Monday, June 25, 2018

William Washington Gant and The Texas Declaration of Independence

One day when my husband visited the Alamo museum, he saw a letter addressed to Mr. William Washington Gant. The person who wrote the letter in 1836, informed that he was taking Mr. Gant's gun and coat to Alamo.

Later, my man used to joke "there was no Gants among the Alamo defenders but at least a Gant's rifle fought there". Nothing did he know about the family relationship between W.W. Gant and him then. A few years ago when we went to the museum during our honeymoon trip, we did not know about that either. At that time, hubby wanted to show me that letter but, regrettably, it had been removed from the display.

While studying our family ancestry I learned that William Washington Gant was the second son and the third child of William Gant and Leah Norwood. He was born in January 1809 in Maury County, Tennessee. William Washington's great-grandfather was Isham Gant (our 5 times great-grandfather's brother) which makes William our second cousin five times removed.

William Washington came to Texas on 21 April 1835. He obtained some land in Washington County.
In November 1835, William Washington Gant helped his friend Asa Walker to relocate to Texas. He covered the cost of it which was $35.87.

Later, when Asa joined the Texas Army and went to defend the Alamo, he took William's rifle and overcoat with him. Asa was in such a hurry that he had no time to ask the owner of those items for permission. Instead, he left a letter in which he explained why he had done that.

William was a very active man. Supposedly, he was a doctor. On 27 Feb. 1836, he joined the army and with Capt. Robert J. Calder's Company fought at the battle of San Jacinto. William ended his military career on 29 May 1836 and was granted 320 acres of land (Bounty Certificate No. 2066) for his service.

Together with Mr. Andrew J. Greer, William Washington Gant published a newspaper in 1836. It was called The Texas Reporter. I have found an article in one of the Washington-on-the-Brazos papers, in which our cousin and Mr. Greer announced that The Texas Reporter would be issued weekly (see the first column on the left).

If you look at the date when the paper was published, you can see the date: Wednesday, 2 March 1836. The day when the Texas Declaration of Independence was signed.

Independence Hall. Replica of the building where the Declaration of Independence was signed.
The inscription says: "Here a Nation was born."

William Washington Gant represented Washington County at the first Congress of the Texas Republic which took place in Washington-on-the-Brazos.

The room where the building where the independence of Texas was declared on 2 March 1836.
Our cousin William Washington was there as well. 

Cousin William was also the County representative during the second and fourth Congress of the Republic. He finished his political career on 5 Feb. 1840.

Four months later, on 18 June 1840, William married Mrs. Harriet Eliza Hoke (nee Smith). Harriet was a daughter of  James McConnel Smith and Mary Polly Patton. Harriet was widowed by her first husband by H E Hoke.

Sadly, William and Harriet were married only for a few months. William Washington died on 18 October 1840 in Washington County. His body was later buried in Navasota, Grimes County, Texas.

The newspaper image:
by  The Dolph Briscoe Center for American History in partnership with The Portal to Texas History, a digital repository hosted by the University of North Texas Libraries.

Independence Hall: By Noconatom - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0,

The room: By Reading Associate 17 - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0,

Gravemarker: Vanessa Burzynski

San Jacinto Museum website
Handbook of Texas


  1. I am from Tennessee and my family had roots in North Carolina. I have lived in Texas for 35 years and I have chased some of my family history. I have a Great-Aunt buried in Lucas, TX and several descendants in the Collin County, TX area. My family and at least the 3 generations before were settled in middle Tennessee. Trying to learn more about the Gants. Thanks

    1. You are welcome. We may be related. Our ancestors lived in Tennessee too. Would love to learn more about your family branch.

  2. I'm a 4th generation Tennessee Gant now trying to chase my roots. I live in Texas.

    1. Check out the post about our ancestor Lee Gant. He came from Tennessee to Texas

  3. I can't seem to make the connections. My Gants were also in Sumner County Tennessee at the same time.

    1. I wrote you an email, maybe we will be able to find the connection we share.