Smith, James M. (ca. 1798–1873)

By: Kenneth R. Whitley

Type: Biography

Published: December 14, 2010

James M. Smith (middle name unknown), a veteran of the battle of San Jacinto, was born about 1798 in North Carolina. The names of his parents are not known. Smith, a farmer and stockraiser by occupation, married Sarah M. (maiden name unknown) ca. 1819. Nine children were born to this marriage: Jesse Richard, John Carroll, Margaret Angeline, Emily Ann, William L., James M., Jr., Sarah Ann, Mary L. and Benjamin Franklin Smith. Sarah M. Smith died on March 10, 1856, in Bexar County. James married the widow Mrs. Lucinda Griswold on June 19, 1859, in Bexar County. One child, Charles W. Smith, was born to this union.

Smith lived in Pickens County, Alabama, from about 1820 until December 1835 when he emigrated to Texas and settled in Montgomery County (that part which became Walker County in 1846). On February 13, 1836, he enlisted as a private in Company B, commanded by Second Lt. Dugald McFarlane, First Regiment Artillery, Texas Army, commanded by Col. James C. Neill. By October 31, 1836, Smith had been promoted to sergeant. James M. Smith (not to be confused with James Monroe Smith, another San Jacinto veteran) received Donation Warrant #492 on August 3, 1838, for having participated in the battle of San Jacinto on April 21, 1836, and was issued Letter Patent #347 dated January 19, 1852, from Texas Gov. Peter H. Bell, for 640 acres of land located in Robertson District, Leon County. On March 16, 1838, James received his first class headright certificates for a league and a labor of land by the Montgomery County land commissioners. The league was surveyed on August 22, 1838, in Robertson District, Navarro County; the Letter Patent #236 for that land was issued on November 5, 1845, by Anson Jones, President of the Republic of Texas.

James M. Smith located his labor of 177 acres, surveyed on June 12, 1838, along the north boundary of the John Sadler league where Smith farmed until 1848 at New Waverly, Montgomery/Walker County. From 1848 to 1853, he lived near Earlywine, Washington County, Texas. From 1853 to 1866, Smith lived near LaCoste and settled on the Medina River about sixteen miles west of San Antonio in Bexar County. In 1866 he moved near Belton in Bell County, where he died in 1873. His burial site remains undiscovered. Family tradition names two brothers and a sister to James: William Berry “Camelback” Smith, Joel N. Smith, and Sarah (Smith) (Mrs. William T.) Crawford. William Berry Smith was also a veteran of the Texas Revolution, and a Texas State Monument was placed at his grave site in Bosque County, Texas.

Alvy Ray Smith, The Jesse Richard Smith Family of Texas and New Mexico and the Associated Families of Elijah P. Gorman and John Malone Harrison, 1774–2009 (Seattle: ARSLONGA, 2010) (, accessed December 7, 2010.

Time Periods:
  • Texas Revolution

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

Kenneth R. Whitley, “Smith, James M.,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed July 01, 2022,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

December 14, 2010