Southwestern Historical Quarterly
Joln W. Smith, the Cast Aesselver from the
Alamo a#d the First qMajor of San Atoio
Edited by M. L. CRIMMINS
THE following obituary1 of John W. Smith, first mayor of
San Antonio, shows the important role he played in the
capture of San Antonio de Bexar in December, 1835. If
it had not been for the plan of the city furnished by Smith and
his intimate knowledge of the situation in San Antonio, it would
not have been possible to convince the besieging force of Texans,
under General Edward Burleson, that the capture of the city
was feasible with only three hundred men.
Henderson Yoakum in his History of Texas publishes a plan
of "San Antonio and its environs taken from actual survey illus-
trating the storming of the town by the Texans under Colonel
Milam."2 Without doubt this plan was drafted by John W. Smith,
a civil engineer, who was the only Anglo-American in San An-
tonio with the necessary skill and training as well as an intimate
knowledge of the city's fortifications. While living in San Antonio
during the siege, Smith had been impressed to help position the
The obituary follows:
OBITUARY OF THE HONORABLE JOHN W. SMITH
from the Texas National Register, January 18, 1845, p. 55, col. 1.
Departed this life in the town of Washington, on Sunday the 12th
instant, the Honorable John W. Smith, Senator from the County of
The deceased emigrated from the United States to San Antonio in
1Acknowledgment is gratefully made to Miss Fannie Ratchford, of the Rare
Books Collection of the University of Texas Library, through whose kindness a
copy of the obituary which tollows was obtained.
2Henderson Yoakum, History of Texas (2 vols.; New York, 1886), II, 26.
SFrom a diary of Samuel A. Maverick: "October 12th.- ... This moment com-
mence to mount cannon, pressing into the service Smith and other citizens."-
Samuel A. Maverick (Frederick C. Chabot, ed.), Notes on the Storming of Bexar
in the Close of 1835 (San Antonio, c1942), 8. Further data on mounting cannon
in the diary entries of October 18, p. g; October 26, p. 11; November 3, P. 14;
and November 4, pp. 14-15.
Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 54, July 1950 - April, 1951. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101133/. Accessed April 24, 2014.