Grayson, Thomas Wigg (1808–1873)

By: Emma E. Pirie

Type: Biography

Published: 1952

Updated: May 26, 2017

Thomas Wigg Grayson, a shipowner who played an important role in the naval operations of the Texas Revolution, was born in Beaufort, South Carolina, on August 8, 1808. He was in Texas as early as August 9, 1835, when he signed a petition for a Texas convention that was being circulated by John A. Wharton at Brazoria. On September 1, 1835, Grayson was bringing the steamer Laura, loaded with lumber, into the mouth of the Brazos when the steamer San Felipe encountered the Mexican war vessel Correo. Being short of fuel, Grayson burned his cargo of lumber to ensure sufficient steam to help in capturing the Correo. Capt. William A. Hurd of the San Felipe took the Correo as a prize to New Orleans and left Lieutenant Grayson in charge of the Texas vessels. Grayson was master of the Yellow Stone in the fall of 1835 and on December 31 brought it to Texas loaded with volunteers from Alabama and a cargo of musketballs, flints, and bar lead for the Texas Revolution. During the summer of 1836 he brought to Texas the steamer Ocean, loaded with supplies donated to the Texas cause by the citizens of Mobile, Alabama. In October 1836 Grayson advertised that the Yellow Stone would make regular trips between Quintana and Washington-on-the-Brazos. He had the vessel at Velasco on November 15, 1836, but on November 30 he was back at Velasco on the Thomas Toby, In January 1837 Grayson took the steamer Laura to Houston. By August of that year he was captain of the fast-running steamer Sam Houston,plying between Houston, Galveston, Velasco, and Matagorda.

In August 1839 Grayson was living in Austin when he applied to Mirabeau B. Lamar for appointment as a notary public. Grayson married Mrs. Tabitha Edwards in Austin in November 1844; they had five children. He farmed for a time at La Grange and in 1848 settled at Selma on a horse ranch, from which he sold mounts to the United States Cavalry. In 1857 he established a ranch on Chupaderas Creek fourteen miles from San Antonio. Grayson and his family maintained a home in San Antonio, where he died on August 20, 1873.

Alex Dienst, "The Navy of the Republic of Texas," Quarterly of the Texas State Historical Association 12–13 (January-October 1909; rpt., Fort Collins, Colorado: Old Army Press, 1987). Charles Adams Gulick, Jr., Harriet Smither, et al., eds., The Papers of Mirabeau Buonaparte Lamar (6 vols., Austin: Texas State Library, 1920–27; rpt., Austin: Pemberton Press, 1968). Telegraph and Texas Register, February 21, August 31, 1837. Austin Texas State Gazette, November 16, 1850.

Time Periods:

  • Texas Revolution

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

Emma E. Pirie, “Grayson, Thomas Wigg,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed October 26, 2021,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

May 26, 2017