Frazer, George Milton (1828–1908)

By: Matthew K. Hamilton

Type: Biography

Published: December 20, 2012

George Milton Frazer, Mexican War veteran, wagon master, miner, hotel owner, farmer, and Confederate military officer, was born on January 5, 1828, in Brownsville, Haywood County, Tennessee. The fifth of seven children born to Harmon and Martha (Wallace) Frazer, George migrated with his family to Texas on June 1, 1835, where they settled in San Augustine and later in Sabine County.

Upon the outbreak of the Mexican War, Frazer enlisted as a fourth corporal in Capt. Joseph L. Bennett’s company on May 25, 1846, and was mustered into service in the United States Army on June 13 at Fort Polk, Port Isabel, as part of Company B of the First Regiment Texas Foot Rifles. Interestingly, this regiment was commanded by Col. Albert Sidney Johnston. However, Frazer’s unit did not see combat and was disbanded on August 24 near Carmargo, Mexico. A week later, he joined Col. George T. Wood’s Second Texas Mounted Volunteers and was assigned to Company K. In September, Frazer and his unit took part in the battle of Monterrey before being mustered out of service on October 14, 1846. After being discharged for a second time, Frazer reenlisted on March 10, 1847, in a company commanded by Capt. Benjamin F. Hill before apparently changing his mind and enrolling in Capt. Henry Weidner Baylor’s Company of Lancers in San Antonio on March 16. On June 17, this unit was mustered into service in the United States Army as part of Maj. Walter P. Lane’s Battalion near Monterrey, Mexico. On August 23, Frazer was accidentally wounded but recovered in time to rejoin his unit before the war’s end. He and his unit were mustered out of service on June 30, 1848, at the close of the Mexican War. At this point, Frazer returned home to Sabine County.

Military service, perhaps, created a sense of adventure in the young Frazer. In 1849 he accompanied Col. Joseph E. Johnston on a reconnaissance to El Paso in search of a better route into the Trans-Pecos region. Frazer remained in El Paso until March 1850, after which time he set off north into the New Mexico Territory and eventually settled in Santa Fe after a few months in Socorro. In February 1852 Frazer joined a large group of miners and set off for the San Francisco River valley in search of gold but ultimately returned to New Mexico empty-handed.

From October 9, 1852, to February 28, 1857, he found gainful employment as a wagon master for the United States Army Quartermaster department in Albuquerque, which supplied the federal forts of Stanton, Thorn, Fillmore, Bliss, and Union. In March 1857 Frazer sought to go into business for himself as a merchant in Tucson, but his supplies were stolen or destroyed during an Indian raid on his supply train. Eventually settling in Mesilla, he operated the “Frazer House” hotel before being appointed a deputy United States marshal and employed to take the 1860 census for Doña Ana County. Frazer married Mary Edgar of Doña Ana on January 4, 1858. In the 1860 census he listed himself as a farmer with his wife, Mary, and a daughter named Anna. At that time, he estimated his real estate at $500 and his personal property at $2,500. From March to May 1861 he and partners operated a weekly express (the Pino Alto Express Company) between Mesilla and gold mines at Pinos Altos. However, this operation ceased due to Apache hostilities and miners moving on to more lucrative gold fields.

In May 1861 Frazer became involved in the Civil War. On May 10 and 11, public meetings held at Mesilla commissioned Frazer to raise a company of rangers “to chastise the Apaches for their late outrages.” Finding a ready supply of volunteers, Frazer’s company was mustered into service in the Confederate Army at Fort Fillmore on August 1, 1861, as the Arizona Rangers, a unit described by the Mesilla Times as “bold, hardy and unconquerable.” The unit served primarily as a scouting company that protected against Indian incursions and launched quick strikes against Union forces in the territory. It was later attached to the Arizona Battalion (Arizona Scouts) commanded by Col. John Robert Baylor. Following Colonel Baylor’s proclamation that New Mexico was part of the Confederate Territory of Arizona, Frazer was appointed provost marshal of Albuquerque but assumed command of the company when it was involved in the battle of Glorieta Pass as part of Brig. Gen. Henry Sibley’s ill-fated New Mexico campaign (see SIBLEY CAMPAIGN). As Union forces pushed Confederate forces out of New Mexico, Frazer and his unit accompanied the Confederate Army into Texas. In order to protect his family, Frazer moved them into Texas and settled them around San Antonio.

In early 1862 Frazer’s company was combined with two other companies and designated Herbert’s Battalion, Arizona Cavalry (also First Texas Arizona Battalion, Mounted Rifles). Frazer was promoted to the rank of major, a rank he held until the battalion broke up around May of 1863. After the war, Frazer moved his family to Pecos County, Texas, where he ranched and operated a mercantile. Later, he moved to Toyah, Reeves County, Texas, where he served as a county judge from 1872 to 1884. The 1880 census listed Frazer as a widower with three grown daughters (all born in Texas). A son, George A. “Bud” Frazer (born in 1864), eventually became a sheriff of Reeves County. George Frazer may have married again—to Paubla Lewpert on September 13, 1900. He died on January 11, 1908, in Toyah.

Compiled Service Records of Confederate Soldiers Who Served in Organizations from the State of Texas, National Archives and Records Service, Washington. Martin Hardwick Hall, The Confederate Army of New Mexico (Austin: Presidial Press, 1978). Stewart Sifakis, Compendium of the Confederate Armies: Texas (New York: Facts on File, 1995). Jerry Thompson, Civil War in the Southwest: Recollections of the Sibley Brigade (College Station: Texas A&M University Press, 2001).

Time Periods:
  • Antebellum Texas
  • Civil War

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

Matthew K. Hamilton, “Frazer, George Milton,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed August 08, 2022,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

December 20, 2012

This entry belongs to the following Handbook Special Projects: