William Oldham was born 1798 in Kentucky. He volunteered for the Texas army on October 8, 1835, and was elected a major in the Texian Infantry, Col. Philip A. Sublett commanding. He served in Capt. James G. Swisher’s company until December 22, 1835, and participated in the Siege of Béxar. He also served in the First Company of Texas Cavalry, Capt. William W. Hill commanding, from May 29, 1836, to August 2, 1836. During Indian alarms the settlers in the area took refuge at his home, which became known as “Fort Oldham.” He hired a substitute for Edwin Morehouse’s expedition to Comanche Peak in 1838–39. On October 17, 1842, he volunteered for the Somervell expedition and was appointed paymaster of the regiment commanded by Col. James Cook. He also participated in the Mier expedition and was taken prisoner on December 25, 1842. During his captivity he was able to secure loans totaling $2,000 from a friend, an Englishman whom he had known in Kentucky, which he distributed among his “suffering fellow prisoners.” When the Texans tried to escape on February 11, 1843, Oldham, along with John Rufus Alexander, was able to make his way back to San Antonio on or about April 5, 1843. He returned to Fort Oldham and again was called on by the settlers in 1844 to fight Indians at “Battleground Prairie” near Cedar Creek on the Burleson-Milam county line. This was the last major fight with Indians in the county. In 1849 Major Oldham petitioned the Texas legislature for payment for his services and loss of property while serving in the army.
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