Joseph D. Clements (1786 - 1844) MP

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Birthdate:
Birthplace: Delaware, PA, USA
Death: Died in Gonzales, TX, USA
Occupation: Elected to the Gonzales ayuntamiento as regidor. Battle of Gonzales in 1835. Served as a Gonzales delegate to the Consultation of 1835. One of the "Old Eighteen at Gonzales"
Managed by: Lizzie Keitel
Last Updated:
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Immediate Family

About Joseph D. Clements

Rachel Baker was married to Joseph D. Clements shortly after coming to Gonzales in 1831. This wedding was violently opposed by the community, and especially her father, Moses Baker, because J. D. Clements had a wife and family in Indiana from whom he was not divorced. During testimony as recorded in District Court Final Record #468 involving J. D.'s estate, a witness testified that her father Moses carried a gun after the wedding and was going to kill Clements. The Alcalde of Gonzales would not marry them because of Clements previous family, so they went to San Antonio and were married by the priest.

Children of RACHEL BAKER and JOSEPH CLEMENTS are:

  1. LAURA JANE CLEMENTS, d. 1851; m. NAPOLEON CONN.
  2. ALEXANDER CLEMENTS, b. Abt. 1838, Gonzales.
  3. ISAAC B. CLEMENTS, b. Abt. 1841, Gonzales.
  4. AUGUSTUS CLEMENTS (Twin), b. Abt. 1844, Gonzales.
  5. JOSEPH CLEMENTS (Twin), b. Abt. 1844, Gonzales.

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Joseph D. Clements arrived married with a family of 7 on 25 Dec 1829 according to DeWitt Colony land records when he received a sitio of land on the west bank of the Guadalupe River in current Guadalupe County. He also received three leagues of land granted directly by the government. One league was near the Gonzales-DeWitt-Lavaca County border, one further south in DeWitt County on the Guadalupe River and a third near Seguin on the Guadalupe. He was a regidor of the Gonzales Ayuntamiento of 1835, which guided the colony through events leading to independence in spring 1836. He was elected a delegate from Gonzales to the Texas Consultation of Oct 1835, a member of the General Council serving on multiple advisory committees and a signer of the Declaration of the People of Texas declaring the intention of Texans to fight for the restoration of the Constitution of 1824 and support of a separate state of Texas within the Republic of Mexico. In the absence of alcalde Ponton, Regidor Clements was the spokesman for the colonists in the initial confrontation on the Guadalupe River with Lt. Castenada and his men. As member of the General Council of the Provisional Government of the Mexican State of Texas in late 1835 and early 1836, he was a signatory, along with D.C. Barrett, Alexander Thompson, G.A. Patillo and John McMullen, to numerous official letters and documents emerging from the government including the dispute between Provisional Governer Smith and the Council, the impeachment tribunal against Smith, actions under Acting Governor Robinson and the Matamoros Expedition of Johnson and Grant. He was in charge of the commission in Gonzales responsible for supply of the newly formed Texas Republican Army with corn and cornmeal. In 1838 he was head of the Board of Land Commissioners in Gonzales. He is on the Gonzales tax rolls of 1838-39 where he represented the estates of several deceased residents.

Source: http://www.tamu.edu/ccbn/dewitt/oldgonzales18.htm

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Confrontation on the Guadalupe River. Upon receipt of the above letter, Col. Ugartechea sent Lt. Francisco Castaneda from San Antonio with over a hundred men to demand the cannon, but to avoid confrontation if at all possible. Castaneda was authorized to arrest the alcalde and others who resisted and to bring them to Bexar as prisoners. On 29 Sep, Castaneda’s forward messengers met Pvt. Isabel de la Garza who reported that he with Corporal DeLeon and his men had been detained and disarmed by the colonists, but he had escaped the afternoon of the day before. Later in the day Castaneda met another member of the DeLeon party who had been released who confirmed the report and further reported that men were assembling over the last two days in Gonzales and now was near 200. In the afternoon of 29 Sep, Lt. Castaneda’s force arrived within several miles of the west bank of the Guadalupe. Castaneda had sent advance messengers to the river bank prior to his arrival requesting a meeting with alcalde Ponton, but had been informed that the alcalde was not available and only he could make an official decision regarding the cannon. The next morning the Mexican troops arrived on the west bank of the Guadalupe where all rafts, boats or barges for fording the river which was swollen at the time from rain in the area had been removed to the east bank by the colonists. Casteneda again requested a meeting with the alcalde, but was greeted from across the river by regidor Joseph Clements who again informed Casteneda that alcalde Ponton was unavailable, but at 4 PM he should arrive or otherwise as regidor, Clements would speak for him. Spread among the bushes and trees on the east bank were a group of armed colonists who became known as the "Original Old Gonzales 18."

Regidor Clement Refuses Demand for Cannon.

Being unable to cross the river easily and with the colonists spread across the east bank, Lt. Castaneda communicated in the afternoon with regidor Clements and associates under elected Capt. Albert Martin by shouting across the river. The colonists allowed one Mexican messenger to swim across and deliver messages. The words of regidor Joseph Clements reflected the position of the colonists which had been arrived at previously in downtown Gonzales on the municipal plaza:

Gonzales Sept 30th 1835. Sir. Owing to the absence of the alcalde the duty has devolved upon me of answering the communication directed to the Alcalde of this Town demanding agin the cannon which is in this Town as well as in answer to your note wishing to open negociation on the subject. In answer to the first demand made for the sd cannon The Alcalde espressed his coubts of what was strictly his duty in the matter, and wished to consult the Political chief of this Department before he decided possitively in the case and fanally---This rigor Priveledg of consulting our chief seems is denied us the only answer I can therefore give youis that I cannot now will not deliver to you the cannon agreeable to my notions of peopriety---And these are also the sentiments of all the members of this Ayuntamiento who are now present. The sd cannon is now in this Town and if force it from us we must submit---We are weak and few in numbers but will nevertheless contend for what we believe to be just principles. God and Liberty Joseph D. Clements Regigor. Addressed: Franco Castenada, En el llano en frente de Gonzales.

Source: http://www.tamu.edu/ccbn/dewitt/batgon.htm#clements

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CLEMENTS, JOSEPH D.

Joseph D. Clements, early DeWitt colony settler and public official, was a prominent citizen of Gonzales. He arrived in Texas before April 1830, for it was then that he entered into a partnership with Green DeWitt to build a sawmill and gristmill on the Guadalupe River some twenty miles above Gonzales. The sawmill plans never came to fruition, but the DeWitt papers make repeated references to the gristmill.

In December 1834 Clements was elected to the Gonzales ayuntamiento as regidor and the next year served as a Gonzales delegate to the Consultation of 1835. In his capacity as regidor Clements became a leading figure in the events that led to the battle of Gonzales. When 100 Mexican dragoons arrived on the west bank of the Guadalupe River and demanded the town's tiny cannon, alcalde Andrew Ponton was out of town, and the responsibility of negotiating with Francisco de Castañeda, the commander of the Mexican detachment, fell upon Clements. When the Mexican detachment arrived on September 29, 1835, only eighteen local militiamen, including Clements-the "Old Eighteen"qv-stood ready to defend the river-crossing opposite Gonzales. On September 30 Clements informed Castañeda that Ponton had not returned but was expected shortly. If, however, the alcalde should fail to appear soon, Clements agreed to assume the responsibility of discussing the matter. Later that day Castañeda returned to find Clements waiting with a letter penned by him and approved by the Gonzales ayuntamiento. The letter stated emphatically that the men of Gonzales refused to surrender their ordnance. Clements ended his communication on a defiant note: "We are weak and few in number, nevertheless we are contending for what we believe to be just principles." Clements and the other members of the Old Eighteen were soon reinforced by volunteers from several surrounding settlements, and on October 2, 1835, during the battle of Gonzales the Texans attacked Castañeda's detachment and forced it to withdraw to San Antonio de Béxar.

Clements remained active in the revolution that his actions had helped instigate. In March 1836 he was appointed president of the commission to procure corn and meal for the Texas army. He is also reported to have sold provisions to the army at that time. The gristmill that he and DeWitt had established in 1830 was destroyed in 1836, most likely during the Runaway Scrape. In 1838 Clements served as president of the Board of Land Commissioners of Gonzales County.

BIBLIOGRAPHY:

Edward Albert Lukes, De Witt Colony of Texas (Austin: Jenkins, 1976). Texas House of Representatives, Biographical Directory of the Texan Conventions and Congresses, 1832–1845 (Austin: Book Exchange, 1941).

Stephen L. Hardin

Source: http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/fcl27

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OLD EIGHTEEN

OLD EIGHTEEN. "Old Eighteen" was a term used to describe the Gonzales men who, late in September 1835, delayed Mexican attempts to reclaim the town's cannon until militiamen from surrounding settlements could be summoned. Their efforts in large measure provoked the subsequent battle of Gonzales. Members of the Old Eighteen were William W. Arrington, Valentine Bennet, Joseph D. Clements, Jacob C. Darst, George W. Davis, Almaron Dickinson, Benjamin Fuqua, Thomas Jackson, Albert Martin, Charles Mason, Thomas R. Miller, Simeon Bateman, Almon Cottle, Graves Fulchear, James Hinds, John Sowell, Winslow Turner, and Ezekiel Williams.

BIBLIOGRAPHY:

Miles S. Bennet, "The Battle of Gonzales: The Lexington' of the Texas Revolution," Quarterly of the Texas State Historical Association 2 (April 1899).

Stephen L. Hardin

Source: http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/pfo01

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DeWitt’s outpost was the first Anglo-American settlement west of the Colorado River. It was situated on some prime real estate, the beautifully fertile bottomlands near the junction of the San Marcos and Guadalupe rivers. DeWitt named it Gonzales in honor of Don Rafael Gonzales, provisional governor of Texas and Coahuila, Mexico.

For various reasons, increased taxation and Mexican government regulations certainly among them, DeWitt’s colonists grew rebellious. Whispers of revolution were discreetly circulated. Some settlers were so brash as to suggest that Texas declare independence. Word of the dissension filtered south. Recognizing the pending threat of an uprising, in 1835 Mexican officials demanded that the cannon be unconditionally returned.

Five Mexican soldiers arrived at the colony to carry out the order. DeWitt’s group refused to surrender the artillery piece, prompting Mexican authorities in San Antonio to dispatch roughly 100 mounted soldiers with orders to forcefully “take” it.

On Sept. 29, 1835, after burying the cannon in the peach orchard of Gonzales resident George W. Davis, 18 renegade colonists hid inside a river ferry and awaited the troops’ arrival. Immortalized as “The Old Eighteen,” they delayed the soldiers for several days by telling them that Gonzales mayor, or “alcalde,” Andrew Ponton was away on business. The next day, Texian soldier Joseph D. Clements presented the dragoons’ commanding officer, a lieutenant named Castaneda, a not-so-subtle message. “I cannot, nor do I desire, to deliver up the cannon. Only through force will we yield.”

The cannon was unearthed and hastily fitted atop a broad, wooden-wheeled ox wagon as a group of local women scrambled to design and sew a battle flag. Emblazoned with a single star and a black replica of the cannon on a white background, it was inscribed with a bluntly defiant challenge.

“Come and Take It!”

The Mexican soldiers attempted to do just that. Despite the fact that they faced a modest force of only 50 or so mounted Texians, they famously failed. The firing of the Gonzales cannon on October 2, 1835, ignited the fuse of the Texas Revolution with a thundering and politically volatile roar of powder-propelled chain and metal.

Source: http://www.tpwmagazine.com/archive/2009/mar/threedays/

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Ponton Letter to Musquiz.

On 26 Sep alcalde Andrew Ponton sent the following letter to Jefe-Politico Ramon Musquiz (unedited):

   Gonzales Sept 26th 1835.  Excellent Sir.  I received an order purporting to have come from you for a certain piece of Ordnance which is in this place. It happened that I was absent an so was the remainder part of the Ayuntamto when your dispatch arrived in consequence the men who bore sd dispatch were necessarily detained untill to day for an answer. This is a matter of delicasy to me nor do I know without further information how to act this cannon was as I have always been informed given in perpetuity to this Town for its defense against the Indians. The dangers which existed at the time we received this cannon still exist and for the same purposes it is still needed here---our common enemy is still be dreaded or prepared against. How or in what manner such arms are appropriated throughout the country I am as yet ignorant but am led to believe that dippositions of this nature should be permanent at least as long as the procuring cause exists. I must therefore I hope be excused from delivering up the sd cannon untill I have obtained more information on the subject matter. At least untill I have an opportunity of consulting the chief of this department on the subject---as well to act without precipitation---as to perform strictly and clearly my duty, and I assure you, that if, after a mature deliberation on the subject, I find it be my duty & in justice to your self---I obligate my self to comply with your demands---and will without delay send the cannon to you.  God & Liberty---ANDREW PONTON, Alcalde.

Confrontation on the Guadalupe River.

Upon receipt of the above letter, Col. Ugartechea sent Lt. Francisco Castaneda from San Antonio with over a hundred men to demand the cannon, but to avoid confrontation if at all possible. Castaneda was authorized to arrest the alcalde and others who resisted and to bring them to Bexar as prisoners. On 29 Sep, Castaneda’s forward messengers met Pvt. Isabel de la Garza who reported that he with Corporal DeLeon and his men had been detained and disarmed by the colonists, but he had escaped the afternoon of the day before. Later in the day Castaneda met another member of the DeLeon party who had been released who confirmed the report and further reported that men were assembling over the last two days in Gonzales and now was near 200. In the afternoon of 29 Sep, Lt. Castaneda’s force arrived within several miles of the west bank of the Guadalupe. Castaneda had sent advance messengers to the river bank prior to his arrival requesting a meeting with alcalde Ponton, but had been informed that the alcalde was not available and only he could make an official decision regarding the cannon. The next morning the Mexican troops arrived on the west bank of the Guadalupe where all rafts, boats or barges for fording the river which was swollen at the time from rain in the area had been removed to the east bank by the colonists. Casteneda again requested a meeting with the alcalde, but was greeted from across the river by regidor Joseph Clements who again informed Casteneda that alcalde Ponton was unavailable, but at 4 PM he should arrive or otherwise as regidor, Clements would speak for him. Spread among the bushes and trees on the east bank were a group of armed colonists who became known as the "Original Old Gonzales 18."

Regidor Clement Refuses Demand for Cannon.

Being unable to cross the river easily and with the colonists spread across the east bank, Lt. Castaneda communicated in the afternoon with regidor Clements and associates under elected Capt. Albert Martin by shouting across the river. The colonists allowed one Mexican messenger to swim across and deliver messages. The words of regidor Joseph Clements reflected the position of the colonists which had been arrived at previously in downtown Gonzales on the municipal plaza:

  Gonzales Sept 30th 1835.  Sir.  Owing to the absence of the alcalde the duty has devolved upon me of answering the communication directed to the Alcalde of this Town demanding agin the cannon which is in this Town as well as in answer to your note wishing to open negociation on the subject.  In answer to the first demand made for the sd cannon  The Alcalde espressed his coubts of what was strictly his duty in the matter, and wished to consult the Political chief of this Department before he decided possitively in the case and fanally---This rigor Priveledg of consulting our chief seems is denied us the only answer I can therefore give youis that I cannot now will not deliver to you the cannon agreeable to my notions of peopriety---And these are also the sentiments of all the members of this Ayuntamiento who are now present. The sd cannon is now in this Town and if force it from us we must submit---We are weak and few in numbers but will nevertheless contend for what we believe to be just principles.  God and Liberty Joseph D. Clements Regigor  Addressed:  Franco Castenada, En el llano en frente de Gonzales. 

Source: http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/chat/2600296/posts

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MILL CREEK (Guadalupe County). Mill Creek rises four miles east of Geronimo in north central Guadalupe County (at 29°41' N, 97°53' W). It flows southeast for sixteen miles to its mouth on the Guadalupe River, seven miles south of Kingsbury (at 29°33' N, 97°49' W). The surrounding terrain is rolling to flat, with local shallow depression, and surfaced by clay and sandy loams that support mesquite, water tolerant hardwoods, conifers, and grasses. The creek may have received its name from Joseph Clements, who agreed in his deed of sale from Green DeWitt to build grist and saw mills near its mouth in 1830.

Source: http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/rbm91

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Joseph D. Clements (Old Eighteen at Gonzales)'s Timeline

1786
September 6, 1786
Delaware, PA, USA
1807
1807
Age 20
OH, USA
1809
1809
Age 22
OH, USA
1821
1821
Age 34
IN, USA
1826
December, 1826
Age 40
IN, USA
1832
1832
Age 45
TX
1843
1843
Age 56
Gonzales, Gonzales, TX, USA