Power-Hewetson Colony: Interpreting the Irish's Importance in Refugio and Aransas Counties and the Texas Revolution

Texas Revolution

    This page discusses the Irish colonists’ reasons for supporting the fight for Texas’ independence and their participation in the Texas Revolution.

Irish Colonists' Dissatisfaction

    In 1834 Mexican President Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna made restrictions on the government and citizens’ independence, which upset the new Irish colonists and other settlers. The changing of the government and laws proved problematic to the Irish colonists because the government broke the provisions promised to the Irish colonists concerning the duty free imported goods, government propositions, and militia.  The loss of duty free imported goods and the militia devastated the newly arrived Irish colonists, because many of these Irish colonists did not have enough money to pay the duties and had no other way to protect their colony except with a militia. The Mexican government also threatened taking the Irish colonists’ land.

Texas Revolution Participants

    Thus the Irish colonists decided to support the fight for Texas’ independence by participating in the war as informants, suppliers, politicians of the provisional government, and soldiers.  James Power participated in the war by being an informant for the Texas Army, a supplier of food and ammunition, a signer of the Texas Declaration, and General Convention member.  According to Rosalie B. Hart Priour, an original Power-Hewetson Irish colonist, some of the Irish colonists decided to defend their town.  Captain Amon B. King and “eight to ten men took [possession] of the church and fought” against the army until they abandoned the church due to the heavy bombardment of cannon fire.

[1] Rosalie B. Hart Priour, “Memoirs of Rosalie B. Hart Priour,” vertical files in the Institute of Texan Cultures Library, Irish Texans Section, Rosalie B. Hart Priour folder, 31.

Colonist Biography: Thomas O'Connor

    Thomas O'Connor was born in Ireland and was Empresario James Power's nephew.  He traveled with Power to Coahuila y Texas in 1833.  Upon arriving at the Power-Hewetson Colony O'Connor recieved a land grant on September 27, 1834.  Once the Texas Revolution began O'Connor participated in the revolution as a supplier and soldier of the Texas Army.  For instance, O'Connor fought at the Battle of San Jancinto and received a bounty from the Texas government for his service as a soldier in the Texas Army.  After the revolution O'Connor returned to the colony and began ranching.  By 1850 he had accumulated $4,000 worth of property and owned five hundred acres of land by the time of his death.  The O'Connor family has passed down the ranch from generation to generation and remains one of the prominent families in the South Texas region.

1.   Can you think of other ways the advocates of the Texas Revolution supported the Texas Army?

2.   What other ethnic groups helped support the fight for Texas’ independence?

3.   What way do you think you would participate in a revolution, as a soldier, supplier?

    The Texas soldiers need to be remembered as individuals to understand the reasons Irish immigrants moved to Mexico and fought for independence from Mexico. 

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Primary Sources

Boyle, Andrew A. “Reminiscences of the Texas Revolution.” The Quarterly of the Texas State Historical 
13, no. 4 (April 1910): 285-291.

Cos, Martin Perfecto De. “Manifesto: July 5, 1835.” In Huson, Hobart. Refugio: A Comprehensive History of 
    Refugio County from Aboriginal Times to 1953: Vol. I Aboriginal to1861
., 213. Woodsboro, Texas: The 
    Rooke Foundation, Inc., 1956.

Goliad Declaration of Independence. (INV 6166), series 58. Texas State Library and Archives Commission.

Houston, Sam to James Power. 28 December 1835. Andrew Jackson Houston Collection. Texas State Library 
    and Archives Commission.

Linn, John J. Reminiscences of Fifty Years in Texas: A Facsimile Reproduction of the Original. Austin, Texas: 
    State House Press, 1986.

Priour, Rosalie B. Hart. “Memoirs of Rosalie B. Hart Priour.” Irish Texan Section. Institute of Texan Cultures 

“Texas Declaration of Independence.” Texas State Library and Archives.

Texas General Land Office. “Court of Claims for Thomas O’Connor, 006209.”           


Texas General Land Office. “Republican Donation Voucher for Thomasa Lambert, 000933.” 

Secondary Sources

Davis, Graham. Land! Irish Pioneers in Mexican and Revolutionary Texas. College Station: Texas A&M 
    University Press, 2002.

Flannery, John Brendan. The Irish Texans. San Antonio: The University of Texas Institute of Texan Cultures
     at San Antonio, 1980.

Huson, Hobart. Refugio: A Comprehensive History of Refugio County from Aboriginal Times to1953, Vol. I 
    Aboriginal to 1861
. Woodsboro, Texas: The Rooke Foundation, Inc., 1956.

Oberste, William H. Texas Irish Empresarios and Their Colonies: Power, Hewetson, McMullen, and McGloin, 
    Refugio—San Patricio.
Austin, Texas: Von Boeckmann-Jones Co., 1953.
Created By: Kaitlin E. Wieseman
August 2011