James Washington Winters was born 1817 in Tennessee. In late 1835, with his father and brothers, he volunteered for service at the Siege of Béxar. Upon reaching San Felipe de Austin, however, the party learned of the surrender of Martín Perfecto de Cos and so returned to their farm. On March 18, 1836, Winters enlisted in Capt. William Ware’s company of independent volunteers. Also serving in this company were his brothers, Sgt. William C. Winters and Pvt. John F. Winters. Ware’s company tried to hold Dewees’s crossing on the Colorado River against the army of Mexican general Antonio López de Santa Anna, but was ordered to fall back by Sam Houston, who was retreating from the Colorado. Ware’s company then joined Houston’s army and was designated the Second Company of Col. Sidney Sherman’s Second Regiment, Texas Volunteers. All three of the Winters men took part in the battle of San Jacinto, where William C. Winters was severely wounded. In 1837 Winters served under Capt. Jerry Washam in pursuit of a group of Indians who had raided near present Anderson. In 1842, in response to the Adrián Woll raid, Winter joined Capt. Albert Gallatin’s company of Brig. Gen. Alexander Somervell’s Army of the South West and took part in the Somervell expedition. He returned from the Rio Grande with Somervell, declining to take part in the infamous Mier expedition. In August 1861, following the outbreak of the Civil War, Winters organized the Oakville Precinct Reserve Company, which later became part of the Twenty-ninth Brigade, Texas State Militia. During the war Winters served as enrolling officer and provost marshall for Live Oak and McMullen counties. In 1901 the Daughters of the Republic of Texas asked Winters to help them identify important points on the San Jacinto battlefield for the purpose of erecting historical markers. At that time several DRT members interviewed Winters about his early life and his experiences during the Texas Revolution. Winters’ responses were recorded by Adina de Zavala and Adele L. B. Looscan and published in the Quarterly of the Texas State Historical Association (later Southwestern Historical Quarterly) in October 1902. Winters died Bigfoot in November 1903, and was buried in Brummett Cemetery, three miles northeast of Bigfoot.
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