BRENAN, WILLIAM (?–1839). William Brenan, soldier and legislator of the Republic of Texas, was born in Ireland and immigrated to Texas, probably by way of Nacogdoches, in the fall of 1835. On October 25, 1835, he enlisted as a private in Capt. Samuel O. Pettus's company of New Orleans Graysqv. He saw action at the siege of Bexar and the disastrous battle of Coleto. He survived the infamous Goliad Massacre, however, and was discovered at Goliad by doctors J. H. Barnard and John Shackelford.qqv He thereupon joined Capt. William H. Patton's company–the so-called Columbia Company–of Col. Sidney Sherman's Second Regiment, Texas Volunteers, in time to participate in the battle of San Jacinto. At least six others of Patton's men–Daniel Murphy, Nathaniel Hazon, Charles Shane, N. J. Devinneyr, Thomas Heny, and Thomas Hope–were likewise survivors of Fannin's command. On October 9, 1836, Brenan was indemnified twenty-five dollars for the loss of his rifle at Goliad. For his service in the Texas Revolution he was issued a bounty warrant for 1,280 acres, which he sold to Benjamin Fort Smith.
After the war Brenan moved to San Patricio County, where he was elected to the House of Representatives of the Second Congress of the Republic of Texas. He served from September 25, 1837, until May 24, 1838. At the end of the session he moved to Victoria. During this time he was proprietor of the Western Land Agency, which operated in Bexar, Refugio, San Patricio, and La Bahía. This is apparently the same William Brenan who was captured by Mexican soldiers near San Patricio and imprisoned at Matamoros until he escaped early in February 1839. He was reelected to the House and planned to return to San Patricio to build a home. He and a friend left Victoria in July 1839, en route to San Patricio. His badly decomposed body was discovered on the road between the two towns some three months later, and he is supposed to have been murdered.
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The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this article.Handbook of Texas Online, Thomas W. Cutrer, "Brenan, William," accessed October 26, 2016, http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/fbr40.
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