ask the marshall Alamo true west

What happened to the remains of the Alamo defenders after they were burned following the 1836 battle?
Fred Kirby — Dallas, Texas

Accounts vary. Texas historian T.R. Fehrenbach wrote in Lone Star: “The charred remains of the Alamo dead were dumped in a common grave. Its location went unrecorded and was never found.”

Yet about a mile from the Alamo site, in one of San Antonio’s oldest city cemeteries, stands a monument that reads: “Lost Burial Place of the Alamo Defenders.” City Clerk August Beisenbach claimed those remains were taken from their funeral pyre locations and interred at the Odd Fellows Cemetery in 1856.

A sarcophagus at the Cathedral of San Fernando supposedly holds the remains of William B. Travis, James Bowie and David Crockett—but hard to say if true or not.

Marshall Trimble is Arizona’s official historian and vice president of the Wild West History Association. His latest book is Arizona Outlaws and Lawmen; The History Press, 2015. If you have a question, write: Ask the Marshall, P.O. Box 8008, Cave Creek, AZ 85327 or email him at

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