Rendezvous at the Alamo: Highlights in the Lives of Bowie, Crockett, and Travis

By Virgil E. Baugh | Go to book overview

chapter 1
Youth and Education

T HE FACTS of William Barret Travis' ancestry are meager, and the circumstances and place of his birth to some degree matters of controversy. A Travis family resided on Jamestown Island, Virginia, as early as 1637, perhaps earlier, while other Travises lived in the general vicinity of Williamsburg. As far as I know, however, the connection of the Virginia Travises with William Barret Travis is only conjectural, although a distinct possibility.1

William's father, Mark Travis, Sr., was born at Cambridge, Edgefield County, South Carolina, on September 6, 1783, and his mother, Jemima Stallworth, was of Irish descent on her mother's side. Other natal data concerning her are not readily available.

An early farmer in this region, Mark Travis apparently amassed a considerable estate in land, stock, and slaves. In politics he was a "Nullifier" and in religion a "Missionary Baptist," according to Thomas McAdory Owen, the Alabama historian. He was married on January 1, 1808.2 William Barret Travis, first of nine or ten children, was born on his father's farm on August 9, 1809, Except during his childhood, none of his brothers and sisters, except perhaps Mark Travis, Jr., seem to have shared importantly in his life. He had two, possibly as many as four, other brothers and four or five sisters. The record is confused on the number of each.

Mark Travis, Jr., seems to have been the only child except William who rose to relative prominence in adulthood. Born on May 18, 1827, in or near Old Town, Alabama, he studied medicine while yet a youth and participated with distinction in the

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