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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SMITH, WILLIAM P. - Born January 15, 1795. He came to Texas in January 1835, as is stated in the headright certificate issued to him January 10, 1838 by the Washington County Board of Land Commissioners.

The records of the War Department, Washington, D. C., show that Dr. Smith was a veteran of the War of 1812. He enrolled in Fayetteville, Tennessee, October 3, 1814 as a sergeant in Captain John Hutchins Company, Second Regiment of Tennessee mounted Volunteer Gunmen, Winn’s Division. He served from September 28, 1814 to March 28, 1815.

On October 7, 1835 at Gonzales the following memorial was presented to Colonel John H. Moore:

“You are hereby requested to accept the medical services of the undersigned who without any discussion of grade have, with a special eye to the good of their country, constituted themselves a board for the volunteer army of Texas with sentiments of highest consideration. We subscribe ourselves,

Yours sincerely,

William P. Smith

Thomas J. Gazley

T. Kenney

Joseph E. Field

Amos Pollard”.

At the camp on the Cibalo on October 18, 1835, General Austin named Dr. Smith as surgeon in the army.

Dr, Smith was issued Donation Certificate No. 1161 for 640 acres of land August 15, 1841 for having been detailed to guard the baggage at Harrisburg, April 21, 1836. In the Court of Claims files in the General Land Office is a statement from Fr. Smith in which he stated he was a member of Captain Moseley Baker’s Company.

Dr. Smith died May 18, 1870 and is buried in a marked grave in the cemetery in Fayetteville, Fayette County.

The following letter from Dr. William P. Smith, dated Fayetteville, Fayetteville County, July 20, 1858 was published in the Texas Almanac of 1859:

“Messrs. Richardson & Co. – In your notice of your Almanac, for 1859, I see you contemplate publishing the names of those who were in the battle of San Jacinto. In Gen. Houston’s published account of that battle, he does not say one word about those who were really connected with the army, yet on detached service by his own order. This is certainly not doing them justice. For instance, Major McNutt was appointed to the command of the guard over the sick, the baggage. etc., at the upper encampment. I, as one of the surgeons of the army, was left at Donaho’s, in charge of some sixty sick with the measles, being the sick of both regiments. So soon as I got them in a condition so that some could go to the settlements, to regain their health, Captain Hill of Washington County and myself, took those who were able to join the army, and dashed on as rapidly as possible, to join the main army before the battle. When we arrived on the 20th of April, 1836, at the upper encampment, the end was knocked out of the ferry-boat, and while some workmen were repairing it, Cos’ division was between us and the main army, so we could not arrive there until the battle was over, and then we hastened to the scene as quickly as possible. I was there in time to aid in attending to the sick and wounded. I was acting under a commission, as Regimental Surgeon, with the appointment of David G. Burnet, President ad interim, and Thomas J. Rusk, Secretary of War. I was regularly discharged by M. B. Lamar, then Secretary of War, some two months after the battle. I have obtained my 640 acres San Jacinto donation, and think that myself, with others similarly situated, who were at our post doing detailed service by order of the Commander-in-Chief, are entitled to some public consideration. Would it not be well, in your coming issue to make some honorable mention of those on detached service?”

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 - Regimental Surgeon
  • Company: Capt. Peyton R. Splane
  • Battle Account: Texas Almanac 1859; transcribed in Kemp biography

Personal Statistics

  • Date of Birth: 1795 Jan 15
  • Came to Texas: 1835 Jan
  • Date of Death: 1870 May 18
  • Burial Place: Fayetteville, Fayette County, Texas
  • Comments: War of 1812
  • Donation Certificate: 1161
  • Profession: Doctor, preacher