John Henry Brown.

Indian wars and pioneers of Texas online

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as an honest man, upright and impartial judge,
public-spirited citizen, and Christian gentleman;
moreover, he is a man of fine, decidedly martial,
appearance, being six feet in height and as straight
as an arrow, and, though somewhat advanced in
years, he moves with a soldierly step and bearing.
He weighs 175 pounds, has a fair complexion and
has blue eyes. Affable and genial, easily ap-
proached by those even of the most humble station,
he has many devoted admirers and friends.

Judge Haj'es has an excellent library and spends
many hours in the society of his books. He has
not, however, lost interest in the events that are
transpiring about him. On the contrary, he is as
deeply attached to the cause of good government
as at any former period of his life, and is active
with voice and pen in every campaign in which im-
portant issues are submitted to the hazard of the
ballot. His greatest pleasures are found, however,
within the limits of his delightful home circle and
in the companionship of his numerous friends.

Still in the full vigor of mental and physical
strength, and thoroughly interested in the drama of
life, through so many scenes of which he has al-
ready passed, he is still an active and progressive
worker, and has many plans that he hopes to ac-
complish before the coming of Nature's bed-time.
Strong, vigorous and manly ; patriotic and unselfish,
he is a fine representative of the men who have
made our present civilization possible, and it is to be
hoped that many years of usefulness yet await him.





Was a native of Lawrence County, Miss., his
birth occurring May 10, 1811. William Slaughter,
his father, was a Virginian, born in 1781, his death
occurring in Sabine County, Texas, in 1851. The
elder Mr. Slaughter was a farmer and had seen
service in the war of 1812, fighting under Jackson
at New Orleans. He married Miss Nancy Moore,
of South Carolina, and was the father of eight
children, four of them boys. In 1821 the family
moved to Copiah County, Miss., and four years
later started to Texas, but stopped for a time in

with headquarters at Nacogdoches. He was a man
of narrow and decided views and but poorly qual-
ified to exercise authority over a people reared in
the enjoyment of American liberty. There was no
tolerance of religious belief beyond a blind adher-
ence to the Catholic Church, and the arrest by Col.
Piedras of several Protestant clergymen, who had
attempted to hold services in the colony, precipi-
tated one of the first conflicts between the colonists
and the Mexican government. Gr. W. Slaughter,
then a boy of nineteen or twenty, took an active


Louisiana, and it was while living in the latter State
that George Webb Slaughter received the only
schooling (three weeks in all) which he ever had an
opportunity to obtain. In 1830 the Slaughter
family crossed the Sabine river and settled in what
was then the Mexican State of Coahuila and Texas.
At that tioae the country east of Austin was divided
into municipalities governed principally by military
laws. Petty officers were in charge at the different
points and alcaldes, or magistrates, were appointed
by them, while all matters of importance were re-
ferred to the District Commandant. Col. Piedras
was in charge of the country along the Sabine,

part in the armed resistance to this act of tyranny,
and his relation of the events which followed is
vivid and interesting. A commissioner, sent to
Col. Piedras to intercede for the prisoners' release,
was treated with contempt, and Col. Bean Andrews,
who repaired to the city of Mexico on the same
errand, was thrown into prison. Despairing of
obtaining recognition and relief through pacific
methods, the colonists held a mass meeting at San
Augustine about June 1, 1832, and resolved to take
matters into their own hands and release the pris-
oners, if need be, through force of arms. Prep-
arations for this decisive step went quietly on, and




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in a short time 500 armed men met within two miles
of Nacogdoches and sent to Col. Piedras, under a
flag of truce, a demand for the prisoners' liberation.
In reply a company of cavalry came out with a
counter demand for the surrender of the whole
party. Immediate hostilities followed. The Mex-
icans were driven baclc to town after one or two
ineffectual stands, and eventually forced to evacu-
ate the fort and seek safety in flight. Quite a num-
ber of Mexicans were killed, but only three Ameri-
cans, one of whom was G. P. Smith, an uncle of
G. W. Slaughter. At that time the Angelina river
was swollen with recent rains, its bottom lands
flooded and impassable except at one point, some
eighteen miles from the fort, where a bridge had
been built. Here all the men who were provided
with horses were directed to hasten and stop the
retreat of the panic-striken Mexicans, while the
remainder of the force followed on, thus bringing
the enemy betwgen two fires and compelling the
entire command to surrender. Col. Piedras was
allowed to return to Mexico under promise of ex-
cusing the colonist's acts and interceding for their
pardon, but he proved false to his trust and his
report of the affair at Nacogdoches only still further
incensed the government. Mr. Slaughter was under
fire for the first time in this skirmish or battle.
During the temporary lull which followed previous
to the general outbreak of war, he was occupied, in
freighting between Louisiana and Texas points, and
one of his loads — perhaps the most valuable of
them all — consisted of the legal library of Sam.
Houston, which he hauled to Nacogdoches in
1833. He had previously met Houston while
attending court at Natchitoches, La., and he men-
tions the fact that upon this occasion the future
President of the Texas Republic was dressed in
Indian garments and decked out in all the glory of
scalp-lock, feathers and silver ornaments. Mr.
Slaughter was an earnest admirer of Houston and
was more than pleased when the latter assumed con-
trol of the Texian forces. The company in which he
' enlisted reported to Houston for duty at San
Antonio, and was in several of the engagements
which immediately followed, among others the
famous " Grass Fight," one of the hottest of the
war. Houston then advanced toward Mexico, but
halted near Goliad upon intelligence that Santa
Anna was approaching with an army of 15,000 men.
Col. Fannin with the forces under his command was
encamped in a strong position in a bend of the
river below Goliad. Travis was in the Alamo with
those gallant spirits who were to remain with him
faithful and uncomplaining until death. Houston,
safe in the consciousness that on the open prairie

lay perfect safety from beleaguerment, watched the
approach of the Mexican army and pleaded with
Fannin and Travis to abandon the fortifications
and join him. Mr. Slaughter served as a courier,
making several trips to Fannin and Travis in the
Alamo. On one of the latter, in obedience to in-
structions from Gen. Houston, he delivered into the
hands of Col. Travis an order to retreat. After
reading it, Travis consulted with his brother officers,
acquainted his men with the contents of the mes-
sage, and then drew a line in the sand with his
sword and called upon all who were willing to re-
main with him and fight, if need be, to the death,
to cross it. The decision was practically unanimous
to defend the fort to the last extremity. Only one
of the little band chose to make his way to the main
army ; he was let down from the walls and effected
his escape. Travis hoped for reinforcements that
would enable him to inflict upon Santa Anna a
bloody and decisive repulse that would check him
on the outskirts of the settlements, or, failing in
this, detain his army a sufficient length of time to
enable the colonists to mass an adequate force to
meet him successfully in the open field. He fully
realized the peril of his situation and concealed
nothing from his comrades. They determined to
stake their lives upon the hazard and were immo-
lated upon the altar of their country.

Mr. Slaughter returned to headquarters and re-
ported the result of his mission. Later while on a
hazardous trip to the Alamo, then known to be
invested with Santa Anna's army, he encountered
Mrs. Dickinson and her negro slave, survivors of
the massacre, who liad been released by the Mexi-
can commandant and instructed to proceed to Gen.
Houston with tidings of Travis' fate. The butchery
of Fannin and his men followed shortly after, and
Santa Anna pressed on after Gen. Houston, who
had retreated to the east side of the Brazos.
Meantime Mr. Slaughter was employed in carrying
messages and in procuring subsistence for the
army, accepting many dangerous missions and
performing them all to the satisfaction of his com-
manding officer. History relates how Houston
retreated and how the Mexican army followed until
they were led into the trap at San Jacinto, where
the tables were turned and Santa Anna defeated
and captured ; his troops slaughtered, and his inva-
sion brought to an ignominious end. The victory at
San Jacinto was not the end of hostilities ; but, fol-
lowing it, there came a breathing spell, of which
Mr. Slaughter hastened to take advantage. Gain-
ing a leave of absence, under promise of returning
at once in case he was needed, he hastened to his
home, and on the 12th day of the following October



he was married to Miss Sarah Mason, to whom he
had been engaged for some time. The ceremony
was only deferred to this date because under the
disorganized state of the country there was no
officer with legal authority to perform it. The
marriage of Mr. Slaughter was the first ceremony
of the kind under the sanction of the Republic
which he had been instrumental in establishing.
The newly wedded couple settled in Sabine County,
and Mr. Slaughter resumed freighting for a liveli-
hood, engaging in the employ of the new govern-

At the time of the Cherokee troubles, in 1839,
the eastern counties organized companies in pur-

fork of the Trinity, three or four days march, by
companies of Capts. Slaughter and Todd.

The need which had prompted the organization
of an armed force now no longer existing, the men
disbanded, and Mr. Slaughter returned to the
labors and attendant comforts of home life. In
1852 he moved to Freestone County, intending to
turn his attention to stock-raising. He brought
with him ninety-two head of cattle and established
a ranch near the old town of Butler, and in the five
years he resided there increased his herd to 600
head. Mr. Slaughter believed there were better
opportunities to be gained by removal further west,
and in 1857 drove his herds to Palo Pinto County,


suance of President Houston's orders, and Mr.
Slaughter was elected Captain of the company
organized in Sabine. The newly recruited forces
assembled at Nacogdoches, and in a body marched
to reinforce Gen. Rusk, who was stationed wilh a
small force on the Neches river, near where Chief
Bowles was encamped with 1,600 Cherokees. Two
days were spent in an ineffectual attempt to arrange
a treaty and the Indians dropped back from their
position, but were followed and a fight ensued in
which the Cherokees lost eleven killed and the
whites only three, though fourteen of their number
were wounded. The Indians again retreated and
the following day there was a general battle ; Chief
Bowles was killed, with several hundred of his fol-
lowers, while the remainder of the Cherokees fled
to the westward, being followed to the Bois d'Arc

locating five miles north of the town of that name,
at that time known as Golconda. He bought here
2,000 acres of land and located by certificate 960
acres more, and the ranch located at that time was
thereafter his home, though his residence at this
point was not continuous. In 1858-59 Mr.
Slaughter was occupied in raising stock and running
a small farm, but the following year moved his
stock to Young County, at a point near the Ross
Indian Reservation. He had then 1,200 head of
cattle and a small bunch of horses, but lost forty
head of the latter through theft by Indians in 1860,
and for these and other property stolen, he later
filed claims against the government aggregatini^

Mr. Slaughter's holdings of cattle had increased
in 1867-68 to such an extent that he decided to sell



the greater portion of them, and he accordingly dis-
posed of 12,000 to James Loving and Charles
Elvers at a uniform price of $6.00. Rivers was
afterwards killed by Indians while in camp in Jack-
son County, in June, 1871. Following the sale of
his cattle, Mr. Slaughter formed a partnership with
his son, C. C. Slaughter, and began driving cattle
through to Kansas. The first drove only consisted
of 800 head, but they brought the neat little sum
of $32,000. For the seven years up to and includ-
ing 1875, the herds of Slaughter & Son were driven
to Kansas points and from thence shipped to St.
Louis and Chicago. The drove in 1870 was proba-
bly the largest, numbering 3,000 head, and the

C. C.,' taking into business with him another son,
Peter, and in 1878 they sold and shipped 4,000
cattle. Six years later, on account of declining
health, Mr. Slaughter disposed of his cattle inter-
ests and afterwards devoted his time to the care of
his ranch and other property. He had at his Palo
Pinto ranch 1,280 acres of land, and owned 1,300
acres in other portions of the State, besides town
property in Mineral Wells. Securing his land when
nearly the entire country was open for selection, Mr.
Slaughter had one of the most desirable locations
in the country, and prized it more highly in remem-
brance of the hardships and dangers attendant upon
its settlement. During the first few years of his

.^ .


returns from this herd footed up $105,000. In
1870 Mr. Slaughter moved his family to Emporia,
Kan., in order that his children might have the
advantage of the superior educational facilities at
that point, but in 1875 he returned to Texas and
resumed operations on his old ranch in Palo Pinto
County. The number of cattle handled and the
money received from their sale can be expressed in
round figures, as follows: —

1868, 800 head, $32,000.00; 1869, 2,000 head,
$90,000.00; 1870,3,000 head, $105,000; 1871,2,000
head, $66,000.00; 1873,2,000 head, $66,000.00;
1874, 2,000 head, $60,000.00; 1865, 1,000 head,
$45,000.00. Such figures as these go a long way
toward impressing the reader with the importance
of the cattle business twenty years ago. In 1876
Mr. Slaughter dissolved partnership with his son.

residence in Palo Pinto County the Indians were
very troublesome, and Mr. Slaughter could
relate many incidents of border warfare from
the standpoint of an eye-witness and partic-
ipant. In 1864 he hail a skirmish with seven
Indians on Cedar creek, in Palo Pinto County,
several shots were exchanged, but the Indians were
finally frightened away. Three years later the In-
dians made a raid on his ranch and stole all the
horses, and John Slaughter, a son, received a
bullet wound in the breast. Skirmishes with the
red-skins were then of too common occurrence to
attract much attention beyond the immediate
neighborhood. The entire Texas border was a
battle-field, and those who lived on the Upper
Brazos had to guard themselves as best they could.
In 1866 Mr. Slaughter was driving a small bunch



of cattle on Dry creek, near Graham, when he was
attacked by thirteen Indians, but his carbine and
revolver proved too much for their courage, and
they retreated after he had wounded one of their
number. In the month of Apiil, 18fi9, a bunch of
Indians surrounded and massacred thirteen gov-
ernment teamsters near Flat Top Mountain, in
Young County. Mr. Slaughter was within two
miles of this place, camped with fourteen men,
holding 800 head of cattle which he had gathered.
The Indians attacked them, and they only escaped
through strategy. Six of the men were sent with
the cattle in the direction of Sand creek, and the
remainder of them, including Mr. Slaughter and
his son C. C, made a breastwork of the horses and
awaited an attack. Profiting by a deep ravine at
hand, some of the men crept cautiously away, and
suddenly appearing at another point, made a charge
upon the Indians, who supposed there were re-in-
forcements coming, and beat a retreat.

Mr. Slaughter was an earnest worker all his life,
and few men proved themselves so useful in so many
and varied capacities. He was for many years a
minister of the Baptist Church. During his minis-
try he baptized over 3,000 persons and helped to
ordain more preachers and organize more churches
than any other person in the State of Texas. When
Rev. Mr. Slaughter first came to Palo Pinto County,
in starting out to fill his appointments as minister,
he would saddle his horse, fill his saddle bags with
provisions, take along his picket rope and arm
himself with two six-shooters and his trusty carbine.
The distance between the places where he preached
being sometimes as great as sixty miles, it was
often necessary for him to camp over night by him-
self. Twice he was attacked by Indians, but es-
caped uninjured. On one occasion, while he was
preaching in the village of Palo Pinto, the county
was 80 filled with hostile Indians and wrought up

to such a pitch that Mr. Slaughter kept his six-
shooter and his carbine at his side during the ser-
mon, and every member of his congregation
was likewise armed. He never permitted busi-
ness or fear of the Indians to interfere with his
pastoral work, and always made it a point to keep
his engagements.

He first united with the Methodist Church in
1831, but in 1842 joined ^the Baptist Church and in
1844 was ordained to preach. He studied and
practiced medicine, and was for a number of years
the only physician in Palo Pinto County. It would
be impossible to overrate his usefulness during
those long years, when the citizens of the north-
western counties were practically isolated from the
world and dependent upon each other for comfort
and aid in times of extremity. Ever thoughtful
and kind, Mr. Slaughter gave freely of his time
and money to the poor of his community.

Eleven children were born to Mr. and Mrs.
Slaughter, six boys and five girls. Seven of them
are still living, as follows: —

C. C, Peter E., J. B., W. B., Fannie, Sarah
Jane, and Millie. Mrs. Slaughter died on the 6th
of January, 1894.

He died at his home, six miles north of Palo
Pinto, Texas, at 11 p. m., March 19, 1895. Dur-
ing his last illness he had the consolation of hav-
ing with him his three sons, C. C, J. B., and
W. B. Slaughter; his three daughters, Mrs. Jennie
Harris, Mrs. Millie Dalton, and Miss Fannie
Slaughter, and also his long-cherished friend, Eev.
Eufus C. Burleson, of Waco, and a number of
neighbors and other friends. His end was peace-
ful and in keeping with his Christian life. Just
before he died, he expressed his willingness to obey
the summons, his trust in God, and his belief in a
happy immortality.



A native of Georgia and for many years a promi-
nent citizen of Chambers County, Ala., came to
Texas in 1853, and located two miles east of Ander-
son, in Giimes County, where he continued plant-
ing in, which he had been formerly engaged. He
married first, on April 1st, 1834, Miss Lucinda

Cbipman, and after her death married, on January
16th, 1844, Miss Martha S. Stoneham, daughter of
Joseph Stoneham, and a niece of the venerable
Bryant Stoneham, of Stoneham Station, Grimes
County, Texas. He brought to Texas with him a
family of six children, four of whom were by his



first wife and two by his second. Of these children
three were daughters, all of whom married. They
are all deceased. A son, W. H. Parka, D. D., is
a clergyman of the Baptist Church, stationed at
Ennis, Texas. The Stonehams were among the
earliest settlers on Grimes Prairie, in Grimes

By Mr. Parks' second marriage, there were six
sons and two daughters. Two sons, Eldridge and
Terrill, are deceased. The four surviving sons are :
Joseph F., of Bryan; Erastus, of Anderson;
Charles, of Brenham ; and Edwin L., of Stoneham,
Texas. The two daughters are : Carrie, now Mrs.
W. G. Hatfield, of Ennis ; and Laura, wife of L. S.
Coffey, of Navasota. Mr. Parks died June 14,
1877, at sixty-eight years of age, and Mrs. Parks
in 1884, at fifty-eight years of age, both at Ander-

Joseph F. Parks is one of Bryan's successful
business men. He was born at Oak Boivery,
Chambers County, Ala., February 17, 1846. He

was reared on his father's farm and resided there
until 1869. He spent two years in the Confederate
army as a member of Chisholm's regiment, in
Major's brigade of Texas cavalry, and was attached
to Green's division in the Trans- Mississippi Depart-
ment. He was later transferred to Walker's divis-
ion (infantry), and was finally detailed as a clerk
in the commissary department of his ( Waterhouse's)
brigade and served in that capacity until the end of
the war, when he returned to Anderson, where he
was employed for two years as manager of his
father's farm. In September, 1869, he married
Miss Helen Garrett, a daughter of Judge O. H. P.
Garrett, one of the original settlers of the historic
old county of Washington. He farmed during the
year of 1870 in Washington County. Late in that
year he engaged in the livery business, which he
has since followed, first in Navasota, then in Bren-
ham and, since 1885, in Bryan. Mr. and Mrs.
Parks have five children, viz.: Ernest F., Joseph
F. , Eugene, Lilian, and Nannie.



Was born in Dallas County, Ala., in 1840. He
received his education at Auburn, Ala., and came
to Texas in 1860. He returned shortly afterward
to his native State, however, and enlisted for the
war in the Third Alabama Regiment. He served
through the war and surrendered with Gen. Lee's
• army. In 1866 he returned to Texas and engaged
in steamboating on the Trinity river. This busi-
ness was followed with gratifying financial success
during those exciting and troublesome times, when
transportation facilities were so meager in Texas.

In 1873 he settled in Brazoria County, and steam-
boat navigation on the Brazos engaged his atten-
tion for quite a while. In 1888 he was elected
County Clerk of his county, and his great popu-
larity is attested by the fact that he has been re-
elected at each succeeding election. He lived in
Columbia and has a most interesting family. He
has been an indefatigable worker for the upbuild-
ing of the section of the State in which he resides,
and few of his fellow-citizens are more widely
useful or influential.



Was born in Louisiana, in 1861, and in 1863 was
brought to Texas with his parents, who located in
Cherokee County, Texas. He received the benefit
of a thorough education in the primary and acade-
mic schools of Texas and then read law and was

admitted to the bar. For a number of years he
was actively identified with Texas journalism as a
newspaper owner and an editorial writer of rare
force and elegance. He was then, as he has since
been, a prominent figure and gallant and effective




fighter in the political arena, contending against
all comers for the continued ascendency of the
Democratic party in this State and the establish-
ment and maintenance of good government. He
was elected and served as Journal Clerk of the
Texas Senate of the Nineteenth and Twentieth
Legislatures and upon the assembling of the Twen-
tieth-first Legislature was elected Chief Clerk of
the House of Eepresentatives of that body. In
the years that have followed he has been repeatedly
elected a member of the Legislature, serving with
distinction both in the Senate and House of Repre-
sentatives, For the past decade or more, he has

taken an active and influential part in the counsels
of his party, has filled positions of honor in its
ranks and has done yeoman service ; he is recog-

Online LibraryJohn Henry BrownIndian wars and pioneers of Texas → online text (page 118 of 135)