Major Robert McAlpin Williamson

Is your surname Williamson?

Research the Williamson family

Major Robert McAlpin Williamson's Geni Profile

Share your family tree and photos with the people you know and love

  • Build your family tree online
  • Share photos and videos
  • Smart Matching™ technology
  • Free!


Related Projects

Robert McAlpin Williamson

Also Known As: ""Three Legged Willie""
Birthplace: Washington, Wilkes County, Georgia
Death: Died in Wharton, Austin, Texas, United States
Place of Burial: Austin, Travis, Texas, United States
Immediate Family:

Son of Peter Ballantine Williamson and Rebecca Ann Williamson
Husband of Mary Jane Williamson
Father of William Annexus Williamson

Occupation: Appointed first Major of all the Texas Rangers on November 28, 1835, see profile for all his contributions to Texas
Managed by: Private User
Last Updated:

About Major Robert McAlpin Williamson

Robert McAlpin Williamson (1804? – December 22, 1859) was a Republic of Texas Supreme Court Justice, state lawmaker and Texas Ranger. Williamson County, Texas is named for him.

Early life

Williamson was born in Wilkes County, Georgia to a prestigious family. His mother died shortly after his birth and he was raised by his paternal grandmother, Sarah Gilliam, in Milledgeville, Georgia. At the age of fifteen, he contracted tubercular arthritis that caused his right leg to permanently stiffen at a 90 degree angle. In order to walk, a wooden leg had to be fastened to his knee. Because of this, he later acquired the nickname "Three-Legged-Willie". He passed the bar at the approximate age of nineteen before practicing one year of law in Georgia.

Life in Texas

Williamson came to Stephen F. Austin's colony (San Felipe de Austin) in June 1827. He became acquainted with both Stephen F. Austin and William B. Travis during this time. He co-founded the newspaper The Cotton Plant in 1829 and became the first prosecuting attorney for San Felipe shortly after. He later went on to edit the newspapers The Texas Gazette and The Mexican Citizen.

He was made the first Major of all the Rangers on November 28, in the Texas Rangers in 1835 and went on to participate in the Texas Revolution fighting in the Battle of Gonzales and the Battle of San Jacinto in William H. Smith's 2nd REG. "J" cavalry.

Political activity

  • 1833 - Delegate to Convention of 1833
  • 1835 - Delegate to Consultation (Texas)
  • 1837 to 1840 - Justice of Texas Republic Supreme Court
  • 1840 to 1843 - Texas Republic House of Representatives
  • 1843 to 1844 - Texas Republic Senate
  • 1843 to 1844 - Texas Republic House of Representatives
  • 1846 to 1848 - Texas State Senate
  • 1849 - Unsuccessfully ran for U.S. Representative from Texas,
  • 1851 - Unsuccessfully ran for Lieutenant Governor of Texas

Death and Burial

Williamson's headstone - Texas State Cemetery

Williamson died in Wharton County, Texas on December 22, 1859 after a long illness. He is buried in the Texas State Cemetery.


Robert McAlpin Williamson was known as "Three Legged Willie." After his mother's death, Willie and his siblings were raised by their paternal grandmother. He received the best education the South could offer at that time.

At the age of 15, Willie suffered an illness. His right leg drew up at the knee and Willie was forced to wear a wooden leg in order to walk. This earned him the nickname of "Three Legged Willie."

While he was recovering from his illness, Willie was tutored by his uncles --- Thompson Bird and Duncan Campbell. Willie became quite well educated in mathematics, languages, and the law. He became a practicing lawyer at the age of 19. He practiced law in his uncle Campbell's law office in Milledgeville, GA, before going to Texas.

Willie emigrated to Texas in 1826. He located first in San Felipe de Austin where he learned Spanish and learned about the Spanish land grant legalities. He also held an interest in the newspaper, "The Texas Gazette" and the "The Cotton Plant."

Willie gave an address urging Texans to fight for "Liberty or Death" on 4 July 1835 at Gonzales. He raised the Old Cannon flag on 1 October 1835 at Gonzales. He joined the Texas Rangers and was given command of a corps. He tried to provide aid to Colonel William Travis and the others trapped at the Alamo. He fought in all the major battles of the Texas Revolution, including the decisive Battle of San Jacinto.

He was elected Judge of the 3rd District of the Texas Republic on 16 December 1836. This made him, in effect, a Supreme Court judge.

Willie also served in the Texas Congress as a representative of Washington County in 1840, 1842, and 1844.

Williamson County, TX is named for him.


Article at Handbook of Texas:

History of Williamson County Texas:

view all

Major Robert McAlpin Williamson's Timeline

Washington, Wilkes County, Georgia
January 13, 1845
Age 41
Independence, USA
December 22, 1859
Age 55
Wharton, Austin, Texas, United States
Austin, Travis, Texas, United States