Dr. Edward F. Mitchasson was born 1806 in Virginia. He entered the service of Texas on November 30, 1835, as a private in Captain Edwards’s company. It is not known if he served the Texan forces in the capacity of a physician. He was severely wounded in the Siege of Béxar. On January 1, 1836, he was listed as a member of Capt. John Chenoweth’s company. His wounds may have prevented him from playing an active role in the defense of the Alamo. He died in the battle of the Alamo on March 6, 1836.
Josephus Somerville Irvine was born 1819 in Tennessee. In the fall of 1835 Irvine enlisted in Capt. Henry W. Augustine’s company and participated in the Siege of Béxar. He again volunteered for the Texas army in March 1836 and served in a company from Sabine County under Capt. Benjamin Franklin Bryant. With Col. Sidney Sherman’s Second Regiment he fought in the battle of San Jacinto; it is possible that he was the youngest Texas soldier in that battle. Irvine was discharged about May 1 but enlisted a third time on July 4, 1836, and served for three months in Capt. William Scurlock’s company from San Augustine. At the outbreak of the Civil War, Irvine raised and was captain of a company that became Company C of James B. Likens’s battalion of Texas Volunteers. After a reorganization of the battalion, it was designated the Eleventh or Spaight’s Battalion of Texas Volunteers, and Irvine was elected major. He led his troops in the battle of Fordoche or Stirling’s Plantation in southern Louisiana on September 29, 1863, where his son, James Patton Irvine, was killed. Ill with yellow fever, Irvine resigned his commission in December 1864. He died May 17, 1876, and was buried at Wilson’s Chapel, Newton County. A state marker was erected on his grave in 1963.
He is quoted in the 1872 Texas Almanac as writing:
Editors Texas Almanac: At your request I propose giving you a short sketch of my life, as connected with the Texas war of independence.
I was born on the 25th of August, 1819, in Lawrence county, Tennessee, where I lived until I was eleven years old. In 1830 my father left Tennessee for the purpose of finding a home in what was then called the Province of Texas.
On our way from Tennessee to Texas, at Alexandria, Louisiana, my father died with yellow fever, leaving my mother with five children, (all boys,) strangers in a strange land, without a dollar of money in the world; but by picking out cotton for a planter, near Alexandria, we obtained money enough to bring us to Texas.
If my memory is not at fault, it was on the eleventh day of November, 1830, we first placed our feet upon Texas soil. My mother purchased a tract of land in what is now Sabine county, near where the town of Milam is situated, where she resided until 1834. She then moved to Ayish District, now San Augustine county, where we were living when the memorable struggle for independence began.
In the fall of 1835, a call was made for volunteers. My brother-in-law, James Perkins, and my oldest brother, R. B. Irvine, both now dead, volunteered. The writer of this, then in his seventeenth year, expressed a desire to “go to the war.” His mother consented; he volunteered; joined a company from San Augustine, commanded by Capt. H. W. Augustin, subsequently by Capt. George English, joined the army under the command of Gen. Stephen F. Austin, at Mission Concepcion, near the town of San Antonio, and for the first time in life became a soldier. I returned home during the winter, and remained at my mother’s until March, 1836, about which time the news reached the Red Lands that Santa Anna, with his murderous legions, were on the march for Texas. An urgent call was made for volunteers. My brother James T. P. Irvine and myself, enlisted in a company from Sabine county, commanded by Capt. Benjamin Bryant. In March, 1836, our company started for the seat of war; found and joined the Texas army under the command of Gen. Sam Houston at Groce’s ferry, on the Brazos river; was with the army in its forced march from Groce’s to San Jacinto, where we came up with, saw, and conquered Santa Anna. I was in the division or regiment commanded by the brave, intrepid Col. Sherman.
After the battle of San Jacinto, I was discharged and returned to my mother’s home, where I remained until July, 1836, when the startling news again reached us in Eastern Texas, that the Mexicans, in overwhelming force, were on the march again to invade our peaceful homes, and stain again the soil of our beloved Texas with the blood of her noble sons. A call was made for volunteers; myself and my next younger brother (William D. Irvine) volunteered, joined a company raised in San Augustine county, commanded by Capt. Wm. Scurlock. We joined the Texas army, under the command of Gen. Thos. J. Rusk, on the Coleto, a few miles west of the town of Victoria. No Mexicans came; therefore, we had no fighting to do; served our three months, were discharged and returned to our homes. Thus ended my services as soldier in the armies of Texas, during her struggle for independence.
Permit me here to relate an anecdote, in order to show the spirit that actuated the people, particularly the women of Texas, during the dark and gloomy days of 1836.
Some ladies from San Augustine, visiting at my mother’s house, one of them said to her: “I don’t see, Mrs. Irvine, how you can consent to let your boys go to the army so much; you have five boys and four of them are gone nearly all the time to the army.” The old lady replied: “I have but one thing to regret.” “What is that?” asked the lady. “It is,” replied my mother, “that instead of four boys, I am sorry that I have not forty sons to send to the army to fight for my country.”
J. S. IRVINE.
William Davis Durham was born 1815 in England. He enlisted in the New Orleans Greys on October 22, 1835, and landed at Velasco, Texas, three days later. As a member of that unit he participated in the Siege of Béxar. When the Texas army split, Durham marched to the east and fought at the battle of San Jacinto. His name is engraved (incorrectly, as William Daniel Durham) on the face of the San Jacinto Monument. He died, a victim of a yellow fever epidemic, in Houston on August 27, 1838, and was buried in Old Founders Memorial Park. In 1936 the state placed a monument over his grave.
Amasa Turner was born 1800 in Massachusetts. Turner joined the Texan forces defending Gonzales in September 1835 and accompanied them to San Antonio, where he fought as a lieutenant with Capt. Robert M. Coleman’s Bastrop Company in the Siege of Béxar. Turner was appointed recruiting officer for the revolutionary army and raised ninety-nine volunteers in New Orleans in January 1836. Upon arrival at Velasco some of these men were organized into a company of regular infantry under Turner’s command. This force joined Sam Houston’s army on its retreat from Gonzales and fought at the battle of San Jacinto on April 21, 1836. After the battle Turner was assigned to the Texas garrison at Galveston Island and soon rose to command of the First Regular Infantry Regiment. In May 1837 he was promoted to colonel and assumed command of the Galveston post, where he remained until he retired from the army on August 5, 1837. During the Civil War he served as provost marshal of Lavaca County; his son, a member of the Eighth Texas Cavalry, was killed in the war. He died 1877 in Gonzales.
John Iiams, Jr. was born 1808 in Ohio in 1808. He was a veteran of the battle of Concepción and Siege of Béxar While living in Houston in 1874, he helped C. Anson Jones, son of Anson Jones, document the years of Texas settlement. He is chiefly known to history as one of the patriots who rowed to Galveston in April 1836 to report the victory at the battle of San Jacinto to the ad interim government.