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Bill Thayer

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 [decorative delimiter] Class of 1831

Vol. I

(Born Ten.)

Albert Miller Lea

(Ap'd Ten.)


Born July 23, 1808,​a1 Richland, TN.

Military History. — Cadet at the Military Academy, July 1, 1827, to July 1, 1831, when he was graduated and promoted in the Army to

Bvt. Second Lieut., 7th Infantry, July 1, 1831.

Second Lieut., 7th Infantry, Mar. 4, 1833.º

Served: on Topographical duty,​b Nov. 25, 1831, to May 1, 1834; and

(Second Lieut., 1st Dragoons, Mar. 4, 1833)º

on frontier duty, at Ft. Des Moines, Io., 1834‑36,​c — and Sioux Country, 1836.

Resigned, May 31, 1836.

Civil History. — Chief Engineer of the State of Tennessee, 1837. U. S. Commissioner for the determination of the Boundary Line between Missouri and Iowa, 1838.​d Asst. Engineer, Baltimore and Ohio Railroad, 1839‑40. Brig.‑General, Iowa Militia, 1840. Chief Clerk​e of the U. S. War Department, 1841. Professor of Mathematics and Natural Philosophy, East Tennessee University, Knoxville, Ten., 1844‑51. Glass Manufacturer, Knoxville, Ten., 1851‑53. City Engineer of Knoxville, Ten., 1849‑54. Chief Engineer of Aransas Railroad Company in Texas, and of Rio Grande, Mexico, and Pacific Railroad Company, Mex., 1857‑61.

Joined in the Rebellion of 1861‑66 against the United States.​f

Civil History. — City Engineer of Galveston, Tex., 1866. Real Estate Agent, 1870‑74. Farmer, at Corsicana, Tex., since 1874.

[Supplement, Vol. IV: 1890‑1900]

Vol. IV
Died at Corsicana, Tex., Jan. 16, 1891:​a2 Aged 84.

See Annual Association of Graduates U. S. M. A., 1891, for an obituary notice.

Buried, Oakwood Cemetery, Corsicana, TX.

Thayer's Notes:

a1 a2 The marker on his grave gives the dates of his birth and death as July 17, 1808 and Jan. 10, 1892.

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b The Register almost never mentions a place in connection with "Topographical duty" — logically enough, since by its nature, surveying large swaths of land keeps the subject moving from place to place. But often there must have been a home base; in this case, we learn from Lt. Lea's AOG obituary that it was Fort Gibson.

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c His explorations of the southern part of what was then the Wisconsin Territory, and is now the State of Iowa, led him to publish one of the classics of American pioneer literature; it is onsite in full: Notes on the Wisconsin Territory particularly with reference to the Iowa District.

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d For the interesting details, see "The Iowa-Missouri Disputed Boundary" (MVHR 3:77‑84); Lea's conclusions are on p78.

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e "Chief Clerk", to today's reader, suggests some kind of secretarial position; and indeed it was: for six weeks he was Acting Secretary of War — see his AOG obituary.

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f As with other Confederate officers, Cullum's Register omits his war record. An excellent short biography, and in spots truly moving as well, is recommended reading: A Towering Texas Pioneer: A Biographical Sketch of Colonel Albert Miller Lea in East Texas Historical Journal, 32:2:23‑33 (1993).

In the same strain, see also a brief but uplifting account of Lea's wedding.

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Page updated: 6 Jul 13