Tuesday, November 22, 2011

A Fearless Texas Ranger, by Jeanmarie Hamilton

For many readers of romance, stories that take place in Texas are ever popular. Fortunately for writers of romance, as well as for history, Texas is rich in true stories about people full of courage. The Texas Rangers not only protected law abiding citizens in times of peace from those who would prey on hard working folks, but Rangers also fought in the Civil War. Many brave, fearless men have served as Texas Rangers.

While taking part with five talented writers in the creation of romance stories about the Civil War for an anthology titled Northern Roses and Southern Belles, a story involving the Red River Campaign caught my attention. In discussing the Civil War battle with the other authors, I looked up the history at the Handbook of Texas Online web site. I read about the battle and one name in particular caught my attention, General Philip Noland Luckett.

My great grandfather’s middle name was Luckett. I wondered if there could be a connection.

I looked up Gen. Luckett’s name and found more information about him. He was born in Virginia around 1823, and he was educated to become a physician. In 1847 he moved to Texas and established his practice in Corpus Christi.

What a coincidence. My great grandfather, Joseph Luckett Dwyer, was born in Corpus Christi in 1855 to Anna Croker Dwyer and Thomas A. Dwyer, who had a ranch, named Rancho Bonito, near Corpus Christi. I have a feeling that the doctor who delivered Joseph Luckett Dwyer was Dr. Philip Noland Luckett.

Dr. Luckett served as surgeon of
Capt. John S. Ford’s company of Texas Rangers through the late 1840s. January 28 through February 4, 1861, Dr. Luckett represented Nueces and Webb counties in the state Secession Convention. At the close of the convention, he was appointed one of three commissioners of public safety to work with Maj. Gen. David E. Twiggs for the surrender of federal property in San Antonio. One of the men he worked with on the committee was Samuel A. Maverick. My great great grandfather moved to San Antonio at some time in the 1800s and became a judge there. I wonder if he and Dr. Luckett were neighbors?

In the fall of 1861 Dr. Luckett was elected colonel of the
Third Texas Infantry, members of which were recruited in Austin and San Antonio. Luckett’s Third Infantry arrived in Galveston in July of 1863. Soon afterward Luckett was brevetted brigadier general. The unit saw no action until its assignment in April 1864 to Brig. Gen William R. Scurry’s brigade of Walker’s Texas Division. Luckett’s unit took part in the Red River campaign and the 1864 campaign in Arkansas which accomplished the repulse of Maj. Gen. Frederick Steele at the battle of Jenkin’s Ferry. Scurry was killed there, and Luckett took command of the brigade. Because of illness and detached duty, Luckett was kept from active duty for the rest of the war.

After the defeat of the Confederacy Gen. Luckett was one of forty men who included Generals William Preston and Hamilton P. Bee, who accompanied
Maj. Gen. John G. Walker to Mexico. When Luckett returned to Texas in 1865, he was arrested by federal officials and imprisoned at Fort Jackson, Louisiana. His health was ruined by his several months in prison. Following his release he stayed for a while in New Orleans and then joined relatives in Cincinnati, Ohio, where he died on May 21, 1869.

My great grandfather Joseph Luckett Dwyer was given the flag of the
Third Texas Infantry. I don’t know the story of how he came to have it. Possibly his father was a member of the Third Texas Infantry and kept the flag, or maybe one of his uncles. There were many Dwyers in San Antonio at that time who could have joined the Third Texas Infantry. I couldn’t find a complete list of the unit’s members, so I have no definite record.

My great grandfather kept the flag, and in 1940 or 1941, an article in the
El Paso Times newspaper contained a photo of him with some widows of soldiers who served in the Confederacy in Texas. In the photo which my mother kept in her photo album, my great grandfather is holding the flag of the Third Texas Infantry. A drawing of just such a flag can be seen at http://www.scv674.org/csaflags.htm under the heading of Western Theater, Trans-Mississippi Department. It’s described as a common flag with many slight variations. It has thirteen stars with a center star larger than the other stars.

Joseph Dwyer’s
flag has the same design with crossed strips of fabric sewn with one strip over the other crossing in the center of the flag. The stars were sewn on top of the strips that crossed. Joseph Dwyer was a generous man all his life, and he gave the flag to a women’s organization in Texas.

Dr. Luckett was a fearless Texan, an ex Texas Ranger who became a general in the Civil War, a man my great great grandfather thought of as a good friend whose name he gave to his son, Joseph Luckett Dwyer, sheriff and rancher in Texas.

The characters in my historical westerns,
Dangerous Persuasion, and Seduction,
are inspired by the bravery of the Texas Rangers.

You might be interested in reading about the Texas Rangers at The Handbook of Texas Online. If you’d like to read the anthology, Northern Roses and Southern Belles, there are only a few left at Amazon.com because it’s out of print. You can find my books on Amazon.com listed under my name, Jeanmarie Hamilton, and my writing name Claire Adele, or if you go to my web site at

http://www.JeanmarieHamilton.com you can follow the links to my stories. Wishing you many good books to read!

Happy Thanksgiving!
Jeanmarie Hamilton


  1. Thanks for the post and the reference to the Handbook on Texas. I just bought a kindle so Northern Roses and Southern Belles can be my first purchase.

  2. Michal,
    Thanks so much for your comments. I have found The Handbook of Texas to be a huge help with my research.

    Hope you enjoy Northern Roses and Southern Belles!


  3. Jeanmarie, you have such interesting people in your ancestry, and this links to this famous Texas Ranger. Thanks for sharing.

  4. GEEZ, you have the most gorgeous covers, Jeanmarie. They are just amazing and so colorful.

    How interesting you are being able to trace your ancestory back to these important Texans. I know it pleases you to find these connections. How fun you can use your ancestors to write your books. :)

  5. Jeanmarie--your post fascinated me. I am a Daughter of the Republic of Texas, and I love these stories of Texans during the Republic years, and thereafter whe Texas became a state and entered the Civil War. The story about Luckett's Third Infantry was truly intriguing.
    The Texas Rangers, too, always keep me interested. Their history is so colorful, so varied, so...off and on! Our county, Hays County, is named for Jack C. Hays, Texas Ranger.
    I, too, love The Handbook of Texas On-Line. I've about worn out the electroic version!
    Thanks, Jeanmarie, for your story about Luckett and the possiblity he was your ancestor.
    Oh, you did such a great job on this...thank you!
    I read Norther Roses and Southern Belles when it first came out...I remember Caroline's story and emailed her--that's when I learned we were fellow Texans, and she lived now in an area where I was born. I may have emailed you..don't remember, but I did contact a couple of those authors for their wonderful short stories!
    And...welcome back.

  6. Caroline and Celia
    Thanks so much! But Celia, Dr. Luckett was not related, not an ancestor, but probably a friend. :-)

    Yes, I can always count on the Handbook of Texas for some research help. Glad you enjoyed Northern Roses and Southern Belles!

  7. Paisley,
    Just as you are inspired by the historic places surrounding you, I find inspiration from my ancestors. My teachers wrote in my grade school report cards that I spent too much time gazing out the window. Little did they realize that I was even then thinking about wonderful adventures and places to go, stories to write.
    I'm so glad that you like the covers on those books. Both covers are designed by Rae Monet Inc.

  8. Jeanmarie:
    I enjoyed taking a trip through Texas history. I always marvel at how these pioneers of the West had the strength and fortitude to survive. A pioneer doctor must have been a revered person. I read somewhere that Texas was still fighting the Civil War two years after it ended because it took so much time for news to travel. Interesting information. Thanks for sharing.

  9. Ruby,
    Thanks so much for commenting. I'm so glad you enjoyed the blog on Dr. Luckett. They truly were pioneers living in a rugged, untamed country. I don't think I would have left city life to live the life of a pioneer.

  10. Jeanmarie, I would love to get in touch with you regarding your family. Thomas, Joseph's father, was our ggg grandfathers brother. He has always been one that I could find very little info on and it seems as though you may have had a little more luck then I.

  11. Jeanmarie, I would love to get in touch with you regarding your family. Thomas, Joseph's father, was our ggg grandfathers brother. He has always been one that I could find very little info on and it seems as though you may have had a little more luck then I.


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