The past is the present for future generations who do not know their history

That Menefee man in Tuscumbia…

English: "The Fall of the Alamo" by ...

“The Fall of the Alamo”  painting

was John Southerland. But his brother George Southerland was business owner and then in partnership with John in Tuscumbia; and their father, John Sutherland is buried at Oakwood Cemetery in Tuscumbia. John’s nephew, William DePriest Sutherland attended LaGrange Military Academy before heading to Texas and his name is mentioned in numerous accounts of the events.

The Fall of the Alamo is widely documented that any prominent name associated with it was bound to be accounted for and documented as well. Dr John Sutherland is also associated with The Scrape in Texas history. An account of the fall of the Alamo is written by a granddaughter of John Southerland. Below is a reprint of the copy found at tamu.edu:

The Fall of the Alamo
By Dr. John Sutherland
©1936, The Naylor Company, San Antonio, Texas.

Written in 1860 and now published for the first time an authentic account of that tragic event in the history of Texas compiled from facts known to the author and supported by evidence of others who were witnesses to the siege and fall of the Alamo together with a sketch of the life of the author by his grand-daughter — Annie B. Sutherland.

Sketch of the Life of Dr. John Sutherland

Dr. John Sutherland was born in Virginia May 11, 1792 on Dan River near the site of the present town of Danville.His father Captain John Sutherland, or Sutherlin as the name was then called, was an officer in the Revolutionary War. Of sturdy Highland Scotch descent, his forefathers emigrated to America in the early days of its history.Captain John Sutherland with his family, following the westward trend of emigration, moved from Virginia to Tennessee in 1805 and settled on Clinch River, where he kept a ferry known as Sutherland’s Ferry. At the age of young manhood, John Sutherland, Jr. went to Knoxville where for several years he clerked in a store for a man named Crozier. Later he became a partner in the firm.

Photo of Dr John Sutherland

About 1824 he moved with his family to Decatur, Alabama, where for a time he was president of a bank. After a short time he moved to Tuscumbia, Alabama, and entered into the mercantile business with his brother George. They traveled on horseback to Philadelphia and Baltimore where they bought their merchandise, which was hauled in wagons to Tuscumbia. About 1827-28, through unfortunate business ventures, the firm became financially embarrassed and in 1829 closed up its business.

In December of that year George Sutherland moved to Texas and settled on the Navidad River at a place now in Jackson County. During the winter of 1829-30 several other related families emigrated to Texas and settled in Austin’s Colony, taking out grants of land and establishing homes under the liberal colonization laws governing Texas.

Meanwhile the subject of our sketch remained in Tuscumbia, practicing medicine under the old Thompsonian System. He continued the practice of medicine through the succeeding years of his life, and in the 50’s, when cholera swept through the Southern States, he distinguished himself by discovering a cure for that dread malady, whereby he never lost a case not already in the last stages of the disease. Dr. Sutherland freely passed his great discovery on to other doctors for the relief of suffering humanity.

In December, 1835, Dr. Sutherland, Captain William Patton and several others visited Texas with a view to settling on lands which the Mexican government offered as an inducement to settlers to make homes in Texas.

Arriving at San Felipe they took the oath of allegiance to the new government. They then proceeded toward San Antonio. Meeting General Sam Houston, then in command of the Texian forces, he advised them against going on to San Antonio, saying that he had ordered all troops to fall back east of the Guadalupe River.

The party however went on to San Antonio, arriving there on the 18th of January, 1836. The accompanying account of the “Fall of the Alamo” by Dr. Sutherland gives his connection with that tragic event in the history of Texas.

After the fall of the Alamo, General Houston sent messages by Dr. Sutherland to President David G. Burnet after which President Burnet appointed him one of his aides-de-camp, sending him a written order 1 to facilitate the retirement of the women and children over Groce’s Ferry to the east side of the Brazos River. Having accomplished this mission, Dr. Sutherland returned to Harrisburg, when President Burnet appointed him his private secretary, which position he held until after the battle of San Jacinto and peace was assured. Then he returned to his family in Tuscumbia, Alabama. In the fall of 1837, having closed up his business in Alabama, he brought his family to Texas, reaching the settlement known as Egypt in December. Next year he built a home on the west side of the Colorado River, four miles from Egypt, where he lived until the fall of 1849, when he moved to what is now known as Wilson County, settling near the Sulphur Springs on the Cibolo River. He was the founder and proprietor and first post master of the little town of Sutherland Springs. A lover of education, he encouraged and supported schools in our pioneer State for his own and his neighbor’s children, and when he had provided his children with the best advantages available here, he sent them off to higher institutions of learning. A devout Christian from early manhood, he gave freely of his substance to the building of churches and the support of the ministry. His house was ever the retreat of the wayfarer and the welcoming home of the homeless and needy. He died at his home at Sutherland Springs, April 11, 1867, at the age of seventy-four years and eleven months and is buried in the Sutherland family lot in the Sutherland Springs Cemetery which was a gift from himself to the town. Over his grave and that of his third wife, his surviving children erected a substantial monument. He died as he had lived, a pioneer, a patriot, a Christian gentleman. This sketch of his life is affectionately dedicated to his memory by his grand-daughter.

Annie B. Sutherland

 

This John Sutherland was one of the sons of the John Southerland who is buried at Oakwood Cemetery in Tuscumbia; and the sister of our Agnes Sutherland Menefee. Dr John Southerland married as his second wife a girl from Cherokee, Ann Bryan Lane 1800 – 1840. Their children were: George Quinn Sutherland 1829 – 1869, Levin Lane Sutherland  1832 –  , Jack Sutherland 1838 – 1922 and Margaret Ann Sutherland who was born and died 1840. Next comes an excerpt from a writing about Sutherland Springs, Texas:

One cannot read about, speak about or visit Sutherland Springs, Texas  without running into the name of Dr. John Sutherland. The Sutherland’s ancestry can be linked to castle Dunrobin in the northern most county of Scotland. Very fitting is the Sutherland clan’s motto “Sans Peur” or “without fear.” John was born to a Revolutionary war captain in 1792 in Danville, Virginia. In 1805 the Sutherland family was on the move to Tenessee where John’s father worked on a ferry on the Clinch River. John entered the working life of a store clerk, working his way up very quickly. In 1816 he married Diane Kennedy and moved to Decatur, Alabama. By 1824 he was the president of a bank. The bank failed miserably and in 1826 John and his family moved to Tuscumbia, Alabama to form a partnership in a small merchantile with his brother George. Again John’s business failed, feeling a little beat, George left Alabama and joined Austin’s Colony with an eye to homestead for the both of them. John stayed in Tuscumbia.

 In 1827, John’s wife Diane passed away. John was left alone. Determined to take care of his aging father and daughter, he began attending medical school. He had a facination with treating disease with steam and local herbs.

 John married Ann Bryant Lane, opened a practice in Tuscumbia and was doing well for his family, but Texas called to him. He was again on the move on December 12, 1835. He swore allegiance to Texas and became a citizen. He was joined by his brother George’s son William and headed off to the Alamo to help the sick. While out riding he was injured and could not fight, so Col. Travis sent him to bring help, but he returned too late. Lying among the dead was his nephew William De Trest Sutherland. After the Revolution, John settled in Egypt. Then, his second wife died in 1840. In the mid 1840’s John married his third wife Ann Dickson and in 1849, they moved into present day Sutherland Springs.

 John immediately recognized the powers of the springs and set up shop. Though he did not attain great wealth he did establish the postal service of Sutherland Springs, (coincidentally the longest continuously running post office in Texas). He became Postmaster, Justice of the Peace and opened the first school and platted the townsite, all the while practicing medicine.

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