Turtle Bayou Resolutions

By: Margaret S. Henson

Type: General Entry

Published: 1952

Updated: June 13, 2020

On June 12, 1832, Anglo-American settlers opposed to the rule of Mexican commander John Davis Bradburn fled from Anahuac north to the crossing on Turtle Bayou near James Taylor White's ranchhouse. White was not a participant in the attack against Anahuac (see ANAHUAC DISTURBANCES), being a loyal supporter of its commander. The Texas rebels had just learned that the antiadministration Federalist army had won a significant victory under the leadership of Antonio López de Santa Anna. Taking advantage of this favorable news, they verbally aligned themselves with the Federalist cause by composing the Turtle Bayou Resolutions, which explained their attack against the Centralist troops at Anahuac. They were not Anglos attacking a Mexican garrison, but Federalist sympathizers opposing a Centralist commandant as part of the civil war that had been in progress for two years between the Centralist administration of Anastasio Bustamante and those wanting to return to the Constitution of 1824. The four resolutions condemned violations of the 1824 constitution by the Bustamante government and urged all Texans to support the patriots fighting under Santa Anna, who was at the time struggling to defeat military despotism. A copy of the document was included in the seven-point statement of causes for taking up arms that was presented to Federalist colonel José Antonio Mexía in Brazoria on July 18, 1832. Mexía had arrived two days earlier with 400 troops and five vessels to quell a supposed movement to sever Texas from Mexico. The explanations offered by the Texas leaders satisfied the Federalist general, and he returned to the Rio Grande. No signatures are affixed to the extant copy of the resolutions, but seven of the Texas leaders (Wyly Martin, John Austin, Luke Lesassier, William H. Jack, Hugh B. Johnston, Francis W. Johnson, and Robert M. Williamson signed the combined document presented to Mexía. The document was published in an extra edition of the Brazoria Constitutional Advocate on July 23, 1832, and appeared in Mary Austin Holley's Texas (1833).

Charles Adams Gulick, Jr., Harriet Smither, et al., eds., The Papers of Mirabeau Buonaparte Lamar (6 vols., Austin: Texas State Library, 1920–27; rpt., Austin: Pemberton Press, 1968). Margaret S. Henson, Juan Davis Bradburn: A Reappraisal of the Mexican Commander of Anahuac (College Station: Texas A&M University Press, 1982). Margaret S. Henson, Samuel May Williams: Early Texas Entrepreneur (College Station: Texas A&M University Press, 1976). Marilyn M. Sibley, Lone Stars and State Gazettes: Texas Newspapers before the Civil War (College Station: Texas A&M University Press, 1983).

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

Margaret S. Henson, “Turtle Bayou Resolutions,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed May 16, 2022, https://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/entries/turtle-bayou-resolutions.

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

June 13, 2020