With the help of North Carolina native sons on April 21, 1836
the Republic of Texas won her independence from Mexico. The consequence
of that event are the present day states of Texas, California,
Arizona, New Mexico, Nevada, Utah, and parts of Oklahoma, Kansas,
Colorado and Wyoming.
When the colonists in the Mexican province of Tejas appealed
to their fellow Americans for support against the oppressive leader
of Mexico, North Carolinians responded. Most came in response
to the call for volunteers. Some had arrived earlier to establish
residency in the region. Land grants for military service drew
others. But all were committed to the cause and were willing to
die to defend the rights of the Texan settlers to govern themselves.
Nine counties in Texas are named for North Carolinians: Anderson,
Burleson, Carson, Crockett, Floyd, Grimes, Henderson, Potter and
Robertson. Markers, monuments and cemeteries throughout the state
honor many others.
Eleven North Carolina natives attended the Texas General Convention
in March, 1836 and drafted its Declaration of Independence and
the new Constitution of the Republic of Texas. Samuel Price Carson
of Burke County had served in the North Carolina State Senate,
represented North Carolina in the Federal Congress and participated
in the N.C. Constitutional Convention before he headed to Texas
to participate in its General Convention. Robert Potter of Granville
County served in the North Carolina House of Commons before he
headed to Texas and was also elected to the General Convention.
These two men brought much needed legislative experience and were
looked upon to lead the Texas effort. In the new Republic Carson
was elected Secretary of State and Potter Secretary of the Navy.
Other North Carolinians who signed the Declaration of Independence
and the Constitution of the Republic were Jesse B. Badgett, William
Clark, Jr., William Carrol Crawford, Jesse Grimes, Edwin Oswald
LeGrand, Sterling Clack Robertson, George Washington Smyth and
John Turner. After the adjournment of the convention, LeGrand
and Robertson expanded their commitment by joining the army to
Many North Carolinian sons chose to support the cause on the
battlefield. Nine died at the Alamo and more with Colonel Fannin
at Goliad. Another 38 joined General Sam Houston and participated
in the Battle of San Jacinto on April 21, 1836 where Texas won
its independence. North Carolina leaders in the Texas Army included
Ed Burleson (Buncombe County) who commanded the 1st Regiment of
Texan Volunteers. James Clinton Neil (Rowan County) commanded
the Artillery Company. John Leander Smith (Buncombe County) transported
the famous "Twin Sisters" cannon to the Texas Army and
was second in command of the artillery company. Alexander Horton
(Halifax County) was aide-de-camp to General Sam Houston.
Texas remained a Republic for nine years. The final transition
of Texas to statehood was facilitated by North Carolinian Kenneth
Lewis Anderson (Orange County) who served as the last vice president
of the Republic and presided over the Texas Senate as it approved
annexation. Fellow North Carolinian J. Pinckney Henderson (Lincoln
County) served as the Attorney General and the Secretary of State
of the new Republic, then was appointed minister to England and
France to negotiate their recognition of Texas. He was sent to
Washington, D. C. to secure congressional ratification of annexing
Texas to the United States and then was elected the first governor
of the State of Texas. As a result of that annexation, the United
States completed its westward expansion to the Pacific Ocean by
adding approximately one million square miles to the nation.
It is no surprise that sons of North Carolina were instrumental
in securing Texas independence because of their ancestors' role
in the American Revolution. The North Carolina parliament was
the first to object to the taxation imposed upon the colony by
the British Crown. And North Carolina was the first to authorize
their delegates to the Constitutional Convention to vote for independence
from Britain. The passion for independence certainly knew no state
boundaries for the sons of North Carolina.
C. David Pomeroy, Jr. lives in Asheville.
Return to the North Carolina connection