Boylan, James D. (unknown–unknown)

By: L. W. Kemp

Type: Biography

Published: 1952

Updated: November 1, 1994

James D. Boylan became commander of the Passaic on August 28, 1836, and used the ship in defensive operations with the Texas Navy, which bought it, recommissioned it, and renamed it the Viper. Boylan was commissioned captain on November 12, 1836. On May 22, 1837, he was nominated for commandant of the Texas Navy, but the nomination was postponed and, on June 1, 1837, was rejected. In July 1837 he was with the fleet off the Yucatán coast and on July 24 went ashore at Chilbona. He explored the main islands in the Alacráns, hoisted the Texas flag, and took possession in the name of the government. In September he was commended for his services by Samuel Rhoads Fisher, secretary of the navy. On October 4, 1837, the Senate, hearing that Boylan, then captain of the Brutus, had been authorized to depart on a cruise, ordered his arrest. In December, President Sam Houston explained that he had retained Boylan because he had recruited the crew for the Brutus and his dismissal would occasion too much unrest in the navy. On April 10, 1839, Boylan applied to President Mirabeau B. Lamar for appointment to the navy, but apparently his request was not granted, for he went to Yucatán and was commander of the Yucatán flotilla in May 1842 when it cooperated with the Texas fleet against Mexico.

William Campbell Binkley, ed., Official Correspondence of the Texan Revolution, 1835–1836 (2 vols., New York: Appleton-Century, 1936). Jim Dan Hill, The Texas Navy (New York: Barnes, 1962). Amelia W. Williams and Eugene C. Barker, eds., The Writings of Sam Houston, 1813–1863 (8 vols., Austin: University of Texas Press, 1938–43; rpt., Austin and New York: Pemberton Press, 1970).
Time Periods:
  • Texas Revolution

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

L. W. Kemp, “Boylan, James D.,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed May 29, 2022,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

November 1, 1994