Jacob Walker, Alamo defender, was born in Rockridge County, Tennessee, in May 1799. Walker was a resident of Nacogdoches. He took part in the Siege of Bexar and afterwards remained in Bexar as a member of Capt. William R. Carey’s artillery company. Susanna W. Dickinson recalled that, during the siege of the Alamo, Walker often spoke to her about his children. She also recalled that during the battle, Walker rushed into her room pursued by Mexican soldiers who shot and bayonetted him to death as she looked on. Walker was the cousin of fellow Alamo defender Asa Walker and brother of the famous mountain man Joseph R. Walker.
John Harris, Alamo defender, was born in Kentucky in 1813 and lived in 1836 in Gonzales, Texas. He took part in the siege of Bexar and later served in the Bexar garrison in Capt. Robert White’s infantry company, the Bexar Guards. Sometime before the siege of the Alamo began, Harris returned to his home in Gonzales, where he was mustered into the Gonzales Ranging Company of Mounted Volunteers on February 23, 1836. He returned to the Alamo with this group on March 1, 1836, and died in the battle of the Alamo five days later.
John Crane, early settler and soldier in the Texas revolutionary army, was probably a native of Virginia and moved from Virginia to Tennessee, where he was a private in the Tennessee cavalry and served as a sergeant in the Tennessee militia in the War of 1812. In 1834 he moved to Texas and settled in what is now Walker County as a member of Joseph Vehlein’s colony. Crane raised a company of volunteers for the Siege of Bexar in 1835 and the next year participated in the Runaway Scrape, during which he cared for his own family and that of his son-in-law, who was with the army at the battle of San Jacinto. From June 30 to September 30, 1836, Crane served in the Texas army in John M. Wade’s cavalry company. He was killed in the battle of the Neches during the Cherokee War in July 1839.
José María Esparza, better known as Gregorio Esparza, defender of the Alamo, was born on February 25, 1802, in San Antonio de Béxar, the child of Juan Antonio and Maria Petra (Olivas) Esparza. He married Anna Salazar, who bore him a daughter and three sons, one of whom, Enrique, was an eyewitness to the siege of the Alamo. Esparza enlisted in Juan N. Seguín’s company in October 1835 and participated in the taking of the squares on the north side of the city during the Siege of Bexar, December 5–9, 1835. He served until the capitulation of Gen. Martín Perfecto de Cos on December 10, 1835.
On the arrival of Gen. Antonio López de Santa Anna in February 1836, Esparza and his family were advised by John William Smith to take refuge in the Alamo, since they had been friendly with the Americans. They arrived at twilight and entered through a small window in the church of the compound. Although Col. William Barret Travis, through James Bowie’s influence, was allowing local citizens to leave if they so desired, Esparza elected to stay and fight, and his family to remain with him. He tended a cannon during the siege and died in the battle of the Alamo on March 6, 1836.
Francisco Esparza, Gregorio’s brother, by his own admission a member of the local Mexican “presidial” company of the Alamo until the capitulation of Cos, requested and was granted permission to enter the Alamo and search for his brother’s body after the siege. In company with his two brothers, he took the body and interred it in the Campo Santo on the west side of San Pedro Creek. Thus Gregorio Esparza received a Christian burial, unlike the others slain in the battle. Gregorio’s heirs were instrumental in founding San Augustine, southeast of Pleasanton in Atascosa County.
Willis H. Landrum, soldier and legislator, was born in Tennessee in 1805. He moved to Texas in 1834 and settled in what is now Sabine County. He was captain of a company that participated in the Siege of Bexar in 1835. He also commanded a company of volunteers in the Third Regiment of the Third Brigade in the campaign for the expulsion of the Cherokee Indians in 1839. Landrum represented Shelby and Sabine counties in the Senate of the First Congress of the Republic of Texas. In 1838 he was appointed a member of the board of land commissioners of Shelby County, but in 1841 he returned to the Sixth Congress as a representative of Sabine County. His will was filed for probate in Hopkins County on March 22, 1865.