Handy, Robert Eden (ca. 1807–1838)

By: Thomas W. Cutrer

Revised by: Randolph B. "Mike" Campbell

Type: Biography

Published: 1952

Updated: March 31, 2022

Robert Eden Handy, businessman and soldier, was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, around 1807, the son of Sewell and Harriet (Hutchings) Handy. In 1834 he moved to Texas, where he settled in San Augustine. In 1837 he moved to Brazoria and established a real estate partnership with William Lusk. They became joint founders of Richmond, Texas. During the Texas Revolution Handy served briefly on Sam Houston's staff and, with Henry W. Karnes and Erastus "Deaf" Smith, was sent to investigate the condition of the Alamo. This party was the first to meet Susanna Dickinson and receive word of the loss of the fortress and its garrison. As a private in Capt. Robert J. Calder's Company K of Col. Edward Burleson's First Regiment, Texas Volunteers, Handy fought at the battle of San Jacinto. He and Smith had planned a business partnership, but Smith died in November 1837.

Handy married Nancy Maria Graham in Richmond, Texas and he was killed on October 1, 1838 when he was thrown from a horse and his foot caught in the stirrup. He was only thirty-one years of age, and his only son James Hutchings "Hutch" Handy was born after his death. When Handy died, Mirabeau B. Lamar "mourned the loss of his best friend." At his family’s request, Handy’s body was returned to Pennsylvania for burial in the Laurel Hill Cemetery in Philadelphia.

Sam Houston Dixon and Louis Wiltz Kemp, The Heroes of San Jacinto (Houston: Anson Jones, 1932). Amelia W. Williams and Eugene C. Barker, eds., The Writings of Sam Houston, 1813–1863 (8 vols., Austin: University of Texas Press, 1938–43; rpt., Austin and New York: Pemberton Press, 1970).

  • Founders and Pioneers
  • Pioneers
  • Military
  • Soldiers
Time Periods:
  • Texas Revolution
  • Republic of Texas
  • East Texas
  • Upper Gulf Coast

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

Thomas W. Cutrer Revised by Randolph B. "Mike" Campbell, “Handy, Robert Eden,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed May 17, 2022, https://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/entries/handy-robert-eden.

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

March 31, 2022