Sam Walker: The Early Years

Texas Mounted Volunteers

Sam Walker had migrated to Texas in 1842 and immediately joined in the continuing war along the border with Mexico. That same year Sam Houston issued his war proclamation. The Texas Rangers, numbering only two hundred and ten men, defeated General Adrian Woll’s army of thirteen hundred after the latter had crossed the Rio Grande and taken San Antonio. In retaliation a war party of Texans, including Walker, crossed the Rio Grande hell-bent on destruction.

Soon after, he was captured by General Pedro de Ampudia at Mier and suffered dreadful hardships in Santa Anna’s notorious prison. Later, he managed to escape but was recaptured. The Mexicans executed seventeen of the one hundred fifty-nine prisoners in the old Latin custom of filling a jar with beans, ten per cent black and the rest white, representing the total number of prisoners. Those prisoners drawing the black beans were executed.   Walker drew a white bean and was later able to make his way back to Texas where he rejoined the fighting. When the United States declared war on Mexico in 1846, he volunteered his services to General Zachary Taylor. For a time Walker’s Ranger’s were the only volunteers General Taylor allowed in his army.

The Rangers were contemptuous of proper military uniforms, preferring instead, to wear the distinctive Ranger outfit–slouch hat, boots and Colt revolvers. They were a ferocious-looking band of rough-hewn frontiersmen who spent little or no time drilling or observing the standard military discipline. Despite their tough appearance and fierce fighting ability, among their ranks were a number of college graduates, including doctors and lawyers, who put their professional careers on hold for the duration of the war.

Sam Walker’s fame as a formidable fighting man on horseback spread like wildfire. No doubt wanting revenge for the torture he endured in the Mexican prison, Walker was a veritable one-man army, ranging far and wide, destroying one Mexican guerilla force after another in the conquest of Mexico City. To the guerillas, Walker’s men were known respectfully as the “Los Diablo’s Tejanos”–the Texas Devils.

My grandfather 3 generations back, Moses Trimble of San Antonio served in Walker’s company of the Texas Mounted Rangers at Resaca de la Palma and Monterrey. When he returned to Texas after the war, he named his first son born Sam Walker. There has been at least one Walker in each generation of Trimble’s since.

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