Nicholas Mosby Dawson, hero of the Texas Revolution, was born in Woolford, Kentucky, in 1808. He later moved with his parents to White County, Tennessee, where he attended school. He moved to Texas in 1834 and settled in Fayette County near the home of a relative, William Mosby Eastland. Dawson enlisted in the revolutionary army on January 24, 1836, and within a week was elected to the rank of second lieutenant of Company B, Texas Volunteers. He participated in the battle of San Jacinto. He served as captain of a militia company in 1840 during an Indian campaign in what is now Mitchell County. In August 1837 he was a lieutenant in Company C and in 1842 was captain of a company of volunteers under John H. Moore. He was residing in Fayette County when Adrián Woll invaded Texas in the fall of 1842. Dawson organized a small company of some fifteen men and left La Grange on September 16, 1842. Soon his company numbered fifty-three men, recruited from settlements in Fayette, Gonzales, and DeWitt counties. While attempting to join Texas forces under Mathew Caldwell on Salado Creek (see SALADO CREEK, BATTLE OF) near San Antonio, Dawson and his men were surrounded by a large number of Mexican cavalry on September 18. The following battle, known as the Dawson Massacre, resulted in the death or capture of nearly all the Texans. Dawson was among the casualties. On September 18, 1848, his remains and those of thirty-five other victims of the battle were buried along with casualties from the Mier expedition in a vault on Monument Hill near La Grange. Dawson County is named for Nicholas Dawson.
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Sam Houston Dixon and Louis Wiltz Kemp, The Heroes of San Jacinto (Houston: Anson Jones, 1932). Zachary T. Fulmore, History and Geography of Texas As Told in County Names (Austin: Steck, 1915; facsimile, 1935). Houston Wade, comp., The Dawson Men of Fayette County (Houston, 1932).
Republic of Texas
The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.
Charles G. Davis,
“Dawson, Nicholas Mosby,”
Handbook of Texas Online,
accessed June 25, 2022,
Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
Original Publication Date:
Most Recent Revision Date:
December 1, 1994