On March 6, 1836 – 181 years ago last Monday – about 187 men (or more, according to some researchers) perished inside the adobe walls of a crumbling mission-turned-fort known as the Alamo at what is today San Antonio, Texas.
Under siege for 13 days, the defenders – who were Anglo settlers, fellow American allies, and Mexican natives in revolt against the central Mexican government – were finally overwhelmed by a superior Mexican army force and killed to the last man in the early morning hours of March 6. Their bodies were then burned.
Among those who died that day were six native Missourians: William Charles M. Baker, George D. Butler, Charles Henry Clark, George Washington Cottle, Jerry C. Day, and George W. Tumlinson. It is those men in particular I talk about today.
When I say they were Missourians I mean they were born in the territory that would become the State of Missouri, since we didn’t get statehood until 1821. Now that that is clarified, from this point on I will simply say Missouri instead of Missouri Territory.
Like many of the Alamo defenders, not a whole lot is really known about most of the Missourians’ backgrounds.
William Charles M. Baker was born in Missouri, though we don’t know his age, and he later moved to Mississippi. After the Texas Revolution erupted in October 1835, Baker came to Texas as a volunteer to help in the revolt. He made his way to what was then San Antonio de Bexar and joined a rebel artillery battery that was involved in besieging the town, which at the time was held by national Mexican troops.
After the Mexican force eventually surrendered, Baker became part of what I would characterize as a mounted infantry company that was sent elsewhere. However, he returned to San Antonio on January 19, 1836, as captain of a detachment of 30 men led by the famous adventurer Jim Bowie. Baker entered the Alamo fort and never left it again.