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MAYFIELD, JAMES S. (1809–?). James S. Mayfield, lawyer, legislator, and soldier, was born in Tennessee in 1809 and moved to Texas in 1837. In January 1839 he was practicing law in Nacogdoches with J. M. White and later that year was chosen to go with Albert Sidney Johnston to propose to the Cherokee Indians that they leave Texas upon payment for their improvements by the republic. Mayfield represented Nacogdoches County in the Fifth and Sixth congresses (1840–42) and introduced the Franco-Texian Bill. From February 8, 1841, to September 7, 1841, Mayfield served as secretary of state under Mirabeau B. Lamar, except for the period from April 30 to September 7, when Joseph Waples and Samuel A. Robertsqqv served consecutively in his place.

On September 16, 1842, Mayfield assembled a company of volunteers from La Grange, to follow Capt. Nicholas Dawson in an attempt to repel Gen. Adrián Woll's Mexican army from San Antonio. His group, joined by others under the command of Jesse Billingsley and W. J. Wallace, arrived at the scene of the Dawson massacre on Salado Creek while it was occurring. Mayfield, as the commanding officer, determined that his group was too far outnumbered and remained in the distance until the following day, when he joined the command of Mathew Caldwell. In 1842 Mayfield was a member of the Somervell expedition but did not join the subsequent Mier expedition. In 1843 he presented himself as a candidate for major general of the Texas army but removed himself from consideration because, he said, of ill health. It is probable, however, that accusations of cowardice during the Woll invasion leveled by Mathew Caldwell and Edward Burleson had much to do with his decision. Mayfield represented Fayette County at the Convention of 1845 and during the same year challenged Burleson to a duel but did not go through with the engagement.

In April 1846 Mayfield helped organize the Democratic party in Texas. He was living in La Grange in 1849, the year he killed Absolom Bostwick in a political argument. In July 1850 Mayfield was one of a committee appointed in a meeting at La Grange to consider insurrectionary movements in Santa Fe County.


Leonie Rummel Weyand and Houston Wade, An Early History of Fayette County (La Grange, Texas: La Grange Journal, 1936).

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"MAYFIELD, JAMES S.," Handbook of Texas Online (, accessed December 01, 2015. Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.