William Corner.

San Antonio de Bexar; a guide and history online

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about with their revered and worshipful Master Drake. What had not the
"Pelicans" not enduied? Eire, battle, murder, sudden death, torture, all this and
more, was the portion of these "wilder comrades sworn to seek." What was
there then for the sons of such fathers to do, but to emidate as far as easier times
would allow^ so high an example? Now and then in those annals — mention is
made of noble w^omen who dared to share these perils and hardships. And in
the annals of Texas — of the Texas Republic — that sort of woman was not so very
rare. Scientists have adopted an "irresistible impulse theory" with regard to
the tendency of people and races to travel — to pioneer — ever Westward, the course
of the sun. Not an altogether new theory if one may credit the verse maker.


■■The sun goes West,

Why .should not I?
I still deem best

That old time cry
Of 'Westward Hoi'

My love don't yon think so?"


"My sun goes West

Why should not I?'

It was such impulses that built the best of the Texas of the hew regime. It
required no weak impulses to dare the dangers of those early days — war —
Indians — and an almost untried future were no inconsiderable trifles. There is
something "deeper than the lips" in such a. simple communication as "I came to
Texas a l^ri'de in 1S41."

"On May 22d 1S41," said Mrs. Canterbury; "I came to San Antonio, a
bride, with my husband Wilson Irvine Riddle. He was one of the earliest
American merchants on Main street. I was a native of Virginia, my maiden name
was Elizabeth Menefee. There was a Menefee, one of the .signers of the Declara-
tion of Independence of Texas, of our family I believe. I was married however
in Tennes.see. Colonel Hays, the noted Indian fighter was a connection of mine
by marriage, he married my first cousin— a Miss Calvert of Seguin. My husband's
store was that little ([uaiiit two-storied building that still stands next to
Sullivan's shoe store, now one door east of the corner of St. Mary's and
Commerce streets. At that date it was one of the most important buildings
on Main or Commerce street, and altogether considered to be the fine.st
house in the town. It was some years subsenuently rented In- General


Harney for S()0 pernionth, as his residence and for a while mihtary headquarters,
and still later Major Belger made use of it as a Quartermaster's Depot. It
was here that my daughter Mrs. Eagar, was born, as also my son James Wilson
Riddle, a merchant of Eagle Pass, Texas. Mrs. Eagar was a child only ten days
old when the Mexicans came on March 7th 1842, I was the last American
lady to leave the city. T went to Gonzales and remained there from March to
October 1S42. In my flight I stayed at Don Manuel Flores ranch, a stopping place
between San Antonio and Seguin. Mrs. Maverick went afterwards to Decrow's
Point on the coast and stayed there about five years. It was a terribly anxious
time for the women. After all, these Mexicans under Vasquez, were little more
than a band of marauders. And when in September of the same year, WoU was
reported as advancing upon San Antonio with a large force, many of the citizens
determined if possible to make some kind of defence, but so strong a force was
very much of a surprise, and many of the citizens were made prisoners, even as the
District Court was sitting. It was a much more serious affair than the investment
of the city under Vasquez in the spring. Our store was robbed of all our goods —
and a claim against Mexico for the damage done us, is still unsettled. The claim
was made through the British government, for my husband was a British subject,
but in the midst of the many important events that quickly followed each other at
that epoch, the claim although acknowledged to be a just one was neglected.
When it will be settled I know not. Fifty-three good citizens were taken and
put in chains by Woll, and marched all the weary way to the City of Mexico. I
knew most of them well. My husband was chained to Wm. E. Jones. His
brother to John Twohig, the banker— at the time John Twohig had a general store
at the corner of Main Plaza and Main street, where Deutsch's store is. He coolly
blew up his store— declaring that no man should rob him of his goods. Sam
A. Maverick had for a companion Major Colquhoun, I believe— then there were
John Bradley the father of Mrs. Waelder, James Truehart, Judge Hutcheson, Dr.
Hatch, Dr. Booker, Dr. Mackay, Duncan B. Ogden and many others. I have a
list but don't know just whereto find it now Many men were killed a few days
after in the fight on the Salado. It was a dreadful time. I also knew many of
the Mier prisoners — that was a sad bit of history — you have heard all about that
I expect.

Soon after I came, my husband gave me a piano — it was about the first in
Texas. I was the only player in San Antonio then— I still play a little. I had
that piano until a few months ago, when I sold it for Sl(>; I am sorry now that I
.sold it. I still have my old music stool. When the Mexicans came I had my
piano hastily boxed, and on my return, that, my music stool and a rocker were
almost my only household possessions. Many of the prominent Mexican families
were at first wealthy and well-to-do, but they had to live, and they were not mer-
chants, and extensive farming was out of the question on account of the great
danger of Indian raids — they did not dare trust themselves for long, out of town,
.so their great estates dwindled, and passed into the hands of others. I have seen
many and vast changes in San Antonio."

Many other interesting matters were discussed by Mrs. Canterbury, and per-
sonal recollections were given of events, the history of whicli will be knrnt in
school bv the children of Texas for nian>- future generations.

rNTl':R\-II«:\V WITH WW RI'A'. P.ISIloi' Xl'.RAZ. 1

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Online LibraryWilliam CornerSan Antonio de Bexar; a guide and history → online text (page 16 of 22)