Van Ness, George F. X. (1822–1855)

By: Randolph B. "Mike" Campbell

Type: Biography

Published: 1952

Updated: August 12, 2020

George F. X. Van Ness, lawyer and member of the Texan Santa Fe expedition, son of Cornelius P. and Rhoda (Savage) Van Ness, was born in Virginia in 1822. In 1838 he joined his brother Cornelius Van Ness at San Antonio, Texas, where he practiced law. In 1841 he was appointed by President Mirabeau B. Lamar as a member of the commission to represent the Texas government on the Texan Santa Fe expedition. He was captured on the expedition and held in Perote Prison until February 3, 1842. He was back in San Antonio at the time of the Adrián Woll expedition on September 11, 1842, and was again captured by the Mexicans. Van Ness was in prison in Saltillo on January 30, 1843, when Thomas Jefferson Green and other prisoners of the Mier expedition arrived there. He was ordered released in November 1843, but was not finally liberated until April 1844. In 1849 he was a notary public in Bexar County, and in 1851 he was postmaster at Fort Duncan. At some point, he married Marie Isabel Leal and fathered one son, Antonio. He died at Eagle Pass, Texas, in 1855.

Ford Dixon, "Cayton Erhard's Reminiscences of the Texan Santa Fe Expedition, 1841," Southwestern Historical Quarterly 66 (April 1963). Thomas Falconer, Letters and Notes on the Texan Santa Fe Expedition, 1841-1842 (New York: Dauber & Pine Bookshops, 1930). Thomas J. Green, Journal of the Texian Expedition Against Mier (New York: Harper, 1845; rpt., Austin: Steck, 1935). George Wilkins Kendall, Narrative of the Texan Santa Fe Expedition (2 vols., New York: Harper, 1844; rpts. Austin: Steck, 1935; n.p.: Readex, 1966). Noel M. Loomis, The Texan-Santa Fé Pioneers (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1958). Joseph Milton Nance, trans. and ed., "Brigadier General Adrian Woll's Report of His Expedition into Texas in 1842," Southwestern Historical Quarterly 58 (April 1955). Texas State Gazette, August 25, 1849; March 15, 1851.1841," Southwestern Historical Quarterly 66 (April 1963). 


  • Exploration
  • Explorers (American)
  • Law, Law Enforcement, and Outlaws
  • Lawyers
  • General Law

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

Randolph B. "Mike" Campbell, “Van Ness, George F. X.,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed November 26, 2021,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

August 12, 2020