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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SMITH, JOHN N. O. -- Born in 1815 in Massachusetts (?). The compiler does not know when he arrived in Texas. A Headright Certificate was issued to (i)John Smith(/i) by the Board of Land Commissioners for Harrisburg County for one-third of a league of land, April 12, 1838. The certificate was lost and duplicate was issued September 25, 1845. In it it is not stated when Mr. Smith came to Texas.

Mr. Smith was Sergeant Major on the staff of the command at San Jacinto. He received Bounty Certificate No. 147 for 320 acres of land for serving in the army from February 1, to May 1, 1836. San Jacinto Donation Certificate No. 100 was issued to him March 17, 1848. This he sold to J. H. Herndon April 18, 1848, while living in Houston. He was elected captain of a company in the Somervell Expedition in 1842 but died due to illness remained at the camp in Gonzales.

The following account of Captain Smith's death appeared in the Telegraph and Texas Register, Houston, May 16, 1851:


In this city on the 5th inst., Capt. J. N. O. Smith, aged 36 years, after a lingering illness of twenty months. His disease was consumption. Capt. Smith was a soldier in the army of San Jacinto and served with credit through the whole of the Revolutionary War. He was a Representative from Harris County in the first Legislature of the State, and President of the first Typographical Association of Texas. He has left many warm and long cherished friends and relatives to mourn his loss. Boston papers please copy.

Note: Married to Margaret Farrell April 21, 1842 by Rev. H. Reed.

In Dr. Anson Jones "Republic of Texas," pages 228-229 is a letter from Dr. Jones in Washington, Texas to Mr. John N. O. Smith and Mr. Smith's reply. Dr. Jones had heard that Mr. Smith proposed to publish a newspaper in Houston and in writing to him he suggested as a name for the new publication "Commercial Gazette" or "Commercial Advertiser." Mr. Smith on July 17, 1843 replied:

Dear Sir, - I have to acknowledge the receipt of your favor of the 9th inst., and at the same time to return you my thanks for the obliging expressions and good wishes which it contains. Believe me, Sir, when I say that in the discharge of the duties I have assumed, I shall ever be governed by a sincere desire to promote the interests and welfare of our country to the utmost of my humble ability. You will perceive by our prospectus, several of which I have forwarded to Dr. (D. C.) Gilmore, that we have adopted the title "The Citizen". Had I received your suggestion a few days earlier, I should undoubtedly have adopted some of the titles you recommended; and I now somewhat regret that I did not make a selection more apropos to a commercial community like ours, although, on the whole, I consider it of but little importance. Our prospects are sufficiently encouraging, if not to say flattering; and I anticipate that by the fall we should have a very considerable circulation - of the weekly paper particularly, which, you will perceive, we propose to publish at an unusually low rate, for papers of the size of Texas.

The first number of our city paper will be published on Wednesday, I found the office, on taking possession, in a most miserable condition, and in order to get everything fairly to rights, I shall not be able to give as close attention to the paper for the first two or three weeks as I desire; so, of course, all contributions of a proper character will be at all times welcome, and doubly so at present.

Respectfully your obedient servant, Jno. N. O. Smith

Hon. Anson Jones. A charter member of the first Independent Order of Odd Fellows Lodge of Texas, organized at Houston, July 25, 1838.

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: Sergeant Major
  • Company: Regular army

Personal Statistics

  • Date of Birth: 1815
  • Birthplace: Massachusetts
  • Date of Death: 1851 May 5
  • Bounty Certificate: 147
  • Donation Certificate: 100
  • Wife: Margaret Farrell