John Henry Brown.

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During this period of delay the better class of men
among the volunteers determined to rid themselves
of the company of the roughs who had accompanied
them thus far on the voyage. The quondam deni-
zens of the " Five Points " and Bowery heroes had
been carrying matters with a high hand, brow-beat-
ing and fist-beating those of their comrades who
would submit to such treatment. Their conduct,
long obnoxious, had now become unbearable and
the gentlemen of the party banded themselves to-
gether and soundly thrashed the roughs and drove
them from the vessel with orders not to return.
The commander of the Texian man-of-war, Brutus
(anchored near at hand), cleared her decks as if
for action, sent an armed force aboard anddemanded
that the expelled men be allowed to return to the
Matawomkeg. Acquiescence was stoutly refused.
The remaining volunteers stated that not having been
mustered into the service they were not as yet Texian
soldiers and the commander of the Brutus had no
right to interfere with their affairs. The Texian
commander upon inveStigatioh acknowledged the
justness of their position, the propriety of the course
they had pursued with reference to the expulsion
of the rough characters who had been a source of
so much trouble and annoyance, and in due time
the two vessels proceeded to Pass Caballo, where
the volunteers disembarked March 1, 1836, acknowl-
edged the leadership of Morehouse and marched to
Matagorda. William Loring, a distingushed gen-
eral in the Confederate army during the war between
the States and later a general in the Egyptian
army ; Charles DeMorse, for many years editor of
the Clarksville Standard and a journalist of more
than State-wide reputation ; Lewis P. Cook, after-
ward Secretary ot State of the Republic of Texas ;
Captain William Gillam, afterward one of the most
efHcient officers of the regular army of the Eepub-
lic; the late Charles Ogsbury, of Cuero, and other
men of brilliant talents and high ability were
members of this party.

At Matagorda the volunteers were formally mus-
tered into service.

At this time the Alamo had fallen, the horrible
massacre of Fannin and his command at Goliad
had taken place, and Santa Anna was sweeping
eastward with his victorious columns. Morehouse
and his companions pushed forward, intending to
join General Houston's retreating army, but at
Casey's Ferry, on the Colorado, he was met by a
courier, who delivered orders from headquarters,
commanding him to gather together and protect the
families west of the Brazos river, and assist them
in their efforts to leave the country. The labor



assigned was efficiently performed, many of the
families being placed aboard a steamer at Colum-
bus, and sent to Galveston, and a few days before
the battle of San Jacinto, Morehouse and his men,
about 175 in number, including citizens and sol-
diers, found themselves encamped near Bingham's
plantation, situated at the head of Oyster Creek,
on the east side of the Brazos river. They pre-
pared to march up the river to Stafford's Point, on
the road from Houston to Eichmond, and attack
Cos, who had encamped there with 600 or 700 men.
Cos had pitched his camp in an open place with a
bayou on one side and so environed by timber as
to offer every opportunity for a successful surprise.
The night preceding the morning of the proposed
assault, however, he left a few men to keep up the
sentry fires and marched away with his force to
join Santa Anna. The Texian force halted at a
designated point and sent forward scouts to recon-
noitre. It was agreed that they should await the
return of this small advance body, resume the
march, take position in the timber and as soon as
it was light enough to see the sights of their
guns open the engagement". Shortly after day-
light the scouts returned with the unwelcome
news that the enemy had folded his tents like
the Arab and silently stolen away.

Alter the decisive battle of San Jacinto, Major
Wood served as one of the soldiers in the mounted
force that, under the leadership of General Rusk,
followed as far as Goliad the retreating army of
General Filisola as it marched toward the Rio
Grande to evacuate Texas according to the terms
of the agreement entered into between General
Houston and Santa Anna.

At Goliad, Major Wood assisted in the burial of
the charred remains of Fannin's men, and listened
to the eloquent oration pronounced by General
Rusk at the edge of the pit in which they were
interred. The remains consisted of skulls, bits
of bone and blackened viscera. Long after the
performance of these affecting funeral rites, he
found in the thickets near by the scene of the holo-
caust a number of skeletons supposed to be those
of members of Fannin's command, who attempted
on the day of the butchery to make their escape
and were overtaken and cut down by the Mexican

After the war he went to Victoria and took
charge of the horses in the quartermaster's depart-
ment and held the position for about six months.
According to a law enacted by the Texas Congress
the horses and cattle of all Mexicans who had
adhered to the cause of the enemy, and abandoned
the country during the war, were declared govern-

ment property and under this act it was the duty of
the quartermaster to collect and corral such stock.
Major Wood, as pay for his services, was given by
the quartermaster. Colonel Caldwell, an order for
cattle and began stock raising near Victoria.
Later he established himself on the Lavaca river,
in Lavaca County, near where the town of Edna
now stands. In the fall of 1845 he went to Corpus
Christi and had a conference with General Zachary
Taylor (then preparing to occupy the Rio Grande
frontier), in which he said that it was his desire to
move his cattle to the Nueces river, in what is now
San Patricio County, if General Taylor would
promise to furnish, as far as might be in his power,
protection from raiding Indians and Mexicans.
The promise was readily given, and early in the
year 1846 Major Wood located on the Nueces. In
August, 1849, he moved to Refugio County and
established a home at St. Marys, on Copano bay,
where he has since continuously resided.

At that early day Southwest Texas was infested
with bands of hostile Indians. He witnessed many
of their shocking atrocities, and on several occa-
sions was a member of pursuing parties that sought
to wreak vengeance upon the treacherous and
blood-thirsty savages, who, at short intervals,
swept through the country, committing murder and
other crimes too horrible to mention, pillaging
hamlets and driving off stock.

While living in San Patricio County, he and other
pioneers were notified by a courier, who rode in
hot haste from the settlement (consisting of two
families, the Egrys and Waelders), situated near
where St. Marys now stands, of an Indian outrage
perpetrated at that place.

Jacob Craing, a little orphan boy employed by
the Waelders, went out to a corn field (located on
the side of a gully, distant only a few hundred yards
from where Major Wood's palatial home is now
situated), to stake his horse and was captured by a
party of prowling Comanches. Major Wood and
companions knew that it was useless to strike the
trail of the Indians and attempt pursuit and accord-
ingly cut-in to the Tuscoosa, sixty miles distant,
intending to attack the Indians at a crossing, sit-
uated at a point on the stream in the present
county of Live Oak. The men were on a knoll
when, toward the middle of the afternoon, they saw
the Indians advancing. The Texians numbered
eleven men; the Indians probably a few more.
The two parties were nearly evenly matched and
the Texians would have intercepted and charged the
Indians in the open country had it not been that a
number of the men had neglected to fix their guns
and some delay was caused in getting ready for the



attack. The Indians succeeded in making their
way into a dense thicket and separated in parties
of two and three. Everything having quickly been
placed in readiness, the Texians dashed into the
mesquite and chaparral. Major "Wood, as the party
charged by, called to Jacob Craing: " Stay with
the horses! Stay with the horses!" The little
fellow obeyed and stayed with the loose horses at
the edge of the timber. Major Wood came upon
two Indians in the brush and, when at close quar-
ters,' they opened on him a hot fire with their bows
and arrows, to which he replied by impartially be-
stowing upon each of them a load of buckshot from
his double-barrel gun. Although badly wounded
they continued to fire at Mm. His gun, like all the
fire-arms of that period, was a muzzle-loader and
he had no time in which to recharge the piece. He
drew one of his holster pistols, intending to fire
again, but knowing that the trigger was out of fix
and that he would probably miss his aim and the
Indians escape, he called to a companion who was
passing and the man quickly dispatched the sav-
ages. Three Indians were killed in the fight, sev-
eral were wounded and forty or fifty stolen horses
were recaptured. Two of the Texians were wounded
and two of their horses were killed. The Texians
who were wounded w§re in the rear of Major Wood.
One of them had his arm pinned to his side by an
arrow and the other was shot in the leg and crippled
for life. Jacolb Craing, although a boy eleven or
twelve years of age, had suffered so intensely from
terror while a captive of the Indians that when res-
cued he seemed to have forgotten his knowledge of
English and only responded with a dazed stare when
addressed in that language. When, however,
Captain Snively spoke to him in German his face
lit up with intelligence and he burst into tears and
sobs. The strain on his nervous system had been
too much for the little fellow and when the tension
was relaxed he became so ill that it was feared he
would die on the road to San Patricio. With the
exception of those mounted by Major Wood and
the boy, the horses of the Texians were broken
down with travel and could proceed but slowly and
after consulting with Captain Snively Major Wood
determined to push on with the lad to town, where
medical assistance could be procured. Turning to
Jacob, he said: "Whip up your horse, my little
man, and let's ride to San Patricio." The boy
obeyed. The excitement of fast riding revived him
and in a few hours he had completely recovered
from his indisposition. He is now living in Bee
County, where he has accumulated a competency
and raised a family.

During the war between Mexico and the United

States Major Wood made frequent trips to Browns-
ville for supplies and more than once witnessed the
robbing of wagon trains by the soldier-banditti that
infested the roads. These men did not hesitate to
swoop down on unprotected trains and appropriate
horses, wagons and goods, in fact, anything that
excited their cupidity, aften despoiling the owners
of their entire cargoes. Although he often came
in contact with these bands and had experiences
more interesting than amusing he was never se-
riously molested.

During the war between the States he entered the
Confederate army as a volunteer and served in
Texas as a soldier and Major, in the coast guards.

In politics Major Wood is a Democrat, but has
never been a politician in any sense of the word.
For fifteen or twenty years he served the people of
Eef ugio as a member of the County Commissioners'
Court, and made a faithful and efficient public
officer. A few years since he became a member of
the Catholic Church. He has donated to Nazareth
Convent at Victoria 900 acres of valuable land ad-
joining that town.

In Victoria, February 1, 1842, he was united in
marriage to Miss Nancy Clark, a noble Christian
lady, who, for nearly half a century, was his loved
counsellor, friend, companion and devoted wife —
rendering his home the abode of domestic happi-
ness and love, lightening all his cares and filling his
days and years with perennial sunshine.

In March, 1891, she died of heart failure at the
residence of her daughter, Mrs. Maria Carroll, at
Victoria. Her death was a sad blow to her hus-
band and children. Her memory is enshrined in
the heart of him whose every thought during all
their life-journey concentrated around the desire to
render her happy, and it will live and glow with fire
supernal as long as the spark of life lingers in his
breast and until the golden links of the severed
chain are reunited on the shores of the ever beauti-
ful river.

Maj. and Mrs. Wood had twelve children : Maria,
Catherine, Richard H., Agnes, James, Cora, Tobias
D., Ida, John, Willie, Julia and Marian.

Catherine, who was the wife of Henry Sullivan,
of San Patricio, died in New Jersey, where she had
gone in search of health, in July, 1867.

Marian, who was a nun of the order of the In-
carnate Word in the convent at Victoria, died in
February, 1890.

James died at G-oliad, March 15, 1875, leaving a
widow (wee Miss Mary Wilder) and one child.

Agnes is the wife of Albert J. Kennedy of Bee-

Maria is the wife of W. C. Carroll of Victoria.



Cora is the wife of Peter Mahon of Victoria.
Julia is tiie wife of William C. George of Bee-

Ida is a nun of the order of the Incarnate Word
in the convent at Victoria.

Eichard H. married Miss Cannie Howard at St.
Mary's, and is now living at Rockport.

Tobias D., married Miss Mary Mahon of Victo-
ria, and is living at that place.

John, living at Beeville, married Miss Milly Sul-
livan, of San Patricio, who died in February, 1891.
Willie married Miss Nellie Bowlen, of Victoria,
and now resides in that place.

Maj. Wood has twenty-five grandchildren.
By his fine business ability Maj. Wood accumu-
lated an immense fortune, the bulk of which he has
divided among his children, giving them fine starts
in the race of life. His remaining estate consists
of 35,000 acres of fine land in Southwest Texas,
7,000 cattle, 600 or 700 head of horses, a number
of fine mules, and valuable real estate in other
parts of Texas. His elegant home fronts upon
Copano Bay, affording a view unsurpassed in
beauty, and is situated somewhat more than a mile
from the quaint, sleepy, little fishing village of St.

Marys. It is fitted with every modern convenience,
and here, surrounded by an excellent library, and
receiving every attention from devoted domestics,
he spends the greater part of the time during the
autumn and winter months enjoying delightful
quietude and in the summer months surrounded by
a bevy of welcome guests.

He often visits the homes of his children, where
the place of honor is always reserved for him by
loving hands and where, seated by the ingleside,
prattling grandchildren play about his knees.

He is a man of high intellectual force and a gen-
tleman of that superb old school that has few
representatives left. He reminds the visitor at his
hospitable mansion of the Louisiana planters of the
olden time — Chesterfieldian, generous, hospitable
and brave.

As a young man he started without adventitious
aids and has succeeded in all those objects, the at-
tainment of which are worthy of ambition. He
has manfully and successfully run life's race and
now, surrounded by loving children and grand-
children and hosts of friends and respected for his
virtues by all who know him, he is enjoying in ease
the calm evening of a useful and well spent life.



The subject of this sketch, Benjamin Armistead
Shepherd, was born May 14th, 1814, in Fluvanna
County, Va., at the old home place established by
his forefathers in the early days of the settlement
of this country.

He passed his youth on the paternal estate, in
the meantime acquiring the elements of an educa-
tion, till at the age of sixteen he entered a country
store as clerk, laying the foundation of that busi-
ness knowledge which was afterwards to make him
an accomplished merchant and banker. At the
age of nineteen, in order to widen his sphere of ex-
perience and usefulness, and to give scope to his
budding ambition, he left the paternal home, and
mounting horse, made his way to Nashville, Tenn.,
to seek employment in a new field.

He found a place in the establishment of Samuel
Morgan & Co. , and by close application and great
industry succeeded in giving entire satisfaction to
his employers. As a token of their esteem, when a

few years later he left them, they presented him
with a fine gold watch which he carried till his
death, often referring to the gift with the fond con-
sciousness that he had, in his early days, as indeed
ever after, performed the full measure of his duty.

From Nashville, in 1837, he moved to New Or-
leans, where he obtained employment in a large
commission house as bookkeeper, and here he
remained till 1839.

During these years of commercial distress and
ruin to the whole country, when credit was utterly
destroyed, Mr. Shepherd gained an experience
which made a deep impression on his mind, and
which he never forgot. It made a naturally cautious
and conservative temperament doubly cautious and
prudent. When, in after years, tempting opportu-
nities of speculative ventures presented themselves,
his mind reverted to the events of the " panic of
'37," when old-established and wealthy houses
went down before the hurricane of financial disas-




ter, and he chose the safer and surer course of
buildiug up his fortunes.

Removing to Galveston in 1839, he engaged in
business with A. C. Crawford, under the firm name
of Crawford & Shepherd, and this continued till
1841, when he moved to Houston, where he founded
a business for himself, soon after admitting into
partnership Mr. J. A. Burke. Under the firm
name of B. A. Shepherd & Burke he continued in
the mercantile business till 1855, when, disposing
of his interest to his partner, he embarked in the
banking business exclusively, thus founding the
first house devoted solely to banking in the State.

He bent his energy and ability to building up and
extending this business from the period of its incep-
tion to the breaking out of the war, when, inviting
his customers to withdraw their deposits, he retired
from active pursuits until the war should end. But
he had not confined his attention to his bank alone.
He Was largely interested in, and president of, a
Hnfe of steamboats plying between Houston and
Galveston before a railway was thought of between
the two cities, and he was one of the projectors of
the Houston & Texas Central Railwa,y, and a mem-
ber of its first Board of Directors. He also organ-
ized a company for the purpose of building a plank
Jroad on the old Washington stage road, which had
graded some distance when the Central Railroad
acquired it and used it as its road-bed.

During the war, Mr. Shepherd's sympathies were
■aroused and sustained in behalf of the families of
the Confederate soldiers left in needy circum-
^stances, and he contributed liberally of his means
to such as he found most needy and deserving.
The fact that his oldest son, the only one who was
'of age to join the army, had enlisted in the Fifth
Texas Regiment (Hood's Brigade) strengthened
his natural sympathy for the Southern cause, and
he availed himself of every opportunity to exhibit
it. He used to say that he had no heart to engage
In business enterprises while his country was going
through that terrible ordeal.

In 1866 he re-established his bank, under the firm
Wame of B. A. Shepherd & Co., having admitted
into the partnership A. Wattermack, who had been
Ifor many years his confidential clerk, and J. A.
Shepherd, a nephew. In 1867, having acquired a
l&,rge interest in the First National Bank of Houston,
he merged the business of his private bank into that
Of the National Bank, and became its president, in
Which position he continued for the remainder of
his life. But, notwithstanding this merge, the
institution Was known popularly as " Shepherd's
Bank," and this name still clings to it atnongst the
older residents. Under his able management the

First National Bank of Houston grew and prospered,
and was recognized as an important factor in build-
ing up the business of Houston. The bank was
B. A. Shepherd, and enjoyed the confidence and
respect of the public, both at home and abroad. At
his death the property passed to his family, who
almost entirely own it and continue its successful

Besides the bank Mr. Shepherd acquired a large
fortune, which he enjoyed modestly and sensibly,
without the least ostentation. He was proud of his
success in life, but not unduly so, attributing it to
the interposition of Providence with becoming thank-
fulness. In fact, long before he became a member
of the Church he manifested characteristics which
are commonly called Christian. Said a partner of
his in early days : " Shepherd was the best natural
Christian I ever met."

After a long, useful, and honorable life, he died
December 24th, 1891, in the seventy-eighth year of
his age.

Like the great majority of the pioneers of Texas,
Mr. Shepherd was a man of strong character and
individuality. Such qualities are necessary to those
who, breaking away from the conventionalities of
older civilizations, go forth to establish and build
upon new foundations.

Perhaps the most pronounced trait of Mr. Shep-
herd's character was his independence. He valued
his fortune chiefly because it enabled him to feel
and be independent. Having decided upon a course
of action, because primarily it was right, he per-
mitted the interference of no motives of policy in
the attainment of the object in view. He pursued
his aim careless of what others thought. He was
accustomed to do what to him seemed right, or to
avoid doing what to him seemed wrong, regardless
of adverse criticism. A marked instance of this
trait was his refusal to engage in the liquor traffic
as a part of his business, when it was the universal
custom of merchants in those early days to do so.
Though large profits resulted from that character of
trade, he was unwilling to avail himself of them.
It was not in accordance with his conception of

Of his private charities many of the living can,
and many of the dead, if living, could, bear witness.

He was accustomed to subscribe liberally to all
charitable objects which appealed to his generosity.
On his seventy-fifth birthday he endowed a fund,
named the B. A. Shepherd Charity Fund, with $20,-
000, the interest on which is to be used for the
benefit of the poor of Houston.

His integrity was unquestioned ; it was prover-
bial. It is believed that no man who knew him or




knew of him ever said that his word was not as
good as his bond. He was upright and just, and
his life was pure and clean. He used to say that
he was prouder of his good name than of any suc-
cess which he had achieved in other directions.
He was married in Galveston, October 29th,

1840, to Mary Hobson, who was born in Nashville,
Tenn., February 28th, 1821, and died in Houston,
February 20th, 1888.

The surviving children are: Mrs. A. P. Boot,
Mrs. O. L. Cochran, Mrs. W. H. Palmer, Mrs. M.
L. Roberts, and Frank T Shepherd.



One of the very few who participated in the stir-
ring events of the Texas Revolution and the period
of the Republic of Texas — one of the noblest of
the veterans who remain among us — was born in
what was then Harrison, Va., but is now Marion
County,WestVa., February 5th, 1821, of respected
parents. He was the second child and only son of
John W. Darlington, an Irishman, who came to
Virginia from his native country when very young ;
became an expert penman and successful school-
teacher; was a soldier in the War of 1812-15;
fought in the battle of New Orleans, and died in
the prime of life. The wife of John "W. Darling-
ton, Sr., was Henrietta Lang, a daughter of Stan-
bury Lang, a private in the Continental army
during the Revolutionary War, and Lady Lang, a
Scottish lady of respectable lineage. Mrs. Dar-
lington was left a widow without means, and the
little son was by custom and law bound out to earn
his livelihood and make his own way in the world.
His master, an avaricious man, imposed heavy
tasks upon the somewhat freil youth and in various
ways persecuted him. Young Darlington's proud
spirit rebelled, and he left his master, and heard of

Online LibraryJohn Henry BrownIndian wars and pioneers of Texas → online text (page 121 of 135)