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TARLETON, WILLIAM A.

TARLETON, WILLIAM A. (1826–1864). William A. Tarleton, also listed as Tarlton, educator, attorney, state legislator, and Confederate soldier, was born in Alabama in 1826. He was raised in Alabama and educated at Transylvania University in Lexington, Kentucky. Prior to 1849 Tarleton immigrated to Texas and settled in Marshall, Harrison County. Here, he married Julia M. Witherspoon on May 10, 1849. It is not known whether this couple had children. In the early 1850s Tarleton was editor of the Marshall Star State Patriot, principal of the Marshall Republican Academy (also known as the Marshall Republican Institute), and a professor of classics at Marshall University. He quickly established himself as an active member in state and local political affairs and served as a representative for Harrison County during the Sixth Texas Legislature from November 1855 to November 1857. Around this time, Tarleton was a leading member of the Texas Know Nothings (see AMERICAN PARTY), a political party focused on halting the influence of foreigners in political and economic affairs, as well as intent on weakening the dominant political position of the Democratic Party in Texas. During the 1856 campaign season, Tarleton received the Know Nothing nomination to run for state treasurer but was handily defeated. Afterwards, he relocated to Austin and began practicing law. During the Civil War, Tarleton enlisted in Marshall, Harrison County, as a private in Company F of the Twenty-eighth Texas Cavalry Regiment. While in Confederate service, he contracted typhoid fever. He died from this affliction on February 23, 1864.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: 

Kathryn Hooper Davis with Linda Ericson Deveraux and Carolyn Reeves Ericson, Harrison County, Texas in the Civil War (Nacogdoches, Texas: Ericson Books, 2003). Marshall Star State Patriot, March 21, 1850; June 7, 1851. Nancy Blakeley Ruff, Harrison County, Texas, Early Marriage Records, 1839–1869 (Nacogdoches, Texas: Ericson Books, 1983). Wooster, Ralph A., “An Analysis of the Texas Know Nothings,” Southwestern Historical Quarterly 70 (January 1967).

Aragorn Storm Miller
Aragorn Storm Miller

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Handbook of Texas Online, Aragorn Storm Miller, "Tarleton, William A.," accessed October 23, 2017, http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/fta74.

Uploaded on October 22, 2014. Modified on November 4, 2014. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.