News From Lake Creek Settlement
The Lake Creek Settlement Goes to War - Part 3
Jacob Shepperd – From West Point Cadet to Savior of Santa Anna
By Kameron Searle
. Jacob H. Shepperd was born and raised in
Surry County, North Carolina. He was the son of W. W. Shepperd and
Mary Steptoe Shepperd. Before coming to Texas, Jacob H. Shepperd
was admitted to the United States Military Academy at West Point on July 1, 1829 at the age of 16 years and 4
months. Jacob Shepperd resigned from West Point shortly before he and his family came to Texas in
Though he did not graduate from West Point, Jacob Shepperd's military activities
in Texas would be extensive. He made his first campaign in June 1832 as Lieutenant in Captain Abner
Kuykendall's 2nd Company when the colonists rose to rescue William Barrett Travis and his companions who were
being held prisoner by the Mexican government official, Colonel Juan Bradburn, at Anahuac.
Jacob Shepperd's future brother-in-law, Charles B. Stewart, took part in the campaign as
A resident of the Lake Creek Settlement which would later become the town of
Montgomery, Jacob Shepperd began his service in the Texas Revolution. He turned out with the first
volunteers in the Campaign of 1835 and joined the army under General Stephen F. Austin while encamped on
Salado Creek east of San Antonio. He was 1st Lieutenant in Captain Joseph L. Bennett's company.
On October 28, 1835, in the opening battle of the Siege of Bexar, Jacob Shepperd fought with Jim Bowie and
James Fannin at the Battle of Concepcion. A few weeks after the Battle of Concepcion, Bennett's company
was disbanded. Jacob Shepperd joined Captain Robert M. Coleman's company and was chosen 2nd
Lieutenant. On November 26, 1835, Jacob H. Shepperd fought along with Jim Bowie in "The Grass
Fight." Jacob Shepperd fought the Mexicans in the Siege of Bexar
from December 5, 1835 through to the capture of San Antonio on December 10, 1835. Jacob Shepperd
received an honorable discharge from General Edward Burleson on December 13, 1835.
But this was not the end of Jacob Shepperd's service. He personally delivered
the message that saved the life of Santa Anna in 1836 at a critical moment following Texas
independence. Henderson Yoakum in his History of Texas from Its First Settlement in 1685 to Its
Annexation to the United States in 1846 relates the following: "It is proper to state here a
movement in the army, consequent upon the attempt by Pages to rescue Santa Anna. It was the wish of
many, and was generally reported, that by a vote of that body, it was resolved to conduct the captive to
headquarters, and place him before a court-martial. General Houston, then at Aies [Ayish] Bayou, being
informed of these alleged proceedings, dispatched his protest against them. He [Houston] protested
against it, because of all the advantages accruing to Texas by his [Santa Anna's] capture would thus be
destroyed. The protest reaching the army was sent to Columbia. A captain with his command had,
just before its arrival, gone, as was said, after the prisoner, to bring him to the army; and the protest
only reached Captain Patton, who had the captive in charge, in time to prevent his removal. Captain J.
H. Shepperd, the bearer of the document, says the pleasant change of affairs filled Santa Anna with joy, and
he embraced him as one who had saved his life."
This is probably the only record that will ever be found of Santa Anna "embracing" a
Texas soldier. In a letter Jacob H. Shepperd wrote Jesse Grimes in July 1856, Shepperd wrote, "I bore
the express from General Houston countermanding the taking of Santa Anna to the army to be tried for the
slaughter of Fannin's men: which latter service saved Texas from the accusations that would have been heaped
on her for his death." Because of this service, Shepperd further stated in his letter to Grimes that he
felt himself "entitled to the largest bounty of land allowed anyone for his services in the campaign of
See History of Texas from Its First Settlement in 1685 to Its
Annexation to the United States in 1846 by Henderson Yoakum, vol. 2,
pp. 194-196. Also see National Archives
publication 688, U.S. Military Academy Cadet Application Papers, 1805-1866 and Publication 2047,
Engineer Department Letters Received Relating to the U.S. Military Academy 1819-1866.
Kameron K. Searle is an attorney in Houston, Texas who has thoroughly researched the
history of the Lake Creek Settlement and the early history of Montgomery County for the last eight
years. For more information about the Lake Creek Settlement, go
to the TexasHistoryPage.Com .
This article originally appeared in the January 28, 2009 edition of the Montgomery County
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