Mexia is located in Limestone County in east central Texas. It was founded in the 1800s and lies just north of Fort Parker with Groesbeck being the nearest town to the south of the fort. Before the Anglo settlement began in the area, it was home to Native American tribes including the Comanche.
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There are 254 counties in Texas and 11 of them are named for Alamo defenders: Bailey, Bowie, Cochran, Cottle, Crockett, Dickens, Floyd, King, Lynn, Taylor and Travis counties. Floyd County is one such county. It was named for Dolphin Ward Floyd who is believed to have died on his birthday, March 6, 1836, in Santa Anna’s attack on the Alamo. Ward Floyd was born in North Carolina in 1804 and later moved near Gonzales where he worked as a farmer. In 1832, he married the recently widowed Esther Berry House, a mother of three by her first husband Isaac House, who also lived in Texas.
Collin McKinney was a early settler in North Texas. He was born in 1766 in New Jersey to a Scottish couple, Daniel and Mercy McKinney, making him 10 years old at the height of the American Revolution. Near the end of the war, the family first moved to Virginia and then again on to Kentucky around 1780.
The town of Burleson (32°32′9″N 97°19′38″W) now sits along the border of Tarrant and Johnson counties. It was originally founded by a rancher and minister by the name of Henry Carty Renfro. Born in 1831, Renfro came from a Tennessee family who had originally settled in Cass County, Texas when he was about 20 years old. In 1853, he entered Baylor University when it was located at Independence, in Washington County. One of his mentors there was Rufus C. Burleson, a religiously conservative professor who had become President of the university in 1851.
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.
Decatur, Texas (33°14′N 97°35′W) is the county seat of Wise County in North Texas. Its namesake is Stephen Decatur, Jr., a famous naval officer. Decatur was the son of naval officer Stephen Decatur, Sr. who served in the navy during the American Revolution. Stephen Decatur, Jr. was reared in Philadelphia and upon graduation from Episcopal Academy there, at 17 years old, he worked in the maritime industry before securing a midshipman’s warrant in 1798 and began serving on the USS United States. This was in the interim period between the Revolutionary War and the War of 1812, but there was still quite a lot of naval activity that occurred. Decatur was then assigned to a frigate USS Essex as a first lieutenant protecting maritime shipping. In succession, he was transferred to the USS New York and USS Argus. This was followed by a transfer to the USS Enterprise, a schooner. He served in action against French ships and others. In one event, he was commanding a captured enemy ship in the harbor at Tripoli on a mission to destroy the captured USS Philadelphia. Decatur was able to board the ship with 60 men, set it afire, escape to his vessel and reach open sea. For this, he was commended by Vice Admiral Lord Horatio Nelson.
José Antonio Navarro was the son of Angel Navarro of Corsica, the Mediterranean island south of Spain, and Josefa Maria Ruiz y Peña. He was born in 1795 in San Antonio de Béxar. He, like many other Tejano residents of the area, opposed the rule of Santa Anna. He married Margarita de la Garza in 1825 and together they would have seven children.