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Sadler, William Turner (1797–1884)

Thomas W. Cutrer Biography Entry

William Turner Sadler, soldier and legislator, was born in North Carolina on July 26, 1797, and immigrated to Texas from Georgia in 1835. He enlisted as a private in Capt. Hayden Arnold's First Company (the Nacogdoches Volunteers) of Col. Sidney Sherman's Second Regiment, Texas Volunteers, and took part in the battle of San Jacinto. After the Texas Revolution he settled on a farm four miles south of Elkhart and married in March 1837. While Sadler was away from home commanding a company of volunteers against the Indians, his wife was killed by Comanche raiders, on October 18, 1838. Thereafter he advised President Mirabeau B. Lamar that "if something eficient is not done to check the indians this county will have to break entire[.] [A] large portion of the inhabitants are already gone." To combat the Indian menace, Sadler recommended that the Texans pursue the raiders to "where they have their familys and visit them with the same kind of warfare that they give us, we should spare neither age sect nor condition for they do not." Sadler admitted that his plan would be considered "barberous and too much like the savage" but claimed that "it is the only means . . . that will put them down and as such should be resorted to." In 1839 he is said to have commanded a company of the First Regiment. In 1844 Sadler was elected from Houston County to the House of Representatives of the Ninth Congress of the Republic of Texas and after annexation to the United States was reelected to the First and Second state legislatures. Sometime in the mid-1840s he married Permelia Bennett, who was born in Indiana in 1818. This couple had six children. In 1849 Sadler left Texas to seek gold in California but returned to Houston County in 1851. In 1850 his real estate was assessed at $5,000, and by 1860 it had grown in value to $20,000, in addition to his $14,393 in personal property, mostly in slaves. Permelia died on December 6, 1866, and Sadler died on February 18, 1884; he was buried on his farm.

Austin Daily Statesman, March 7, 1884. Daughters of the Republic of Texas, Muster Rolls of the Texas Revolution (Austin, 1986). Galveston Daily News, March 6, 1884. 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). Texas House of Representatives, Biographical Directory of the Texan Conventions and Congresses, 1832–1845 (Austin: Book Exchange, 1941).


  • First Legislature (1846)
  • Second Legislature (1847-1848)
  • House

Time Periods:

  • Texas Revolution

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

Thomas W. Cutrer, “Sadler, William Turner,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed May 11, 2021,

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April 13, 2016