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Barbara L. Young

LAWRENCE, JOSEPH (1800–1897). Joseph Lawrence, soldier, was born on June 15, 1800, in Buncombe County, North Carolina, and moved to Texas in 1835. He was at Washington-on-the-Brazos when William B. Travis sent his messengers calling for volunteers to relieve the Alamo and joined a group who left for Gonzales on March 1, 1836. Most of the men stopped at Gonzales to join others who were gathering there. Lawrence joined Erastus (Deaf) Smith and Henry W. Karnes when Sam Houston sent them to San Antonio to find out the fate of the Alamo garrison. When they learned that the Alamo had fallen, they returned to Gonzales, and Lawrence made the long retreat with Houston and the other volunteers. They crossed the Lavaca River, Rocky Creek, the Navidad, and finally the Colorado. Lawrence transferred to Captain Karnes's company on March 20 and remained with it throughout the campaign. At San Jacinto his company was part of the cavalry, and he was in the skirmish on April 20. On the day of the battle of San Jacinto his company chased the Mexican cavalry for twelve miles, capturing and killing. The day after San Jacinto, Lawrence shot and killed an escaping Mexican soldier who was carrying Travis's saddle and blanket. They were sold with the other spoils of battle, the saddle for twenty dollars and the blanket for ten. Lawrence stayed in the army until he received his discharge on June 28 and then returned to Washington-on-the-Brazos. By early 1837 he had acquired some money and property. In February he furnished a bond for a probate administrator, and he was on the 1837 Washington County tax rolls. Late in 1837 he received a bounty warrant for 320 acres in Fannin County. In 1853 he received 640 acres in Caldwell County for his services at San Jacinto.

Lawrence married Mary Eleanor McGary on March 22, 1839, at Washington-on-the-Brazos. Shortly after their marriage they moved, with members of her family, to DeWitt County, where Edward McGary was killed by Indians. In August 1840 Lawrence joined the men who chased the Comanche Indians that attacked Linnville in the Linnville raid of 1840, and he fought in the battle of Plum Creek. Later in the year he served in an expedition to the Upper Colorado. He moved to La Grange in 1843, and in 1847 he was a charter member of LaFayette Masonic Lodge No. 43. In 1848 he moved to Lavaca County, where he opened a large plantation near the Old Pine Tree Crossings on Rocky Creek. In 1850 he petitioned to establish the Hallettsville Masonic Lodge. Lawrence lived on his plantation in Lavaca County for almost forty years. When he died on October 9, 1897, he was ninety-eight and the oldest surviving veteran of the Texas Revolution. He was buried in Andrews Chapel Cemetery.


Paul C. Boethel, The History of Lavaca County (San Antonio: Naylor, 1936; rev. ed., Austin: Von Boeckmann-Jones, 1959). Paul C. Boethel, Sand in Your Craw (Austin: Von Boeckmann-Jones, 1959). Donaly E. Brice, The Great Comanche Raid (Austin: Eakin Press, 1987). Worth Stickley Ray, Austin Colony Pioneers (Austin: Jenkins, 1949; 2d ed., Austin: Pemberton, 1970).

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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, Barbara L. Young, "LAWRENCE, JOSEPH," accessed July 06, 2020, http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/flatv.

Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Modified on June 24, 2020. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
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