Participants in the Dawson Expedition

We are indebted to Dale Martin for contributing the following information.


These three men escaped from the battlefield at the Dawson Massacre as the final rush was being made upon their camp by the Mexican soldiers on September 18, 1842:

Thomas D. James
with unknown origins, and unknown fate

Alsey S. Miller
from Gonzales, was the last man to join the Dawson men prior to the battle. He did so when these men were resting at Nash's creek, about fifteen miles west of Gonzales. Miller had been looking for his friend, Ben McCullough, a very famous Texas Ranger, who was not in the area at the time. Miller seems to have been everywhere during these events. At first, he had made contact with Captain Jessee Billingsley with the Bastrop Militia, who was trying desperately to rally his men to ride to San Antonio. Miller joined with Captain Dawson and his men, left Billingsley when Dawson arrived to make contact. It is thought that Alsey Miller "detached" himself from Billingsley's command, and joined Dawson, who was moving faster toward the trouble. Miller and Nathaniel Faison, with the freshest horses, were sent forward to reconnoiter with Caldwell, but found the battle of Salado Creek in Progress. These men returned post haste to report to Dawson and his men. On the way back Miller was charged by three Mexican cavalrymen. He had to kill one and elude the others. He escaped the massacre, mounted a horse (his own having been killed) and attempted to escape. He was pursued by Antonio Perez, and a few other Mexicans from San Antonio, who had joined General Woll's troops. This borrowed horse, already fatigued by the hard travel to get to this site, rapidly failed. Edward T. Manton's fine horse had also escaped the battle, so Miller mounted him and out distanced his three would-be-attackers. The first man he saw, once free of the terrible massacre, was General Edward Burleson, who was leading 80 to 100 men, hastening to relieve Caldwell at the central battle at Salado Creek. When Burleson heard Miller's report of the massacre, he called for volunteers to go to Caldwell ahead of this command, to advise him that Burleson and his company was "at hand". He did not get one volunteer from his own group, so Miller, amazingly volunteered, and delivered this message himself, finishing out the day at the battle site with Caldwell's men at Salado Creek! Miller later filed a claim with the Republic of Texas, for the sum of $200.00 for the loss of his horse, which he said was worth more than that. The claim was paid, but his regular "army" pay was refused by him (a sum of $15.75, as recorded in Public Debt Paper No. 198, State Library, in Austin).

Henry Gonzalvo Woods
was the youngest son of Zadock Woods and brother of Norman Woods of Woods' Fort, Fayette County. Woods intercepted the main body of Dawson's men with others from their neighborhood near the southwestern edge of Fayette County as these men were traveling toward Seguin. All of the Woods fort men were Indian fighters. Norman urged Henry (or "Gon" as they called him) to escape, and not to try to remain to take care of Norman's wound. With his father killed in the massacre, Henry Woods was able to penetrate through the surrounding lines of Mexican troops. At one point, he offered his rifle, powder horn, and "possibles" pouch to a soldier in exchange for his life, and received a severe wound by sword strike that nearly scalped him. He got past his somehow, and made it past the immediate battle area to the open prairies where the Lancers were teasing unfortunate Texans with a game of "rabbit" before killing them with swords and lancers. Henry, now with three wounds had a Lancer close with him, intent on spearing him with his lance. At the same time that Alsey Miller was mounting a horse nearby, Henry was able to grab his assailant's lance, pull the Lancer off of his horse to the ground and kill the soldier with his own spear through the heart. Before other nearby Lancers could come to kill him, Woods managed to steal the dead soldier's horse, mount, and ride off to the safety of the other Texans, still carrying this lance. He was in such shock that he had to be reminded that he was still carrying the bloody lance when he made the Texans' camp. He was able to correspond with Norman as a prisoner, and follow his advice on how to run the family business (a large cattle operation). He punched cattle with this lance for the rest of his life, displaying the weapon in his home as a war trophy. The lance is in the Alamo museum today. After Norman died in Perote prison, Henry married his sister-in-law, and adopted his brother's children, and had additional children with his new wife, Jane. He had sworn to take care of Jane and Norman's family while the massacre progressed, and he stayed true to his word until he was killed as a deputy sheriff much later during a range war in DeWitt County.

The following men died on the battlefield at the Dawson Massacre and are entombed at Monument Hill:

------ Adams
an unknown man, with no certain known locality.

Jerome B. Alexander
participated in the Siege of Bexar in 1835 and he was a veteran of the battle of San Jacinto. He left from under the "Muster Oak" with the original 15 men. He was the Fayette County Treasurer when he died with the others in the mesquite thicket.

James Alley
has unknown origins, but known to have died in the massacre.

Robert Barkley
was brother of Richard Barkley and the son of Zed Barkley. He with his father, brother and other men from Wood's Prairie, (near modern West Point) joined Dawson's men in the far southwestern edge of Fayette County, and rode on to his fate. He died fighting alongside his father and brother in the mesquite thicket.

Zed Barkley
of Fayette County, joined Dawson's company of 23 with a large contingent of men from western Fayette County, from Woods Prairie. He was father of Richard Barkley and Robert Barkley. It is thought that he died attempting to avenge the death of yet another son who had been massacred at Goliad with Fannin in 1836.

John Beard
from Fayette County was one of the original 15 men who left from underneath the famous "Muster Oak" with the vanguard of Dawson's men.

David Berry
from Fayette County joined Dawson's group of volunteers between present-day O'Quinn and Black Jack Springs in the southwest part of Fayette County as they rode to San Antonio. He was in the company of his son-in-law, Harvey Hall. He was one of the oldest men with this vanguard group. At the advanced age of 70, he was supposedly told that he was too old to fight. Berry placed a mark 70 paces away and shot it through the center to prove he could still handle himself in combat. The tomb is now on land that was granted to him by Mexican Empresario Stephen F. Austin in 1832. The land is still traced in the abstracts from the old "David Berry league". He was one of the original "Old 300" families.

Francis E. Brookfield
from Fayette County joined the original group of 15 after they crossed the Colorado River Ferry at John W. Dancy's home, with John Bradley. Brookfield had entered Texas in 1835 and had fought at San Jacinto. He had just moved to La Grange in 1842 when he rode to his fate at the Dawson Massacre.

Thomas J. Butler
from DeWitt County joined Dawson's men as they passed the present town of Waelder, in the company of three other DeWitt County men, who were Elija Garey, Thomas Rice, and William Savage.

T. John Church
from Fayette County was one of the 15 who left from underneath the "Muster Oak".

Robert Cummings
(Cummins?) incorrectly called "John", and corrected by more recent research. Cummings was from Lavaca county joined the Fayette County men past Waelder, in the company of a neighbor named Patteson, also of Lavaca County, while the Dawson men were still travelling toward Seguin. His corpse was found the day after the massacre by Caldwell's scouts 400 yards from the site of the massacre.

John Dancer
from Fayette County joined the Dawson vanguard at Blackjack Springs with Allen Morrell. Dancer was the young son of a Baptist preacher from the Plum Grove area. He perished in the mesquite grove with his father arriving in the distance with the rest of the Fayette Volunteers. his father was obliged to watch the butchering of the Dawson men from a distant tree line. The Fayette Volunteers were unable to do anything about it, because Major Mayfield of La Grange calculated that, even though they were combined with the Bastrop Militia amounting to only 100 men, they could not ride over a length of open prairie, with 400 Mexican troops occupying the high ground, and with artillery ready to kill them before they got to the inevitable volley fire which they would have encountered. The account by Reverend Dancer, Sr. is one of the most heart-rending accounts of this story. He nearly broke with his faith, and had a very hard time for a very long time, trying to forgive Mayfield from keeping him from going to John Dancer's aid.

Nicholas Mosby Dawson
was a respected leader and Indian fighter from La Grange. He was 36 years old. He arrived in Velasco in January, 1835. By February, Dawson had enlisted 17 men to fight, and they did so at San Jacinto. He later captained the Fayette County militia during the Indian campaigns around 1840, often serving under the command of Captain Thomas H. Moore as Lieutenant. Captain Moore founded La Grange. During the Vasquez raid in the Spring of 1842, Dawson was Lieutenant of the Fayette County contingent during the pursuit to the Rio Grande. When the alarm was sounded in September of 1842, Dawson and his men left from under the "Muster Oak" in the square from La Grange, bound for Bexar. He was elected Captain at Nash's Creek near Seguin. At the battle, Dawson tried to save his men by surrendering, but circumstances caused his death when some of his own men kept fighting under his white flag. Dawson left no surviving family. Dawson County was named for him.

Lewis W. Dickerson
from Fayette County, was one of the 15 who left from under the "Muster Oak" in La Grange. He was elected Lieutenant under Dawson during a rest break near Seguin at Nash's Creek. He had served in this capacity during Indian fights. Lieutenant Dickerson was killed after Captain Dawson failed to stop the fighting during an attempt to surrender.

Robert Moore Eastland
was Captain Dawson's cousin from Fayette County. He was one of the original 15 who had left from under the "Muster Oak" in the square in La Grange. He was 18 years old when he died defending his adopted country of Texas.

Lowe (?) (or Low) Farris
(sometimes spelled Ferris), from Fayette County was one of the 15 men who left from underneath the "Muster Oak".

Charles S. Field(s)
(sp?) This individual's origins are not known, but he is known to have fought and died with these others in the Dawson massacre.

Elijah S. Garey
of Lavaca County, joined Dawson's men after they had ridden past the present day site of Waelder in the company of Thomas J. Butler, Thomas Rice, and William Savage.

Joe Griffin
was a mulatto and a slave who was the property of Mrs. Mary Maverick. In numerous incidents he accompanied the Maverick family in various perils, including Indian problems. The Maverick family had come to Texas in 1837, with Griffin being given to Mary Maverick near the Alabama/Georgia border en-route to Texas by Mary Maverick's mother. He continued to be trusted to protect the family when Sam Maverick was away on extended business trips while the family resided in San Antonio. He ad accompanied his mistress and her children as refugees under the protection of Republic of Texas Representative, "Colonel" John W. Dancy at Colorado City (west of the Colorado River, across from La Grange) at her husband's orders, after the Vasquez spring raid on San Antonio. They learned that Samuel Maverick was taken captive, in the fall raid of General Woll. Griffin volunteered to take $380 in a concealed money belt to San Antonio, with the agreement that he was to play the part of a runaway slave, under the protection of the Mexican army. (Maverick was on the prepared list of those to be arrested and carried off to Mexico.) Instead, he was to find the right officer or Mexican official with whom he could bribe his master out of incarceration. Mrs. Maverick outfitted him with knives, a shotgun, and a "good mule", to help him get to San Antonio, and to play the part of a "runaway slave". Somewhere on the road, he was overtaken by the Dawson men. At their invitation, he joined them. At the massacre, Mexican Colonel Carrasco who was in charge of the Mexican cavalry detachment, remarked that he had never seen anyone fight with such bravery as Griffin had fought. After the Lancers closed with the Texans in the mesquite thicket, Griffin is said to have turned his now useless shotgun around, with muzzle in hand and to have knocked three Lancers out of their saddles. When he broke the stock on the gun, he grabbed a mesquite branch and was swing this, when the Mexican soldiers brought him down with bayonet and ball. The Maverick family mourned his death for years, with Mrs. Maverick writing that "Griffin possessed the courage of an African lion".

Harvey W. Hall
was the son-in-law of the venerable David Berry. He was at Berry's home across the river from La Grange, as these two men moved rapidly out of town toward Black Jack Springs with Dawson's men.

George A. Hill
from Fayette County was 19 years old. He was one of the original 15 men who left from beneath the "Muster Oak" as one of the vanguard. His body was identified by the green ribbons that his sister had sewn onto his hat three days earlier, as he left to go fight.

Asa Jones
unknown origins, but known to have died with the others in the massacre.

John F. Jones
unknown origins, but known to have died with the others in the massacre.

Patrick Lewis
who was a Captain in his own right. Lewis joined up with Dawson at Black Jack Springs. He was from Fayette County and is said to have appeared at John Young's door as he was preparing to join Dawson. Lewis volunteered to take Young's place, which the family had agreed to let him do. He died using John Young's gun, horse, and equipment.

William Linn
unknown origins, but known to have died in the massacre.

Winfield S. Lowe
unknown origins but known to have died in the massacre based on 20th century research.

Richard McGee
from Fayette County joined the Dawson men with the Scallorn brothers near the present community of Muldoon. He was a neighbor of the Scallorns.

John Wesley Pendleton
rode with a group of others from Wood's Prairie (from western Fayette County). He and a large group of men joined Dawson's men near the southwestern edge of Fayette county. He was a brother-in-law to Henry Gonzalvo Woods and Norman Woods and a relative of Milvern Harrell. He was killed in the mesquite grove.

Thomas Rice
of Lavaca County, joined Dawson's men as they rode well past the site of present day Waelder, on the way to Seguin. He was in the company of three other men from DeWitt County, who were Thomas J. Butler, Elijah Garey, and William Savage.

William Savage
of Lavaca County, joined Dawson's men as they rode well past the site of present day Waelder, on the way to Seguin. He was in the company of three other men from DeWitt County, who were Thomas J. Butler, Elijah Garey, and Thomas Rice.

Elam Scallorn
from Fayette County joined the Dawson men with his older brother, John W. Scallorn, and a neighbor, Richard McGee near the present community of Muldoon.

John Wesley Scallorn
from Fayette County was the older brother of Elam Scallorn, and in the company of Richard McGee. All three of them joined Dawson's men near the present day community of Muldoon while these men were en route to their fate near San Antonio. Scallorn was a San Jacinto veteran. He was found with a deep saber slash across his skull. His descendants say this this wound in his skull was the way that they identified his body when he was exhumed to return to Monument Hill.

Thomas D. Simms
born ca 1822, lived in the Mulberry vicinity. At the time the bodies were recovered and taken to La Grange for burial, his mother, Martha Simms recognized his body by a ring that the Mexicans had overlooked when they stripped the bodies after the massacre.[1]

Richard Slack
joined Dawson's men in the company of Milvern Harrell, at Slack's house at the edge of Fayette County. Slack left a wife, Nancy, after his death at the Dawson massacre.[2]

Edward Trimble
from Fayette County joined Dawson's men with his brother, William Trimble, in company of the group of men from Wood's Prairie. They intercepted the other Dawson men in the extreme southwestern boundary of Fayette county. He was a cooper by trade. He died in the mesquite grove. His widow later married a survivor of the Mier Expedition.

Norman Miles Wells
from Wood's Prairie, Fayette County, was with those who joined Dawson's men in the southwestern edge of Fayette County, as they were about to ride to points to the south and west, toward Seguin. He was brother-in-law to Norman Woods and a nephew of Zadock Wood's wife, Minerva.

Zadock Woods
was the patriarch of the Woods family. He led the large contingent of men from the Woods' Prairie neighborhood (named for him). Woods had his two sons, Norman (his oldest) and Henry Gonzalvo (his youngest) with him, and other members of his extended family and other neighbors when he intercepted Dawson's men in the southwestern edge of Fayette County, augmenting Captain Dawson's 23 men to 35 in number. Zadock Woods had fought with U. S. Army General Andrew Jackson at Chalmette Battlefield against British elite troops in the 1814 battle of new Orleans. He was one of the General's "backwoods volunteers". He founded an early fort that was inspected by Daniel Boone when Boone was an old man. The settlement that grew up around this fort became Troy, Missouri. Members of his family were said to have married into both the Daniel Boone and David Crockett families. He was a partner in a lead mining venture that failed, with Moses Austin (who was the principal partner). He was one of the "Old 300" original settlers at Wood's Fort in western Fayette County in 1823, and he enjoyed a remarkable and well-earned reputation as an old veteran warrior. His family tried to dissuade him from joining with them to go to the aid of San Antonio. The story is told of how he mounted his favorite mare with his long rifle in tow, vigorously reciting how all of his old enemies had tried to kill him in the past, vowing to let the Mexicans have another chance to get him, while riding laps around his residence. He was not to be denied! Zadock Woods is credited with turning the opinion of these men into voting to join the battle of Salado Creek, after their scouts Miller and possibly Faison had located the action. This collective decision by popular vote led to their slaughter. he was concerned about the way that battle was developing, speculating that perhaps Captain Caldwell's men needed their aid immediately, and therefore they could not afford to spend the time to further reconnoiter the battle in progress. he was quoted as having said, "We have marched a long way to meet the Mexicans, and I do not intend to return without meeting them. I had rather die than retreat." The Woods family traditions says that he died in combat on his 80th birthday, in the presence of his two sons, trying to help Norman, who was wounded. Others think that he may have been 67 years old. In any case, he exhibited a remarkable life of endurance and fearlessness for years -- right to the bitter end.

These men were captured after the Massacre and marched to Mexico with the San Antonio prisoners by the Mexican troops under General Woll's command:

Richard A. Barkley
from Fayette County was son of Zed Barkley and brother to Robert Barkley, both of whom died in the Dawson Massacre. He had joined with these men and a larger group from Wood's Prairie with Dawson's men in the far southwestern end of Fayette County. He was with David Kornegay when he escaped through an escape tunnel on July 2, 1843 and successfully returned to Texas.

John Bradley
joined Dawson's men across the Ferry at John W. Dancy's home, with Francis Brookfield. He was Mary Maverick's uncle, looking after the welfare of his niece. Bradley therefore knew her slave, Joe Griffin. His family and the Maverick family had evacuated from San Antonio to Colorado City to escape the Mexican threat after the first Vasquez "spring raid". He was released from Perote prison, September 22, 1843 leaving the company of Mary Maverick's husband, Samuel Maverick. He was released through the efforts of former U. S. President Andrew Jackson, via personal letter to President Santa Anna requesting Bradley's release. When Bradley returned to Texas, he brought welcome news to the families of the status of those still left in prison.

William Coltrin
from Fayette County, was a San Jacinto veteran who was one of the original 15 who left from under the "Muster Oak" in La Grange to ride to the Dawson massacre. He worked as a painter at Perote prison before he died there on January 27, 1844 of "influenza-pneumonia".

Nathaniel W. Faison
from Fayette County was one of the original 15 men who left from underneath the "Muster Oak" in the La Grange square. He was sent to reconnoiter Caldwell's position, according to some sources, locating the battle of Salado Creek, with Alsey Miller. Once he was captured at the massacre he faked being unable to remove a gold ring required by his captors. When a Mexican soldier threatened to remove the ring and his finger with a knife, the ring immediately came off. Faison was chained to Edward Manton for seven months before being reassigned to the carpenter shop in Perote Prison. He was released from Perote prison, March 24, 1844. Faison returned to Fayette county, where he was elected County Clerk. Manton and Faison partnered to retrieve the bones of Dawson's command and return them to La Grange after the Black Bean victims' remains were returned to La Grange in 1847. He built a fine home that is located near the Colorado river, and is open to tours by appointment, in the latter part of the 20th Century.

Milvern Harrell
Milvern Harrell
from Fayette County and the Gonzales county line, joined Dawson's men outside of the county near the present town of Waelder, in the company of Richard Slack. He was the brother-in-law of John Wesley Pendleton. Harrell was wounded in the massacre, and was left with four other Dawson Massacre survivors at the Presidio de Rio Grande in Matamoros. Once the Mier prisoners caught up with these men, Harrell was one of four who tried to escape, and failed. He tried to swim the Rio Grande, and nearly froze to death. Once recaptured, he proceeded with the other prisoners to Hacienda Salado. He refused to escape with the others from Hacienda Salado, because he was dedicated to caring for his uncle, Norman Woods, who desperately needed his care. he continued to care for Norman Woods whenever the Mexican soldiers permitted him to be with his uncle, until Woods finally died in Perote prison. He was released from Perote prison, March 24, 1844, with the last of the other San Antonio prisoners. He was one of only six out of the fifteen Dawson survivors who were captured, who made it back alive after being paroled in the company of Faison, Manton, Morrell, Robinson, and Shaw, on March 23, 1844. [3]

John Higgerson
from Fayette County, was among the fifteen who left from underneath the "Muster Oak". He was one of five wounded who were left at the hospital on the Rio Grande at Matamoros while the rest of the San Antonio prisoners were marched south. While he was one of five left at Matamoros, he was not invited to escape with the other four Dawson massacre survivors due to a disagreement that he had with Norman Woods, W. D. Patterson, John MacCredae (sp?), and Milvern Harrell, and he was, in fact, left behind. He was killed during the attempted escape of these men from El Rancho Salado February 11, 1843.

David Smith Kornegay
from Fayette County had participated in the Indian campaigns in Central Texas. He was a veteran of the Siege of Bexar (1835) and of the Battle of San Jacinto (1836). He was described as being 5'6", dark complected with the occupation of a farmer. In 1838, he was the Fayette County Clerk, a position he held at the time of his capture. He was one of the 15 men who left from underneath the "Muster Oak" with the original group from La Grange. He escaped from Perote prison, July 2, 1843 with 15 others after they tunneled out from underneath the walls. They received outside help and a map. They were smuggled aboard a ship bound for Texas in Vera Cruz harbor. Kornegay hired on to this friendly steamer in the harbor at Vera Cruz, where he was joined by the other seven escapees. Among the group of eight, was Thomas Jefferson Green, who was Captain Fisher's adjutant. They were safely home in Texas in several weeks.

Edward T. Manton
from Fayette County was one of the 15 original men who left in the vanguard from underneath the "Muster Oak" in the square in La Grange. He was captured and taken to Perote prison where he wrote numerous letters to Texas. These letters provided an important source that described prison life. He was released with Faison, Harrell, Morrell, Robinson, and Shaw as one of only six Dawson massacre victims to return home from being paroled from Perote prison, March 24, 1844. He became a large land owner in Fayette county.

Allen H. Morrell
from Fayette County joined Dawson's men at Black Jack Springs in the company of John Dancer. Morrell, as a prisoner at Perote prison, was listed as a "youth" by the Mexican guards. This gave him some greater freedom than his fellow inmates at times. He was released with the final San Antonio prisoners on March 24, 1844. Allen Morrell was the son of Z. N. Morrell, the first Baptist preacher in Texas.

John McCrady
(MacCreadae) from Fayette County, died trying to cross the Rio Grande, February 1 or 2, 1843 in the escape from the Presidio del Rio Grande Matamoros. He drowned in the cold waters.

W. D. Patterson
(Patteson?) from Lavaca County, died trying to cross the Rio Grande, February 1 or 2, 1843 according to Rosensweig, in the escape from Matamoros. Rummel and Wade contend that a man named "Patteson" from Lavaca County joined the Dawson men in the company of John Cummins (Cummings?) as Dawson's men passed into that county. Patteson (sp?) died trying to cross the Rio Grande on November 1, 1842, attempting to escape from the Presidio del Rio Grande in the company of other escapees. The discrepancies are not explained. Professor Nance in his book, says that Patterson was the oldest of the four men who tried to escape, and that he had stepped off into deep water from a shoal, and drowned in a November escape attempt. Because of his age, he was considered the leader of the escape attempt at Matamoros, by the other three.

Joseph C. Robinson
from Fayette County was with the large group of men from Wood's Prairie who joined Dawson's men in the southwestern edge of the county as they rode toward Seguin. Captured in the massacre, and sent to Perote Prison, he was released on March 24, 1844 as one of six remaining Dawson men who were paroled with the San Antonio prisoners. Robinson returned to La Grange and became one of the principal writers in the Texas Monument Newspaper, (ca. 1852) a fund raising publication that tried to raise funds for a proper monument to those who are buried in the tomb at Monument Hill.

William James Trimble
a Fayette county resident, joined Dawson's men in company with his brother, Edward Trimble and others from Wood's Prairie, intercepting the main body near the southwest corner of the county, en route to Seguin. He became the self-appointed morale officer of the captives, being dubbed "Tecolote" ("Screech Owl") by his captors, because he was able to mimic this owl. Trimble went out of his way to humorously harass his captors and thereby entertain his fellow inmates. he died in Perote Prison on January 5, 1844 of yellow fever.


Monument Hill State Historical Park, PWD brochure #P4509-048 (12/94) printed by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department Press

Haynes, Sam W. Soldiers of Misfortune: The Somervell and Mier Expeditions. Published by the University of Texas Press, Austin, Texas. First edition, 1990.

Lane, Walter P. General, (C. S. A.) The Adventures and Recollections of General Walter P. Lane, A San Jacinto Veteran, Containing Sketches of the Texan, Mexican and Late Wars With Several Indian Fights Thrown In. Published by Pemberton Press, Jenkins Publishing Company, Austin and New York, 1970.

McKee, Gary E. The Fayette County Men of the Dawson & Mier Expeditions. A donated printing of a booklet by Echo Printing Co. of Schulenburg, Texas, 1999.

Nance, Joseph Milton, Ph.D. Dare-Devils All: Texas Mier Expedition 1842-1844. Edited by Professor Archie P. McDonald, Ph.D. with support by the Summerlee Foundation. Published in 1998 by Eakin Press, Austin, Texas.

Rosensweig, Mark Abolofia. Monument Hill State Historic Site: The Dawson and Mier Expeditions and Their Place in History. Texas Parks and Wildlife Department informational booklet, second printing, April 1991.

Weyand, Leonie Rummel and Wade, Sam Houston. An Early History of Fayette County. Published by La Grange Journal Press 1936.

[1] Additional information on Thomas Simms comes from Hattie McKinley

[2] Richard Slack had married Nancy Harris Cain in Mississippi in 1837. After his death she married Felix Taylor in Fayette County. For more information contact Roberta Hofmann.

[3] Photograph of Milvern Harrell contributed by Ben E. Kozlovsky, Sr.

The Aftermath of the Dawson Massacre

The following newspaper articles provided by the staff of the Fayette Heritage Museum & Archives were reprinted for Footprints of Fayette

The Civilian and Galveston City Gazette, 1 October 1842, Page 1

No news had arrived from the frontier from Thursday until the time our paper went to press yesterday evening. The previous accounts follow in the order in which they were received and laid before our city readers in slips.

From the Houston Star Extra, of Monday morning.

Mr. Franks arrived from Independence this morning and has brought intelligence that Col. Caldwell is surrounded on the Salado. Col. J.H. Moore with 150 men from La Grange, fought his way into the camp on or about Tuesday last; and Gen. Burleson with 170 men had reached the Cibolo, about a day’s journey from Caldwell’s camp, and wisely concluded to wait for the small scattering parties that were hourly rushing in from the east to join him. He probably pressed on and joined Caldwell on Wednesday or Thursday last. Gen. B. has plenty of ammunition and says he wishes to kill as many of the Mexicans as possible before they commence the siege of Bexar. He says that every Mexican killed out of town will render the capture of Bexar easier.

The number of Mexicans already killed by our forces is estimated at 400 to 500. The Mexicans packed off their dead that fell at a distance from Camp, but many were left on the field so near the Texian camp that they dared not venture to them. Colonel Moore counted 48 dead bodies from the Fayette band lying where they fell. There were no dead bodies of the Mexicans near, but the prairie was all covered with blood around within rifle shot’s distance and showed that a very large number of  wounded or dead Mexicans must have been packed off. Provisions have become so scarce in Caldwell’s camp that the soldiers commenced eating horses, but they still are in high spirits and confident of victory. They delight in being so near the enemy and join in frequent skirmished as cheerfully as they would run out to a ball or play.

The troops of Milam and Robertson counties, amounting to about 150 men, were on the march, and expected to join Burleson Friday last. The Washington troops amounting to between three and five hundred, under Col. J. Cook, were on the march also, and expecting to reach the Cibolo on Saturday last – They were well supplied with ammunition The Mexican force that marched on Bexar from the south, was estimated at 3,000, and as Caldwell’s force, augmented by the reinforcements of Burleson and the troops from Milam, Robertson and Washington counties will amount to more than 1,000 strong, he will doubtless hold his position on the Salado until sufficient forces arrive from the other counties to attack Bexar. Some of our spies had gone in close to Bexar, and report ed that Woll was fortifying the place. They report also the horrid intelligence that a part of the prisoners captured in Bexar have been inhumanly murdered.

They saw them taken out of the city and shot. They were so far off they could not ascertain their persons but they fear that Mr. Smithers and John W. Smith were of the number! If this statement is confirmed the most terrible vengeance yet awaits the guilty murderers. Not Texas alone but the civilized world will rise up in judgment and inflict a just and dreadful retribution on the miscreants who have thus outraged the most sacred principles of humanity.—

The spies also mention that the dead bodies of the Fayette band were most shockingly mutiliated.


The Civilian and Galveston City Gazette, 2 November 1842, Page 2

A list of persons killed on the Salado, Sunday, Sept. 18th, 1842.

Nicholas M. Dawson of Kentucky, John W., Pendleton Missouri, Zadoe Woods Missouri, Robert Barkley Tennessee, Edward Trimble Missouri, John W. Scallon Tennessee, Elam Scallon Tennessee, John Dancer do, Thomas Butler, do, Asa Jones Alabama, Richard Slack Delaware, John Cummins Maine, T.J. Church Tennessee, H.W. Hull Tennessee, David W. Berry Virginia, Frank W. Brookfield New York, Thomas S. Sims Tennessee . . .


Houston Telegraph and Texas Register, Volume VIII, Issue 6, Page 3, 25 January 1843

La Grange, January 25, 1843

Mssrs. Cruger and Moore:

It becomes my painful duty to inform you of the misfortune of our arms on the other side of the Rio Grande, and of the capture of 290 more Texians. I will give you in  a concise form the tale of my informant, given to me yesterday evening, by a Mr. Witfield Chalk, one of the few who escaped the disgrace of our arms.

“After the taking of Laredo, Gen. Somervell consumed six days in reaching Guerrero, where Gen’l Canales and Col. Bravo were stationed with 200 men. On our approach to the latter place a deputation of the citizens met us and delivered the town to our mercy. The town was put under proscription for necessaries for the use of the army which was agreed to on the part of the delegations. We encamped within a mile of the town –a heavy rain coming up, Gen’l Somervell deemed it prudent to fall back to the river (some 4 miles). The next day Deng. Somervell ordered a retreat of the whole army to San Antonio – This order was received with coldness by the majority of the army and the consequence was, the little army divided; Gen. Somervell with about 200 men with all the field officers returned, and Capt. Wm. S. Fisher with 338 men proceded to Mier. Capt. Fisher was elected to the command, no other field officers appointed except Adjt. A Mr. Murray. On Christmas evening we entered the town and took possession of some large stone housese on the square. About 11 o’clock P.M., the enemy under Gen. Ampudia attacked us with several pieces of cannon. The fire was kept up all night without much effect. Next morning a charge was made on us for the purpose of trying to dislodge us. We were scarce of ammunition, and we made every shot tell. “The way the Mexicans fell was a caution.” About 11 o’clock A.M. a white flag was sent to us, which was shot down between 12 and 1 P.M., a second flag was snet and respected. The enemy represented their force to be 1,500 (which I think was correct) and said they would be reinforced in an hour or two with 1,000 more, and that unless they surrendered immediately no quarters would be given. Many who had been the most courageous before became panic struck and wished to surrender. The termsoffered were our lives and good treatment as prisoners of war. Col. Fisher objected to their terms, as he had some 20 Santa Fe prisoners with him. Gen. Ampudia promised protection to all without exception –that all should be well treated –that times had changed in Mexico—Santa Anna was no longer at the head of affairs –Bravo was in the Presidential Chair, &c.  The Americans all laid down their arms at 2 P.M., Dec. 26, and surrendered themselves prisoners of war.  As our men were marching out to lay down their arms, myself and a Mr. Sinclair of Gonzales hid ourselves behind a pile of canes in the yard unperceived, where we remained until8 P.M. and made good our escape.”

It appears from informant’s account that we had but 4 men killed and 15 wounded.—The enemy he thinks must have lost 100 or 150 killed as they made two desperate charges on them and they fell in piles. My informant thinks they never could have been taken if they had not been panic struck, as they could held their position till night and made good their retreat; 46 men were placed on camp and picket guard, all of whom escaped except Maj. Bonnell, so that out of 338 men, 47 escaped. The captains under Col. Fisher taken were Capt. Win. M. Eastland, of Fayette; Capt. Cameron, of Victoria; Capt. Buster, Pearson Ryan, Keller Ruce and Gen’l T. Jefferson Green, commander of the boats, taken at Guerrero; of the Santa Fe prisoners was Dr. F.R. Brenham, Bonnell, Hues; wounded Bridler and Jackson, and many others whose names my informant did not recollect.

“It appears the enemy were entirely in the dark respecting our force. They believed there were three divisions, one going down to Matamoros, and that our party was nothing more than a division to create a diversion. To our great misfortune the enemy on the 24th took a Mr. Allen Holderman of Bastrop who had in his possession a correct jouirnal of all our movements and force from the time we left San Antonio until he was taken, which led to our attack at Mier and final discomfiture.”

The names of the individuals killed at Mier were Dr. Towers, Jones of Gonzales, both Santa Fe prisoners, and J. Berry of La Bacca, the other not recollected. When . . .(can’t read this line-SJ) . . . terms of capture were agreed on many of the men shed tears, Gen. T.J. Green broke his gun into pieces and was nearly frantic with rage.


Houston Telegraph and Texas Register, Volume VIII, Issue 6, Page 2, 25 January 1843

The following is a list of the names of the prisoners:

Hon. A. Hutchinson, Sam A. Maverick, William E. Jones, F.S. Gray, C.W. Peterson, James W. Robinson, S. Booker, H.A. Alsbury, Geo. C. Hatch, C. Johnson, Wilson J. Riddle, John Riddle, Wm. J. O’Phelan, John Twohig, Lud. Colquhoun, D.C. Ogden, John Trapnall, J.C. Morgan, James H. Brown, Francis McKay, A. Elley, Geo. P. Schaeffer, John Laymen, Geo. Voss, D. Morgan, James L. Trueheart, John Smith, Nathaniel Harbert, Wm. Bugg, James A. Crews, John Lee, Marcus L.B. Raper, Samuel Stone, Trueman B. Beck, J.F. Leslie, S.L. Nobles, J.T. Davis, R.S. Neighbours, John Perry, Riley Jackson, John Dalrymple, Isaac Allen, John Forrester, John Young, Edward Brown. __All in Perote Castle.

Simeon Glenn, sick at San Luis Potosi.

Samuel Norvell, sick at Queretaro.

Geo. Van Ness, Thomas Hancock, Arch’d Fitzgerald, left at San Fernando, but condemned to ten years at Uloa.

All the above captured at Bexar by Woll, on the 11th September 1842.

Survivors of Dawson’s  Fayette county company, all now in Castle of Perote, and in good health on the 31st Dec. 1842.

John Bradley, James Shaw, Edward Manton, Wm. Coltrin, Wm. Trimble, David E. Kornegay, Richard Barckley, N.W. Faison, Joel Robinson, Allen H. Morell.

John R. Cunningham died at Leona, on the 19th Sept., 1842.

Messrs. Hancock, Fitzgerald and Van Ness, had not arrived at San Fernando. It will be recollected that they were sentenced to be shot, but this punishment has been commuted to ten years imprisonment in the Castle of San Juan de Uloa, at Vera Cruz. The Mexican government doubtless considers that, as the yellow fever prevails in Vera Cruz every season, they will thus certainly fall victim in one or two years to this fall disease.

He says we can never expect to release our citizens in bondage, unless we invade the Mexican provinces and compel the Mexican government to yield to our demands. That government is with difficulty able to sustain its authority in the interior provinces, and could not send any forces across the mountains to oppose our army.



Related Link

Nicholas Mosby Dawson, another Footprints of Fayette Article

L. U. Spellmann, R. A. Barkly, Norman Woods, E. Y. Keene, "LETTERS OF THE "DAWSON MEN" FROM PEROTE PRISON, MEXICO, 1842-1843", Volume 38, Number 4, Southwestern Historical Quarterly Online

"THE BEXAR AND DAWSON PRISONERS", Volume 013, Number 4, Southwestern Historical Quarterly Online, Page 292 - 324.