Mitchell, Asa (1795–1865)

By: George P. Isbell

Type: Biography

Published: 1952

Updated: May 1, 1995

Asa Mitchell, Old Three Hundred colonist, soldier, planter, and merchant, son of Louis and Rhoda (Abrams) Mitchell, was born in Somerset County, Pennsylvania, on December 1, 1795. With his wife and young son, Nathan, he moved to Texas in 1822 and settled at the mouth of the Brazos River, where he opened a salt-refining works, engaged in planting and trading, and became an enterprising commercial importer of household supplies and provisions for the Texas colonists. He received title to 1½ sitios of land now in Brazoria County on July 7, 1824; on August 24 he received title to an additional labor. The census of March 1826 classified Mitchell as a farmer and stock raiser with a wife, two sons, and a daughter. The family had eight servants. In 1830 Mitchell was appointed customs boarding officer for the port of Velasco. Although interested principally in commercial affairs, he was influenced by liberty firebrands of the Brazoria section to join the political faction favoring early independence for Texas. He was one of the 112 who first openly resisted Mexican oppression in the battle of Velasco in 1832. In July 1835, having moved to Washington-on-the-Brazos, Mitchell assisted in organizing Washington Municipality and was elected a regidor. He was one of the five representatives from Washington to the Consultation, where he took a leading part in drawing up the Declaration of November 7, 1835. Subsequently, he served a short term on the General Council. Under Sam Houston, Mitchell fought in the battle of San Jacinto as a sergeant in Company B, First Regiment of Volunteers. His son Nathan also fought at San Jacinto. Mitchell acquired extensive ranch property near San Antonio in 1839 and moved to Bexar County in 1840. He engaged successfully in merchandising, interested himself in local political affairs, and on occasion substituted in the Methodist pulpit as a lay preacher. During the Civil War he directed the controversial activities of the San Antonio Vigilance Committee, which partially superseded the indifferent law enforcement agencies of the period. He married Charlotte Woodmancy in 1816. She died at Velasco on September 17, 1830. On April 8, 1835, he married Emily Brisbin in Austin County. He was the father of fourteen children. Mitchell died at San Antonio on November 6, 1865, and was buried in the family plot near the ranch home he built in the early 1840s. Mitchell County was named for him and his brother, Eli Mitchell.

Eugene C. Barker, ed., The Austin Papers (3 vols., Washington: GPO, 1924–28). Eugene C. Barker, "Declaration of Causes for Taking Up Arms against Mexico," Southwestern Historical Quarterly 15 (January 1912). Lester G. Bugbee, "The Old Three Hundred: A List of Settlers in Austin's First Colony," Quarterly of the Texas State Historical Association 1 (October 1897). Sam Houston Dixon and Louis Wiltz Kemp, The Heroes of San Jacinto (Houston: Anson Jones, 1932). "Documents Relating to the Organization of the Municipality of Washington, Texas," Southwestern Historical Quarterly 10 (July 1906). Charles Adams Gulick, Jr., Harriet Smither, et al., eds., The Papers of Mirabeau Buonaparte Lamar (6 vols., Austin: Texas State Library, 1920–27; rpt., Austin: Pemberton Press, 1968). San Antonio Daily Express, November 3, 1889.
Time Periods:
  • Texas Revolution

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

George P. Isbell, “Mitchell, Asa,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed May 18, 2022,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

May 1, 1995