January 31, 2017

James Long

James Long, leader of the Long expedition, was born in Culpeper County, Virginia, February 9, 1793. He was taken by his parents to Kentucky and then to Tennessee. He joined the United States Army to serve as a surgeon in the War of 1812, and after the battle of New Orleans went to Natchez, Mississippi, where he practiced medicine at Port Gibson. In 1815 he married Jane Herbert Wilkinson Long, and shortly afterward the two bought a plantation near Vicksburg. In 1819, the Adams-Onis Treaty that settled the border dispute between the United States and Spain aroused such strong opposition in Natchez that prominent citizens planned a filibustering expedition to conquer Texas and placed Long in command.

After Long teamed up with Jose Felix Trespalacios, a former Mexican military officer who had fought against Spanish rule in Mexico in the past, they made their first filibuster expedition to Texas in 1819. He attempted to recruit Jean Lafitte and his men (Lafitte turned him down) and several of Long's recruits were former French soldiers, who had started a settlement in Texas. Long was successful in capturing Nacogdoches, with his followers proclaiming Long the first President of the Republic of Texas. However, a Spanish expedition routed Long and his followers after only one month.

Long led a second unsuccessful expedition from the Bolivar Peninsula the following year bringing his pregnant wife Jane and three hundred troops. The group is thought to have been encouraged by General Andrew Jackson and others in high echelons of the USA government, although official policy of the United States was neutrality in regard to Spain. When his troops seized Presidio La Bahía he was caught and imprisoned, first in San Antonio, then in Monterrey, Nuevo León, Mexico. He went to Mexico City in March 1822 to plead his case before Agustín de Iturbide, but on April 8, 1822, he was shot and killed by a guard. One of Long's followers, Benjamin Milam, believed that Trespalacios, who had been captured and freed, was responsible. When Jane heard of his death, she left Texas and returned to Vicksburg until the 1820s - when she returned as one of the Old Three Hundred colonists.

This is a cenotaph.

GPS Coordinates
29° 35.132, -095° 45.801

Masonic Section West
Morton Cemetery

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