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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HIGHSMITH, ABIJAH M. -- Born November 13, 1776 in North Carolina. He moved to Missouri at an early date where he married Deborah Turner, daughter of Winslow Turner.

On page 7, Book A, "List of applicants for Land in Austin's Colonies," Spanish Archives in the General Land Office, Austin it is shown that Ahijah Highsmith of Missouri had applied for land in Austin's Colonies April 2, 1827. He stated that he had a wife and five children. On page 55 of the same book it is shown that Ahijah Highsmith, aged 34, again applied for land. This time he said he had six children, three boys and three girls and had come to Texas in 1828. His wife, Debora aged 35, was also with him. He was issued title to a league of land in Austin's second colony, situated in the present county of Bastrop, April 5, 1831 (Vol. 4, page 658).

All married colonists who had received a league of land from the Mexican government, as had Mr. Highsmith, were entitled to receive an additional labor of land from the Republic of Texas. The following is quoted from the Headright Certificate No. 255 issued July 6, 1838 to A. M. Highsmith by the Board of Land Commissioners for Bastrop County:

"This is to certify that A. M. Highsmith has appeared before the board of land commissioners for County of Bastrop and proved according to law that he arrived in this country in 1827 and that he is a married man and entitled to one labor of land."

Mr. Highsmith was a member of Captain Jesse Billingsley's "Mina (Bastrop) Volunteers" at San Jacinto and on August 30, 1839 he was issued Donation Certificate No. 938 for 640 acres of land for having participated in the battle. He was issued Bounty Certificate No. 9989 for 320 acres of land August 28, 1845 for having served in the army from February 28 to June 1, 1836.

Mrs. C. T. Traylor, Cuero, wrote to the compiler January 5, 1938 that Mrs. Highsmith was born in Plymouth County, Massachusetts, November 22, 1774 and died February 11, 1872. He stated that Mr. Highsmith died May 22, 1845. Robert B. Grimes was appointed administrator of his estate August 25, 1845 (Page 192, Probate Records of Bastrop County). The graves of both are lost.

Children of Mr. and Mrs. Abijah Highsmith were: Benjamin Franklin Highsmith, born in Missouri, September 11, 1817, and died November 20, 1905 in Uvalde County, Texas. He was married to Elizabeth Turner, daughter of Adam Turner who was born in Missouri March 22, 1836 and died at home of H. F Kennedy, Uvalde County, Texas, October 7, 1900; William Highsmith, who married Lucinda Cathor (?); Winslow Turner Highsmith, who married Sarah E. Loftin; Elizabeth Highsmith who married Robert H. Grimes; and Mary Highsmith who married George Jefferson Neill.

(Extracted from a deed recorded in Book E, page 105, Deed Records of Bastrop County and signed by A. M. Highsmith by making his mark.)

On October 8, 1836 Ahijah and Debora Highsmith were living in the town of Columbia (Now West Columbia, Brazoria County) when they sold one half of the league granted to them by the Mexican government, and situated in Bastrop County, to Joseph Mims for $l,000. (Book B, page 217-218 Deed Records of Bastrop County). The deed records show, however, that on July 3, 1838 they were residing on the other half league of their land in Bastrop County.

Mary Highsmith was born in Texas in 1827 and died in Comal County, Texas in 1879. She was probably the sixth child born to Ahijah M. and Debora (Turner) Highsmith.

The name A. M. Highsmith appears on the San Jacinto rolls printed in 1836 and also on page 33 of the army rolls in the General Land Office. Donation Certificate No. 983 for 640 acres of land was issued to him August 30, 1839 for having participated in the battle of San Jacinto. He was a member of Company C, Mina Volunteers, commanded by Captain Jesse Billingsley, and Bounty Certificate No. 9989 for 320 acres of land was issued in his name August 28, 1845 but prior to that time it had been assigned to R. M. Forbes, and was delivered to Mr. Forbes.

On September 4, 1849 the Headright Certificate for one-third of a league of land was sold at public auction at Bastrop for $12.50 and the San Jacinto certificate for $37.00 (Book C, page 212) Deed Records of Bastrop County).

Mr. Highsmith was married to Debora Turner, daughter of Winslow Turner as is stated by Mr. Highsmith:

"This Indenture made and entered this the 11th day of January A. D. One thousand eight hundred and forty one between Ahijah M. Highsmith of the first part and Samuel Highsmith of the second part and Deborah Highsmith wife of said Ahijah, party of the third part. Witnesseth, that for and in consideration of one hundred and forty acres of land situated in the State of Missouri of the value of one thousand Dollars, given, granted and conveyed unto the said party of the first party by Winslow Turner, who was the father of the party of the third part-----"

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. Jesse Billingsley

Personal Statistics

  • Alternate Names: Abijah; Higsmith
  • Date of Birth: 1776 Nov 13
  • Birthplace: North Carolina
  • Origin: Missouri
  • Came to Texas: 1827
  • Date of Death: 1845 May 22
  • Bounty Certificate: 9989
  • Donation Certificate: 938
  • Wife: Deborah Turner
  • Children: Benjamin Franklin Highsmith; William Highsmith; Winslow Turner Highsmith; Elizabeth Highsmith Grimes; Mary Highsmith Neill