American Revolution lasted seven years, affording plenty of men
the opportunity to go down in history as patriots.
Since 52 years
went by between the end of the struggle that separated the 13 colonies
from England (1783) and the beginning of Texas’ fight against Mexico
(1835), it would seem unlikely that any of the men who fought the
British ever ended up in Texas. But some did.
By the time America celebrated its bicentennial in 1976, the Texas
Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution had identified
13 veterans – their word is patriot, which holds up with only a
few exceptions – buried in Texas. Additional genealogical research
since then by the DAR and the Sons of the American Revolution has
increased the list to 47 names. (Another 12 persons who ended up
in Texas are believed to have taken part in the American Revolution,
but documentation is incomplete.)
Of those nearly three score who came to Texas after having a hand
in making the United States, three had an even more notable claim:
They also fought to make Texas free.
the first two-time patriot on this short list is Bailey Anderson,
born in Virginia in 1753. He fought Redcoats and redskins, eventually
coming to Texas with his wife and family in 1818 or 1819.
The Andersons settled near present San
Augustine when Spain still considered Texas part of its empire.
After Mexico pulled away from Spain and admitted Anglo colonists,
Anderson participated in the Battle
of Nacogdoches in 1832. Three years later he fought with the
Texans who defeated Gen. Martin Perfecto de Cos (brother-in-law
of Gen. Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna) in San
Anderson died in 1840 and is buried in his family’s cemetery in
Harrison County. The grave is not marked.
The second known revolutionary double-dipper is Alexander Hodge.
Born in Pennsylvania in 1760, he eventually moved with his family
to South Carolina. There, at 18, he volunteered to serve under Gen.
Francis Marion, better known as the Swamp Fox.
Following the revolution, Hodge moved his family to Arkansas. That’s
where he met Stephen F. Austin and decided to join the young empresario
in Texas. In 1825, Hodge settled his family along the Brazos in
what is now Fort
After the Alamo
fell in 1836, Hodge shouldered his flintlock and helped protect
the women and children as Texans fled eastward in what came to be
called the Runaway
Scrape. Maybe the strain of that finally wore him out. He died
at 76 that summer. His grave is in the Hodge’s Bend Cemetery near
The final Revolutionary War veteran who fought for Texas is Stephen
Williams, born in North Carolina in 1760. He served three enlistments
in the Continental Army. Clearly not one to back down from a fight,
he also participated in the War of 1812.
When his wife died in 1830, Williams decided to move to Texas with
his sons. They put down roots in Jasper
County at Bevil’s
Five years later, when Williams got word that yet another fight
loomed at San Antonio,
he and three of his grandsons walked half-way across Texas to take
part. He enlisted in the Texas army and served until his discharge
at age 75 on Jan. 2, 1836.
Williams lived until 1848, three years after Texas became a state
in the union he fought to create. First buried in Jasper
County, his remains were exhumed in 1936 and taken to the State
Cemetery in Austin.
Two other 1776-era veterans later died fighting in Texas, but not
in the 1835-1836 revolution.
died in the May 19, 1836 Indian attack on his family’s log fort
in what is now Limestone County. His granddaughter, the storied
Parker, was captured and lived much of her life as a Comanche
before being rescued by Texas Rangers in 1860.
Veteran Peters Side fought in the Battle
of Medina on Aug. 18, 1813. He had been a member of the Gutierrez-Magee
Expedition, part of an attempt to wrest Texas from Spain. The
battle site, somewhere in present Bexar
County, has still not been positively located.
Not every American
Revolution veteran who found his way to Texas could be described
as a model citizen. One patriot-scalawag was John SoRelle,
at least that’s how researchers believe he spelled his name.
SoRelle fought the British in North Carolina, eventually moving
to Georgia. Somewhere along the way, he became a man of the cloth.
He came to Texas in 1837, settling in Fayette
County. He lived there four years, dying in 1841 at his daughter’s
home in La Grange. She buried her father near West
Point in Fayette
County, but the grave is unmarked
If the burial site is ever found, it will take some additional research
to determine what last name to carve on his tombstone. Records show
he had variously been known as Sorrell, Sorel, Sorell, and finally,
SoRelle in Texas.
One reason for that may have been necessity. Before coming to Texas,
family legend has it, Rev. S was known for the tent revivals he
staged with his beautiful daughter.
While the men in the audience divided their attention between the
possibility of salvation and the preacher’s good-looking girl, other
members of the family slipped up and stole the attendee’s horses.
© Mike Cox
April 2, 2015 column
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