Jesse Billingsley

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Jesse Billingsley

(Fighter for Texas independence)

Born October 10, 1810
Rutherford County
Died October 1, 1880 (aged 69)
McDade, Bastrop County
Spouse Eliza Ann Winans Billingsley (1827-1902)

Jephta Preston Billingsley (1848-1932)
Miriam Ellen Billingsley Williams (1852-1918)[2]

Jesse Billingsley (October 10, 1810 – October 1, 1880) was a Tennessee-born fighter for the independence of Texas from Mexican authority.

The son of Jeptha Billingsley and the former Miriam Randolph, Billingsley was born in Rutherford County in central Tennessee. In 1834, he moved to Mina in Bastrop County, Texas east of the capital city of Austin. On November 17, 1835, he joined the 49-member Mina Volunteers, captained by Robert M. Coleman (c. 1799-1837). George Bernard Erath (1813-1891), later the surveyor of several Texas cities, including Waco, was in the same unit. The volunteers were soon blended into Sam Houston's army at the beginning of the Texas Revolution. and known as Company B under Colonel Edward Burleson (1798-1851), the overall commander of the First Regiment. On March 1, 1836, five days before the surrender of The Alamo, Billingsley was elected as the company captain. He led Company B at the battle of San Jacinto in Harris County less than thirty miles from Houston. There, Billingsley was wounded and left with a crippled left hand for life. The company disbanded at Mina on June 1. Billingsley thereafter served for three months as a private in John C. Hunt's ranger company.[3]

J. Frank Dobie (1888-1964), Texas folklorist and author, claimed that Billingsley was the first man to yell, "Remember the Alamo." Billingsley intensely disliked Sam Houston and would curse every time someone mentioned the name. He called Houston "cowardly" for retreating to San Jacinto before engaging Santa Anna's army.[4]

Billingsley was elected in 1836 from Bastrop County to the House of Representatives of the First Congress of the nine-year Republic of Texas. He wore a buckskin suit taken from a Comanche Indian whom he had killed in battle. Billingsley was reelected to the House of the Second Texas Congress in 1837. In February 1839, he commanded a company of volunteers under Edward Burleson that pursued the band of Comanche raiders who had killed the widow of Robert Coleman and their son, Albert, and kidnapped their five-year-old son, Thomas. He subsequently fought in the battle of Salado Creek north of Austin. After the annexation of Texas to the United States in 1845, he served in the Fifth (1853–54) and Eighth (1859–61) sessions of the Texas State Senate. Billingsley died nine days before his 70th birthday and was interred in the front yard of his house near McDade in northern Bastrop County. On September 3, 1929, he was reinterred at the Texas State Cemetery in Austin.[3]


  1. lists the birth place as Warren County, Tennessee.
  2. Jesse Billingsley. Retrieved on September 15, 2018.
  3. 3.0 3.1 Billingsley, Jesse. The Handbook of Texas Online. Retrieved on September 15, 2018.
  4. Kenneth L. Untiedt, ed., Legends and Life in Texas: Folklore from the Lone Star State, in Stories and Song (Denton: Texas Folklore Society, 2017), p. 46.