Texas Genealogy Trails

First Dawson County

Source: "Branches and Acorns" SWTGS Quarterly, Vol. IV, No. 1 - September 1988
Submitted to SWTGS by Doris A. Foster

Nicholas Mosby Dawson was born in Woodford County, Kentucky in 1808. He was educated in White County, Tennessee. In 1834 he moved to Texas and located in Fayette County. In January 1836, he enlisted in the Texas Army and participated in the battle of San Jacinto as a second Lieutenant. In August 1837, he was a Lieutenant in Company C and in 1842 was Captain of a company of volunteers under John H. Moore.

The Dawson Massacre occurred during the Mexican invasion of Texas in September 1842, when General Adrian Woll captured San Antonio. When news of the invasion reached LaGrange, Nicholas Mosby Dawson assembled a group of men to reinforce Mathew Caldwell's men from Gonzales and left LaGrange on 16 September. On 18 September, Alsey S. Miller, sent out to find the position of Caldwell's men, returned with news that a battle was already in progress. Dawson marched his fifty-three men toward the Salado River, being discovered by a detachment of Mexican cavalry when about a mile and a half from the fighting. The Texans took cover in a mesquite grove and prepared to resist attack. The Mexicans withdrew from rifle range and brought up two pieces of artillery when which they soon killed about half of the Texans. Dawson made an effort to surrender, but his men were slow to cease firing; the Mexicans started firing again after some of the Texans had dropped their arms. Thirty-five Texans, including Dawson were killed: fifteen were captured, five of them wounded; three escaped. The captives were marched to Mexico and held in Perote Prison. Nine of the twelve finally reached Texas again. The remains of Dawson and his men were placed in a vault on Monument Hill in LaGrange in 1848. Dawson County was named in his honor.

Dawson County was created by the Texas Legislature on 1 February 1858, was named for Nicholas Dawson and included the western portion of present Uvalde County and the eastern portion of present Kinney County. The act creating Dawson County was never expressly repealed, but its territory was obliterated by acts dated 29 September and 5 October 1866. The area included no part of present Dawson County created in 1876. There appears to be a census for 1860.

[Submitted by Amanda Jowers]


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