James Long (filibuster)

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James Long (born February 9, 1793 Culpeper County, Virginia died 8 April 1822 in a Mexico military prison) led the unsuccessful filibuster Long Expedition to Texas.

Biography[edit]

Long was a former US Army surgeon in the War of 1812 who served at the Battle of New Orleans. He married Jane Herbert Dent Wilkinson in 1815 [1] and owned a plantation in Natchez, Mississippi.

Many Americans and French settlers the American southwest were opposed to the Adams-Onis treaty of 1819 that settled the border dispute between the United States and Spain. Long teamed up with José Félix Trespalacios a former Mexican who had fought against Spanish rule in Mexico.[2] They made their first filibuster expedition to Texas in 1819. And he also attempted to recruit Jean Lafitte and his men, but Lafitte turned him down.[3] Several of Long's recruits were former French soldiers who had started a settlement in Texas the Champ d'Asile[4] that Spanish troops crushed in 1818.[5] Long was successful in capturing Nacogdoches, with his followers proclaiming Long the first President of the Republic of Texas,[6] which lasted only one month, and is not affiliated with the Republic of Texas that was the result of the Texas Revolution. However a Spanish expedition routed Long and his followers.

Long led a second unsuccessful expedition from the Bolivar Peninsula the following year bringing his pregnant wife Jane Long and 300 troops. Then his troops seized Presidio La Bahía. He was caught and imprisoned, then shot in Mexico by a guard 6 months later.[7] One of Long's followers, Benjamin Milam believed that Trespalacios who had been captured and freed was responsible.[8]

His widow, Jane Long, claimed to be the first woman of English descent to settle in Texas gave birth to Mary James Long the first child born in Texas of English descent, a claim which has been disproved by census records from 1807 to 1826, which show a number of Anglo-American births.[9] Throughout a long winter, she and her children struggled as she waited for her husband's return. At one point, several Karankawa Indians appeared, but Long fired a cannon each day to make them think there was an army stationed there. Finally, during the spring, Long heard of her husband's death. She then, with some friendly travelers, left Texas, hoping to one day return, and she did. She came back in 1820s as a bonafide colonist.

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