The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 60, July 1956 - April, 1957

Mafor Whitfeidd Chalk, fero of
rhe Repubic of rexas
OLIVE TODD WALKER
BY midyear in 1836 Texans were jubilant over the apparent
outlook for peace. Their victory at San Jacinto, confirm-
ing the recent Declaration of Independence, followed by
the peace treaties signed by President David G. Burnet and
Antonio L6pez de Santa Anna, appeared a solid basis for op-
timism. At least, the Texans felt, the elimination of one enemy
would be a guarantee of respites between Indian conflicts for
matters more pleasing and constructive than grim war. Mexico,
on the other hand, however, observed the future from a different
vantage point.
Scores of courageous young men from the United States were
attracted to the flamboyant young Lone Star Republic. Besides
those motivated by sympathy for Texas in her struggle against
despotism, some no doubt had no higher incentive than sheer
love of dangerous adventure, while still others were lured by the
hope of a share in her vast rich domain. Among the first group
was Whitfield Chalk, who came from Tennessee in 1839.1
Whitfield Chalk's parents, the Reverend William Roscoe Chalk
and his wife, Mary Elizabeth Williams, sailed from their home
in England and landed in America in January, 1811. They
settled in Hertford County, North Carolina, where on April 4,
1811, Whitfield, their second child and eldest son was born.
In 1823 the Chalk family moved to Maury County, Tennessee,
where Whitfield grew to manhood and continued to live until
he left for Texas.
Whitfield Chalk's trials began when en route to Texas. Sailing
down the Mississippi River in an old steamboat, all of the pas-
1Walter Prescott Webb and H. Bailey Carroll (eds.), The Handbook of Texas
(2 vols.; Austin, 1952), I, 325. Different dates have been named as the time of
Chalk's arrival in Texas, some as early as 1833. When he made application to join
the Texas Veterans' Association in 1873, however, he stated "emigrated in 1839."

Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 60, July 1956 - April, 1957. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101163/. Accessed September 1, 2014.