The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 35, July 1931 - April, 1932 Page: 136
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
As the readers of this journal well know, the seat of Fannin
county is named for James Butler Bonham.
The only description of Bonham is one by his nephew, a son
of Milledge Luke Bonham, from whom he received it.
"James Butler Bonham was very tall, six feet, two inches, and
a powerful man; straight as an Indian, with black hair and eyes,
and of engaging manners and person. He was brave, frank and
generous. Full of thoughts of chivalry and patriotic impulse,
his was just the nature to be fired by the struggle which the gal-
lant Texans were making for independence. [His brother] tried
for a while to dissuade him from going, but seeing bow ardently
he longed to go, assisted him in procuring his outfit and aided
him on his way."88
No portrait of James Butler Bonham exists, but, as stated
above, his nephew, James Bonham, was said to look much like his
uncle, though somewhat fairer in coloring. It has been pointed
out above that Milledge Luke Bonham afterwards reproached
himself for aiding James to go to Texas. But it should be evi-
dent by now, that had he refused, James would have procured
the means elsewhere, and Milledge would have had the bitterer
regret of having refused his brother's last request.
On the well-known Alamo monument with its terse inscrip-
tion: "Thermopylae had her messenger of defeat: the Alamo had
none," the name of Bonham is graven with those of Bowie, Travis
and Crockett. Travis, as we have seen, had been his childhood
playmate. Bonham's sister Julia had married Dr. S. W. Bowie,
who may or may not have been a relative of James Bowie's. The
Bonhams' native county (Edgefield) is separated from Georgia
only by the Savannah river. Just a little way lower down is the
native county of Bowie-Burke. Apparently "Davy" Crockett
and Bonham were strangers before they met in the Alamo to be-
come comrades in death.
Surely the career of James Butler Bonham was consistent. At
college he rebelled against the authority of the faculty; during
the nullification controversy he was ready to rebel against the
Federal government; in the courtroom he rebelled against the
ruling of the judge; in Texas he defied the authority of Mexico;
in death, he defies oblivion.
88Letter from Milledge Lipscomb Bonham to A. N. McCallum, of La-
vernia, Texas, June 22, 1896.
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 35, July 1931 - April, 1932, periodical, 1932; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101092/m1/140/: accessed May 30, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.