Andrews, Texas is located in far West Texas. If you hold your right hand up and imagine that this part of Texas is represented by your thumb and forefinger, Andrews County would be where your thumb and forefinger come together. The town of Andrews is the county seat and just about the lone survivor of a number of small communities that were born and died out since around 1890 when settlers first began to come to the area.
Both the town and the county are named for Richard Andrews, who is held to be the first casualty of the Texas Revolution. It is believed that he was born around 1800 in Georgia and that he first came to Texas in about 1818, according to his nephew Thomas G. Andrews (son of Richard’s brother Reddin Andrews) in a San Antonio newspaper interview in 1913. This places Richard in Texas before Stephen F. Austin or Moses Austin. Thomas G. said that Richard initially had a business trading with the Indians down in Fort Bend County. Richard and his younger brother Micah later joined the Texas army around 1835 after he and Micah had settled in what is now Bastrop County. At various times, the brothers served as Indian fighters in defense of the settlements there. Richard also held the position of deputy sheriff and served in a group charged with the safety of the area.
He came to Gonzales with a small group of soldiers to defend against the Mexican army and to protect their cannon in the famous “Come and Take It” battle. Richard was wounded there but had recovered enough to take part in the battle of Concepción, the object of which was to take Mission Concepción from Mexican General Cos in the opening action of the Siege of Béxar. The Texans took the Mission against a larger Mexican army, but during a Texas charge on October 28, 1835, Andrews was wounded in the side by a grapeshot-loaded Mexican cannon and died a few hours later. His last words were ,”I’m a dead man, boys, but don’t let the others know it; keep on fighting to death.” By at least one account, Richard Andrews had lived long enough to know that the battle had been won. He was buried under a pecan tree on the grounds of the Mission, but no marker was placed on his grave site.
Around 1913, some human remains were found on the grounds of Mission Concepción and were thought to have been those of Richard Andrews. A newspaper article concluded that the remains were to be temporarily interred elsewhere on the grounds with the understanding that the Daughters of the Texas Revolution would want to have them relocated in Ben Milam Square at some later date. It is unclear whether this was ever done. In 1931, a newspaper article in the San Antonio Express indicated that Andrews’ remains had been located in City Cemetery #6. However, a transcribed letter between two Andrews relatives exists from a C. J. Andrews of San Antonio to a cousin Frank Andrews of Houston in 1933 to the effect that they were still unsure at that time as to where Richard’s remains were located.
Andrews County was created and was named in his honor in 1876. In 1932, in anticipation of the upcoming Texas Centennial, a memorial was placed in his honor on the grounds of the Mission in present day San Antonio. The monument was designed by Louis Rodriguez and is pictured below.
The monument reads as follows:
“Erected by the State of Texas to Commemorate the Heroic Deeds of Captain Richard Andrews.
Born in Sandersville, Georgia in 1800. Fell at the Battle of Concepcion October 28, 1835. The first sacrifice in the War of Texas Independence. Son of William and Mary Andrews. Came to Texas in 1818. Established an Indian Trading Post on the Brazos River at the present site of Richmond. Later moved to Mina, now Bastrop. Was an Indian fighter of note. A scout of indomitable courage. One of the first to enlist in the War for Texas Independence and the first to die for his country.”
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