Boatwright, Thomas (1760–ca. 1830)

By: John G. Gilleland and Thomas R. Underwood, Jr.

Type: Biography

Published: 1952

Updated: November 1, 1994

Thomas Boatwright, early Texas settler, was born in Virginia, moved to Illinois, and by 1819 was living in old Miller County, Arkansas. In the early fall of 1821 he and his wife, Amy, and their ten children traveled with the Gilleland, Kuykendall, Williams, and Gates families down Trammel's Trace to Nacogdoches. In early December they left for Austin's Spanish land grant and arrived at the La Bahía Crossing on the Brazos River on December 31, 1821. They immediately crossed over into Austin's land grant, traveled ten miles beyond the crossing, and on the last day of 1821 camped beside a flowing stream, now known as New Year Creek, in Washington County, Texas. Here, the families of Thomas Boatwright and Abner Kuykendall settled until they received their land grants in 1824.

On July 27, 1824, Boatwright was granted a league of land now in Austin County, Texas, fronting upon the Brazos River. His son-in-law, Daniel Gilleland, received a grant of a labor in the southeast corner of Boatwright's grant. Neither the Boatwright nor the Gilleland families ever lived on these grants. About 1825 Boatwright and his family returned to Miller County, Arkansas, with numerous other families who had settled in Austin's colony, to protest the United States agreement with the Choctaw Indians that gave to the Indians all of the property owned by these settlers in Miller County, Arkansas. They were unsuccessful in their protests, and the Boatwrights moved to Pope County, Arkansas, where Boatwright died; he was still listed in the 1830 census, but by 1833 his wife was a widow. In 1833 Amy Boatwright and three of her sons, Thomas, Friend, and Richard, were back in Texas making applications for land grants. Mrs. Boatwright was seventy-two. On October 24, 1835, she received a grant of a league then in Montgomery County and now part of Madison County. She died by 1839.

Worth Stickley Ray, Austin Colony Pioneers (Austin: Jenkins, 1949; 2d ed., Austin: Pemberton, 1970).

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

John G. Gilleland and Thomas R. Underwood, Jr., “Boatwright, Thomas,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed August 11, 2022,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

November 1, 1994