Frederick C. Chabot

The Mavericks

In America where the ball keeps rolling, there are few families, who, from generation to generation, keep at the top of our civilization. One of these families, certainly, are the Mavericks, who after generations of solid position in Old England, became leaders in New England. "The Godly Mr. John Maverick" died in Boston. He was succeeded by his son Samuel, who received a grant of Noddles Island, now East Boston. His "Brief Description of New England" is in the British Museum today. Samuel's son Nathaniel, who died in the Barbadoes in 1673, left other children, and from this branch of the family are descended the Mavericks of South Carolina and of Texas.

It is a notable fact that the first blood shed in the Revolutionary War was that of Samuel Maverick, Samuel Gray, James Caldwell and Crispus Attucks.

Samuel Maverick, of South Carolina, married Elizabeth Anderson, daughter of the General of Revolutionary note. Their son Samuel Augustus Maverick was born at Pendleton, South Carolina, in 1803. Samuel Maverick is said to have sent ventures to the Celestial Empire and to have shipped the first bale of cotton from America to Europe. He was a prominent merchant of Charleston, and lived at "Montpelier." He was one of the largest land proprietors in the State of South Carolina.

Samuel Augustus Maverick was a man of education, culture and refinement, and left the impress of his splendid character and personality upon the State of Texas. A graduate of Yale, having studied law under Henry St. George Tucker of Virginia, and with experience in having attended to his father's properties in Alabama, Tennessee, and Georgia, he left his home in March of 1835, and arrived at Brazoria, Texas, at the end of April. He arrived at San Antonio on September 8, 1835. From the very beginning his policy was to concentrate all of his belongings in Texas. Valuable properties in New York and Tuscaloosa, Ala., were sold, together with lands in various parts of the country given him by his father, and all the proceeds invested in Texas lands. Indeed, he is reputed to have owned at one time, a territory extending from San Antonio to the Mexican border; and whole islands in the Gulf of Mexico. Upon his arrival in San Antonio he witnessed Ugartechea's and Cos' barracks in Military Plaza; and Cos' turning the Alamo into a fort in November of '35. Within several weeks, however, Mr. Maverick was arrested by order of the Mexican Commander, Col. Domingo Ugartachea, and guarded in the John W. Smith house, where he had been boarding. He was released by order of General Cos on December 3d.

Through the battle of Concepcion, and the Grass Fight, Maverick and Smith carried on a smuggled correspondence with their friends through the aid of a bright and trustworthy boy, and, after General Cos had superseded Ugartachea, they managed to escape and joined the besiegers under General Edward Burleson, and encouraged an immediate attack on San Antonio. When Ben R. Milam led a division of the Texas troops into San Antonio, December 5th, he (Maverick) acted as guide to the troops, moving down Soledad Street; being familiar with the streets and alleys he was able and did render great service to the troops. It was he who caught the body of Milam, shot by a sharpshooter, in the court of the Veramendi House.

Mr. Maverick's was almost a solitary escape from the Alamo massacre. He was sent by those unfortunate men, only four days before the Mexican advance, as their representative in the convention which declared Independence. The Alamo was already invested when the convention assembled at Washington on the Brazos, on the 2nd day of March, and the declaration signed that day by the members present, received on the day following the signature of the Bexar delegates who had been delayed by high waters. The other delegates from Bexar were Jose Antonio Navarro, and Francisco Ruiz. The patriot, Antonio Menchaca, had been sent, by the council in San Antonio, to guide his family into safety, to avoid the personal wrath of Santa Ana.

William Menefee, another of the signers of the Texas Declaration of Independence, the first judge of jurisdiction of Colorado, said of Mr. Maverick:

"He was one of the most polished members of the Washington Convention. He had been educated in the best schools of the country and his manners and general deportment indicated a refined nature. Mr. Maverick made no effort to display his polite learning, but it so dominated his nature that one could not help feeling it in his presence. Not only was he a man of superior mental training, but he was a man of tact and ability. His course at Old Washington was that of a diplomat and statesman. He watched the proceedings closely and gave his assent to every proposition looking to the establishment of our independent Government. He was a cautious man and counseled prudence to speech and act. He recognized that whatever the convention did would but make Santa Anna more determined to crush opposition to his programme of subjugation. He was familiar with the prevailing sentiment in the United States, regarding the Revolution and he emphasized the necessity of cultivating that sentiment. 'Let our acts prove to the world that we are sincere patriots,' he said in a brief address before the Convention, 'and we need not fear the result. The people of the United States fought for the same character of freedom and independence for which we are battling and they will sustain us as long as our fight is just. Let us not deviate from the programme mapped out by our leaders and the God of War will give us the Victory.'"

Another signer of the Declaration of Independence, Colonel Stephen W. Blount, a San Augustine settler, prominently identified with the development of Eastern Texas, said that he was convinced by Mr. Maverick's several short, crisp talks before the Convention, that he was "a man of determined will, unyielding when advocating what he believed to be right, and uncompromising in favor of a definite programme of separation from Mexico."

After the battle of San Jacinto, Mr. Maverick returned to Alabama. While there he married Miss Mary Ann Adams, a Virginian by birth, a daughter of William Lewis and Agatha (Strother) Adams. This marriage took place August 4, 1836. The marriage ceremony was performed by Rev. Dr. Mathers of Christ's Episcopal Church, at her widowed mother's home on her plantation three miles north of Tuscaloosa, Alabama. Their first child, a son, Samuel Maverick, was born May 14, 1837, while on a visit to Mr. Maverick's father at 'Montpelier,' in South Carolina. From there Mr. Maverick returned to Texas bringing his wife and infant child with him.

Their first home in San Antonio was the Cassiano house between the Plazas. From there they moved to the property just north of the Veramendi House, which they rented from the Huizar family. Early in 1839 they moved into their own home at the northeast corner of Commerce and Soledad Streets, at Main Plaza (at site of the present Kampmann Building).

In 1835 Mr. Maverick took out his law license in San Antonio and until 1842 was one of Jack Hays' Minute Men, who often followed the trail of the marauding Indians. On January 8, 1839, Mr. Maverick took office as Mayor of San Antonio. From '41 to '42, he was City Treasurer; he was elected Alderman from '42 to '44, and was on the Board when Seguin advised of General Vasquez' raid on San Antonio. At this time Mr. Maverick took his family to the Brazos where they remained for several years, but he returned to San Antonio, and was there when General Woll captured it in September, and took the court and American citizens as prisoners to the Castle of Perote, in Mexico. A Perote Prisoner, with ball and chain, Mr. Maverick was made to labor on the streets and on the public works. When he refused to work, he was confined in the castle dungeon. With W. E. Jones, he represented the Bexar prisoners, in their Memorial to Santa Anna. While they were here many attempts were made to bribe them with promises of offices and favor, and Mr. Maverick particularly, was approached on account of his influence in Bexar; but he, like his companions in captivity, had naught but scorn for their offers, which utterly failed to seduce them from their faith and allegiance to Texas.

On March 30, 1843, Mr. Maverick, W. E. Jones and Judge Anderson Hutchinson were finally released in the City of Mexico by Santa Anna, through the intercession of General Waddy Thompson, then United States Minister to Mexico, a native of South Carolina, and a connection by marriage of Mr. Maverick's.

While in Perote Prison, Mr. Maverick was elected to the Senate of the Seventh Congress of the Republic of Texas. He was re-elected a member of the Eighth Congress, the last session of the last Congress of the Republic. Mr. Maverick then attended the March term of the District Court in San Antonio; returned to his family in April; and shortly after, started off on a visit to South Carolina.

Mr. Maverick was a member of the Convention of 1845, which framed the Constitution for the State, preparatory to its entrance into the Union. He afterwards served as a member of the State Legislature.

Mr. Maverick was one of the Commissioners who accompanied Captain Jack Hays, in August, 1845, in opening up an overland route from San Antonio to El Paso. They left with 50 men and 15 Delaware Indian guides, on Sunday, August 27, to run out the new route to Chihuahua. Of this expedition Captain Hays said: "It was an experience that tested our nerves and power of endurance. One who has never passed through such an experience cannot imagine how depressed one feels when he realizes that he is lost and far from those things necessary to sustain life. The bleak mountain ridges seemed to unite in one vast vista of desolation, and sky and floating clouds appeared to frown upon us. But with brave hearts and determined wills we trudged along, hoping that every hour would bring relief. Discouraged, worn and fatigued, we came upon some friendly Indians, whom we employed to guide us out of the desert fastness. We were kindly received at San Alazario and after replenishing our almost exhausted supplies, we completed our journey without any further delay."

After the cholera epidemic in '49, the Mavericks moved their home to an old house on Alamo Plaza; by the end of 1850, a new house of stone was built, considerably larger and more comfortable than the old quarters. This was at the site of the present Gibbs Building.

After attending Legislature in Austin, 1853, Mr. Maverick accompanied several surveying parties.

Mr. Maverick's connection with the cattle industry began after his return from the Mexican captivity. He found his family in poor health upon his return, and carried them to the coast, at Decros Point, where he purchased property, built, and lived for over 4 years. He and his family returned from the peninsula to San Antonio in October of 1847.

He bought a stock of cattle from a Mr. Tilton, on Matagorda Peninsula, and in 1854 brought them, with the aid of his two sons and several herders, to his place at Conquista, on the San Antonio river, 50 miles south of San Antonio. Jacals, enclosures and pens were erected here and a negro man placed in charge, with several Mexican helpers. Great results were expected, but the venture proved a steady loss, through the negligence and general bad habits of the negro manager, who did not brand the cattle and allowed them to stray away, and in 1855 Mr. Maverick sold out his entire holding, brands and rights to Mr. Toutant de Beauregard, who lived near his ranch. Many of the cattle were on the range, unbranded, and it was in the contract that Mr. Beauregard was to hunt them himself, only a specified number having been turned over on the ranch. Beauregard's men hunted and branded cattle in many counties, and when an unbranded animal was found, it was spoken of as "Maverick's" or "a Maverick." Thus the name Maverick as applied to unmarked stock originated.

The Mavericks were not Puritans; nor were they Pilgrim Fathers. The first Samuel of Massachusetts was a loyal royalist; his opinions did not satisfy the Puritans. He was one of the four commissioners to settle the affairs of New England and to reduce the Dutch, in what is now New York. With no success among the Puritans, he settled in New York, where he was granted a house on Broad Way, 1669. The Mavericks in San Antonio were among the first to build the Episcopal Church. Samuel Augustus Maverick donated four city lots for the purpose, August 24, 1858. He also presented a cannon found on the homestead, in the grounds of the Alamo. It was cast into a bell weighing 526 pounds, by Messrs. Mencely & Co., of Troy, New York. This vestry bell at St. Mark's Church bears the inscription, "Ye must be born again... I also have been born again from works of death to words of life, through Christ's eternal merit." On the opposite side is a five pointed or Texas star enclosing the dates 1813-1836, the first having reference to the year during the revolution of Mexico against Spain when the first cannon was dismounted and buried and the later date having reference only to its being found in the grounds of the Alamo rendered famous in history that year.

In industry and progress of another nature, Mr. Maverick was also active. In 1858 he was elected a director of the S. A. & M. G. Railroad.

The following year he lead the celebration for Texas Independence.

Mr. Maverick loved the Union, and ever thought it sacred. The Secession Convention of 1861 compelled him to take his choice for or against his kith and kin. He did a simple, straightforward, unselfish act, an act which nevertheless gave him deep pain: he cast his vote for secession. In February, with the Honorable Thomas J. Devine and Dr. (afterwards Colonel) Philip N. Luckett, he was appointed a commissioner to demand the surrender of the army and garrison at San Antonio and other points. That he performed this delicate duty of procuring the removal of the United States troops from the State of Texas, without bloodshed and with little inconvenience or humiliation to the officers and men who had so long been friends among us, is one of his highest titles to respect and gratitude.

With this closed the public functions of Mr. Maverick, which he had exercised in various capacities from the memorable day when he affixed his signature to the Declaration of Independence, and always with credit to himself and advantage to his constituents; his public services in either House, in conventions, or in any capacity whatever, being rendered with disinterestedness and freedom from all personal and party consideration. Mr. Maverick retired to private life and to the conduct of a successful business he had built up in San Antonio.

Not strong or well, Mr. Maverick wrote his will in the fall of 1869. In the spring of the following year, he became feeble. He died September 2, 1870, leaving to the inheritors of his name, a heritage richer than broad lands, more precious than fine gold—the name of a just, an upright and a conscientious man, of one who never compromised with his convictions, who never bowed the knee to expediency; a name that had long been a synonym for honor, integrity and truth. When Mr. Maverick died, he was said by some, to have been one of the largest landowners in the United States.

To the Alamo Literary Society he left the signal honor of having inscribed his name on the roll of its founders, and the task of rearing on the site, a lot on Houston Street, which the society owed to his munificence, an edifice which might do honor to the donor and credit to the young Association, which had held its first meeting January 6, 1860.

Few men left a greater impress on the State than Samuel Augustus Maverick, and few men who took part in establishing the Republic of Texas contributed more to its achievement.

When a new County was created from Kinney County in the year 1856, it was named in honor of Samuel Augustus Maverick, a signer of the Declaration of Independence of Texas.

Of the sons of Samuel A. Maverick, the oldest, Sam, was educated at Edinburgh, Scotland. In 1871 he married Sallie Frost, daughter of Thomas Frost, of Tennessee. In 1861 he enlisted in the First Texas Cavalry, under Colonel Henry McCulloch. He served on the Indian frontier. With Mr. Kroeger he succeeded Brackenridge and Stapp in the lumber business (1872-78). He was President of the Debating Society, San Antonio; and organizer of a new dramatic club, 1879. He was the donor of $5,000 to build bath houses in San Antonio. His residence, facing Maverick Park, near the old Sunset Freight Depot, was built in 1881. The Maverick Building on Houston Street housed the Aransas Pass offices in days of railroad infancy here. It was a skyscraper in its day, dominating the business district in that section of the city. The Maverick Bank Building, at the Southwest corner of Alamo Plaza and Houston Street, was begun in May, 1884. Sam Maverick's portrait was painted in oil, by San Antonio's pioneer portrait painter, Iwonski, as an active Terry Ranger. His oldest son, Samuel, was born in 1872.

Lewis Antonio Maverick, 2nd son of Samuel Augustus Maverick, was born in San Antonio, March 23, 1839, and thus claimed distinction as being the first American boy born in this city to permanent American settlers. He was educated at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. He organized Company "E" for the 32nd Texas Cavalry, commanded by Colonel Woods, and served as Major in the Confederate Army. He married his cousin, Ada Bradley, daughter of John Bradley and his wife Anne Lewis Bradley, aunt of Mrs. Maverick, Lewis Antonio's mother. They settled near Austin. Lewis Antonio Maverick died June 16, 1866, leaving no issue. His widow married, 1870, Jacob Frederick Waelder, his second wife. St. Matthew's window, in St. Mark's Episcopal church, is a memorial to Lewis Antonio Maverick.

George Madison Maverick, son of Samuel Augustus Maverick, was born September 7, 1845. He was educated at the Universities of North Carolina and Virginia. He served in his brother Lewis' Company "E" of the 32nd Cavalry. He was active in the Irving Club (1870), organized for scientific purposes. In May of 1873, he made the first really definite proposition regarding the water question, which had been in constant agitation from the date of the Cholera, 1866; though it fell through. He married, 1872, Mary Elizabeth, daughter of John Vance and his wife Rowena Badwin Vance, of Castroville. He was active in building up San Antonio in 1877, at which time he erected Military Headquarters here. Four years later he erected a store, the "George Block" on Houston Street, adjoining the Vance House; and at that time arranged to build the Opera House. He was also active in promoting a Rockport-Fredricksburg Railroad. He was a 32nd degree Mason of the Scottish Rite. He practiced law in St. Louis, Mo. His daughter, Rowena, Mrs. Green, widow of Robert B. Green, one of the most loved of all of Bexar County's public men, is prominent in San Antonio life today. His son George Vance Maverick, died in 1926, aged 46 years. Another son, Lewis, is in California, absorbed in constructive educational work.

William Houston Maverick, son of Samuel Augustus Maverick, was born December 24, 1847. He, also, was educated at the Universities of North Carolina and Virginia. He mustered in the Confederate Army in January, 1865, aged 17 years. He married, 1873, Emilie Virginia, daughter of General Robert H. Chilton, of Virginia. He acquired the "Ledger," San Antonio's first daily newspaper (1856), soon after Michael Burke had seceded Vanderlip and Hewitt; and left its management to John A. Logan, with headquarters in the historic old Vermanendi House. He served as Alderman in San Antonio, 1878. During this year his residence was completed. In 1882 he contributed to San Antonio's progress, with four new stores in the Crockett Block. He died in 1923. His son William Chilton Maverick was an active citizen, and resided in Philadelphia in recent years; he died in 1932, aged 57 years. His son, Dr. Augustus, practiced medicine in Vienna, Austria, and in Philadelphia. His son Lewis, one of Roosevelt's Rough Riders and guide to Pershing's expedition, is well known in San Antonio. His son Robert, one of San Antonio's most distinguished citizens, was a member of the Diplomatic Service of the United States.

Mary Brown Maverick, daughter of Samuel Augustus Maverick, was born June 17, 1851. She was educated at Staunton, Virginia, which place was founded by one of her ancestors, in the Lewis line; and also at Mrs. Ogden Hoffman's School for Young Ladies in New York City. She was the wife of the Honorable Edwin H. Terrell, United States Minister to Belgium.

Albert Maverick, the youngest of the happy family of Samuel Augustus Maverick, was born May 7, 1854. He too was educated at the University of Virginia. After a trip to Europe, he married, 1877, Jane L. Maury, daughter of Jesse L. Maury of Charlottesville, Virginia, and sister of the late Mrs. James L. Slayden, of distinction in Washington, D. C. He, too, is a progressive citizen of San Antonio, and was instrumental in the early 80's in building activities in the business center. He is a pioneer for the conservation of the natural beauty of our city, having publicly objected to the destruction of cypress trees as early as 1882. Among his numerous family, who live in union at Sunshine Ranch, are Albert Maverick, Jr., our present Bexar County Tax Collector.

Maury Maverick was admitted to the practice of law at the age of 20. He entered the United States Army, Training Camp, May 8, 1917, and was commissioned Second Lieutenant twelve days later. He served in the 157th Infantry, Camp Kearny, California. In France he served in the 1st Division of the 28th Infantry, entering the battle of St. Mihiel, 1917, as First Lieutenant. He was commander of Co. G, 28th Infantry, in the Argonne Forest; was wounded October 4, 1918, gassed October 3, 1918 and was not discharged from the hospital (Fort Sam Houston) until September 7, 1919. Maury Maverick was cited for "gallantry in action and extremely meritorious service." He was decorated with the Purple Heart, Silver Star for gallantry in action, and has a war service medal with three clasps. After the World War he returned to San Antonio and was elected President of the San Antonio Bar Association. He became a part owner of Hillyer-Deutsch-Jarratt Co., and later organized the Kelly-Maverick Co. He was elected Tax Collector in 1930, in which office he has instituted many reforms. He has reorganized the automobile department, eliminating fees amounting to approximately $25,000 a year. He has conducted the office at a net saving of some $10,000 to $15,000 a year. He fought the Stoner system, which would have raised both urban and farm taxes. He has obtained a special ruling whereby citizens can get homestead exemption, even though not originally claimed. He has brought the new deal to San Antonio by securing the Labor Board for us. He has done more for the highways of Bexar County than any other citizen. It is principally through his efforts the large expenditures have been made in Bexar County. Maury Maverick is well-known to the Bureau of Public Roads, Washington, D. C., which is the high unit of highways. With his actual military experience, he has high standing and will undoubtedly become a member of the Military Affairs Committee immediately upon being elected. Through the relations of his uncle, James L. Slayden, who was in Congress for about 20 years, Maury Maverick will have immediate entree in Washington, D. C., which will prove of definite advantage to his constituents. A man with his background, and with his own personality, and direct way of dealing, is a candidate who should receive the unanimous support of all true Texans. San Antonio should give its wholehearted support to Maury Maverick, a real San Antonian, and one who will get things done for Texas.

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