John Henry Brown.

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County and within fifteen or sixteen miles of their
home, when they were suddenly attacked by
thirteen Indian warriors who immediately killed
Hibbins and Creath, made captives Mrs. Hibbins
and her two children, took possession of all the
effects and at leisure moved off up the country
with perfect unconcern. They traveled slowly up
through the timbered country, the Peach creek
region between the Guadalupe and the Colorado,
securely tying Mrs Hibbins at night and lying
encircled around her. About the second day, at
one of their camps, the baby cried with pain for
some time, when one of the Indians seized it by the
feet and mashed its brains against a tree, all in the
presence of its helpless mother. For two or three
days at this time Mrs. Hibbins distinctly heard
the guns in the siege of the Alamo, at least sixty
miles to the west. That she did so was made cer-
tain a little later by her imparting the news to
others till then unaware of that now world-
renowned struggle.

In due time her captors crossed the Colorado at
the mouth of Shoal creek, now in the city of
Austin. They moved on three or four miles and
encamped on the south edge of a cedar brake,
where a severe norther came up and caused them
to remain three nights and two days. On the third
night the Indians were engaged in a game till late
and then slept soundly. Mrs. Hibbins determined,
if possible, to escape. Cautiously, she freed her-
self of the cords about her wrists and ankles and

stepping over the bodies of her unconscious guards,
stole away, not daring even to imprint a kiss on
her only and first-born child, then a little over six
years of age.

Daylight found her but a short distance from
camp, not over a mile or two, and she secreted
herself in a thicket from which she soon saw and
heard the Indians in pursuit. The savages com-
pelled the little boy to call aloud, "Mama! Ma-
ma!" But she knew that her only hope for her-
self and child was in escape, and remained silent.
After a considerable time the Indians disappeared.
Bat she remained concealed still longer, till satisfied
her captors had left. She then followed the creek
to the Colorado and, as rapidly as possible, traveled
down the river, shielded by the timber along its

The crow of a chicken late in the afternoon sent
a thrill through her agonizing heart. The welcome
sound was soon repeated several times and thither
she hastened with a ileal born of her desperate con-
dition, for she did not certainly know she was in a
hundred miles of a habitation. In about two miles
she reached the outer cabin on the Colorado, or
rather one of the two outer ones — Jacob Harrell
occupying the one she entered and Reuben Horns-
by the other. She was so torn with thorns and
briars, so nearly without raiment, and so bruised
about the face, that her condition was pitiable.
Providentially (as every old pioneer untainted with
heathenism believed), eighteen rangers, the first
ever raised under the revolutionary government of
Texas, and commanded by Capt. John J. Tum-
linson, had arrived two days before and were
encamped at the cabin of. Hornsby. To this warm-
hearted and gallant officer Mrs. Hibbins was per-
sonally known and to him she hastily narrated her
sad story.

Tumlinson knew the country somewhat and felt
sure he could find the Indians at a given point
further up the country. He traveled nearly all
night, halting only a short while before day to rest
his horses and resuming the march at sunrise, and
about 9 o'clock came upon the Indians, encamped,
but on the eve of departure. I have the privilege,
as to what followed, of quoting the exact language
of Capt. Tumlinson, written for me forty years ago,
as follows : —

" The Indians discovered us just as we discov-
ered them, but had not time to get their horses, so
they commenced running on foot towards the
mountain thickets. I threw Lieut. Joseph Rogers,
with eight men, below them — and with the others
I dashed past and took possession of their route
above them. The Indians saw that the route



above and below them was in our possession, and
struck off for the mountain thicket nearest the side
of the trail. I ordered Lieut. Rogers to charge,
and fell upon them simultaneously. I saw an
Indian aiming his rifle at me, but knew that he
must be a better marksman than I had seen among
them to hit me going at my horse's speed, and did
not heed him till I got among them. Then I
sprang from my horse quick as lightning, and
turned towards him ; at the same instant he. flred ;
the ball passed through the bosom of my shirt and
struck my horse in the neck, killing him immedi-
ately. I aimed deliberately and fired. The Indian
sprang a few feet into the air, gave one whoop and
fell dead within twenty-five feet of me. The fight
now became general. Pell-mell we fell together.
The Indians, thirteen in number, armed with bows
and rifles, were endeavoring to make good their
retreat towards the thicket. Several of them fell,
and two of my men were wounded ; when finally
they effected an entrance into the thicket, which
was so dense that it would have been madness to
have attempted to penetrate it, and we were forced
So cease the pursuit. I dispatched Rogers after
the child, the horses and mules of the Indians,
whilst I remained watching the thicket to guard
against, surprise. He found the child in the Indian
camp tied on the back of a wild mule, with his
robe and equipments about Lim fixed on for the
day's march, and had to shoot the mule in order to
get the child. He also succeeded in getting hold
of all the animals of the Indians, and those they
had stolen. My men immediately selected the best
horse in the lot, which they presented to me in place
of the one that was killed.

•'We watched for the Indians a while longer;
and in the meantime sent a runner for the doctor
to see to the wounded. I sent a portion of the
men under the command of Rogers with the child,
and the wounded men and I brought up the rear.
The wounded were Elijah Ingram, shot in the arm,
the ball ranging upwards to the shoulder ; also
Hugh M. Childers, shot through the leg. Of the
Indians, four were killed. We arrived that night
at Mr. Harrell's, where we found Mrs. Hibbins,
the mother of the child. Lieut. Rogers presented
the child to its mother, and the scene which here
ensued beggars description, A mother meeting
with her child released from Indian captivity, re-
covered as it were from the very jaws of death!
Not an eye was dry. She called us brothers, and
every other endearing name, and would have fallen
on her knees to worship us. She hugged her child
to her bosom as if fearful that she would again lose
him. And — but 'tis useless to say more."

Lieut. Joseph Rogers was a brother of Mrs. Gen.
Burleson, and was killed in a battle with the Indians
a few years later. Thus the mother and child,
bereft of husband and father, and left without a
relative nearer than Southern Illinois, found them-
selves in the families of Messrs. Harrell and
Hornsby, the outside settlers on the then feeble
frontier of the Colorado — large-hearted and sym-
pathizing avant-couriers in the advancing civili-
zation of Texas. The coincident fall of the Alamo
came to them as a summons to pack up their effects
and hasten eastward, as their fellow-citizens below
were already doing.

The mother and child accompanied these two
families in their flight from the advancing Mexi-
cans, till they halted east of the Trinity, where, in a
few weeks, couriers bore the glorious news of vic-
tory and redemption from the field of San Jacinto.
Soon they resumed their" weary march, but this
time for their homes. In Washington County Mrs.
Hibbins halted, under the friendly roof of a sym-
pathizing pioneer. There she also met a former
neighbor, in the person of Mr. Claiborne Stinnett,
an intelligent and estimable man, who, with Capt.
Henry S. Brown (father of the writer of this)
represented De Witt's Colony in the first delibera-
tive body ever assembled in Texas — the able and
patriotic convention assembled at San Felipe,
October 1, 1832.

After a widowhood of twelve months, Mrs. Hib-
bins married Mr. Stinnett and they at once (in the
spring of 1837) returned to their former home on
the Guadalupe. In the organization of Gonzales
County, a little later, Mr. Stinnett was elected
Sheriff. Late in the fall, with apackhorse, he went
to Linnville, on the bay, to buy needed supplies.
Loading this extra horse with sugar, coffee, etc.,
and with seven hundred dollars in cash, he started
home. But instead of following the road by Vic-
toria, he traveled a more direct route through the
prairie. When, about night, he was near the
Arenosa creek, about twenty miles northeast of
Victoria, he discovered a camp fire in a grove of
timber and, supposing it to be a camp of hunters,
went to it. Instead, it was the camp of two " run-
away" negro;;men, seeking their way to Mexico.
They murdered Mr. Stinnett, took his horses, pro-
visions and money, and, undiscovered, reached
Mexico. The fate of the murdered man remained
a mystery. No trace of him was found for five
years, until, in the fall of 1842, one of the negroes
revealed all the facts to an American prisoner in
Mexico (the late Col. Andrew Neill), and so de-
scribed the locality that the remains of Mr. Stinnett
were found and interred.



Thus this estimable lady lost her third husband —
two by red savages and one by black — and was
again alone, without the ties of kinship, excepting
her child, in all the land. Yet she was still young,
attractive in person and pure of heart, so that, two
years later, she was wooed and won by Mr. Philip
Howard. Unwisely, in June, 1840, soon after their
marriage, they abandoned their home on the Guad-
alupe and removed to the ancient Mission of San
Juan, eight miles below San Antonio. It was a
hundred miles through a wilderness often traversed
by hostile savages. Hence they were escorted by
seven young men of the vicinity, consisting of Byrd
Lockhart, Jr. (of that well-known pioneer family),
young McGary, two brothers named Powers (one
of whom was a boy of thirteen and both the sons of
a widow), and three others whose names are for-
gotten. On arriving at the mission in the fore-
noon their horses were hobbled out near by and
little John McSherry (the child of Mrs. How-
ard, recovered from the Indians in 1836, and at
this time in his eleventh year) was left on
a pony to watch them ; but within half an
hour a body of Indians suddenly charged upon
them, captured some of the horses, and little John
barelj' escaped by dashing into the camp, a vivid
reminder to the mother that her cup of affliction
was not yet full. In a day or two the seven young
men started on their return home. About noon
next day, a heavy shower fell, wetting their guns;
hut was soon followed by sunshine, when they all
flred off their guns to clean and dry them.' Most
imprudently they all did so at the same time, leav-
ing no loaded piece. This volley attracted the
keen ear of seventy hostile Comanches who other-
wise would not have discovered them. In a
moment or two they appeared and cried out that

they were friendly Toncahuas. Tne ruse succeeded
and they were allowed to approach and encircle the
now helpless young men. Six of them were in-
stantlj' slain, scalped and their horses and effects,
with the boy Powers, carried off. During the
second night afterwards, in passing through a
cedar brake at the foot of the Cibolo mountains, he
slid quietly off his horse and escaped. In three or
four days he reached the upper settlements on the
Guadulupe, and gave the first information of these
harrowing facts.

Thus again admonished, Mr. and Mrs. Howard
removed low down on the San Antonio river, below
the ancient ranch of Don Carlos de la Garza, in the
lower edge of Goliad County, confident that no hos-
tile savage would ever visit that secluded locality.
But they were mistaken. Early in the spring of
1842, the hostiles made a night raid all around
them, stole a number of their horses, murdered
two of their neighbors, Mr. and Mrs. Gilleland, and
carried off their little son and daughter ; but a party
of volunteers, among whom were the late Maj.
A-lfred S. Thurmond, of Aransas, and the late Col.
Andrew Neill, of Austin, overhauled and defeated
the Indians and recaptured the children. The boy
is now Wm. M. Gilleland, long of Austin, and the
little girl is the widow of the late Rev. Orseneth
Fisher, a distinguished Methodist preacher.

Following this sixth admonition, Mr. and Mrs.
Howard at once removed to the present vicinity of
Hallettsville, in Lavaca County, and thencefoward
her life encountered no repetition of the horrors
which had so terribly followed her footsteps through
the previous thirteen 5''ears. Peace and a fair share
of prosperity succeeded. In 1848 Mr. Howard was
made County Judge, and some years later they
located in Bosque County.

The Snively Expedition Against tine IVIexican Santa Fe

Traders in 1843.

The year 1843 was one of the gloomiest, at least
during its first half, ever experienced in Texas.
The perfidious and barbarous treatment given the
" Texian Santa Fe " prisoners of 1841, after they
had capitulated as prisoners of war, preceded by
the treason of one of their number, a wretch named
William P. Lewis, had created throughout Texas a

desire for retaliation. The expedition so surren-
dered to the overwhelming force of Armijo, the
Governor of New Mexico, was both commercial
and peaceful, but of necessity accompanied by a
large armed escort to protect it against the hostile
Indians, covering the entire distance. The wisdom
and the legality of the measure, authorized by



President Lamar, on his own responsibility, were
severely criticised by many ; but Texas was a unit
in indignation at the treacherous, dastardly and
brutal treatment bestowed upon their brave and
chivalrous citizens after honorable surrender,
among whom were many well-known soldiers and
gentlemen, including Hugh McLeod, the com-
mander, Jose Antonio Navarro, William G. Cooke
and Dr. Richard F. Brenham as Peace Commis-
missioners, Capt. Matthew Caldwell, Geo. W.
Kendall of New Orleans, young Frank Coombes
of Kentucky, Capt. Houghton and an array of
first-class privates, the choice spirits of the coun-
try, of whom my friend of forty-eight years,
Thomas W. Hunt, now of Bosque County, is still
an honorable sample.

The triplicate Mexican raid of 1842, ending with
the glorious but unsuccessful battle of Mier, inten-
sified the desire for retaliatory action towards
Mexico and especially so towards New Mexico.

As the result of this feeling, on the 28th of
January, 1843, Jacob Snively, who had held the
staff rank of Colonel in the Texian army, applied
to the government for authority to raise men and
proceed to the upper boundaries of Texas, and
capture a rich train belonging to Armijo and other
Santa Fe Mexicans. Permission was issued by
George W. Hill, Secretary of War, on the 16th of
February, with provisos that half the spoils should
go to the government and should only be taken in
honorable warfare.

On the 24th of April, near the present town of
Denison, the expedition, about 175 strong, was
organized, with Snively unanimouily chosen as
commander. A few others joined a day or two
later, making a total of about 190. They followed
the old Chihuahua trail west till assured of being
west of the hundredth meridian, then bore north,
passing along the western base of the Wichita
mountains, and on the 27th of May encamped on
the southwest bank of the Arkansas. This was
said to be about forty miles below the Missouri-
Santa Fe crossing, but was only eight or ten miles
from the road on the opposite side of the river.

It was known before they started that a Mexican
train of great value (for that day) would pass from
Independence to Santa Fe, some time in the spring,
and as the route for a long distance lay in Texas, it
was considered legitimate prey.

They soon learned from some men from Bent's
Fort that six hundred Mexican troops were waiting
above to escort the caravan from the American
boundary to Santa' Fe. Snively kept out scouts
and sought to recruit his horses. His scouts in-
spected the camp of the enemy and found their

number as reported, about six hundred. On the
20th of June a portion of the command had a fight
with a detachment of the Mexicans, killing seven-
teen and capturing eighty prisoners, including
eighteen wounded, without losing a man, and
securing a fine supply of horses, saddles and arms.
Snively held the prisoners in a camp with good
water. On the 24th three hundred Indians sud-
denly appeared, but, seeing Snively's position and
strength, professed friendship. There was no con-
fidence, however, in their profession, excepting so
far as induced by a fear to attack.

The long delay created great discontent and
when scout°s came in on the 28th and reported no
discovery of the caravan, a separation took place.
Seventy of the men, selecting Capt. Eli Chandler
as their commander, started home on the 29th.
Snively, furnishing his wounded prisoners with
horses to ride, the others with a limited number of
guns for defense against the Indians and such pro-
visions as he could spare, set the whole -party at
liberty. Whereupon he pitched another camp
farther up the river to await the caravan, perfectly
confident that he was west of the hundredth meri-
dian and (being on the southwest side of the Ar-
kansas, the boundary line from that meridian to
its source), therefore, in. Texas. Subsequent sur-
veys proved that he was right. By a captured
Mexican he learned that the caravan was not far
distant escorted by one hundred and ninety-six
United States dragoons, commanded by Capt.
Philip St. George Cooke. On June 30th they were
discovered by the scouts and found to have also
two pieces of artillery. Cooke soon appeared,
crossed the river, despite the protest of Snively
that he was on Texas soil, and planted his guns so
as to rake the camp. He demanded unconditional
surrender and there was no other alternative to the
outrage. Cooke allowed them to retain ten guns
for the one hundred and seven men present, com-
pelled to travel at least four hundred miles through
a hostile Indian country, without a human habita-
tion ; but their situation was not so desperate as
he intended, for a majority of the men, before it
was too late, buried their rifies and double-barreled
shot-guns in the friendly sand mounds, and meekly
surrendered to Cooke the short escopetas they had
captured from the Mexicans. Cooke immediately
re-crossed the river and slept. He awakened to a
partial realization of his harsh and unfeeling act ;
and sent a message to Snively that he would escort
as many of his men as would accept the invitation
into Independence, Missouri. About forty-two of
the men went, among whom were Capt. Myers F.
Jones of Fayette County, his nephew John Rice






Jones, Jr., formerly of Washington County, Mis-
souri, and others whose names cannot be recalled.
With Cooke, on a health-seeking trip, was Mr.
Joseph S. Pease, a noted hardware merchant of
St. Louis, and an old friend of the writer, who
bitterly denounced Cooke and defended the cause
of the Texians on reaching St. Louis.

Col. Snively hastily dispatched a courier advising
Capt. Chandler of these events and asking him to
halt. He did so and on the 2d of July the two
parties re-united. On the 4th the Indians stam-
peded sixty of their horses, but in the fight lost
twelve warriors, while one Texian was killed and
one wounded.

On the 6th the scouts reported that the caravan
had crossed the Arkansas. Some wanted to pursue
and attack it — others opposed. Snively resigned
on the 9th. Sixty-flve men selected Chas. A. War-
fleld as leader (not the Charles A. Warfield after-
wards representative of Hunt County, and more
^.recently of California, but another man of the
same name who, it is believed, died before the Civil
War.) Col. Snively adhered to this party. They
pursued the caravan till the 13th, when they found
the Mexican escort to be too strong and abandoned
the enterprise and started home. Warfleld resigned
and Snively was re-elected. On the 20th they were
assaulted by a band of Indians, but repulsed them,
anfl after the usual privations of such a trip in
mid-summer, they arrived at Bird's Fort, on the
West Fork of the Trinity, pending the efforts to
negotiate a treaty at that place, as elsewhere set

forth in this work. Chandler and party, including
Capt. S. P. Eoss, had already gotten in.

Besides those already named as in this expedition
was the now venerable and honorable ex-Senator
Stewart A. Miller, of Crockett, who kept a daily
diary of the trip, which was in my possession for
several years and to which Yoakum also had access.
The late founder of the flourishing town bearing
his name, Robert A. Terrell, was also one of the
party, and a number of others who are scattered
over the country, but their names cannot be

When this news reached St. Louis, the writer
was on a visit to that city, the guest of Col. A. B.
Chambers, editor of the Republican, in whose
family six years of his boyhood had been passed.
The press of the country went wild in bitter de-
nunciation of the Texians as robbers and pirates.
The Republican alone of the St. Louis press
seemed willing to hear both sides. Capt. Myers
F. Jones and party published a short defensive card,
supplemented by a friendly one from Mr. Joseph
S. Pease. That was nearly forty-flve years ago,
when the writer had just graduated from contests
withMexican freebooters, runningfor the ten months
next prior to the battle of Mier. He could not
submit in silence, and published in the Republican
a complete recapitulation of the outrages, robberies
and murders committed in 1841 and 1842 by the
Mexicans upon the people of Texas, closing with a
denunciation of the conduct of Capt. Philip St.
George Cooke.

The Thrilling Mission of Conmmissioner Joseph C. Eldridge to

the Wild Tribes in 1843, by Authority of President

Houston — Hamilton P. Bee, Thomas Torrey —

The Three Delawares, Jim Shaw, John

Connor and Jim Second Eye —

The Treaty.

When the year 1843 opened, Gen. Sara. Houston
was serving his second term as President of the
Republic of Texas, and the seat of government was
temporarily at the town of Washington-on-the
Brazos. He had uniformly favored a peace policy
toward the Indians, whenever it might become

practicable to conclude a general treaty with the
numerous wild and generally hostile tribes inhabit-
ing all the western and northwestern territory of
the republic. On this policy the country was
divided in opinion, and the question was often
discussed with more or less bitterness. Nothing



could be more natural, respecting a policy affecting
so deeply the property and lives of tbe frontier
people, who were so greatly exposed to the raids of
the hostiles, and had little or no faith in their
fidelity to treaty stipulations ; while the President,
realizing the sparsity of population and feebleness
in resources of the government and the country,
hoped to bring about a general cessation of hostili-
ties, establish a line of demarcation between the
whites and Indians, and by establishing along the
same a line of trading houses, to promote friendly
traffic, with occasional presents by the government,
to control the wild men and preserve the lives of
the people.

At this time Joseph C. Eldridge,* a man of
education, experience, courage, and the highest
order of integrity, was appointed by the President
as Commissioner of Indian Affairs. About the
same time a delegation from several of the
smaller tribes visited the President, in order to
have a talk. Among them were several Delawares,
nearly civilized, and among them were persons who
spoke not only our language, but all the tongues
of the wild prairie tribes, some speaking one
and some another tongue. It occurred to the
President, after frequent interviews, that he could
utilize these Delawares, or the three chief men
among them, Jim Shaw, John Connor and Jim
Second Eye, as commissioners in inducing all the
wild tribes to meet the President and peace com-

* Joseph C. Eldridge was a native of Connecticut, and

Online LibraryJohn Henry BrownIndian wars and pioneers of Texas → online text (page 17 of 135)