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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DAWSON, NICHOLAS MOSBY -- Born in Woodford County, Kentucky in 1808 and moved early in life with his parents to White County, Tenn. He arrived at Velasco, January 28, 1836 on the schooner, Pennsylvania, having been recruited by Captain Amasa Turner in New Orleans for the Army of Texas. Captain John Hart's Company was organized January 29, 1836 at Velasco with Richard Roman as first and Mr. Dawson as second, lieutenant. Roman was elected captain of the company February 13th and as such commanded it at San Jacinto. Mr. Dawson issued Bounty Certificate No. 1912 for 1280 acres of land January 17, 1838 for having served in the army from January 29, 1836 to February 10, 1837. He was issued Donation Certificate No. 779, January 25, 1839, for 640 acres of land for having participated in the battle of San Jacinto. On August 7, 1836, he was elected second lieutenant of Company C.

Retiring from the army, Mr. Dawson at first settled in Bexar County and was by the Board of Land Commissioners of that county issued a Headright Certificate for one-third of a league of land, January 30, 1858. He moved to Fayette County and was living there when Colonel John H. Moore organized a regiment of volunteers for an expedition against Indians living in west Texas. Mr. Dawson was elected captain of one of the companies. An Indian village on a bend of the Colorado near where the town of Colorado, Mitchell County, now stands was destroyed and the savages killed.

Learning of General Adrian Woll's invasion and the capture by him of San Antonio, September 11, 1842, Captain Dawson hurriedly recruited a company of volunteers and left to join other volunteers were trying to check Woll's advance toward the Capital City, Austin. In attempting to join the Texans under John C. Hays, who had fortified themselves on Salado Creek, about six miles from San Antonio, Dawson and his men were surrounded by an over-whelming force of Mexicans September 18th. Of the fifty-three officers and men of the company, thirty-six were killed, fifteen surrendered and two escaped. Five of those who surrendered were wounded. This incident in Texas is known as the Dawson Massacre". In 1848 the remains of Captain Dawson and his men were exhumed and placed in the tomb on Monument Hill overlooking the town of La Grange, along with the remains of the men who drew the black beans at Salado, Mexico.

Dawson County, Texas, at its creation was named in honor of Captain Nicholas Mosby Dawson.

Captain Dawson had a sister named Eliza Dawson, who was married to James C. Vandever of Sparta, Tennessee. Mr. and Mrs. James C. Vandever had at least two sons, one of whom was Nicholas Dawson Vandever of Sparta, Tennessee.

Two of Captain Dawson's brothers, Thomas E. and George Dawson, later came to Texas from Sparta, Tennessee. A sister __________ Dawson married __________ Carrick.

George Dawson left Texas for California but died in route.

Thomas E. Dawson first settled in Fayette County, but later moved to Cooke County, Texas, where he died. His widow was married to Mr. Kurbo.

W. G. Smith, W. T. Smith, Sparta, Tenn.
L. D. Smith Crossville, Tenn.


Attorneys at Law
Sparta, Tenn. Mar. 17, 1904

Mr. Thomas E. Dawson,
Floydada, Texas

Dear Sir:

You have an interest in some land in Tennessee, and we can recover it for you. We will recover it for an interest in the land, or we will buy the land, provided, of course, you can establish the fact that you are the Thomas E. Dawson, the brother of Nicholas M. Dawson and George Dawson, and brother of the wives of some of the Carricks who married Dawsons.

It is not a very large interest, but is worth your attention. We refer you to the Peoples Bank of Sparta, W. L. Dibrell, Cleark of the County Court, J. D. Goff, Judge of the County Ct., as to our standing. Please let us hear from you.

Yours truly,

Smith & Smith



Sparta, Term. May 19, 1904.
Mr. Thos. Ed Dawson
Lyman, Texas.

Dear Sir:

At the request of Judge W. T, Smith, of the firm of Smith and Smith, I write you in regard to the standing of their firm. I know all of the gentlemen well; they are entirely reliable, and whatever they say to you is alright.

You, perhaps, do not know me, but your father and my mother are brothers and sisters, and I am very glad to know of you location and that you are alive, and if I can be of any service to you I will be pleased to perform it.

You will please write me and tell me all about yourself and family.

Your kinsman,
(Dictated) J. M. Carrick

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: Second Lieutenant
  • Company: Capt. Richard Roman

Personal Statistics

  • Date of Birth: 1808
  • Birthplace: Kentucky, Woodford County
  • Origin: Louisiana? Tennessee?
  • Came to Texas: 1836 Jan 28
  • Date of Death: 1842 Sep 18
  • Burial Place: Monument Hill, La Grange, Texas
  • Comments: Dawson Massacre
  • Bounty Certificate: 1912
  • Donation Certificate: 779