By Daniel E. Snell

Samuel William McAllister, born in Danville, Kentucky, April 8, 1831 came to San Antonio at the early age of 16. It must have been the "spirit of adventure" that induced him to move from Kentucky to San Antonio in 1847,1 because here he took a very active part with the ranger forces and fought Indians whenever necessary while engaging in business and mercantile pursuits. He was a skillful mechanic and frequently worked at the carpenter bench.2

In 1855, Samuel married Miss Mary Magdalene Braden, sister of Edward Braden (later to be 2nd Lt. of Company K). They ultimately had a total of six children.2

The first public position that Samuel held was that of City Alderman to which he was elected in 1858. He continued to represent his ward for consecutive terms when he retired to go into service for the Confederate Army in the early spring of 1861.2

According to Morgan Wolfe Merrick, Samuel McAllister was listed as the Officer of the Day on the first guard in San Antonio for the C.S. cause. He then volunteered to go to Fort Davis to take charge of that post about the first of April, 1861, when he organized "McAllister’s Rangers". Merrick documented this trip to Fort Davis and in it mentions McAllister many times. 3

Sometime after Samuel McAllister’s return to San Antonio, he was given a commission to raise an infantry company for Confederate Service. He had a difficult time in raising troops for infantry service, as he claimed Texans preferred riding a horse than walking. He unsuccessfully petitioned the Confederate authorities to allow him to muster into service Federal prisoners, whom he indicated would gladly serve the south. His petition was denied primarily due to the fact that the Federal prisoners required the Confederate States to afford them their "back pay" due them by the United States before they would enlist.8

It was around this time that Samuel McAllister became Captain of the Alamo Rifles, a Militia unit organized in San Antonio in 1857. This position would enabled him to enroll the necessary numbers of men for his company that would be mustered into confederate service in San Antonio, March 31, 1862.6

The "Alamo Rifles" under the command of Capt. Samuel W. McAllister, departed San Antonio enroute to Victoria, April 23, 1862, marching the entire distance in seven days. This old and well drilled company, which laid the claim that they could "Shoot a Yankee at a thousand Yards" became Company K, 6th Texas Infantry.5

Captain McAllister and Company K, went on to Arkansas and by September 1862 they were ordered to Arkansas Post. Sometime in November-December, 1862, he became ill and was listed as "Present Sick". Either prior to, during or immediately after the Battle at Arkansas Post, January 9-11, 1863, he somehow became separated from the unit and was not among those captured and sent to prison camps. Perhaps he had been previously taken to a hospital elsewhere or perhaps he participated in the battle and somehow escaped. The last record of him being present with Company K is from a receipt signed by him, dated Arkansas Post, December 10, 1862, when he received one wall tent and poles. The next written record is of him receiving articles at the Chief Clothing Bureau at Little Rock, Arkansas, January 31, 1863. 6

Apparently, his illness lingered on with him because when he returned to San Antonio he received a Medical Certificate for Furlough by the General Hospital in San Antonio on April 24, 1863 where he was diagnosed as having bronchitis and a lung infection. He remained on this furlough at least through June of 1863. The next return of him is where he is listed as acting as drill officer to troops of the 30 Batt per special orders from Houston, dated September 8, 1863. He signed his parole as "Captain Company K, 6th Texas Infantry" on August 17, 1865 at San Antonio, not having been able to return to the Company since his separation at Arkansas Post. 6

In 1865 and 1867 he was again elected city Alderman of the 4th Ward in San Antonio and then retired from public life until 1877 when he was elected and served another term as city Alderman. Subsequent to this term he was put in charge of the Bexar County Jail until 1886 when he was elected "Justice of the Peace" and held that position for two terms. In 1890 he was elected County Judge, serving for one year and retiring. 2

First Captain, then Judge Samuel McAllister was a prominent member of the ‘Independent Order of Odd Fellows’, a charitable organization here in San Antonio. The Judge passed away after a brief illness at 3:30 AM on Thursday, May 18, 1893, his funeral service being held the next day at his home on South Street near Sycamore and conducted by the Grand Representative of the Order of Odd Fellows, Mr. C.A. Keller. At the conclusion of Mr. Keller’s oration, the funeral procession proceeded to the Odd Fellows Cemetery at the corner of Pine and Paso Hondo streets, where the (Captain) Judge was laid to rest. The funeral procession was one of the largest ones on record, up to that time, ever held in the city. Among the large concourse of friends and acquaintances in attendance were the Mayor, the City Alderman, the County Judge and county commissioners and other county officials. 2,7

Respectfully Submitted for the interest of my comrades of Company K.

  1. With the Makers of San Antonio, page 404
  2. San Antonio Daily Light, May 18, 1893
  3. From Desert to Bayou, The Civil War Journal of Morgan Wolfe Merrick, Page 8
  4. Combats and Conquests of Immortal Heroes, Charles M. Barnes, 1910, Page 141.
  5. The Semi Weekly News, March 5 & April 24, 1862.
  6. Compiled Service Records of the Sixth Texas Infantry, National Archives.
  7. The San Antonio Daily Express, May 19, 1893 September 8, 2001

8. Official Records of the War of The Rebellion, Series 1, Vol. 1