Preserving the real places and the real stories of Texas.

Lost Texas Ranger, James Coryell

“There’s tough. And then there’s Texas tough.” Lieutenant Governor David Dewhurst.

Coryell was a hero of Texas’ struggle for independence, a friend of James Bowie, and reportedly died protecting settlers in 1837. His grave was lost to history until clues in the oral histories of a former slave community identified a possible final resting place for the brave Texas Ranger.

The Texas Historical Commission (THC), in conjunction with the Smithsonian Institution (National Museum of National History), excavated the presumed remains of Texas Ranger James Coryell in February 2011 from a lone gravesite near Bull Hill Cemetery in Falls County. From there, they were taken to a laboratory in Pennsylvania where sophisticated technology was used in hopes of retrieving a DNA sample. A female descendent was located in Missouri and a DNA sample was provided for the match. Ultimately, the skeletal remains were too deteriorated to retrieve a valid DNA sample but other tests are underway that may lend further proof to the person's identity.

 

Watch an overview of the THC archeologists at work