Munson, Mordello Stephen (1825–1903)

By: Stephanie P. Niemeyer

Type: Biography

Published: September 29, 2008

Mordello S. Munson, planter, lawyer, Civil War soldier, and Texas legislator, was born on April 24, 1825, in present-day Liberty County, Texas, son of Henry William Munson and Ann Binum (Pearce) Munson. Legend states that he was the first Anglo-American child born at the old Coushatta Indian village near the Trinity River. In 1828 he and his family moved to Oakland in Gulf Prairie, part of Stephen F. Austin's colony. Munson and his brothers were very well-educated for young men in early Texas. After his father's death, their step-father, James Peckham Caldwell, made it part of his duty to provide the boys with as strong an education as possible. From 1833 to 1834 the Munson brothers attended Thomas Pilgrim's school. Beginning in 1836, Fayette Copeland taught the boys until his death in 1837. After attending school in Kentucky in 1841, Munson began his college education at Rutersville College near La Grange.

In 1842 when Mexico invaded Texas, Munson joined the Somervell Expedition but did not join the ill-fated Mier Expedition. Instead he returned to Rutersville, finished his studies, and then transferred to La Grange College in Alabama. Munson returned to Texas and married Sarah Armour on February 6, 1850, in Brazoria County. He had a 1500-acre plantation named Ridgely in Bailey's Prairie, and he practiced law in Brazoria County. He was the postmaster for Hinds, Brazoria County, Texas, from June 20, 1850, until August 14, 1854, when the post office was discontinued.

Munson was elected to the Seventh Texas Legislature in 1857 and Eighth Texas Legislature in 1859 as a representative from Brazoria County. A strong supporter of slavery, Munson served as a delegate to the Secession Convention in 1861 and voted to leave the United States. He joined the Confederate Army as a private in January 1862 and then resigned to join Waul's Texas Legion as a captain. He was captured at Vicksburg on July 4, 1863. Although he agreed never to take up arms against the United States as part of his parole, he was back in the Confederate Army in the spring of 1864.

He returned to Bailey's Prairie on May 23, 1865. He was re-elected to the Eleventh Legislature of 1866 and again in 1874 to the Fourteenth Legislature. He was a strong proponent of education and was instrumental in passing laws for the establishment of the University of Texas at Austin and of Texas A&M University at College Station.

Munson died October 13, 1903, at his plantation in Bailey's Prairie and is buried in the Munson Cemetery at this location.

Brazoria County Genealogy, "Mordello Stephen Munson" (, accessed August 14, 2006. Postmasters & Post Offices of Brazoria County, Texas (, accessed August 14, 2006. William DeRyee and R. E. Moore, The Texas Album of the Eighth Legislature (Austin: Miner, Lambert, and Perry, 1860).
  • Education
  • Activism and Social Reform
  • Advocates
  • Seventh Legislature (1857-1858)
  • Eighth Legislature (1859-1861)
  • Eleventh Legislature (1866)
  • Fourteenth Legislature (1874-1875)
  • House

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

Stephanie P. Niemeyer, “Munson, Mordello Stephen,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed June 29, 2022,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

September 29, 2008