Ham, Caiaphas Kennard (1803–1895)

By: Dorothy Reed Black

Type: Biography

Published: February 1, 1995

Updated: April 15, 2011

Caiaphas (Cephas, etc.) Kennard Ham, early settler, son of William Arthur and Susannah (Brown) Ham, was born in the Orangeburg District of South Carolina on January 16, 1803. By 1810 he had moved to Avoyelles Parish, Louisiana, where he was later sheriff. Ham was a neighbor of James Bowie on Bayou Boeuf, Louisiana; the two left for Texas in January 1830 with Bowie's brother Rezin Bowie. Ham's passport or character certificate was signed by J. Roberts and Nicholas Adolphus Sterne, and in February 1830 he presented an introduction to Stephen F. Austin. He received a quarter league of land on November 23, 1832, in the second Austin colony. He later received six bounty or donation certificates for service to the Republic of Texas. In 1831 he spent about five months living with the Indians and was adopted by Comanche chief In-cor-roy, who taught him to trade for horses to sell on the Louisiana market. While with the Indians Ham received a message from James Bowie informing him of the danger of a war upon all Indians by the Mexican government. Ham returned to San Antonio de Béxar and joined Bowie in an expedition to the Los Almagres Mine. During this trip Ham participated in the battle of Calf Creek or San Saba, in which eleven Texans fought off an attack by Caddo and Lipan Apache Indians. The battle site is marked by a stone monument 1½ miles southeast of Calf Creek, McCulloch County. Ham joined Murchison Lodge No. 80 on May 9, 1854, and later was a member of the Refugio, Beeville, and Pleasant Hill Masonic lodge in Wilson County. On January 17, 1837, he married Elizabeth Parks McDaniel; they had six daughters and a son. Ham and his wife were listed among charter members of the First Beeville Baptist Church, organized on February 13, 1869, in Beeville. In his memoirs, John S. (Rip) Ford recorded an account of James Bowie given to him by Ham. The Bowie knife that Rezin Bowie gave him, a notebook, eyeglasses, and a Comanche Indian ceremonial pipe, dated 1846, are among some of Ham's belongings on display at the Alamo. Ham died at the age of ninety-three on November 13, 1895, in San Antonio and was buried next to his wife in the Masonic Cemetery there.

Daughters of the Republic of Texas, Founders and Patriots of the Republic of Texas (Austin, 1963-). John S. Ford, Memoirs (MS, John Salmon Ford Papers, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, University of Texas at Austin). Malcolm D. McLean, comp. and ed., Papers Concerning Robertson's Colony in Texas (19 vols., Arlington: University of Texas at Arlington Press, 1974–93).

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

Dorothy Reed Black, “Ham, Caiaphas Kennard,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed May 24, 2022, https://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/entries/ham-caiaphas-kennard.

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

February 1, 1995
April 15, 2011