John S. Roberts signer of the Texas Declaration of Independence, was born 1796 in Virginia. At age sixteen he enlisted in the Tennessee Militia for service in the War of 1812. He participated in the Battle of New Orleans as a member of Col. John Coffee’s regiment. In 1822, he joined the Ayish Bayou forces that took part in the Fredonian Rebellion, led by Haden and Benjamin W. Edwards against the Mexican government of Texas. Roberts was a major in the Fredonian forces and served as a judge at the impeachment trial of Samuel Norris, alcalde of the Nacogdoches District, and José Antonio Sepúlveda, captain of the Nacogdoches Militia. Roberts enlisted in the Nacogdoches Independent Volunteers on October 4, 1835, as a first lieutenant and was later promoted to captain under Capt. Thomas J. Rusk and saw distinguished service in the Siege of Béxar. He died August 9, 1871. His body was interred in the old Oak Grove Cemetery in Nacogdoches.
Francis White “Frank” Johnson was born 1799 in Virginia. In 1826 Stephen F. Austin sent him and two others to Nacogdoches to try to prevent the Fredonian Rebellion. The hot-tempered Johnson was considered a “firebrand” in favor of war with Mexico. In 1835 he was indicted for treason but was never arrested. He was captain of his company at the battle of Anahuac in 1832. At the Convention of 1832 he was a delegate from San Felipe and served as chairman of the Central Standing Committee of the state.
In 1835 Johnson and Moseley Baker were sent to East Texas to appraise the political feelings of colonists and to stir up support for the war cause. Johnson was appointed adjutant and inspector general under Stephen F. Austin and Edward Burleson. At the Siege of Béxar he led a column of Texans into San Antonio, and after Benjamin R. Milam’s death he was in command at the Mexicans’ capitulation.
In January 1836 Johnson and Dr. James Grant started to lay plans to invade Mexico at Matamoros, despite opposition from Sam Houston and Governor Henry Smith, who were powerless to intervene because the General Council had already ratified the plan. Johnson and a detachment of fifty men were surprised by the Mexicans under José de Urrea at San Patricio on February 27, 1836, and all except Johnson and four of his companions were killed or captured. Hearing of Houston’s retreat, Johnson returned home, quitting the revolution in disgust.
From 1873 to the end of his life he was founding president of the Texas Veterans Association. He spent much time researching Texas history, particularly the Texas Revolution. He died in a hotel in Aguascalientes, Mexico, about April 8, 1884.
Philip Allen Sublett was born 1802 in Kentucky. He participated in the battle of Nacogdoches in 1832 and was chosen as the delegate from Ayish Bayou (the San Augustine community) to the conventions of 1832 and 1833. On November 1, 1834, Sublett was elected second judge of the San Augustine municipality. He was represented as being of “good character” with a “knowledge of law of state and republic”. In 1835 Sublett was elected chairman of the San Augustine Committee of Safety and Correspondence.
On October 6, 1835 he submitted a resolution appointing Sam Houston commander in chief of the forces of San Augustine and Nacogdoches districts until the Consultation should meet and make other arrangements. On October 19 Sublett led “seventy and upward well mounted men, and all well armed,” from San Augustine into Nacogdoches en route to the Texas army besieging San Antonio. When Sublett’s men arrived in Gonzales from Washington-on-the-Brazos on November 3, they found almost all of the men away in Stephen F. Austin’s army, and they perpetrated a number of outrages. According to John Fisher, secretary of the municipality’s committee of public safety, the men from Ayish Bayou “entered private houses, compelled women to leave their house[es] with their children and seek protection from their neighbors, broke open doors, robbed of money, clothing, and everything they could lay their hands on, and dragged Dr. [Launcelot] Smither from his bed and would have murdered him but for the interference of someone of the company who possessed some more of the milk of human kindness than the balance”. Sublett was commissioned lieutenant colonel October 23, and on November 24 he was appointed as an appraiser to place a value on the horses and equipment of the volunteers. He was later named assistant adjutant general of the army. He served until December 14, 1835, and was present at the Siege of Béxar, December 5–10, 1835, and although he opposed the plan to storm the city, he acted “with great bravery & coolness encouraging the men at every point” during the battle of Concepcion, according to Edward Burleson. On December 18, pleading the press of “private affairs,” he declined the command of the First Regiment, Texas Volunteers, in favor of Edward Burleson. Sublett died at his San Augustine home on February 25, 1850.
Stephen Richardson was born 1794 in Maine. In July 1826, in answer to a Mexican plea to relieve famine in Yucatán, Richardson chartered a vessel called the Little Zoe, loaded it with corn and lard, and sailed for Campeche. He was ordered away from Campeche by port authorities and was detained so long at Tampico that his cargo spoiled. In October 1827 he was in Saltillo petitioning the government for redress of his losses, but the matter remained unsettled in June 1828. In the fall of 1835 he joined the volunteer army under Francis W. Johnson and took part in the Grass Fight and the Siege of Béxar. He died in Houston on July 6, 1860.
Blaz Philipe Despallier was born 1809 in Texas and, along with his brothers, was involved in the Texas Revolution. He lived in Natchitoches, Louisiana and published a newspaper called the Frontier Reporter and Natchitoches & Claiborne Advertiser. He left Natchitoches and arrived in San Antonio de Béxar on November 26, 1835, the day of the Grass Fight. He participated in the Siege of Béxar and was listed as a soldier on the muster roll of John York’s men led by Capt. Thomas H. Breece, but he was called captain or was addressed in that way, according to some who fought with him. After the fall of Béxar, Blaz became a scout for William B. Travis but fell ill, was honorably discharged, and returned home to Rapides Parish.