The challenger of Denton County Sheriff William B. Travis is questioning his link to the Alamo hero.
Colonel William B. Travis died defending the Alamo and is an iconic Texas hero -- a symbol of courage and sacrifice. When Sheriff William B. Travis moved to Texas from Mississippi at age 22, he soon learned the power of a name.
“I came over here in ‘85 and my dad drove over here with me and explained that we were in kind of, in relationship with William B. Travis,” Travis said. “I didn't think when I came over here it was as big of a deal as it was but it turned out to be very big deal in Texas. “
Sheriff Travis’ 2012 campaign ad capitalized on it and this election is no different – with his website and flyers evoking the Alamo and “family tradition.”
“I’ve been asked are you a descendent of William B. Travis? Yes I am,” Travis said in a recent speech. “He would be my 5th generation uncle.”
Well not exactly, according to a genealogist hired by a supporter of the sheriff's Republican opponent.
“It’s safe to say the Sheriff is not a descendant from the colonel’s family. However, three generations back up the line, they have common ancestor,” said certified genealogist Clay Patterson.
That ancestor is the great great grandfather of Col. Travis born in 1691. It makes Sheriff Travis a third cousin four times removed from Col. Travis.
The sheriff still maintains he is a descendant, even though he does not share a paternal line.
“There is quite a bit of level of lineage between me and him but it shows very clearly we are descendants of his,” Travis said.
Travis’s opponent, Tracy Murphree, believes Travis’ campaign tactic is misleading to voters.
“If you grew up in Texas like I did, the Alamo and heroes who fought there are sacred and to make a mockery of that insults me as a Texan and I am sure it insults a lot of other people,“ Murphree said.
Sheriff Travis only investigated his lineage after people started questioning it this campaign season. He said he always took his father’s word for it.
Travis said he would look into changing ads, but said he does not have any ads that say he is a direct descendant.