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The Samuel McCulloch (1810-1893) Republic of Texas Land Grant In South Bexar County - 9:50 AM, 10/16/2012

The Samuel McCulloch (1810-1893) Republic of Texas Land Grant In South Bexar County
Bernard Pyron

I have never heard this story before.  I came across it in searching South Bexar county plat maps of  lands near Somerset, Texas in 1887 and 1897, which give the names of the owners.  North of the town of Somerset, about five miles to the Medina River, were in the 19th century, a series of strips of land  that at one time had access to the river.  The largest of these is the Francisco Rolen Spanish Land Grant, which began on the south banks of the Medina a little west of the Somerset Road-Medina Crossing known as Paso de los Garzos. The Francisco Rolen grant ran south as far as a bit beyond what is now Somerset. The east part of the town is within that tract of land.  Within the next strip of land to the west, there was the John Christopher Republic of Texas Land Grant.  A part of the original Christopher grant, in the souhern area of the tact, was bought by Eugene S. Norris, which was sold in 1909 by Carl Kurz to the First Town Site Company that sold lots from it creating the town of Somerset. The Christopher grant did not go as far north as the Medina.  But the Samuel McCulloch Republic of Texas Land Grant to the west of the Christopher tract did run north to the Medina in the area of Von Ormy  It was a strip beginning just south of Elm Creek and running north to the Medina.  Samuel McCulloch Jr was a free Black man, or partly Black, who served in the Texas Revolution.  This is all documented here.  In a history of Von Ormy they say Samuel was a son and slave of a man who set him free.  Samuel McCulloch Jr (1810-1893) was the  father of W. R. McCulloch.

MCCULLOCH, SAMUEL, JR. (1810–1893). Samuel McCulloch, Jr., free black soldier in the Texas Revolution, was born in the Abbeville District of South Carolina on October 11, 1810. He moved with his white father, Samuel McCulloch, Sr., to Montgomery, Alabama, in 1815. In May 1835 Samuel McCulloch, Sr., describing himself as a single man, moved to Texas with his son and three daughters, Jane, Harriet, and Mahaly. The family settled on the Lavaca River in what is now Jackson County. Samuel McCulloch, Jr., and his sisters were considered free blacks. On October 5, 1835, the younger McCulloch joined the Matagorda Volunteer Company as a private under the command of George M. Collinsworth. On October 9 he fought at Goliad and was severely wounded in the right shoulder during the storming of the Mexican officers' quarters. He was the only Texan wounded in the battle and became known as the first Texan casualty of the revolution. The musketball shattered his right shoulder, left him an invalid for nearly a year, and crippled him for life. Incapacitated by his wound, McCulloch remained at Goliad for three weeks after the battle and was then carried by John Polan to Victoria, where he stayed a short while. He was subsequently transported to his home in Jackson County, where he remained until April 1836, when he and other settlers in the area fled in an attempt to get ahead of the retreating Texan army. On July 8, 1836, after the battle of San Jacinto, a surgeon in the Texan army, possibly Dr. Nicholas D. Labadie, removed the musketball from McCulloch's shoulder.

McCulloch's rights to residence and property in Texas were threatened by the passage of the Constitution of the Republic of Texas in September 1836. This charter contained a provision that barred "Africans [and] the descendants of Africans and Indians" from citizenship, and another that required all free blacks to apply to the Congress for permanent residence in the Republic of Texas. McCulloch petitioned the Texas Congress in 1837 for citizenship for himself and his children and the right to receive grants of land. The petition outlined his service in the Texas army, stated that he had been the first Texan wounded in the revolution, and supported his request for land with the announcement that he had recently become the head of a family. The resolution of his petition was complicated by an act of the Congress, signed into law by President Sam Houston on June 5, 1837, that gave permanent residence rights to all free blacks residing in Texas at the time of the Texas Declaration of Independence. The law granted McCulloch the right to residence and induced the committee on claims and accounts, before which his petition appeared, to put it aside as inexpedient. The committee's action effectively rejected McCulloch's request for citizenship and headright land.

On August 11, 1837, McCulloch married Mary Lorena Vess, the white daughter of Jonathan Vess, who moved to Austin's colony sometime between 1821 and 1824. The McCullochs were never prosecuted for breaking the law against interracial marriage, which had passed two months before as a part of the Act of June 5, 1837. They remained married until Mary's death about November 8, 1847, and had four children. At least one of their sons, Lewis Clark McCulloch, served in the Confederate Army. On February 5, 1840, the Texas Congress passed an act that required all free blacks to leave the republic within two years or be sold into slavery (see ASHWORTH ACT). McCulloch submitted a petition, introduced by Patrick Usher, asking that he, his three sisters, and a relative named Uldy be exempted from the law. On November 10, 1840, a relief bill for the McCullochs passed. Samuel McCulloch fought against Comanche Indians at the battle of Plum Creek on August 11 and 12, 1840. When Mexican general Adrián Woll invaded San Antonio in 1842, McCulloch served as a spy under the command of Col. Clark L. Owen. In 1841 he and his family had moved from Lavaca County to Wallace Prairie in Grimes County, but in 1845 they resettled in Jackson County.

McCulloch became eligible for bounty land by an act of the Texas Congress approved December 18, 1837, which entitled persons permanently disabled in the service of Texas to one-league grants. On December 7, 1850, he located two thirds of his league on Frio Road and the south bank of the Medina River, fourteen miles to the southwest of San Antonio. McCulloch sold a third of his bounty land to John Twohig on October 22, 1851. In 1852 he moved with his family to the region of present-day Von Ormy, in Bexar County, where he lived as a farmer and cattleman. In his later years McCulloch attended reunions and gatherings of old soldiers and pioneers. On April 20 and 21, 1889, he attended the annual reunion of the Texas Veterans Association at Dallas. He died at Von Ormy on November 2, 1893. His name is registered on the Texas Veterans death roll for April 21, 1894."

The Afro-American Texans (San Antonio: University of Texas Institute of Texan Cultures, 1975). Biographies of Texas Veterans (MS, William Physick Zuber Papers, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, University of Texas at Austin). Frank W. Johnson, A History of Texas and Texans (5 vols., ed. E. C. Barker and E. W. Winkler [Chicago and New York: American Historical Society, 1914; rpt. 1916]). Harold Schoen, "The Free Negro in the Republic of Texas," Southwestern Historical Quarterly 39–41 (April 1936-July 1937).


"In May 1835, Samuel McCulloch Jr., born free in South Carolina in 1810, came to Texas with his three sisters and their white father. Five months later, McCulloch joined George M. Collinsworth's command in their attack on the Mexican garrison at Goliad. McCulloch suffered a severe shoulder wound. His was the first blood shed in the cause of Texas independence."


An online deed, number 92871, filed October 7, 1916, of Bexar county Deed  Book   495, page 217, Estate of Samuel McCulloch Jr, Affidavit of Heirship, says that "...W.R. McCulloch, L. C. McCulloch, Mary R. McCulloch and Andrew J. McCulloch were his only heirs." online deed of February 7, 1949 , in Bexar county Deed Book 2639, Page 490  says that Everett D. McCulloch, Frank S.G. McCulloch and Robert J. McCulloch are the only surviving children of W.R. McCulloch and wife French Gray, and that W.R. McCulloch died in Bexar county, Texas on April 3, 1927.

So, Frank S.G. McCulloch was a grandson of Samuel McCulloch Jr.. says Frank S.G. McCulloch was born August 4, 1883 and died March 31, 1962.  Apparently he was born in South Bexar county, a few miles north of Somerset.

On February 5, 1918  W. R. McCulloch deeded half of his homestead to Frank S.G. McCulloch, 140 acres, shown in Book 528, Page 457
A deed from Everett D. and Frank S.G. McCulloch and others to R.J. McCulloch, February 7, 1949, Book 2639, Page 485  describes 70 acres out of the John Christopher Survey Number 55, Abstract Number 154, in County Block 4030.  These online Bexar county land transactions do not always tell the whole story of a family's land ownership. W.R. McCulloch probably inherited land from the Samuel McCulloch tract which is just west of the John Christopher land.  I do not know why he made his homestead on the Christpher tract rather than on his father's land.

In the 1940 online census for Bexar county Precinct 5, Enumeration District 15-27, Image 25, the family of Frank McCulloch is shown.  Frank is age 56, his wife Annie, 47 and the children are as follows:

William  26
Raymond 24
Richard 20
Leary 18
Walter 16
Lawrence 14
John 12
Alton 10
Dorothy 8

Frank or Frank S. G. McCulloch is, in the records I found, the son of W.R. McCulloch and grandson of Samuel McCullock Jr.


Which is an online map of Bexar county land surveys for 1897, the Eugene. R. Norris tract (called the S.R. Morris tract) is shown lying above the A.M. Pyron tract (being the earlier George Mudd tact; the A.M. Pyron tact is spelled the A.M. Payne tract).  Then, above the E.R. Norris tract is the M. Dawees tract and above it the J. Kenney tract. And above the J. Kenney tract is the W.R. McCulloch tract, which is at least one of the McCulloch lands involved in the online transactions.  This W.R. McCulloch tract was his homestead and half of it was deeded to Frank S.G. McCulloch in 1918.  It appears to include  the Frank McCulloch home place on Jackel Road, north of Somerset, near Elm Creek.

On the 1887 Bexar county map of land surveys

the John Christopher Republic of Texas land grant is shown next to and just west of the larger Fancisco Rolen Spanish Land Grant.  The John Christopher grant, Survey 55, runs north toward the Medina from its south border with the George W. Mudd tract.  But just north of Elm Creek (called Cottonwood Creek on the map) the Chistopher tract stops and the Stephen Jett tact continues on north to the Medina close to Von Ormy.

Note that the W.R. McCulloch tract  north of the Eugene Norris tract, within the strip which is the John Chistopher land grant, is almost due north of what became Somerset.  The Somerset Road to San Antonio veers off to the northeast, so that the original McCulloch lands are west of Somerset Road.

Samuel McCulloch was given a Republic of Texas Land Grant.  See

"the relief of sam mcculloch

Section 1:
Be it enacted by the Legislature of the State of Texas, That the Commissioner of the General Land Office
be, and he is hereby authorized and required, to issue to Samuel McCulloch, a certificate for one league
and one labor of land, which may be located, surveyed and patented upon any vacant and unappropriated
land of this State; and that this act take effect from and after its passage.
Approved, January 21st, 1858"

30-VOL. II.

Concerning certain Free Persons of Color.
Sec. 1. Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives
of the Republic of Texas, in Congress assembled, That Samuel
McCulloch, jr., and his three sisters, to wit:-Jane, Harriet and
Mahaly, and their descendants, better known as the free children
of Samuel McCulloch, senr., now in the Republic of Texas, together
with a free colored girl, known by the name of Ulde or Huldir, a
member of said McCulloch's family, be, and the same are hereby
from henceforth, exempted from all the provisions of "an act concerning
free persons of color," approved fifth of February, one
thousand eight hundred and forty.
Laws of the Republic of Texas. 5
Sec. 2. Be it further enacted, That the aforesaid free persons,
be, and hereby from henceforth, are permitted and allowed to continue
their residence within the bounds of the Republic of Texas.
Speaker of the House of Representatives.
President pro tem. of the Senate.
Approved December 15th, 1840.

"The land now encompassing the City of Von Ormy ended up being granted to Sam McCulloch,...McCulloch arrived in Texas as a slave.  His father and owner freed him and McCulloch served in the Texian Army, being severely founded at the Battle of Gonzales.  When the Republic of Texas gave free blacks two years to leave Texas or revert to a state of slavery, McCulloch appealed to President Houston and eventually received an exemption for himself and his family, which required an Act of Congress. (see Petition No. 11584105, Republic of Texas Memorials and Petitions, State Archives, Austin Texas).  The area around the McCulloh homestead became known as Mann’s Crossing."

Above it says  that "His father (the father of Samuel McCulloch) owned him, but gave him his freedom.   Samuel McCulloch is said on one site -  see below - to be the son of Henry  Eustace  McCulloch.

"a soldier in the Texas Revolution, a Texas Ranger, and a brigadier general in the army of the Confederate States during the American Civil War."


they say "Ben McCulloch, the elder brother of Henry E. McCulloch, followed his neighbor, “Davy” Crockett, to Texas in time to see action at the Battle of San Jacinto where he joined the artillery crew of one of the “Twin Sisters”, two cannons used in that battle.  Ben McCulloch is depicted in the William Henry Huddle painting of the surrender of Mexican General Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna at San Jacinto on April 22, 1836.  The painting has been on display in the first floor south wing of the Texas State Capitol since February 1891."

"In addition to being the nephew of Benjamin, Samuel McCulloch was also the son of Henry Eustace McCulloch.  Henry, like his famous brother, was an early pioneer of the state, a distinguished Texas Ranger, a Confederate brigadier general, served in the state legislature (both houses), was a United States Marshall and the superintendent of the Texas School for the Deaf.  Henry and Ben were sons of Alexander and Frances (Lenoir) McCulloch and have the distinction of being the only brothers to serve as general officers in the Confederate army."

But on 

it says that Samuel McCulloch was the son of Samuel McCulloch Sr.   More research appears to be necessary.


Then, on the site,  they say that "Samuel James McCulloch Jr. was a son born to Samuel James McCulloch Sr. and a black slave, in the Abbeville District of South Carolina. In 1815 he moved to Greene County, Alabama, with his father and some of his slaves. It was there that his three sisters (Jane, Harriett, and Mahaly) were born, who also were born to slave mothers. In May of 1835 Sam McCulloch Sr. moved the family to Texas and settled on the Lavaca River in what is now Jackson County, Texas.
On October 5th, 1835 Sam Jr. joined the Matagorda Volunteer Company as a private to fight for Texas in the Revolution. Four days later, on the 9th of October, Samuel McCulloch Jr. and fifty other men attacked the Mexican Army at Goliad. He was the first person to enter the fort, and he was wounded with a musket ball to his right shoulder. He was severely hurt and taken by wagon to his father's home to recuperate. In April of 1836 his family had to flee their home to escape Santa Ana's army. Sam was in recovery for over a year and he remained handicapped for the rest of his life.
In 1840, even though he had a disability, Sam Jr fought in the Battle of Plum Creek against the Commanche Indians, and he served as a spy in the Republic of Texas Army during Mexico's invasion of San Antonio in 1842.
Sam McCulloch Jr. married Lorena Vess in Jackson County, Texas on August 11, 1837. Lorena died in November of 1847, soon after giving birth to twins Andrew and Mary. She was buried on their farm in Jackson County, Texas.
The couple were parents to:
Samuel J. McCulloch III
William Robert McCulloch
Louis Clark McCulloch
Andrew Jackson McCulloch
Mary McCulloch
Samuel McCulloch Jr moved his family to Bexar County, and settled on land he finally was granted for his service to the Republic of Texas. He was awarded land on the Medina River in Bexar County, south of San Antonio. He lived there until his death in 1893. The family is buried in the Samuel McCulloch Historic Cemetery, located on the southwest bank of the Medina River.
Family links: 
  Samuel James McCulloch (1782 - 1855)
  Mary Lorena Vess McCulloch (1815 - 1847)
  James Samuel McCulloch (1838 - 1859)*
  William Robert McCulloch (1839 - 1927)*
  Louis Clarke McCulloch (1841 - 1919)*
  Andrew Jackson McCulloch (1847 - 1912)*

On  the children of William Robert McCulloch are listed as:  Margaret J. McCulloch (1876 - 1876)*
  Everett Douglas McCulloch (1877 - 1964)*
  Francis S.G. McCulloch (1883 - 1962)*
  Myrtle Mae McCulloch Wooten (1885 - 1937)*
  George Henry McCulloch (1889 - 1946)*
  Robert Jackson McCulloch (1891 - 1977)*

So, the W.R. McCulloch of the online Bexar county land transactions is William Robert McCulloch, father of Francis or Frank S.G. McCulloch.

There is more on the ancestry of Samuel McCulloch Jr on

"Born in 1810 in the Abbeville District of SC to Samuel McCulloch Sr. (a white man) and (apparently) to Peggy a mulatto. In 1815 his father moved the family to Montgomery, AL.  In 1835 they moved to Texas and settled on the Lavaca River (Samuel Sr. was shown as a single man)...........In 1852 the family relocated to Von Ormy, Bexar Co........He married Mary Lorena VESS 11 AUG 1837, daughter of Jonathan VESS. She was born ABT 1815 in TX, and died 08 NOV 1847 in Jackson Co., TX. "


"Samuel James McCulloch Sr.   Son of James McCulloch.   Born 15 Nov 1782 in SC   In May 1835 he came to the Austin ColonyListed in Austin Colony records as a single white man, with free black son, Samuel Jr. and daughters, Jane, Harriet and Mahaly.

The family settled on the Lavaca River, the children were considered free blacks.  Died 11 Feb 1855 in Bexar Co., TX    Buried Samuel McCulloch Jr. Cemetery, Von Ormy, Bexar Co. Peggy Born about 1797 in NC  Rose Ann Born about 1801 in the Abbeville District of SC.  Peggy and Rose Ann are listed in the census as Mulattos."

"Children of Samuel:

 Samuel McCulloch Jr. b. 10 Oct 1810 in Abbeville District, SC (unknown mother)d. 3 Nov 1893 in Von Ormy, Bexar Co. m. Mary Lorena Vess 11 Aug 1837 daughter of Jonathan and Elizabeth Vess  b. abt. 1815d. 8 Nov 1847, Jackson Co., TX

 Jane McCulloch b. abt. 1820 in AL (mother Rose Ann) d. 1886 in TX, buried in the McCulloch Cemetery, Bexar Co m. Stanford Lindsey Sr.

Harriett McCulloch  b. abt. 1820 in Greene Co., AL (mother Rose Ann)  m. John F. Reynolds

 Mahala McCulloch b. abt. 1822 (mother Peggy) d. bet. 1846 and 1850 in Jackson Co., T m. Peter White (father of Margaret that married Lewis Lacey)

Margaret ‘Hulda’ McCulloch b. abt. 1823 (mother Rose Ann)  d. m. John C. Mellus m. ______ Banks *Source: Kevin McCulloch  E-mail from Kevin McCulloch, 02-12-2006"

The Samuel McCulloch Republic of Texas Land Grant came down a little south of Elm Creek, and it bordered the John Christopher Republic of Texas Grant a bit.  The John Christopher grant was the next strip of land to the east of the Samuel McCulloch tract, or Survey number 54.  The John Chistopher tract was Survey number 55, while the Francisco Rolen Spanish Land Grant, to the east, bordering the Christopher grant was Bexar County Survey Number 48.

The online Bexar county, Texas plat map of land surveys with the names of the owners for 1887 - which shows the Francisco Rolen, John Christopher, George W. Mudd, (by 1882 the A.M. Pyron tract) and Samuel McCulloch Jr.  tracts - is found at:

Click on the map to enlarge it.  Look south of San Antonio and find the Medina River.  The Francisco Rolen Spanish Land Grant is a fairly wide strip and runs a long way south from the Medina.  The other tracts of interest here are west of the Rolen grant.



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