|Battle of the Alamo|
Jonathan Lindley -- Alamo Defender
Jonathan L. 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 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 - glo.texas.gov|
As an unmarried man, on July 17, 1835 Jonathan was granted a one-fourth league of land (640 acres) as a headright in the William Pace Mexican League, originally titled May 3, 1835. 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.
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, along with the other defenders of the Alamo, was killed March 6, 1836 by the Mexican army. Afterward the bodies of the dead were stacked and burned. Supposedly what ashes left were gathered and placed in a single coffin.
Below are the bounty land certificates, each stating that Jonathan Lindley was killed at the Alamo.
|Jonathan Lindley Bounty Land 1280 acres - glo.texas.gov|
|Jonathan Lindley Bounty Land 640 acres - glo.texas.gov|
Samuel Washington Lindley, was appointed administrator of the estate of Jonathan; 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, (http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth47891/ ), The Portal to Texas History, http://texashistory.unt.edu.
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:
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 (glo.texas.gov), click on the History tab, then the Land Grant Search tab. The Research Links tab also has many useful links.
For further info on Jonathan Lindley try the following:
Handbook of Texas Online article on Jonathan Lindley.
Southwestern Historical Quarterly Online:
This post was updated July 2016 to include the newly found character certificate and the bounty land records.