English, Levi (1817–1894)

By: John Leffler

Revised by: Brett J. Derbes

Type: Biography

Published: January 1, 1995

Updated: March 14, 2018

Levi English, pioneer, cattleman, and one of the first settlers of Dimmit County, was born in Little Rock, Arkansas, on August 25, 1817, to Bailey Inglish and Susanna Walker. His mother died while he was an infant, and his father married Jane Sloan. The family lived near the Clear Creek settlement on the Red River in Miller County, Arkansas, until the death of Jane Sloan in 1835. According to his son Jake, lived for perhaps six months with a group of Comanche Indians. Family tradition says that English served as a scout for the Texas Rangers after leaving the Comanches and participated in several battles against Indians. In the winter of 1836 Bailey Inglish moved his family to Fannin County, Texas. According to his son, he also fought in the battle of San Jacinto, though no record of his service can be found. He married Matilda Jane Burleson on February 22, 1839, and the couple had eleven children. In May 1851, he divorced his wife for suspected infidelity and a few days later she married Major Ross Byers. On May 28, English shot and killed Major Ross Byers in Lockhart. By the 1850s English had become a cattleman and a leader of a frontier community in Atascosa County, where he served as a county commissioner in 1856. From August 6, 1855, to November 13, 1855, he served as a captain of mounted volunteers in Bexar County. He enlisted in a company of Minute Men for Atascosa County under the command of Captain Benjamin Slaughter on November 2, 1861. He re-enlisted for six months on November 16, 1863, as a first lieutenant in a company of mounted volunteers from Frio City. In 1865 he led a group of fifteen families into what is now Dimmit County and established a settlement at Carrizo Springs. In 1880, when Dimmit County was organized and Carrizo Springs became the county seat, English donated land to the town for churches, schools, and a courthouse square. English died in Carrizo Springs on May 14, 1894, and was buried at Mount Hope Cemetery.

Civilian and Galveston Gazette, June 17, 1851. Daughters of the Republic of Texas, Muster Rolls of the Texas Revolution (Austin, 1986). Laura Knowlton Tidwell, Dimmit County Mesquite Roots (Austin: Wind River, 1984). Vertical Files, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, University of Texas at Austin. Northern Standard, July 12, 1851. San Antonio Ledger and Texan, January 28, 1860.

  • Ranching and Cowboys
  • Ranchers and Cattlemen
  • Military
  • Soldiers
  • Confederate Military
Time Periods:
  • Antebellum Texas
  • Civil War
  • Reconstruction

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

John Leffler Revised by Brett J. Derbes, “English, Levi,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed May 19, 2022, https://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/entries/english-levi.

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January 1, 1995
March 14, 2018

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