John Cameron was born in Scotland. On May 21, 1827, the Mexican government granted him an empresario contract to introduce 100 families on the Colorado River in Texas. On September 12 the congress of Coahuila and Texas declared him a citizen. The contract was extended in 1832 for an additional three years. In 1828 he received a second contract to introduce 200 families on land along the Red River, an area previously contracted to Reuben Ross. This agreement was also extended in 1832 for an additional three years. No titles, however, were ever issued in consequence of either contract. Cameron received title to two leagues of land in the Power and Hewetson colony on October 31, 1834. In 1835 he was a secretary in the executive department of the state government at Monclova, and when Martín Perfecto de Cos dispersed the legislature, Cameron was taken prisoner with Benjamin R. Milam and others. They escaped and reached Texas in safety.
Cameron assisted in the Siege of Béxar and was commended for his conduct by Francis W. Johnson. As interpreter for the Texas army, he signed the capitulation entered into between Cos and Gen. Edward Burleson on December 11, 1835. William Fairfax Gray, who met Cameron at Nacogdoches on February 4, 1836, wrote in his diary that Cameron was a shrewd Scot, particularly well informed and interesting. Cameron became a resident of the Rio Grande valley and was killed in 1861 in one of the fights that took place in the contest between the “Rohos” and “Crinolinos.”