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Indian wars and pioneers of Texas online

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Huntington Free Library

Native American


The original of this book is in
the Cornell University Library.

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Pioneers of Texas



L. E. DANIELL, Publisher,
Austin, Texas. J

Press of

Nixon- Jones Printing Company,

St. Louis, Mo.

-beck told—

Pminting and Book Mfg. Co.

st. louis, mo.



The reader of this vokime is introduced to a series of advancing scenes in a
drama that had its beginning in the first feeble attempts that were made at the
settlement of the country, and to a succession of actors from the solitary explorer
of seventy years ago to the men of to-day.

To one of the most useful, honored and capable of the latter, our esteemed
friend —

Mr. George Sealy,

of Galveston,

this work is respectfully dedicated.

The book leads the reader through the past to the present and here leaves him
amid active and progressive men who are advancing, along with him, toward the

Including, as it does, lives of men now living, it constitutes a connecting link
between what has gone before and what is to come after. It is therefore fitting
that it should be dedicated to a prominent man of our day in preference to one of
former times. The matter presented, in the nature of things, is largely biographical.

There can be no foundation for history without biography. History is a
generalization of particulars. It presents wide extended views. To use a para-
dox, history gives us but a part of history. That other part which it does not
give us, the part which introduces us to the thoughts, aspirations and daily life
of a people, is supplied by biography.

When a good action is performed we feel that it should be remembered
forever. When a good man dies, there is nothing sadder than the reflection that
he will be forgotten. No record has been preserved of the greater number of



noble actions. The names of some of the men who have done most to make
history have found no place upon its pages.

As Thomas-a-Kempis hath truly said : " To-day the man is here ; to-morrov*^ he
hath disappeared. And when he is out of sight, quickly also is he out of mind.

•' Tell me now, where are^all those doctors and masters, with whom thou wast
well acquainted, while they lived and flourished iu learning? ISTow others possess
their livings and perhaps do scarce ever think of them. In their lifetime they
seemed something, but now they are not spoken of.''

The men whose deeds are recorded in this book were or are dee])ly identi-
fied with Texas, and the preservation in this volume in enduring form of some
remembrance of them — their names, who and what they were — has been a
pleasant task to one who feels a deep interest and pride in Texas — its past
history, its heroes and future destiny. The book is presented to the reader
with the hope that he will find both pleasure and profit in its perusal.




Mian Wars and Pioneers of Texas,

The first contest on the soil of Texas between
Americans and Indians antedates the visit of Moses
Austin to the country in 1820 ; but the combatants
were not colonists ; they were a part of the second
expedition of Capt. James Long in aid of the
patriots in the Mexican revolution. His first ex-
pedition, entering East Texas by land, had been
defeated in detail and driven from the country by
the troops of Spain, sent from San Antonio. This
second expedition came by water to Bolivar Point,
opposite the east end of Galveston Island, and forti-
fied that place. Some of the expedition, under
Don Felix Trespalacios, and among whom was the
subsequently distinguished martyr of Bexar in 1835,
Col. Benjamin R. Milam, sailed down the coast
and landed near Tampico. Fifty-two men remained
with Long, among whom were John Austin (com-
mander at Velasco in 1832), John McHenry,
deceased in Jackson County in 1885, and a number
of educated and daring Americans from different
States of the Union. In December, 1853, in De
Bow's New Orleans Review, the author of this work,
after repeated interviews with Capt. McHenry,
long his neighbor, gave this account of that first
strictly American-Indian fight in Texas, late in the
autumn of 1819. Its verity has never been ques-
tioned : —

While Long was at Bolivar, a French sloop
freighted with wines and Mexican supplies, bound
to Cassano; stranded on Galveston Island near the
present city. The Carancahua Indians, to the
number of 200 warriors, were then encamped in
the immediate vicinity, and at once attacked and
butchered all on board the sloop, plundered the
craft, and entered upon a general jollification and
war-dance. Long (discovering these facts) deter-

mined to chastise them for their baseness. Accord-
ingly after nightfall, at the head of thirty men
(inchiding McHenry), he passed over in small
boats to the island, and made an unexpected assault
upon the guilty wretches, who were then greatly
heated by the wines.

The Carancahuas, however, though surprised,
instantly seized their weapons, and yelling furiously,
met their assailants with determined courage.
With such superior numbers, they were a full match
for Long. The combatants soon came to a hand-
to-hand fight of doubtful issue ; but Long directed
his men in a masterly manner and effected a retreat
to his boats, leaving thirty -two Indians killed, three
of his own men dead, and two badly besides several
slightly wounded. George Early was severely
wounded. Long's party took two Indian boys
prisoners, and retained them, one of whom was
accidentally killed some time afterwards. This is
doubtless the first engagement known between the
war-like Carancahuas and the Americans.


The first two schooner loads of immigrants to
Texas, under the auspices of Stephen F. Austin,
landed on the west bank, three miles above the
mouth of the Colorado, late in March, 1822, having
left New Orleans on the 7th of February. The first
of the two vessels to amve was the schooner Only
Son, owned by Kineheloe and Anderson, two of the
immigrants, and commanded by Capt. Benjamin
Ellison, who made many subsequent trips to our
coast and died at his home in Groton, Connecticut,
July 17, 1880. [The writer met him at his own
home in 1869 and 1870, and found him to be a
refined and elegant old Chi-istian gentleman, with



kind recollections of the early pioneers on our
coast, and yet retaining a warm interest in the wel-
fare of Texas.] Among those arriving on the
Only Son were Abram M. Clare, from Kentucky,
who, till his death about forty years later, was a
worthy citizen; Maj. George Helm, of Kentucky,
who died on the eve of leaving to bring out his
family, one of whose sons, John L. Helm, was
afterwards Governor of Kentucky, while another is
the venerable Rev. Dr. Samuel Larne Helm, of the
Baptist Church, still of that State; Charles Whitson
and fapaily, James Morgan and family; Greenup
Hayes, a grandson of Daniel Boone, who did not
remain in the country ; Mr. Bray, who settled at the
mouth of Bray's bayou, now Harrisburg, and his
son-in-law. While in Galveston Bay a number of
the colonists died of yellow fever, before reaching
Matagorda Bay. Among those who arrived by the
other vessel were Samuel M. Williams, afterwards
so long Secretary of Austin's Colony, and Jonathan
C. Peyton and wife, Angelina B., a sister of Bailie
Peyton of Tennessee, afterwards the wife of Jacob
Eberly, by which name she was widely known and
esteemed throughout Texas, till her death about
1860. These personal facts are mentioned in justice
to those who were the first of our countrymen to
cross the gulf and seek homes in the wilderness of
Texas — the first, in that mode, to vindicate the
grand conception of the already deceased Moses
Austin, at the very moment that his son and suc-
cessor, Stephen F. Austin, was encountering in San
Antonio de Bexar the first of a long series of
obstacles to the prosecution of the enterprise — an
enterprise in the fruition of which, as time has
already shown, was directly involved the welfare of
two and a half millions of people now on the soil of
Texas, besides indirectly affecting other vast mul-
titudes now resident in California, Nevada, Utah,
Colorado, New Mexico and Arizona. The politico-
economical aspect of this question would fill a
volume in following the march of our race
from Jamestown, Plymouth and Beaufort to the
present time, both interesting and edifying to the
highest order of political philosophers ; but its
discussion does not fall within the scope of this

These immigrants, leaving a small guard with
their effects, somewhat aided by a few persons who
had settled on and near the Colorado, within the
present bounds of the counties of Colorado and
Fayette, moved up in that portion of the wilderness.
James Cummins, Jesse Burnham, and a few others
constituted the infant settlements referred to at
that time.

Before leaving their supplies under guard those

savages of the coast, the Carancahuas,* had visited
the immigrants, professed friendship, and entered
into a verbal treaty of good will. But, in keeping
with their instincts, as soon as the families and
main strength of the party had been gone sufficiently
long, they clandestinelj^ assailed the camp — the
guard escaping more or less wounded — and seized
its contents. On learning this a party marched
down and chastised a small encampment of the
Indians, giving them a foretaste of what they real-
ized, when too late, that they must either In good
faith be at peace with the Americans or suffer an-
nihilation. Thirty years later their once powerful
tribe — long the scourge of wrecked vessels and
their crews — was practically, if not absolutely,
extinct. This was the first blood shed between the
settlers and the Indians.

The Carancahuas were both treacherous and
troublesome, often stealing from the settlers and
often firing upon them from ambush. The earlier
colonists living in proximity to the coast were
greatly annoyed by them. But there is no reliable
account of many of their earlier depredations.
About 1851 a small volume was published, purport-
ing to consist of letters by an early settler in the
section mentioned to a friend in Kentucky, giving
current accounts of events from 1822 to about 1845,
when in fact thej' were written by another, and a
stranger in the country, from the verbal recitals
from memory of the assumed author. The gross
inaccuracies in regard to events occurring much
later, especially in 1832 and 1840, necessarily
weaken confidence in his statements in regard to
earlier occurrences. We must, therefore, be con-
tent with more or less imperfect summaries of the
conflicts with the Carancahuas for the first few years
of the colony.

Among the first of which any account has been
preserved was an attack from ambush by these
savages upon three young men in a canoe in the
Colorado river, in the spring of 1823. The locality
is now in Colorado County. Loy and Alley (the lat-
ter one of several brothers) were Idlled. Clark, their
companion, escaped to the opposite bank, severely
but not mortally wounded. On the same day another
young man named Robert Brotherton was fired upon
and wounded by them, but escaped on horseback to
convey the news to the settlers above, these two
attacks being near the mouth of Skull creek.

* I follow the correct Spanish spelling of the names
of the Texas Indian tribes, giving also the correct pro-
nunciation. Thus, Caran-ca-hua, pronounced Kar-an-
ka-wah. There has been no uniformity in the orthograpliy
of these names among American writers. All, however,
will agree that there should be.


This was Robert Brotherton from St. Louis
County, Missouri, of which his two brothers, James
and Marshall, were successively sheriff, from 1834
to 1842. Eobert died unmarried at Columbiis,
Texas, about 1857, leaving his estate to his nephew,
Joseph W. McClurg, who, after a short residence
in Texas, returned to Missouri, to become later a
congressman and Governor of the State.

A party of the settlers, numbering fourteen or
fifteen, by a cautious night march arrived at the
Indian camp in time to attack it at dawn on the
following morning. Completely surprised, the
Indians fled into the brush, leaving several dead.
This was on Skull creek, a few miles from

The depredations of the Carancahuas continued
with such frequency that Austin determined to
chastise and if possible force them into pacific
behavior. [Having left San Antonio very unex-
pectedly for the city of Mexico in March, 1822, to
secure a ratification of his colonization scheme by
the newly formed government of Iturbide, the
original concession of 1821 to Moses Austin having
been made by the expiring authorities under
Spain, Austin was now, in the summer of 1824, at
his new home on the Brazos, clothed temporarily
with authority to administer the civil and judicial
affairs of the colony, and to command the militia
with the rank of Lieutenant-Colonel.] Capt.
Eandall Jones, in command of twenty-three men,
in the month of September, moved down' the
Brazos in canoes. On the lower river he was
visited by some of the Indians who, on seeing his
strength, manifested friendship. But learning that
about thirtj' warriors of the tribe were encamped
on a tributary of the Bernard, about seven miles
distant, and also that about a dozen others had
gone to Bailey's, further up the river, to buy
ammunition, Capt. Jones sent two messengers
up the river for help. These two found a small
number already collected to watch the party at
Bailey's. Becoming assured of their hostile intent,
the settlers attacked them, killed several and the
others fled.

Without waiting for reinforcements, Capt.
Jones determined to attack the party on the creek.
Crossing to its west side he moved down in the
night abreast the Indian camp, which was on the
margin of a marshy expansion of the creek, covered
with high grass, reeds, etc. At daylight the whites
fired, charging into the camp. In a moment the
Indians were secreted in the rank vegetation, hurl-
ing arrows with dangerous precision into their
exposed assailants. In another moment one or two
of the whites fell dead, and several were wounded.

To maintain their position was suicidal ; to charge
upon the hidden foe was madness ; to retire as
best they could was the dictate of common sense.
This they did, pursued up the creek to where they
recrossed it. They had three men killed, bearing
the names of Spencer, Singer, and Bailey, and
several wounded. It was claimed that fifteen
Indians were killed, but of this there was no
assurance when we remember the arms then in use.
Be that as it may, it was a clear repulse of the
whites, whose leader, Capt. Jones, was an expe-
rienced soldier of approved courage. Such a result
was lamentable at that period in the colony's
infancy. It was this affair which caused the name
of "Jones" to be bestowed on that creek.

Soon after this the Carancahuas, a little above
the mouth of the Colorado, captured an American
named White and two Mexicans, in a canoe, who
had gone from the San Antonio to buy corn. They
let White go under a promise that he would bring
down corn from the settlement and divide it with
them — the canoe and Mexicans remaining as hos-
tages. When White reported the affair to the
people above, Capt. Jesse Burnham, with about
thirty men, hastened to the spot agreed upon, and
very soon ambushed a canoe containing seven or'
eight Indians, nearly all of whom were slain at the
first fire, and it was not certain that a single one

Col. Austin, near this time, raised about a
hundred volunteers and marched from the Brazos
southwesterly in search of the Carancahuas. Some
accounts say that he went to meet them, at their
request, to make a treaty. Others assert that he
started forth to chastise them, and that after
crossing the Guadalupe at Victoria he met messen-
gers from the Indians, sent through the priests of
Goliad, proposing to meet and enter into a treaty
with him. This is undoubtedly the true version.
Austin started prepared and determined to punish
the Indians for their repeated outrages, or force
them to leave the limits of his colony. Had he
only gone in response to their invitation, he would
not have taken with him over a dozen men. He
met them on the Menahuilla creek, a few miles
east of La Bahia, and, being much persuaded
thereto by the clergy and Alcalde of that town,
made a ti'eaty with them, in which they pledged
themselves never again to come east of the San
Antonio river. More than one writer has been led
to assert that the Carancahuas kept that pledge,
which is notoriously untrue, as they committed
occasional depredations east of that river at inter-
vals for twenty-one years, and at other intervals
lived at peace with settlements, hunting and some-



times picking cotton for the people. In 1842 they
were living on the margins of Matagorda Bay,
often seen by the author of this work, while during
the succeeding December, with the Somervell
expedition, he saw perhaps a dozen of the tribe
on the banks of the Rio Grande. The last Ameri-
can blood shed by them was that of Capt. John
F. Kempen, in Victoria County, whom they mur-
dered in November, 1845., [Vide Victor M. Eose's
History of Victoria County, page 21. J

Austin's movement was a wise one. It con-
vinced those unfaithful creatures that the Ameri-
cans had become strong enough to hold the country
and punish their overt acts. They had formerly
been partially under the influence of the mission-
aries, and still had their children baptized by the
priests who stood somewhat as sponsors for them
in the treaty, probably a stroke of policy mutually
understood by them and Col. Austin, as sure to
have no evil effect, and with the hope that it might
exert a salutary influence, as it doubtless did. We
must not forget that those were the days of infancy
and small things in Texas.

As to the number of Indians in Texas in its first
American settlement, we have no reliable statistics.
The following semi-official statement, published in
the Nashville (Tenn.) Banner of August 1, 1836,
is deemed authentic as far as it goes ; but it does
not include those tribes or portions of tribes — as
for instance the Comanches — pertaining to Texas,
or south of the Arkansas river and west of the
100th degree of longitude west of Greenwich : —

Me. Editor — As the public mind has been and
still is somewhat excited with regard to the situa-
tion of our western frontier, and the State being
now under a requisition of Gen. Gaines for a
regiment of mounted gun men to maintain its
defense, I have thought it would not be uninter-
esting to the public to know the names and numbers
of Indian tribes on that frontier. The statement
is taken from an estimate accompanying a map of
survey showing the geographical and relative posi-
tions of the different tribes, which was prepared at
the topographical bureau during the present year,
which I have not yet seen published.

The names and numbers of the Indians who
have emigrated to the west of the Mississippi : —

Choctaws l.'jjOOS

Apalachicoles 265

Cherokees 5,000

Creeks 2,459

Senecas and Shawnees 211

Senecas (from Sandusky) 231

Potowatomies 141

Peorias and Kaskaskias 132

Plenkeshaws 1''^

Wees 222

Ottoways 200

Kickapoos ^^0

Shawnees 1,250

Delawares ^26

The names and numbers of the Indian tribes
resident west of the Mississippi : —

lowas 1,200

Sacs, of the Missouri 500

Omahas 1,400

Ottoes and Missourians 1,600

Pawnees 10,000

Comanches 7,000

Mandons 15,000

Mineterees 15,000

Assinaboins 800

Crees 3,000

Crosventres 3,000

Crows 45,000

Sioux 27,500

Quapaws 460

Caddos 800

Poncas 800

Osages 5,120

Konsas 1,471

Sacs 4,800

Arickaras 8,000

Chazenes 2,000

Blackfeet .30,000

Foxes 1,600

Areehpas and Keawas 1,400

There is yet remaining east of the river in the
Southern States a considerable number: the five
principal tribes are the Seminoles, Creeks, Chero-
kees, Choctaws and Chickasaws.

Seminoles, yet remaining east 2,420

Choctaws, yet remaining east 3,500

Chickasaws, yet remaining east 5,420

Cherokees, yet remaining east 10,000

Creeks, yet remaining east 22,668

Those stated as western tribes extend along the
whole western frontier. And taking as true the
opinions of the department, that the average
number of an Indian family is four, it may bo seen
what number of warriors, by possibility, might be
brought into the field, and what number on the
other hand might be required to keep them in

By publishing the foregoing statement, you will
oblige your humble servant,

Thomas J. Porter.



At that time there were in East Texas the Chero-
kees and their twelve associate bands of United
States Indians, embracing portions of the Dela-
wares, ' Shawnees, Kickapoos, Alabamas, Coosh-
attes, Caddos, Pawnees, and others.

There were also remnants of ancient Texas
Indians — some almost extinct — such as the
Achaes, Jaranenies, Anaquas, Bedwias — still
formidable bodies of Carancahuas, Tsixahuas,
Lipans, Tahnacarnoes, Wacos, Wichitas, Keechies,
lonies, Towdashes, and others, besides the still
principal tribes of the Comanches, Kiowas and

to their west the Apaches, Navajoes, and others
more strictly pertaining to New Mexico, but often
depredating in Texas, as did the Mescalaros and
other tribes from beyond the Rio Grande hailing
from Coahuila and Chihuahua.

Our work is hereafter confined to events after the
American settlements began. It covers the period
from 1822 to 1874, fift\'-two years, and much is
untold, but the early struggles in every part of this
State are given as illustrations of what the pioneers
of Texas suffered.

Mrs. Jane Long at Bolivar Point— 1820.

Bolivar Point lies, green and inviting, a high
point of land in sight of Galveston. It seems to
say to pleasure-seekers, " Come and visit me. I
have shady groves, fresh breezes, and in the season
fine melons and fruits to offer, but there are events
of historic and romantic interest connected with
me, which add tenfold to my attractiveness." Yes,
truly, seventy-six years ago Bolivar was the scene of
events now known to comparatively few, except per-
haps members of old Texas families, who have
heard them related by the remarkable woman who
there displayed a heroic devotion and courage rarely
equaled in modern times.

First we see her, in the year 1815, at Natchez,
Miss., with sun-bonnet hiding her clustering curls,
and school satchel on arm, as she wends her way to
the academy. The same day she meets, for the
first time, Dr. Long, who has just distinguished
himself in the battle of New Orleans, where he won
from Gen. Jackson the sobriquet of "The
Young Lion." The stream which separates simple
acquaintance from passionate love was soon crossed,
and the boy surgeon of twenty and Jane Wilkinson,
the school girl of fifteen, became husband and wife.
A few years of quiet domestic life, and the adven -
turous spirit and manly ambition of the soldier
assumed full sway over a mind which could not be
content with the peaeefulpursuits of the farmer, nor
yet with the humdrum traffic of the merchant, which
Long successively engaged in after his marriage.

Mexico was struggling to be free from Spain, and
in 1819 Gen. Long became the leader of a gal-
lant band of men raised in Natchez for the purpose
of wresting that portion of Mexico called Texas

from the Spanish yoke. Through the many excit-
ing scenes incident to a soldier's life in this almost
unknown country, Mrs. Long followed her husband,
content if she could but be near him. In 1820 she
found a resting place in a rude fort at Bolivar
Point, fortified and provisioned by Gen. Long
before his departure for La Bahia, or Goliad. Here
the adoring wife long awaited a return, of whose
impossibility her boundless faith would not allow

Online LibraryJohn Henry BrownIndian wars and pioneers of Texas → online text (page 1 of 135)