Saturday, May 24, 2008

Jonathan Lindley - Alamo Defender

Battle of the Alamo

Jonathan Lindley
Alamo Defender

Jonathan Lindley was a younger brother of our direct ancestor, Basheba Lindley, wife of John Sadler.

Jonathan Lindley was born 12 Feb 1814 in Sangamon County, Illinois.  Jonathan was the third child and oldest son of Samuel Washington Lindley (1788-1859) and his second wife, Elizabeth Whitley (1795-1838).  According to descendants, Samuel's first wife Mary Polly Hall died after the birth to their first child Sarah in March 1810.  Several months later, Samuel married Elizabeth Whitley, with whom he had his remaining children except Amanda.  While still living in Illinois, ten children were born to Samuel and Elizabeth: Basheba (1811); Polly (1812); Jonathan (1814); Elizabeth (1815); William (1817); Martha (1821); Samuel W. Jr. (1823); Rachel (1827); John (1829); and James (1831).

Jonathan Lindley spent his youth living in Illinois.  He would have been closely associated with his Whitley grandparents, John Saunders Whitley and Bathsheba Bateman Whitley, who also lived in Illinois.  According to the Combined History of Shelby & Moultrie Counties, Illinois, written in 1881:
“...John Whitley and family, and his son-in-law, Samuel Lindley. They came in the fall of 1826, and settled at the head of Whitley creek timber, now Whitley's Point, on section 12, where J. M. Edmond's farm now lies… They, with their families and Samuel Lindley all settled in the same neighborhood with the old gentleman. Here they built their cabins, and broke the first ground in the county. A rude horse mill was constructed by the elder Whitley, which of course was the first mill of any kind built in the township. He as well as his boys were very fond of the sports of the day, such as wrestling, horse-racing, etc. They remained here only a year or two, when they scattered in various directions; some went to Texas, and others to Missouri.”

“Gone to Texas”

Jonathan, along with his family, moved from Illinois to Texas in fall of 1833.  They most likely traveled in covered wagons with extended family and friends; including married sister, Basheba, and her husband, John Sadler.  At that time Texas was still part of Mexico, and the Mexican government required a letter of recommendation from a reliable citizen before admitting families to Texas.  Jonathan's father, Samuel Washington Lindley, received a letter of recommendation signed by the Governor of Illinois on 27 Sep 1833.  So, the group would have started their trek westward to Texas sometime after Sep 1833.

Once in Texas, Jonathan also received a letter of recommendation on 31 October 1834, signed by Joseph Lindley and Nat Robbins. This recommendation was part of applying for a land grant.
Jonathan Lindley Letter of Recommendation -
On Nov 4, 1834, Jonathan Lindley started the process with the Mexican government to obtain a land grant.  As an unmarried man, on July 17, 1835 Jonathan was finally granted a one-fourth league of land (640 acres) as a headright in the William Pace Mexican League, originally titled May 3, 1835.
First page of the Jonathan Lindley Mexican land grant -
Some researchers believe Jonathan was a surveyor and spent most of his time surveying the land of other colonists, but I've never seen documented proof of this.

Battle of the Alamo
By the latter part of 1835, the Texians were engaging in battles and revolting against the Mexican government.  The colonists living in Texas were accustomed to the freedoms they had enjoyed previous to moving to Texas and were not happy with Mexico’s increasing dictatorial attempts.  Jonathan was part of this movement of revolt. 
Alamo Battle - Texas State Archives
Jonathan Lindley joined Capt. Carey’s Company in the regular Texas Army in the fall of 1835.   He participated in the Battle of Bexar on 14 Dec 1835 after which he, as many others, returned home for Christmas hoping that the Revolution was over.  According to a family story in the 1989 book by Ed Kelton "The Descendants of Robert and Catherine Kelton," Jonathan rode to his father's house just before returning to the army after his Christmas leave.  He took his 8 year old sister Rachel for a short horseback ride, kissed her goodbye, and then rode off to war.

Some believe that Jonathan joined Captain Albert Martin's band of men who were later known as "The Immortal Thirty-Two Men from Gonzales."  But, other researchers feel that Jonathan was already at the garrison on February 1st.   Whatever the case, we do know that Jonathan was at the Alamo later in the month.
Along with the other defenders of the Alamo, Jonathan Lindley was killed March 6, 1836 by the Mexican army.  Afterward, Santa Ana had the bodies of the dead stacked and burned.  Supposedly what ashes left were gathered and placed in a single coffin.

Remembering Those Who Died at the Alamo
Following the Independence of Texas, the grateful Republic of Texas posthumously awarded the heroes of the Alamo bounties of land. Under certificate #9132 dated May 14, 1839, Houston, Texas, Jonathan Lindley was awarded 1280 acres of land situated in Panola County, ten and one-half miles south, twenty degrees west from Carthage, Texas. It was patented March 9, 1860. The lawful heirs of Jonathan Lindley, namely his parents and his brothers and sisters, since he was not married, fell heir to the 1280-acre bounty plus his original Mexican Grant of 640 acres in the William Pace Survey in Polk County.

Below are the bounty land certificates, each stating that Jonathan Lindley was killed at the Alamo.
Jonathan Lindley Bounty Land 1280 acres -

Jonathan Lindley Bounty Land 640 acres -
Samuel Washington Lindley, was appointed administrator of the estate of his son, Jonathan Lindley; as such he administered and divided the estate. After the Battle of San Jacinto, the surviving Lindley family re-settled in Montgomery County, Texas.  In the Lindley Cemetery 5 miles north of Anderson in Grimes County, Texas there is a historical marker honoring Jonathan Lindley.

The March 24, 1836 Telegraph and Texas Register (newspaper) listed some of the men who died at the Alamo.  Jonathan Lindley is listed about 3/4 down in the middle column.

Telegraph and Texas Register (San Felipe de Austin, Tex., Vol. 1, No. 21, Ed. 1, Thursday, March 24, 1836, Newspaper; digital images, ( ),  The Portal to Texas History,

News of the Alamo's fall and the death of Jonathan Lindley, undoubtedly prompted his brother-in-law, John Sadler, to join Sam Houston's army and fight for Texan Independence from Mexico. John Sadler fought in Captain William Ware's Company and is considered one of the heroes who fought at the Battle of San Jacinto under General Sam Houston on April 21, 1836. John Sadler was the husband of Basheba Lindley Sadler, an older sister to Jonathan Lindley.

Some researchers report that Jonathan Lindley was married or engaged to be married at the time of his death to Sarah Drusilla Winters.  Since his land was left to his "heirs" - which was his father and siblings, it doubtful he was married.  A memorial marker for Sarah Winters Crouch states: "Sarah Winters Crouch ... lost her first sweetheart, Jonathan Lindley in the Battle of the Alamo." 

The following 1860 newspaper clipping was found on the Portal to Texas History:
Jonathan Lindley
Clipping, April 12, 1860; ( : accessed March 23, 2016), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History,; crediting Star of the Republic Museum, Washington, Texas.

More Research:
The above newspaper clipping, along with other articles can be found on the Portal of Texas History.  Just do a search on Jonathan Lindley.
Bounty and land records can be found on The Texas General Land Office website.  From the home page of the Texas GLO (, click on the History tab, then the Land Grant Search tab.  The Research Links tab also has many useful links.

For further info on the Battle of the Alamo or Jonathan Lindley try the following:
Handbook of Texas Online article on Jonathan Lindley.
Search the Southwestern Historical Quarterly Online
Battle of the Alamo  (Wikipedia)

**This post was updated July 2016 to include the newly found character certificate, bounty land records, and to make a few other additions and minor corrections.:)


Rocky Lindley said...

Thanks for the info provided in your blog. I'm a Lindley who lives in Texas. Just found out that I had a relative die in the Alamo, which stirred my interest. I appreciate it.

Anonymous said...

My ancestor, Sarah Winters, was engaged to Jonathan Lindley when he died. Her father, James Winters, signed off on his estate after his death. That document can be found in the Alamo library. Very interesting :)

patricia said...

Rebecca Lindley Smith daughter of James and Mary Cox Lindley is my 6th great grandmother. I would like to know her siblings. Rebecca was the great aunt of Jonathan Lindley (battle of Alamo) and Joseph Lindley (battle of San Jacinto). I am working on a membership to the Alamo Defenders
and the Daughters of the Republic of Texas (DRT). Would you please help me with Rebecca's siblings.

Thank you, Pat Smith Egert

Henry Wishard said...

Strange, I just visited Danville Sheperd Hill Cemetery yesterday and there was a historical marker there also. It told about Jonathan Lindley and his death at the Alamo. Its in Montgomery county, Tx. a few miles north of Willis Tx. off Interstate 45 on Calvary road.

Anonymous said...

All Lindleys are proud of this man, no matter where we are from!!

Dwight B. Lindley said...

Wow, great to see so many Lindley's..

This is great information..

Dwight B. Lindley

Katy, Texas

Tiffiny Vaughn said...

I am a descendent of Samuel Washington Lindley. His daughter, Mary Polly Lindley, married my great-great grandfather Hiram Little. Hiram fought at the Battle of San Jacinto and was a citizen of the Republic of Texas.

Anonymous said...

My name is Terry [Miles], whose relations are most recently, Eli Lindley in Texas. I have always been told my ancestor great x7 generations, or such, uncle died in the Alamo. My great great grandmother Levada married Eli Lindley. I did not grow up with my relations, so I am always looking for information on my ancestry.

Kimo Sadler said...

Here is a link to a picture of the brother-in-law of Jonathan Lindley
John Sadler
and his son
William Sadler
and his son
Louie Jay Sadler

Kimo Sadler said...

Picture of John Sadler, brother-in-law of Jonathan Lindley

Anonymous said...

Thanks to above comment about the link to picture of John Sadler. Cool!

Anonymous said...

If a historical marker in Winters Memorial Park lists Jonathan L Lindley as 1st Husband to Sarah Drucilla Winters, is there a marriage record? Another comment on this blog said thet were just engaged.

Anonymous said...

I have looked and only found comments that Jonathan was possibly engaged, but, one person said he was married, but no proof and all his land from Texas went to his parents, so, the belief is he was possibly engaged.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the update on Jonathan Lindley and the images of the bounty land records. Do you have a tree on with Jonathan in it and if so, what is the name of the tree? Thanks again.

Anonymous said...

Love the new update!!:)

Joseph Lindley said...

Job Well done! The Lindleys have done their share for this country. Great job on the research. Those of us on the East Coast enjoyed the update. My son was named after Jonathan.
Joseph Lindley

Anonymous said...

What a treasure chest of information on Jonathan Lindley. I love that you provided links for further research. I am new to genealogical research so your links are much appreciated -- I may be able to find information on some of my other family lines. Have a great day!!