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RYON, WILLIAM M. (1808–1875). William M. Ryon, soldier, farmer, and surveyor, was born in Winchester, Kentucky, on July 13, 1808. He moved to Texas from Alabama in 1837. At the mouth of the Brazos he worked at several jobs, including hotelkeeping. In 1839 he helped survey the townsite of Austin, the new capital of the Republic of Texas, after which he moved to Fort Bend County. He got together a company and joined the Somervell expedition in 1842. When Somervell's army broke up on the Rio Grande, Ryon was one of the 300 who reorganized on December 19, 1842. He commanded one of the companies in the Mier expedition, was wounded, and was taken prisoner with many others. Ryon drew a white bean in the Black Bean Episode and so was spared execution. After being at last freed, he returned to Fort Bend County in 1845. On April 15 of that year he married Mary Moore Jones and began farming, raising cattle, and selling merchandise. Of the Ryons' nine children only three attained their majority. Ryon was an Episcopalian and Mason. He died on October 31, 1875, in Richmond, at the home of Capt. William K. Davis, a Mier expedition companion.


Roberta Christensen, Historic, Romantic Richmond, 1822–1982 (Burnet, Texas, 1982). Sam W. Haynes, Soldiers of Misfortune: The Somervell and Mier Expeditions (Austin: University of Texas Press, 1990). Andrew Jackson Sowell, History of Fort Bend County (Houston: Coyle, 1904; rpt, Richmond, Texas: Fort Bend County Historical Museum, 1974). Clarence Wharton, Wharton's History of Fort Bend County (San Antonio: Naylor, 1939).

Virginia Scarborough


The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this article.

Virginia Scarborough, "RYON, WILLIAM M.," Handbook of Texas Online (, accessed November 25, 2015. Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.