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The Story

The son of a prominent Ohio doctor and nephew of James Madison, the fourth president of the United States, volunteer soldier, James M. Rose, died fighting at the Alamo in the early hours of March 6, 1836.

Like most defenders who perished that day, his memory would amount to little more than his name on a plaque were it not for a pledge from the Republic of Texas and the testimony of Susanna Dickinson, Alamo survivor, and celebrated, “Messenger of the Alamo.”

The new Republic of Texas was cash-strapped but land rich. Like others who fought for Texas independence, James Rose was promised land for his military service. Here were the provisions:

Each man who served in the Army of Texas would receive 320 acres of land for every three months served up to 1280 acres. If he died in battle, his heirs (next of kin) would receive the entire 1280 acres. If he participated in specific engagements: the siege of Bexar, the battle of San Jacinto, or had died at the Alamo or Goliad, he (or his heirs) was entitled to an additional 640 acres.

Because James Rose died while on active service, his heirs were eligible to receive 1920 acres of land (1280 + 640; full army service and death at the Alamo).

It was not until 1852 that a claim to Roses’ military land grants was filed. To ensure legal claim, his heirs needed testimony from someone who knew James Rose and could vouch for his being at the Alamo. Who better to do that than Susanna Dickinson.

Because Susanna was illiterate, her deposition was written down by an attorney and “signed” accordingly. Her testimony concerning James Rose is quite remarkable and detailed.

Susanna was asked to perform this service on numerous occasions. Her legacy as a survivor of the battle of the Alamo extended to helping others in their quest for a better life.

For more information about Susanna Dickinson, please click on the links below:

The History

State of Texas
County of Harris

Personally appeared before me Suzannah Bellows, heretofore, widow Dickinson, who being duly sworn, deposits and says that sometime during the year of 1835 or 6 I lived with my former husband, Almeron Dickinson in the town of San Antonio in the said state of Texas, and that I was acquainted with a man by the name of Rose who was with David
Crocket, was frequently an inmate [boarder]of my house, and when the army of Mexico advanced upon the town, said Rose, Crocket and all the Americans took refuge in the Alamo, and as deponent [Suzannah] believes were all massacred: said deponent [Suzannah]did not know the Christian name of said Rose but remembering his personal appearance, that he was a man of some 30 years of age, medium height, fair skinned, disposed to freckles, sandy or light hair; blue or gray eyes, broad shoulders, and inclined to round or stoop, and would weigh probably 150 or 160 pounds – and that she knew no other man by that name: and furthermore she believes he is the man who came to Texas
with Crocket as he seemed to be his friend and companion.

Sworn to and Subscribed Suzannah Bellows
Before me this 21st day of
November A.D., 1853
Suzannah Bellows
heretofore widow Dickinson
Her mark X

Court of Claims File for James M. Rose, 15 December 1855, Court if Claims 007115, Records of the Court of Claims, Archives and Records Program, Texas General Land Office, Austin, TX

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