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her to conceive. As time wore on, and no news of
the General's fate arrived, Bolivar was deserted by
the two men who constituted the guard. Although
several vessels touched at the point for the purpose
of conveying Mrs. Long to New Orleans, she, with
her little daughter and negro servant girl, Kian,
determined, at all hazards, to await her husband's
return.

When we look upon the Galveston Island of to-
day, with its city rising from the sea, its market
gardens and dairy farms, its beach gay with costly
equipages, and surf noisy with the shouts of bathers,
it is difficult to recognize in it the Galveston Island
of seventy-six years ago. At that time, deserted
even by the pirate Lafltte, the red house and the
three trees the only objects that rose above the
water's edge, the cry of seagulls and pelicans,
mingled with the doleful sighing of breaking waves,
the only sounds to reach the ear of the brave woman
who kept her lonely watch at Bolivar, as we view
the incoming ships, laden with freight from every
quarter of the globe, and the sailing yachts bearing
pleasure parties perhaps to the very spot whence
Mrs. Long often strained her eyes to descry a dis-
tant sail which might bring good tidings, it is



10



INDIAN WARS AND PIONEERS OF TEXAS.



almost impossible to form a true conception of the
extreme desolateness of her situation.

In the midst of a region little known by whites,
the only human beings she could expect to see were
the savage Carancahua Indians, who might be
tempted to return to their old haunts, on the island,
now that Lafltte had deserted the place, or other
Indians who might approach from the Trinity.
Whenever they came near enough to cause her to
dread an attack, she had presence of mind to fire
off the cannon, and give .other indications that the
fort was occupied by a formidable force. There
were times when, not daring to go out by day, Kian
would visit the beach at night, in order to get
oysters, which were often their only article of
food. Great was the rejoicing when, during that
severe winter of 1820-21, which converted the bay
into a sheet of ice, Kian found numbers of be-
numbed or frozen fish beneath the icy surface, and,
with Mrs. Long's assistance, a hole was cut, and a
good supply obtained and packed in the brine of
mackerel barrels. The cold was at this time so in-
tense that the ice was strong enough to bear the
weight of a bear which calmly pursued its way
across the bay, unmolested save by the barking of
Mrs. Long's dog, "Galveston."



At length the period of lonely waiting drew to
a close. One day there came a Mexican from
San Antonio, sent by Gen. Palacios, bearing
a message ; but how different were the tidings
from those for which the devoted wife had fondly
hoped I

The tragic manner of Gen. Long's death in
the city of Mexico is well known to readers of
Texas history, but none can ever know the shock
which his young wife experienced at this rude
awakening from her long dream of a happy reunion.
Some weeks later a second messenger came, pro-
vided with mules to convey her and her little family,
consisting of two girls (an infant having been born
during her sojourn at Bolivar) and the faithful ser-
vant, to San Antonio. Here she was treated with
marked distinction by the Mexican government, as
the widow of a patriot and a hero.

Her long life of widowhood, intimately bound up
with the history of Texas, came to a close, at the
age of eighty-two, on the 30th of December, 1880,
at Richmond, Texas, where her son-in-law. Judge
Sullivan, and granddaughter still reside. Her
Spartan qualities became the legacy of Texians, for
historians have concurred in bestowing upon her
the worthy title, " The Mother of Texas."



The Cherokee Indians and Their Twelve Associate Bands —

Fights with the Wacos and Tehuacanos —

1820 to 1829.



A little before 1820, dissatisfled portions of the
great Cherokee tribe of Indians, who had, from the
earliest knowledge we have of them, occupied
a large, romantic and fertile district of country,
now embraced in East Tennessee, Western North
Carolina and the upper portions of South Carolina,
Georgia and Alabama, began emigrating west of
the Mississippi. Before the close of that year a
portion of them reached and halted temporarily on
Red river, in the northeast corner of Texas. The
Itirger portion located in the valley of the Arkansas,
between Little Rock and Fort Smith, and there
with annually increasing numbers, remained a
number of years, until tlie main body yet remain-
ing in the loved land of their fathers, under treaty
stipulations with the United States, began their
final removal to the magnificent territory now be-



longing to them ; a migration occupying a number
of years, and not completed uiitil 1837. In that
time those along the Arkansas joined them. Those
coming down to Red river also received acces-
sions, for a number of years, from the different
migrating bodies, including small colonies from
twelve other partially civilized tribes.

Very soon, perhaps before the close of 1820, and
certainly in 1821, they explored the country south
of them and began locating in East Texas, in what,
from that time till their expulsion in 1839, was
known as "the Cherokee country," now embrac-
ing the county of Cherokee and adjoining territory,
where they and their twelve associate bands, grad-
ually established homes, building cabins, opening
farms and raising domestic animals. Some joined
them as late as 1830 and '31. In 1822 when



INDIAN WARS AND PIONEERS OF TEXAS.



11



Stephen F. Austin and Green De Witt of Missouri,
Haden Edwards of Mississippi, and Eobert Lef twich
of Nashville, Tennessee (the original grantee in
what subsequently became Robertson's Colony),
were in the city of Mexico, seeking colonial privi-
leges in Texas, three Cherokee chiefs, Bowles,
Fields and Nicollet, were also there, seeking a
grant, or some sort of concession, to the district in
which they were locating, not a contract for colon-
ization, as desired by the gentleman named, but a
specific grant to their people in tribal capacity.
But they did not succeed, receiving only polite
promises of something when Mexican affairs should
be more settled.

In 182G Fields and John Dunn Hunter (both of
mixed blood. Hunter possibly altogether white, but
of this there is no positive knowledge, and both of
good education) visited the Mexican capital on a
similar mission for the Cherokees, but they also
failed and returned to their people in an ill humor,
just in time to sympathize with Haden Edwards
and his colonists in their outrageous treatment by
the Mexican Governor of the State of Coahuila and
Texas, in declaring, without trial or investigation,
the annulment of his contract and ordering the
expulsion of himself and brother from the countiy.
Fields and Hunter, smarting under what they con-
sidered the bad faith of Mexico, induced their
people to treat with and sustain the Edwards party
in what received the name of the Fredonian war.
But this had a brief existence. Bean, as agent of
Mexico, seduced the Indians from their agreement
and secured their support of the Mexican troops
then advancing, which caused the Fredonians to
yield the hopeless contest and leave the country.
Not only this, but the Cherokees turned upon their
two most enlightened and zealous champions.
They basely assassinated both Fields and Hunter.
This ended that embroglio. The Cherokees claimed
a promise from Bean that Mexico, in reward for
their course, would grant them the lands desired.
Whether so promised or not, the grant was never
made.

A band of Cherokees, en route to tbeir people in
Texas, halted on Red river, in order to raise a
crop of corn, in the winter of 1828-9. An account
of what followed wsls written and published in 1855,
and is here reproduced. * * * They had not
been at this place very long before their villages
were discovered by a party of Wacos, on a robbing
expedition from the Brazos ; and these freebooters,
true to their instincts from time immemorial, lay
concealed till the silent midnight hour, and then,
stealthily entering the herds of the sleeping Chero-
kees, stampeded their horses, driving off a large



number. To follow them was labor in vain — but
to quietly forget the deed was not the maxim among
the red sons of Tennessee.

A council was held and the matter discussed.
After the opinions of the warriors had been given,
the principal war-chief rose, and in substance said :
" My brothers ! the wild men of the far-off Brazos
have come into our camp while the Cherokee slept !
They have stolen our most useful property. With-
out horses we are poor, and C3.nnot make corn.
The Cherokees will hasten to plant their corn for
this spring, and while that is springing from the
ground and growing under the smiles of the Great
Spirit, and shall be waving around our women and
children, we will leave some old men and women to
watch it, and the Cherokee braves will spring upon
the cunning Wacos of the Brazos, as they have
sprung upon us."

The corn was planted, and in the month of Maj^,
1829, a war party of fifty-five, well armed, left the
Red river villages on foot in search of the Wacos.
At this time the principal village of the Wacos was
on the bluff where the beautiful town of Waco now
greets the eye on the west bank of the Brazos.
One band of theTehuacano (Ta-wak-a-no) Indians,
who have always been more or less connected with
the Wacos, were living on the east bank of the
river, three miles below. Both bands had erected
rude fortifications, by scooping up the earth in
various places and throwing up a circular embank-
ment three or four feet high, the remains of which
still are to be seen. The principal work of this
kind at the Waco village occupied a natural sink in
the surface.

The Cherokees struck the Brazos above the vil-
lage some forty miles, and traveled downward
until they discovered signs of its proximity, and
then secreted themselves in the cedar brake till
night. The greater portion of the night was spent
in examining the position, through experienced
scouts. Having made the necessary observations,
the scouts reported near dayhght, when the war-
chief admonished them of what they had come
for — revenge! Waco scalps!! horses!!! — and
led them forth from their hiding-place, under the
bank of the river, to a point about four hundred
yards from the wigwams of the slumbering Wacos.
Here they halted till rays of light, on that lovely
May morning, began to gild the eastern horizon.
The time for action had come. Moving with the
noiseless, elastic step peculiar to the sons of the
forest, the Cherokees approached the camp. But
a solitary Waco had aroused and was collecting the
remains of his fire of the previous night, prepara-
tory to his morning repast. His Indian ear caught



12



INDIAN WARS AND PIONEERS OF TEXAS.



the sound of footsteps on the brush — a glance of
his lynx-eye revealed the approaching foe. A
single shrill yell from him, which echoed far and
near through the Brazos forest, brought every
Waco to his feet. The terrible Cherokee war-
whoop was their morning greeting, accompanied
by a shower of leaden rain. But, though surprised,
the Wacos outnumbered their assailants many
times — their women and children must be pro-
tected or sacrificed — their ancient home, where
the bones of their fathers had been buried for ages,
was assailed by unknown intruders. Their chief
rallied the warriors and made a stand — the fight
became general, and as the sun rose majestically
over the towering trees of the east, he beheld the
red men of Tennessee and the red men of Texas in
deadly strife. But the bows and arrows of the
Waco could not compete with the merciless rifl.e of
the Cherokee. The Wacos were falling rapidly,
while the Cherokees were unharmed.

After half an hour's strife, amid yells and mutual
imprecations, the Wacos signaled a retreat, and
they fell back in confusion, taking refuge in the
fortified sink-hole. Here, though hemmed in, they
were quite secure, having a great advantage. In-
deed, they could kill every Cherokee who might
peradvenlure risk his person too near the brink.

The Cherokees had already killed many, and now
held a council, to consider what they should do.
It was proposed by one brave that they should
strip to a state of nature, march into the sink-hole
in a body, fire their pieces, then drop them, and
with tomahawks alone endeavor to kill every man,
woman and child among the Wacos. A half-breed
named Smith, who was in favor of this desperate
measure, as an incentive to his comrades, stripped
himself, fastened half a dozen Iiorse-bells (which
he had picked up -in the camp) round his waist,
and commenced galloping and yelling around the
sink-hole, now and then jumping on the embank-
ment and then back, cursing the Wacos most lustily.
Arrows were hurled at him by scores, but he fell
not.

Just as the Cherokee council was coming to a
close, at about an hour after sunrise, they heard a
noise like distant thunder on the opposite side of
the river and delayed a few moments to discover its
cause. Very soon they discovered a large body of
mounted Indians rising the river bank a little
below them. What could it mean? they murmured
one to another. The story is soon told. A mes-
senger had rushed from the Wacos in the outset,
for the Tehuacano village, begging help, and now
two hundred Tehuacano warriors, mounted and
ready for the fray, were at hand. The whole aspect



of the day was changed in a moment. To conquer
this combined force was impossible — to escape
themselves would require prudence. The Tehua-
canos, in coming up, cut off a Cherokee boy,
twelve years old, killed and scalped him, and plac-
ing his scalp on a lance, held it up defiantly to the
view of the Cherokees. The boy was an only
child, and his father beheld this scene. The brave
man's eye glared with fury. Without a word he
threw from his body every piece of his apparel,
seized a knife in one hand, a tomahawk in the
other. "What will you.?" demanded the chief.
"Die with my brave boy. Die slaying the wild
men who have plucked the last rose from my
bosom!" The chief interceded, and told him it
was madness ; but the Cherokee listened not ; with
rapid strides he rushed among the Tehuacanos,
upon certain death; but ere death had seized its
victim, he had killed several and died shouting
defiance in their midst.

The Tehuacanos occupied the post oaks just
below the Cherokees, and kept up a lusty shouting,
but ventured not within rifle-shot. The latter, see-
ing that on an open field they could not resist such
numbers — having taken fifty-five Waco scalps
(equal to their own number) — having lost two
men and the boy — now fell back into the cedar
brake and remained there till night. They were
convinced that their safety depended upon a cau-
tious retreat, as, if surrounded on the prairies, they
would be annihilated. When night came on, they
crossed the river, traveled down the sand bank a
mile or two, as if they were going down the coun-
try, thence, turning into the stream, waded up the
edge of the water some six or seven miles (the river
being low and remarkably even), and thus eluded
pursuit. In due time, they reached their Red
river villages, without the thousand horses they
anticipated, but with fifty-five Waco scalps — glory
enough in their estimation. The tribe was speedily
called together for a grand war-dance. For miles
around the American settlers were surprised to see
such a commotion and gathering among the Indians.
A gentleman, my informant, was there visiting a
widowed sister. He rode up to the Cherokee
encampment, inquired into the cause of the move-
ment, was invited to alight and spend the day.
He did so, aud witnessed one of thtf grandest war-
dances he ever saw, and he was an old Indian
fighter. A very intelligent man, a half-breed,
named Chisholm, one of the fifty-five, gave
him a full history of the whole transaction. He
noted it carefully, and from him I received it in
1855.
That gentleman was Capt. Thomas H. Barron,



INDIAN WARS AND PIONEERS OF TEXAS.



13



formerly of Washington County, then residing near
Waco. When he first visited Waco in 1834, he at
once recognized the battle-ground and sink-hole as



described by Chisholm. The Cherokees did not
forget the Tehuacanos, but held them to a strict
account.



Cherokee and Tehuacano Fight in 1830.



After the Cherokees returned to their temporary
home on Bed river, from the attack on the Wacos,
in 1829, they determined to take vengeance on the
Tehuacanos for their interference in that engage-
ment on behalf of the Wacos. It seems that early
in the summer of 1830, they fitted out a war party
for this purpose, numbering about one hundred and
twenty fighting men.

The Tehuacanos, like the Wacos, had several
principal villages, favorite places of resort, from
some peculiarity, as fine springs of water, abun-
dance of buffalo, etc. One of them, and perhaps
their most esteemed locality, was at the southern
point of the hills of the same name, now in the
upper edge of Limestone County, and the pres-
ent site of Tehuacano University. Around these
springs there is a large amount of loose limestone
on the surface, as well as in the hills, and the
whole surrounding country is one of rare beauty and
loveliness.

The Tehuacanos had erected several small in-
closures of these loose stones, about three feet high,
leaving occasional spaces some two feet square re-
sembling the mouths of furnaces. Over the tops
they threw poles and spread buffalo- hides, and
when attacked, their women, old men, and children
would retreat into these cells while the warriors
would oppose the attacking party from without,
until too closely pressed, when they, too, would
seek refuge in the same, and lying flat on the
ground, would send their arrows and bullets
through these apertures whenever an enemy came
within range. From the attacks of small arms
such a protection, however primitive, was gen-
erally quite effective.

This party of Cherokees, having been informed
of the locality of this place, and the value set upon
it by the Tehuacanos, and knowing that it was a
considerable distance from the Wacos, determined
to seek it out and there wreak vengeance upon
those who had by their own act called forth feel-
ings of hostility. Guided by an Indian who had
explored the country as a trapper, they reached



the place in due season. When discovered, the
Tehuacanos were engaged at a play of balls around
the little forts. The Cherokees stripped for action
at once, while the ball-players, promptly ceasing
that amusement, rushed their women and children
into their retreats, and prepared for defense.
They had quite a large village, and outnumbered
the Cherokees in fighting-men.

A random fight commenced, the Cherokees using
the surrounding trees as protection and taking the
matter as a business transaction, made their ad-
vances from tree to tree with prudence. Their
aim, with the "rest" against the trees, told with
effect, and one by one, notwithstanding their hid-
eous yells and capering, to and fro, the Tehuacanos
were biting the dust.

The moment one was wounded, unless a very-
brave fellow, he would crawl into the*hiding-plaee
among their women and children, unless, per-
chance, on his way, a Cherokee ball brought him
to the ground.

The fight continued this way an hour or more,
when, upon a signal, the whole body retired within
their breastworks. At this time, the Cherokees,
elated by what they supposed to be a victory,
charged upon the openholes, ringing their victori-
ous war-whoop most furiously. But they were soon
convinced that though concealed, the besieged were
not powerless, for here they received a shower of
arrows and balls from the hidden enemy which
tumbled several of their braves alongside of those
they killed on the other side. Yet, excited as they
had become, they were not easily convinced that
prudence in that case was the better part of valor.
On the contrary, they maintained the unequal con-
test for some lime, until one of their old men
advised a talk.

They withdrew a short distance, and held a con-
sultation. Their leaders said they had come there
for revenge and they would not relinquish their
design so long as a Cherokee brave was left to
fight — that to go back to their people and report
a defeat would, disgrace them — they would die on



14



INDIAN WARS AND PIONEERS OF TEXAS.



the field rather than bear such tidings! " Where
there's a will there's a way," is a trite old adage,
and at this juncture of affairs it was verified by the
Cherokees. The old man who had advised the
"talk" now made a suggestion, which was sec-
onded by all. He proposed that a party should be
sent off a short distance to cut dry grass and bring
a lot; that men, loaded with this combustible
material, should cautiously approach each hole in
the breast-works, from the sides, using the grass
as a shield on the way ; that the door-holes should
be stopped up with it (with new supplies constantly
arriving), and set on fire, by which very simple
process the inmates would be suffocated or com-
pelled to throw off the hides and leap out, breath-
less and more or less blinded through the smoke,
while the Cherokees, stationed round in circles,
would have an easy time in butchering their
astounded red brethren. This was a rich idea,
and, delighted with the anticipated fun on their
part, and misery among their enemies, the Chero-
kees speedily made all their arrangements and dis-
posed of their fighting-men to the best advantage.
The grass was placed in the required position, and
at the same moment, set on fire. For a moment
or two no response was heard from within ; but
very soon the smolte was seen escaping, through the
rocks and from under the skins, proving that each
little refuge was full of the strangulating exhala-
tion. To endure such a torture long 'was beyond
human power ; and in a little while a doleful howl
issued forth, followed by a significant upheaving of
the buffalo-skin roofs, and a rush of the gasping
vicliras, blinded by smoke, leaping over the walls,
they knew not where. To render the picture more
appalling, the exulting Cherokees set up a terrible



yelling, and dealt death to the doomed creatures
with their guns, tomahawks, and scalping knives
until all were slain or had made their escape from
the dreadful sacrifice by headlong flight. Quite a
number of squaws and children, and perhaps a few
men, had been unable' to rise, and died from suffo-
cation inside the works.

And thus ended this tragic scene in the course
of our Indian warfare. Comparatively few of the
Tehuacanos escaped. The surviving women and
children were preserved prisoners, and a consider-
able number of horses, blankets, skins, and indeed
the entire camp equipage, fell into the hands of the
victors, who returned to their people on Red river
in triumph, displaying not only their available
booty but a large number of the greatest of all
Indian symbols of glory, scalps.

These facts I obtained in 1842 from an old
Spaniard, who composed one of the party, and I
have little doubt but they were furnished by him
with fidelity.

This old Spaniard, whose name was Vasquez,
was a native of New Madrid, Missouri, and had
passed much of his life with different Indian tribes.
About 1840 he appeared at Gonzales, Texas, where
I formed his acquaintance. He fought with the
Texians at Salado, in September, and at Mier in
December, 1842. Escaping from the latter place
he returned to Gonzales, his home being with Capt.
Henry E. McCulloch, to suffer a cruel death soon
after. In 1843 he was captured by Mexican
banditti, west of the San Antonio, who, knowing
his fidelity to Texas, suspended him to a tree by
the heels, in which position he died and was a few
days subsequently found.



First Settlement of Gonzales in 1825 — Attack by the Indians in

1826— Murder of French Traders in 1835 at Castleman's

Cabin — Battle of San Marcos — 1825 to 1835.



The settlement of Gonzales and De Witt's colony,
of which it was the capital, is replete with matters
of unusual interest in the pioneer history of Texas
and its Indian wars. At its birth it was baptized
in blood, and for twenty years a succession of
bloody episodes attended its march towards peace-
ful civilization.

As soon as Green De Witt, then of Ralls County,



Missouri, entered into contract with the Mexican
authorities for colonizing that beautiful district of



Online LibraryJohn Henry BrownIndian wars and pioneers of Texas → online text (page 2 of 135)