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Thomas W. Ward – 1807-1872

Captain Thomas Ward was a hero of the Texas Revolution before it began. The Irish-born member of the New Orlean’s Greys lost a leg at the “Siege of Bexar” in December of 1835, months before Texas had declared its independence from Mexico. Thomas Ward lost a leg to cannon fire in San Antonio. Colonel Ben Milam lost his life two days later from a well-placed rifle shot. It is legend that Ward’s leg was buried with Colonel Milam’s body.

Ward was fitted for a peg leg in New Orleans and returned to Texas to receive a Colonel’s commission from President David Burnet. He served under General Thomas Rusk during the remainder of the war, receiving 2,240 acres for his service to Texas. After the Texas Revolution, Ward settled in Houston where he was awarded a contract to build the Capitol. “Peg Leg,” as he was now called, served as a clerk in the second session of The Republic of Texas congress.

He followed the government’s move to Austin in 1839, becoming Chief Clerk of the House of Representatives during the fourth congress. Ward became Austin’s second mayor, then commissioner of the General Land Office.

During a San Jacinto Day celebration in Austin, Peg Leg lost his right arm in a cannon salute. He would face fire from the cannon again December 29, 1842, when Angelina Eberly fired it toward the General Land Office, stopping Ward’s removal of the state archives away from Austin. His friends nicknamed him “Lucky.”

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