Samuel Wolfenberger was born 1804 in Virginia. He fought under Lt. William Jarvis Russell’s command in the battle of Velasco in June 1832. In 1834 he was named alcalde of Mina Municipality and helped form the first Committee of Safety and Correspondence on May 8, 1835. On November 28, 1835, at San Felipe de Austin he was named one of the commissioners responsible for the organization of the Texas militia within the jurisdiction of Mina. Earlier that month, on November 17, he had enlisted in the Mina Volunteers for the campaign in San Antonio de Béxar and took part in the Siege of Béxar in early December 1835. He was discharged from the Texas army in San Antonio on December 13, 1835. He later served as second sergeant in Robert M. Coleman’s company of rangers (forerunner of the Texas Rangers) with headquarters at Coleman’s Fort on the Colorado. Samuel Wolfenberger died on April 10, 1860, and was buried ten miles southwest of Bastrop in the Wolfenberger cemetery.
Spencer Houston Jack was born 1809 in Georgia. He was the first colonist to draw Mexican blood in resistance to Mexican authority. On November 24, 1831, George Fisher ordered shipmasters to obtain clearance at Anahuac before sailing from the Brazos and certain other ports. Compliance for a vessel docked on the lower Brazos necessitated an overland journey of 200 miles or more, round-trip. On December 15, 1831, the Sabine, commanded by Capt. Jeremiah Brown, ran past the Mexican barracks at the mouth of the Brazos with cotton bales arranged on deck to protect the passengers and crew. The Mexican fusillade damaged only the ship’s rigging. The Nelson, under Capt. Samuel Fuller, following in the Sabine’s wake, also drew fire that slightly wounded Captain Fuller, who then called for his rifle, which Jack, a passenger, seized and fired, wounding one of the soldiers in the thigh. On Christmas Day the Spica, commanded by Capt. Isaiah Doane of Boston, also sailed from the Brazos without clearance. Gen. Manuel de Mier y Terán issued an order to arrest Jack and thus prevented his immediate return to Texas.
In June 1832 Jack marched with his brother William on Anahuac to demand the release of their brother Patrick C. Jack and William Barret Travis and others imprisoned there by order of Col. John (Juan) Davis Bradburn. Years later, Jack gave Mirabeau B. Lamar an interesting written account of his activities during the Anahuac Disturbances. Jack and Peter W. Grayson, both lawyers, were commissioned to go to Mexico City to present memorials from the ayuntamientos of Texas requesting the release of Stephen F. Austin, who was then imprisoned there. He was a participant in the Siege of Béxar. Jack died in Matagorda in late 1837 or early 1838.
Plácido Benavides was a native of Reynosa, Tamaulipas, Mexico. He was elected alcalde of Guadalupe Victoria in 1832 and again in 1834. After the death of his father-in-law in 1833, the Mexican government authorized him to continue the settlement contract and recruit colonists. As captain of the colony’s militia he built a fort, the Round Top House, for the defense of Guadalupe Victoria, and with his brother-in-law Silvestre De León led several attacks against the Comanches and Tonkawas. Benavides continued his prominent role during the Texas Revolution.
In October 1835 he successfully led the resistance against surrendering to Mexican forces a cannon. With John J. Linn Benavides went to Gonzales to train the volunteers amassing there after the battle of Gonzales. The two proposed to intercept Gen. Martín Perfecto de Cos, who had landed at Copano and, after marching to Goliad, was en route to reinforce Ugartechea at Béxar; but finding most at Gonzales unwilling, Benavides and Linn joined Benjamin Fort Smith’s company, which set out to liberate Goliad. Benavides arrived in Guadalupe Victoria ahead of the company and became one of many Victorians joining George M. Collinsworth’s Matagorda volunteers, who were on the way to liberate Goliad themselves. He became leader of a company of about thirty Mexican rancheros in Collinsworth’s force, which captured Goliad on October 9–10, 1835. On October 14 he and his rancheros left with Smith’s men, following Gen. Stephen F. Austin’s orders, and marched to San Antonio, where they fought against Cos in the Siege of Béxar. Benavides received notice for his gallantry and efficiency, especially as part of the division under Francis W. Johnson that assaulted the house of Juan Martín Veramendi.
In early 1836 Benavides was warned by the alcalde of Matamoros that Antonio López de Santa Anna planned to draw Texans to Matamoros in order to defeat them from the rear while Santa Anna simultaneously attacked Goliad and Béxar. Benavides traveled to San Patricio and informed Robert C. Morris of the plot. Morris enclosed Benavides’s warning in a letter dated February 6 to James Walker Fannin, who was then at Refugio planning to carry out the provisional government’s campaign against Matamoros. Benavides’s message caused Fannin instead to remove his headquarters to Goliad.
Later in February Benavides, appointed by the General Council as a first lieutenant in the regular cavalry, was with Morris and Reuben R. Brown as part of Dr. James Grant’s party of twenty-six men who were procuring horses near San Patricio for Grant’s and Francis W. Johnson’s own Matamoros expedition. Grant’s men were surprised by Mexican general José de Urrea’s forces, and in the ensuing battle of Agua Dulce Creek, Grant dispatched Benavides to Goliad to warn Fannin of Urrea’s advance.
Though Benavides was an ardent foe of Santa Anna, like many colonists he remained loyal to Mexico and therefore could not support the move toward Texas independence that he found at Goliad. He returned to Guadalupe Victoria after carrying Grant’s message to Fannin and attempted to isolate himself and his family on his ranch, only to find himself later rendering aid to Isaac D. Hamilton, quartermaster of Jack Shackelford’s Red Rovers, who had escaped the Goliad Massacre. Confronted by lancers of Urrea’s army looking for stragglers, Benavides was compelled to surrender his severely wounded companion. Hamilton was later saved by Francita Álavez, the “Angel of Goliad,” and then escaped.
After the battle of San Jacinto Benavides was ostracized with most other Mexican Texans for his supposed sympathy with Mexico and forced to flee with the De León family to New Orleans. He died in Opelousas, Louisiana, in 1837.
John Walker Baylor was born 1813 in Kentucky. He registered at Fort Gibson, Arkansas, under the name Walker Baylor, then joined George M. Collinsworth’s volunteers at Matagorda, Texas, on October 5, 1835. He signed an agreement with other members of Collinsworth’s company to protect the citizens of Guadalupe Victoria (now Victoria, Texas). He fought at Goliad on October 9 in the capture of La Bahía from a small Mexican garrison. He was a member of Philip Dimmitt’s Goliad garrison and fought under James Bowie and James Fannin in the battle of Concepción on October 28. (see goliad campaign of 1835.) On November 21, 1835, he was part of a committee at Goliad assigned to prepare a document expressing the volunteers’ defiance of an order from Stephen F. Austin directing Dimmitt to turn over control of the post to Collinsworth. Baylor was in the five-day Siege of Béxar on December 5–9, 1835. He signed the Goliad Declaration of Independence on December 20. Dimmitt’s command was disbanded in 1836, and Baylor went to San Antonio with either Bowie or Dimmitt. After the attack on the Alamo began, Baylor was one of four or five couriers sent by William B. Travis to La Bahía to urge Fannin to come to his aid. At Goliad, Baylor became a member of Capt. John (Jack) Shackelford’s Red Rovers. He joined Capt. Albert C. Horton’s cavalry on March 14 and participated in several skirmishes against Gen. José de Urrea’s Mexican cavalry. Horton’s troopers were scouting ahead of Fannin’s retreating army and so were not captured with the other Texans in the battle of Coleto and consequently were not executed in the Goliad Massacre (see goliad campaign of 1836). Some of the troops, including Baylor, were bitter that Horton did not come to the aid of the beleaguered encampment. Baylor made his way to Houston’s army on the Brazos, where he joined William H. Patton’s company in Col. Sidney Johnson’s Second Texas Volunteer Regiment. He was named drillmaster because of his West Point experience. In the battle of San Jacinto he received a thigh wound that he considered so slight he did not report it. On May 29 he joined a group of mounted rangers under Maj. Isaac Burton. The rangers were sent by Gen. Thomas J. Rusk to patrol the coast and watch for a possible Mexican attack from the sea. At Copano these “Horse Marines” captured three ships bearing supplies for the Mexican army. His wound became inflamed and he developed a fever and died on September 3, 1836, in Cahaba, Alabama, an unreported casualty of the battle of San Jacinto. He was possibly the only Texan to fight in every major battle of the Texas Revolution. His brothers George W., Henry W., and John R. Baylor became prominent as Texas Rangers, soldiers, and Indian fighters.
Manuel Tarín was born 1811 in San Antonio de Béxar, the oldest son of Vizente Tarín, an officer in the Second Flying Company of San Carlos de Parras (Alamo de Parras Company. Manuel became a private in the reorganized Alamo de Parras Company, serving under Lt. Col. José Francisco Ruiz by 1830. That year the Alamo de Parras Company was ordered to build and occupy Fort Tenoxtitlán, a remote frontier garrison on the Brazos River. Over a two-year period sporadic payroll shipments, isolation, and eventually starvation prompted numerous desertions from the post. Tarín deserted twice and each time was arrested and restored to duty with little more than a reprimand. He returned to San Antonio with the Alamo Company in September 1832. His continued discontent with the Mexican military was further demonstrated in the spring of 1833, when he was apprehended with his brother, José Vizente Tarín, and another accomplice attempting to steal guns from the Alamo arsenal. Tarín, like many other Tejano dissidents, ultimately aligned himself with the growing Texas army. He participated in the Siege of Béxar in 1835 under Stephen F. Austin’s command. By February 22, 1836, he had mustered into Juan N. Seguín’s company of Tejanos. Although he was present with Seguín at San Jacinto, illness prevented him from participating in the final battle. He served for the duration of the war and left the army in the rank of corporal in July 1837. He died sometime after 1849.