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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TEAL, HENRY - A son of Edward Teal, a widower, came to Texas in 1828 with his three children, Henry, Milly, and Wade Horton Teal. He first settled at Nacogdoches, but later moved to San Augustine where he ran a blacksmith shop.

Due to sickness, Captain Teal did not participate in the battle of San Jacinto. According to the information contained in Headright Certificate No. 246 issued to his heirs February 1, 1838, by the San Augustine County Board, for one-third of a league of land, came to Texas in 1828. He was elected First Lieutenant of a company of infantry by the General Council of the provisional Government November 29, 1835. James Carter of Nacogdoches was elected Captain of the company but declining to serve the company was commanded by Lieutenant Teal.

Lieutenant Teal’s company was raised at Nacogdoches and was composed largely of men who had lately arrived in Texas. On March 14, 1836, his company was at Washington-on-the-Brazos, where the Constitutional Convention was then in session, and that date a resolution was passed by the Convention requiring the Committee on Military Affairs to make arrangements for furnishing “arms, munitions, etc., to a company of regulars on their march to the frontier under the command of Lieutenant Teal.” On the 15th Teal was elected a captain by the Convention and he immediately began his march, joining the main army on the 22nd. On March 26th his company enrolled as Company A, First Regiment of Infantry.

Captain Teal contracted the measles, then prevalent in the army, and was thus prevented from participating in the battle of San Jacinto, his company being commanded during the engagement by Captain Andrew Briscoe. On February 5, 1840, Captain Teal’s heirs were issued Donation Certificate No. 1018 for 640 acres of land due him for “having been with the guard near Harrisburg.”

Captains Teal and Henry W. Karnes were in May, 1836, sent to Matamoras to negotiate with General Urrea for the exchange of prisoners and were themselves imprisoned. However, they managed to effect an escape.

On August 27, 1836, Captain Teal was promoted to the rank of Major. On the night of May 5, 1837, while in command of a battalion on the First Regiment of Infantry, commanded by Colonel Edwin Morehouse, Major Teal was shot and killed by an assassin whose identity was not disclosed for many years afterwards. Major Teal was asleep on a cot in his tent at Camp Independence on the Lavaca River in what is now Jackson County. During a terrific rain storm a mutineer stole to the side of his tent, and taking advantage of a flash of lightning which revealed Major Teal’s couch, fired a shot-gun loaded with buckshot at him, killing him instantly. On January 10, 1845, John Hamilton Schultz murdered James M. Jett, a San Jacinto veteran, and his companion, Simeon Bateman, at Virginia Point. He was later captured, sentenced to death, and hanged at Galveston on June 29, 1855. Just before he was executed he admitted that it was he who had murdered Major Teal.

The heirs of Major Teal on February 5, 1840 received Bounty Certificate No. 9453 for 1280 acres of land for his services in the army from December 2, 1835 to May 5, 1837.

The General Council of the Provisional Government of Texas on November 23, 1835 passed an act in which each company of the regular army was to have one drummer and one fifer who were to receive the same pay as that given to sergeants.

2nd Lt. of Captain Thomas J. Rusk’s Company in 1835.

On Board of Steam Boat

April 11th 1836

To Genl Sam Houston

Dr Sir, I have Leach and Lady hear and have no tents for them and there is no publick horse he(re) but if you will send one down I will have it brought down I will have it crossed in the little flat that hear I want to get clear of them. All of the people on this sid think that you have aspie in your camp now that is Powel All of the Spaniard of Capt Segine Co. say that he is abad man but that is for you to judge that you self. We can cross ahorse as soon as you pleas

(signed) H. Teal


Addressed on the back


Gen Sam Houston

Commander in Chief

(The original was in possession of Colonel A. J. Houston, son of General Sam Houston, April 4, 1938.)

May 5, 1837 - Colonel Henry Teal was assassinated in his tent at night as he slep in his cot at “Camp Independence” on the Lavaca River during a terriffic rain storm. Colonel William G. Cooke had arrived at camp during the day and became the guest of Colonel Teal. That night Colonel Teal insisted that Col. Cook occupy his narrow cot, while, he, Teal, slep on a Buffalo robe spred on the ground but Cooke refused to accept the courtesy. Sometime during the night, while the storm raged a mutineer stole to the side of Colonel Teal’s tent and taking advantage of a flash of lightning, which revealed Teal’s Couch, fired, lodging several buckshot into Teal’s body. The noise of the discharge of the musket, and the rumbling of the thunder were so blended, that Cook did not awake. (Note: In June, 1855 just before he was executed at Galveston for a double murder committed at Virginia Point, John Hamilton Schultz confessed that he was the man who murdered Colonel Teal.)

May 6, -Captain Thomas J. Morgan, Captain of the guard at “Camp Independence” arrested several soldiers suspected as the murderers of Colonel Henry Teal. At night several hundred mutineers, howling like so many tigers, appeared at the guard house and demanded that the prisoners be released. The Officer of the Day arrived on the scene and seeing that resistance would be futil ordered Captain Morgan to dismiss the guard. The mutineers cut the irons from the prisoners’ limbs and released them.

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: Captain
  • Company: [Regular Army] sick with measles at Harrisburg

Personal Statistics

  • Date of Birth: 1800?
  • Came to Texas: 1825
  • Date of Death: 1837 May 5
  • Other Battles: Bexar
  • Comments: Imprisoned while negotiating prisoner exchange with Urrea in May 1836; murdered by John Hamilton Schultz
  • Bounty Certificate: 9453
  • Donation Certificate: 1018