Colonel William Barret Travis was born on August 1, 1809 in South Carolina (Wood). Nine years later, his family packed up and moved to Alabama. When Trav
is grew up, he studied law at Claiborne and taught school on the side. In 1828, he married one of his pupils, Rosanna Cato. Soon they had a son. Another child was on the way, when in 1831 Travis angrily left them, thinking Rosanna unfaithful (Lord 32).
Travis moved to Anáhuac, Texas, then quickly on to San Felipe, Texas where he listed himself as single and started a law practice. He liked his racy clothes and loved his women of whom he wrote in the meticulous diary he kept. On Christmas night 1833, h
e fell in love with Rebecca Cummings. He explained about Rosanna and that he was going to divorce her. Rebecca agreed to wait (Lord 33). Then shortly before the revolution started, Rosanna showed up demanding a divorce. Travis quickly gave it to her,
but made her give him custody of his son, Charles Edwin (Wood).
William Travis was usually formal and proper. In addition, he was a religious man who tried to get clergy to come to Texas. However, Travis was also very self-centered. He wrote his own autobiography when he was 23. Usually Travis succeeded at everyth
ing he tried. He wrote in his diary after mud and high water made him
turn back from seeing Rebecca, "The first time I ever turned back in my
life" (Lord 34).
Travis was born to lead.
Purhaps that is why Travis soon became well known in Texas. In 1835, when the Mexican commander at Anáhuac tried to enforce Santa Anna's laws, Travis marched up to the commander's headquarters and promptly threw him out of town (Lord 37). After the revo
lution really started Travis was ordered to lead a group of about 40 reinforcements to the Alamo (Wood). When Bowie fell ill, Travis found himself in complete command of the Alamo, a job he took
seriously. Travis vowed he would hold the fort no matter what, even to death(Wood). On March 6, 1836, Colonel William Barret Travis died defending the north wall of the Alamo (Lord 152).
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Richard Wright Copyright 1999