David Park

MAYRANT, WILLIAM NORVELLE (1838–1873). William Norvelle Mayrant, major in the Fifth Texas Partisan Rangers, was born in Mississippi in 1838 to Dr. James Norvelle Mayrant and Mary Elizabeth (Potts) Mayrant. His father served in the South Carolina state militia during the War of 1812 before marrying, moving the family to Mississippi, and buying land in Columbus, Lowndes County. In 1858, at the age of twenty, William Mayrant attended the University of Mississippi. Soon after, he moved to Sherman in Grayson County, Texas, to live with and study law under C. C. Binkley, who would serve as judge of the Twelfth District from 1870 to 1874.

After the Civil War began, William Mayrant and his older brother John, at the ages of twenty-three and thirty-five, respectively, enlisted together on May 26, 1861, in Sherman for service in the Fifteenth Brigade of Texas Militia. Following John's election to major of the regiment in August of that year, William was elected first lieutenant to fill the vacancy created by his brother and served as a scout in the Creek Nation of the Indian Territory. This mission led to the battle of Chustenahlah on December 26, 1861, in which some 250 Creek Indians that disputed their tribe's alliance with the southern cause were killed.

Although in the 1861 muster roll William Mayrant is listed as a scout, he was dropped from this unit in 1862 for unknown reasons. He then reenlisted in the First Battalion Texas Partisan Rangers on July 5, 1862, again from Sherman, Texas. This unit, composed of four companies, was consolidated with the Tenth Cavalry Battalion and the Ninth Partisan Rangers Battalion on February 6, 1863, to create the Fifth Texas Partisan Rangers, or as it was later called, Martin's Texas Cavalry, after its commander Leonidas M. Martin. With the reorganization, Mayrant was elected major and made a field officer.

Although the Fifth was not involved in many military engagements, it did participate in the Second Battle of Cabin Creek in the Indian Territory in September of 1864. Led by Gen. Samuel B. Maxey, the Confederate fighting force was composed of the Fifth Texas Cavalry Brigade, led by Gen. Richard M. Gano, and Gen. Stand Watie's Indian Cavalry Brigade. Among the five non-artillery units of the Fifth, William Mayrant commanded Martin's Battalion of Texas Cavalry. This expedition was responsible for capturing some $1.5 million from Union forces and marked one of the few highlights of the year for the Confederate States.

Following the war, William Mayrant returned to Sherman and continued his work as a lawyer throughout Grayson County. In 1869 Texans voted on a revised state constitution, elected a state government, and prepared their state resume its place in the United States. In the creation of the local governments under these measures, William Norvelle Mayrant was elected justice of the peace for precinct one in Grayson County, a position he filled at least through 1872.

Grave of William Norvelle Mayrant
Grave of William Norvelle Mayrant. Courtesy of Terry J. Doss Photography.  Image available on the Internet and included in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107.

William Mayrant married his first cousin, Alice Henrietta Potts, on March 29, 1864, in Sherman. In 1869 the couple had a daughter named Mary. Mayrant died on December 21, 1873, and is buried at the West Hill Cemetery in Sherman, Texas.


Stewart Sifakis, Compendium of the Confederate Armies: Texas (New York: Facts on File, 1995). Marvin J. Hancock, "The Second Battle of Cabin Creek, 1864," The Chronicles of Oklahoma (Oklahoma City: Oklahoma Historical Society, 1993). 11th Texas Cavalry: Company C-1 (, accessed April 20, 2011.

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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, David Park, "MAYRANT, WILLIAM NORVELLE," accessed January 20, 2020,

Uploaded on April 26, 2011. Modified on April 13, 2016. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
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