Until just a couple of years ago I thought that Pleasant Humble was one of the first residents of the Humble area. After all, the city does bear his name. However, in 2018 I learned that others came to the area years before the Humble family arrived.
In April 2018, the Seth Hurin Bates Chapter of the Daughters of the Republic of Texas honored Joseph Dunman for his service to the Republic of Texas. Dunman was a soldier at the Alamo who survived because Travis had him take a letter to Sam Houston in Liberty. The letter requested more troops to be sent to the Alamo. Dunman rode on horseback to Liberty and Anahuac to deliver the letter. However, the Alamo fell before troops could be sent, and Sam Houston was getting ready for the battle at San Jacinto.
At the time of this event in 1836, Dunman was living in the Humble area. He had received a Spanish land grant for property in the Atascocita area in 1831. He was a farmer and cattle rancher at that time. However, during the war with Santa Anna, he moved his family to the Liberty area, probably to keep his family safe. One author states that Dunman was friends with Humble and Booge Isaacks in Liberty. When the war was over, Dunman encouraged his two friends to move to the land south of the San Jacinto River. Dunman was the recipient of another land grant of 177 acres along the river.
Dunman was a true patriot of the Republic of Texas. When I heard of him being a courier for Travis and riding horseback from the Alamo to Liberty, I envisioned a young man in his mid-20s who would be strong, fast and able to make such a ride. He had to ride through undeveloped forests and use his sense of navigation to make the journey. However, Dunman was 40 years old at the time. The patriot had left his wife and children to serve the republic.
Dunman and his wife Nancy had 11 children and were active in their community. Their home served at a polling place for many elections in Harris County. The children remained in the area after they married and raised their families here. There are hundreds of Dunman descendants, including my family, who continue to live in the Humble area.
According to the records, Humble did not move to the area until after the death of Dunman. Humble, who was a true entrepreneur, purchased land along the south side of the San Jacinto River. He purchased a ferry that was operating on the river, and he sold the timber off his land to the local sawmills. There was no post office in the area and when people asked where to take their mail, they were told to take it to Humble. Eventually he opened a post office in his home. It was later moved to a store he owned. When he completed the application for a post office, he wrote Humble as the name of the town. He became the first postmaster. In addition, he studied law and was elected a commissioner and a justice of the peace for Harris County. Humble educated himself and was an active member of the growing community.
Humble’s name lives on in the town which he helped to grow and develop. However, I appreciate Dunman being honored and learning the history of my forefathers and others who were early settlers of the Humble area.