Sublett, Philip Allen (1802–1850)

By: Thomas W. Cutrer

Type: Biography

Published: 1952

Updated: June 13, 2020

Philip Allen Sublett, planter and soldier, son of Abraham and Polly (Smith) Sublett, was born in Green County, Kentucky, on May 22, 1802, and immigrated to Durango, Mexico, in 1824. On May 31, 1828, he was granted Texas citizenship and settled three miles east of San Augustine. He was married to Esther (Easter, Hester) Jane Roberts, the daughter of Elisha Roberts. Sublett participated in the battle of Nacogdoches in 1832 and was chosen as the delegate from Ayish Bayou-the San Augustine community-to the conventions of 1832 and 1833.

On November 1, 1834, Sublett was elected second judge of the San Augustine municipality. He was represented as being of "good character" with a "knowledge of law of state and republic." In 1835 Sublett was elected chairman of the San Augustine Committee of Safety and Correspondence. On October 6 he submitted a resolution appointing Sam Houston commander in chief of the forces of San Augustine and Nacogdoches districts until the Consultation should meet and make other arrangements. On October 19 Sublett led "seventy and upward well mounted men, and all well armed," from San Augustine into Nacogdoches en route to the Texas army besieging San Antonio. When Sublett's men arrived in Gonzales from Washington-on-the-Brazos on November 3, they found almost all of the men away in Stephen F. Austin's army, and they perpetrated a number of outrages. According to John Fisher, secretary of the municipality's committee of public safety, the men from Ayish Bayou "entered private houses, compelled women to leave their house[es] with their children and seek protection from their neighbors, broke open doors, robbed of money, clothing, and everything they could lay their hands on, and dragged Dr. [Launcelot] Smither from his bed and would have murdered him but for the interference of someone of the company who possessed some more of the milk of human kindness than the balance." Sublett was commissioned lieutenant colonel October 23, and on November 24 he was appointed as an appraiser to place a value on the horses and equipment of the volunteers. He was later named assistant adjutant general of the army. He served until December 14, 1835, and was present at the siege of Bexar, December 5–10, 1835, and although he opposed the plan to storm the city, he acted "with great bravery & coolness encouraging the men at every point" during the battle of Concepcion, according to Edward Burleson. On December 18, pleading the press of "private affairs," he declined the command of the First Regiment, Texas Volunteers, in favor of Edward Burleson. He thereupon returned to his farm, where on March 21 he was appointed to a committee to go to Fort Jessup, Louisiana, to inform the commandant of the perceived threat to Nacogdoches and San Augustine by hostile Indians thought to be gathering on the Trinity River. Houston resided in Sublett's home in July 1836 after being treated for a wound received during the battle of San Jacinto. On September 1 Sublett was appointed one of three commissioners to enroll a company of San Augustine militia in which he served as a private under Capt. D. Brown. On August 15, 1836, Sublett nominated Sam Houston for president of the Republic of Texas. Sublett was a developer of the town of Sabine, now Sabine Pass, at the mouth of the Sabine River. By 1840 he owned 1,400 acres of land, two town lots in San Augustine and 123 in Sabine, twenty slaves, fifty cattle, three horses, and a gold watch. Sublett died at his San Augustine home on February 25, 1850. When his wife died in 1891 she had been in Texas for seventy years, making her, according to contemporary newspaper accounts, the dean of Anglo-American Texans.

Daughters of the Republic of Texas, Muster Rolls of the Texas Revolution (Austin, 1986). John H. Jenkins, ed., The Papers of the Texas Revolution, 1835–1836 (10 vols., Austin: Presidial Press, 1973). Marion Day Mullins, First Census of Texas, 1829–1836, and Other Early Records of the Republic of Texas (Washington: National Genealogical Society, 1959). Texas House of Representatives, Biographical Directory of the Texan Conventions and Congresses, 1832–1845 (Austin: Book Exchange, 1941). Gifford E. White, ed., The 1840 Census of the Republic of Texas (Austin: Pemberton Press, 1966; 2d ed., Vol. 2 of 1840 Citizens of Texas, Austin, 1984). 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, “Sublett, Philip Allen,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed September 22, 2021,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

June 13, 2020