Lockhart, Byrd (1782–1839)

By: Bill Groneman

Type: Biography

Published: 1952

Updated: November 29, 2019

Byrd Lockhart, Alamo defender, courier, and officer, was born in Virginia in 1782. He was a widower when he moved to Texas from Missouri with his mother, sister, and two children, after meeting Green DeWitt in New Orleans. He settled in DeWitt's colony on March 20, 1826, and made his living as a surveyor. Lockhart was commissioned deputy surveyor on December 12, 1826, and surveyed the lands around Gonzales. A month later he served as chairman of a meeting denouncing the Fredonian Rebellion and pledging support for the Mexican government. In April he was put in charge of a row of blockhouses in Gonzales that served as protection against Indians. Later in 1827 he opened a road from Bexar through Gonzales and along the right bank of the Lavaca River to Matagorda Bay. In 1830 he received four leagues of land on Plum Creek as payment. In April 1831 he was appointed surveyor to DeWitt's colony by José Antonio Navarro, and in September he became municipal surveyor of District No. 3.

At the outbreak of the Texas Revolution Lockhart was requested by James W. Fannin, Jr., to act as a scout below San Antonio de Béxar. At this time he was serving with Stephen F. Austin, but he became separated from Austin's command near the Medina River on November 12, 1835. During the siege of Bexar, Lockhart served as a private, along with his son, Byrd, Jr., in Capt. John York's company. On January 17, 1836, James C. Neill, John W. Smith, José Francisco Ruiz, and Lockhart were appointed commissioners by James W. Robinson to treat with the Comanche Indians, who were threatening Bexar. On February 4 Lockhart was named with Mathew Caldwell and William A. Mathews to raise volunteers in Gonzales and Milam for the ranging company. On February 23 he mustered into service the Gonzales Ranging Company of Mounted Volunteers.

Sometime during the next two weeks he returned to Bexar and the Alamo. It is possible that he rode with the Gonzales Ranging Company, which arrived on March 1. He and Andrew Jackson Sowell were sent from the Alamo a short time before the battle to obtain supplies for the garrison. That they were delayed in Gonzales buying cattle and supplies saved them from being caught in the massacre when the Alamo fell. Lockhart later served the Texan army as the captain of a spy company. He died in 1839, and the town of Lockhart is named in his honor.

Daughters of the Republic of Texas, Muster Rolls of the Texas Revolution (Austin, 1986). Bill Groneman, Alamo Defenders (Austin: Eakin, 1990). John H. Jenkins, ed., The Papers of the Texas Revolution, 1835–1836 (10 vols., Austin: Presidial Press, 1973). Ethel Zivley Rather, "DeWitt's Colony," Quarterly of the Texas State Historical Association 8 (October 1904).

Time Periods:

  • Mexican Texas
  • Texas Revolution

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

Bill Groneman, “Lockhart, Byrd,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed January 17, 2022, https://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/entries/lockhart-byrd.

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

November 29, 2019

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