"The Dickinsons while in the Musquiz home hospitably entertained guests and boarders, a tradition which Mrs. Dickinson maintained in later years both as a widow and with subsequent spouses. The Musquiz home with the Dickinsons as extended residents was obviously a meeting place for those concerned with the troubles with the central government of Mexico. Dr. John Sutherland, Davy Crockett and David Cummings were boarders at the Musquiz-Dickinson residence. When Mexican troops arrived in San Antonio on 23 Feb 1836, Dickinson moved the family into the Alamo from the Musquiz house."
From the Texas Handbook Online:
David P. Cummings, 27, was a surveyor by trade born in Lewiston, MifflinCo PA. Not a permanent resident of Gonzales, he came to TX by boat from New Orleans in Dec 1835 and went by foot to San Felipe where he sold a rifle for $30. He was the son of David and Elizabeth Cathers Cummings of Harrisburg, PA who claimed to be friends of Sam Houston. David Cummings, a Harrisburg canalman sent a case of rifles with his son to the TX cause. He traveled to Gonzales and then Bexar where he joined the Alamo garrison in Jan or Feb 1836. While surveying land on the Cibolo Creek, he was met by the Gonzales Ranger force and entered the Alamo with them. He was cousin to John Purdy Reynolds who died in the Alamo with him. Insight into Cummings view of the situation in Texas prior to the Alamo defeat is given in letters to his father in Jan from Gonzales and Feb from San Antonio (from Jenkins, The Papers of the Texas Revolution. 1835-1836):
Gonzales Texas Jany 20th 1836
Dear Father The scarcity of paper together with other difficulties I have had to labor under has prevented me from writing before this and indeed it is a matter of Claim whether this letter will ever reach the United States. I arrived at the mouth of the Brazos about a month ago in a vessel from New Orleans and have traveled on foot by San Felipe to this place leaving my trunk with books, and two rifles with Mr. White at Columbia 10 miles above Brasoria having sold my best rifle for $30 at San Felipe. I saw Genl. Houston and Presented him your letter. He advised me to get a horse & proceed to Goliad where he would see me in a short time again. I have accordingly come on thus far with that intention as to connect myself with a Company of Rangers on the Frontiers to keep off the Indians, But it is most probable I will go on to San Antonio de Bexar and there remain until I can suitably connect myself with the Army or until an occasion may require my services. Every man in this country at this time has to go upon his own footing as the Government at present is unable to make any provisions for the Army. However a change for the better is expected soon and affairs is expected to be in a better condition. Provisions are very scarce here and travelling or living is attended with considerable expense---All owing to the great number of Volunteers from the U. States besides the Emigration of Families into the upper Colonies is unprecedented for the past five months. Though under rather indifferent circumstances myself at this time, I have no reason to complain of my coming to this country as I find nothing but what might have been expected. On the contrary I have the satisfaction of beholding one of the finest countries in the world and have fully determined to locate myself in Texas I hope to be better situated to write you more about this country, and as I have not much time Can say very little at present, More than inform you what I am about &c &c. A Gentleman is going East to day by whom I intend Sending my letter. Letters have been intercepted to the Mexican citizens of Bexar informing them of the arrival of 2,000 troops on the Rio Grande, and now coming on to retake that place in consequence of which, Many of the Mexicans have secretly left the place, and preparations are now making to fortify the town. All our Troops have been ordered to Copano to proceed against Matamoras.
I remain yours Affectionately D. P. Cummings
San Antonio de Bexar February 14th 1836
Dear Father I wrote you from Gonzales and soon after left ther for this place, yet under different views from what I stated in as a sudden attack was expected on our garrison here and were called on for assistance. It is however fully ascertained that we have nothing of the kind to apprehend before a month or six weeks as the Enemy have not yet crossed the Rio Grande 180 mi. distant from this place nor are they expected to make any movement this way until the weather becomes warm or until the grass is sufficiently up to support their horses we conceive it however important to be prepared as a heavy attack is expected from Sant Ana himself in the Spring as no doubt the despot will use every possible means and strain every nerve to conquer and exterminate us from the land---in this we have no fear and are confident that Texas cannot only sustain what she now holds but take Mexico itself did She think on conquest. The northern Indians have joined to our assistance and the volunteers from the United States are every day flocking to our ranks which from the liberal promises of the Government and desirable resources of the Country seem determined to sustain themselves or sinke in the attempt, Many it is true have left the country and returned home to their friends and pleasures byt of such Texas has no use for and her agents in the U. States should be careful whom they send us for assistance we want men of determined spirits, that can undergo hardships and deprivation Otherwise they are only a pest and expense to their fellow Soldiers-to the first class (tho I would be the last to advise in any case), I say come on, there is a fine field open to you all no matter how you are situated or what may be your circumstances. At least come and see the country, as a farmer, mechanic or a Soldier you will do well-I believe no country offers such strong inducements to Emmigration, affording all the conviences of life that man can devise-what I write is from my own observation and from what I hear from those who have resided for years in the Country. I am to leave this to return to the Cibilo Creek in company with 10 others to take up, our lands we get as citizens which in more then I 100 acres for single men, men of family 4428 acres our our volunteer pay is 20$ per month & 640 acres at close of war. Any communication to San Felipe de Austin you may make with postage paid to the Boundary line I will get or send to Stiles Duncan Natchitoches, he could mail it to San Felipe as I would be very glad to hear from you all. It might be that I might be of some benefit to you here provided any of you could have a mind to come out and indeed to speak sincearly this would be the Country for us all, nothing could induce me from my determination of settling here, tho my disposition may not be like most others. I should like you could once see it.-a visit by Jonathan would improve his health I have been very healthy since I have been here and am improving.
Yours affectionately, D. P. Cummings
P.S. There is one thing might be proper for me to add members have been elected to a convention of all Texas to meet on Ist March, which will make an immediate declaration of independence--upon the faith of this event great speculation is going on in Lands, tho the office for the disposal of the public lands is not yet opened but is expected will be in a Short time. The price of Land has risen greatly since the commencement of the war, and a declaration of Independence will bring them to vie with those of the U. States tho---they can be purchased from 50 cts to 5$ per acre by the Lelague depending as their improvement. Or convenience to settlements---not Country is now settling faster---As I will most likely be engaged in surveying of public lands I might be of service to some of our friends in procuring disirable or choice locations. D.P. Cummings
Two tracts of 640 and 1280 acres in ZavalaCo were patented to heirs for service in the Alamo as well as 640 acres in El PasoCo.