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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TURNER, AMASA -- Born in Scituate Plymouth County, Massachusetts, November 9, 1800. In 1822 he moved to New York remaining there until 1825 when he moved to Mobile, Alabama where he engaged in building construction. In 1827 he was married to Julia Morse of Massachusetts. In April, 1835, leaving his wife and children in Mobile, Mr. Turner, paid a visit to Texas and being pleased with the country decided to make it his future home. At Mina (Bastrop) he joined a surveying expedition headed by Bartlett Sims. On September 25 he joined Captain Robert M. Coleman's Company of Rangers (Service Record No. 1488.)

On March 20, 1876 Colonel Turner at his home in Gonzales made notes of some of his early experiences in Texas. These were published in Volume 3 Quarterly of the Texas Historical Association and much of the information contained in this sketch are copies from the Quarterly. Colonel Turner stated that after serving in the Bexar Campaign for several weeks he decided to visit his family. Before leaving Texas he visited San Felipe-de-Austin where the General Council of the Provisional Government was sitting and was by that body (on November 29, 1835) elected a First Lieutenant of Infantry. He was instructed to recruit as many men as possible for the Texas army, while in Mobile. He found it difficult to recruit men at Mobile but at New Orleans he soon enlisted a hundred men. With these he arrived at Velasco, January 28, 1836. The Telegraph and Texas Register, then published at San Felipe, in its issue of February 20, 1836, carried the following item about the arrival of the men:

"Arrived, 28th January, the Texian armed schooner Liberty, Captain J. Brown.

Same day, schr, Tamaulipas, captain Mingle, cargo public stores. Schr. Caroline, cargo, public stores Schr Pennsylvania, captain Holt with one hundred men commanded by Captain A. Turner. We understand these troops will repair to Matagorda, and wait orders from the Provisional Government. It is hoped, if no other important duty is assigned them, they will relieve the volunteers who have so patriotically, and patiently sustained San Antonio since its surrender for it appears more difficult to get men to garrison that place than it was to raise them to reduce it."

At Velasco two companies were organized from the recruits and from individuals arriving at that place. One company was enlisted as regulars for a period of two years with Captain Turner in command, he having received a Captain's commission, February 4, 1836. The men of the other company enlisted for a period of two years as Permanent Volunteers, electing John Hart as Captain and Richard Roman as First Lieutenant. Roman shortly afterward succeeded Captain Hart in command of the company. A third company, commanded by Colonel William S. Fisher, was also recruited at Velasco. Major John Forbes was ordered to Velasco to conduct the three companies to Gonzales, the headquarters of the Texas army. General Houston, however, had started his retreat and was joined by the recruits on March 26th on the Colorado. Captain Turner commanded Company B, First Infantry of the Regular Army at San Jacinto. He was issued a Donation Certificate No. 562 September 27, 1838 for 640 acres of land for having participated in the battle. He received Bounty Certificate No. 1324 for 1280 acres of land for his services in the army from November 29, 1835 to August 5, 1837.

On May 4, 1836 Captain Turner was ordered to go on board the Yellow Stone, which was then lying in Buffalo Bayou a mile above Lynchburg, with the prisoners taken in the battle and proceed to Galveston and there report to Colonel James Morgan who commanded the Post of Galveston. The Yellow Stone arrived at Galveston at about midnight on the night of the fifth and Captain Turner remained there in command of his company until August 28, 1836, when he was commissioned Lieutenant Colonel of the First Regiment of Infantry. He was ordered to headquarters on the Lavaca in Jackson County. He stayed in Camp Johnston until the following December when tendered his resignation. General Houston, however, refused to accept it but agreed to grant him a furlough of sufficient length to enable him to return to Mobile for his family, move them to Galveston, and then take command of the post. On his return trip Galveston was reached February 6, 1837 and on the following day Major Isaac N. Moreland was relieved as commander of the post. Colonel Turner resigned his commission August 5, 1837. Shortly afterward he accepted a position as boarding officer from Gail Borden, Jr., Collector of Customs for the Post of Galveston. In the fall of 1837 Colonel Turner built the Galveston Hotel which he rented to Biggs and Brothers.

In 1839 Colonel Turner improved a plantation on Cedar Bayou, Harris County, but divided his time between that place and Galveston until 1848 when he moved to the Navidad in Lavaca County, and began to farm. In 1853 Fifth Legislature- H of R. He was elected to represent Lavaca and Gonzales Counties in the House of Representatives of the fourth Texas Legislature Nov. 3, 1851 to Nov. 7, 1853, and again in 1854 to represent the counties of Lavaca and DeWitt. During the Civil War he was Provost Marshall of Lavaca County. In 1865 he moved to Gonzales where he continued to reside until his death July 21, 1877. He was a Mason and a member of the Texas Veterans Association. His grave in the Masonic Cemetery in Gonzales is Marked.


1853 Okland, Lavaca County

Harrisburg County Board March 15, 1838
Texas December, 1835
League and labor of land

Grass fight
Storming of Bexar

Only two sons killed while serving in Confederate army
Only daughter married Mr. Batchelor Gonzales, 1865
Mrs. Turner died in March, 1866.


Commissioner Captain after arriving at Velasco

Stationed at Galveston

Captain of Post at Galveston

Guard prisoners

In June removed his company to Velasco.

Apt Colonel and sent to Coletto where he resigned

Late in 1836 or 37 brought his family to Custom house. Built first wharf.

1844 moved to plantation on Navidad in Lavaca County. Raised horses. After war removed to Gonzales, Presbyterian

George Q. Turner, a son, died in Confederate services while a typographical engineer.

A daughter, Julia, was married twice. Her first husband, B. F. Batchelor, was killed while serving in the Confederate army. On May 10, 1868 she was married to James F. Miller. She was born Feb. 18, 1838 the first girl born on Galveston Island. Her daughter, Florence C. Batchelor, was married November 18, 1884 to Thomas Franklin Harwood.

A daughter of B. F. Batchelor, Florence, was born in Gonzales, March 3, 1861.

A son by James F. Miller, Francis F. was born October 18, 1874.

TURNER, AMASA -- Was married to Julia Moss (?) (Could not read the name.) Children of this union were George A., who died in the Confederate service while a typographical engineer; Marcellus, who married Mary Reaves and Julia Turner, who married Mr. Rhodes.

Julia Turner was born February 18, 1838, the first Anglo-American child born on Galveston Island. She was married twice. Her first husband, B. F. Batchelor, was killed while serving in the Confederate Army. On May 10, 1868 Mrs. Julia (Turner) Batchelor was married to James F. Miller.

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: Captain
  • Company: Regular Army

Personal Statistics

  • Date of Birth: 1800 Nov 9
  • Birthplace: Massachusetts, Scituate
  • Origin: Alabama
  • Came to Texas: 1835 Apr
  • Date of Death: 1877 Jul 21
  • Burial Place: Masonic Cemetery, Gonzales, Texas
  • Other Battles: Bexar
  • Bounty Certificate: 1324
  • Donation Certificate: 562
  • Wife: Julia Morse
  • Children: George A. Turner, Marcellus Turner, Julia Turner Batchelor Miller, Richard Hogue Turner