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Sharp, John (unknown–1840)

Thomas W. Cutrer Biography Entry

John Sharp, soldier and civil servant, immigrated to Brazoria County, Texas, in 1835. On August 9 he was one of the signers of a petition calling for a general convention of the people of Texas to "quiet the present excitement" against Mexican rule. He served at the siege of Bexar, and on November 28, 1835, he and seven other citizens of Brazoria County petitioned the provisional government of Texas to fortify the east end of Galveston Island, the mouth of the Brazos River, and the entrance to Matagorda Bay against Mexican naval forces. To pay for these installations and their garrisons, the committee suggested the opening of customhouses at those ports of entry. On March 24, 1836, Sharp was elected first lieutenant of Capt. Robert J. Calder's Company K of Col. Edward Burleson's First Regiment, Texas Volunteers, and he immediately returned to Brazoria, apparently as a recruiting officer. There on March 27 he wrote his assurances to his fellow citizens that Sam Houston's army would not retreat from the Colorado River but would march west, pushing the Mexican army before it. "Let but the men of Texas turn out, with arms in their hands, resolved to be free or die," he wrote, "and their families will be as safe here as on the other side of the Sabine." Sharp returned to the army in time to serve at the battle of San Jacinto. A John Sharp, a private in Capt. Gibson Kuykendall's Company E of Burleson's regiment, was detailed to guard duty at Harrisburg during the battle, and on April 1, 1836, a John L. Sharp accepted appointment as first lieutenant in Capt. Ansel F. Ball's company of the second regiment of Brig. Gen. Thomas Jefferson Green's brigade, but did not reach Texas in time to participate in the revolution. In 1837 Sharp was aboard the schooner Julius Caesar when it was captured by a Mexican naval squadron, and he was imprisoned for a time with William H. Wharton at Matamoros. On November 13, 1838, Sam Houston nominated Sharp as notary public of the port of Velasco. His nomination was confirmed on January 1, 1839. In the spring of 1839 he was commissioned by Secretary of the Treasury Richard G. Dunlap to select the site of the Republic of Texas customhouse for the Brazos River ports. He selected Velasco, where in 1840 he owned two town lots, a gold watch, and two saddle horses. Concurrently with his appointment as notary public Sharp served as United States consular agent at Velasco. He died there on August 17, 1840.

Brazos Courier, September 1, 1840. Compiled Index to Elected and Appointed Officials of the Republic of Texas, 1835–1846 (Austin: State Archives, Texas State Library, 1981). Daughters of the Republic of Texas, Muster Rolls of the Texas Revolution (Austin, 1986). Sam Houston Dixon and Louis Wiltz Kemp, The Heroes of San Jacinto (Houston: Anson Jones, 1932). 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). John H. Jenkins, ed., The Papers of the Texas Revolution, 1835–1836 (10 vols., Austin: Presidial Press, 1973). Amelia W. Williams and Eugene C. Barker, eds., The Writings of Sam Houston, 1813–1863 (8 vols., Austin: University of Texas Press, 1938–43; rpt., Austin and New York: Pemberton Press, 1970).

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, “Sharp, John,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed October 21, 2020,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.