Remembering the Alamo

martin-monumentEarly in 1836, nearly two hundred American men lost their lives defending the Alamo in San Antonio, Texas, over the course of a thirteen-day siege. While this event is largely viewed through the lens of Texas and southern American history, several men from New England were involved in the defense and indispensable in the battle. The following men were New Englanders who played a key role in the defense of the Alamo:

Captain Albert Martin

Perhaps the best-known New Englander to serve at the Alamo, Albert Martin was born in Providence, Rhode Island, to Joseph S. Martin and his wife, Abby, on 6 January 1808.[1] Although Joseph S. Martin was a prominent merchant in Rhode Island, a reversal of financial fortunes caused the family, including Albert, to move to New Orleans in 1831, and then to Gonzalez, Texas in 1834. In 1835, Albert Martin, who had received some education at West Point, joined the militia and rose to the rank of captain. (A plea signed by Captain Albert Martin for additional volunteers appeared in the Texas Republican in October 1835.[2])

He fought through the lines of the Mexican siege, and on 1 March 1836 returned to the Alamo with 32 volunteers from Gonzales’ and De Witt’s Companies.[3] He perished in defense of the Alamo on 6 March 1836.[4] Although Martin’s body was likely burned with the other defenders of the Alamo, a monument exists in Providence’s North Burial Ground commemorating his role in the defense, and is Rhode Island’s only memorial to the Alamo.[5] In 2012, he was inducted into the Rhode Island Hall of Fame.[6] Martin’s heirs received 640 acres of land in San Jacinto County as a result of his service from 26 September 1835 to 6 March 1836.[7]

Mills DeForest Andross

Mills DeForest Andross was said to have been born in Bradford, Orange County, Vermont in 1809 to Captain John Andross (the son of Dr. Bildad Andross) and his wife, Rebecca (daughter of Col. John Barron). Mills married Eliza Peabody and went to New Orleans before removing to Texas.[8] In 1836, he was recorded as a resident of San Patricio, Texas, and he served as a rifleman in Captain Blazeby’s Infantry Company. He also served in Lieut. Colonel James Clinton Neill’s command.[9] Little is known about Andross’ life in Vermont or in Texas. It is said that he was taken prisoner with 29 other men at the Alamo, where he was massacred.[10] It is known that he was killed in the siege of the Alamo on 6 March 1836.[11]

John Flanders

John Flanders, who was born c. 1799, likely in Salisbury, Massachusetts, came to Texas by way of New Orleans and was a resident of Gonzalez, Texas, in 1836. John Flanders was the son of Levi Flanders, a Revolutionary War patriot. John Flanders left his home after a disagreement with his father over a business transaction and traveled to New Orleans.[12]

He was one of the 32 men who volunteered at the behest of Captain Albert Martin on 1 March 1836.[13] Flanders served as a private and was among those who died in the siege on 6 March 1836.[14] Despite never having been married or had children, the heirs of John Flanders were granted 1,920 acres of land in Dimmit County, Texas, which they received on 17 October 1851.[15]

William D. Howell

William D. Howell was born in Massachusetts in 1797, but spent much of his life serving as a doctor in New York before relocating to Texas through New Orleans in 1835. Howell was a surgeon who participated in the siege of Bexar and then served in Captain William Blazeby’s Infantry Company at the defense of the Alamo. He died during the defense on 6 March 1836.[16]  William D. Howell was also a member of Thomas H. Breece’s New Orleans Greys.[17] His heirs received 1,920 acres of land in Runnels County on 18 February 1875.[18]

Dr. Amos Pollard

Dr. Amos Pollard, the chief surgeon at the defense of the Alamo, was born on 29 October 1803 in Surry, Cheshire County, New Hampshire, to Jonas and Martha Pollard.[19] Amos Pollard married Fannie Parker in Landgrove, Vermont, and they had one daughter prior to his wife’s death in 1831.[20] At the time of his marriage, Pollard was working in New York City, but he relocated to Texas in 1834.[21] In a letter to the editor of the Liberator, a newspaper in Boston in 1836, Pollard notes that he practiced as a doctor in both Boston and New York and that he was a native of Massachusetts.[22]

Pollard participated in the fight for Gonzalez, the opening battle of the Texas Revolution on 2 October 1835, and on 23 October, Stephen F. Austin appointed Pollard the chief surgeon of his garrison.[23] During the defense of the Alamo, Pollard set up a hospital within the building; he died 6 March 1836, likely defending the Alamo hospital.[24] Amos Pollard is one of the few Alamo defenders to have a portrait created during his lifetime and this portrait now hangs at the Alamo.[25]

Other New Englanders who served at the Alamo include William Linn, Robert E. Cochran of New Hampshire, and Gordon C. Jennings of Connecticut.

Notes

[1] Patrick T. Conley, The Makers of Modern Rhode Island (Charleston, S.C., 2012).

[2] Texas Republican (Brazoria, Texas), 10 October 1835, p. 2.

[3] John Henry Brown, History of Texas; from 1685 to 1892, 2 vols. (St. Louis, Mo., 1892–93), 1: 565.

[4] Conley, The Makers of Modern Rhode Island.

[5] Rhode Island Historical Cemetery Commission, Gravestone of Albert Martin, North Burial Ground, Providence, Rhode Island.

[6] Rhode Island Heritage Hall of Fame entry for Captain Albert Martin, http://www.riheritagehalloffame.org/inductees_detail.cfm?crit=det&iid=679.

[7] Thomas Lloyd Miller, Bounty and Donation Land Grants of Texas, 1835-1888 (Austin, Texas, 1967), p. 437.

[8] Rev. Silas McKeen, A History of Bradford, Vermont (Montpelier, Vt., 1875), pp. 177-78.

[9] Texas State Historical Association, Entry for Mills DeForest Andross, https://tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/fan46.

[10] McKeen, A History of Bradford, Vermont, pp. 177-78.

[11] Mary Deborah Petite, 1836 Facts about the Alamo and the Texas War for Independence (1999), p. 62.

[12] Daughters of the American Revolution, The Alamo Heroes and Their Revolutionary Ancestors (San Antonio, Texas, 1976), p. 23.

[13] Texas State Historical Association, Entry for John Flanders, https://tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/ffl38.

[14] Leonora Bennett, Historical Sketch and Guide to the Alamo (San Antonio, Texas, 1904), p. 130.

[15] Miller, Bounty and Donation Land Grants of Texas, 1835-1888, p. 266.

[16] Texas State Historical Association, Entry for William D. Howell, https://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/fhobf.

[17] Thomas Ricks Lindley, Alamo Traces: New Evidence and New Conclusions (Lanham, Md., 2003), p. 143.

[18] Miller, Bounty and Donation Land Grants of Texas, 1835-1888.

[19] Surry History Committee, Surry (Charleston, S.C., 2003), p. 26.

[20] Texas State Historical Association, Entry for Dr. Amos Pollard, https://tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/fpo08.

[21] Ibid.

[22] Letter from Columbia, Texas, in Liberator, 16 May 1835, vol. 5, Issue 20, p. 77.

[23] Texas State Historical Association, Entry for Dr. Amos Pollard, https://tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/fpo08.

[24] Ibid.

[25] Ibid.

About Zachary Garceau

Zack Garceau is a Researcher at the New England Historic Genealogical Society. He joined the research staff after receiving a Masters Degree in Historical Studies with a concentration in Public History from the University of Maryland-Baltimore County and a BA in history from the University of Rhode Island. He specializes in French-Canadian Genealogy and Sports History.

4 thoughts on “Remembering the Alamo

  1. Zachary, Thanks for your interesting article. Would you know whether there was a particular migration pattern to gulf areas such as New Orleans and Texas in the 1830s, possibly as the result of advertising in newspapers? Is there something about that time period? Just wondering whether these issues came up in your searches…. Many thanks.

  2. Zachary, I’ve been researching Dr. Amos Pollard for some time, as he was a distant cousin of mine. I would like to discuss some of the details of your profile of him, and would appreciate it if you could contact me by email. Thanks so much.

  3. The Alamo has such an aura of righteous mystique about it that we’ve forgotten that the story is much more complex- on both the Mexican and the Texian sides- than the story we keep repeating and expanding. My childhood was spent hearing “Remember the Alamo” and hearing stories about the rest of it. I wonder if it is not time for America to become more honest with itself about this part of American history, as we have begun to be about other parts of our history, albeit reluctantly?

  4. Capt Albert Martin was also a graduate of the American Literary Scientific and Military Academy, now known as Norwich University. Norwich is also the nations oldest military college

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