The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 91, July 1987 - April, 1988 Page: 484
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
manpower and supplies from the settlements, the entire Revolution
might have been seriously jeopardized by the Mexican victory. Critics
might also point to Travis's letter as evidence that the Alamo defenders
were naive victims of "Sir Walter Scott's Disease," a preoccupation with
romance and chivalry, pandemic in the South during those years. But
few can deny the enduring impact of the words of this enigmatic indi-
vidual on the American consciousness.
William Barret Travis was born on August 1, 1809, near Red Bank
Baptist Church in Edgefield (now Saluda) County, South Carolina. In
1818 his family moved west and settled on a farm at a place called Jay-
villa in Conecuh County, Alabama.' Young Travis attended local
schools and completed his formal education at Professor McCurdy's
academy in nearby Monroe County. Before he was twenty, Travis ac-
cepted a position as a teacher in or near the county seat of Claiborne.
At the same time, he studied law with one of Alabama's leading attor-
neys, James Dellet.2
From 1829 to 1831 Travis balanced several careers: he was a teacher,
lawyer, newspaper publisher, and adjutant of the Twenty-sixth Regi-
ment of the Alabama Militia. He also found time to participate in Ma-
sonic activities and to court Rosanna E. Cato, the sixteen-year-old
daughter of a wealthy planter. They were married on the evening of
October 26, 1828, and eight and a half months later a son, Charles
Edward Travis, was born. Another child, Susan Isabella, followed two
years later, but by this date the union had already disintegrated.
The reason behind Travis's departure from Alabama is shrouded in
mystery; but most sources agree that marital difficulties figured promi-
nently in his decision to start a new life in the Mexican province of
' Thomas McAdory Owen, History of Alabama and Dictionary of Alabama Biography (4 vols.; Chi-
cago: S.J. Clarke Co., 1921), IV, 1,68o-1,681; Mark A. Travis to Ruby Mixon, Nov. 15, 1929,
Ruby Mixon Papers (Eugene C. Barker Texas History Center, University of Texas, Austin;
cited hereafter as BTHC); M. A. Travis to L. W Payne, Dec. 4, 1928, ibid.; Ruby Mixon,
"William Barret Travis: His Life and Letters" (M A. thesis, University of Texas, 1930), 3-5;
B. F. Riley, History of Conecuh County, Alabama, ed. J. Vernon Brantley (1881; reprint, Blue Hill,
Minn : Weekly Packet, [i964]), 33-36, B. F. Riley, Makers and Romance of Alabama History . .
(n.p, n.d.), 96-99.
2Z. T. Fulmore, The History and Geography of Texas as Told in County Names (Austin: E. L Steck,
1915), 141, Riley, History of Conecuh County, Alabama, 138; Helen G. Torrey to Mixon, Apr. 14,
1929, Mixon Papers; Monroeville journal Centennial Edition, 1866-1966 (nd ); Mixon, "William
Barret Travis," g.
"Owen, History of Alabama and Dictionary of Alabama Biography, IV, 1,681; Riley, Makers and
Romance of Alabama History, 96, Travis J Bledsoe to Mixon, Mar. 22, 28, 1929, Mixon Papers;
George A. Beauchamp to M. M. Fountain, Mar. 28, 1929, ibid; Archie P McDonald, Travis
(Austin: Jenkins Publishing Co., 1976), 43-49; Travis Bible transcripts (certified copy, Ar-
chives Division, Texas State Library, Austin; cited hereafter as TSL).
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 91, July 1987 - April, 1988, periodical, 1987/1988; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101211/m1/556/: accessed April 26, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.