Since its original printing in 1952, the publication of the Handbook of Texas has been made possible through the support of its users. As an independent nonprofit, TSHA relies on your contributions to close the funding gap for the online Handbook and keep it a freely accessible resource for users worldwide. Please make a donation today to preserve the most comprehensive encyclopedic resource on Texas history. Donate Today »


Diana J. Kleiner

DINSMORE, SILAS (ca. 1796–1846). Silas Dinsmore, state and county official, was born around 1796 and moved to Texas from Mobile, Alabama. In 1810–11 he was a government agent for the Choctaw Indian Reservation in Alabama and Tennessee. He represented Mina Municipality at the Convention of 1832 and served on the 1833 Brazoria Committee of Safety, designed to protect citizens from Indians. Dinsmore was appointed by President Sam Houston as first chief justice of Matagorda County in December 1836, reappointed by President Mirabeau B. Lamar on January 23, 1839, and elected to the same office by the Fourth Congress in January 1840. He was also involved in establishing the Texas Navy. He later moved to Austin, where he was involved in the real estate business and witnessed the survey of the Montopolis area. Dinsmore had a wife and daughter and was an Episcopalian vestryman in 1839. He died on September 13, 1846, and was buried at his plantation, Wells Point, ten miles west of Palacios.

Lorraine Bruce Jeter, Matagorda: Early History (Baltimore: Gateway, 1974). Sam A. Shuler, "Stephen F. Austin and the City of Austin," Southwestern Historical Quarterly 69 (January 1966). Ralph W. Steen, "Analysis of the Work of the General Council, Provisional Government of Texas, 1835–1836," Southwestern Historical Quarterly 40–42 (April 1937, January-July 1938). Texas House of Representatives, Biographical Directory of the Texan Conventions and Congresses, 1832–1845 (Austin: Book Exchange, 1941).

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:

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, Diana J. Kleiner, "DINSMORE, SILAS," accessed August 23, 2019,

Uploaded on June 12, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

Get this week's most popular Handbook of Texas articles delivered straight to your inbox