Mexican War Veterans
Generously submitted by Cannon Pritchard.
The War with Mexico in 1846-48 was
a direct result of the 1845 annexation of the
Republic of Texas by the United States. It was not a war that involved only the State of
Texas. Men who participated came from all over the nation, eagerly enlisting in volunteer
regiments raised by nearly every state, as well as the regular U.S. Army. In Texas it was
no different. State Senator George T. Wood of Polk County had been elected to the
Congress of the Republic of Texas in 1841 and served in the annexation convention in
When the war began in 1846 he resigned from the State Senate and returned home to
Polk County to raise a company of men called the 2nd Texas Mounted Volunteers. The
personnel he recruited were primarily in Liberty, Polk, and San Jacinto counties. His
company was called Co. B, 2nd Texas Mounted Volunteers and consisted of 75 men
who were mustered into service on June 22,1846. The original officers were George T.
Wood, Captain; Thaxton L. Epperson, First Lieutenant; and A.S. McGee, Second
Lieutenant. However, on July 4, 1846 General Zachary Taylor promoted George T.
Wood to a Colonel and made Commander of the entire Regiment of 600 men. Captain
J.M.W. Hall replaced Captain Wood as commander of Company B. The Company
marched to Mexico where they were involved in several battles including the Battle of
Following the defeat of the Mexican Army and the
occupation of Mexico City, the
war came to an end with the signing of the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo in February,
1848. Returning home victorious, the veterans of the war were hailed as heroes but no
medal was ever issued by the federal government and no national monument was ever
erected. The remains of most of the nearly 13,000 men who died (including many from
Polk County) were left buried in Mexican soil, in graves that have since become
forgotten and neglected.
There were at least 50 men who were residents of Polk County and fought in the
Mexican War. Of this group eight were buried in the County and have grave markers
today. They are:
1. Henry W. Augustine, born 1806 S.C. died 1874 Rank/Unit: Private, Co. B.
Grey's Battalion, Ark. Volunteers Buried: Magnolia Cemetery
2. George P. Bean, born Nov.19,1819 Tenn., died Mar.6,1883 Rank/Unit: Private/ Co. B,
2nd Tx Mtd Vol. Buried: Old City Cemetery
3. John Davis, born Dec.17,1828 Jasper Co. Miss., died Apr.14,1909 Rank/Unit:
Private, Co. B, 2nd Tx Mtd. Vol. Buried: Center Grove Cemetery
4. Thaxton L. Epperson, born Oct. 1816, Ky died 1904 Rank/ Unit: 1st Lt., Co. B.
2nd Tx Mtd. Vol. Buried: Old City Cemetery
5. Manton E. Marsh, born Apr.2,1825, La died Apr.2,1903 Rank/ Unit: Private,
Perkins Co., 14th Tx. Infantry Buried: Bold Springs Cemetery
6. Jospeh A. Sidney (J.A.S.) Turner, born Dec.27,1808 Ga. died Nov.26,1869
Rank/Unit: Capt., First Georgia Infantry Buried: Turner Cemetery
7. Brice M. Wheat, born May 8, 1816 Ala. died Oct 1, 1894 Rank/Unit: Private,
Capt. Peter Hansborough Bell's Company, Tx Mounted Vounteers,
Buried: Nowlin Cemetery
8. Demetrius Willis, born Jan.14,1825 Lauderdale Co. Ala. died Aug.12,1872
Rank/Unit: Private, Co. A, Capt. Otis M. Wheeler's Company, 2nd Tx Mounted
Volunteers, Buried: Old City Cemetery.
9. Elcanah Capps, born 1825 Miss. ; died 1898
Rank/Unit: Pvt. Capt. Thomas J. Smith's Company of Navarro County, Tx.
2nd Texas Mounted Volunteers Buried: Peebles Cemetery (Goodrich)
Note: Thaxton L. Epperson and Demetrius Willis were the only Mexican
War soldiers to
also serve in the Confederate States Army in Co. E, 20th Texas Infantry from Polk County.
Elcanah Capps also served in the Civil War as a Private in Co. D. 1st Tx Infantry, C.S.A.
In 1874, the National Association of Veterans of the Mexican War was founded in
Washington, D. C. The organization's primary goal was federal legislation granting an $8
per month pension to surviving Mexican War veterans or their widows. Thanks to their
efforts this aim was achieved. Polk County residents/veterans and widows who received
the pensions were:
1. Ellener Bean, widow of George P. Bean WC-4686, Approved-16
2. Thaxton L. Epperson, SC-860, Approved-27 Feb 1887.
3. Manton E. Marsh, SC-12411 Approved-26 Jun 1903
4. Cynthia Marsh, widow of Manton E. Marsh, WC-13482, Approved-26 Jun 1903.
5. Anna B. Willis, widow of Demetrius Willis, WC-5081, Approved-17 Mar 1887
6. Brice M. Wheat, SC-11686, Approved-20 Sep 1887.
There were Polk County soldiers from Co. B, 2nd Texas Mounted
returned home after the war and settled in other counties.
Those soldiers with grave markers are:
San Jacinto County:
Colonel George T. Wood
Robert B. Love
Robert S. Rankin
Peter M. Cauble
William B. Barclay
James R. Ratcliff
Andrew J. Thompson
Wiley J. Peace
Ben F. Ellis
Capt. Otis M. Wheeler
Capt. J.M.W. Hall.
William B. Young.
Silas C. Shirley, ( farrier of the Regiment)
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