Monday, March 8, 2010

Remembering The Alamo Survivors: Susanna Dickinson And “The Babe of the Alamo”

When I was growing up, everybody I knew believed a common myth that there were no survivors among the defenders of the Alamo mission. This myth has been perpetuated over the years for various reasons, but whatever the reasons, it is not true. While it is accurate, perhaps, that all combatant defenders perished in the fighting, there were, in fact, survivors. Among the survivors of the battle were Susanna Dickinson and her infant daughter, the one they called “The Babe of the Alamo.”

This past Saturday was the anniversary of the Battle of the Alamo. On March 6, 1836, General Santa Anna, commanding Mexican military forces at the time, attacked the Texans holed up inside the mission. The attack came after a brief siege, and in the ensuing battle, hundreds of attackers and defenders were killed, including, Jim Bowie and Davy Crocket. For reasons still unknown today, General Santa Anna spared the life of Susanna Dickinson and her baby daughter, Angelina, and they were released.

Susanna Wilkerson was born in Tennessee in 1814, and was married at the age of 15 to Almaron Dickinson. Shortly thereafter, they moved to Texas. Caught up in the turbulent times during the push for Texas independence from Mexico, her husband volunteered to help defend what is now San Antonio, Texas. It wasn’t long before Susanna, and their daughter Angelina, joined him in the Alamo Mission. And, while Almaron died in the famous battle, his wife and daughter were spared.

In the aftermath of the battle, and because of the subsequent release granted by General Santa Anna, Susanna was able to inform the rebellious Texans about the catastrophic loss at the Alamo Mission. It was, in part, due to her eyewitness testimony of the battle, that angry Texans rallied and successfully completed their quest for independence at the Battle of San Jacinto the following month, when Santa Anna surrendered his army.

Angelina, “The Babe of the Alamo,” married several times before passing away sometime around 1870, in either Galveston or New Orleans. And her mother, Susanna, widowed at such an early age, went through a slew of husbands over the years. With her fifth and last husband, Joseph Hannig, she eventually moved to Austin, Texas, where she died in 1883. Upon her death, she was buried in Austin’s Oakland Cemetery, where she rests today. With her passing, went the last of the remaining Anglo defenders of the Alamo.


  1. Replies
    1. this is so going to help me with my research

    2. this is so going to help me out with my reaserch

  2. is there any thing about her daughter after the alamo?