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  Texas : Features : Columns : "Texas Tales"

Patriots

by Mike Cox
Mike Cox
The American Revolution lasted seven years, affording plenty of men the opportunity to go down in history as patriots.

Since 52 years went by between the end of the struggle that separated the 13 colonies from England (1783) and the beginning of Texas’ fight against Mexico (1835), it would seem unlikely that any of the men who fought the British ever ended up in Texas. But some did.

By the time America celebrated its bicentennial in 1976, the Texas Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution had identified 13 veterans – their word is patriot, which holds up with only a few exceptions – buried in Texas. Additional genealogical research since then by the DAR and the Sons of the American Revolution has increased the list to 44 names.

Of those two score and four who came to Texas after having a hand in making the United States, three had an even more notable claim: They also fought to make Texas free.



Alphabetically, the first two-time patriot on this short list is Bailey Anderson, born in Virginia in 1753. He fought Redcoats and redskins, eventually coming to Texas with his wife and family in 1818 or 1819.

The Andersons settled near present San Augustine when Texas still was a Spanish province. After Mexico pulled away from Spain and admitted Anglo colonists, Anderson participated in the Battle of Nacogdoches in 1832. Three years later he fought with the Texans who defeated Gen. Martin Perfecto de Cos (brother-in-law of Gen. Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna) in San Antonio.

Anderson died in 1840 and is buried in his family’s cemetery in Harrison County. The grave is not marked.



The second known revolutionary double-dipper is Alexander Hodge. Born in Pennsylvania in 1760, he eventually moved with his family to South Carolina. There, at 18, he volunteered to serve under Gen. Francis Marion, better known as the Swamp Fox.

Following the revolution, Hodge moved his family to Arkansas. That’s where he met Stephen F. Austin and decided to join the young empresario in Texas. In 1825, Hodge settled his family along the Brazos in what is now Fort Bend County.

After the Alamo fell in 1836, Hodge shouldered his flintlock and helped protect the women and children as Texans fled eastward in what came to be called the Runaway Scrape. Maybe the strain of that finally wore him out. He died at 76 that summer. His grave is in the Hodge’s Bend Cemetery near Sugarland.



The final Revolutionary War veteran who fought for Texas is Stephen Williams, born in North Carolina in 1760. He served three enlistments in the Continental Army. Clearly not one to back down from a fight, he also participated in the War of 1812.

When his wife died in 1830, Williams decided to move to Texas with his sons. They put down roots in Jasper County at Bevil’s Settlement.

Five years later, when Williams got word that a fight was on at San Antonio, he and three of his grandsons walked half-way across Texas to take part. He enlisted in the Texas army and served until his discharge at age 75 on Jan. 2, 1836.

Williams lived until 1848, three years after Texas became a state in the union he fought to create. First buried in Jasper County, his remains were exhumed in 1936 and taken to the State Cemetery in Austin.



Not every American Revolution veteran who found his way to Texas could be described as a model citizen. One patriot-scalawag was John SoRelle, at least that’s how researchers believe he spelled his name.

SoRelle fought the British in North Carolina, eventually moving to Georgia. Somewhere along the way, he became a man of the cloth. He came to Texas in 1837, settling in Fayette County. He lived there four years, dying in 1841 at his daughter’s home in La Grange. She buried her father near West Point in Fayette County, but the grave is unmarked.

If the burial site is ever found, it will take some additional research to determine what last name to carve on his tombstone. Records show he had variously been known as Sorrell, Sorel, Sorell, and finally, SoRelle in Texas.

One reason for that may have been necessity. Before coming to Texas, family legend has it, Rev. S. was known for the tent revivals he staged with his beautiful daughter.

While the men in the audience divided their attention between the possibility of salvation and the preacher’s good-looking daughter, other members of the family slipped up and stole the attendee’s horses.

© Mike Cox - "Texas Tales"
April 26, 2005 column
Forum:
Sir: Mr. Cox omitted a famous veteran of the American Revolutionary War who came to Texas. It was "Elder" John Parker. John PARKER was a Revolutionary Soldier, Serial # S32435. He served in the 2nd and 13t h Regiment of the Continental Army of VA. He had a brother named Daniel and a sister named Susannah. After the war, John and Sarah White-Parker moved to Elbert Co., GA. Here John was made an Elder in the Primitive Baptist Church. He moved to Bedford Co., TN and lived there for about twelve y ears, and then moved his family to Crawford County, IL in 1814. It was here on the 28th day of July, 1821 that Sarah "SALLY" WHITE died. It was also here that JOHN remarried. He married SALLY PINSON-DUTY, the 21st of March 1825. He and his wife were killed at the Parker's Fort Massacre, in Robertson's Colony now Limestone County, on May 19, 1836.

His application for a RS Pension was made while in ILL before he came to TX in 1833.

His grand daughter is known in TX history - Cynthia Ann Parker mother to the famous last chief of Comanches - Quanah Parker.

Thank you,
Jim Yarbrough, 4th great grandson of Elder John Parker, March 27, 2008
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Announcement
Mike Cox's "The Texas Rangers: Wearing the Cinco Peso, 1821-1900," the first of a two-volume, 250,000-word definitive history of the Rangers, was released by Forge Books in New York on March 18, 2008

Kirkus Review, the American Library Association's Book List and the San Antonio Express-News have all written rave reviews about this book, the first mainstream, popular history of the Rangers since 1935.
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