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Brown, George J.  ( ?  -  1844 Nov 21 )

The Kemp Sketch (What is this?) | Download the original typescript

BROWN, GEORGE J. -- In Headright Certificate No. 238 issued to George Brown in 1838 for one league and one labor of land by the Board of Land Commissioners for Brazoria County it is stated that he came to Texas before May 2, 1835. The compiler is assuming that this man served in Captain Richard Roman's Company at San Jacinto. The company was organized in Brazoria Municipality on January 30, 1836, but most of the men in it arrived at Velasco January 28, 1836 on the schooner Pennsylvania. Those who arrived on the boat are listed on page 27 of the army rolls in the General Land Office and Mr. Brown's name is not among them, indicating that he joined the company later. This is in a way borne out by the fact that on January 19, 1839 George J. Brown was issued Bounty Certificate No. 7010 for 640 acres of land for having served in the army from February 13 to August 13, 1836. The rights to the certificate had been assigned to Ralph Jacobs.

In Comptroller's Military Service Record No. 815 it is certified that Mr. Brown was Drummer and Drum Major in Captain Roman's Company. It is also stated that he served in the army from February 13 to August 13, 1836.

In Fannin Bounty File No. 859, in the General Land Office there is Donation Certificate No. 533 issued November 26, 1853 for 640 acres of land in the name of George J. Brown and due him for having participated in the Battle of San Jacinto. In the file there is an affidavit of Mary A. Hilt of New Orleans, November 26, 1853 in which she stated that she was the widow of Mr. Brown and that he had died at Houston November 21, 1844. Sometime after his death Mrs. Brown had married George F. S. Hilt.

The State of Texas had a monument erected at Mr. Brown's grave in Pioneer's Memorial Park, Houston, in 1936.

Captain Brown's name is mentioned in Wooten's Comprehensive History of Texas in connection with the San Jacinto campaign in a foot note to a statement by Henderson Yoakum. Mr. Yoakum said:

"At dawn of day, on the 20th, the Texans were aroused by a tap of the drum, - for the reveille was forbidden, and resumed their march down the bayou. After proceeding about seven miles, they halted for breakfast. While it was in preparation, the scouts came in and announced that they had given chase to those of the enemy until they discovered his advance coming up the bay. The Texans, without taking breakfast, made a forced march down the bayou in order to arrive at Lynch's Ferry before their opponents. An advance of thirty or forty Texans proceeded rapidly to the ferry, where they arrived by ten o'clock in the forenoon, and found a like number of the enemy there with a substantial new flat boat loaded with provisions for the Mexican army. It was doubtless some of the plunder of Harrisburg or New Washington. The enemy's guard fled at the approach of the Texan advance; the boat and provisions were taken and sent up the bayou, three-fourths of a mile to the rear of the Texan camp, which was established there along the right bank of the bayou in a skirt of timber. This supply of provisions was most fortunate as the Texans had no other during that and the following day."

Francis W. Johnson in his "History of Texas" made the following comment on Yoakum's statement:

"That this capture was not only fortunate but timely is true and is of sufficient importance to entitle the captors to a place in history. So far from the capture being made by the advance of the Texan army, it was made by the following persons.: Captain George Hancock, Lieutenant Crane, Bexter Watson, Sanford Holman, Ben Thomas and David Brown. Hence it will be seen that the advance army of thirty or forty men had dwindled down to six. The advance may have aided materially in frightening off the Mexicans, admitting them to be equal numbers. That the capture was made without the firing of a gun or loss on the part of either side does not lessen its importance or the gallant conduct of the Texans. Therefore, give honor to those to whom honor is due."

The foregoing facts are related to us by Captain George Hancock, who participated in the skirmish of the 20th and the battle of the 21st.

Captain Hancock is too well known to require any endorsement of ours as to his patriotism, gallantry or veracity. We will further add that the boat load of provisions consisted of flour alone.

The statement that the boat contained only flour is corroberated by Colonel John M. Swisher in his published memoirs.

"After the Mexicans retired, we had a glorious time in cooking and eating. We had eaten nothing since leaving camp at Harrisburg on the morning of the 19th. It was now past dinner time on the 20th and our appetites were keenly set. Some of our scouts had captured a small boat of flour and we had drawn our rations; but how to manufacture some bread was the all absorbing question. We had left all our cooking utensils at the camp at Harrisburg and had nothing even in which to mix the dough. 'Necessity is the mother of invention.' We went to the bayou, washed our dirty handkerchiefs and mixes the dough on them. We then got sticks about the size of a man's wrist, wrapped the dough around them and held it over the fire until it was well browned. I thought I had never eaten anything so delicious in all my life as that bread."

Written by Louis W. Kemp, between 1930 and 1952. Please note that typographical and factual errors have not been corrected from the original sketches. The biographies have been scanned from the original typescripts, a process that sometimes allows for mistakes in the new text. Researchers should verify the accuracy of the texts' contents through other sources before quoting in publications. Additional information on the veteran may be available in the Herzstein Library.


Battle Statistics

  • Died in Battle: No
  • Rank: Private
  • Company: Capt. Richard Roman

Personal Statistics

  • Came to Texas: 1835?
  • Date of Death: 1844 Nov 21
  • Burial Place: Pioneer Memorial Park, Houston, Texas
  • Comments: Drummer and Drum Major
  • Bounty Certificate: 7010
  • Donation Certificate: 533
  • Wife: Mary A. Brown Hilt

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