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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HEARD, WILLIAM JONES ELLIOT -- Born near Knoxville, Tennessee, August 16, 1801, a son of Stephen Rhodes and Jemima (Menefee) Heard. His mother was a sister of William Menefee, a signer of the Texas Declaration of Independence.

During his early youth his parents moved to Alabama and settled near Tuscumbia. There his father died, and there William J. E. was married to America Morton, daughter of Rev. Quinn Morton. Miss Morton was born in Tennessee May 3, 1808 and moved to Alabama in 1811.

On October 30, 1830 a caravan of colonists left Tuscumbia for Texas and included in it were Mrs. Jemima Heard and members of her family. The party reached the Navidad River where the town of Texana, Jackson County, was later built in December, 1830. The Heards secured land in Austin's Third Colony, situated about six miles from Texana. In 1833 they moved to the site of the present town of Egypt, Wharton County.

In 1832 William J. E. Heard was elected Second Lieutenant in Captain Joseph K. Looney's company of Volunteers recruited in the Lavaca settlement. In 1835 he was on a visit to Alabama and for that reason did not participate in the campaign of that year On February 1, 1836 he enrolled as First Lieutenant of Captain Thomas J. Rabb's Company of Citizen Soldiers. Captain Rabb joined the "Runaway Scrape" and Lieutenant Heard succeeded him in command. The company at San Jacinto was officially Company F, First Regiment of Texas Volunteers. In Bounty Certificate No. 1902 issued to him January 17, 1838, for 320 acres of land, it is stated that Captain Heard enlisted in the army of Texas at Gonzales February 29 and was discharged at Victoria May 30, 1836. In a letter written by Captain Heard and published in the Texas Almanac in 1860 he stated that he arrived at Gonzales March 6, 1836. He received Donation Certificate No. 614 for 640 acres of land November 20, 1838, for having participated in the battle of San Jacinto.

Captain Heard was on September 28, 1838 elected Chief Justice, Colorado County, Egypt at that time being in that county. In 1840 Captain Heard accompanied Colonel John H. Moore on a campaign against Indians on the upper Colorado River. In 1842 he participated in the Woll campaign.

Captain Heard, his mother and wife were devout members of the Methodist Church. Their home was also the home of itenerant ministers. In 1837 Dr. Martin Ruter and Rev. J. W. Kinney organized a church in their home.

Captain Heard's wife died June 18, 1855. His mother, born February 28, 1782, died January 27, 1859. The two are buried in the Heard family cemetery at Egypt. A sister of Captain Heard's, Sarah Fidelia, became the second wife of John Rice Jones, first postmaster general of Texas.

In 1865 Captain Heard in order to enjoy additional church privileges moved to what is now Chapel Hill, the home of Chapel Hill Female College and Soule University, two Methodist schools. Several months after the death of his wife, Captain Heard was married to a Miss Glass. There were no children of this union. Captain Heard died of dropsy August 8, 1874. The State of Texas erected a monument at his grave in the Masonic cemetery at Chapel Hill in 1933. Mrs. Heard died in June, 1878.

Children of Captain William J. E. and America (Morton) Heard were Elizabeth, who married Mentor Northington; Susan M., who married to Dr. Bartley Stanchfield; Quinn Menefee, who married Mary Wilkerson; and George S. Heard.

HEARD, WILLIAM J. E. -- Editors Texas Almanac: Having seen in your paper of the 14th, an invitation to all the old veterans of Texas to send their names to you for publication in your Almanac, I will send you mine with a few items.

In October, 1830, I started from North Alabama near Tuscumbia for Texas. I arrived on the Navidad, near Texanna, in December, and located my headright league about six miles from Texanna, now Jackson county. I lived there two years, and then moved to the Colorado and settled at Egypt, now Wharton county. I lived there until 1866, and then moved to Chapell Hill, where I am now living. I am now in my seventieth year, quite feeble, and my eyes very dim, which you will see from my writing, not being able to see the lines.

I joined the army in 1836, at Gonzales, on the 28th of February. I was elected Captain of Company C, in Col. Burleson's regiment. I retreated with the army to San Jacinto, fought in that battle, and then followed the enemy until they left the country. I was discharged at Victoria, by Col. Somerville, and my discharge was dated the 30th of May, 1836. The Winter before last I had the misfortune to have my house burnt. I saved some of my books and papers, and some were burnt. I have not been able to find my discharge, and suppose it was burnt. I have now a land certificate for services rendered in 1836, commencing the 28th of February and ending the 30th of May issued by Charles Moran, Secretary of War. I was well acquainted with General Sherman at the battle of San Jacinto, and he knows I was there. I can recollect of but one man of my company now living; that is Joel Robinson of Fayette. He is one of the men that captured Santa Anna.

WM. J. E. Heard.

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: Captain
  • Company: First Regiment Texas Volunteers
  • Battle Account: 1860 Texas Almanac

Personal Statistics

  • Date of Birth: 1801 Aug 16
  • Birthplace: Tennessee, Knoxville
  • Origin: Alabama, Tuscumbia
  • Came to Texas: 1830 Dec
  • Date of Death: 1874 Aug 8
  • Burial Place: Masonic Cemetery, Chappel Hill, Texas
  • Comments: Uncle signed TX DoI
  • Bounty Certificate: 1902
  • Donation Certificate: 614
  • Wife: 1. America Morton; 2. Ester Glass
  • Children: Elizabeth E. Heard Northington; Susan M. Heard Stanchfield; Quinn Menefee Heard; George Sutherland Heard