John (1776-1823) and Elizabeth Plemmons (1778-1829) Tumlinson were born in Lincoln County, North Carolina and lived in Tennessee, Illinois, and Arkansas before coming to Texas with their seven children as members of Austin's Old Three Hundred Colony. The Tumlinson family settled on the Colorado River. Austin's colonists were divided into two districts; the settlers of the Colorado District elected John Tumlinson their first Alcalde, the chief executive in a Spanish municipality. Among his duties were administering justice and organizing a militia among the colonists.
In May 1823 the first official Texas Ranger Company was organized to protect settlers from Indian attacks. John Tumlinson was killed in such an attack by Waco Indians in July of that year while en route to San Antonio to buy gunpowder for his militia.
Elizabeth Tumlinson was granted a league of land in a desirable location in the center of the Colorado District in August 1824. She and her children remained in Austin's Colony. John J. Tumlinson, Jr., became a Texas Ranger Captain in 1832 and was the first of many of his descendants to serve the Rangers. His brother Peter joined the rangers in 1835. Fourteen other men who were related to John and Elizabeth Tumlinson by blood or marriage served in the Texas Rangers between 1859 and 1921, and several other Tumlinsons were frontier lawmen. The town that grew up the Elizabeth Tumlinson league became known as Columbus in 1835. The legacy of the Tumlinson family, Old Three Hundred Colonists, farmers, alcaldes, landowners, rangers, and lawmen, continues to be felt throughout the region.