On or about April 16, 1836, Thomas was mortally wounded by the accidental discharge of a firearm while aboard the steamship Cayuga en route from Lynch's Ferry to Galveston. Settler John J. Linn, who was at Galveston when the ship arrived, implied that Thomas died there three days after being shot. According to other claims, however, he remained on board the Cayuga and arrived at the San Jacinto battlefield about April 22. In a third version he died on board the Cayuga and was buried near the home of Vice President Lorenzo de Zavala on Buffalo Bayou, but it was also reported that he was taken off the ship and died in Zavala's home. In 1932 the state of Texas erected a monument to the memory of Thomas at a spot designated by Adina de Zavala, granddaughter of Lorenzo de Zavala, as the gravesite in the old Zavala cemetery. In 1936 Thomas's name was also included on a monument in Washington-on-the-Brazos State Historic Site to the memory of "those courageous souls, the delegates to the Constitutional Convention held here on March 1-17, 1836, who declared Texas free, organized a republic, and framed a constitution."
NoteThis is a cenotaph. The Zavala family cemetery, where David Thomas was laid to rest, was originally located on Buffalo Bayou, directly across from the San Jacinto battlefield. It was discovered in the early 1900s that due to natural erosion the burial grounds were slowly collapsing into the water. The Zavala family decided against exhuming and relocating the bodies for religious reasons, so as a compromise the remaining headstones were transferred to the battlefield. The birth date on his stone is incorrect.
29° 45.215, -095° 05.387
San Jacinto Battleground State Historic Site