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.
Brigido Guerrero, Alamo defender and former Mexican soldier, was born at Tallenango, Mexico, and traveled to Texas with forces of Domingo de Ugartechea either in 1832 or 1835. At the outbreak of the Texas Revolution he apparently deserted the Mexican army and joined the revolutionaries. In early 1836 he served with James Bowie and helped obtain cattle for the Bexar garrison. Guerrero later served in the Alamo garrison. During the battle of the Alamo he convinced Mexican soldiers that he was a prisoner of the Texans, and his life was spared. After the revolution he lived in San Antonio. In 1846 he married Dolores Méndez y Montoya, and the couple had several children. The Guerreros lived in a house near the Alamo acequia until 1853, then moved to another house nearby, where they remained until 1870. In 1874 Guerrero testified, along with a witness, to his participation in the Texas Revolution. A year later he received a pension based on his participation in the Siege of Bexar and the battle of Concepción.
John York, Indian fighter and soldier in the Texas Revolution, was born in Kentucky on July 4, 1800. He moved to Texas in 1829 and was soon engaged in leading expeditions against the Indians. During the Texas Revolution, the Convention of 1835 at San Felipe appointed him a first lieutenant in the regular infantry in the Texas army. As such he participated in James W. Fannin’s search in the Frio and Medina river areas in November 1835 for Domingo de Ugartechea, then bringing Mexican reinforcements to Martín Perfecto de Cos at Bexar. That same month Stephen F. Austin appointed York, along with Edward Burleson, as appraiser of horses and equipment of the Texan volunteers at Bexar. In early December 1835 York participated as a captain in the Siege of Bexar. On December 20, 1835, he was elected a captain in the legion of cavalry under Lt. Col. William B. Travis. Later the General Council appointed him one of the agents to raise a mounted company to fight Indians in the Mill Creek (in present Austin County) and Colorado River areas. In January 1837 he was serving as county sheriff, and in 1840 he was listed as owning one slave, twenty-five cattle, twenty workhorses, and one “pleasure carriage.” In March 1844 York was among the six men appointed commissioners by the Republic of Texas Congress to select the seat of Austin County, and in 1846 he was elected one of the commissioners for newly established DeWitt County, where he had resettled on Coleto Creek. Two years later he sold his half interest in a league of land for one dollar in cash. The purchasers agreed to lay out the town of Yorktown, named in his honor, and York was to retain each alternate lot, block, and acre lot. The veteran soldier was chosen to lead his neighbors, including Robert Justus Kleberg, in a retaliatory campaign against Indians in October 1848. York and his son-in-law, James Madison Bell, were among those killed on October 11 on Escondida Creek in a battle that generated much notorious publicity. York was buried eight miles east of Yorktown in the same grave with Bell. The state erected a marker at the gravesite in 1936.
L. B. Franks was commander of the Texan artillery during the Siege of Bexar. On November 27, 1835, Gen. Edward Burleson, commander of the Texas forces, appointed Franks lieutenant colonel of the Texan artillery – comprising two cannons and fifteen gunners – and, due to the illness of James C. Neill, Franks served as artillery commander at the siege of Bexar, December 5–9, 1835. His one twelve-pounder, however, became unmounted, and the artillery did little effective service in the fight. Although fearful that the enemy had received a large-caliber mortar that would be damaging to the assaulting troops, Franks advised that the Texans not retreat but press home their attack on the Alamo. His irritation at Burleson’s aide-de-camp, Peter W. Grayson, for failing to forward reinforcements to the troops assaulting the Mexican fortifications caused him, on the third day of the battle, to send an intemperate note to Grayson, who thereupon withdrew from the army. Later that month Grayson and Franks met at San Felipe, and as a result of the meeting Franks published an apology to Grayson acknowledging that his note “was an unjust and wanton attack upon his feelings and character,” for which Franks asked Grayson’s pardon. The note, however, also drew the wrath of General Burleson, who, when Grayson was running for the presidency in 1838, attacked Franks as having held “a temporary but undeserved standing in the army.” Franks considered the attack mere “electioneering.”
On March 8, 1836, Franks wrote from the Nashville (Robertson) colony informing the convention at Washington-on-the-Brazos that he had formed a volunteer company of thirty men to take the field against Indian raiders on the northern frontier. With this force, mounted at his own expense, Franks pursued the raiders to the headwaters of the Little River. There he hoped to induce them to attack his force, which he disguised to resemble an immigrant wagon train. His letter was referred to the Committee on Indian Affairs. On April 23 George P. Digges reported to Sam Houston that he had organized two spy companies, one under Franks, which was to patrol between Robbins’ Ferry and Gonzales.