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 »


Edd Miller

STEINER, JOSEPHUS MURRAY (1823–1873). Josephus Murray Steiner, soldier, physician, and state official, son of Henry and Racheal (Murray) Steiner, was born on September 17, 1823, at Frederick, Maryland. After his graduation from Kenyon College in Ohio, he attended medical school in Pennsylvania and shortly thereafter joined the United States Army, being made an assistant surgeon on February 16, 1847. Dr. Steiner first came to Texas with troops during the Mexican War. At the conclusion of the war, he was stationed at Fort Graham in Hill County, Texas. On September 6, 1853, Maj. Ripley A. Arnold, Steiner's commanding officer, had him arrested. In a dispute which followed, Steiner killed Arnold. A court martial of thirteen officers assembled in Austin on April 15, 1854, for the purpose of trying him, but attempts on the part of the army to place him under arrest were unsuccessful. Steiner, however, surrendered himself to a civil court in May 1854, and in the trial that followed was acquitted. Steiner's name was dropped from the army rolls on May 9, 1856. On November 5, 1856, Steiner married Laura Fisher at Tiffin, Ohio. In 1859 he was appointed Indian commissioner with John Henry Brown, Richard Coke, and George Bernard Erath. From 1861 to 1865 Steiner was superintendent of the State Insane Asylum (later Austin State Hospital). Sometime in 1866 Steiner moved to Madison, Wisconsin, where he spent most of the rest of his life. He died at Marietta, Georgia, on May 20, 1873, and was buried there, but his body was later moved to Oakwood Cemetery in Austin. He was the father of four children, two sons and two daughters. Steiner and Steiner Valley, in Hill County, were named for him.


M. L. Crimmins, "Captain Jack Elgin's Last Story," Frontier Times, December 1938. George B. Erath, "The Memoirs of George B. Erath, 1813–1891," Southwestern Historical Quarterly 26–27 (January-October 1923; rpts., Austin: Texas State Historical Association, 1923; Waco: Heritage Society of Waco, 1956). A. Y. Kirkpatrick, The Early Settlers' Life in Texas, and the Organization of Hill County (Waco: Texian Press, 1963).

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, Edd Miller, "STEINER, JOSEPHUS MURRAY," accessed August 12, 2020, http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/fst29.

Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Modified on July 10, 2017. 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...