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San Antonio lawman and folk painter expires


On this day in 1902, William G. M. Samuel died in San Antonio. He came to Texas sometime in the 1830s and gained a reputation as a fearless Indian fighter with William A. (Bigfoot) Wallace. He also served in Gen. John W. Wool’s Army of Chihuahua in the Mexican War and later as an ordnance officer for the Confederacy. Samuel held various jobs in law enforcement, including the positions of city marshall in San Antonio in 1852 and deputy sheriff in the 1880s and 1890s, but perhaps his true legacy rests in the folk paintings he left behind. Samuel painted a number of portraits, including the likenesses of Bigfoot Wallace, José Antonio Menchaca, and Rip Ford. Two of his oil paintings were exhibited at the San Antonio International Fair in 1888, and his four views of the buildings, landmarks, and daily activities of San Antonio’s Main Plaza preserved a valuable record of the downtown during the mid-nineteenth century.

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