Robert McAlpin Williamson
“The Patrick Henry of the Texas Revolution”
Born in Georgia about 1805, Robert McAlpin Williamson was crippled at the age of fifteen. His right leg became permanently bent back at the knee necessitating the use of a wooden leg, which earned him the nickname “Three-Legged Willie.” During his two-year illness he studied law and was admitted to the bar before he was nineteen.
In 1826 Williamson came to Texas and settled at San Felipe de Austin. Over the next several years he established a newspaper, the Cotton Plant, and edited two others, the Texas Gazette and the Mexican Citizen. A fiery advocate of Texas Independence, he was elected as a delegate to the Consultation of 1835, where he was commissioned a major and ordered to organize a company of rangers. He later participated in the Battle of San Jacinto. In December 1836 he was elected Judge of the Third Judicial District and to the Texas Supreme Court, and later served in both the Texas House and Senate.
In 1837 he married Mary Jane Edwards of Austin County, who bore him seven children. A staunch supporter of annexation, he even named one of his sons Annexus. Unencumbered by his peg-leg, he was popular as a lively dancer and banjo player. He became the subject of many colorful tales that were inspired by his eccentric personality and his animated oratory. Before a crowd of drought-stricken farmers, he once offered a prayer that beseeched the Lord “to send a drencher that will … make corn ears shake hands across the row and not one of those little rizzly-drizzly sprinkles that’ll make nubbins that all hell can’t shuck.”
In 1849 he retired to his farm near Independence to educate his children and prepare a history of Texas. He died on December 22, 1859. He was a member of Milam Lodge No. 11 at Independence. Williamson County, established in 1848, was named for Brother Williamson.
* Portions From The Texas Mason
By Pete Normand, PM
Texas Lodge of Research
* The Texas Masons
The Fraternity of Ancient Free & Accepted Masons in the History of Texas
by Pete Normand, © 1986
Book may be ordered from
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P.O. Box 1300
College Station, TX 77841
Price: $10.00 Postpaid