While our physical offices are closed until further notice in accordance with Austin's COVID-19 "stay home-work safe" order, the Handbook of Texas will remain available at no-cost for you, your fellow history enthusiasts, and all Texas students currently mandated to study from home. If you have the capacity to help us maintain our online Texas history resources during these uncertain times, please consider making a 100% tax-deductible contribution today. Thank you for your support of TSHA and Texas history. Donate Today »


Ken Hendrickson

BROTHERTON, ROBERT (?–1839). Robert Brotherton (Brotherington) was one of the original settlers of the Colorado District and an official in Colorado County in the Republic of Texas. He arrived in Texas from Missouri in the summer of 1822, bringing with him a letter of introduction addressed to Stephen F. Austin from Missouri governor Alexander McNair, who promised that Brotherton would be an "industrious farmer." Brotherton was one of the Old Three Hundred settlers of the Austin colony. He was wounded in the back during an Indian raid in July 1822, shortly after arriving in Texas. The incident, along with an Indian attack on three other men the following day, motivated colonist Robert H. Kuykendall to lead a punitive expedition that culminated in a successful ambush of the Karankawa Indians at Skull Creek, against the Karankawa Indians.

On July 24, 1824, Brotherton and his partner, Caleb R. Bostic, received a sitio of land in Austin's colony, where they farmed and raised stock. A census report of 1826 lists Brotherton as a farmer and stockman, aged between twenty-five and forty years. He was not recorded as having a wife or family. He began to take part in local politics early in 1825. In January of that year he acted as a judge in the election of James Cummings as alcalde of the Colorado District. In 1836 Brotherton sat on the committee that designated Columbus the seat of the newly formed Colorado County. He became county clerk in April 1837. In December of the same year the Congress of the Republic of Texas appointed him clerk to the board of land commissioners in Colorado County. The Brotherton house was named a stock subscription site for the Colorado Navigation Company in 1838. Brotherton died early in 1839. His probate petition is dated March 25 of that year. He left only a modest estate and debts accrued in farming.

Eugene C. Barker, ed., The Austin Papers (3 vols., Washington: GPO, 1924–28). Lester G. Bugbee, "The Old Three Hundred: A List of Settlers in Austin's First Colony," Quarterly of the Texas State Historical Association 1 (October 1897). Jesse Burnam, "The Reminiscences of Captain Jesse Burnam," Quarterly of the Texas State Historical Association 5 (July 1901). J. H. Kuykendall, "Reminiscences of Early Texans," Quarterly of the Texas State Historical Association 6–7 (January, April, July 1903). William Barret Travis, Diary, ed. Robert E. Davis (Waco: Texian Press, 1966).

Image Use Disclaimer

All copyrighted materials included within the Handbook of Texas Online are in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107 related to Copyright and “Fair Use” for Non-Profit educational institutions, which permits the Texas State Historical Association (TSHA), to utilize copyrighted materials to further scholarship, education, and inform the public. The TSHA makes every effort to conform to the principles of fair use and to comply with copyright law.

For more information go to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml

If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond fair use, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.


The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this article.

Handbook of Texas Online, Ken Hendrickson, "BROTHERTON, ROBERT," accessed August 10, 2020, http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/fbr77.

Uploaded on June 12, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
visit the mytsha forums to participate

View these posts and more when you register your free MyTSHA account.

Call for Papers: Texas Center for Working-Class Studies Events, Symposia, and Workshops
Hi all! You may be interested in this call for papers I received from the Texas Center for Working-Class Studies at Collin College...

Katy Jennings' Ride Scholarly Research Request
I'm doing research on Catherine Jennings Lockwood, specifically the incident known as "Katy Jennings' Ride." Her father was Gordon C. Jennings, the oldest man to die at the Alamo...

Texas Constitution of 1836 Co-Author- Elisha Pease? Ask a Historian
The TSHA profile of Elisha Marshall Pease states that he wrote part of the Texas Constitution although he was only a 24 year-old assistant secretary (not elected). I cannot find any other mention of this authorship work by Pease in other credible research about the credited Constution authors...