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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MAYS, THOMAS -- On page 81, Book A, in which are listed the names of those who petitioned for land in Austin's colonies it is shown that when Mr. Mays applied he stated he was born in 1802 and had arrived in Texas from Tennessee in May, 1830. He received title to one-fourth of a league of land in Austin's Second Colony, April 4, 1834, situated in the present county of Bastrop.

Mr. Mays was issued Bounty Certificate No. 4203 for 320 acres of land August 14, 1838 for having served in the army from February 28 to June 1, 1836.

He was a member of Captain Jesse Billingsley's Company of MINA VOLUNTEERS, at San Jacinto and Donation Certificate No. 125 for 640 acres of land was issued to him May 21, 1838 for having participated in the battle. He received a Headright Certificate No. 36 for three-fourths of a league and one labor of land January 10, 1838, from the Bastrop County Board of Land Commissioners.

Mr. May's name is not listed among the wounded on the San Jacinto rolls printed in 1836. An Act of the Texas Legislature, however, approved February 4, 1856 granted Mr. Mays a league of headright land in consideration of his having been permanently wounded in the battle of San Jacinto.

F. F. Mays, a son of Thomas H. Mays, was living in Waco, on January 20, 1913. On that date the following letter written by him was published in the ADVERTISER

My father, Thomas H. Mays, of whom I am the oldest son, built the first house of any notoriety in Bastrop. It was a story-and-a-half log building, built of pine logs on Pine Street, about three or four blocks from the river, leading to the hills.

Well do I remember the little old log school house that stood near the graveyard on the hill. Our teacher Mr. John Spence, a lawyer of no little renown, and later I went to school to Prof. Hancock at the Academy, and after that I went two sessions to Professor Allen who taught a military school and was afterward elected Colonel of the 17th Infantry of which I was a member. Wash Jones was Lieutenant-Colonel, who I thought was the grandest man I ever saw both in battle and in camp. E.P. Petty was Captain of Company F, with H. McLester, Tom Beavers and W.B. Miller, Lieutenants. Tom Beavers and Frank Dabney were killed at Pleasant Hill April 9, 1864 about 3 p.m. He was shot through the breast with grapeshot and Sid Nash was also killed in the same battle.

"I believe that Col. Jones and Capt. Petty were the two coolest and bravest men that ever went into battle."

Doctors SAYERS, John D. Hogan, Ploeger, and Harris were the principal physicians at that time."

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
  • Wounded in Battle: Yes - musket ball to left thigh
  • Rank: Private
  • Company: Capt. Jesse Billingsley

Personal Statistics

  • Date of Birth: 1802
  • Birthplace: Virginia
  • Origin: Tennessee
  • Came to Texas: 1830 May
  • Bounty Certificate: 4203
  • Donation Certificate: 125
  • Profession: Surveyor
  • Wife: Arie C. Ellis
  • Children: F. F. Mays