Family Tree of James Hughes Callahan

James Hughes CALLAHAN, a soldier of the Texas Revolution  and frontier military leader, was born near Marietta, Georgia, Sept 10, 1812  and was shot to death,  killed in the shootout April 7, 1856 near Pittsburg, Comal County, Texas. He marched to Texas as a sergeant in Capt. J. C. Winn's Third Company of the Georgia Battalion,  which arrived at Velasco just before Christmas of 1835. Callahan served in this unit for more than the next two months but managed to escape the Goliad Massacre,  probably by having been engaged in a labor detail at Victoria during the battles of March 1836. After a postwar visit in the United States, he settled in the southwestern Hill Country.   He helped establish Walnut Springs (now Seguin) in 1838. During the 1840s he moved to Caldwell County, where he operated a 350-acre farm and a store. He also held government land grants in Lavaca and Kimble counties. He married Sarah Melissa DAY in 1841, daughter of Johnson DAY and Sarah HEMBREE; they had six children.

1.  Wesley Hughes b. abt 1843 in Texas. Also served as a Texas Ranger.

2.  James Sanford b.July 5, 1844 in Texas.  He married Sarah (Sally) Elizabeth NAIL January 24, 1866 in Caldwell County, Texas. 

     i.  Willie Katherine b. 1871 
    ii.   May m. ?  CHRISTOPHER  

3.  Josiah Asbury b. abt 1847 in Texas

4.  Armiseda Catherine "Kate" b. abt 1849 in Texas

5.  Mahala Caroline "Carrie" b. aft 1850

6. William Millford   b. Feb 18, 1852 d. Sept. 6, 1855, Comal County, Texas.

Callahan remained an active citizen and soldier and, like many others who had fought in the revolution, was vigorously anti-Mexican. From 1839 to 1841 he commanded a group of minutemen in Guadalupe County who chased and fought Indians and Mexicans accused of stealing horses. He also volunteered for more formal campaigns between 1840 and 1842. He served as a first lieutenant in Mathew Caldwell's  company in 1840, and became a company commander during the incursion of Rafael Vásquez in 1841, in which he led a retreat from San Antonio. The next year his sixty-man company helped expel Adrián Woll  from Texas and saw action at the battle of Salado Creek. Later that year Callahan also served as a lieutenant in the Somervell expedition.

Capt. James Hughes Callahan first visited the Blanco River area on his way to an Indian battle. He was apparently
impressed with the land along the river and so returned in 1853 with his friend, Eli Clemens Hinds. Both men built homes on the Blanco River in 1854, thus becoming the first white settlers in what is now Blanco County.  Also in 1854 Gen. John D. Pitts, who had fought in Indian campaigns with Callahan, came to settle in the Blanco County area. Pitts, with Callahan, Judge William S. Jones from Curry's Creek in what was then Comal County, Andrew M. Lindsay of San Marcos, and F. W. Chandler of Travis County, chartered the Pittsburgh Land Company and laid out the town of Pittsburgh between 1854 and 1855.

His military activities then ceased until 1855, when he commanded the punitive expedition into Mexico that bears his name. This campaign originated with Governor E. M. Pease's  authorization to form a ranger company to retaliate against Indian attacks in Bexar and Comal counties. Callahan was also responding to slaveholders' appeals for a military venture that would return runaway slaves from Mexico. Accordingly, his company of about 130 men crossed the Rio Grande at Eagle Pass on September 29, 1855, and fought an inconclusive battle about forty miles south of there on the Río Escondido. Callahan
retreated to Piedras Negras, which he first fortified, then looted and burned, before recrossing the Rio Grande under fire.

He failed to gain the support needed for another expedition, but public opinion generally favored his aggressive action. He moved to Blanco in 1854 or early 1855 and was killed there in April 1856 during a feud with Woodson Blassingame. The legislature of 1857-58 named Callahan County in his honor. In 1931 the bodies of Callahan and his wife were removed from the cemetery at Blanco and reinterred in the State Cemetery,  Austin.  After the death of Sarah Callahan, the children became wards of William E. Jones, who replaced Edward C. Pettus. The two girls, "Kate" and "Carrie" were sent to be raised by a sister of James Hughes Callahan living in Walker County, GA.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: Thomas L. Miller, Bounty and Donation Land Grants of  Texas, 1835-1888 (Austin: University of Texas Press, 1967). Ernest C. Shearer, "The Callahan Expedition, 1855," Southwestern Historical Quarterly 54 (October 1951). Ronnie C. Tyler, "The Callahan Expedition of 1855: Indians or Negroes?" Southwestern Historical Quarterly 70 (April 1967).   Also information discovered by Don Watson and research by Callahan descendant Ray Phillips