The Kemp Sketch
STEELE, ALFONSO -- Born in Hardin County, Kentucky, April 9, 1817, a son of Stephen P. and Susan McCarthy Steele. At the age of seventeen years he decided to leave home and make his own living. In September, 1834 he embarked on a boat on the Mississippi for Lake Providence, Louisiana, where he secured employment. In November, 1835 he joined a company of volunteers headed for Texas and commanded by a Captain Daggett. The company crossed the Sabine early in January, 1836, and marched to Washington-on-the-Brazos. There the company was disbanded since war between Texas and Mexico had not been declared. Mr. Steele went to work for a Mr. Roberts who ran a hotel. He ground corn on a steel mill to make bread for the men who signed the Texas Declaration of Independence. While engaged in this work volunteers under Captain Joseph H. Bennett came to Washington and he enlisted in their company and left with them for San Antonio. Upon reaching the Colorado River they learned of the fall of the Alamo. They then moved down the river and near Beason's Crossing joined the main army. At the promotion of Captain Bennett to Lieutenant Colonel on April 8th, James Gillaspie became captain of the company.
Mr. Steele after being wounded killed a Mexican who tried to surrender to him. He was carried to the home of Vice-President De Zavala, across the bayou from the battlefield, which had been converted into a hospital. Later, he, John Tom, and others were sent down to a two room hospital on Perkin's Island where Mr. Steele remained until he was able to travel.
Mr. Steele on January 26, 1838, was issued Bounty Certificate No. 2135 for 320 acres of land for having served in the army from March 1 to May 30, 1836 and on November 14, 1838 he received Donation Certificate No. 597 for 640 acres of land for having participated in the battle of San Jacinto. He was issued Headright Certificate No. 325 in 1838 by the Board of Land Commissioners for Montgomery County for having been wounded in the battle of San Jacinto. In Headright Certificate No. 133 issued to him February 19, 1838 for one third of a league of land it is stated that he came to Texas in January, 1836. Having married he was on October 4, 1838 issued Headright Certificate No. ___ for two thirds of a league and one labor of land by the Montgomery County Board.
Mr. Steele was married in Montgomery County, September 28, 1838 to Mary Ann Powell, daughter of Archibald Powell. Mrs. Steele was born in Tennessee January 2, 1823; came to Texas in 1833 and died May 9, 1903. Mr. Steele died July 8, 1911 at the home of Alvin Steele, a grandson, near Kosse and was buried beside his wife in the cemetery at Mexia. A joint monument marks their graves. Mr. Steele was the last survivor of the battle of San Jacinto. His autobiography was published in a pamphlet by one of his sons.
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
- Wounded in Battle: Yes - shot through the body
- Rank: Private
- Company: Capt. James Gillaspie
- Battle Account: Biography of Private Alfonso Steele : Deceased, Last Survivor of the Battle of San Jacinto [Mexia? Tex. : s.n.,] 1906 F390.S74 B56 1925
- Alternate Names: Steel
- Date of Birth: 1817 Apr 9
- Birthplace: Kentucky, Hardin County
- Origin: Louisiana
- Came to Texas: 1836 Jan
- Date of Death: 1911 Jul 8
- Burial Place: Mexia, Texas
- Comments: Last survivor who fought at San Jacinto.
- Bounty Certificate: 2135
- Donation Certificate: 597
- Profession: Farmer, cattle raiser
- Wife: Mary Ann Powell
- Children: Hampton Steele, Alonzo Steele, Alvarado Steele, Francis Marion Steele, Leonard Steele, Mary Ann Steele Bennett, George W. Steele, Alice M. Steele Eubank