Dale Selfridge

SLATER, STEPHEN THOMAS (1815–1884). Stephen Slater, early Texas pioneer, the son of Lavena (or Lavina) Slater, was born in Tennessee on January 31, 1815. He arrived in Texas in 1837. Slater served in Captain Jack Hays Company; the Snively Expedition, and as an Indian Agent.

In Slater's autobiography, he states: "I was born in the State of Tennessee. I arrived in Texas the 25th day of December A.D.1837. I served in Captain Jack Hays' company, in 1842."

"I was attached to the Sammerville [Somervell] campaign. I served as a spy and Scout but Hays' services are historicle, I was discharged on the 1st day January A.D. 1843, after which I was in the Snively expedition, in Captain Spence's company, in 1843. We killed and captured one hundred Mexicans and were frequently engaged with Indians. I held a commission (from Jeneral Sam Houston who was then president of the republic of Texas,) as Indian agent. I brought the Comanches in and they made a treaty with the whites, near where the town of Marlin stands. During my term of service with the Indians there were less depredations on the frontier than at any time since."

Slater received his letter of commission as Indian Agent, on August 6, 1844. He signed the Tehuacana Creek Treaty as a witness for the Republic of Texas.

In 1861 Texas formed the Texas State Troops for frontier defense. Slater served in the TST in Capt. A. J. Berry Company C, Williamson County 1st Battalion, 2nd Brigade. During Reconstruction in Texas, Mr. Slater was installed as Justice of the Peace, by special order No.119 by Maj. Gen. Joseph Jones Reynolds, Commander of the 5th Military District, State of Texas.

Slater was a Mason and in 1873 served in the Davilla Lodge #340 at Tyler. His date of affiliation was September 6, 1873. Since his record shows affiliation, rather than installed, passed, or raised, this would indicate Slater was a Mason prior to this date.

Slater married Mary Gilleland on November 13, 1845, in Montgomery County. Mary Slater was the daughter of Precilla (Boatwright) and Daniel Gilleland, one of the vanguard families of Stephen F Austin's Old 300 Colony. They farmed in Milam County and had four children, Eugene, Thomas, Mary Xantippe, and Stephen D. Mary Slater died from complications of child birth with their fourth child, in 1852. She is buried in the Gilleland family cemetery outside of Rockdale Texas.

Slater eventually married again, and had other children. In his autobiography Slater said he had eleven children. He continued to live in western Milam County and worked his farm of one hundred acres. After forty-seven years as a patriot of Texas, Stephen Thomas Slater died on November 2, 1884. He is buried in Milam County in Sharp Cemetery, Sharp, Texas.


Malcolm D. McLean, comp. and ed., Papers Concerning Robertson's Colony in Texas, (19 vols., Arlington: University of Texas at Arlington Press, 1974–93). Dorman H. Winfrey and James M. Day, eds., Texas Indian Papers (4 vols., Austin: Texas State Library, 1959–61; rpt., 5 vols., Austin: Pemberton Press, 1966). Patricia Gilleland Young and L. Richard Scroggins, The Tree and the Vine (Caldwell, Texas: The Gilleland Endowment, Inc., 1991, 1993).

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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, Dale Selfridge, "SLATER, STEPHEN THOMAS," accessed August 19, 2019,

Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Modified on March 11, 2019. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

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