Word Origins & the Biography of Sam Maverick Part 3

About the history and biography of Sam Maverick the man whose name came to mean a rebel or outlaw.


SAM MAVERICK (1803-1870)

The Mavericks built a new stone house in San Antonio, where their seventh child was born and died. The following year Maverick was elected to the legislature. Their eight child, Mary, proved to be sickly, but she lived. San Antonio was changing: The two older boys went to dancing school; there were church suppers; and when the U.S. senator from Texas dined with the Mavericks, they went afterward to the theater at the Casino. Mary Ann joined a class in psychology!

In the year that the Mavericks' ninth child, Albert, was born, Sam took his sons Sam and Lewis, his slave Granville, and four Mexicans and set off for the Matagorda Peninsula to move his cattle to a tract of land called the Conquista Ranch, about 50 mi. below San Antonio. The cattle were branded before the transfer, but they were wild, the range was open, and they soon strayed from their new home. Two years later, having no real interest in cattle, Maverick sold the herd to a Mr. A. Toutant Beauregard for $6 a head. But the roundup was difficult, for while the cattle had lived in the Conquista Ranch, many calves had been born and none of them had been branded, The neighbors, who were not so casual about their livestock, had come to refer to all the stray, unbranded calves they encountered as "Maverick's," and the cowboys who rounded up the Conquista cattle for Mr. Beauregard cheerfully branded the unmarked yearlings they found as Maverick's, too. Sam Maverick never owned cattle again in his life, but Texas cowboys never called unbranded cattle by any other name. Gradually the term was enlarged to include anyone who could not be trusted to remain one of his group.

The Mavericks' 10th and last child was born and died shortly before the outbreak of the Civil War. Samuel Maverick, who a generation before had left his home state over the secession question, found he could not at this late point in his life separate himself from his fellow Texans, and he cast his vote for secession. Moreover, he was one of a committee of three appointed by the Secession Convention to seize all forts, arms, and other belongings of the U.S. government and transfer them to the Confederate government. Sam, Lewis, and George all fought for the Confederacy: Lewis was wounded in the leg at the battle of Blair's Landing on the Red River and died a year after the war was over. Samuel Maverick died in 1870, leaving vast tracts of Texas land to Mary Ann and his five surviving

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