The Handbook of Texas is free-to-use thanks to the support of readers like you. Support the Handbook today.

Font size: A / A reset

English, William (ca. 1786–ca. 1836)

Richard D. English Biography Entry

William English, early settler, was born in North Carolina or Tennessee, the son of Elizabeth (Denton) and James English. He married Elizabeth Tittle, daughter of George and Mary Cooper Tittle; they had three children, including George English. They separated about 1813 and were divorced by the Tennessee legislature. By 1818 English had married Myra Anderson, daughter of Wyatt and Nancy (McFadden) Anderson; they had ten children. In 1818 English moved to the Ayish Bayou District, presently the area of San Augustine, Texas. On February 18, 1821, he and fifteen other men swore their allegiance to Spain and became Spanish citizens. On July 16, 1821, Stephen F. Austin breakfasted at English's house on his first full day in Texas. During the 1820s eight brothers and one sister of William English settled in Texas. By 1826 he and his relatives had moved to the area near Shelbyville and Patroon Creek in what is now Shelby County. Among their neighbors were Jonas Harrison and Emory Rains. English was a participant in the Fredonian Rebellion. When this insurrection had been put down by the Mexican government, he fled with his family to exile in Natchitoches, Louisiana, stayed for about a year, and returned to Texas. He was a delegate to the conventions of 1832 and 1833. He was also perhaps a member of the legislature of Coahuila and Texas in 1835. He purchased many tracts of land, including the Pelham Humphries league in Jefferson County, where oil was discovered in 1901 (see SPINDLETOP OILFIELD). English died in the winter of 1836–37 in Shelby County.

George L. Crocket, Two Centuries in East Texas (Dallas: Southwest, 1932; facsimile reprod. 1962). Houston County Historical Commission, History of Houston County, Texas, 1687–1979 (Tulsa, Oklahoma: Heritage, 1979). Gifford E. White, Character Certificates in the General Land Office of Texas (1985). Gifford E. White, 1830 Citizens of Texas (Austin: Eakin, 1983).

Time Periods:

  • Mexican Texas

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

Richard D. English, “English, William,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed July 31, 2021,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

June 14, 2017

This entry belongs to the following Handbook Special Projects: