RIO GRANDE VALLEY, Texas – Although far from the site of the American Revolution in the late 1700s, the City of Brownsville is still connected to old American history, including several people buried in the old Brownsville Cemetery.
It was the war that inspired Star Spangled Banner. The war of 1812 boosted national self-confidence, and at least two people who fought in that war eventually made their way from New England to Brownsville.
“The war of 1812, we almost reversed all of our gains that we had accomplished during the American Revolution.” Says Eugene Fernandez of the Cameron County Historical Commission.
One of the people buried here that fought in the war was Captain John Roche Butler. He served in the U.S. Army and was held for a time as prisoner of war in England. Butler was one of the thousands of American seamen who were banished at an infamous prison seventeen miles inland from Plymouth.
“Captain Butler was born in 1795. Now that in itself points out the fact that we have people in a cemetery who were born in the 18th century.” Says Fernandez.
Another soldier buried here that fought in the war of 1812 is Captain Sanforth Kidder, who reportedly was in the US Navy during the War of 1812, he was also captured by the British.
“The American Revolution lasted until 1783, but the British still were involved after the revolution with trying to regain their territory and what was eventually the United States, or the 13 original colonies.” Says Fernandez.
There are also several people from New England whose families were part of the original 13 colonies, and likely took part in the American Revolution.
“Those old families stemmed from the north east, from the original 13 colonies.” Says Fernandez.
Major Jacob Brown, who the City of Brownsville is named after, also fought in the War of 1812, while his father fought in the American Revolution. Brown infamously died during the Mexican American War.