Macomb, David B. (unknown–1837)

By: Thomas W. Cutrer

Type: Biography

Published: 1952

Updated: May 11, 2017

David B. Macomb, soldier and member of the Consultation (1835), immigrated to Texas with his family early in 1835 after a brief service in the United States Army. He was married to Mary Tiffin Worthington, the daughter of Thomas Worthington (one of the first two senators from Ohio), and niece of Edward Tiffin (first governor of Ohio). The move to Texas was perhaps precipitated by Mary Macomb's health, as she was at that time suffering advanced tuberculosis. On September 9, 1835, Macomb was elected one of the five delegates from the municipality of Harrisburg to the Consultation at San Felipe. On or about October 5, 1835, Macomb wrote to the editor of the Telegraph and Texas Register an informed and detailed account of the battle of Gonzales based on information he had gathered since arriving in the town. He concluded the letter with the observation that "the Anglo-American spirit appears in every thing we do; quick, intelligent, and comprehensive; and while such men are fighting for their rights, they may be possibly overpowered by numbers, but, if whipped, they won't stay whipped." At Gonzales, Macomb was appointed assistant adjutant and inspector general of the Texan army with the rank of colonel. Soon thereafter, however, he took his seat on the Consultation and was appointed to the military committee. As a delegate, he was particularly concerned about the defense of Galveston, Velasco, and Matagorda Bay. On November 7, 1835, he signed the declaration of war against Antonio López de Santa Anna and the Mexican Centralist party and on November 13 signed the provisional constitution of Texas. From San Felipe Macomb was sent to the United States as a purchasing agent for the army and in January was in New York to purchase four ships for the Texas Navy and artillery for the defense of Galveston. His efforts were frustrated, however, when funding was not provided. In February he recruited, armed, and equipped 308 volunteers for the Texas army and raised $8,000 for the cause of Texas independence. On March 10, 1836, the General Council appointed Macomb a lieutenant colonel in the army, ranking behind only James W. Fannin, Jr., and James C. Neill in that branch. On April 23 he wrote to Secretary of War Thomas Jefferson Rusk that as he could not accomplish his mission in New York due to want of funds, he was returning to Texas. He was back at Lynchburg by July 13, 1836, and accepted an appointment to Gen. Mirabeau B. Lamar's staff. Later that month, however, Macomb was still at Lynchburg, engaged in dressing lumber for the fortification of Galveston and for fifty Mackanac boats; the lumber was sawed at his own steam sawmill with labor provided by Mexican prisoners of war. Mary Macomb died at Lynchburg on October 19, 1836, and Macomb died at Harrisburg on February 14, 1837. They were the parents of a daughter named Eleanor. George M. Patrick was named administrator of the estate.

Dictionary of American Biography. John H. Jenkins, ed., The Papers of the Texas Revolution, 1835–1836 (10 vols., Austin: Presidial Press, 1973). Telegraph and Texas Register, October 17, December 2, 1835, January 16, October 25, 1836. Texas House of Representatives, Biographical Directory of the Texan Conventions and Congresses, 1832–1845 (Austin: Book Exchange, 1941).

Time Periods:
  • Texas Revolution
  • Houston
  • Upper Gulf Coast
  • East Texas

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

Thomas W. Cutrer, “Macomb, David B.,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed June 29, 2022,

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May 11, 2017

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