William Hardeman: Texas Ranger, soldier

William Polk Hardeman in 1846 when he served with Benjamin McCulloch’s rangers in Gen Zachary Taylor’s army during the Mexican War.

From Handbook of Texas Online

   EDITOR’S NOTE: This week’s page focuses on William P. (Gotch) Hardeman, after seeing a Facebook post last week from the online history website Texas Traces, with Handbook of Texas Online as its primary source.
   The legendary Texas Ranger and soldier came to Matagorda County around the time of the Texas Revolution to join several Hardeman family members who settled here.
   William P. (Gotch) Hardeman, Texas Ranger, soldier, and public servant, was born on November 4, 1816, in Williamson County, Tennessee. 
   His father, Thomas Jones Hardeman, was an officer in the War of 1812 and a prominent Texas political figure.  
   Mary (Polk) Hardeman, his mother, was an aunt of James K. Polk.  
   Hardeman attended the University of Nashville and in the fall of 1835 moved to Matagorda County, Texas, with his father and a large group of Hardeman family members. 
   Immediately after his arrival in Texas he joined the resistance movement against Mexico.  
   He participated in the battle of Gonzales on October 2, 1835.  
   Shortly afterward he assisted his uncle, Bailey Hardeman, and others in bringing a cannon from Dimmitt’s Landing to San Antonio for use against Mexican forces under Gen. Martin Perfecto de Cos.  
   Hardeman and his brother Thomas Monroe Hardeman accompanied a small relief column to the Alamo, but the garrison had fallen to Mexican forces shortly before their arrival.  
   The Hardemans abandoned their exhausted horses and after a narrow escape on foot suffered severe hunger.  
   Gotch was then sent by his uncle Bailey on an errand to summon militia.  
   An illness resulting from exposure on this assignment probably kept him from action in the decisive battle of San Jacinto.  
   He subsequently served for a number of years in the Texas Rangers.  

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