Part of an old map of the San Jacinto area from the Texas Revolution

Veteran Bio

Texian Location:  Harrisburg

The Kemp Sketch

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ROBINSON, JAMES - A free Negro who came to Texas in March, 1835, with Robert Eden Handy to whom he was bound by indenture until the year 1844. He was with Major Handy in the army and would have participated in the battle of San Jacinto had he not been ordered to remain at the camp opposite Harrisburg.

The following petition of Major Handy was presented May 2, 1838:

“The The Honble The Senate & House of Representatives of the Republic of Texas in Congress assembled-


Your petitioner for and in behalf of James Robinson a free negro boy respectfully shewith to your Honbl Body.

That the said negro boy James Robinson came to the country with your petitioner in the month of March 1835. That he joined the Army with your petitioner (to whom he is bound by indenture until the year 1844) during the campaign of San Jacinto; and when a passport was offered him to return to his home and friends, he refused it and begged permission to remain and share the fate of those who met the enemy & (all of which is shown by the accompanying voucher—He did remain, and your petitioner can avouch that he performed his duty faithfully; and he now requests this your pentitioner that the bounty paid to every other soldier of the Army of San Jacinto may also be extended to him—The Service has been rendered, he now respectfully asks the reward—

And in conclusion your Petitioner begs leave to say that while thousands of our citizens were retreating in panic and confusion to the United States, this single minded negro boy, though unacknowledged as a patriot, and bound by no ties of interest; still rose superior to every selfish consideration, and bravely breasted the storm of Mexican invasion at the gloomiest hour of our fortunes—At that dark hour when “Hope for a season bade the world farewell,” and even desponding Liberty herself replumed her wing for a flight back to her native home—

Your petitioner on behalf of James Robinson respectfully hopes that as his color did not prevent the acceptance of his services in the hour of your utmost need, it will not now debar the payment of his reward—And your Petitioner will ever pray &c &c.”

James Robinson before Wyly Martin, Chief Justice of Fort Bend County, signed (by making his mark) the affidavit that follows. This affidavit and the petition of Major Handy are filed among the Memorials and Petitions, Archives, Texas State Library:

“Republic of Texas County of Fort Bend, This day, to wit, the Twenty Sixth of April in the year One Thousand Eight Hundred and Thirty Eight, personally came and appeared before me, Wyly Martin, Chief Justice of the County of Fort Bend, and ex officio a notarypublic of the same; James Robinson, a free negro boy, who being solemnly sworn the truth to speak; declares and says: That he came to this Republic in the month of March One Thousand Eight Hundred and Forty Four, and that he has been in his service ever since—That during the Campaign of Eighteen hundred and Thirty Six, he the said James accompanied Mr. Handy to the Army, and when a passport was tendered to him by said Mr. Handy to return to his friends in Philadelphia, he begged permission to remain and share the fate of his master. That when the Battle of San Jacinto was fought, he the aforesaid James, in obedience to the Orders of the Commander in Chief, remained with others at the upper Encampment.—That he the aforesaid James is till in the employ of his master, where he intends remaining at least the year One Thousand Eight Hundred and Forty Four. And that he the aforesaid James Robinson believes himself justly entitled to at least the amount of Bounty Land given to others under the same circumstances.”

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

Personal Statistics

  • Alternate Names: Jim
  • Came to Texas: 1835 Mar
  • Comments: "a free negro boy…bound by indenture until the year 1844" to Robert Eden Handy per petition of Robert Eden Hardy, May 8, 1838.