Dalrymple, William Cornelius (1814–1898)

By: Carolyn Hyman

Type: Biography

Published: 1952

Updated: September 9, 2020

William Cornelius Dalrymple, soldier, politician, lawyer, and surveyor, was born in Moore County, North Carolina, on August 3, 1814, the son of James and Rosanna (Dawd) Dalrymple. About 1835 he moved to Texas. He served on ranger scouting duties on the Brazos River in 1837 and in 1839 was stationed at Austin as a guard for the builders of the first government cabins. In 1840 he married Elizabeth Wilbarger and settled on a farm north of Austin. In 1842 he served under Gen. Edward Burleson in repelling the invasion of Rafael Vásquez.

In 1846 Dalrymple settled on the San Gabriel River, and in 1848 he was appointed one of the commissioners to determine the site of the Williamson county seat. He became the first assessor and collector of taxes when the county was organized and held that position until 1852. He also represented the county in the Sixth and Seventh legislatures. Although Dalrymple engaged primarily in farming, he reentered the ranger service in 1859 and was ordered to raise a company of rangers for service on the frontier; he commanded this company until June 1862. During the later part of the Civil War he served with the Confederate Army in Arkansas.

At the end of the war he returned to Williamson County and worked as a surveyor and attorney in Georgetown while pursuing various other activities. Between December 1866 and May 1867 Dalrymple and prospector Jacob Snively led two expeditions to investigate reports of gold in the Rio Grande country. The first group disbanded after Indians killed their horses and wounded Dalrymple and a number of others near Camp Colorado in Coleman County. A reorganized expedition set out in the spring and prospected unsuccessfully in the Rio Grande country. Dalrymple represented Williamson and Travis counties in the Constitutional Convention of 1866 and in the Senate of the Eleventh Legislature. He was an outspoken opponent of Black equality and suffrage and favored restricting Blacks to "the station of `hewers of wood and drawers of water'." In 1871 he assisted in the negotiations with the Methodist Church that brought Southwestern University to Georgetown. Dalrymple died at his home in Georgetown on March 29, 1898, and was buried in the city cemetery.

History of Texas, Together with a Biographical History of Milam, Williamson, Bastrop, Travis, Lee and Burleson Counties (Chicago: Lewis, 1893). Clara Stearns Scarbrough, Land of Good Water: A Williamson County History (Georgetown, Texas: Williamson County Sun Publishers, 1973).

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

Carolyn Hyman, “Dalrymple, William Cornelius,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed October 25, 2021, https://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/entries/dalrymple-william-cornelius.

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

September 9, 2020