New York's Defenders of the Alamo
to page one of "New York's
Defenders of the Alamo."
Another Englishman, William D. Hersee, was 31 years old and
served as an NCO in Captain Carey's artillery company. He
also had resided in New York before making the journey to Texas
and was wounded at the battle of Bexar.
According to the records of the Alamo Daughters of the
American Revolution Chapter, George C .Kimball (Kimble) was born
in New York 1803. He married Prudence Nash in 1832, had two
children, and owned a hat factory in Gonzales. Lieutenant Kimball
was 33 when he and the other thirty-one members of the Gonzales
Ranging Company arrived at the Alamo on March 1, 1836. They were
the only troops to answer William Travis' pleas for relief.
Kimble County, Texas, is named in honor of George C. Kimball.
Forty-five year old Dr. William D. Howell, originally from
Massachusetts, had practiced medicine in New York before moving
to New Orleans and then on to Texas. Another veteran of Bexar, he
served as a rifleman in Captain William Blazeby's infantry
company and probably served as one of the surgeons during the
Robert Cunningham, a 27 year old flatboatman born in Ontario County, New York
had lived in Indiana, Kentucky, and Arkansas before finally settling in Texas
. He received a land grant from Stephen F. Austin in 1833 and fought in the
battle of Bexar. Cunningham served as an artilleryman in Captain Carey's
company at the Alamo.
Samuel B. Evans was 24 when he served as a rifleman at the
Alamo. His uncle, General Jacob Brown, had commanded the United
States Army. His paternal grandfather, Samuel Evans, whom he was
named after, had served as a general in the Continental Army
during the American Revolution and his maternal grandfather,
Samuel Brown, fought in the Revolution as a major. Fighting for
liberty was in Samuel Evans' blood.
John Hubbard Forsyth of
Avon, New York also had freedom and liberty flowing through his veins. His grandfather,
Jonathan Forsyth, fought and died during the American Revolution. John had studied
medicine, but never practiced in favor of farming. After the death of his wife,
Deborah Smith, in 1828, he left his only son, Edmund Agustus Forsyth, with his
parents and moved to Kentucky. He went to Texas with a volunteer cavalry company
from Kentucky and eventually arrived to the Alamo along with William Travis'
group. He had attained the rank of captain in the Texan cavalry and was 38 years
old at the time of the battle. In the Alamo chain of command, Forsyth was number
three, outranked only by Travis and Bowie. Due to the circumstances of Bowie's
grave illness Travis being killed in the opening minutes, it is highly likely
that the actual last stand at the Alamo was commanded by New Yorker John Hubbard
Lewis Dewall (Dewell or Duel) was a 24 year old mason and
blacksmith who was born in New York City. Records show at in 1832
he resided at 51 Lewis Street in Manhattan. He moved to Texas and
settled on Harmon's Creek in 1835. He was a veteran of the
battle of Bexar and was a rifleman in Captain Robert White's
Not much is known about another native New Yorker, John Jones.
Despite the fact that five other "John Joneses" served
in the army of Texas in 1836, it is known that the John Jones who
died defending the Alamo was born in New York in 1810. He fought
at the battle of Bexar and was a first lieutenant in William
Blazeby's infantry company.
Another native New York defender that little is known about is
James Tylee. He was born in New York in 1795 and had been a
farmer there prior to moving to Texas around 1834. It was that
year that he and his wife, Matilda, applied for a land grant. He
served as a rifleman at the Alamo.
Two defenders with New York ties who necessitate special
mention are Amos Pollard and Robert Evans. Amos Pollard was born
in Ashburnham, Massachusetts in 1803. His great-grandfather,
William Whitcomb, fought and died during the American Revolution.
Amos attended and received his degree in medicine from the
Vermont Academy in Castleton, Vermont in 1825. He practiced
medicine in Greenbush, New York (present day East Greenbush and
Rensselaer) and set up practices in Manhattan from 1828 to 1834.
He became an army surgeon for the Texan Army in October of 1835
and tended to the wounded at the battle of Bexar. He continued on
as the principal surgeon at the siege of the Alamo. The
significant fact about Pollard is that, aside from the three
major figures of Bowie, Travis, and Crockett, he is the only
other Alamo defender who had a portrait painted from life. This
was done sometime while he lived in New York and now hangs in the
Irish born Robert Evans resided in New York before making the
journey to Texas. At thirty-six years of age, he held the rank of
major and was the Chief of Ordnance at the Alamo. Survivor
Susannah Dickerson recalled that when the troops of Santa Anna
broke through the front door of the chapel, Evans raced with a
lighted torch to destroy the powder magazine, which was located
in the rear of the building. No doubt, this inspired the scene in
the John Wayne movie "The Alamo" where, in this
instance, Davey Crockett fires the magazine taking an untold
number of Mexican soldiers with him. Evans, however, was gunned
down before reaching his objective and the munitions fell into
the hands of the Mexican Army.
What began as an act of defiance against a tyrannical dictator turned into one
of the pivotal events in not only Texas history but also the future of the entire
United States. The thirteen day siege ended in less then ninety minutes of fury
after the pre-dawn attack on March 6. All the defenders perished and their bodies
burned by order of Santa Anna. Their ashes were not interred until almost a
year later. Whether William Travis ever drew his "line in the dust"
doesn't diminish the sacrifice these men made in a cause that they believed
In the Shine of the Alamo, where one comes to worship fallen
heroes, stands a New York State flag , eighteen hundred miles
away from home, as a silent tribute to those New Yorkers who
traveled so far to fight for the cause of liberty
CPT Owen C. Johnson
10th Bde, New York Guard
Want to know more about the Alamo? Try the Alamo de Parras Web Site
or The Alamo. [Links will open new windows.]
Back to page one of "New York's
Defenders of the Alamo."
New York State Division of Military and Naval Affairs: Military History
September 19, 2007