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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CRAIN, RODDEN TAYLOR -- Born near Grand Junction, Hardeman County, Tennessee April 29, 1819, a son of Joel Crain. In the Headright Certificate issued to him in 1838 for one-third of a league of land by the Board of Land Commissioners for San Augustine County it is certified that he came to Texas in 1835. He was a member of Captain William Kimbro's San Augustine Company at San Jacinto but the General Land Office records do not disclose that he received the donation land due him for having participated in the battle, or the bounty land due him for having served in the army immediately prior to or after the battle. He joined Captain Richard Hooper's Company of San Augustine Cavalry July 6 and was discharged October 10, 1836. For the latter service he was issued Bounty Certificate No. 309 for 320 acres of land. In applying for a pension, however, April 22, 1872, Mr. Crain stated that he had received his donation land. He stated that he had served in the army from March 10 to October 6, 1836.

Mr. Crain was first married in Nacogdoches to a Miss McKenzie. After her death he was married to Mrs. Cassandra Clark Blankenship, daughter of Barnes Clark and widow of Boyd Blankenship.

Mr. Crain was a member of the Texas Veterans Association. He was drowned in the Bosque River in Bosque County, July 20, 1891, and is buried in a marked grave in the cemetery in Valley Mills. He owned land north of Valley Mills, and had to cross the Bosque when he visited town. On the day of his death he was warned by some fishermen not to cross. He drove into it, however, and was drowned.

Children of Mr. Crain by his first marriage were Adaline, who married John M. Moody; Carter; Alexander; Nancy, who married T. B. Hatley, and after his death married A. D. Burress; Giles Burditt, who married Rachel Fulgham, and married a second time after her death; Rachel, who married Robert Murrell; and Martha Crain. Children of Mr. Crain by his second marriage were Ambrose; Thomas Rusk; A. Burress; and Ann Crain.

The following affidavit signed by Mr. Crain is found in the Pension Papers, Archives, Texas State Library, Austin. It was made at Waco, July 18, 1878:

"In the County Court Bosque County Texas July Term 1878 To Hon T. H. Helton Bounty Judge of Bosque County the petition of Roden T. Crane applicant for a pension from the State of Texas respectfully represents that he is a resident of said State and County and fifty nine years of age that he served as and was a soldier in the army of the Republic of Texas in the war of the revolution which separated Texas from Mexico between the commencement of the revolution at Gonzales in 1835 and the first war of January 1837 that he was a member of Wm Kimbro's company in said army from 10th day March 1836 till 6 October 1836. That he is in indigent circumstances and has been ever since July 1st 1876 that by reason of the premises he is entitled to an annual pension of $150 from the State of Texas."

The following affidavit was signed by Mr. Crain at Waco April 22, 1872, and is found in the Pension Papers, Archives, Texas State Library:

"This is to Certify That I R. T. Crain do Hereby depose and Say that I was a member of Capt Wm Kimbroes Company of Volunteers of San Augustine County and That I participated in the Battle of Sanjacinto on the 21st of April 1836 and I also affirm that I was wounded By Santa Annas advance guard at the time that the Mexican Army arrived at Sanfelippe on the Brazos River and that I am Entitled to a pension according to an act of the Legislature 12 August 1870

And that this declaration is for the purpose of obtaining the sam.

I should have Stated in the above declaration that I have Received My Bounty Land 640 Acres for Participating in the Battle of Sanjacinto."

Comanche, Texas, Oct. 12, 1939

Mr. L. W. Kemp
Houston, Texas

Dear Sir: In April 1938 a friend of our family, Mr. Walter J. Cunningham of Comanche, wrote you in our behalf concerning the Robert T. Crain watch. A veteran of San Jacinto & whose name with other veterans was to be enscribed in bronze within the building being erected in their honor on the San Jacinto Battlefield. At the time of Mr. Crain's tragic death there were no known relatives and my husband an educator, bought it for its historic value and treasured it till his death as such. I now shall be glad if the museum of which I note you are chairman, would make me a fair offer for the watch & advise me of same. The watch is engraved inside the case -- Roden T. Crain veteran of San Jacinto April 21st, 1836. He wore this watch as time-keeper in guarding Gen. Santa Anna. Hoping to hear favorably from you I am with thanks,

Very truly,

(s) Mrs. J. B. Layne

November 13, 1929

Judge W. O. Crain
The Texas Company
Houston, Texas


Dear Judge Crain:

I am enclosing a letter from Mrs. J. B. Layne, Comanche, which may be of interest to you. I wrote her that the San Jacinto Museum of History had no funds with which to purchase such treasures. I did not refer her to you. You need not return the letter since I have made a copy of it.

Yours sincerely.

L. W. Kemp.

November 13, 1939

Mrs. J. B. Layne

Dear Mrs. Layne:

I would certainly like to see the watch of Roden T. Crain, exhibited at the museum in the San Jacinto monument. Articles pertaining to San Jacinto veterans may be lent to the museum, with the owner having the right to withdraw them at any time, or they may be presented to the museum. The museum has no funds with which to purchase them.

Very sincerely,

L. W. Kemp

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. William Kimbro

Personal Statistics

  • Alternate Names: Robert, Rodin, Rodden T. Crane
  • Date of Birth: 1819 Apr 29
  • Birthplace: Tennessee, Hardeman County
  • Came to Texas: 1835
  • Date of Death: 1891 Jul 20
  • Burial Place: Valley Mills, Bosque Co., Texas
  • Comments: U.S. Mexican War
  • Wife: 1. Miss McKenzie; 2. Cassandra Clark Blankenship
  • Children: Adaline Crain Moody; Carter; Alexander; Nancy Crain Hatley Burress; Giles Burditt; Rrachel Crain Murrell; Martha Crain Murrell; Ambrose; Thomas Rusk; A. Burress; Ann