Samuel Damon was born 1808 in Massachusetts. In 1831, when his ship arrived at the mouth of the Brazos, he was told that Mexican officials would not allow any more Americans to enter Texas. Damon swam ashore undetected, made his way inland, and eventually found shelter in the home of Abraham Darst, one of Stephen F. Austin’s colonists. He later traveled to San Felipe and obtained permission from Mexican authorities to operate a freight line between Columbia and San Antonio. In the fall of 1835 he was assigned the duty of transporting military supplies to the Texas forces commanded by Edward Burleson near San Antonio de Béxar. After delivering the supplies, Damon took part in the Siege of Béxar and the capture of Gen. Martín Perfecto de Cos. As a soldier at the battle of San Jacinto he guarded the wagons, baggage, and wounded soldiers near Harrisburg. He died at Damon’s Mound, Brazoria County on October 3, 1882, and is buried in the Damon Cemetery.
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Stephen Williams was born 1760 in North Carolina. He joined the American revolutionary armies at the age of eighteen and fought at the battles of Briar Creek, Camden, and Eutaw Springs. He was mustered out of the service after the expiration of his third enlistment in 1782. During the winter of 1814–15 he helped guard the Madisonville naval yards against the British invasion of the latter stages of the War of 1812. He moved to Texas in 1830. As Texan dissatisfaction with Mexican authority grew, Williams again volunteered for military service in 1835, at the age of seventy-five, and served under Capt. James Chessher. With four of his grandsons he participated in the Siege of Béxar. The veteran of three wars died in April 1839 and was buried at his home in Jasper. As part of the Texas Centennial celebration his body was moved to the State Cemetery in Austin.
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.
Nathaniel Robbins and Dr. Lewis R. Dayton protested to the Mexican government because United States authorities were taxing the inhabitants of Pecan Point. In 1835 Robbins attended the Consultation at San Felipe de Austin. During the Texas Revolution he served as a private in Capt. Thomas J. Rusk’s company at the Siege of Béxar and participated in the Grass Fight. With the honorary rank of colonel, Robbins was commissioned by Gen. Sam Houston to “seize all arms and guns, and such weapons of war as may be useful to the army” and to “arrest all deserters from the army.” On August 8, 1836, Robbins received Houston’s appointment as collector of public property, and on September 10 he enlisted as a private in Capt. Elisha Clapp’s company at Mustang Prairie. Robbins was discharged on December 10. He was said to have had great influence among the Indians of the region, and on November 8, 1836, he received Houston’s appointment and the Senate’s confirmation as commissioner to the Indians. He died sometime between December 1836 and April 1837.