Texas Handbook Online posted by Diane Miller   dianermiller @ gmail.com     Info Chart #44  January 10, 2000  

I found this on the Texas Handbook Online: Diane Miller


James S. Gillett, lawyer, military officer, and adjutant general, son of Jonathan and Hannah (Shackleford) Gillett, was born at Lincoln, Kentucky, in 1810. Before 1820 his family moved to Howard County, Missouri, with the family of Henry Smith,qv his brother-in-law, who was later appointed by Antonio López de Santa Annaqv to be the first provisional governor of Texas. Three of his sisters were married at different times to Smith. In 1827 Jonathan, with his son Roswell and daughters Catherine and Sarah, left Missouri with Smith and his family to go to Texas. In March 1827 Jonathan applied for a land grant from Mexico and returned to Missouri for his family. Before he could return to Texas, he and his wife died.

James remained in Missouri with a sister and her husband, but shortly thereafter left for Santa Fe. On the trip his party was attacked by Osage Indians, and he and three other youths were captured. The Indians released them unharmed after two weeks. They made their way to Santa Fe, where Gillett lived for several years and mastered Spanish.

He next moved to Van Buren, Arkansas, where he studied law and was admitted to the bar. In 1839 he moved to Paris, Texas. In 1846, when Texas was admitted to the Union, he was elected the first representative from Lamar County to the First Legislature, which met on February 16, 1846. When Mexico threatened war over the annexationqv of Texas, Gillett organized a company as captain in Col. John C. Hays'sqv Second Regiment, Texas Rangers.qv

War was declared on May 9, 1846. Gillett's company was stationed along the frontier with the companies of captains Johnston, Ross, Highsmith, and Baylor under Lt. Col. Peter H. Bell.qv

Gillett was promoted to major on July 11, 1848, and served until February 15, 1849.

In 1850 he married Elizabeth Harper, daughter of Capt. R. H. Harper, a planter from North Carolina, who had in 1846 established a plantation in Washington County. They had five children. The first two boys died in infancy. Another, James Buchanan Gillett,qv born in 1856, was a Texas Ranger, author, and rancher.

In 1851 Gillett ran for lieutenant governor but was defeated. He was appointed adjutant general of Texas on November 24, 1851, by Governor Bell. On October 10, 1855, fire destroyed the adjutant general's office and all records, including all muster rolls and evidence upon which county and land warrants were issued.

The following year the legislature did not fund the office, and Governor Elisha M. Peaseqv suspended it on February 4, 1856. In 1858 Gillett was appointed quartermaster of the Texas Rangers.

In the early days of the Confederacy he was rejected for military service because of age. When there was a call for more men, he enlisted in Capt. W. H. D. Carrington's company, on July 15, 1863, and was mustered out March 16, 1864. He returned from war broken in health and spirit, with his slaves freed and his landholdings in Austin and Grimes County not very productive.

Though there was little law practice under Reconstruction,qv he managed to support his family. Because of his wife's ill health, they moved to Lampasas in 1872. Gillett died there in April 1874. There is a Texas historical marker at his gravesite.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: James B. Gillett, Six Years with the Texas Rangers, 1875 to 1881 (Austin: Von Boeckmann-Jones, 1921; rpt., Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1976). Frank W. Johnson, A History of Texas and Texans (5 vols., ed. E. C. Barker and E. W. Winkler [Chicago and New York: American Historical Society, 1914; rpt. 1916]).

Margaret F. Peirce

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More data from The Texas Handbook Online VANDEVEER, LOGAN (ca. 1815-1855). Logan Vandeveer, soldier and pioneer, son of William and Emily (Shackleford) Vandeveer, was born in Casey County, Kentucky, about 1815. He moved to Texas in 1833 and arrived first in Stephen F. Austin'sqv Little Colony at Mina (Bastrop; see MINA MUNICIPALITY).

There he enlisted in Capt. Jesse Billingsley'sqv company on February 28, 1836. Vandeveer, a private, was badly wounded in the battle of San Jacintoqv and was discharged at Mina on June 1, 1836. His name is inscribed at the San Jacinto Monument (see SAN JACINTO MONUMENT AND MUSEUM) near Houston.

Vandeveer was married to Lucinda Mays (Mayes) in 1838 or 1839 in Bastrop County; they had seven children.

After his discharge from the army, Vandeveer entered the Texas Rangersqv and fought Indians > throughout the Bastrop area. Vandeveer received tracts of land in what is now Burnet County for his service in the Texas Revolution,qv and he purchased additional land in the area. In 1849 he secured a contract from the United States government to supply meat and foodstuffs to Fort Croghan. By 1851 he had another contract to furnish beef to Fort Mason, fifty miles farther west.

The 1850 census lists Logan Vandeveer, his wife Lucinda, and four daughters living in Hamilton (later Burnet). Probably Vandeveer's wife died soon thereafter, though researchers have not found her gravesite or any record of her death. Vandeveer was a leader in presenting the petition to the legislature in 1852 to establish Burnet County and was instrumental in having the town of Burnet named the county seat. He was named its first postmaster. In 1853 he opened the first Burnet school, known as the Collegiate School, and hired as teacher William H. Dixon, an Oxford University graduate, who taught a number of subjects, including French, Latin, geography, history, philosophy, mathematics, and elocution. In 1854 Vandeveer and an associate built the first substantial building (rock) in the town; in the 1980s it was still in use. A section of Burnet is known as the Vandeveer addition, and a street bears his name. In the summer of 1855 Vandeveer, his brother Zachary, and three other men took a large herd of cattle to Louisiana. Vandeveer developed yellow fever and died on September 2, 1855, in Plaquemines Parish, where he is buried.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: John Henry Brown, Indian Wars and Pioneers of Texas (Austin: Daniell, 1880; reprod., Easley, South Carolina: Southern Historical Press, 1978). Darrell Debo, Burnet County History (2 vols., Burnet, Texas: Eakin, 1979).

Sam Houston Dixon and Louis Wiltz Kemp, The Heroes of San Jacinto (Houston: Anson Jones, 1932). Adam R. Johnson, The Partisan Rangers of the Confederate Army, ed. William J. Davis (Louisville: George G. Fetter, 1904). Marble Falls Highlander, April 13, 20, 27, 1972.

Frank C. Rigler, "Logan Vandeveer, Forgotten Pioneer," Texana 10 (1972).

June Zimmerman, Lucille S. Craddock, and Ralph Smith

From "The Handbook of Texas Online"

SHACKELFORD, JACK (1790-1857). Jack Shackelford, commander of the Red Roversqv under James W. Fanninqv at Goliad, was a survivor and chronicler of the battle of Coleto and the Goliad Massacre.qv He was born in Richmond, Virginia, on March 20, 1790, the son of Richard Shackelford, and was educated as a physician and surgeon. In 1811 he moved to Winnsboro, South Carolina, where he began his practice and married Maria Young, the daughter of a prominent Presbyterian minister. He served on Andrew Jackson's staff in the War of 1812. In 1818 he moved his family to Shelby County, Alabama, where he bought a plantation. He was elected to the Alabama state Senate in 1822, 1823, and 1824. As surety for a cousin whose business failed, Shackelford was forced to sell his plantation. About 1829 he was appointed to head the United States Land Office in Courtland, Alabama, and sell 400,000 acres of government land for the construction of a canal around Muscle Shoals. He then served as treasurer for the Tuscumbia, Courtland and Decatur Railroad, the first line west of the Allegheny Mountains.

With the eruption of the Texas Revolutionqv Shackelford recruited volunteers for the cause in the fall of 1835, mustering a unit that he drilled as captain. The company, which included Shackelford's son, Fortunatus, and also two nephews, was uniformed in red jeans, hence the name Red Rovers. The volunteers arrived at Dimmit's Landingqv on Matagorda Bay in late January 1836 and marched to Guadalupe Victoria, where alcaldeqv and quartermaster of the Texas Army John J. Linnqv "prepared for them comfortable quarters" along with "a supply of hot coffee and other refreshments." Upon their arrival at Goliad, Fannin put the Red Rovers in the newly organized Lafayette Battalion. During the battle of Coleto, Fannin positioned the Red Rovers with the New Orleans Greysqv on the extreme right front of the Texan square. While suffering the Mexican advance, Shackelford, after the second volley of enemy shot, ordered his company to sit down until Fannin commanded them to return fire, an example quickly followed by the other units and credited with preventing numerous casualties. In the Goliad Massacre that followed Fannin's surrender, Shackelford was spared execution, he wrote, "not from any feeling of humanity towards me, but from a necessity, for my services in their hospital." He was subsequently made to care for the wounded Mexicans. After about four weeks at Goliad, "where my sufferings were almost insupportable," he was sent with his comrade, Joseph Henry Barnard,qv to Bexarqv to care for Mexicans wounded in the battle of the Alamo.qv Placed in the benevolent custody of Ramón Músquiz,qv Shackelford remained in San Antonio with Barnard until the retreat of the Mexican army following the battle of San Jacintoqv allowed their escape. The two men traveled to Goliad "over the ground which had drunk the heart's blood of our mangled companions" and joined Gen. Thomas J. Rusk,qv whom Shackelford asked to bury the massacre victims.

Barnard and Shackelford continued to Velasco, where they met with President David G. Burnetqv and confronted the captured "fiend incarnate," Antonio López de Santa Anna.qv Upset over the honorable treatment given the Mexican general, Shackelford obtained his discharge and returned to Courtland, Alabama, where he received military honors.

"Some Few Notes upon a Part of the Texas War," Shackelford's account of the battle of Coleto and the murder of Fannin's command, is perhaps the best original record of the massacre and is the best authority on Fannin's last moments. First published in Henry Stuart Foote'sqv Texas and the Texans (1841), the account, like those of Joseph E. Field, John C. Duval, and Andrew M. Boyle,qv did not censure Fannin for fighting on the open prairie;

Shackelford considered the collapse of the ammunition cart as merely an unfortunate circumstance. The doctor, however, "remonstrated warmly" against Fannin's resting the command before reaching the Coleto: "Col. Fannin and many others could not be made to believe that the Mexicans would dare follow us. He had too much contempt for their prowess, and too much confidence in the ability of his own little force." Shackelford reported that they did not retreat at the battle of Coleto because they were expecting reinforcements from Victoria, but also because they agreed not to abandon the wounded.

Shackelford visited Texas from Alabama in 1839 and attended a dinner sponsored in his honor by Barnard E. Bee, Sr., and Albert Sidney Johnston qv in Houston on February 4. During the Mexican invasions of 1842qv he again tried to secure volunteers for the Texas cause. He traveled to Houston and also Austin in 1846. He died in Courtland, Alabama, on January 22, 1857. In 1858 Shackelford County was established and named in his honor.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: Henry Stuart Foote, Texas and the Texans (2 vols., Philadelphia: Cowperthwait, 1841; rpt., Austin: Steck, 1935).

Zachary T. Fulmore, History and Geography of Texas As Told in County Names (Austin: Steck, 1915; facsimile, 1935). Hobart Huson, Refugio: A Comprehensive History of Refugio County from Aboriginal Times to 1953 (2 vols., Woodsboro, Texas: Rooke Foundation, 1953, 1955). John J. Linn, Reminiscences of Fifty Years in Texas (New York: Sadlier, 1883; 2d ed., Austin: Steck, 1935; rpt., Austin: State House, 1986).

John E. Roller, "Capt. John Sowers Brooks," Quarterly of the Texas State Historical Association 9 (January 1906). Vertical Files, Barker Texas History Center, University of Texas at Austin. Craig H. Roell

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