Artifact Spotlight — Grayson Portraits

January 30, 2023
Portrait of Thomas Grayson
Portrait of Tabitha Grayson

These portraits of Captain Thomas Grayson and his wife Tabitha are some of the earliest known companion portraits by famed artist Carl Iwonski. Thomas Grayson served as a ship captain during the Texas Revolution. His ship, the Yellowstone brought volunteers and weapons to aid in the struggle for Texian Independence. Captain Grayson also ferried Sam Houston’s Army across the Brazos River prior to the Texian victory at San Jacinto.

Sepia toned painting of a steamboat in a lake

In November of 1844 Thomas met Tabitha Childress, the two were married and had five children. They settled at Selma and operated a horse ranch where Thomas sold horses to the United States cavalry. The Grayson’s eventually moved to San Antonio in 1857 where they lived for the remainder of their lives.

The portraits were donated in March of 1970 by Miss Bennie Campbell and three other grandchildren of Captain Grayson, and will be on display at the new Ralston Family Collections Center, opening to the public on March 3, 2023.