Morrison, Moses (ca. 1793–unknown)

By: Rachel Jenkins

Type: Biography

Published: 1952

Updated: February 9, 2019

Moses Morrison, one of the Old Three Hundred colonists and leader of the force some historians call the precursor to the Texas Rangers , was born in North Carolina, probably in 1793, and in 1821 moved from Missouri to Texas. He had previously served on the upper Mississippi frontier with the United States Army. He was probably living on the Colorado River near Columbus by November 1822, when in elections ordered by Governor José F. Trespalacios he was elected a lieutenant in the militia of Stephen F. Austin's colony. In May 1823 Morrison became commander of a scouting company composed of ten men recruited to control the Karankawa Indians around the Colorado and Tres Palacios rivers. Some see this group as forerunners of the later Texas Rangers. With partner William Cooper as one of the Old Three Hundred families, Morrison received title to a sitio of land in what is now Matagorda County on July 24, 1824. The census of 1826 listed him as a farmer and stock raiser, a single man aged between twenty-five and forty. In January 1826 he, along with William Kincheloe and Aylett C. Buckner, was appointed by Austin to supervise the alcalde election for the district of Mina, and in February 1828 he was a teller for the first municipal electoral assembly in the Austin colony. The following year he went with Henry S. Brown to fight Indians in the San Saba area. In November 1830 the ayuntamiento at San Felipe appointed Morrison one of the commissioners to help determine the best route from Jennings's Crossing on the Colorado River to Brazoria. In November 1835 an M. Morrison participated with Samuel Rhoads Fisher and others in boarding the Hannah Elizabeth, an American vessel that, apparently pursued by an armed Mexican vessel, had run aground at Cavallo Pass. In 1844, 1845, and 1850, Morrison bought land on the Matagorda Peninsula; he possibly settled there, as the last purchase included a house. By 1850 he owned five slaves. Morrison, who had at least one child, James, was alive as late as 1855, when school censuses list him as the guardian or parent of one Fergus Barnard.

Eugene C. Barker, ed., The Austin Papers (3 vols., Washington: GPO, 1924–28). Eugene C. Barker, ed., "Minutes of the Ayuntamiento of San Felipe de Austin, 1828–1832," 12 parts, Southwestern Historical Quarterly 21–24 (January 1918-October 1920). 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). John H. Jenkins, ed., The Papers of the Texas Revolution, 1835–1836 (10 vols., Austin: Presidial Press, 1973). Dan E. Kilgore, A Ranger Legacy: 150 Years of Service to Texas (Austin: Madrona, 1973). Matagorda County Historical Commission, Historic Matagorda County (3 vols., Houston: Armstrong, 1986). Vertical Files, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, University of Texas at Austin.

Time Periods:
  • Mexican Texas

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

Rachel Jenkins, “Morrison, Moses,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed August 15, 2022,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

February 9, 2019

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