39 William B Travis Facts: The American Lawyer Who Fought In Battle

Shagun Dhanuka
Nov 27, 2022 By Shagun Dhanuka
Originally Published on Dec 21, 2021
Here are 123 William B Travis facts about the 19th-century soldier who was also a lawyer by profession.
Age: 3-18
Read time: 7.3 Min

William Barret 'Buck' Travis, a 19th-century lawyer and American soldier, was born on August 1, 1809, to Mark Travis and Jemima Stallworth.

William's family relocated to Alabama after he was born on August 1, 1809, in the Edgefield District of South Carolina.

Travis was born on August 1 or August 9, according to records, although his youngest brother James C. Travis, who was in possession of the Travis family Bible at the time of his statement, said he was born on the first.

Over the next two decades, Mark and Jemima had nine more children.

He was a lieutenant colonel in the Texans Army when he died at the Battle of the Alamo during the Texas Revolution, at the age of 26. For becoming the leader of the Republic of Texas at the Battle of the Alamo, Travis County and Travis Park were named after him.

Continue reading to learn more information about the Texas hero, William Barrett Travis, and his army's contribution to Texas history. After this, you may also want to look at our other fun fact articles about Willa Cather and Will Rogers facts.

Fun Facts About William B Travis

Texan forces, fighting for independence from Mexico, fought off large numbers of Mexican soldiers for nearly two weeks in the legendary Battle of the Alamo. William Barret Travis was the commander of the Texans. He and his troops were killed while defending the Alamo, an old Spanish mission-fort in San Antonio, Texas.

  • William Travis was born at Red Bank in west-central South Carolina. His family moved to southern Alabama shortly after his birth, where they assisted in the founding of Evergreen.
  • Travis worked as an apprentice at a legal firm and as a teacher after graduating from high school. He passed the bar and established his own law office.
  • He also ran a newspaper that he edited and published.
  • In 1828, he married. However, in 1831, he divorced his wife and moved to San Felipe de Austin, Texas, which was then part of Mexico.
  • William Barret Travis and his wife Cato remained in Claiborne and had two children: Charles Edward Travis in 1829 and Susan in 1831.
  • Act no. 115, passed by the Marion County courts on January 9, 1836, officially divorced them.
  • On February 14, 1836, Rosanna married Samuel G. Cloud in Monroeville, Alabama. Her death was caused by yellow fever in 1848 when the state was ravaged by an epidemic.
  • Travis became one of the directors of what grew to be known as the 'war party' after growing a troop of 25 aides and capturing Captain Antonio Tenorio, the chief of Mexican forces in Anahuac, on June 29, 1835.


Facts About William B Travis' Career

Travis made Claiborne his permanent home and began law school there. Travis was selected as an apprentice by renowned lawyer James Dellet.

  • Travis became an assistant teacher in Monroe County after completing his studies at the age of 18, a post he held for less than a year.
  • William Barret Travis was eager to resume his professional career and join the elite tiers of Claiborne society while still studying law with Dellet.
  • William Barret Travis founded the Claiborne Herald, a newspaper that, like many other newspapers of the time, published tales ranging from congressional events to stories of adventures throughout the world, as well as local announcements, advertisements, and other items.
  • William Barret Travis essentially ran the newspaper himself, and while it brought in some money in the beginning, it wasn't quite enough to support himself, Rosanna, and young Charlie.
  • Because of the Herald's financial difficulty, advertising was printed upside down. The type was not set properly in the printing press, causing words to tumble out of line, and expired advertisements were published.
  • He was commissioned as a captain in the Second United States Cavalry on March 5, 1855, after temporarily serving as captain of Company E of the Texas Rangers, stationed at Fort Clark.


William B Travis died during the Texas Revolution while fighting the Battle of Alamo.

Facts About William B Travis As A Soldier

William Travis was promoted to lieutenant colonel in the Legion of Cavalry and appointed as the top recruiting officer for a new regular Texans army.

  • Governor Henry Smith directed William Travis to organize a company of professional troops to reinforce the Texians at the Alamo Mission in San Antonio, who were then under the command of James C. Neill.
  • He joined the Alabama Lodge No. three and later labored as an aide of the 26th Regiment, Eighth Brigade, and Fourth Division of the Alabama army.
  • James Bowie and Travis negotiated an agreement for command of the Alamo, with Bowie commanding the volunteers and Travis commanding the regulars.
  • When the health of Bowie began to weaken, the compromise was no longer important, and Travis was appointed as the Alamo garrison's official Texas commander.
  • During the Siege and Battle of the Alamo in San Antonio, Travis led the Texas defenders.
  • Travis and approximately 180 defenders devoted their lives to freedom for Texas on March 6, 1836, despite the arrival of a few reinforcements. Travis, who was only 26 years old at the time of his death, was a remarkable young man.
  • Lieutenant Colonel William Barret Travis composed one of the most heroic letters in American history when surrounded by hundreds of Mexican soldiers and facing certain death.
  • Travis drafted a letter written 'To the People of Texas and All Americans in the World' and sent it to Albert Martin in an envelope marked 'VICTORY or DEATH' on February 24, 1836.
  • While the letter was unable to bring assistance to the Alamo garrison, it did much to excite the Texian army and help gather support in America for independence in Texas. It also solidified Travis's reputation as a Texas Revolution hero.
  • The Texas State Archives and Library has a copy of Travis's call for help, which he wrote from the Alamo on February 24, 1836.
  • It is sometimes referred to as Travis's 'Victory or Death!' letter, and it represents the Alamo supporters' stance of resistance and determination.
  • Travis boasted that he held the fort for 24 hours against Santa Anna's soldiers without losing a single man.
  • Travis died while fighting until the end during the Texas revolution, and his remains, along with those of the other Alamo defenders, were burned.
  • On March 28, 1837, a formal public ceremony was held to give the ashes a Christian burial. They were said to be buried near the Alamo, but their exact location has since been forgotten.


Facts About William B Travis' Childhood

William Travis was born in present-day Saluda County, South Carolina, on August 9, 1809. His family moved to a farm in Alabama when he was nine years old. He was admitted to the bar before his twentieth birthday, after studying law. He taught in a school because he couldn't support himself just by practicing law.

  • Travis' ancestors include William Travers/Travis, one of the leading Quakers in the Carolinas, whose forefathers came from Lancashire, England. They also include Sarah West, daughter of one of Rhode Island and New Jersey's patrons.
  • When he was nine years old, his uncle Alexander Travis, a well-known Baptist preacher, convinced his family to relocate to Sparta, Alabama, where he obtained most of his education.
  • Later, he enrolled in a neighboring Claiborne school and worked as an assistant teacher there.
  • Travis grew up in Sparta, and while his father focused on farming, his uncle Alexander rose to prominence, founding the Old Beulah Church, preaching in neighboring counties and nearby Evergreen, Alabama, and influencing young Travis.
  • At the Sparta Academy, Travis had his earliest approved education, studying courses varying from Greek and Latin to history and mathematics. Travis transferred to Professor William H. McCurdy's academy in Claiborne, Alabama, after a few years.
  • While in Monroe County, he met Rosanna Cato, a student with whom he fell in love right away and began a romantic relationship.
  • On October 26, 1828, Travis and Cato married. One year later, Cato gave birth to their son, Charlie, although there is no proof of him being born out of wedlock.
  • Travis left his wife, son, and expectant daughter behind in Alabama in early 1831 to start anew in Texas. Their son was placed with David Ayres, a friend of Travis, so that he could be closer to his father.
  • His mother and her second husband raised Charles Edward Travis. In 1853, he was elected to the Texas legislature.
  • Susan Isabella Travis was born after Travis had left for Texas in 1831.
  • Travis arrived in Texas in 1831, leaving a failed profession and wife behind. Travis was given a new life, and early death, in Texas, a state he grew to love.


Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly facts for everyone to enjoy! If you liked our William B Travis facts, then why not take a look at some of our other articles on William Faulkner or William Harvey?

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Written by Shagun Dhanuka

Bachelor of Business Administration

Shagun Dhanuka picture

Shagun DhanukaBachelor of Business Administration

With a Degree in Business Administration, Shagun is an avid writer with a passion for food, fashion, and travel, which she explores on her blog. Her love of literature has led her to become a member of a literary society, where she contributes to promoting literary festivals in her role as head of marketing for her college. Shagun also pursues learning the Spanish language in her free time.

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