Shipman, Daniel (1801–1881)

By: Thomas W. Cutrer

Type: Biography

Published: 1952

Updated: April 28, 2017

Daniel Shipman, one of the Old Three Hundred, was born in North Carolina on February 20, 1801, the son of Mary (Robinson) and Moses Shipman. The family left South Carolina on March 5, 1814, to follow the frontier. After making crops in North Carolina and Tennessee, they followed their relatives and neighbors, the family of Edward Burleson, to Illinois and then Missouri in 1815. From there, in 1821, they drifted down into Arkansas and then to the Pecan Point region of North Texas, where they arrived on March 19, 1822. Daniel and his friend Charles Isaac Nidever rode south to explore the Brazos River region; they reached the home of Martin Varner in Independence on April 8. After reporting to his father, Shipman joined Stephen F. Austin's colony in the fall of 1823. They received a labor of land at the juncture of the Brazos River and Mill Creek in May or June of 1824. Young Shipman served for a time on a surveying crew under William Selkirk before returning to his father's farm to raise a crop. He fought the Karankawa Indians during the summer of 1825 under Capt. Amos Rawls and later under Capt. Horatio Chriesman, but then quarreled with Austin over a quarter league that he had been promised. He visited the colony of Martín De León, where he intended to acquire a full league. Although he became friendly with De León and his family, Shipman was dissatisfied with the land and the colonists and so returned to the Brazos. In partnership with Nidever, he received a one-league headright now in Brazoria County on May 21, 1827. Shipman married Margaretta Kelly on September 23, 1828, and subsequently settled on Oyster Creek in Fort Bend County.

He served in Capt. Francis W. Johnson's company in the Anahuac Disturbances of 1832 and in Capt. John Byrd's company at the siege of Bexar. He was with Lt. Thomas H. Borden, the company's temporary commander, at the storming of the city in December 1835, and is said to have been at the side of Benjamin R. Milam when he was shot. On August 2, 1836, Shipman and his father enlisted in Byrd's four-month volunteers; Shipman served until the company was disbanded on January 18, 1837. In February 1838 Shipman received half a league and a labor in Harris County as a head of household and an army veteran. By 1840 he owned 2,214 acres of land in Bexar County, an equal amount in Brazoria County, and 288 acres in Harris County. On February 24, 1844, he was elected justice of the peace of Fort Bend County. In 1867 he was a resident of Washington County.

After the death of his first wife, Shipman married Eliza Hancock. In 1879 he published Frontier Life: 58 Years in Texas. The book is largely derived from the work of Dudley G. Wooten and other writers, but its early chapters are Shipman's own richly detailed and colorful memoirs. Shipman died near Goliad on March 4, 1881, at the home of his son Daniel, Jr. He and his second wife are buried in the State Cemetery in Austin. His younger brother John was killed on the Mier expedition.

Daniel Shipman, Frontier Life: 58 Years in Texas (1879). Andrew Jackson Sowell, History of Fort Bend County (Houston: Coyle, 1904; rpt, Richmond, Texas: Fort Bend County Historical Museum, 1974).

Time Periods:

  • Mexican Texas

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

Thomas W. Cutrer, “Shipman, Daniel,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed January 22, 2022,

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April 28, 2017

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