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 P. Niemeyer

MUNSON, MORDELLO STEPHEN (1825–1903). Mordello S. Munson, planter, lawyer, Civil War soldier, and Texas legislator, was born on April 24, 1825, in present-day Liberty County, Texas, son of Henry William Munson and Ann Binum (Pearce) Munson. Legend states that he was the first Anglo-American child born at the old Coushatta Indian village near the Trinity River. In 1828 he and his family moved to Oakland in Gulf Prairie, part of Stephen F. Austin's colony. Munson and his brothers were very well-educated for young men in early Texas. After his father's death, their step-father, James Peckham Caldwell, made it part of his duty to provide the boys with as strong an education as possible. From 1833 to 1834 the Munson brothers attended Thomas Pilgrim's school. Beginning in 1836, Fayette Copeland taught the boys until his death in 1837. After attending school in Kentucky in 1841, Munson began his college education at Rutersville College near La Grange.

In 1842 when Mexico invaded Texas, Munson joined the Somervell Expedition but did not join the ill-fated Mier Expedition. Instead he returned to Rutersville, finished his studies, and then transferred to La Grange College in Alabama. Munson returned to Texas and married Sarah Armour on February 6, 1850, in Brazoria County. He had a 1500-acre plantation named Ridgely in Bailey's Prairie, and he practiced law in Brazoria County. He was the postmaster for Hinds, Brazoria County, Texas, from June 20, 1850, until August 14, 1854, when the post office was discontinued.

Munson was elected to the Seventh Texas Legislature in 1857 and Eighth Texas Legislature in 1859 as a representative from Brazoria County. A strong supporter of slavery, Munson served as a delegate to the Secession Convention in 1861 and voted to leave the United States. He joined the Confederate Army as a private in January 1862 and then resigned to join Waul's Texas Legion as a captain. He was captured at Vicksburg on July 4, 1863. Although he agreed never to take up arms against the United States as part of his parole, he was back in the Confederate Army in the spring of 1864.

He returned to Bailey's Prairie on May 23, 1865. He was re-elected to the Eleventh Legislature of 1866 and again in 1874 to the Fourteenth Legislature. He was a strong proponent of education and was instrumental in passing laws for the establishment of the University of Texas at Austin and of Texas A&M University at College Station.

Munson died October 13, 1903, at his plantation in Bailey's Prairie and is buried in the Munson Cemetery at this location.

Brazoria County Genealogy, "Mordello Stephen Munson" (http://brazoriaroots.com/p113.htm), accessed August 14, 2006. Postmasters & Post Offices of Brazoria County, Texas (http://www.rootsweb.com/~txpost/brazoria.html), accessed August 14, 2006. William DeRyee and R. E. Moore, The Texas Album of the Eighth Legislature (Austin: Miner, Lambert, and Perry, 1860).

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 P. Niemeyer, "MUNSON, MORDELLO STEPHEN," accessed July 14, 2020, http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/fmu42.

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...