returned to prominence as well. Gaines, a relative of American general Edmund Pendleton Gaines, had established a ferry across the Sabine River along the Nacogdoches-Natchitoches road as early as 1809. He joined the expedition in 1812, but like many Americans, quit the army after the massacre of the Spanish royalist officials. On March 2, 1836, Gaines was a delegate to the convention that adopted the Texas Declaration of Independence, served on the committee to draft a constitution and was elected to the Republic of Texas Senate in 1839.[2]
Another returnee was Martin Allen. There were several sets of brothers in the expedition, but Allen’s family was unique. Alongside Martin was his father, Benjamin Allen, his brother Hiram Allen, as well as a third-generation member, David Allen, Martin’s nephew. Benjamin Allen was an American Revolution veteran who had been among the founders of Campbell County Kentucky, where in 1800 he purchased rights for a mill dam and a landing for a ferry on the banks of the Licking River in Kentucky. His ferry was connected by a road to another ferry operated by the young David Allen. But the venture failed. Benjamin Allen was listed as delinquent on his taxes in 1806 and in 1807, was declared insolvent. In 1808, the Kentucky tax rolls listed him as “gone to Spain.”[3] By 1812, the Allens lived in Louisiana and joined the expedition, likely as a way to escape their financial hardships. Martin was the only one who survived Medina because he had returned to Louisiana on a trip to recruit more volunteers. He returned to Texas in 1825 with his wife and seven children. He served in a volunteer company to defend the colony against Indian attacks. He signed a resolution in 1827 opposing the Fredonian Rebellion and was made a road supervisor in 1830. In 1836, he fought in the Texas Revolution.[4] He presented a petition to the first congress of the Republic of Texas in November 1836, in which he wrote:
Your Petitioners farther and nephew ware both killed at the battle of the Medeena, 18 miles W of San Antonia on the 18th day of August 1813 Where our Whole Army was Defeted and a Jenral Massecree took place no quarter ware given by the Enimy…Your petitioner was promised One League Square of Land in any unappropriated Lands in the province of Texas, this was the terms of our inlistment, my farther brother & nephew All Had Drawn there certificates, but ware all lost on the Day of the Defeete.[sic]

Allen’s petition also laid out the poverty his stepmother (Benjamin’s wife Sarah) endured after the death of her husband. The woman was left impoverished and had to be supported by her son. In addition, Martin Allen expressed indignation that the late settlers of Texas under Austin and other empresarios had been given rewards that he, a Gutiérrez-Magee veteran, not to mention an Indian fighter for many years, should have earned, stating, “It is painfull [sic] for me to say that I have not been treated with Equal Justice with the first Settlers of the Country.”[5]
Many participants who did not return to Texas had family who did, including the two nephews of Reuben Ross mentioned above. William Shaler Stillwell, nephew of American agent William Shaler, fought at the Battle of San Jacinto. Darius and Orramel Johnston’s younger brother, Albert Sydney Johnston, moved to Texas and fought as an  officer in the revolution and the Civil War. Bernardo Despallier, the immigrant from Louisiana who hoped to start a colony under Spain before revolting against that country, died at the Battle of the Medina, but at least two of his sons fought in the Texas Revolution of 1836, including Alamo defender Charles Despallier and Blaz Philipe Despallier, who fought at the Siege of Bexar but was not in the Alamo when it fell. A third son may have taken part as well.[6] Alongside Charles Despallier at the Alamo was also William Phillip King, son of Gutiérrez-Magee veteran John Gladden King. Josiah Taylor, the man Reuben Smith distrusted when he had come as an emissary of the Mexico Society, who was imprisoned in the Alamo, did not return to Texas, but his son Creed Taylor and four other children did. All five fought in the Battle of Salado Creek during the Mexican invasion of 1842.[7]

[1] Lester G. Bugbee, “The Old Three Hundred,” The Quarterly of the Texas State Historical Association, 1, No. 2 (October 1897): 108-117. McFarland and Parker appear in the list, but their names are common and there are no other substantiating sources as exist for the others. There was a William Fisher in the expedition who it is possible is the same as the William S. Fisher who served in the Republic of Texas House of Representatives and was captured at Mier, but there is no clear evidence to substantiate the claim.
[2] “Hall, Warren D. C.” Handbook of Texas Online, Texas State Historical Association (accessed September 23, 2016.) and Sam Houston Dixon, The Men Who Made Texas Free: The Signers of the Texas Declaration of Independence (Houston: Texas Historical Publishing Company, 1924), 303-306.
[3] FindAGrave “Benjamin Allen” (accessed June 6, 2016)
[4] “Martin Allen” Handbook of Texas Online, Texas State Historical Association (accessed Sep. 29, 2016).
[5] “Petition of Martin Allen 23 Nov, 1836” Martin Allen Legal Files Texas State Archives, Austin, Texas.
[6] “Despallier, Charles,” Handbook of Texas Online, Texas State Historical Association, (accessed September 23, 2016).
[7] “Josiah Taylor” Texas Historical Marker Texas Historical Commission (accessed Sep. 22, 2016).

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