BHM2021- Greenbury Logan: Alamo War hero who fought for Texas Independence
"'Remember the Alamo!' is a cry known widely in America's history. What is not widely known is the many Blacks who participated in Texas's emancipation. At that time, Texas was a territory where Blacks could live freely. Greenbury Logan was a successful businessman who joined hundreds of other Black men who took up arms against Mexico during many battles for independence. He was not alone. It is reported that a Black man named Joe testified before the signers of the Texas Declaration of Independence about being a survivor of the attack at the Alamo. His testimony provided the information needed to communicate the Texas cabinet's weight as the invading Mexican Army crossed the Texas frontier. The Martin Luther King Republicans encourage you to study more about these individuals who fought for the Lone Star and visit the Texas African American Monument in Austin commemorating them. Also a special thank you to the Texas State Historical Association for the information contained in this post. And as always, COMMENT, LIKE, and SHARE. - Jimmy Lee Tillman, II founder, and president.
Who was Greenbury Logan?
Greenbury (Greenberry) Logan, a free Black and soldier who fought in the Texas Revolution, was born into slavery about 1798 in Kentucky. He was emancipated by his White father, David Logan, and emigrated from Missouri to Texas in February 1831 to settle in Stephen F. Austin's third colony. Logan was thirty-three years old when he arrived in Texas with his twenty-five-year-old wife, Judah Duncan (ca. 1806–ca. 1832), and their five children. He obtained a Mexican land grant for a quarter of a land league on Chocolate Bayou on December 22, 1831, in present-day Brazoria County and established himself as a blacksmith. Logan's wife, Judah, and possibly all of their children died shortly after their arrival. In 1832 Logan purchased a slave woman, Caroline Williamson (ca. 1802–ca. 1881), manumitted her, and then married her on December 30, 1833, in Brazoria County. It appears the couple had no children since none were listed with them on the 1850 census. Furthermore, a petition filed by Caroline Logan in the 1870s indicated she was Greenbury Logan's only heir, except for Margaret J. Burgstrom (spelled Bergestone in the 1850 census), the orphan of a Swedish immigrant, whom the Logans adopted.
Logan, along with approximately 400 other free Blacks who had entered Texas by the mid-1830s, were afforded full citizenship rights by the Mexican government. Mexican law did not prohibit interracial marriages and made the territory attractive to mixed-race couples who wished to legalize their relationships. Despite his newly-adopted country's egalitarian environment, Logan sided with the Texas colonists when conflict arose with the Mexican government.
Logan served at the Battle of Velasco on June 26, 1832, and later, in 1835, he answered the call for volunteers to march to Bexar. He joined Capt. James Walker Fannin's company as a private in the middle of October was with a detachment of approximately
ninety men from Stephen F. Austin's main force when they defeated a larger Mexican force near Mission Concepción (see BATTLE OF CONCEPCIÓN) on October 28, 1835. At the siege of Bexar, while he served in Capt. John York's company, Logan volunteered to storm the works. On December 5, 1835, he was wounded the first day of action, when a ball passed through his right arm. Having "almost entirely lost the use of his right arm," Logan was commended by the Texas legislature, which praised his conduct by declaring he had served "with distinguished alacrity." At the age of thirty-eight, he was discharged from the Army and opened a boarding house, tavern, and retail store in Brazoria with his wife.
On January 5, 1836, the Texas legislature prohibited Blacks from entering the state while granting temporary residency to those already there. Soon after that, the new constitution for the Republic of Texas was adopted and prohibited any person of color from residing in the republic without the legislature's consent. On May 15, 1837, Logan petitioned the Texas Congress and stated that he "had hoped that after the zeal and patriotism" he had shown in "fighting for the liberty of his adopted Country," he might be allowed to spend "the remainder of his days in quiet and peace," but understood the constitution would not let him do so without the consent of the legislature. The legislature recommended that Logan and his wife Caroline be "authorized to remain permanently and enjoy all the rights, priviliges [sic], and immunities of free Citizens."
In June 1838, Logan received a bounty warrant for 320 acres for his service from October 4, 1835, to December 23, 1835, and a donation certificate for 640 acres for his service during the siege of Bexar. Logan penned a letter to his congressman, Robert Forbes, on November 22, 1841, informing him that he was in every fight during the campaign of 1835 and was the third man that fell when Bexar was taken. Logan complained to Forbes of his ill-treatment by the government and that the constitution deprived him of "every previleg [sic] dear to a fre[e]man…no vote or say in [any] way." Finding himself in an impoverished state, he sought a pension to retain his property in the form of a remission of taxes.
In 1860 Logan, his wife, and their adopted daughter Margaret were listed on the federal census as living in Fort Bend County. He was listed as a blacksmith with real estate valued at $2,500 and a personal estate valued at $3,000. His name was listed on Fort Bend County tax rolls in 1866. According to some genealogy sources, Greenbury Logan passed away about 1868, but the exact year of his death is unclear. He never attained the level of freedom he had enjoyed under Mexican rule some thirty years earlier. His frustration was evident in his petition to the legislature, just two short years after he had "shed his blood in a cause so glorious," when he was forced to plead with the legislature for the "priviliges" of remaining in Texas. His widow, Caroline, lived out the remainder of her years with her adopted daughter, Margaret, who married William A. Taylor, in Fort Bend County, Texas, on September 10, 1863. On July 21, 1881, Caroline Logan received her last allotment of land for her husband's service, 1,280 acres, which she sold the following month