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.
Green B. Jameson, chief engineer of the Alamo, son of Benjamin Jameson of New Jersey, was born in Kentucky or Tennessee in 1809. His grandfather, John Jameson, was an early lieutenant governor of Virginia. Jameson, a lawyer, moved to Texas in 1830 and settled in Brazoria. He took part in the Siege of Bexar in 1835, then remained in Bexar under the command of Lt. Col. James C. Neill as chief engineer of the garrison occupying the town and the Alamo. Jameson’s correspondence with Sam Houston in the weeks before the Alamo siege began gave detailed descriptions of the Alamo’s defenses. On the first day of the siege, February 23, 1836, Jameson was sent by James Bowie as a messenger to the Mexican forces. He died in the battle of the Alamo on March 6, 1836.
Benjamin F. Highsmith, Alamo courier and Texas Ranger, son of Ahijah M. and Deborah (Turner) Highsmith, was born in St. Charles District, Missouri Territory, on September 11, 1817. His father had been a scout and ranger during the War of 1812. Highsmith’s family traveled to Texas by wagon train and crossed the Sabine River by raft on December 24, 1823. They settled on the Colorado River near the site of present La Grange, Fayette County.
In 1830 Highsmith made his first trip to San Antonio de Béxar in a group of men that included William B. Travis, James Bowie, Benjamin McCulloch, Samuel Highsmith, George C. Kimbell, and Winslow Turner. At age fifteen he joined the company of Aylett C. Buckner and fought in the battle of Velasco on June 26, 1832. During that year Highsmith also settled in Bastrop, where he lived for the next fifty years. He took part in all of the major actions at the outset of the Texas Revolution: the fight for the Gonzales “Come and Take It” cannon, the battle of Concepción, the Grass Fight, and the Siege of Bexar.
He remained in Bexar after the siege until February 18, 1836, when he was sent by Travis with an appeal for aid to Col. James W. Fannin, Jr., at Goliad. Upon his return to Bexar, Highsmith found the town already occupied by the Mexican army. He was spotted by the Mexican cavalry at Powder House Hill and pursued by them for some six miles. He rode to Gonzales and later served Gen. Sam Houston as a courier. He and David B. Kent, son of Alamo defender Andrew Kent, carried a message to Fannin from Houston ordering Fannin to abandon Goliad and join him at the Guadalupe River. Highsmith fought in the battle of San Jacinto as a member of Capt. William Ware’s company.
After the revolution, Highsmith had a long career with the Texas Rangers. He served in the Mexican War, fought in the battles of Monterrey and Palo Alto, and was wounded at Buena Vista. Highsmith died in Uvalde County on November 20, 1905.
John Cain, Alamo defender, was born in Pennsylvania in 1802 and became a resident of Gonzales, Texas. He took part in the Siege of Bexar and was issued a donation certificate for 640 acres of land for his service. After the battle he remained in Bexar as a member of Capt. William R. Carey’s artillery company. He may have left Bexar before the siege of the Alamo began and returned with the relief force from Gonzales on March 1, 1836. He died in the battle of the Alamo on March 6, 1836.
Benjamin Johnson, soldier, early settler, and son of Moses Johnson and Mary Ann Roberts was born on June 8, 1815, near Edgerly (in present-day Calcasieu Parish), Louisiana. He moved to Texas in 1832 and settled at Jefferson Municipality (present-day Bridge City in Orange County) on Cow Bayou.
Johnson volunteered to fight in the Texas Revolution and enlisted in the Texas Army on November 12, 1835, under Capt. Willis H. Landrum’s Company. He participated in the Grass Fight and the Siege of Bexar later that year. Johnson was given an honorable discharge on January 1, 1836, at the Alamo. After learning of the fall of the Alamo, he re-enlisted in Capt. James Gillaspie’s Company, in the Second Regiment of Texas Volunteers under Col. Sidney Sherman’s command. On April 21, Sherman formed part of the regiment of the left wing and fought in the battle of San Jacinto. On June 30, Johnson served a third enlistment as second sergeant in Capt. John G. W. Pierson’s Company at Washington. He received an honorable discharge on September 30, 1836. A Texas Historical Marker was erected in his honor in 1972.