Whitesides, James (1771–1848)

Type: Biography

Published: 1952

Updated: November 1, 1995

James (Uncle Jimmie) Whitesides, one of Stephen F. Austin's Old Three Hundred colonists, was born on July 21, 1771. He moved from Missouri to Texas prior to April 1824 and left his family there while he went back to the United States on business. In 1823 his family was reported to be living on lettuce, and Martin Varner provided venison for them. Whitesides voted in a colony election in April 1824 and received title to a league and a labor of land in present Grimes, Brazos, and Waller counties on July 16, 1824. Horatio Chriesman had surveyed the land by October 1824. In November 1824 Whitesides applied to Austin for land for his nephews, Boland and Henry Whitesides. The census of 1826 classified James Whitesides as a farmer and stock raiser and listed his wife, Elizabeth (Deck), and two sons, Jinken and John Tilform Whitesides. James Whitesides was a judge at the alcalde election in December 1826. In 1829 and 1830 he was operating a tavern at San Felipe, where he subscribed to digging a well, served on the committee of examiners for students in the academy, and helped arrange a suitable welcome for the priest, probably Father Michael Muldoon. Whitesides was living at Coles Settlement near Independence in August 1832 when he reported to Anthony Butler on conditions in the colony in general and the Anahuac Disturbances in particular. Daniel Shipman as early as 1824 and William B. Travis in 1833 reported on visits in the Whitesides home and "Aunt Betsy's" hospitality. In the fall of 1835 Mrs. Whitesides went to Mrs. John P. Coles's home to help prepare a dinner to welcome Austin home from imprisonment in Mexico. Noah Smithwick relates a story about "Uncle Jimmie" in his recollections of early San Felipe. Whitesides had established a hotel in the community. A man called Parker (not his real name) was accused of murdering a recent immigrant by the name of Early. While awaiting trial in San Felipe, the prisoner became ill and was placed in the custody of Uncle Jimmie. Uncle Jimmie announced the death of his prisoner and with the aid of a slave hastily prepared the body for burial. Later, Parker was spotted by a San Felipe resident in New Orleans. Upon his return the coffin was exhumed, and in the place of Parker's body they found a green log. The community did not prosecute Uncle Jimmie for his breach of the law. Whitesides was a trustee of Independence Female Academy in 1839. He died on April 24, 1848.

Eugene C. Barker, ed., The Austin Papers (3 vols., Washington: GPO, 1924–28). E. L. Blair, Early History of Grimes County (Austin, 1930). Lester G. Bugbee, "The Old Three Hundred: A List of Settlers in Austin's First Colony," Quarterly of the Texas State Historical Association 1 (October 1897). Louis Wiltz Kemp, The Signers of the Texas Declaration of Independence (Salado, Texas: Anson Jones, 1944; rpt. 1959). Worth Stickley Ray, Austin Colony Pioneers (Austin: Jenkins, 1949; 2d ed., Austin: Pemberton, 1970). Daniel Shipman, Frontier Life: 58 Years in Texas (1879). Noah Smithwick, The Evolution of a State, or Recollections of Old Texas Days (Austin: Gammel, 1900; rpt., Austin: University of Texas Press, 1983).


  • Founders and Pioneers
  • Pioneers
  • Politics and Government
  • Judges

Time Periods:

  • Mexican Texas

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

Anonymous, “Whitesides, James,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed December 08, 2021, https://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/entries/whitesides-james.

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

November 1, 1995

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