Matagorda County Historical Marker

Matagorda Cemetery

Benjamin & Esther Randall Wightman


Matagorda Cemetery Road    SH 60 & S Gulf
28°42'4.70"N      95°57'20.79"W
 



 


FIRST BURIALS IN MATAGORDA CEMETERY

BENJAMIN WIGHTMAN
(AUG. 31, 1755 – AUG. 1, 1830)
ESTHER RANDALL WIGHTMAN
(DEC. 4, 1758 – JUNE 20, 1830)
 

PARENTS OF ELIAS R. WIGHTMAN, GRANTEE OF THE MATAGORDA TOWN LEAGUE, FROM REPUBLIC OF MEXICO.

BENJAMIN AND ESTHER WIGHTMAN, NATIVES OF CONNECTICUT, LIVED IN WIGHTMAN TOWN, HERKIMER COUNTY, N. Y., BEFORE JOINING (1828) COLONY BROUGHT HERE BY THEIR SON ON “LITTLE ZOE”, THE FIRST SAILING VESSEL EVER TO ENTER PORT OF MATAGORDA. …
 

RECORDED – 1972

THE MARKER SPONSORED BY
MR. AND MRS. DOUGLAS KAIN
AND J. R. YEAMANS, SR.
 

Marker inscription typed by Faye Cunningham.
 



 


Benjamin Wightman

Benjamin Wightman, the son of Abraham and Susanna (Stark) Wightman, was born on August 31, 1755, in Norwich, Connecticut. He was the fourth generation of the Wightman family in America. He married Esther Randall, the daughter of Rufus and Margaret (Wightman) Randall. She was born in Cochester, Connecticut, on December 4, 1758.

The Wightmans emigrated from Montville, Connecticut, to Herkimer County, New York, where the settlement became known as Whitmantown. Benjamin was a Baptist minister, and both he and his wife were lineally descended from colonial clergymen; among those were Valentine Wightman, Obadiah Holmes, and Roger Williams, first governor of Rhode Island.

During the American Revolution, Benjamin Wightman served as a private in Colonel Willet’s Tryon County Rangers of New York. Benjamin Wightman is the only known Revolutionary War veteran buried in Matagorda County.

Benjamin and Esther had nine daughters and two sons. The daughters were Jerusha, Lydia, Eunice, Lucy, Susan, Esther, Margaret, Amy and Clarissa. The two sons were Elias and Dimmis.

In 1828 Elias Wightman, a surveyor for Stephen F. Austin, brought a group of colonists from New York to Matagorda—including his parents, Benjamin and Esther, and his sisters, Jerusha and Margaret. They traveled down the Mississippi River by flatboat to New Orleans. From New Orleans they sailed on the schooner Little Zoe to Matagorda. The journey was long and difficult as told in Mary (Sherwood) Wightman Helm’s memoirs, Scraps of Early Texas History.

Esther (Randall) Wightman died June 20, 1830, and was the first person to be buried in the Matagorda Cemetery. Six weeks later, her husband Benjamin died and was buried beside her. Their coffins were made of lumber from New Orleans and taken to the cemetery by ox-drawn carts.

One league of land from the mouth of Caney Creek and including part of Matagorda Peninsula, was granted to the heirs of Benjamin Wightman, October 28, 1930.

Historic Matagorda County, Volume I, pages 100-101
 

 



 

Sons of the American Revolution Marker Dedication

Texas Society

Bluebonnet Chapter #41

Marble Falls, Texas


Members of the Bluebonnet Chapter # 41, Sons of the Revolution, Marble Falls, Texas and members of several other SAR chapters across Texas, gathered in Matagorda Cemetery at the grave of Revolutionary War soldier, Benjamin Wightman, Friday morning, July 11, 2014, at 10 a. m. A Sons of the American Revolution marker was placed on the only Revolutionary War veteran grave in Matagorda County. The Bluebonnet Chapter wanted to honor the family member of their member, Ralph Whitman, who lives in Burnet, Texas. The program included a color guard dressed in Revolutionary War uniforms as well as a musket salute. Approximately 50 members of the Matagorda Cemetery Association, Matagorda County Historical Commission, Mary Rolph Marsh Chapter DAR and residents of Matagorda were in attendance in addition to the SAR members.
 



 



Col. Charles Bush



Larry Stevens



 




Preparing For The Color Guard

 


Wightman Family Members
Ralph Whitman of Burnet, Texas - Descendant of Benjamin's brother
George Deshotels & Jackie Jecmenek - Descendants of Benjamin

 


Color Guard
Photo courtesy of Mike Reddell
 

Musket Salute
Photo courtesy of Bill Anderson



Ralph Whitman unveiling the SAR marker
 



American Revolution Militia Uniform
 



Photo courtesy of Mike Reddell
 




Members of the Matagorda County Historical Commission and SAR members visit over lunch at Christ Episcopal Church.

 

 

Copyright 2011 - Present by MCHC & Bluebonnet Chapter #41 SAR
All rights reserved

Created
Sep. 10, 2011
Updated
July 13, 2014
   

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