Defending The Alamo
William Dearduff, b. about 1811, 25 or older, arrived single from Tennessee 20 Mar 1830 and received title for one fourth sitio in the DeWitt Colony on 5 Nov 1831 with arrival date on 20 Mar 1830. His grant was on Sandies Creek north of current Cuero. He owned four lots, a block, in the northwest outer Gonzales tract near the San Marcos River.
Dearduff was a private in Robert McAlpin Williamson's Rangers at one time and joined the Gonzales Rangers on 24 Feb 1836. He was the son of Henry and Edna Thornhill Dearduff of GreeneCo, OH. Edna Thornhill was the daughter of William Thornhill, an officer in the Revolutionary War from Virginia. His sister Elizabeth Dearduff George Rowe petitioned the probate court of Gonzales on 25 Jun 1838 for administration of the estate of her late former husband James George and brother William Dearduff. She collected $12.50 backpay for service.
Frederick Rowe is listed as agent for William Dearduff on GonzalesCo tax roll of 1838. On the tax roll of 1839, Elizabeth Rowe is listed as the agent of William Dearduff. It is thought that William Dearduff accompanied his brother-in-law James George to the Alamo in the Gonzales relief force, although George may have already been present in the garrison.
Like some other members of the force, Dearduff was a customer of Joseph Martin's store. In the seven months beginning Feb 1835 he purchased on his account a woolen vest, pantaloons, a woolen roundabout, striped and flannel shirts, yards of red check material, shoes, leather stirrups, bridle, 13 pounds coffee, a set of cups and saucers, set of plates, four bowls, 0.5 pounds tobacco, axe, tin cups and plates, skillet, a pound of gunpowder and two bars of lead.
A hundred years before William Dearduff joined the Gonzales relief force and paid the ultimate sacrifice in relief of his fellow Texans, his ancestor Anthony Dierdorff and wife Christina immigrated to America from Bavaria with a group of Dunkards (also called Tunkers or Old German Baptists).
They settled around Germantown, PA. About 1730, they moved to what is now HunterdonCo, NJ and settled near Amwell. An Act of the New Jersey Assembly naturalized Anthony Dierdorff and his sons Peter, John, Anthony Jr. and Christian on 8 June 1740. Anthony Dierdorff Jr. married Anna Marie Yager and in about 1762 moved back to PA where he settled in Washington Twp, York County. He died as one of the largest landowners of the township. By will, he divided his assets equally among his children.
Peter Dierdorff married Christina (Anna) Swyer and lived near Conewago Creek in YorkCo, PA until their move to BedfordCo, VA. Peter was a farmer and like his father and grandfather, he was active in the Dunkard Church. Some of Peter and Anna Dierdorff’s family moved to OH. The oldest child was Henry Dierdorff who married Margaret Watson in 1798 in BedfordCo, but she died a few years after their marriage. Henry then married Edna Thornhill in 1802.
The family is thought to have moved to TN and then GreeneCo, OH where oldest son Henry Dierdorff’s oldest child Elizabeth married James George in 1821. Elizabeth and James George came to DeWitt's Colony in 1830. Elizabeth’s brother, William Dearduff, either came with them or joined them soon after in TX.
Heirs of William Dearduff received 1920 acres in DeWittCo and 640 acres in La SalleCo for his service and death in the Alamo.
This story originates on the tamu.edu website and has been replicated here with the intent of building a Deardurff Historical Site.