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DeWalt, Kerr Boyce (1819–1891)

Aragorn Storm Miller Biography Entry

Kerr Boyce DeWalt, farmer and Confederate officer, was born in Newberry District, South Carolina, on September 22, 1819, the son of Daniel and Sarah Elizabeth (Waters). DeWalt remained in South Carolina throughout his youth. In 1841 he was a non-graduate of the U. S. Military Academy at West Point. In 1840 DeWalt married Mary Magdalene Hair in Newberry, South Carolina. DeWalt and his family moved to Texas in 1846 and stayed briefly in Fort Bend County before settling in Polk County at Menard Creek a few miles east of Livingston. By 1850 he worked as a farmer and owned seven slaves

In 1860 DeWalt was a prosperous farmer who owned fourteen slaves. When the Civil War began DeWalt was among the first citizens of Polk County to volunteer for service to the Confederacy. He was elected lieutenant of the first company raised by the county and eventually joined Company B of the First Texas Infantry Regiment on May 16, 1861. In September 1861 company captain D. D. Moore resigned, and DeWalt received promotion. When his enlistment expired in May 1862, DeWalt returned home and served as major for the Texas Reserve Corps. In the autumn of 1863, DeWalt was assigned as colonel and commander of the newly-formed First Infantry Regiment, Texas State Troops. DeWalt's service with this unit included the guarding of Federal prisoners at Hempstead and coastal artillery duty at Beaumont and Sabine Pass. DeWalt died in Polk County on April 25, 1891, and was buried at Old City Cemetery in Livingston.

Ron Brothers, comp., "Texas Regiments and Units in the Confederate Army" (, accessed March 9, 2011. City of Livingston, Texas: History (, accessed March 9, 2011. Field Officers Serving in Texas Confederate Regiments (, accessed March 8, 2011. Harry M. Henderson, Texas in the Confederacy (San Antonio: Naylor, 1955). Historical Polk County, Texas: Companies and Soldiers Organized in and Enrolled from Said County in Confederate States Army and Navy, 1861-1865 (Livingston, Texas: Polk County Enterprise Printers, 1901). James A. Mundie, Jr., with Bruce S. Allardice, Dean E. Letzring, and John H. Luckey, Texas Burial Sites of Civil War Notables: A Biographical and Pictorial Field Guide (Hillsboro, Texas: Hill College Press, 2002). Ruth Peebles, There Never Were Such Men Before: The Civil War Soldiers and Veterans of Polk County, Texas, 1861-1865 (Livingston, Texas: Polk County Historical Commission, 1987).

Time Periods:

  • Civil War

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

Aragorn Storm Miller, “DeWalt, Kerr Boyce,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed January 21, 2021,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

This entry belongs to the following Handbook Special Projects: