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Goodloe, Robert Kemp (1813–1879)

Thomas W. Cutrer Biography

Robert Kemp Goodloe, physician and soldier, was born on June 8, 1813, at White Chimneys, Caroline County, Virginia, the son of Robert and Agnes (Johnson) Goodloe. He entered medical school at Transylvania College in Lexington, Kentucky, as a member of the class of 1837, but enlisted on December 18, 1835, in Capt. Sidney Sherman's Kentucky Rifles at Newport. The volunteer company arrived at Nacogdoches, Texas, in January 1836 and set out for the Alamo. On learning of its fall, however, the company joined Sam Houston's army at Gonzales. Goodloe was at first assigned to Capt. William Wood's company of Col. Edward Burleson's First Regiment, Texas Volunteers, but at Beeson's Ford on March 20, 1836, at Sam Houston's urging, Goodloe was transferred to Capt. Henry Wax Karnes's new cavalry company and was elected orderly sergeant. In the cavalry skirmish of April 20 that preceded the battle of San Jacinto, Goodloe's horse was shot from beneath him, one of seven horses that he lost during the Texas Revolution. As a consequence he was placed in command of the nineteen dismounted troopers of Karnes's company, including Walter P. Lane, during the battle of San Jacinto the following day. Goodloe was discharged from the army on August 2, 1836, but on May 31, 1837, Sam Houston nominated him as first lieutenant of Capt. John Clarke's company of Col. Joseph Bennett's regiment of rangers, recruited in the San Augustine district. He was probably confirmed by the Senate.

In 1840 he owned 640 acres in San Augustine County, three slaves, and a silver watch. By 1845 he had moved to Sabine County, where he was elected justice of the peace of the Milam Precinct in 1845. On March 31 of that year he attended a mass meeting on annexation at Milam and was appointed to the Resolutions Committee, which concluded that Sabine County gave its "most cordial assent and approbation to the annexation" of Texas. With the outbreak of the Mexican War Goodloe raised and was elected captain of Company K of Col. George T. Wood's Second Regiment, Texas Mounted Volunteers.

After the war he returned to Sabine County, practiced medicine, farmed, and raised blooded racehorses. By 1875 he claimed the rank of brigadier general, presumably in the Texas militia. Nothing is now known of his Civil War activity, but despite his earlier enthusiasm for annexation, at age sixty he wrote to Moses Austin Bryan that "if I could lay down my life to see [Texas] once more free & independent as she once was I would do so cheerfully." Goodloe's first wife, Neriza Ann Roberts, was born in Louisiana in 1820. They were married on January 11, 1838, and had ten children, eight of whom lived to adulthood. After her death Goodloe married Henrietta Martin Ragan. He was an active member of the Texas Veterans Association, having been appointed a district chairman at its organizational meeting in June 1874. He died at Sabinetown on October 20, 1879.

Compiled Index to Elected and Appointed Officials of the Republic of Texas, 1835–1846 (Austin: State Archives, Texas State Library, 1981). Dallas Weekly Herald, June 6, 1874. Sam Houston Dixon and Louis Wiltz Kemp, The Heroes of San Jacinto (Houston: Anson Jones, 1932). Pat Ireland Nixon, The Medical Story of Early Texas, 1528–1853 (Lancaster, Pennsylvania: Lupe Memorial Fund, 1946). Charles D. Spurlin, comp., Texas Veterans in the Mexican War: Muster Rolls of Texas Military Units (Victoria, Texas, 1984). Terrell Times-Star, May 7, 1845.

Time Periods:

  • Texas Revolution

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

Thomas W. Cutrer, “Goodloe, Robert Kemp,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed September 30, 2020,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.