TexasEscapes.com HOME Welcome to Texas Escapes
A magazine written by Texas
Custom Search
New   |   Texas Towns   |   Ghost Towns   |   Counties   |   Trips   |   Features   |   Columns   |   Architecture   |   Images   |   Archives   |   Site Map


Texas Counties

Texas Towns
A - Z

Texas | Columns | Lone Star Diary

Alfonso Steele:
Last Survivor of the Battle of San Jacinto

by Murray Montgomery
Murray Montgomery

From the time that first shot was fired at Gonzales to start the Texas Revolution, countless heroes came forward to answer the call to fight for independence.

The names of many of them are well known - men like Crockett, Travis, Bowie, and Houston. History has made these individuals immortal. And these freedom fighters certainly deserve all the praise that they've received, but there were so many others who also deserve to be remembered. What about them?

One such man was Alfonso Steele. I doubt if occasional students of Texas history have even heard of Steele or why he should even be remembered. However, he has one great distinction - Alfonso Steele was the last survivor of the Battle of San Jacinto.

Alfonso Steele
Alfonso Steele

According to the Handbook of Texas, Alfonso Steele was born on April 9, 1817. His family was pioneers who had settled in Hardin County, Kentucky. While yet just a teenager, Steele traveled from his Kentucky home on a flatboat down the Mississippi to Louisiana. It was there in November of 1835 that the young man joined a company of volunteers who were headed for Texas to fight in the revolution.

Upon arriving at Washington-on-the-Brazos, the volunteers were informed that the Texans had not yet formally declared their independence so the men chose to disband. And although the volunteers decided to return home, young Steele wanted to stay in Texas.

After independence was declared, Steele was eager to get in the fight. He joined Capt. Bennet's company that was rushing to San Antonio to reinforce the Alamo.

But shortly after crossing the Colorado River, Capt. Bennet received word that the Alamo had fallen and the volunteer company joined up with Gen. Sam Houston as his army began its retreat from Gonzales.

That retreat became known as the "Runaway Scrape" - the evacuation included the army and frightened settlers who were hurrying to get out of the way of Gen. Santa Anna and escape his promise to punish all rebels in Texas.

The retreat from Gonzales and Houston's refusal to stand and fight until he reached San Jacinto has been well documented, but Gen. Sam's plan to stretch Santa Anna's supply lines and get him further away from the opportunity to be reinforced certainly worked.

Alfonso Steele had marched to San Jacinto with the Texas army and had endured all the hardships along the way. But the final assault on the Mexican army would be Steele's finest hour and he performed with courage and determination.

History tells us that Steele was severely wounded when the first volleys were fired, and it is said that Gen. Houston rode Steele's horse in the battle until it was shot from under him. Some sources say that horse was the second of three animals Houston would ride during the fight. According to the Texas State Library and Archives Commission: "The Battle of San Jacinto lasted less than twenty minutes, but it sealed the fate of three republics. Mexico would never regain the lost territory, in spite of sporadic incursions during the 1840s.

"The United States would go on to acquire not only the Republic of Texas in 1845 but Mexican lands to the west after the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo ended the Mexican War in 1848."

As for Pvt. Steele, it took him months to recover from the wounds he suffered at San Jacinto. He was eventually discharged from the army and would go on to marry Mary Ann Powell. The couple farmed and raised cattle in Montgomery County. They were married for 65 years and that union produced 10 children.

The last survivor of San Jacinto died on July 8, 1911, at the age of 94. He is buried at Mexia in the Mexia City Cemetery.

© Murray Montgomery
Lone Star Diary July 7, 2021 Column

Battle of San Jacinto - Related Articles

  • The Battle of San Jacinto April 21, 1836 by Murray Montgomery

  • Battle of San Jacinto by Archie P. McDonald ("All Things Historical")

  • Lost Letters from Travis' Saddlebags Spark Outrage by Mike Cox

  • San Jacinto Day by Archie P. McDonald ("All Things Historical" )
    News of the fall of the Alamo on March 6, 1836, and the execution of Texians captured at Goliad three weeks later, produced the terrible Runaway Scrape, a mad flight of refugees who scrambled eastward to escape a similar fate at the hand of General Antonio Lopez de Santa Annaís armies. In the midst of these troubles, one man, Sam Houston, rode west...

  • Baker Talk by Mike Cox ("Texas Tales")
    "In modern times, battles begin with precision air strikes. In the 19th century, battles began with stirring speeches. Sometime in the early 1900s, the Beeville Picayune published the talk Captain Mosley Baker supposedly gave to the men of his company at San Jacinto on April 21, 1836..."

  • The Top Ten Facts About The Construction of The San Jacinto Monument

  • San Jacinto Monument by Mike Cox ("Texas Tales")
    "Most people think the towering star-topped limestone monument, built during the Texas Centennial in 1936, is the only San Jacinto monument. Actually, itís only the biggest."

  • Alfonso (Alphonso) Steele - Last Texas survivor of the battle of San Jacinto, and a State Park dedicated to him

  • Alfonso Steele: Last Survivor of the Battle of San Jacinto by Murray Montgomery

  • The Last Hero by Bob Bowman ("All Things Historical" )
    The last surviving veteran of the Battle of San Jacinto on April 21, 1836, lies in an almost forgotten cemetery in deep East Texas

  • A Frenchman at San Jacinto by Bob Bowman
    Charles Cronea, a Jean Lafitte pirate who fought at the Battle of San Jacinto.

  • The Treaty of Velasco by Archie P. McDonald ("All Things Historical" )
    General Sam Houston, and later Interim President David G. Burnett, chose negotiation instead of revenge for the massacres at the Alamo and Goliad.

  • Twin Sisters by Mike Cox ("Texas Tales")
    The most famous pieces of artillery in Texas history

  • Smiths at San Jacinto by Mike Cox ("Texas Tales")
    Enoch K. Smith may have been the 17th Smith who took part in the Battle of San Jacinto.

  • The Mysterious Yellow Rose of Texas by Linda Kirkpatrick

  • A Dalliance to Remember by Clay Coppedge

  • The Yellow Rose of Texas by Barbara Duvall Wesolek

  • Related Topics:




































    Texas Escapes Online Magazine »   Archive Issues » Home »
    Texas Counties
    Texas Towns A-Z
    Texas Ghost Towns

    Central Texas North
    Central Texas South
    Texas Gulf Coast
    Texas Panhandle
    Texas Hill Country
    East Texas
    South Texas
    West Texas

    Rooms with a Past

    Gas Stations
    Post Offices
    Water Towers
    Grain Elevators
    Cotton Gins

    Vintage Photos
    Historic Trees
    Old Neon
    Ghost Signs
    Pitted Dates
    Then & Now

    Columns: History/Opinion
    Texas History
    Small Town Sagas
    Black History
    Texas Centennial

    Texas Railroads

    Texas Trips
    Texas Drives
    Texas State Parks
    Texas Rivers
    Texas Lakes
    Texas Forts
    Texas Trails
    Texas Maps

    Site Map
    About Us
    Privacy Statement
    Contact Us

    Website Content Copyright Texas Escapes LLC. All Rights Reserved