Barret Travis 1809-1836
Born in South Carolina
on 9 August 1809, William Barret Travis will always be remembered as the
Texas commander at the Battle of the Alamo. He spent his childhood in
Saluda Co., SC, which was also the home of James Butler Bonham, another
Travis studied law and became a practicing attorney for a brief time before
marrying Rosanna Cato at the age of nineteen. Within a year, when Travis
was barely twenty years old, they had a son, Charles Edward Travis. Remaining
in the area, Travis began publication of a newspaper, became a Mason,
and joined the militia. The marriage soon failed, however. Travis abandoned
his wife, son, and an unborn daughter, and headed for Texas.
After arriving in Texas in early 1831, Travis obtained land from Stephen
F. Austin. He set up to practice law first in the town of Anahuac, and
afterwards at San Felipe.
When friction developed between Texas and Mexico, Travis was one of the
first to join the Texas forces. When Mexican General Martin Perfecto de
Cos demanded the surrender of the Texan's cannon that resulted in the
Battle of Gonzales, Travis was one of hundreds to come to the its defense.
He arrived too late, however, to take part in the action.
On orders from Provisional Governor Henry Smith in January of 1836, Travis
entered the Alamo with about 30 men. Within a few days, he found himself
in command, when then commander James C. Neill took leave to care for
Travis commanded the Texas defenders during the Siege and Battle of the
Alamo. His Appeal from the Alamo for reinforcements has become an American
symbol of unyielding courage and heroism. Although a few reinforcements
arrived before the Alamo fell, Travis and over 180 defenders gave their
lives for Texas independence on 6 March 1836.
Remarkably, Travis was only twenty-six years of age at the time of his
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