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VAN DORN, ISAAC

VAN DORN, ISAAC (ca. 1801–1860). Isaac Van Dorn (Vandorn), one of Stephen F. Austin's Old Three Hundred colonists, was born in Pennsylvania about 1801. At the age of fourteen he was indentured to a farmer for seven years, whom he eventually left. He traveled first to Kentucky and by 1822 to Texas, where he sojourned first at San Felipe de Austin and the Cedar Lake area before settling on Live Oak Creek in what is now Matagorda County. In July 1826 he petitioned for land in the Austin colony, and on April 14, 1828, with partner Daniel E. Balis as one of the Old Three Hundred families, received title to a sitio of land on Caney and Live Oak creeks, now in southeastern Matagorda County. In January 1827 Van Dorn attended a meeting supporting the Mexican constitution and condemning the Fredonian Rebellion. In February 1830 one Isaac "Vandoin" (probably Van Dorn) was serving as síndico procurador at the regular meeting of the ayuntamiento of San Felipe de Austin. In June 1832 Van Dorn fought in Aylett C. Buckner's company at the battle of Velasco. He was a member of the committee of safety and correspondence at Matagorda in October 1835 and in December was recommended by Joseph W. E. Wallace to Henry Smithqv as a lieutenant in the artillery. On May 3, 1837, Van Dorn married Amanda Malvina Reader of Adams County, Mississippi; the couple had ten children and were members of Christ Episcopal Church in Matagorda. In July 1837 Van Dorn was elected the first sheriff of Matagorda County, and in late January 1840 he was appointed a commissioner to examine for fraudulent land title claims in the county. In the 1850 census he reported owning three slaves. He died on May 30, 1860, and is buried in the Matagorda Cemetery.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: 
Eugene C. Barker, ed., The Austin Papers (3 vols., Washington: GPO, 1924–28). Eugene C. Barker, ed., "Minutes of the Ayuntamiento of San Felipe de Austin, 1828–1832," 12 parts, Southwestern Historical Quarterly 21–24 (January 1918-October 1920). 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). Daughters of the Republic of Texas, Founders and Patriots of the Republic of Texas (Austin, 1963-). John H. Jenkins, ed., The Papers of the Texas Revolution, 1835–1836 (10 vols., Austin: Presidial Press, 1973). Matagorda County Historical Commission, Historic Matagorda County (3 vols., Houston: Armstrong, 1986).

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Handbook of Texas Online, "Van Dorn, Isaac," accessed May 26, 2016, http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/fva06.

Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.