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John William Smith: Soldier, Messenger, Patriot

John William Smith: Soldier, Messenger, Patriot

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Published by Alex Tango Fuego
John William Smith: Soldier, Messenger, Patriot
by Zelime Vance Gillespie II

http://www.tamu.edu/faculty/ccbn/dewitt/smithjohnwilliam.htm
John William Smith: Soldier, Messenger, Patriot
by Zelime Vance Gillespie II

http://www.tamu.edu/faculty/ccbn/dewitt/smithjohnwilliam.htm

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John William Smith--Soldier, Messenger, Patriot

h p://www.tamu.edu/faculty/ccbn/dewi /smithjohnwilliam.htm

SONS OF DEWITT COLONY TEXAS © 1997-2002, Wallace L. McKeehan, All Rights Reserved

Alamo Defenders-Index

John William Smith: Soldier, Messenger, Patriot
by Zelime Vance Gillespie II THE BEGINNING "The winning of the independence of Texas by a handful of American pioneers, against the almost overwhelming odds opposed to them forms one of the most remarkable events in the long record of human warfare, unsurpassed by the most heroic examples in ancient and modern, history. To understand how it was accomplished, one must look to the character of the men who composed the Texas forces. They were men animated by that high-soul courage which characterizes the patriot who is willing to die in defense of his country's liberty or his own home. The pages of history are lled with the deeds of such as these but beyond a passing no ce li le is known of the last courier of the Alamo, John William Smith. whose daring exploits helped very materially in the great struggle." [Lucy Josephine Newton, Incidents in the Life of John W. Smith, A report taken from her scrapbook, Personal Papers of Mrs. Frank M. Gillespie, Sr, p. 5] In order to obtain a fuller picture of John William Smith and the age in which he lived, one must start with the beginning of his life. William John Smith, as he was christened, was born in Virginia on November 4, 1792, the second son of John and Isabel Smith. A few years later (no exact date is given) he and his family moved to Ralls County, Missouri. Li le is known of his youth other than that he received the best possible educa on that Missouri could a ord at that me. ["In Early San Antonio", San Antonio Express Magazine, October 5, 1947, Alamo Library] In either 1821 or 1822 he married Miss Harriet Stone in his home town, of Hannibal, Missouri. [Dolly M. Stone, Samuel Stone and his wife, Mary Ann Chunn (San Antonio: Naylor Company, 1955), p. 11] At the age of thirty one he was elected to the role of Sheri of Rolls County and State and County tax Collector. ["In Early San Antonio", San Antonio Express Magazine, October 5, 1947, Alamo Library] Two children, a son Samuel and a daughter Mary Elizabeth were born to them and their lives owed along accepted and happy lines for several years. [Dolly M. Stone, Samuel Stone and his wife, Mary Ann Chunn (San Antonio: Naylor Company, 1955), p. 11] In 1826 Green DeWi made a trip to Missouri in order to arouse interest in his colony in Texas. He had obtained permission from the Mexican government on April 15 of the previous year to bring four hundred families with him into Texas. He must have succeeded in arousing interest in William Smith for in 1826, before the birth of his third child, he resigned his posi ons and made plans to go to Texas. His wife, Harriet, adamantly refused to make the move. She was aided and abe ed in her decision by her brothers, Samuel and Theophilus, who con nually warned her of the dangers and hardships to be found in Texas and urged her to seek a divorce on grounds of abandonment. [Dolly M. Stone, Samuel Stone and his wife, Mary Ann Chunn (San Antonio: Naylor Company, 1955), p. 11] Harriet, subsequently, remarried and was rather ironically convinced by her second husband,

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John William Smith--Soldier, Messenger, Patriot

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James Boyce, to move with him to Texas with ve other families from Hannibal. Smith, however, in spite of such overwhelming family opposi on, remained rm in his resolve and he and his older brother, Francis, joined the DeWi party. Carrying with him a le er of recommenda on that was given to him by the ci zens of Ralls County, he set out for Texas. This le er meant a great deal to him, coming at a me of change and upheaval in both his personal and business life. He must have cherished it for the original was found among his papers and reads as follows: Le er of recommenda on. New London April 1826. We, the undersigned ci zens of the County of Ralls in the State of Missouri, do hereby cer fy that for three years lost past we have been personally acquainted with the bearer of this, William J. Smith, during that me and now a resident of this country and state aforesaid, who is about to visit the Province of Texas. And we do further cer fy that we have always considered him a man of correct habits and principals and of a good moral character. And, as such, we cheerfully recommend him to the favorable no ce and a en on of the authori es and ci zens of that Province in the Mexican United States. 10 April, 1826. James C. Barne ; Pleasant Hudson; Volney Bruer; Oney Carstcrchen; John Markle; Amos Gridley; Joseph Wright; Wm. Jameson; Chapel Carstarphen; Josiah Fugate; John Thrasher. WITNESSED BY STEPHEN GLASCOCK. The DeWi party arrived in Gonzales in December of 1826, and immediately became an integral part of the community. On December 14, 1826, Green DeWi issued the following direc ons: DeWi Colony. Green DeWi Empresario. 1826 December 14, 1826. La Bahia sta on put under direc on of William Smith. signed Green DeWi . [Mrs. Frank M. Gillespie, Sr, Collec on, p. 2] Later that following year, he moved to San Antonio de Bexar, where he changed his name to John William Smith. Supposedly because William (GuiIlermo) is di cult to pronounce in the Spanish language. He was considered a handsome man. He stood six feet one inch tall, and weighed between one hundred and eighty and two hundred pounds. His good looks were accentuated by his long red-brown hair, large blue eyes and a rm well-shaped mouth and nose. [Lucy Josephine Newton, "Life of John William Smith", San Antonio Newspaper] He became known throughout the city as "El Colorado" or "redhead". On December 15, 1827, he was appointed military storekeeper and served in this capacity un l March 6, 1835. [Le er from Harriet Smither, June 5, 1934] He also worked as a civil engineer and surveyor during this me. On May 20, 1828, he and his brother, Francis, were bap zed into the Catholic faith at San Fernando Cathedral. Two and a half years later, he once again entered San Fernando Cathedral, this me to be married to Maria Jesusita Curbelo, who was then just a girl of een, while he was a mature man of thirty eight. [Lucy Josephine Newton, "Incidents in the Life of John W. Smith", A report taken from her scrapbook, personal papers of Mrs. Frank M. Gillespie, Sr., p. 1] Maria Jesusita was the great-great-granddaughter of Juan Curbelo, a Canary Islander of great wealth and dis nc on. He had been ordered by royal decree, May 10, 1723, along with four hundred other families to leave

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the Canary Islands and establish a colony in the new world in the name of the King of Spain. They chose to se le on land that is the present city of San Antonio. There are many descendants of the original Curbelos s ll in San Antonio today.

PATRIOT In the fall of 1835, San Antonio was occupied and controlled by the Mexican forces under the command of Colonel Domingo Ugartachea, and was being harassed by a small band of Texans who were determined to oust them. Colonel Ugartachea sent for reinforcements and by the winter of 1835 General Cos and his army arrived, and the Mexicans held an even rmer grip on the city. [Colonel Mar n Lalor Crimmins, Texas State Historical Quarterly, Vol. LIV, John W. Smith, the Last Messenger from the Alamo and the First Mayor of San Antonio (Aus n: Texas State Historical Associa on, 1951), p. 344] In the early days of the unrest John W. Smith sided with the group of men who were content with the status quo, but me and events changed his views and he gave himself up "hand and heart" to the cause of Independence. [Lucy Josephine Newton, "Incidents in the Life of John W. Smith", A report taken from her scrapbook, personal papers of Mrs. Frank i0. Gillespie, Sr., p. 5] [See Ba le & Siege of Bexar] Smith, Samuel Maverick and P. B. Cooke were arrested by Ugartachea on suspicion of communica ng with the enemy. Smith was con ned to his home, but managed to keep up communica on with General Burleson, who commanded the Texas Army. [Address by Dr. Geo. Cupples, 1870, in front of the Alamo, personal papers of Mrs. Frank M. Gillespie, Sr., p. 3] One night as Smith and his follow-cap ves were playing cards, they were startled by the report of a gun red close by them. Immediately following the shot, a Mexican o cer rushed in and commanded that the man who had red the shot rise or he would kill them all. Unable to understand the language, the Texans stared at each other in wonder, and the o cer leveled his gun to carry out his threat when Smith's beau ful Cas lian wife rushed in, kneeling at the feet of the o cer, she implored him in eloquent Spanish to search the house before he condemned her husband, assuring him that if any arms or ammuni on were found he could do his duty. Moved, by her entrea es, he turned to do as she requested, when the door was ung open by a faithful servitor, Graviel, of Smith's who claimed to have red the shot at some passing American. Thus Smith's life was spared due to the e orts of his young, beau ful wife. [Lucy Josephine Newton, "Incidents in the Life of John W. Smith", A report taken from her scrapbook personal papers of Mrs. Frank M. Gillespie, Sr., p. 5] Smith and Maverick managed to escape and got out of the city to join Ben Milam's forces which were camped on San Pedro Creek, and o cially joined the Texas Army on December 3, 1835. The morale of Milam's li le band of men was at a very low ebb for they were receiving inadequate food, clothing and pay and they were about to give up the siege. However, when Smith arrived he managed to give the li le army a new hope, he reported the Mexicans starving, dispirited and low on ammuni on. He also drew a most accurate plan of the town "in which almost every object of su cient magnitude to a ract the vision was delineated with

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great minuteness and exactness." [Obituary of John William Smith, Texas Na onal Register, January 18, 1845, p. 55] He was very familiar with the city and its for ca ons and he was the only Anglo-American in San Antonio with enough mechanical skill and training to draw such an accurate map. [Colonel Mar n Lalor Crimmins, Texas State Historical Quarterly, Vol. LIV, John W. Smith, the last Messenger from the Alamo and the First Mayor of San Antonio (Aus n: Texas State Historical Associa on, 1951 , p. 344] A er discussing the situa on with Ben Milam and urging him to make on immediate a ack, John Smith was assigned the posi on of chief guide for the rst division for the ba le of San Antonio and Erastus "Deaf" Smith was assigned as guide to the second division. "Smith knew every inch of San Antonio and it was in the light of this knowledge that this well-conceived plan of a ack was decided upon." [Louis J. Worthham, LL. D., A History of Texas, Vol, III Fort Worth: Worthham-Molyneaux Company, 1924)] With the aid of the knowledge and leadership thus obtained, on the night of the h of December, 1835, a small and devoted band of less than 300 men assaulted the strong town of San Antonio, which was defended by 1700 troops and 20 pieces of ar llery. The ensuing ba le lasted for ve days and nights. "In the annals of our military achievements, it stands unparalleled, as well for the boldness of the enterprise, as for the exhibi on of an in exible obs nacy of resolu on and determined valor, which no danger could appall-nor con nuance of the deadly grapple, however prolonged, could exhaust." Smith, with his characteris c calmness and delibera on, was among the leaders of "the party which succeeded in penetra ng to the square (Military Plaza), when the capitula on was proposed. [Obituary of John William Smith, Texas Na onal Register, January 18, 1845, p. 55] Because of the tremendous amount of aid rendered by Smith he was presented 640 acres of Dona on Land, which was situated on the Leon, a branch of the Medina, and about sixteen miles northwest of San Antonio, thus making him one of the largest landowners in the city. He was already the third wealthiest man in San Antonio, with a valua on of $24,000.00. [Lucy Josephine Newton, "Life of John William Smith", San Antonio Newspaper] January, 1836, found San Antonio under the protec on of one of the armies of the Provisional Government of Texas. The troops were commanded by James Bowie, who had been sent by Sam Houston with orders to demolish the Alamo. The thought was that San Antonio was too isolated and could not be successfully defended. However, when Bowie arrived, he could not bring himself to destroy the garrison. He decided to stay, for fy and protect the Alamo for he believed, "the salva on of Texas depended to a great measure on keeping San Antonio de Bexar out of the enemy's hands". It served as the fron er guard, and if it were in the possession of Santa Anna, there would be no stronghold from which to repel him on his march toward the Sabine. Bowie became ill a few days a er he arrived in San Antonio, and at his request, Colonel Travis accepted command of the troops. San Antonio de Bexar was under strong threat of a ack by General Santa Anna for a er the Ba le of San Antonio, the seizure of the town was more than just a strategic problem to the Mexicans, it was a "na onal outrage, a humilia on" and a blow to their pride. Juan Guillermo Smith was in San Antonio at this me with his wife and children, when asked when he thought Santa Anna would strike, he is reported to have said, they would wait un l March for he knew Santa Anna to be a shrewd and careful man who

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would wait for the spring grass to grow before he would bring his cavalry north. Smith's assump on proved to be incorrect, for a sentry claimed he saw the Mexican force on the 23rd of February. Dr. John Sutherland told Colonel William B. Travis he would ride out and check the lookout's story. However, he needed someone who knew the country to come along and be his guide. Smith immediately volunteered 30 and told Travis that if he saw them coming back at a gallop that that would mean they had seen the enemy. Upon reaching the top of a slope about one and a half miles from Bexar, they saw within 150 yards, some 1500 Mexican cavalry, their polished armor glistening in the rays of the sun with the commander riding along the line, waving his sword as though giving orders. Quickly comprehending what was amassed in front of them, they wheeled their horses and started for town at a full gallop. Sutherland's horse slipped on the wet mud, for there had been heavy rains the night before, and fell on him, breaking his leg. Smith immediately raced back for him and helped him onto his horse !Sutherland's). As they neared the Alamo, the sentry who had rst seen the Mexican army saw them and for the second me that day began clanging the church bell. By the me they arrived, Travis had already moved his men into the Alamo. Travis immediately addressed a note to Judge Andrew Ponton asking for assistance and started to hand it to Sutherland for him to take to Gonzales, but impulsively he crossed the Judge's name out and wrote "To all of the inhabitants of Texas". [Walter Lord, A Time to Stand (New York: Harper and Brothers, 1963), p. 53] In the mean me, Smith raced home to close his house and pick up some important papers. No record says exactly where his wife and son were at this me, but it is believed and is probable that they had been sent to New Orleans for their safety. This statement seems to be jus ed by the fact that my great-great-grandmother, Maria Josepha Augus na Smith, was born to Maria in New Orleans in October of that same year. [Interview with Mrs. Frank M. Gillespie, Sr., April 15, 1963] [For the following, Gillespie cites: Walter Lord, A Time to Stand (New York: Harper and Brothers, 1963); Dr. John Sutherland, The Fall of the Alamo (San Antonio: Naylor Company, 1936); Lon Tinkle, Thirteen Days to Glory (New York: McGraw Hill Book Company, Inc.); Boyce House, City of Flaming Adventure, The Chronicle of San Antonio (San Antonio: Naylor Company); W. P. Zuber, Texas State Historical Quarterly, Vol. V., The Escape of Rose from the Alamo (Aus n: Texas State Historical Associa on, 1902)---WLM] Then he le heading for Gonzales, a 70 mile ride, to gather some reinforcements. Smith and Sutherland met leaving town and decided to ride together. A er reaching a ford a small distance from town, they glanced back and saw the advanced cavalry units of Santa Anna pouring into Military Plaza. They then hurried on, taking the old unused Goliad Road, which runs south for some distance, to avoid any chance of being spo ed by the Mexicans. A er riding about one-half mile on this road, they "turned due east into mesquite and chaparral brush" and followed the winding paths that led through it un l they reached the Gonzales Road about one mile east of the Salado Creek. They, however, did not con nue on the Goliad Road for they saw three men riding in the distance, about one and a half miles away, and fearing they were a scou ng party of the enemy, they veered o the road to the le . The pain in Sutherland's leg had become so acute that by the me they reached the Salado Smith had to persuade him to go on for he was at the point of turning back. They managed to con nue on for another sixteen miles then were forced to stop because of Sutherland's pain. By the next morning, Sutherland's pain had subsided somewhat and they, a er riding hard, arrived in Gonzales about 4 P. M.

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Wednesday, the 24th. Upon entering the town, they spread no ce of their mission and sent messages to all of the neighboring se lements. By Saturday Smith and Sutherland had succeeded in ge ng 25 men, mostly from the town of Gonzales. Sutherland was compelled to stay in Gonzales because of his leg and Smith started back to San Antonio with the men. When they reached the Cibolo Creek, Smith had gathered enough new men to increase his band to 32. As they entered the suburbs of Bexar, they were approached by a man on horseback, "Who asked them in English: 'Do you wish to go into the fort, Gentlemen?' 'Yes,' was the reply. 'Then follow me,' said he, at the same me turning his horse into the lead of the company. Smith remarked: 'Boys, it's me to be a er shoo ng that fellow, at this, the man put spurs to his horse, sprung into the thicket, and was out of sight in a moment, before a gun could be brought to bear on him. Some supposed from his uency in the English language that this was General Wall, who was an Englishman in the Mexican service." Smith, cau ous as always, sent a messenger to the Alamo but there seemed to have been a misunderstanding as to the direc on from which they would approach. The sen nel, thinking they were part of the Mexican army, red on them without giving warning. The shot hit one of the men in the foot. The sen nel soon realized his mistake and permi ed the men to enter without any other hindrance. With the addi on of the force brought by Smith the total number of men protec ng the garrison were 203. These men from Gonzales carried with them the rst ag ever made by the Texans for use in a ba le. It was made of white silk taken from the wedding dress of Naomi DeWi , the daughter of Green DeWi , whom Smith had accompanied to Texas. The siege con nued. At about noon on the 23rd as Smith was at his post, he heard an uproar arising from the town. The cry was "Santa Anna, Santa Anna". This, of course, a racted his a en on and because the buildings in the city were low, he was able to see a large body of the enemy entering the city. Smith, related later to Sutherland, that before this me he had not believed that the main body of Santa Anna's army was at San Antonio. On March 3, when the situa on was looking its worst for the men in the Alamo, Smith was summoned again by Travis. He asked him if he would deliver a last supplica on to the Conven on at Washington-on-the-Brazos, a mission which was to preserve his life. Near midnight, Travis approached and handed him a bundle of le ers also his message to President Houston. He grasped his hand and added "Tell the reinforcements to bring ten day's ra ons with them". He said, "He would re the eighteen-pounder three mes a day-morning, noon and night-as long as the Alamo stood, when they heard that they would know he was s ll gh ng". The gate at the northern end of the Alamo swung open and Smith whipped through, "Turned east, and vanished into the dark riding one of the "best horses in the Alamo" which was perhaps the same horse he had bought from a soldier on November 27th for $46.00. [Rena Maverick Green (ed.), Samuel Maverick, Texan: 1803-1870, A Collec on of Le ers, Journals and Memoirs (San Antonio: Rena Maverick Green, 1952)] It is believed by many that he changed horses several mes before reaching Washington-on-theBrazos but a more reasonable explana on is that he rode moderately all the way to his des na on for he had no me to change mounts. [W. P. Zuber, Texas State Historical Quarterly, Vol. V., The Escape of Rose from the Alamo (Aus n: Texas State Historical Associa on, 1902), p. 4]

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Whether he changed mounts or not does not alter the fact that he completed a daring ride through enemy lines over 200 miles in less than 57 hours carrying Travis' last dispatch and the last words of the men of the Alamo who died gh ng for their beliefs. When Smith, weary and travel-stained, reached Washington-on-the-Brazos Sunday morning much of the conven on quickly assembled to hear the reading of Travis' eloquent last le er. Their hearts sank with despair as Houston read the le er to them but they clung to one last hope, that Travis' determina on to defend the Alamo would enable him to hold out un l relief could be sent. [Sam Houston Dixon, Romance and Tragedy of Texas History (Houston: Texas Historical Publishing Company), p. 212] Smith, although he was weary past exhaus on, was not through. On his own authority, he recruited almost 50 men and set out for the Alamo. They reached Cibolo Creek on March 10th and halted while the horses drank. Smith pressed his ear to the ground and listened hoping to hear the sound of guns but he heard nothing. Early the following morning, he sent eight scouts towards Bexar, however, a er going only six miles they were spo ed by the Mexican advance guard, who chased them, but none of them were injured. Now faced with the grim reality, he had been praying was not true, Smith sadly turned his men eastward. [Boyce House, City of Flaming Adventure, A Chronicle of San Antonio(San Antonio: Naylor Company)]. Smith's life as a patriot did not end with the tragic fall of the Alamo. He was present and par cipated in the triumphant eighteen minute Ba le of San Jacinto which was the concluding military event of the Texas Revolu on, and one of the "decisive ba les of the world. The freedom of Texas from Mexico, won there, led to annexa on and to the Mexican War, resul ng in the acquisi on by the United States of the states of Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, Nevada, California, Utah and other parts of Colorado, Wyoming, Kansas and Oklahoma. Almost one-third of the present area of the American na on, nearly a million square miles of territory, changed sovereignty". Even though the Ba le of San Jacinto did bring an end to the Texas Revolu on, John W. Smith had not yet come to the end of his career as a soldier. He was employed as a scout and sent on many a harrowing mission. Many of his narrowest escapes came when he entered the city of San Antonio to obtain informa on or to visit his family. When in the dead of night, he came home to his house on Flores Street, his faithful peon, Graviel, would mu e the horse's hoofs with blankets and while his master was having a few moments of ease with his family, he would hold its mouth so that it could not neigh and a ract the a en on of the sen nel just across the ditch. "One night this same sen nel did see him as he stood taking leave of his family with a ny child, my mother, in his arms. Seeing that if he red, the child would also be killed, the kind-hearted Mexican spared his life." [Lucy Josephine Newton, "Incidents in the Life of John W. Smith", A report taken from her scrapbook personal papers of Mrs. Frank M. Gillespie, Sr., p. 5] Two years a er the Republic of Texas had been organized and the Municipality of San Antonio created by an Act of the Texas Congress, an elec on was called to name San Antonio's rst city administra on. "Through Smith's personality and the in uence of his wife's family, he was elected San Antonio's rst mayor". He took o ce on September 19, 1837, and served un l the later part of 1838 a er receiving een votes to the two votes received by his two opponents. ["In Early San Antonio, San Antonio Express Magazine, October 5, 1947, Alamo Library]

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Just previous to star ng his rst term as mayor he signed the rst o cial marriage license in Bexar County on August 5, 1837. The town of San Antonio over which Smith and his aldermen ruled was es mated at about 2000 people, one-third of which were American and English, another third German and the remaining third were a mixture of various races. Smith and his aldermen ini ated various city ordinances, one of which follows: A public bathing ordinance which "Prohibited it a er 5 A. M. and before 8 P. M. in the Son Antonio River and the San Pedro Creek. Any bather caught exposing himself to the public gaze during those hours was subject to a $2.00 to $5.00 ne and the 'Peeping Tom' who brought about the convic on received one-half of the ne and the City got the rest." There were also ordinances which provided for the maintenance of city cemeteries, the enforcement of chimney sweeping and the removal of re hazards. Business houses were forced to close at 9 P. M. on Sunday. The storing of hay and combus bles within the city in a manner that might create a re was prohibited. There was even an ordinance passed which said it was alright to have milk cows in the downtown area, but that these cows must be milked and in the corral by 10 P. M. Violators of this ordinance were subject to a ne of $2.00 to $5.00 and as in the bathing ordinance, the informer got half of the ne. Smith and his aldermen proved to run an e cient city and even sought to enrich the city treasury through the taxa on of dogs. All female dogs were taxed $2.00 and males $0.50. In the second city elec on he did not run for re-elec on and was succeeded by William H. Daingerfeld. However, he did run for re-elec on in 1840 and, won and remained in o ce un l 1844. It was during this term that he had the rst proper bridge in San Antonio built across the San Antonio River on Commerce Street. . [Unknown newspaper clippings, Ms. Frank Gillespie Collec on] He was very popular with the Republic and at one me held eleven di erent commissions under President Sam Houston and Ac ng President Mirabeau Lamar. The most noteworthy of which was the responsibility of gathering all the Indians in the San Antonio area and take them to Waco Village to exchange them for Texas prisoners . [Frederick Chabot, The Alamo, Altar of Liberty (San Antonio, Carleton Prin ng Co., 1931)] When Adrian Wall, on September 11, 1842, with a force of about 1400, captured San Antonio for the second Mexican invasion of Texas in 1842, "El Colorado" served as a scout once more and managed to secure informa on of the enemy's situa on and of their plans. With this informa on the Texas forces were able to surprise the Mexican forces with an ambush thus defea ng and preven ng them once again from taking possession of Bexar. [Obituary of John William Smith, Texas Na onal Register, January 18, 1845, p. 55] Recognizing Smith's ability, the people of Texas sent him to the Senate of the Republic of Texas at Washington-on-the-Brazos in late 1842. Smith was kept well occupied with his job but he was displeased with the weather and grew very homesick for his wife, family, and San Antonio. [Interview Dr. Everre , April 1963] He, however, remained at his job and fought with great delibera on for that in which he believed, essen ally the annexa on of Texas. He did not live to see the culmina on of his e orts, for in January, 1845, he was seized with pneumonia and died and was buried in a small cemetery at Washington-on-the-Brazos. [Lucy Josephine Newton, Incidents in the Life of John W. Smith, A report taken from her scrapbook, Personal Papers of Mrs. Frank M. Gillespie, Sr, p. 5] His sudden death was a great loss to his family, friends, San Antonio and undoubtedly to Texas,

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for with his great courage, unbounded energy and un ring devo on to duty, his e orts in behalf of the people and the state of Texas would have been unceasing. APPENDIX I Travis' last message from the Alamo to Consulta on at Washington-on-the-Brazos out of the Alamo carried by J. W. Smith.

APPENDIX II: JOHN W. SMITH OBITUARY Texas Na onal Register, January 18. 1845, p. 55, Col. 1 Departed this life in the town of Washington, on Sunday the 12th instant, the Honorable John W. Smith, Senator from the County of Bexar. The deceased emigrated from the United States to San Antonio in the year 1826, and lived several years in the re rement of private life, engaged in the pursuits of his avoca on with un ring industry. When, the Texan. forces encamped in the vicinity of San Antonio in the fall of 1835, he, with one or two other Americans, was placed under arrest by the Mexican authori es; but, notwithstanding their con nement, they contrived to communicate important informa on to the besieging troops. Having succeeded in escaping, the deceased drew up a most accurate plan of the town in which almost every object of su cient magnitude to a ract the vision was delineated with great minuteness and exactness. With the bene t of the informa on thus obtained, and with the deceased ac ng as one of the guides, the strong Town of San Antonio, defended by seventeen hundred troops and twenty pieces of ar llery, was on the night of the 5th of December, 1835, assaulted by a devoted band of less than three hundred men. The history of the ensuing erce and desperate struggle for ve days and nights is well known. In the annals of our military achievements, it stands unparalleled, as well for the boldness of the enterprise, as for the exhibi on of an in exible obs nacy of resolu on and determined valor, which no danger could appall-nor con nuance of the deadly grapple, however prolonged, could exhaust. The deceased was ever found among the foremost in the storm, and accompanied the party which had succeeded in penetra ng to the square, when the capitula on was proposed. A er the ba le of San Jacinto and the retreat of the Mexican troops from the Republic, the deceased returned to San Antonio-where, as clerk of several courts, from his extraordinary capacity for business, and his knowledge of farms, he rendered essen al services to the community-discharging the du es of his various o ces with the indefa gable perseverance, and with a skill and correctness which elicited frequent expressions of approba on from high judicial o cers. He narrowly escaped from the troops under the command of General Woll, in 1842; and dis nguished himself at the Salado, as well by his bravery, as by entering the hos le lines and procuring informa on of the enemy's situa on and movements. He was of a most benevolent disposi on, a devoted patriot, and an a ec onate husband and father. His intelligence, correctness and promptness of judgment; his acquaintance with the laws of the country, both ancient and modern; his business habits and talents, and the assiduity of his applica on, rendered him a valuable member of the Senate and of the community. A wife and ve children survive to grieve for this a ic ng dispensa on of Providence. They have

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the sympathies of a numerous body of friends, who console themselves with the recollec on of his virtues and merits, for which he was honored in life and will be remembered in death. APPENDIX III: TRIBUTE OF THE SENATE TO SMITH Monday, January 13, 1845, 10 A. M. Senate met; roll called; a quorum present; prayer by the Chaplain; Journals of the preceding day read and adopted. Senator Wright presented the pe on of Syreno Guest, which, on mo on, was referred to the commi ee on the Judiciary. Senator Kaufman announced the death of the Honorable John W. Smith, the Senator from the District of Bexar, and o ered the following resolu ons: 1. Resolved by the Senate, That they have heard with deep and sincere regret of the death of their late colleague, the Honorable John W. Smith, Senator from Bexar County, and that in his demise the country has lost a patriot and an honest man. 2. Resolved, That we sympathize with the family of the deceased in this irreparable bereavement, and that the Secretary of the Senate furnish them with a copy of these resolu ons. 3. Resolved, further, That as a mark of our deep regard for the memory of the late Honorable John W. Smith, the members and o cers of this body will wear crape on their le arm for the space of thirty days. Resolu ons adopted. Senator Greer o ered the following resolu ons, which were adopted: Resolved by the Senate, that the House of Representa ves be, and they are hereby respec ully requested to meet the Senate, in the Senate Chamber, to join in procession to a end the interment of Senator John W. Smith, deceased, at half past 10 o'clock. Resolved by the Senate, That the President and heads of departments be, and they are hereby respec ully invited to meet the Senate, in the Senate Chamber, to join in the procession to a end the interment of Senator John W. Smith, deceased, at half past 10 o'clock. On mo on of Senator Kaufman, a commi ee was appointed to wait on the House of Representa ves, and inform them of the resolu on adopted by the Senate. Senators Kaufman, Caldwell and Pillsbury were appointed said commi ee. Commi ee re red. Senator Kaufman, Chairman of the Commi ee, reported duty performed. Senator Kaufman moved that Senator Kinney act as Marshal to regulate the funeral procession. A message was received from the House of Representa ves, by James H. Raymond, Chief Clerk, informing the Senate that the House had accepted their invita on to a end at the Senate Chamber at half past ten o'clock and :join in the procession. Senator Kinney, as Marshal, announced the following order for the funeral procession and interment: Pall bearers: Members of the House: W. G. Cook, D. C. Ogden, W. L. Cazneau. Pall bearers: Members of the Senate: John Caldwell, Richard Roman, T. Pillsbury, Vice-President of the Republic and Chaplain Senators; O cers of the Senate, President of the Republic; Heads of departments and o cers; Speaker of the House of Representa ves & Chaplain; Members of the House of Representa ves; O cers of the House of Representa ves; Foreign Ministers; Chief Jus ce of the Republic; Judges of the District Courts; O cers of the Army and Navy;

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Ci zens. Prayer by the Chaplain at the Grave. Benedic on. On mo on of Senator Greer, the Senate adjourned un l tomorrow at 10 o'clock A.M. (Source: Senate Journal, 9th Congress, 135-137.) Alamo Defenders-Index
SONS OF DEWITT COLONY TEXAS © 1997-20021998, Wallace L. McKeehan, All Rights Reserved

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