Jacob H. Shepperd
by: Kameron Searle
Texas Revolutionary soldier 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 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. For more information about W. W. Shepperd, see article on the W. W. Shepperd Family.
Autograph of J. H. Shepperd
Though he did not graduate from West Point, Jacob Shepperd's military activities in Texas
would be extensive. Jacob Shepperd arrived in Texas in 1831. 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, C. B. Stewart, took part in the campaign as well.
While still a resident of the Lake Creek Settlement which would later become the town of
Montgomery, Jacob H. 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. In his History of Texas, From 1685 to
1892, Volume 1, page 371, early Texas historian John Henry Brown wrote that Shepperd fought next to
famed Texian scout Henry W. Karnes during the Battle of Concepcion and that Shepperd was injured when Karnes'
powder horn exploded.
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.
Texas State Library and Archives Commission
Jacob Shepperd received an honorable discharge from General Edward Burleson on December 13, 1835
which reads: "San Antonio, December 13, 1835 This is to certify that Jacob H.
Shepperd has served in the army of Texas since the 4th of Oct. and has honorably and faithfully discharged his Duty
as 2 Lieut. of the Mina Volunteers. R.M. Coleman, Capt.; Edward Burleson, Com in Chief." For
source of this document, see Texas State Library and Archives, Jacob H. Shepperd, Republic Claim # 1755, Type AU,
Reel #95, Frame 239.
Following the Siege of Bexar, Jacob Shepperd was with General Sam Houston at Groce's Plantation in
April 1836. Sam Houston believed that the Coushatta Indians would send a number of warriors to fight with the Texas
army. In 1855, Henderson Yoakum, in volume 2 of his History of Texas from Its First Settlement in 1685 to
Its Annexation to the United States in 1846 wrote the following on page 132, "With a view to anticipate any
intercourse between the enemy and these Indians, Houston had engaged Messrs. Hubert and Rankin, Indian agents to
sound out the Cooshatties on the question of giving the Texans aid. They promised to furnish 90
warriors. Just before the army set out for Harrisburg, the commander-in-chief sent Captain Jacob H. Shepperd
with a "talk" to the Indians, and an order to the agents to bring on the warriors. It is sufficient to say
here that the Indians wished to see which side was successful before they turned out."
Henderson Yoakum also included an interesting footnote regarding Shepperd and Houston's meeting at
Groce's Plantation on page 132:
"Captain Sheppard says: "Just as I was leaving the general's quarters, I said, 'where
will I find you, general? He [Houston] said: 'Tell all the people that you may see,
captain, that I am determined to fight, the first chance; and if I should meet with a reverse, I will be sure
to make noise enough for you and the Indians to follow me.'
Jacob H. Shepperd Saves Santa Anna
Antonio Lopez de Santa Ana
Shepperd's "talk" with the Coushatta Indians was not the end of Jacob Shepperd's service to Sam
Houston and the Republic of Texas. He personally delivered the message that saved the life of Santa Anna in
1836 at a critical moment following Texas independence. Henderson Yoakum on pages 194-196 of volume 2 of his
History of Texas from Its First Settlement in 1685 to Its Annexation to the United States in 1846 relates
"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 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. Sheppard, 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 1835."
It appears that Jacob H. Shepperd wrote "Lesson 32: A Night with Santa Ana in A.D. 1836, Sam
Houston, etc." for The New Texas School Reader published in Houston, Texas in 1864. In Lesson 32,
Shepperd provides more of the details surrounding this event including a description of Santa Ana. In Lesson
32, Shepperd also changes his story somewhat by stating that he avoided Santa Ana's embrace.
"...and in the exuberance of his [Santa Ana's] overjoyed soul, the "arbiter of a
nation's destinies" would have clasped to his blood-surcharged bosom the humble instrument of his
salvation [Shepperd] !--if the latter had not counteracted the good intention by a
dexterous "flank movement."
As shown in the advertisement below, Shepperd lost the Treasury Draft which he had received in
payment for his services rendered as courier.
Telegraph and Texas Register Published in Houston on
February 10, 1837
Other Military Service
Jacob Shepperd also served in the Cherokee War of 1839. Again, when Mexico invaded Texas,
Shepperd served in the Campaign of 1842 in San Antonio. He served in the Somervell Expedition but did not go
to the Rio Grande. In the 1872 Texas Almanac, Jacob H. Shepperd wrote an Account of Some of the Survivors of the
Shepperd's Valley Texas
On February 1, 1838, Jacob H. Shepperd received a First Class Headright for one league and one
labor of land from the Republic of Texas in Montgomery County. Jacob H. Shepperd's league, though originally
located in Montgomery County, became part of Walker County when that county was created from Montgomery County in
1846. Shepperd lived on his league.
Like his father, W. W. Shepperd, who founded the town of Montgomery, Texas, Jacob H. Shepperd
founded the town of Shepperd's Valley, Texas (sometimes spelled Shepherd's Valley). Shepperd's Valley was
located about seven and a half miles south-east of Huntsville.
In advertisements placed in the January 22, 1853 thru March 19, 1853 editions of the
Huntsville Item newspaper, Jacob Shepperd offered land for sale in Shepperd's Valley.
Dedication, Page 4, History of Texas, Vol. I, 1854, by Henderson Yoakum
Texas historian, Henderson King Yoakum, was very familiar with Jacob H. Shepperd. Yoakum
wrote his two volume History of Texas from Its First Settlement in 1685 to Its Annexation to the United States
in 1846 in Shepperd's Valley in 1854. Yoakum County, Texas which was established in 1876 was named
in honor of Texas historian, Henderson King Yoakum. According to the Texas State Historical marker
for Yoakum County erected in 1965, Yoakum County is the only Texas county named for an author.
Jacob Shepperd had something very unusual in common with Henderson Yoakum. They had both
attended the United States Military Academy at West Point. Henderson Yoakum was admitted to West Point
on July 1, 1828 and graduated from West Point in 1832. Jacob Shepperd was admitted to West Point a year
later on July 1, 1829, but resigned before coming to Texas. Not only did they both attend West Point, but
they were there at the same time. The odds of two former West Point cadets living on the same league of land
in 1850's Texas is really rather extraordinary.
Hannah Eliza Collard
Jacob Shepperd had married Hannah Eliza Collard in about 1837. Hannah Eliza Collard was the
daughter of Elijah Collard and Mary Stark. Hannah Eliza Collard's father, Elijah Collard, had served as a
delegate to the Consultation of 1835 in San Felipe. He also served as a member of the General Council of the Provisional Goverment of Texas.
Signature of Elijah Collard - Father of Hannah Eliza
Elijah Collard Had Served as a Member of the General Council of the
Provisional Government of Texas
Later, He Served as the President of the Montgomery County Board of Land
Commissioners during the Republic of Texas
Jacob H. Shepperd and Hannah Eliza Collard had the following children: Mary A. Shepperd,
Augustine W. Shepperd, Eliza Pamelia Shepperd and Julia Shepperd. According to Valma Dorrell Fischer in her
family history, Shepperd and Palmer, 1985, Jacob H. Shepperd died on April 16, 1872 and is buried near
Black Jack Cemetery in Walker County, Texas. Though his name can be found spelled Sheppard, Shepard and
Shepherd, Jacob H. Shepperd always spelled his name SHEPPERD in all legal documents. He died without a
will. His son, Augustine W. Shepperd, was appointed administrator of Jacob H. Shepperd's estate in 1872.
Jacob Shepperd's wife, Hannah Eliza Collard, registered her cattle brand in Montgomery County on
March 7, 1838. Her brand was the capital letter E formed from a capital letter
Walker County Cattle Brand Book, Vol. 1, Page 33, Walker County Clerk's
On June 1, 1850 in Walker County, Jacob H. Shepperd registered his cattle brand which was the
letter X. Shepperd's neighbor, Henderson Yoakum, registered the brand
Y. Seven years later, another neighbor of Jacob Shepperd, Sam Houston, registered Jacob
Shepperd's brand X as his own on November 20, 1857.