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 »


Stephanie Piefer Niemeyer

MIDDLETON, WILLIAM B. (1819–1877). William B. Middleton, pioneer, sheriff, and legislator, was born on August 4, 1819, in Crawford County, Illinois. In 1837 his father moved the family to Texas, and they settled in Leon County. The family and eleven other families built the settlement known as Fort Boggy where they lived for two years. President Sam Houston ordered the men to organize a ranging company to protect the settlement against Indian raids.

In 1842 General Adrian Woll and a force of Mexican troops invaded Texas. Middleton answered the call from President Sam Houston to join the army, and he and his brothers were assigned to a Captain Wilson's company. He joined the ill-fated Mier Expedition and was one of the participants in the Black Bean Episode. Middleton and his brother drew a white bean that allowed them to live, although his brother later died in prison in Mexico City. Middleton was imprisoned in Mexico for two years.

After his return to Texas, he married Mary Jane Potts in December 1845. He was elected sheriff of Leon County in 1846. During the Mexican War, Middleton served as a lieutenant in James Gillaspie's company of the First Regiment of Texas Mounted Volunteers and returned to Leon County after mustering out. He was elected sheriff twice more. In 1855 and again in 1859 he was elected to the Texas House of Representatives.

William Middleton died on March 17, 1877. He is buried in Makamson Cemetery in Leon County.

William DeRyee and R. E. Moore, The Texas Album of the Eighth Legislature (Austin: Miner, Lambert, and Perry, 1860). Family Search, "William B. Middleton" (http://www.familysearch.org), accessed August 14, 2006.

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, Stephanie Piefer Niemeyer, "MIDDLETON, WILLIAM B.," accessed July 03, 2020, http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/fmiwb.

Uploaded on June 15, 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...