In order to write a story about the above named man it's going to take some doing, but I'll give it my best shot.
In Texas, there are few historical icons more legendary than the Alamo and the Texas Rangers. After 167 years, the Alamo continues to garner attention and the Texas Rangers continue to serve. In the Alamo’s darkest hour, the last full company to fight their way past Mexican soldiers into the fortress was a group of thirty-two men from Gonzales. Led by returning Alamo defender Captain Albert Martin and his Texas scout John W. Smith, this group included a small, separate company of Texas Rangers under Second Lieutenant George C. Kimbell. Lieutenant Colonel William Barrett Travis, commanding the Alamo forces, acknowledged that the Gonzales men did reinforce him. In a letter written on March 3, he says, “A company of thirty-two men from Gonzales made their way into us on the morning of the first inst. at three o’clock.”
Captain Tumlinson’s Company
On the very date that Captain Martin and Lieutenant Kimbell made their historic rides through the Alamo’s gate, another Ranger company was north of Gonzales at Bastrop. Captain Tumlinson was already well known in Texas for his fighting abilities. Before being killed by Indians in 1823, his father had been instrumental in laying the groundwork for the creation of the Texas Rangers. Commissioned on November 28, 1835, to organize a Ranger company under Major Willie Williamson’s supervision, John Tumlinson Jr.↗ was briefly delayed in doing so by the December siege of Bexar. Returning back to the Colorado River settlements, he did organize a Ranger company on January 17 at Hornsby’s Station, thirty miles north of present Austin. Three days later, his men fought a battle with a band of Comanche Indians, killing four and rescuing a captive Texas boy. Following this battle, Tumlinson’s company recruited more men and then spent the better part of the month of February building a cedar blockhouse on the headwaters of Brushy Creek, north of Austin in present Leander. At the time of Lieutenant Colonel Travis’ calls for men to come defend the Alamo in late February 1836, Captain Tumlinson’s Rangers were at their new blockhouse. In response to Travis’ pleas, Major Williamson sent orders from Gonzales on February 25 to Captain Tumlinson to fall down to Bastrop and await further orders from him. Williamson sent a copy of these orders to the General Council in San Felipe, which in turn recommended on February 27 that Captain Tumlinson’s Rangers should proceed immediately to Bexar to aid the army there. From all indications, these recommendations either did not reach Tumlinson’s hands or were countermanded. According to one of Tumlinson’s Rangers, Noah Smithwick, “The invasion of Santa Anna necessitated our recall from the frontiers. Somewhere about the first of March we were called in to Bastrop.” This actually coincides well with Williamson’s orders of February 25. According to Smithwick, Captain Tumlinson’s company was ordered to operate from Bastrop, conducting spy patrols toward San Antonio. Once word of the Alamo’s fall spread, the fleeing citizens of the Runaway Scrape needed protection. “We were ordered to cover their retreat, and afterwards join General Houston,” says Smithwick. Although everything in Smithwick’s recollections seems to have documentary support, Lindley discounts it completely, claiming that Smithwick was not even serving with Tumlinson’s company at this time. Before dealing with Smithwick, an examination of facts showing the location of Tumlinson’s company is in order. There are no direct sources claiming that Tumlinson’s Rangers rode to Gonzales or that some of his men actually entered into the Alamo. This belief by Lindley is based loosely on the previously cited John Ballard affidavit that says that he joined Tumlinson on March 1. Lindley believes that Tumlinson’s men were left camped at the Cibolo River near San Antonio on March 1 as Martin’s Gonzales volunteers entered the Alamo. What is also possible is that Ballard, when cut off by the enemy spies from the fort, was forced down the Old San Antonio Road toward Bastrop, where he must have found and joined some of Tumlinson’s scouts. The fact that Captain Tumlinson’s Rangers were stationed at Bastrop during early March is supported by sources other than Noah Smithwick. When Tumlinson reached Bastrop, his men found a volunteer company there under the direction of Captain Jesse Billingsley. This group was preparing to march out for Gonzales. Among Billingsley’s volunteers was Lyman W. Alexander, who later served as a witness to another man’s service. In 1858, Alexander swore to the fact that J. G. Dunn belonged to the company of Rangers left or stationed at Bastrop under R. M. Williamson in 1836 at the time that Billingsley’s company marched out for Gonzales on March 3. On the same date, Captain Tumlinson donated one of his oxen to the Mina Volunteers for use in hauling their supplies to Gonzales. Two of Billingsley’s men, Edward Burleson and John McGehee, signed an appraisal note that they had received from J. J. Tumlinson one ox for the use of their men. Signed at Mina on March 3, 1836, this note valued Tumlinson’s ox at twenty-seven dollars, as appraised by Edward J. Blakey and Reuben Hornsby. Hornsby was a man who was serving with Tumlinson’s Rangers. Another man, Harrison Owen, claims that Tumlinson’s Rangers were still at Bastrop as of March 10. On that day, Owen and several young men left the settlement of Tenoxtitlan for the purpose of giving assistance to the brave boys with Colonel Travis. When they reached Bastrop, the people of the town were beginning to pack up and leave. “We met them two miles east of Bastrop,” relates Owen. R. M. Williamson was there under the order of General Sam Houston to cover the retreat of the families. Major Williamson and the Tumlinson Rangers remained at Bastrop until March 18. From the Texas Army camp on the Colorado River, Colonel Edward Burleson sent scout David Halderman back to Bastrop with a dispatch. Williamson wrote, “I received an additional order from Colonel Burleson, on the 18th of March.” General Sam Houston did get this letter from Williamson, which he still had in his possession in 1855. While mentioning the correspondence, Houston clearly shows that the Tumlinson Rangers had remained stationed at Bastrop after the Alamo’s fall.
I have a letter from Major R. M. Williamson of the battalion of Rangers, who was stationed at Bastrop to defend that portion of the frontier, as well as to watch the upper division of the Mexican Army under Gen. G[a]ona, on its advance to the Trinity.
Captain Jesse Billingsley agreed that Houston called on Colonel Burleson to furnish him a man from his regiment of volunteers. The purpose of this soldier was to bear dispatches to Major R. M. Williamson, commander of Rangers at Bastrop. In addition to Captain Tumlinson’s Rangers, another small scouting company was operating between the Alamo and Bastrop during late February and early March. Prior to Captain Billingsley’s Mina volunteer company being organized, former army commander Edward Burleson ordered out a small group of scouts on February 24, 1836. Captain Thomas G. McGehee was placed in command of the unit, which included David F. Owen, Martin Walker, David Halderman, and Michael Sessum. Sessum was an interpreter of Spanish and Indian languages. Concerning the service of Captain McGehee’s spies, the pension papers of Halderman state:
. . . the company was on duty in the country between San Marcos and San Antonio and continued in said service until about the 1st of March 1836. At this time, applicant joined Captain Jesse Billingsley’s company of volunteers then at Gonzales and was with said company as a soldier until about the 1st of April 1836, that being crippled with rheumatism in the retreat of the army near the Brazos River, applicant received a 20-day furlough from Captain Jesse Billingsley.
Captain Billingsley clarifies in another service document for Halderman that these men were in Bastrop later than March 1. The service papers of David Owen shows that Captain McGehee’s scouts continued to operate near San Antonio until joining Sam Houston’s Texas Army on March 16.
The above extract was taken from "Texas Rangers at the Battle of the Alamo" by Stephen L. Moore: Rangers at the Battle of the Alamo↗ I'm finding it quite interesting that my G'Uncle Martin had quite a hand in helping to form the Texas that I have called home for most all my life, save for a couple that I spent militarily away! The Alamo at San Antonio, Texas. The fall of the Alamo↗ by Captain R. M. Potter, written in 1860, is a first hand account of his "being there" and is a wonderfully explicit and detailed story of just what happened that fateful day, as seen through his eyes, after the fact!! The Republic of Texas, having won independence from Mexico, doing so with many volunteers who fought faithfully, chose to reward those veterans with gifts of land parcels. Many were wounded and were given much more land as an according compensation. After many more years, around 1870, many of the veterans having filed for pensions and/or disability claims were again rewarded with cash settlements this time. Martin received, as well as I can determine, approximately 6,568 acres of land parcels in three different stages. All veterans who participated in the Battle for the Republic were given a section of land (640 acres), a league (4,428 acres) and some were given as much as a league and a labor (177 acres). It appears Martin was given 1/3 of a league (approximately 1500 acres) for settling in Texas in 1835, before the battle, then a section for being a volunteer soldier, then a league for having been severely wounded, thus comprising the total as a very large amount of land tracts, not all three being in the same place. I have a map of Bastrop county, obtained for me a number of years ago by my nephew, who works in very close proximity to the State Capitol of Texas in Austin. The map is a copy of the original that could very easily pass for the original, at first glance, showing all the feathered and brittle edges. I'm very proud of it and consider it to be a veritable treasure. It shows Martin Walker's patented land grant over in the northeast part of the county which later became Camp Swift! The map shows; Re-organized as a Land District on August 2nd, 1858. The map was compiled from the documents on file in the General land Office by W. Von Rosenberg, Assistant Draftsman, June 6th A.D. 1861. Color-coded reference squares show: Large Grants Titled, Titles in Austin's Colony and Titles in Milam's Colony. A notation, using a strange symbol shows surveyors John Harvey and Bartlett Sims↗ as having completed conflicting land surveys!