The Kemp Sketch
STEVENSON, ROBERT -- Born in County Tyrons, Ireland in 1805. He came to Texas from Tennessee in the fall of 1832 with his family. He received title to a league of land in Austin's Second Colony, situated in the present County of Brazos. In First Class Headright Certificate No. 98 issued to him February 1, 1838 for one labor of land by the Board of Land Commissioners for Washington County it is certified that he arrived in Texas in the fall of 1832.
Mr. Stevenson was a member of Captain George M. Collinsworth's Company at the capture of Goliad October 9, 1835. (The Papers of Mirabeau Buonaparte Lamar. Vol. 1, p. 242.) He commanded Captain William W. Hill's Company at San Jacinto. Captain Hill being ill. On an original roll of Captain Hill's Company at muster April 11, 1836 the following information concerning Mr. Stevenson is given: He was born in County Tyrons, Ireland in 1805. He was enlisted on the Colorado, March 20, 1836 by Captain Joseph P. Lynch. He was six and one-half feet in height; of fair complexion with hazel eyes and fair hair. He was a merchant.
Captain Stevenson received a Donation Certificate No. 690, December 13, 1838 for 640 acres of land for having participated in the Battle of San Jacinto. His wife in 1837 had been the widow of Robert J. Moseley (Book A, page 41, Probate Minutes of Washington County). At her death Captain Stevenson was married to Susan Ann Robinson, daughter of William Robinson. Mr. Stevenson was probably very well acquainted with David Crockett in Tennessee for on February 27, 1837, he was appointed in Washington County administrator of his estate. In his petition to be appointed he said "Petitioner believing himself to be the principal creditor." Mr. Stevenson was one of the founders of the town of Independence, Washington County. The following is from Volume B, page 200, Deed Records of Washington county, dated December 2, 1836.
"Know all men by these present that we J. G. W. Pierson, Cobert Baker, A. L. Burchard and Robert Stevenson are held and firmly bound to each other in the penal sum of one thousand dollars in case of the failure of either party to comply with the following agreement, the conditions of the above bond is such that Whereas the parties named above have this day become equally interested in certain parcel of ground containing seventy eight acres this day laid out into a town to be named the town of Independence. the plan of which is hereunto attached....."
Captain Stevenson was living in Washington County as late as the year 1841. He died in Colorado County in 1844, his widow, Mrs. Susan Ann Stevenson was appointed administrator of his estate January 28, 1844. Mrs. Stevenson was later married to a Mr. Gardner and died prior to January 19, 1848 at which time Harrison Gregg was appointed administrator of Captain Stevenson's estate. Land on his San Jacinto Donation Certificate had been surveyed in Navarro County and Mr. Gregg was authorized by the Probate Court to sell it.
A letter written by Captain Stevenson at Lynch's ferry near the San Jacinto Battlefield, April 23, 1836 to his brother in Shelbyville, Bedford County, Tennessee was published June 14, 1836 in Volume 2, No. 81 of The Herald of New York City, that paper stating that the letter was first printed in the Nashville (Tennessee) Banner, but did not furnish the date of its publication. Following is a copy of the letter: Lynch Ferry, (Texas) 23rd April. Santa Anna not meeting with any opposition in his march through the county, pushed on from the Brazos River with about six hundred of his best soldiers, to take possession of Galveston Bay, the only port in Texas which he had not in his possession. Houston, aware of his intention, and who was then on the Brazos River, sixty miles above the position of the enemy, determined to pursue Santa Anna, expecting to come up with him about Harrisburg by forced marches. We arrived at that place on the evening of the 18th inst., but the enemy had left for Galveston Bay. General Houston, to facilitate our movements, left all baggage, wagons and the sick at Harrisburg, under the charge of about three hundred men, and by marching all night on the 19th, on the morning of the 20th came within sight of the enemy. We immediately took possession of a strong position on the bank of Buffalo Bayou, and the enemy came on to attack us, but were repulsed by the discharge of two four pounder cannon loaded with grape and canister shot. They then returned into a heavy body of timber about a mile on our front, and remained there until the next morning, the 21st inst., when they reinforced by about five hundred and fifty men under Gen. Cos. We were then certain of being attacked in the course of the day, but towards evening, Gen. Houston seeing that they did not intend bringing on the attack, and fearing they would receive reinforcements, determined to attack them on their own ground. With this intention, he formed his little army into three divisions, with our artillery in front, and marched on to the attack. The left wing commanded by Col. Sherman, were first attacked by a heavy fire of musketry from the timber, when the center and right wing commanded Col. Burleson and Gen. Houston, marched forward until a discharge of grape and canister from the enemy's artillery in front, which we at last were obliged to charge, and the battle became general along the lines, we rushed forward with great impetuosity, jumped the enemy's breastworks, the Alamo being our war cry, took possession of their artillery, and drove them from their position. Our rifles then committed dreadful havoc among them, and they gave way in every direction, we kept up the pursuit until night, scarcely one escaped, about five hundred is said to have been killed, among them many officers of distinction and among Gen. Cos. Santa Anna was taken yesterday morning about seven miles from the place, his Adjutant General and Secretary, with Col. Almonte, and many officers were taken the evening after the battle was over. Our force of about seven hundred and fifty men engaged in the battle, and our loss was seven killed, and about twenty wounded. Never was there a greater victory according to the number of men engaged, and the results are glorious for the army and prospects of TEXAS.
I forgot to say that we had to march through the open prairie to come to their position, which was on the edge of the timber. Gen. Houston had two horses killed under him, and was shot through the leg. I commanded in the center division, a company who behaved with a great deal of bravery. Tell old Mr. Greer, of Sugar Creek, that his son Thomas was in the action, and behaved with much bravery.
Gen. Houston is about to treat with Santa Anna, and the war is probably at an end; and our independence will be acknowledged by the Mexican Government. Hurrah for Texas!
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: First Lieutenant
- Company: First Regiment Texas Volunteers
- Battle Account: Letter published in the Nashville Banner, and The Herald [New York] on June 14, 1836; transcript in Kemp biography
- Date of Birth: 1805
- Birthplace: Ireland, County Tyrone, Strabane
- Origin: Tennessee
- Came to Texas: 1832 Fall
- Date of Death: 1843 Dec 8
- Other Battles: Goliad
- Donation Certificate: 690
- Profession: Merchant
- Wife: 1. ? Moseley; 2. Susan Ann Robinson Stevenson Gardner