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

Veteran Bio

Texian Location:  Participant

The Kemp Sketch

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COLEMAN, ROBERT M. -- Born in Kentucky in 1799 and came to Texas in May, 1831 with his wife and children. In 1835 he was a delegate to the Consultation at San Felipe de Austin. As a delegate to the Constitutional Convention from Mina (Bastrop) Municipality, he, on March 6, 1836, signed the Texas Declaration of Independence at Washington-on-the-Brazos.

In July, 1835 Dr. George W. Barnett was chosen Captain of one of the four volunteer companies organized to assist Captain Robert M. Coleman of Bastrop, with a company of 25 men, in dislodging a band of Indians at Tehuacana Springs, now in Limestone County. The five companies united at Parker's Fort, two and a half miles from the present city of Groesbeck and organized the whole under one command, electing John H. Moore, at that time captain of one of the companies, commander, with the rank of major, and Joseph S. Neill, adjutant. The company commanders besides the ones mentioned were Robert M. Williamson and Philip Coe. Arriving at Tehuacana they found that the Indians had fled, having been warned by their spies of the contemplated attack. A consultation was held and it was decided to follow the Tehuacanas. The forces scoured the country to the forks of the Trinity, near the subsequent site of Dallas, passing over to and down the Brazos, crossing that river where old Ft. Graham stood. They failed to locate the Tehuacanas but encountered several roving bands, whom they routed, killing one warrior and capturing several women and children.

In Service Record No. 7508 it is certified that Colonel Coleman served as captain of a Ranger Company from June 12 to August 28, 1835 at $75.00 per month. He was captain of the "Mina Volunteers" from September 28 to December 16, 1835 and was aide-de-camp to General Houston from April 1 to July 15, 1836, acting in that capacity at San Jacinto. After receiving his discharge he raised a regiment of rangers of which he was colonel to at least November 30, 1836.

The Telegraph and Texas Register, Columbia, of July 23, 1836 carried the following notice about Colonel Coleman:

"Col. R. M. Coleman has left this place with his men, to go and protect the inhabitants of the Colorado from the incursions of maurading Indians, and to enable the farmers to attend to their crops and gather them. A fort will be erected in that district, probable at the three forks of Little River, or at the foot of the mountain on the Colorado."

Due to a disagreement with President Houston, Colonel Coleman was relieved from duty. In 1837 a pamphlet dictated by him but thought to have been written by Judge Algernon P. Thompson of Houston was widely distributed. It was entitled "Houston Displayed, or who Won the Battle of San Jacinto. By a Farmer in the Army." In the pamphlet, General Houston was severely criticized.

Colonel Coleman, while bathing in the Brazos River at Velasco, drowned about July 1, 1837. An administrator of his estate was requested by his widow, Mrs. Elizabeth Coleman, at the August term of the probate court of Brazoria County. Andrew Churchill was appointed administrator of his estate.

On February 18, 1839 Mrs. Coleman and her oldest son, Albert V., aged fourteen, were killed by Indians. The Indians surrounded and fired upon their log cabin home near where the town of Webberville, Travis County, was later built. (Mr. A. W. McClellan says that the massacre occurred four miles north of Bastrop.) Mrs. Coleman and Albert defended themselves as best they could be firing between the cracks of the logs. Mrs. Coleman was first to fall, being shot with an arrow. James W., second oldest son, had escaped when the Indians were first seen. Thomas, the baby aged five years, was carried away by the Indians. The other children, Sarah Elizabeth, Sarah Ann and Rebecca M. remained in the house and were not harmed.

James W. Coleman died in about 1855 at the age of seventeen. He is buried in the Baptist cemetery at Spring Prairie, five miles from Dime Box in Lee County. His grave is unmarked but is known.

Sarah Elizabeth Coleman was married to William Brown and both are deceased. Mrs. Brown died in 1866.

Sarah Ann Coleman was married to William J. McClellan. Mrs. McClellan was born in Bastrop, Texas and died in Tennessee in 1856. She is buried in the McClellan family cemetery four miles from Franklin, Tennessee.

Rebecca M. Coleman was married to Robert J. Russell. Mrs. Russell died in Dime Box, Lee County in 1852.

J. H. Brown, ET AL #842 vs L. E. NEUHASU.

The parties in the above entitled cause agree upon the following facts:

That the land in controversy was granted to R. M. Coleman on the 1st day of February 1835, who was then married to Elizabeth Coleman, and that the plaintiffs are the heirs of said R. M. & Elizabeth Coleman, both of whom are dead. That said R. M. Coleman died intestate in 1837, and at his death left surviving him, his wife, Elizabeth, and the following children, the issue of said marriage, to wit: Albert V., James W., Sarah Elizabeth, Sarah Ann and Rebecca M. Coleman; that said Albert V., in 1839, at about 14 years of age as killed by the Indians, and that, at the same time, said Tom was carried into captivity by the Indians, and has never been heard of since by any of his relatives or by anybody else in the neighborhood where he then lived. That said Elizabeth, the surviving wife of said R. M. Coleman, died in 1839, intestate and left surviving her the girl children above named. That said Sarah Elizabeth Coleman married one William Brown; that she died intestate in about 1854 and left two children surviving her, to wit; the plaintiff, J. H. Brown and Margaret Brown, her sole heirs; that said William Brown is dead. That said Sarah Ann Coleman married one William J. McClellan, and died intestate in 1856, and left surviving her two children, viz: A. W. McClellan, one of the plaintiffs, and W. T. McClellan, who is still living, but joined in this suit, her sole heirs; that said Wm. J. McClellan is dead. That said Rebecca M. Coleman married one Robert J. Russell, and died intestate about 1852, and at her death left surviving her four children, her sole heirs, viz: the plaintiffs, Mrs. I. C. French, a feme sole, and Mrs. Mary E. Everett, a feme sole, Mrs. R. A. Fletcher, a feme sole, and Mrs. R. I. Jones, a feme sole, as her sole heirs. That said Margaret Brown died about 1866, single and intestate and left as her sole heirs, her said brother, J. H. Brown, one of the plaintiffs, and her two half sisters, Viz: Parolee Lucas, one of the plaintiffs, and Annie Damron, wife of R. J. Damron, one of the plaintiffs; that said Annie Damron is dead, and left surviving her as her sole heirs, the minor plaintiffs, to wit: Beulah, Oscar, Mamie, George and Early Damron.

That the said William Brown, the husband of said Sarah Elizabeth Brown, the said Robert J. Russell, the husband of said Rebecca M. Russell, and the said William J. McClellan, the husband of said Sarah Ann McClellan, were the respective William Brown, Robert J. Russell and Wm. J. McClellan mentioned respectively in the proceedings in proble upon the estate of R. M. Coleman in the probate Court of Bastrop County, Texas. But it is expressly understood that the validity of any of said probate proceedings is not admitted by the plaintiffs. That the R. M. Coleman above mentioned is the same person whose estate was attempted to be administered in the probate Court of Bastrop County; Texas.

Brown, Lane Jackson, Attys. for L. E. Neuhaus.
Garwood, Orgain & Tate, Attys. for Plaintiffs.

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: Colonel
  • Company: Volunteer aide-de-camp, Commander-in-Chief's staff

Personal Statistics

  • Date of Birth: 1799
  • Birthplace: Kentucky
  • Came to Texas: 1831 May
  • Date of Death: 1837 Jul 1
  • Comments: Signed Declaration of Independence
  • Wife: Elizabeth Coleman
  • Children: Albert V. Coleman; James W. Coleman; Thomas Coleman; Sarah Elizabeth Coleman Brown; Sarah Ann Coleman McClellan; Rebecca M. Coleman Russell