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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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HARPER, JOHN -- Born in 1811. He arrived at Velasco January 28, 1836, on the schooner Pennsylvania, having been recruited in New Orleans by Captain Amasa Turner for the army of Texas. In the Headright Certificate issued to him March 2, 1838, by the Harrisburg County Board, for one-third of a league of land it as stated that he came to Texas in January, 1836.

Mr. Harper was a member of Captain Amasa Turner's company at San Jacinto. He is shown on a muster roll at the Land Office as having enlisted in the army February 13, 1836, for a period of two years, or the duration of the war. On December 31, 1836, and February 28, 1837, is shown as a member of Captain John Smith's company on Galveston Island. He was issued Donation Certificate No. 403 October 20, 1841, for 640 acres of land for having participated in the battle of San Jacinto.

Mr. Harper met death in an unfortunate manner, and his death is but another chapter in the history of tragic deaths of early settlers of Fayette County.

"Mr. Harper left his home on the date of his death to look after his flock of sheep and sought to drive them to shelter. The night was cold, and was supplemented later by a severe storm, sleet fell fast and the ground froze rapidly.

"Nearing a twenty foot embankment, he evidently paused, and accidently slipped down the embankment, breaking both of his legs; the storm raging, and being some distance away from his home and his voice not penetrating the noise of the storm, he was compelled to remain where he fell.

"Searching parties found him the next morning, near to noon, frozen stiff, he had been dead for several hours. His body was buried in the Cedar Cemetery about five miles from LaGrange on the old Flatonia road."

Following is the inscription on Mr. Harper's tombstone in the Cedar Cemetery near La Grange Fayette County, Texas.

"Sacred to the memory of
John Harper
Died September 4, 1859
Age 48
There shall be no night there."

Mr. Harper was married to Ann Ayers. To them were born two children: Sara, who married James S. Lewis; and Elizabeth, who married Samuel Card.

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. Amasa Turner

Personal Statistics

  • Date of Birth: 1811
  • Origin: Louisiana
  • Came to Texas: 1836 Jan 28
  • Date of Death: 1859 Sep 4
  • Burial Place: Cedar Cemetery, Fayette Co., Texas
  • Donation Certificate: 403
  • Wife: Ann Ayers
  • Children: Sarah Harper Lewis; Elizabeth Harmer Card