Last Soldiers of the Republic

Have a look at this 1906 photograph.

It was taken at the last annual meeting of the Texas Veterans Association, held at Goliad in April of that year. Six of the last ten surviving members of the Texas Army attended.

Pictured are:

William Physick Zuber (1820–1913) of Austin. He was in the rear guard, on the other side of Buffalo Bayou, during the Battle of San Jacinto, and took part in the Somervell Expedition of 1842. He also served in the Confederate cavalry, farmed and taught school in rural Grimes County. He was a charter member of the Texas State Historical Association. It was Zuber who first recorded the story of Travis’ line in the sand.It had first been told to his mother by Moses Rose, while she patched him up after his escape during the battle. Some historians doubt the story, but it does not make sense that Rose, who told the story often, would create a tale that paints him as a coward.

John Washington Darlington (1821–1915) of Taylor. He fought in the Battle of Plum Creek, fought against Vasquez and Woll during the raids of 1842, and helped build the first capitol building at Austin. He also ranched and served in a ranging company during the Civil War.

Asa Collinsworth Hill (1826-1913) of Oakville. At first I didn’t think he belonged with this group, as I couldn’t find any record that he served during the republic years, though his father and brothers did. I was finally able to track down a reference to a note he wrote about his service in the Mier Expedition. There seems to have been some historical confusion caused by the fact that his father, also called Asa, took part in the expedition as well. Sam Houston took young Mr. Hill to Washington as his personal secretary when he became senator in 1846. Hill commanded a spy company during the Mexican War. He was a Texas Ranger captain before the Civil War.

Stephen Franklin Sparks (1817-1908) of Rockport. He fought with Ben Milam in the Siege of Bexar and took part in the Battle of San Jacinto. Sparks Colony near Rockport in Aransas County was home to the old warrior and his kin.

Levi Teague “Uncle Lee” Lawler (1826-1915) of Florence. He took part in the Somervell Expedition of 1842, for which the State of Texas paid him $67.50 twenty years later. Uncle Lee was a carpenter and a farmer. He served in the Williamson County militia as 1st sergeant during the Civil War.

Alfonso Parcutt Steele (1817-1911) of Mexia. While delegates met at Washington on the Brazos, Steele worked at the local hotel, grinding corn for their bread and tending to their needs.  He was the last surviving participant of the Battle of San Jacinto. In one of the battle’s first volleys he was shot through the lung. He continued to fight, though blood was pouring from his nose and mouth. General Houston rode Steele’s horse through much of the battle, until it was shot from under him. Once recovered from his wound, Steele farmed and raised cattle in Montgomery County. After marrying he made his home in Robertson County and later in Limestone County.

The Texas Veterans Association was an organization of those who performed military service in Texas prior to annexation. It held its first convention at Houston in 1873, with about seventy-five veterans present The annual meetings always took place the week of April 21, San Jacinto Day. 

The association dissolved the year after this photograph was taken, and its work was taken over by the Daughters of the Republic of Texas.

30 replies »

    • How Would I Find out if My GREAT GREAT GREAT Grandpa Was part of this Group. He DID Fight with the TEXAS CSA.31st Calvary…I have a Copy of His CSA.pension.

      • My great great great grandfather was the first signer of the Texas declaration of Independence George Washington Barnett I don’t know if he was in that army don’t know a whole lot about him but I would love to have more information if anybody out there has any information on him

        • There’s info @San Jac museum Monument. Who fought, where,…different positions, & names.Battlefield maps. Bookstore in the shop there, too!
          Fascinating. Mexicans were by Peggy’s Lake..Peggy McCormick…& the Texans on other side…kinda toward the reflection pool & to the front of the monument. Spanish moss, an epiphyte, grows in the oak trees around there. There is also a story about Spanish moss I found on a post card long ago.
          History is enthralling !
          I grew up across from Peggy’s Lake in what was Brownwood. Its now a park…due to a terrific amount of subsidence.????

      • Go to and search under his name/location and google Civil War records on the internet. There are a ton of military records. Good luck.

  1. Correction. The First Capital building of the Republic Of Texas was in present day West Columbia on the Brazos. What Texas historian doesn’t know that?

    • I don’t know a Texas historian who doesn’t know where the first capitol of the Republic was, but since you’re implying that I don’t…I’ll explain. The article states in plain language that Darlington helped build the first capitol building AT AUSTIN. Most folks know that there were multiple capitol buildings at Austin…and now you do, too.

    • I thought it was at Washington on the Brazos!?!?!? That’s quit a way from West Columbia! Where are you from?

      • And there WAS a meeting house there. Unless you are talking about him being on the construction crew of the first capital building that was built in Austin after Austin became the capital.

        • Yes, Marjean, he helped to build the original capitol in Austin. “Original” was used because there was more than one capitol building in the latter-day capital at Austin.

  2. Actually there is one more picture of the next year with Asa Hill air brushed out. I always thought he died, but maybe someone complained that he didn’t fight……

  3. I love reading stuff like this.I was born in Boston the saying goes I could not get here fast enough.I read a lot about the civil war era.Have been to several confederate battle grounds.My husband is a 5th generation Texan.

  4. I can’t say if my family fought in any battles, but they were living in Texas in 1832 in Sabine pass. It was my great great great grandfather, his name was Thomas Court’s, I’m also kin to Sharp’s from that time period

  5. God Bless Texas, our history and especially the men and women who fought and died to secure our freedoms.

  6. Can’t claim a direct relationship but William Physick Zuber was the nephew of the husband of my 4th great aunt.
    I’m a native Texan and have always been interested in Texas history. As a youngster I dreamed of having a connection to that history. Now, I am aware, not only to this connection to Zuber, but also to a 1st cousin (many times removed) that was a member of the Gonzales group that defended the “Come and Take it Cannon. Also, his nephew was a 16 year old that came from Gonzales to help defend the Alamo. He and, I believe, his brother-in-law were the two youngest to die in defense of that historic site.

    • One of the “32”
      That is something to be proud of.
      My 6th GG Grandmother is
      Mary Jane Upton May her an her Husband my 6th GG Grandfather George May were very good friends of Sam Houston, “Texas Patriots”
      They were in Halletsville and the area.
      It feels great to be in the bloodlines of such strong people, doesn’t it?

  7. My fourth Great Grandfather was Lt. Col. Henry Millard who also founded Beaumont Texas. Named the town after his wife’s maidens name (my Grandmother) Mary Beaumont.

  8. Sparks is my great, great, great grandfather. Thank you for keeping these men’s stories alive 🙏