Barron, Thomas Hudson (1796–1874)

By: Theron Palmer

Type: Biography

Published: November 1, 1994

Updated: September 30, 2020

Thomas Hudson Barron, early settler and Texas Ranger, son of Susan (Mattingly) and John M. Barron, was born on March 8, 1796, in Virginia. The family lived in Hardin County, Kentucky, in the early 1800s. He enlisted in the Kentucky militia at Leitchfield, Kentucky, on November 15, 1814, and participated in the battle of New Orleans on January 8, 1815. He received for his service a bounty grant of 160 acres. By 1817 he was one of the early settlers on the upper Red River in the area of Miller County, Arkansas. He married Elizabeth Curnell in Arkansas on February 20, 1820. In late 1821 Barron, his wife, and first child passed through Nacogdoches with several of the first of Stephen F. Austin's Old Three Hundred colonists. Barron was a member of the Austin colony for a year before returning to Arkansas Territory. He was commissioned magistrate of Jefferson Township, Miller County, on March 8, 1826. He appears on the tax records for Hempstead County, Arkansas, in 1828, 1829, 1830, and in the census for Hempstead County in 1830.

In January 1831 he returned to Texas, according to Austin's Register of Families. In 1832 he received from Austin a grant of one league of land in Brazos County, located east of Edge on the Old San Antonio Road. During this period Barron contracted to settle at Nashville in Sterling C. Robertson's colony. He was granted twenty-four labores of land now in McLennan County on March 25, 1835, and one labor near the site of present Viesca on June 10, 1835. Throughout his career Barron was active in defense of the frontier. From before until after the Texas Revolution he served as captain of Texas Rangers at Viesca, Nashville, Washington-on-the Brazos, and Tenoxtitlán, where he was commandant. In January 1836 a ranging company was formed at Viesca with Sterling C. Robertson as captain and Barron as sergeant. Soon thereafter, Barron was promoted to captain. As the struggle for Texas independence heightened, Barron, now in middle age, was allowed to return home to assist in moving families and slaves ahead of the advancing Mexican front in the Runaway Scrape. At the battle of San Jacinto on April 21, 1836, his company, in his absence, was commanded by Lt. Albert G. Gholson.

Early in 1837 Barron's company of rangers established Fort Fisher at Waco Village on the Brazos, at a site within the city limits of present Waco. The reconstructed post is now the site of the headquarters of Company F of the Texas Rangers and the Texas Ranger Hall of Fame and Museum. At Independence, also in 1837, Barron built a house later purchased by Sam Houston. In 1847 Barron homesteaded 320 acres on the Brazos and built the first White homestead on Waco grounds. His daughter Mozilla was the first White child born in the Waco settlement, on January 7, 1850, although another child was the first White born within the formal city limits. On April 14, 1851, Barron, as clerk, opened the first district court of McLennan County, with Judge Robert E. B. Baylor presiding. In 1857 or 1858 Barron opened a steam mill on Barron's Branch in Waco, using the bolting system to grind wheat and corn. Machinery for carding wool and cotton was added in 1860. Throughout much of the 1860s Barron served as tax assessor-collector of McLennan County. A street, an elementary school, a creek, and Barron Springs in Waco were named for him.

Barron and his first wife had twelve children, and he and his second wife had ten children. Three of his sons served in the Confederacy during the Civil War. Late in his life he moved to Falls County, near Blevins. He died on February 2, 1874, at the home of his daughter Mozilla Mixson in Mastersville (now Bruceville-Eddy). His remains were moved in December 1976 to First Street Cemetery, Waco, beside the entrance to old Fort Fisher and the Texas Ranger Hall of Fame.

Malcolm D. McLean, comp. and ed., Papers Concerning Robertson's Colony in Texas (19 vols., Arlington: University of Texas at Arlington Press, 1974–93). William Robert Poage, McLennan County Before 1980 (Waco: Texian, 1981). Villamae Williams, Stephen F. Austin's Register of Families (Nacogdoches, Texas: Ericson, 1984).

Time Periods:
  • Mexican Texas
  • Republic of Texas

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.

Theron Palmer, “Barron, Thomas Hudson,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed July 07, 2022,

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November 1, 1994
September 30, 2020

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