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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HANDY, ROBERT EDEN -- Born in Pennsylvania in 1807 and came to Texas in July, 1834. He was a volunteer aide-de-campe to General Houston at San Jacinto. Shortly after the battle he and William Lusk formed the partnership of Handy and Lusk. They founded the town of Richmond and owned all of the property there at the time, as well as large holdings of real estate in other parts of the Republic. They also conducted a mercantile business at Richmond.

Major Handy was single February 1, 1838 when he was issued a Headright Certificate for one-third of a league of land by the Fort Bend County Board. On February 23, 1838 he was issued Bounty Certificate No. 2447 for 320 acres of land for having served in the army from March 10 to May 14, 1836. His heirs on October 22, 1851 were issued Donation Certificate No. 384 for 640 acres of land due him for having participated in the battle of San Jacinto.

Major Handy died in Richmond Texas on or about October 1, 1838. In a letter in the Lamar Papers from a sister of Major Handy addressed to President Lamar she stated that she intended to have the remains of her brother removed to a cemetery in Philadelphia. This she probably did.

A child of Major Handy's, James Hutchin Handy, was born to Mrs. Nancy (Graham) Danforth shortly after Major Handy's death. James Hutchin Handy was married to Minerva T. Cowan.

HANDY, ROBERT EDEN -- From Lamar Papers, page 565, Vol. 2, from Mrs. Emmeline C. (Eden) Brown,

Philadelphia, May 8, 1839.

"To Mirabeau Lamar Esqr.

My Dear Sir

Alas can it be that I live to introduce self to you on such an occasion as the present, and for such a Heart rending and soul thrilling purpose.

General Lamar I cannot be wholly unknown to you, if you knew my Brother Col. Robert Eden Handy you must have heard his own -- his only his devoted sister spoken of -- that sister now addresses you, and presuming on a friendship that must have been commensurate with your knowledge of and acquaintance with, my brother, solicits your especial attention and cooperation in this to me absorbing matter, The Removal of My Brother from that land of his Choice and Adoption to this land of his Nativity and Kindred -- He was indeed precious to me, Oh Genl Lamar infinitely more precious than ever Brother was to sister before. He was my all left without parents -- Sisters or Brothers, but this one he answered to them all, and could fill the universe for me ---."

You perhaps can form some adequate idea of my desire to have him restored to me, that I may look upon the spot of Earth that contains him -- with the assurance that if lost to me in life -- we shall be reunited in Death, and I, that I shall not be all alone, the last and only one of my family ---."

"My Joy of this place is the agent we have selected to be the Bearer of my Brother, -- Will you aid and facilitate him in all he requires and in doing this confer a lasting favor and obligation on the Sister of your friend ---."

"There is another matter to which I take leave to call your attention, not only as a friend, for such I must consider you, but it possibly may come under your notice in your official capacity. I refer to Jim, the Colored Boy my Brother took out with him (and whom you may possibly recollect, being in attendance upon him at the battle of San Jacinto). He was a family servant we brought from the South, which in itself would interest me for the Boy -- But added to this, the fact of his being the body servant of my Brother, and no doubt attending him in his last moments, renders him to me an object of peculiar solicitude and regard -- if living, it is my earnest wish that he return with the body of his master ---."

"Another word and I have done -- Why was it not announced in the Columns of your press -- Had he not the Honors of War? Has no tribute been paid to such worth? Forbid it Heaven It would be a National reproach. From a hundred mouths the question has been asked What does this mean? A Hero of San Jacinto fallen -- and no public mention made? For my own part I scarcely care to ask the question, Altho it might have been gratifying as some evidence of the estimation in which he was held in that Country, but Honors and Distinctions now avail me nothing. The great Magician gone. There is no balm in Gilead for bereaved sister of Robert Handy ---."

"With Sentiments of high Esteem and Regard,

Believe me yrs &c


Of course He (Joy) goes with ample means, and all the preliminary arrangements -- I wish you but to suggest the mode of conveyance &c &c

Handy, Robert Eden

Republic of Texas )
County of Ft. Bend )

We, the Grand Jury, in and for said County, on our oaths do present -- Robert Eden Handy for living unlawfully with a certain Mrs. Danforth, of said County, in violation of the laws of this Republic


Robert Dickerson
--- Vickery
Jonathan Peters
William Walker Foreman

February 28, 1838

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. Henry Wax Karnes

Personal Statistics

  • Date of Birth: 1807
  • Birthplace: Pennsylvania
  • Came to Texas: 1834 July
  • Date of Death: 1838 Oct 1
  • Burial Place: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania?
  • Bounty Certificate: 2447
  • Donation Certificate: 384
  • Children: James Hutchin Handy (son of Nancy Graham Danforth)