James Long (filibuster)

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James Long (born February 9, 1793 Culpeper County, Virginia died April 8, 1822 in a Mexico military prison).

Biography[edit]

James 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] settled in Natchez, Mississippi after the war and served as a doctor at Port Gibson. In 1817, he owned a plantation in Vicksburg.[2]

Filibustering[edit]

Many American and French settlers in the American southwest were opposed to the Adams-Onis treaty of 1819 that settled the border dispute between the United States and Spain. It aroused such strong opposition in Natchez that prominent citizens planned a filibustering expedition to conquer Texas and placed Long in command.[3] Long teamed up with José Félix Trespalacios, a former Mexican who had fought against Spanish rule in Mexico.[4] They made their first filibuster expedition to Texas in 1819. Long also attempted to recruit Jean Lafitte and his men, but Lafitte turned him down.[5] Several of Long's recruits were former French soldiers, who had started a settlement in Texas the Champ d'Asile,[6] that Spanish troops crushed in 1818.[7] In June, 1819, Long was successful in capturing Nacogdoches, with his followers proclaiming Long the first president of the Republic of Texas,[8] which lasted four months and is unrelated to the Republic of Texas that was the result of the Texas Revolution. However, a Spanish expedition routed Long and his followers in October, 1819.

The following year, Long led an unsuccessful second expedition from the Bolivar Peninsula, bringing his pregnant wife Jane Long and 300 troops. On October 4, 1821, Long and his troops seized Presidio La Bahía. After the final surrender of the expedition four days later to Spanish troops,Long was imprisoned for a time in San Antonio and in Monterrey, Nuevo León. He went to Mexico City in March, 1822, to plead his case before Agustín de Iturbide, but on April 8, 1822, he was shot and killed by a guard.[3] One of Long's followers, Benjamin Milam believed that Trespalacios, who had been captured and freed, was responsible.[9]

His widow, Jane Long, claimed to be the first woman of English descent to settle in Texas. She gave birth to Mary James Long, said to be 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.[10] 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 bona fide colonist.

Footnotes[edit]

  1. ^ http://www.texas-settlement.org/markers/brazoria/64.html
  2. ^ "LONG, JAMES". tshaonline.org. 
  3. ^ a b "- Texas State Historical Association (TSHA)". tshaonline.org. 
  4. ^ "- Texas State Historical Association (TSHA)". tshaonline.org. 
  5. ^ "GALVESTON.COM: Galveston, Texas History". galveston.com. 
  6. ^ "- Texas State Historical Association (TSHA)". tshaonline.org. 
  7. ^ p.58 Lieber, Francis, Wigglesworth, Edward Encyclopædia Americana 1851
  8. ^ Davis, William C. (2006). Lone Star Rising. College Station, TX: Texas A&M University Press. ISBN 978-1-58544-532-5. 
  9. ^ "Cameron, Milam County, Texas ~ Milam County, TXGenWeb Project". ancestry.com. 
  10. ^ "LONG, JANE HERBERT WILKINSON". tshaonline.org.