The Kemp Sketch
HOTCHKISS, RINALDO -- Erroneously shown in the Heroes of San Jacinto as Richard Hotchkiss. He was born in Palmyra, New York, November 13, 1818. In the Headright Certificate issued to him by the Nacogdoches County Board of Land Commissioners for one-third of a league of land February 1, 1838 it is stated that he came to Texas in November, 1835. The records of the Masonic Lodge, of which he was a prominent member, however, show that he came to Texas in 1834. He received Bounty Certificate No. 9346, dated December 10, 1839, for 320 acres of land for having served in the army from March 15 to June 15, 1836. At San Jacinto he was a member of Captain William Kimbro's Company and he was issued Donation Certificate No. 796 January 26, 1839 for 640 acres of land for having participated in the battle. He was living in Nacogdoches County, July 15, 1845 when he sold the certificate to Dr. James H. Starr.
Mr. Hotchkiss was married to Martha Pollitt at Nacogdoches, July 6, 1844. Mrs. Hotchkiss was born March 5, 1826 and died October 4, 1863.
The Council of Royal and Select Master Masons of San Augustine was granted a charter December 8, 1858 with Mr. Hotchkiss as one of the charter members. He was living in New Orleans in 1870 and in Galveston in 1874. He was living in Anderson County in 1879 and died in Palestine, April 20, 1886 while a member of the Texas Veterans Association. The Dallas News of April 21, 1886 carried the following account of his death:
"Palestine, April 20 -- Captain Rinaldo Hotchkiss aged 67, died today. Fifty years ago today he fought in the battle of San Jacinto and while his few remaining comrades in arms are embracing each other in Dallas in common ovation of that heroic victory, all business houses here are closed in mourning. Commander No. 3, Knights Templar and all citizens of Palestine are sadly bearing the veteran's remains to their last rest on the anniversary day of the Independence which he fought so gallantly to secure. He will be buried in the old cemetery by the side of his father who passed away three years ago. Rinaldo Hotchkiss was the father of Charles A. Hotchkiss of Dallas."
The following was extracting from a copy of the resolutions adopted by Palestine Commandery, No. 3 Knights Templar, after the Death of Rinaldo Hotchkiss.
"He was born in Palmyra, New York, November 13, 1818, came to Texas in 1834, and made his home at Nacogdoches. Although a mere boy, he participated in the struggle for the independence of Texas, taking part in the battles of Mission Conception, October 28, 1835, and of San Antonio, December 6, 1835, and of San Jacinto, April 21, 1836. He also took part in the fights with the Indians; was in the Kickapoo fight, October 16, 1838. After this he, with 600 others joined the army then commanded by General Thomas J. Rusk, and operating on the northwest border of the Cherokee Nation. On the 16th day of July, 1839, he took part in the Cherokee fight.
He was admitted to the practice of law April 3, 1855, at Nacogdoches. In 1859 he made his home at Sabine Pass, where he remained until the beginning of the war between the states. He took an active part in the Confederate struggle for independence. Disease and afflictions having made marked inroads upon the vigor of the physical man he, to a great extent, gave up all business and lived with his son, who faithfully administered to his every want up to the last moment of his life, which ended April 20, 1886.
Sir Hotchkiss was made a Master Mason in Milam Lodge, No. 2, in 1840, and in June, 1853, received the orders of Knighthood in Ruthven Commandery No. 2, Houston; affiliated with Palestine Commandery No. 3, November 1882.
Captain Thomas J. Rusk's Co. 1835.
September 15th 1938
Regarding the location of the grave of Major Samuel Houston father of Samuel Houston of Texas fame. There has never so far as the writer knows any doubt of the fact that he is buried in the Square of his cousin Mathew Houston in High Bridge Cemetery a few hundred yards from the Mathew Houston home. This cemetery was established in 1769. The Mathew Houston Square contains a number of unmarked graves and Samuel Houston's is undoubtedly one of them. The writer of this is seventy years old and he and his people have lived in the same house adjoining the Mathew Houston home for the last one hundred and fifty one years. My father and mother knew Texas Sam well and he often stopped on his trips going to and coming from Washington as this was the horse changing place for the stages. For a description of the burial of the older Samuel, see Marcus James' "Raven" on Page 11, he gives this cemetery as the place of his burial and I think there can be no question of locating within a few feet the spot. Any marker places in the center of square would be appropriate. Regretting that there was never a marker to definately establish the spot, I am
(s) John H. McClelland
Dear Mr. Kemp
The above letter is from my neighbor and is perfectly reliable. If you wish to take any action in regard to the matter we will be glad to assist in any way possible.
(s)G. M. SMITH
Box 23, Va.
Sept. 16, 1938
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.
- Died in Battle: No
- Rank: Private
- Company: Capt. William Kimbro
- Alternate Names: Richard
- Date of Birth: 1818 Nov 13
- Birthplace: New York, Palmyra
- Came to Texas: 1834
- Date of Death: 1886 Apr 20
- Burial Place: Palestine, Texas
- Other Battles: Concepcion, Bexar
- Bounty Certificate: 9346
- Donation Certificate: 796
- Wife: Martha Pollitt