Rufus Anderson Marlin

By Danella Dickson

Rufus Anderson Marlin was born January 9, 1824 in Rutherford County, Tennessee, the son of John and Mary C. (Menefee) Marlin. The Marlin family moved to Texas in 1834 and where they settled in the Robertson Colony. When they arrived in Texas they found the colonists were growing tired of Mexican oppression and a rebellion was brewing.

“The first shot of the Texas Revolution was fired at the Battle of Gonzales on October 2, 1835. This marked the beginning of the revolution. Over the next three months, the Texan colonists drove all Mexican army troops out of the province. In January 1836, Mexican president and General Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna led Mexican troops into Texas to put down the rebellion. General Jose Urrea marched half of the troops up the Texas coast in the Goliad campaign, while Santa Anna led the rest of the troops to San Antonio de Bexar. After a thirteen-day siege, Santa Anna’s army defeated the small group of Texans at the Battle of the Alamo and continued east. May Texans, including the government, fled their homes in the Runaway Scrape. Santa Anna and his troops searched for the Texas government and the Texan army led by Sam Houston. On April 21, 1836, the Texans defeated Santa Anna’s army at the Battle of San Jacinto; Santa Anna was captured the following day. The Mexican army retreated back to Mexico City, ending the Texas Revolution.” (Timeline of the Texas Revolution – Wikipedia)

The Marlin’s had settled near the Great Falls of the River Brazos where they lived on the extreme border of the frontier, living daily with the threat of attack by the Indians. For several years following the revolution John Marlin served in Captain Sterling C. Robertson’s Company, Rangers. Following several brutal Indian attacks John Marlin helped negotiate a treaty with the Indians which led to a period of near peace.

Rufus A. Marlin married Martha Louise Gentry about 1855. She was the daughter of Samuel and Emaline (Payne) Gentry. The 1860 census list Rufus, Martha and their two young daughters living in Falls County where Rufus was farming.

When Texas left the Union in 1861 young men responded to the call for volunteers, most serving with units formed from their home county. A Houston newspaper published a notice in the spring of 1862 submitted by Colonel Edwin Waller Jr. He specified that men responding should be good horsemen and come with a horse and guns. On April 14, 1862 Rufus enrolled in a company of Falls County men under the command of Captain Thomas P. Hightower. The company of men traveled 120 miles to Hempstead, Texas to become part of Waller’s Battalion Texas Cavalry. At the time of enrollment thirty-eight year old Rufus was made a Second Lieutenant. He provided his own horse valued at three hundred dollars and other equipment valued at thirty dollars.

Waller’s Battalion left Hempstead on July 1, 1862 moving eastward to Louisiana. Union forces had captured New Orleans in April 1862 and were advancing into western Louisiana towards Texas. During the following months Waller’s Battalion engaged the enemy in a series of skirmishes. A story that was reported in Texas newspapers told of the engagement at Bonnet Carre resulting in the Texans retreating into a Louisiana swamp and losing many of their horses. Waller’s Battalion spent the remainder of the war in southern and western Louisiana fighting to keep federal forces out of Texas.

After suffering with health problems for almost a year Rufus was granted a discharge for the reasons described in a letter found in his official military records. “Lt. R.A. Marlin of Co. B, Col. E. Waller’s Battalion having applied for a certificate on which to grant a discharge, I certify that I have carefully examined R.A. Marlin and I find that he is incapable of performing the duties of his office, his disability being caused by chronic diarrhea which disease he has been suffering with for near twelve months. I further certify that he has not been able to attend to the duties but very little of that time and in my opinion he will never be able to perform the duties of a soldier therefore I would respectfully recommend that his resignation be accepted.
G.W. Caine, Acting Surgeon Battalion
Camp near Washington, Louisiana, August 13, 1863”

Rufus A. Marlin returned to Falls County and attempted to recover his health, unfortunately he died at the age of forty-two on July 31, 1866 leaving his widow Martha with an infant son and two young daughters. Rufus’ burial place is unknown. Martha married Thomas Jefferson Pruitt on June 22, 1867. They were the parents of six children. Martha died at the age of seventy on May 30, 1909 and was buried in the Covington Cemetery, Falls County, Texas.

Courtesy of J.B. and Ramona Roberts