The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 23, July 1919 - April, 1920 Page: 80
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The Southwestern Historical Quarterly
W. Fannin, Jr., who lost his life as a result of the divided state
of opinion which characterized the first phase of the revolution.
FANNIN AND THE CAMPAIGN or 1835
No extended biography of James W. Fannin, Jr., has been left
to the people of Texas. Were it not for the fact that he was a
voluble letter-writer, and recorded minutely to the authorities his
actions in the Texas Revolution, our knowledge of him would be
almost exclusively confined to his engagement at Concepci6n and
the massacre at Goliad in which he played the role of chief mar-
tyr. But thanks to his letters, as well as to other contemporary
documents, one may form a fair estimate of the man, though the
details of his personal history are exasperatingly few.
We do not know with certainty either the date or the place of
Fannin's birth. He tells us himself that he was adopted and
reared by his maternal grandfather, J. W. Walker of Georgia, and
that he attended West Point under the name of J. W. Walker.'
The records seem to verify this, for in 1819, then at the age of
fourteen years and six months, James F. Walker of Georgia was
admitted to the West Point Military Academy, and 1819-21, he
was a cadet there of the fourth class."
Thrall says that Fannin came to Texas in the fall of 1834 with
money furnished partly by friends to purchase slaves and open up
a plantation." But a letter found in the Texas State Library sug-
gests7 that he was a slave trader rather than a plantation owner.
This letter may have reference to the purchase of slaves for his
plantation, or it may refer to the beginnings of his slave dealings
in Texas. In it he inquires concerning the price, the terms of pay-
ment, and the security of a cargo of negroes for Texas, and the
possible objection on the part of the government to giving passports
to slaves or indented persons leaving Cuba.
It is a well-established fact that Fannin was spoken of by many
of the older settlers of Texas as a slave trader. Indeed, in his
'Fannin to Belton, August 27, 1835. THE QUARTERLY, VII, 319-320.
'Holden to Raines, March 1, 1904. THE QUARTERLY, VII, 320.
'Thrall, Piotorial History of Teas, 532.
'Fannin to Fernandez, May 23, 1833. Domestic Correspondence, Texas
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 23, July 1919 - April, 1920, periodical, 1919; (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101075/m1/86/: accessed December 13, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.