Susanna Dickinson Museum – Austin, Texas - Atlas Obscura

Susanna Dickinson Museum

A tribute to the "toughest woman on the Texas frontier," who survived a famous battle and five husbands.  


According to a plaque outside her last surviving home, Susanna Dickinson was the “toughest woman on the Texas frontier, survived the Battle of the Alamo and five husbands.”

During this key battle waged by the Texans and Mexicans between February and March 1836, one of the soldiers defending the Alamo was Captain Almaron Dickinson, Susanna’s first husband. The Texans held out against the charging Mexican army for 13 days, after which they were defeated and many of the soldiers perished. The deceased included the American folk hero Davy Crockett and Colonel James Bowie, as well as Susanna’s husband.

Susanna, who managed to escape along with her infant daughter, carried an account of the battle to Sam Houston, an important figure of the Texas Revolution, who later became senator and governor of newly formed state of Texas. For this, she became known as the “Messenger of the Alamo.” 

After the battle ended, she was left in poverty, when she was denied government compensation. She later married four more times; two of the marriages ended in the divorce, and another husband died. Her last marriage, to J.W. Hannig, lasted until her death in 1883 (he lived another 7 years). In 1869 he built a home in the rubble-rock style, that is now the Joseph and Susanna Dickinson Hannig Museum. It is Dickinson’s only remaining home, and now displays period furniture and some of the Hannigs’ possessions, such as photographs, a family Bible, and a quilt made to honor survivors of the Battle of the Alamo.

Know Before You Go

Next door is the O. Henry Museum, where the famous writer lived.

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