Jacob & Sarah Walker - Poineers & Heroe's of Texas

 
Jacob Walker was born in Columbia, Tenn. in May 1805. His cousin and close friend was Sam Houston. In 1825, Jacob moved to Louisiana where he met and fell in love with Sarah Vauchere. They were married in 1827, bought a farm and quickly had two children. Jacob then sold the farm and moved his family to Nacogdoches, Texas were they had five more children by 1835. That same year, Sam Houston stopped for a visit and persuaded his cousin to join the Texas army because they were giving land to the soldiers.
 
In December, 1835, Jacob fought in his first battle, the storming and capture of Bexar. The siege of Bexar resulted in Santa Anna bringing his large army to retake San Antonio and Texas. His actions and the way the settlers were treated made men indecisive about their future as Mexican citizens or Texans move solidly onto the side of freedom.
 
After the Siege of Bexar, Walker remained as a member of Carey’s artillery company carrying out his duties as a gunner in San Antonio. As Santa Anna's troops approached, the small contingent of Texas soldiers entered into the Alamo. For 12 full days, the men withstood assault after assault until on the 13th morning, The Mexicans attacked in overwhelming numbers.  
 
According to accounts by Susanna Dickinson, one of 20 women and children who were spared by Santa Anna as well as Mexican Army records, Jacob fired his cannon until he ran out of cannon balls. By then he had been wounded several times, but he plugged his cannon with scraps of cast iron and broken pieces of chain and rocks and fired once more at the Mexican soldiers. A Mexican officer trained a force of muskets on Walker and his few surviving me and fired a terrible volley.

Somehow, although wounded again, Walker managed to jump from the ramp and limp to the side of Mrs. Dickinson who had by then been moved into one of the chapel side rooms with the other women and children. Jacob had spoken to Suzanna several times during the siege "with anxious tenderness" about his wife and children and now he begged her to take a last message to his Sarah. Within moments of his entry into the room though, the Mexican soldiers broke through the old doors. It is believed that Walker was attempting to ignite the main powder magazine to keep the Mexicans from getting it, but because of his injuries, he only managed to crawl to Mrs. Dickinson. When the doors were broken open, he stood and turned to face the Mexican hordes. Mrs. Dickinson said he was standing in front of her as if to protect her when four Mexican soldiers "bayoneted him and tossed him up in the air as you would a bundle of fodder." They then shot him as he lay on the ground dying. After that, all was silent. On March 6, 1836, Jacob Walker was the last combatant to die at the battle of the Alamo.

The youngest child of French aristocrat Joseph Vauchere, Sarah Ann Vauchere was born on April 16, 1811 in Louisiana. At 16, she married Jacob Walker and two years later moved to East Texas with him. Sarah had three girls and four boys in the nine years before the Texas Revolution.

After the fall of the Alamo and the death of Sarah's husband, in the dark days when General Sam Houston and a rag-tag band of volunteers were being chased by the mighty Mexican army, it seemed that any additional difficulty might prove to be the end of the revolution altogether. The widowed Sarah answered the call for a volunteer at a patriots meeting held in Nacogdoches. The patriots needed General Sam Houston warned that the Cherokees had been incited by the Mexicans to ambush the Texas army from the rear as it retreated from the forces of General Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna. At only four feet eight inches tall and twenty-five years old, Sarah believed she could pass through enemy lines disguised as a boy. After changing her clothes and stuffing her long hair under a cowboy hat, she set off on horseback. She rode for days across a sparsely settled area where hostile Indians hunted, Mexican solders marched, and many other dangers for a lone woman existed. Three hundred miles later, Sarah reached the town of Gonzales, located Houston and his army, and gave him the intelligence that allowed his army to avoid the Cherokees.

After the Texans won their independence, for the valiant sacrifice made by her husband Jacob, a grateful Republic of Texas issued to her Headright Certificate Number One, deeding to her “a league and a labor” (about 4,416 acres). The certificate was signed by President David G. Burnet, who held the office of President from March 16, 1836 to Oct. 22, 1836. The certificate did not locate the grant of land until Feb. 1, 1841. Col. Leonard William’s, first Indian Commissioner of Texas, located the grant of land for her. The Walker Grant was east of the Brazos River, beginning at a point slightly north of the mouth of the Bosque River and extending past White Rock Creek. The property also stretched east beyond Tehuacana Creek.

Sarah's tombstone
After marrying Jacob's cousin, Jim Bob Walker, Sarah birthed two more children and then moved to her land in the late 1840's. Before Sarah could establish her family on the new land though, her second husband died. It was not unusual for survivors in the West to marry three or four times, but Sarah chose not to remarry again. With considerable fortitude, Sarah assumed responsibility for settling her nine children in the wilderness of Central Texas. She built her log cabin on high ground facing the Brazos River and enjoyed the benefits of fresh water from nearby springs, fertile black soil and native fruit trees. The 1850 Census listed her as “family head, occupation farmer.”
A few years later with so many people looking for land, Sarah began to lease a few parcels of her land grant. Family records tell of how she rode horseback to collet rent from her tenants.

Sarah Walker not only survived as a single woman and mother in these hard times, she prospered and eventually replaced her cabin with a two-story Greek Revival structure with large porches in the front and back. For years, hers was the only house north of the Waco Indian Village on the Military Road, and travelers frequently stopped to drink from the cool spring waters and rest their horses. Indians frequently came by also, but did not attack because they admired her bravery and because Sarah made it a point to always give them gifts of food.

Sarah Ann Walker continued alone while the Military Road became the old Dallas Highway and the family cemetery behind her house filled with her children and grandchildren. As hardy a pioneer as the West had, Sarah witnessed the extension of the frontier into Texas, participated in the Texas Revolution, saw Waco born, and almost lived to see the turn of the 20th Century. She died peacefully at home on Dec. 10, 1899, at 88. She was buried behind her house in the family cemetery, known today as the Stanfield-Walker Cemetery.

 
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