William Hesskew
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Republic of Texas Pension


John C. Barron
Nan Polk Brady
Emma Gene Seale Gentry
Barbara Langham Goudreau
Iris Higgins Zimmerman

A Sesquicentennial Project of the Austin Genealogical Society

Austin, Texas


The purposes of this book are to provide genealogical information not easily obtained and to assist scholars in studying Texas history. It is a product of a progressive directive by the Austin Genealogical Society to sponsor certain worthwhile activities which would celebrate the Texas Sesquicentennial. The project, to abstract and publish the Republic of Texas pension applications, was one of several chosen by the Sesquicentennial Steering Committee of the Society. In addition to honoring Texas on its 150th birthday, it will show history through the eyes of those who lived it.

The Republic pension papers are the responsibility of the Archives Division of the Texas State Library in Austin. The documents for each pensioner are located in individual folders which are arranged alphabetically in file boxes. These instruments consist of affidavits and other testimony pertaining to service records, along with a considerable amount of miscellaneous material. Readers wishing to delve deeper into a file should contact the Archives Division for copies giving the complete name of the applicant of interest.

Certain general ground rules were observed by the abstracting committee in the course of the work. A template of the "typical" folder was developed to provide a reference, but there was much leeway. Most of the old veterans who originated the applications had little information from which to style their submissions making each folder miniature paperwork chaos. In the absence of an official application form, some of the larger law firms developed their own to assist their clients (see page 118 for an example).

All affidavits in the folders were abstracted. A special effort was made to include the location and enlistment date of the applicant, along with his commanders and service record. Any supporting documents of service were mentioned. All persons named in the folder, with only the exceptions listed below, were included, as was any information of genealogical or historical importance.

From the beginning it was decided that certain information should be excluded from the abstracts in order to reduce the amount of time involved in the analysis of a folder. The amounts of the pensions were not noted since all pensioners received basically the same. Routine powers of attorney to obtain payments for the pensioner or to provide other purely legal services were for the most part omitted. Since the papers were mostly affidavits, which had to be witnessed and notarized as a matter of law, naming the incidental local and state officials was not deemed significant; therefore, most were omitted. It is hoped that these omissions are appropriate and do not hinder the utilization of the book.


In mid-November, 1835, twenty-five-year-old Leandro Chavez climbed into his family’s ox wagon to make a routine trip into San Antonio. He must have known the risk. A month and a half earlier, the first shot of the Texas Revolution had been fired at nearby Gonzales. Not long afterward, a force of Texans positioned itself outside of San Antonio, the capital of Mexican Texas and the headquarters of a substantial Mexican garrison. If Chavez anticipated trouble that day, he did not mention it years later when he applied to the State of Texas for a pension. But somewhere along the road, "he was surrounded by a group of his friends and playmates who had armed themselves under John N. Seguin." Whether he had taken notice before of the rising tide of revolution, Chavez suddenly had come face to face with it. He had to make his decision. The men "induced him to join them which he did.

Among the most interesting, informative, and often entertaining records found in archives are fulsome, personal reminiscences. Not often does government, mired in its formal and legalistic patterns of communication, solicit this kind of warm record from its citizens. To reward service rendered during times when records are scant, times when many--as Leandro Chavez--cannot write, requires it, however. The prospective pensioner must prove eligibility. Consequently, the records amassed by the State of Texas in the wake of its offer of aid to soldiers and sailors of the Revolution and the Republic contain some of the richest data we have of those years. "The statements of military service found in these files," reports the Guide to Genealogical Resources in the Texas State Archives, "are among the most detailed in the Republic records." What files could warrant the exposure of publication more than these?

Given twenty-five to forty years between the event and the reminiscence of it, facts, of course, can become blurred. Memories do fade. The reader of these records who makes the best use of them will carefully verify the verifiable facts. This reader will recall, too, that no record is complete simply in the information contained in it. The practiced researcher wants--needs--to know the circumstances that called the record into existence. Such archival information is vital in analyzing the data in a file, both the data in and the data not in the files. Pensions for service in the Revolution and to the Republic were offered not to all who served faithfully, but ONLY to indigents. Many in the service whose stories we would wish to find among these files are not present because they in the 1870s and 1880s owned property worth more than $1,000 and needed no assistance from the State. Even so, the numbers applying exceeded by ten times the numbers anticipated by the legislators who authorized the program. For four years, between 1879 and 1883, the program had to be suspended for lack of funds.

Though all former servicemen could not apply, the pensions were made available for service in ANY arm of the military, even the navy of the Republic, a branch whose men had been treated most shamefully by President Sam Houston and the Republic government. Accounts can be found of service not only in the well-known campaigns and engagements of the Revolution and the Republic, but also in the lesser known but no less important ones, as the battle of Plum Creek, which in 1840 broke the strength of the marauding Comanche Indians.

Republic of Texas Pension Applications Abstracts

Santiago (X) Hernandez, Wilson Co. V. F. Carabajal witnessed affidavit I Jan 1879.


Bias Herrera, Bexar Co., 5 Jan 1875, approved. Age 73. Joined the Texian troops at the siege of Bexar and took part in the storming. In Feb 1836 Col. Travis sent him, Francisco Favion, and Antonio Coe to escort the delegates to the Convention at Washington. His father-in-law, Col. Francisco Ruis and Jose Antonio Navarro were the delegates.
Juan N. Seguin, Bexar Co., said that the applicant had not actually formally enlisted in his company, but had been attached to it and acted under his orders. Ygnacio Espinosa, Bexar Co. served with the applicant in the storming of Bexar before being detached. Antonio Menchaca, Bexar Co. said the applicant was of one of the most respected Spanish families. He said Herrera was sent by Col. Seguin to Gen. Sam Houston asking him to revoke Gen. Felix Houston’s order to destroy San Antonio. This he did and Felix Houston detained him at Camp Preston and entrusted him with many delicate missions.
Herrera was born in San Antonio at the beginning of the year 1802.

John H. Herron, Bastrop Co., 4 Nov 1871, approved. Age 56. In Feb 1836 he was in Capt. Jesse Billingsley’s company of Cal. Edward Burleson’s regt. and was in the battle of San Jacinto.
Campbell Taylor, Jesse Billingsley, and Martin Walker, Bastrop Co., affirmed service.

Samuel S. Hervey, Red River Co., Aug 1874, approved. Age 65. Served for three months from Jul 1836 in Capt. John Hart’s company. He received bounty warrant #9371 for 320 acres patented in Lamar County.
M. H. Ragsdale, Lamar Co., affirmed that applicant had lost sight in the left eye due to a cataract and the right eye was opaque. G. W. Wright, Lamar Co. affirmed service in Hart’s company. Hervey said that he came to Texas in Jun 1834.

William A. Heskew, San Patricio Co., approved 21 Jan 1878 and was still living there in Jan 1879.

Thomas A. Hester (T. A. on folder), Lavaca Co. P/a to John McCall of Austin, Nov 1877.

James Gardener Hurd, Galveston, Galveston Co., 7 Nov 1870, suspended (not on rolls), then approved 13 Nov 1874. Age 56 in 1870. Served as lt. and master’s mate from Apr 1836 onboard the schooner Brutus under the command of Capt. Win. A. Hurd and Capt. Jas. D. Boylan under Commodore Hawkins.
Willard Richardson, James P. Nash, Win. T. Austin, and Alexander Edgar, Galveston, affirmed service.
Letter from the applicant to the Comptroller mentioned sending pension papers for self and Norman Hurd.

Page 163

REPUBLIC OF TEXAS PENSION APPLICATION ABSTRACTS – is the name of the above book. A Sesquicentennial Project of the Austin Genealogical Society Austin, Texas. Book was available at the Clayton Library in Houston Texas

Information above correlated by Marvin Schubert


William Alexander Hesskew |Moses Heskew

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  Heskew Connections Hesskew Family
by Ruth Claunch
William Stonell Letters   Arreny Ann Hesskew   Heskew Family Legends William Hesskew -
Vasquez and Woll's Campain
Moses Heskew   Martha Ann Hesskew   William Roe Hesskew Raid into Gonzales and
De Witt Counties in 1848
Fandango in Texas -
What it was like in San
Antonio in 1846

Hesskew Slide Show 1
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Battle of Salado

  History of Castro's Colony
DeWitt Colony
William's call for a
convention in Brazoria1835

If you are a relative and would like to say hi or contribute to the saga, let me know here at Marvin Schubert, great great grandson of William and Mary Ann.

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