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Summers, William E. (1812–1836)

Bill Groneman
Revised by: Brett J. Derbes
Biography Entry

William E. Summers, Alamo defender, was born to Jesse Summers and Sarah "Sally" Coate(s) on March 29, 1811, in the Edgefield District, South Carolina. By 1820 the Summers family relocated to Newberry District, South Carolina, and again to Clarke County, Alabama, by 1830. William Summers arrived in Gonzales, Texas, in 1832. From Guadalupe Victoria he petitioned for a land grant from the Mexican government on February 12, 1835, that was approved on May 1, 1835. He received a quarter league of land situated along the Lavaca River in the DeWitt's Colony, twelve miles southeast of present day Halletsville. Summers brother, Henry C. G. Summers also petitioned for land and received a full league of the adjacent land. The Summers brothers voted in the election of delegates to the Texas Independence Convention on March 1, 1836, at Washington-on-the-Brazos, where Henry served as clerk. On February 23, 1836, Summers mustered into the Gonzales Ranging Company of Mounted Volunteers (commonly referred to as Texas Rangers), and rode with the "Immortal 32" who forced their way into the Alamo. He fought and died at the Battle of the Alamo on March 6, 1836. He was buried at the Alamo in San Antonio. In 1936 Summers was honored on a historic marker in Gonzales dedicated to the "Immortal 32." The Summers' land grant became the subject of legal disputes that lasted from 1853 until at least 1901. On May 3, 2014, a historical marker was dedicated to Summers by the Texas Historical Commission and local history organizations located near Ezzell Elementary School on County Road 12.

Harry Glen Windham and Delmer De 'Del' Groves, William E. Summers (1811-1836): History and Genealogy, unpublished, 2011., accessed 7/29/2015. Daughters of the American Revolution, The Alamo Heroes and Their Revolutionary Ancestors (San Antonio, 1976). Daughters of the Republic of Texas, Muster Rolls of the Texas Revolution (Austin, 1986). Bill Groneman, Alamo Defenders (Austin: Eakin, 1990). Darren L. Ivey, The Texas Rangers: A Registry and History (Jefferson: McFarland, 2010), 229. 

Time Periods:

  • Texas Revolution

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

Bill Groneman Revised by Brett J. Derbes, “Summers, William E.,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed June 24, 2021,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

July 1, 1995
July 23, 2015

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