Texas Day by Day
On this day in Texas history…
Alamo survivor Joe escapes from slavery
August 26th, 1837
On this day in 1837, an important figure of early Texas, known only as Joe, apparently made good his escape from slavery. He was a slave of William B. Travis and one of the few survivors of the battle of the Alamo. Joe was born about 1813. He claimed that as the famous battle began he armed himself and followed Travis into the fray. After the battle the Mexican troops searched the buildings and called for any blacks to reveal themselves. Joe responded and was struck by a pistol shot and bayonet thrust before a Mexican captain intervened. Joe was taken to Bexar, where he was detained and interrogated by Santa Anna about Texas and its army. He somehow made his way to Sam Houston's camp at Gonzales. He was questioned at Groce's Retreat about the events at the Alamo. He was then returned to Travis's estate, and on the anniversary of the battle of San Jacinto he and an unidentified Mexican man escaped. A notice offering a fifty-dollar reward for his return was published in the Telegraph and Texas Register for three months and discontinued on August 26, 1837. Joe was last reported in Austin in August 1875.