Dodson, Sarah Randolph Bradley (1812–1848)

By: Mary M. Standifer

Type: Biography

Published: 1952

Updated: December 1, 1994

Sarah Dodson, designer of an early lone-star Texas flag, was born on January 8, 1812, the daughter of Edward (or Edwin) R. and Elizabeth Bradley. In 1822 or 1823 her family moved from Kentucky to Texas as part of Stephen F. Austin's Old Three Hundred and settled by the Brazos River on land now in Brazoria County. On May 17, 1835, Sarah married Archelaus Bynum Dodson. The couple moved to Harrisburg, where in September 1835 Dodson was elected first lieutenant of a volunteer company raised to resist the Mexican army. Sarah reportedly volunteered to make a flag for the company during a meeting of citizens at the home of William Plunkett Harris. Lacking silk or bunting, she made the flag out of three colored squares of cotton cloth. The square nearest the flagstaff was blue with a white star centered upon it. The middle square was white, and the outermost square was red. The flag was carried by the Harrisburg company to Gonzales, where an army of Texas colonists was assembling. Between October and December it went with the company through the battle of Concepción and the siege of Bexar, though it is unclear whether the flag was actually carried in battle. The flag was reportedly taken back to Harrisburg when the company returned home, and it is said to have flown over the building where the Convention of 1836 met and declared independence from Mexico. The subsequent history of the flag is unknown. Mrs. Dodson's standard, made in September or October of 1835, thus predates the flag made by Joanna Troutman, which was brought to Texas by Georgia volunteers in December 1835.

Sarah Dodson and her husband took part in the Runaway Scrape, during which she had a daughter. Their home in Harrisburg was probably lost when Antonio López de Santa Anna burned the town. After the revolution they moved to Fort Bend County, and in 1844 they settled in the area of present Grimes County five miles northeast of Bedias, where Archelaus Dodson had located his headright league. There they helped organize a Presbyterian congregation and donated land for the Bethel Church and cemetery. Sarah Dodson and her husband were the parents of five children. Sarah died on October 9, 1848, and was buried in Bethel Cemetery. In September 1935, 100 years after she made her flag, her descendants placed a granite marker at her gravesite.

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Daughters of the Republic of Texas, Founders and Patriots of the Republic of Texas (Austin, 1963-). Louis Wiltz Kemp Papers, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, University of Texas at Austin. Adele B. Looscan, "Harris County, 1822–1845," Southwestern Historical Quarterly 18–19 (October 1914-July 1915). Vertical Files, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, University of Texas at Austin.

  • Women
  • Flagmakers
  • Founders and Pioneers
  • Pioneers
Time Periods:
  • Mexican Texas
  • Texas Revolution

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

Mary M. Standifer, “Dodson, Sarah Randolph Bradley,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed June 26, 2022,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

December 1, 1994

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