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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IRVINE, JOSEPHUS SOMERVILLE -- Name not shown on the San Jacinto rolls printed in 1836 or on the San Jacinto rolls in the General Land Office. Neither does it appear on the rolls of those who were detailed to guard the baggage at the camp opposite Harrisburg, April 21, 1836. On June 27, 1855 he was issued Donation Certificate No. 706 for 640 acres of land for having participated in the battle of San Jacinto. The original discharge issued to Mr. Irvine is in File No. 1369 in the Court of Claims files in the General Land Office, Austin. Following is a copy of it:


This is to certify that Josephus S. Irvine served in my Company from Sabine County (Sabine Volunteers) and was in the Battle of San Jacinto on April 21 A D 1836 and as a Soldier Discharged all the Duties Required of Him.

Captain Commanding Sabine Volunteers

April 13, 1847"

On page 52 of the army rolls in the General Land Office, Mr. Irvine's name, Joseph S., appears as a member of Captain William D. Ratcliff's Company of San Augustine Volunteers at the organization of the company at San Augustine on April 1, 1836. On their march to the front a disagreement arose between Captain Ratcliff and some of his men which resulted in Captain Ratcliff's resignation, and the election of Leonard H. Mabbitt to succeed him. Two groups, Captain Mabbitt's Company, and the followers of Captain Ratcliff, continued the march to join the main army. Captain Ratcliff, Philip Walker, Joseph Burns, William B. Richards, John P. Border, and perhaps others, reached the San Jacinto battlefield at ten o'clock on the morning of April 22nd. Mr. Irvine evidently remained in Captain Ratcliff's Company since his name does not appear on Page 47 of the army roll on which the names of Captain Mabbitt's men are given when the Company was mustered May 8, 1836.

The men of Captain Bryant's Company only enlisted for a period of one month and therefore were not entitled to receive bounty land for their services immediately prior to and after the battle of San Jacinto, they not having served three months. Mr. Irvine reenlisted in the army July 4 and on _____ he received Bounty Certificate No. 2537 for his services from July 4 to October 18, 1836.

In the headright Certificate issued to Mr. Irvine in 1838 by the Board of Land Commissioners for San Augustine County it is stated that he came to Texas in 1830.

Mr. Irvine was born in Lawrence County, Tennessee, August 25, 1819, a son of Josephus and Jane (Patton) Irvine.

Josephus Irvine, father of the subject of this sketch, was for many years clerk of the Circuit Court including Lawrence County, Tennessee. He was married to Jane Patton and to them were born the following children: Robert Boyd, James Thomas Patton, Josephus Somerville, William Duncan, and Peter Quin Irvine. With his family he left for Texas in 1830. He died en route in Alexandria, Louisiana, October 23, 1830, and his widow and children continued the journey crossing into Texas November 11, 1830, and settled in what is now San Augustine County.

In 1835 Josephus S. Irvine enlisted in Captain Henry W. Augustine's Company which was later commanded by Captain George English.

Mr. Irvine was married to Nancy McMahon, daughter of Friend McMahon, October 21, 1838. Mr. Irvine died May 17, 1876 while a member of the Texas Veterans Association. Mrs. Irvine died September 6, 1897. Husband and wife are buried somewhere in Newton County.

Children of Mr. and Mrs. Irvine were Margaret Jane, who married George Bevil in Jasper County; James Patton, who was killed in the battle of Fordoche, Louisiana, September 29, 1863 while a soldier in the Confederate Army in the command of his father, Major Josephus S. Irvine; William F., who never married; Nancy Elizabeth, who married Hill Kimmey Burkeville, Texas; Robert Boyd, who married Louise Hawthorn; Mary Anne, who married Warren Bevil; Susan Young, who never married; Sarah Penelope, who died in childhood; Josephus McMahon, who never married; David Blewitt, who never married; and Matilda Carol Irvine, who married D. J. Lee.

The following was received from Mr. Jesse J. Lee of Houston, 1935:

"I have in my possession the old private record of my Grandfather Josephus S. Irvine, which in his hand writing shows that he had the book as early as February 3, 1853, according to his record of acknowledgments to deeds, etc., taken at that time. In this book and in his handwriting, though undated, but of course it was prior to his death in 1876, appears the following, which evidently was addressed to Mr. Editor."

"Mr. E

Sir: As I have never written a piece for publication perhaps you may think (and think correctly too) that it is presumption in me to begin at his time of the day but while taking a retrospective view of the past history of Texas seenes were brought up to my mind through which the writer of this has passed a description of which might interest some of the readers of your excellent paper. I thought I would jot down a few of them and send them to you and then you could do with the article just as you pleased. The Spring of 1836 was for a while a gloomy time in Texas, well do I remember when the news of the fall of the Alamo and the massacre of Travis and his brave companions, the surrender of Fannin and the subsequent cold-blooded murder committed by the Mexicans upon him and the noble hearted men that composed his army, how it made the blood leap hot in the old men's veins and how it fired up the ambition of the young and caused them to shoulder their rifles and repaid to the scene of war to chastise the haughty tyrant who had exercised his fiendish cruelty upon their neighbors, friends and brothers.

"Two companies were raised forthwith, one in Sabine County and one in San Augustine County, the writer of this joined the company raised in the first named county - These companies were organized and left the Red Lands I think sometime in March. Nothing of note occurred until we got to the Brazos River. We did not know precisely where the Texian army was but we supposed it was somewhere on the west side of the Brazos perhaps on the Colorado, we therefore crossed the Brazos at Washington and had traveled but a few miles when we received information that Gen. Houston with the Texas Army was encamped at Groce's Ferry some distance below Washington. Our officers therefore concluded that they would recross the river and go down on this side- lest we might otherwise meet up with Santa Anna by going down on the west side of the River, for we did not feel exactly able to measure swords with an army of 6 or 8 thousand regulars.

"We therefore returned to Washington and here a scene was presented to our view the like of which I hope never to witness again. I allude to what is generally known as the Runaway scrape. The citizens of Washington were crossing over to the east side of the river as fast as possible when we arrived and such was the consternation and confusion that it was impossible even to get something to eat for on two of us going to the tavern to get our dinner we were informed that we could not get any from the fact that they were packing up to leave and had not time to prepare it. We succeeded, however, in getting 4 eggs for which we paid 75 cts. We recrossed the river and took up our line of march down the river and finally reached the army encampment in the Brazos bottom where we remained until about the 15th. April at which time the army crossed over to the east side of the river and after a forced march of fifty five miles we arrived opposite Harrisburg on the 18th."

No. 626 -- Pension Claim of Josephus S. Irvine, Newton County, Texas. Filed April 18, 1871 by C. R. Johns & Co. Austin. Disposition made of Approved June 27, 1871. Amount of Pension $250.00. Served in the Army of the Republic of Texas from October, 1835 and in 1836 and in the Battle of San Jacinto. 51 years of age. On roll of Capt. Bryant's Co. Certificate issued Sept. 3d, 1874.

Record Certificate Spence & McGill


"...who after by me being duly sworn on his oath says that he was a soldier in the army of Texas from October 1835 to the latter part of December 1835 in Capt. English's Company (Regiment no recollected) In March 1836 volunteered in a company commanded by Capt. Benjamin Bryant was in the battle of San Jacinto in the Regiment commanded by Col. Sidney Sherman was discharged in May 1836. In July 1836 I again volunteered was in the company commanded by Capt. William Scurlock in the Regiment commanded by Col. Mosehouse, was discharged Oct. the 8, 1836.


Sworn to Nov. 20, 1870.


OATH OF IDENTITY .......J. S. Irvine who being duly sworn ... is the identical J. S. Irvine who was a private in Capt. Benjamin Bryant's company Infantry of Col. L. Sherman, Regiment of Volunteers that he enlisted about the 1st day of March 1836 for the term of three months and was discharged at Sanjacinto May 1836 by reason of expiration of said term of service.


Sept. 3, 1874 - Austin

No. 626

This certificate shows that Josephus S Irvine of Newton County, Texas is entitled under Acts of August 13, 1870 & April 21, 1874 to an annual pension of Two Hundred and fifty dollars payable in bonds up to July 1, 1874 said Josephus S. Irvine being 54 years of age, served in the army of Republic in 1836 & 1835 was in the battle of San Jacinto.


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. Benjamin F. Bryant
  • Battle Account: Account of campaign up to April 16 in a letter transcribed in Kemp biography.

Personal Statistics

  • Date of Birth: 1819 Aug 25
  • Birthplace: Tennessee, Lawrence County
  • Came to Texas: 1830, Nov 11
  • Date of Death: 1876 May 17
  • Burial Place: Wilson's Chapel, Newton County, Texas
  • Other Battles: Bexar
  • Comments: Civil War, Confederate Army
  • Donation Certificate: 706
  • Wife: Nancy McMahon
  • Children: Margaret Jane Irvine Bevil; James Patton Irvine; William F.; Nancy Elizabeth Irvine Kimmey; Robert Boyd; Mary Anne Irvine Bevil; Susan Young Irvine; Sarah Penelope Irvine; Josephus McMahon Irvine; David Blewitt Irvine; Matilda Carol Irvine Lee