Crawford, Robert (1815–1888)

By: Thomas W. Cutrer

Type: Biography

Published: 1952

Updated: August 5, 2020

Robert Crawford, Methodist minister and soldier, was born in the Abbeville District of South Carolina on May 15, 1815, and moved with his family to Tennessee as a boy. He became a Methodist on September 22, 1834, and moved to Texas in 1835. At Nacogdoches on January 14, 1836, he enlisted for six months in the Volunteer Auxiliary Corps. At the battle of San Jacinto he served as a private in Capt. Robert James Calder's Company K of Col. Edward Burleson's First Regiment, Texas Volunteers.

Crawford is said to have assisted in the construction of the first Methodist church west of the Mississippi River, that at Washington-on-the-Brazos, during the winter of 1837–38, and was licensed to "exhort" on March 18, 1838. He was a pallbearer for Martin Ruter. He was licensed to preach on September 14, 1839. In 1840 he was living in Fayette County and owned four town lots in Rutersville, one slave, and a metal clock. On November 5 he became a charter trustee of Rutersville College. On December 25 of that year he was present at the organizational meeting of the Texas Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church, where he was assigned to the pulpit at Nashville-on-the-Brazos.

Lewis W. Kemp and Sam Houston Dixon, in Heroes of San Jacinto, wrongly identify Crawford as the Robert M. Crawford who served as a private in Capt. William S. Fisher's company on the Mier expedition. This Crawford escaped from captivity in Mexico City while doing forced labor on the Tacubaya road. But at the time of the battle of Mier, Rev. Robert Crawford was attending the Methodist convention of December 22–27, 1842, which transferred him to the Methodist mission at Victoria.

In 1850 Crawford was living in Fannin County. He is said to have graduated "late in life" from medical school in Galveston. In 1874 he retired from the pulpit of the Northwest Texas Conference of the Methodist Church. He died on December 5, 1888, in the Robertson County community of Franklin and was survived by his wife and four children. He was a member of the Texas Veterans Association.

Dallas Morning News, December 6, 1888. Daughters of the Republic of Texas, Muster Rolls of the Texas Revolution (Austin, 1986). Sam Houston Dixon and Louis Wiltz Kemp, The Heroes of San Jacinto (Houston: Anson Jones, 1932). Thomas J. Green, Journal of the Texian Expedition Against Mier (New York: Harper, 1845; rpt., Austin: Steck, 1935). Texas Christian Advocate, December 13, 1888.


  • Religion
  • Methodist

Time Periods:

  • Texas Revolution

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

Thomas W. Cutrer, “Crawford, Robert,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed October 24, 2021,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

August 5, 2020