James W. Tinsley, soldier of the Republic of Texas, was elected first lieutenant in Capt. William Wood's Company A of Col. Edward Burleson's First Regiment, Texas Volunteers, in December 1835 and confirmed as a first lieutenant of infantry in the regular army by the General Council on March 10, 1836, but at the battle of San Jacinto he was detached to Burleson's staff as adjutant. On May 10, 1836, Sam Houston nominated Tinsley major of the cavalry battalion, and the Senate confirmed the nomination on May 22. In March 1837 he was reportedly defeated in an Indian fight near Victoria. On January 1, 1838, he was commander of the First Cavalry regiment of the Army of the Republic of Texas. Tinsley was killed in San Antonio in a duel with Maj. Stiles Leroy. His brother William was named administrator of his estate on May 30, 1838.