Highsmith, Malcijah Benjamin (1827–1893)

By: Thomas W. Cutrer

Type: Biography

Published: 1952

Updated: October 30, 2019

Malcijah Benjamin (Kige) Highsmith, Texas Ranger and Confederate Army officer, was born on May 17, 1827, at the home of Aylett C. Buckner at Old Caney in what is now Brazoria County. His parents, Teresa (Williams) and Samuel Highsmith, were then refugees from the Comanche raids on their home on the Colorado River in Stephen F. Austin's colony. As a small boy during the Texas Revolution Highsmith participated in the Runaway Scrape, in which his grandfather, Winslow Turner, died. During the Mexican War Highsmith served in his father's company, Company K of Col. William C. Young's Third Regiment, Texas Mounted Volunteers, and was elected to fourth sergeant on July 25, 1846. Late in February 1850 he was commissioned second lieutenant and acting quartermaster and commissary of Capt. John Salmon Ford's company of Texas Rangers. He distinguished himself in a fight with Comanches in June of that year at San Antonio de Viejo, on the Rio Grande. He left ranger service to return to his farm in the fall of 1850 and was replaced by Edward Burleson, Jr. In August 1852 Highsmith ran for sheriff of Bastrop County but was defeated by John Hearn. By 1860 he reported ownership of $1,000 in real estate and an additional $1,000 in personal property. At the outbreak of the Civil War he raised and was elected captain of the "Bastrop Cavalry Company" or the "Bishop Cavalry Company" of Texas State Troops. This company was mustered into Confederate service as Company D of Col. William H. Parsons's Twelfth Texas Cavalry. After the war Highsmith returned for a time to Bastrop before accepting a position as traveling salesman for the Galveston firm of I. Bernstine and Company. He retired to Bastrop, where he died on May 4, 1893. The La Grange Intelligencer of June 2, 1845, erroneously reported the death of Malcijah Highsmith at Craft's Prairie on June 1, 1845. The man who died was probably Kige's uncle, Ahijah M. Highsmith, a War of 1812 veteran who had moved to Texas with Samuel Highsmith's family from the St. Charles District, Missouri Territory, on December 24, 1823.

Anne J. Bailey, Between the Enemy and Texas: Parsons's Texas Cavalry in the Civil War (Fort Worth: Texas Christian University Press, 1989). John S. Ford, Rip Ford's Texas, ed. Stephen B. Oates (Austin: University of Texas Press, 1963). John Holland Jenkins, Recollections of Early Texas, ed. John H. Jenkins III (Austin: University of Texas Press, 1958; rpt. 1973). Charles D. Spurlin, comp., Texas Veterans in the Mexican War: Muster Rolls of Texas Military Units (Victoria, Texas, 1984). Texas State Gazette, August 21, 1852.

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

Thomas W. Cutrer, “Highsmith, Malcijah Benjamin,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed August 16, 2022, https://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/entries/highsmith-malcijah-benjamin.

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

October 30, 2019