John Henry Brown.

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surveyor, and, among others, the pure, warm-
hearted and fatherly John M. Odin, the first Cath-
olic Bishop of Texas, besides many generous
hearted Americans, visited Castroville and bade
godspeed to the new settlers from La Belle France
and the Rhine. Bishop Odin (friend of my youth
and of my mother's house), laid and blessed the



corner-stone of the first house dedicated to the
worship of God — a service rendered before the
settlers had completed respectable huts to shelter
their families. On his return from this mission the
good bishop dined at my mother's house, and,
though a Baptist, both by inheritance and forty-six
years of membership, in the broader spirit of civil-
ization and that spirit which embraces all true and
pure hearts, regardless of party and creed, she
congratulated him on the work he had done. But
in fact every man, woman and child who knew
Bishop Odin (0-deen) in those years of trials and
sorrow in Texas, loved him, and sorrowed when he
returned to and died in his native Lombardy.

Mr. Castro, soon after inaugurating his colony,
was compelled to revisit France. He delivered a
parting farewell to his people. On the 25th of
November, 1844, to the number of flfty-three heads
of families, they responded. Their address is
before me. They say: "We take pleasure in
acknowledging that since the first of September —
the date at which we signed the process verbal of
taking possession — you have treated us like a
liberal and kind father. * * * Our best wishes
accompany you on your voyage and we take this
occasion to express to you our ardent desire to see
you return soon among us, to continue to us your
paternal protection." Signed by Leopold Mentrier,
J. H. Burgeois, George Cupples, Jean Baptiste
Lecomte, Joseph Weber, Michael Simon and forty-
seven others.

The Indians sorely perplexed these exposed peo-
ple. In the rear of one of their first immigrating
parlies, the Indians, forty miles below San Antonio,
attaclied and burnt a wagon. The driver, an
American, rifle in hand, reached a thicket and
killed s?veral of them ; but they killed a boy of

nineteen — a Frenchman — cut off his head and
nailed it to a tree. In the burnt wagon was a
trunk containing a considerable amount of gold
and silver. In the ashes the silver was found
melted — the gold only blackened. This was one
of tlie first parties following the advance settlers.

In this enterprise Henry Castro expended of his
personal means over one hundred and fifty thousand
dollars. He fed his colonists for a year — furnished
them milch cows, farming implements, seeds, medi-
cines and whatever they needed. He was a father,
dispensing blessings hitherto unknown in the col-
onization of Texas. He was a learned, wise and
humane man, unappreciated by many, because he
was modest and in nowise self-asserting, and his
tastes were literary. He was a devoted friend of
Presidents Lamar, Houston and Jones, all of whom
were his friends and did all in their power, each
during his term, to advance his great and patriotic
idea of planting permanent civilization in South-
west Texas. He was a devout believer in the
capacity of intelligent men for self-government, and
abhorred despotism as illustrated in the kingly gov-
ernments of Europe — the rule of nations by suc-
cession in particular families regardless of sense,
honor or capacity. He believed with Jefferson, in
the God-given right of every association of men,
whether in commonwealth, nations or empires, to
select their own officers, and, by chosen represent-
atives, to make their own laws. Hence he was, in
every sense, a valuable accession to the infant
Republic of Texas.

When war raged and our ports were closed, Mr.
Castro sought to visit the land of his birth, and, to
that end, reached Monterey in Mexico. There lie
sickened and died, and there, at the base of the
Sierra Madre, his remains repose.

The "Chihuahua-El Paso" Pioneer Expedition in 1848.

When the Mexican war closed and the last of the
Texian troops returned home in the spring of 1848,
the business men of San Antonio and other places
became deeply interested in opening a road and
establishing commercial intercourse with El Paso
and Chihuahua. The U. S. Government also
desired such a road. Meetings were held and the
plan of an expedition outlined. A volunteer party
of about thirty-five business men and citizens was

formed, among whom were Col. John C. Hays, Mr
Peacock, Maj. Mike Chevalier, Capt. George T*
Howard, Maj. John Caperton, SamuelA. Mav^erick'

Quartermaster Ralston, Dr. a German from

Fredericksburg, and a young friend of his, Lorenzo,
a Mexican, who went as a guide and who had been
many years a prisoner among the Comanches.

At that time Capt. Samuel Highsmith was in
command of a company of Texas rangers, stationed



opposite the little German settlement of Castell, on
the Llano river. In response to a request from the
citizens interested, Capt. Highsmith was directed
to detail thirty-five of his company and escort
the expedition. Col. Hays commanded the com-
bined forces. Capt. Highsmith, instead of making
an arbitrary detail, called for volunteers. Instantly
more men stepped forth than were required, but
the matter was amicably arranged. Among those
who went were bugler A. K. Barnes, now of Lam-
pasas, Calvin Bell, Joseph Collins, Jesse Jerkins,
— Jerkins, John Hughes, — Measbe, Herman
L. Eaven, still of Travis County, Solomon Ramsey,
James Sims, Thomas Smith, John Warren and
John Conner, a noted Delaware Indian who was
the regular guide of the company. My informant,
Herman L. Raven, can only recall these names.

The San Antonio party arrived at Highsmith's
camp about the 1st of August, 1848. The troops
were given a pack mule to each mess of four men
and carried rations for thiity days. The com-
mand, seventy in all, moved up the valley of the
Llano to the source of the South or Paint Rock
fork. They then crossed the divide and reached
the upper Nueces river. The route then pursued
passed the Arroyo Las Moras, a tributary of the
Elo Grande (on which Beales' unfortunate party
essayed the establishment of an English-American
colony in 1834, as will be seen in the remarkable
narrative of Mrs. Horn, one of the victims, else-
where in this work), and thence to Devil's river,
near its confluence with the Rio Grande. This
stream had previously acquired the name of San
Pedro ; but after occupying three days in getting
across and away from it, accompanied by several
accidents, the expedition voted that it should ever
more bear the name of El Eio del'Diablo, or the
Devil's river. It required three days to pass from
this to the Pecos river, the water found on the way
being reddish and brackish. Thenceforward, no
man in the expedition knew the country. Having
crossed the Pecos they found themselves in
the rough, broken and unknown region
lying between that stream and the Eio Grande.
To men whose rations, as at this time, were
about exhausted, it was a dismal succession of
barrenness in hill, vale and barranca. Lorenzo,
the guide, failed to recognize the landmarks and
became bewildered. In a day or two their supplies
gave out. There was no game in the country, and,
as many had been driven to do before, they re-
sorted to their pack mules, the flesh of which was
their only food for ten or twelve days. Fortun-
ately a party of Mescalero Indians discovered them
and, as Col. Hays, from prudential motives with

reference to Indians in that region, always had a
white flag flying, came close enough to invite a talk,
for which purpose three of their number met three
of the Texians. After mutual explanations, easily
understood on both sides through the Spanish lan-
guage, and a liberal distribution of presents, with
which the San Antonians were well supplied, they
gave the party careful directions how to reach and
cross the Eio Grande, and get to the Eancho San
Carlos, on the Mexican side. Before reaching the
river a doctor of the San Antonio party became de-
ranged and wandered o'ff. Five days after leaving
the Mescaleros they arrived at San Carlos in a pitia-
ble condition, where they procured a supply of food.

After resting one day they continued their march
about forty miles further up the country, recross-
ing the Eio Grande to Fort Leaton, on the east
side and nine miles below Presidio del' Norte, on
the west side, where they arrived on the forty-
seventh day from the initial point on the Llano.
Fort Leaton (pronounced "Laytou") was a sort
of fortified trading house kept by two or three
brothers of that name, the senior of whom, Ben-
jamin Leaton, a Tennesseean and an old Apache
trader, was personally known to the writer of this.
The expedition remained there sixteen days recruit-
ing their animals and providing supplies, during
which lime the proprietors gave them a barbecue,
the chief elements being meat, tortillas (Mexican
corn pancakes), and that most cheiished of all
beverages among old Texians — coffee ! The
Bishop of Chihuahua sent them also some supplies.

For reasons deemed sufificient it was determined
to prosecute the enterprise no farther. Winter was
close by. They had left to be absent only sixty
days. At the expiration of that time they were
not yet recruited at Leaton's. The troops, having
started in August, had only summer clothing. The
result showed the wisdom of their determination
to return.

About the first of November the return march
was begun. The men had thirty days' rationsi of
meat, beeves to be driven on foot, and more or
less " Pinola " or parched corn meal. Their route
was b^' Lost Springs, where they arrived after a
fast of two and a half days without water. They
struck the Pecos at the Horsehead crossing, and
followed that stream down to Live Oak creek,
where Fort Lancaster was afterwards established.
It was in this locality that the command separated.
Twenty-eight of the San Antonio party started in a
direct route for that city and safely arrived at their
destination. Col. Hays, with six men, returned by
way of the Las Moras and also got in safely, but
both parties suffered much.



From Live Oak creek Capt. HighsmitU bore
across the country towards the sources of the South
■Concho. On the way, on one occasion, some of
the men fell in the rear on account of their failing
horses, and at night camped in a thicket of small
bushes. While asleep at night a party of Indians
furiously rode over them, seizing a saddle and some
-other articles and successfully stampeded their
horses. On foot they overhauled the company at
■camp next morning. On the head of South Concho
they encamped for the night. One of the sentinels
^ell asleep and at daylight it was found that the
Indians had quietly taken off thirteen of their
horses. Thenceforward about half the men traveled
on foot.

At the head of Brady's creek, these men, clad
only in their now tattered and torn summer gar-
ments, encountered a violent snow storm. Capt.
Highsmith, with a few men, pushed forward to his
•quarters on the Llano, to relieve the anxiety of the
country as to their safety, correctly conjecturing
that intense anxiety among the people must exist
on account of their prolonged absence. The other
men remained shivering in an open camp for five
days. The sufferings of both parties were terrible.
Their beef was exhausted and wild game was their
■only food, but it was abundant in deer, antelope

and turkey. On the forty-seventh day from Fort
Leaton the last party reached the camp on the
Llano. Thus with forty-seven days each on the
outward and inward trip and eighteen days at
the Fort, they had been absent 112 instead of
60 days. The re-united company was marched to
Austin, and on the 26th day of December, dis-
charged, their term of service having expired.
From the sufferings of this trip, in less than a
month, Capt. Sam Highsmith died. From 1826 to
1848 he bad justly borne the character of a noble
pioneer— warm-hearted, generous, brave; yet,
most tender in nature and ever considerate of
the rights of others, he never had personal difficult-
ies. I knew him well, and as he had been a long-
time friend and comrade of my then long deceased
father, his friendship was prized as priceless.

Col. Hays brought in a little son of Mr. Leaton,
to be sent to school.

The doctor who became deranged and wandered
off, fell into the hands of a party of Indians,
by whom his hunger was appeased and he was
kindly treated, as is the habit of those wild tribes
towards insane persons. He gradually recovered
and, after he had been mourned by his wife as dead
for over a year, suddenly presented himself to her,
sound in mind and body.

The Bloody Days of Bastrop.

Before and immediately after the Texas revolu-
tion of 1835-6, Gonzales, on the Guadalupe, and
Bastrop, on the Colorado, with the upper settlements
on the Brazos, were more exposed to Indian depre-
dations than any other distinct localities in Texas.
These sketches have more fully done justice to Gon-
zales and the Brazos, than to Bastrop, the home of
the Burlesons, Coleman, Billingsley, Wallace,
Thomas H. Mays, Wm. H. Magill, the brothers
Wiley, Middletonand Thomas B. J. Hill, Washing-
ton and John D. Anderson, Dr. Thomas J. Gasley,
L. C. Cunningham, Wm. A. Clopton, Bartlett
Sims, Cicero Rufus Perry, the Wilbargers, Dr. J.
W. Robertson, John Caldwell, Hurch Reed, John
H. Jenkins, Hon. William Pinkney Hill, for a time
Robert M. Williamson, the eloquent orator and
patriot, Highsmith, Eblin, Carter Anderson, Dal-
rymple, Eggleston, Gilleland, Blakey, Page, Pres-
ton Conley, the Hardemans, the Andrews brothers.

the Crafts, Taylor, the Bartons, Pace, John W.
Bunton, Martin Wolner, Geren Brown, Logan Van-
deveer, George Green, Godwin, Garwood, Halde-
ma*n, Miller, Holder, Curtis, Bain, Hood, McLean,
Graves, Allen, Henry Jones, Thomas Nicholson,
Vaughan, Hugh Childers, Hancock and John

Aside from many important battles, in which a
large per cent of those men and others not named,
participated, as at and around San Antonio in 1835,
at San Jacinto in 1836 (in which fifty of them fought
under Col. Burleson in Capt. Jesse Billingsley's
company, and in which Lemuel Blakey was killed,
and Capt. Billingsley, Logan Vandeveer, Washing-
ton Anderson, Calvin Page and Martin Walter were
wounded), at Plum creek in 1840, in which a hun-
dred of them and thirteen Toncahua Indians fought
under Burleson, and other important contests, for
fifteen years they were exposed to Indian forays and



had numberless encounters and also fruitless pur-
suits after those ever active and cunning enemies.
■Some of these sanguinary incidents have been de-
scribed ; but, many have not and some, from the
death of the participants and failing memories,
never will be. But enough has been preserved to
shed a halo of honor on those pioneers, by this
writer many years ago styled — "The brave men
of Bastrop."

In this chapter, availing myself somewhat of the
recollections of Mr. John H. Jenkins, I will briefly
summarize some of the incidents not heretofore

By a false alarm of Mexican invasion in 1837,
as in 1836, the people of Bastrop fled from their
homes, but the alarm passed and they soon returned
from near the Brazos.

Near where Austin is, later in 1837, Lieut.
Wrenn, of Coleman's Company, surprised a body
of warriors, killed several, had one man shot in
the mouth and killed, defeated the Indians and
captured all their horses.

In the same fall the Indians attacked the home of
Mr. Gocher (or Gotier) east of Bastrop, killed him,
his wife and two sons, and carried off Mrs. Craw-
ford, his widowed daughter, one of his little sons
and a little son and daughter of Mrs. Crawford.
This tragedy was discovered by Col. Burleson
some days later, when too late to pursue the mur-
derers. Mrs. Crawford and the children, after
several years of captivity, were bought by Mr.
Spaulding, a trader, who married the widow and
brought them all back to live in Bastrop County.

Not far from this time a party of Indians robbed
a house below Bastrop. Burleson drove them into
a cedar brake on Piney creek, above town, and
sent back for more men. While waiting, the
Indians slipped out and retreated east toward the

headwaters of the Yeguas. Reinforced, Burleson
followed their trail at half speed, overtaking them
late in the afternoon, and drove them headlong,
after quite a chase, into a ravine, from which they
escaped unhurt and soon reached their camp, but
most of them only to die. They had gorged them-
selves on fat pork, killed in the woods, and soon
after arriving among their people nearly all of them
died, proving that stomachs overcharged with fat
and fresh hog meat were not prepared for rapid foot
races, the deceased sons of the forest having been
on foot. Mrs. Crawford was then a prisoner in
the camp and verified these facts.

The next raid was made in daylight. A party of
Comanehes came in sight of town and drove off
fifteen horses. They were hastily followed by a
few citizens, who overhauled them eight miles out.
A running fight ensued — the Indians abandoned
their own and the stolen horses and found security
in thickets.- No one was killed on either side, but
the citizens returned with their own and the Indian
horses. Richard Vaughan's horse, however, was
killed under him.

Early in 1838 the Indians entered the town at
night, killed Messrs. Hart and Weaver and es-

Soon afterwards, about three miles east of town,
Messrs. Robinson and Dollar were making boards.
Fifteen Indians charged upon them. Each sprang
upon his horse, near by, but Robinson was killed
at the same moment, while Dollar was pursued and
hemmed on a high bank of the river; but, leaving
his horse, he leaped down the bank about twenty
feet, swam the Colorado and then hastened to town.
Soon afterwards he started to leave the country and
was never again heard of. No doubt was enter-
tained, however, of his having been killed by

Raid into Gonzales and De Witt Counties in 1848 — Death of

Dr. Barnett, Capt. John York and Others — Death

of Maj. Charles 0. Bryant in 1850.

For several years prior to 1848 the country
between the Guadalupe and San Antonio rivers
escaped annoyance from the Indians, though their
depredations beyond were frequent. The people
in the section referred to had ceased to regard
themselves as exposed to danger, and were there-

fore unprepared for it. Early in October, 1848,
they realized, however, that they were open to
savage fury. A party of Indians descended from
the mountains along the valley of the Cibolo, and
thence southeasterly to the " Sandies," a set of
small streams in the western part of Gonzales



County. On the Sandies they came across and
killed Dr. George W. Barnett, also a recent settler
in that locality — the same gentleman mentioned
in my chapter on the events in 1833 and 1835, as a
Captain in '35, a signer of the Declaration of Inde-
pendence, a soldier at San Jacinto and a senator of
the Eepublic. Another party of Indians, presumed
to be of the same band, and acting in concert with
them, crossed from the west to the east side of the
San Antonio, and formed a junction with the first
named party, the two bands numbering thirty-five
or forty warriors, including, it was believed, some
outlawed Mexicans, the Indians being Lipans, theu
living in the border Mexican Slate of Coahuila, be-
yond the Rio Grande. Before their junction, about
the 5th of October, the second named or lower
gang had killed a Mr. Lockard (or Lockhart) and
a young man of Goliad County, son of Mr. Thacker
Vivian, at the Goliad and San Antonio crossing of
the Ecleto creek.

These events alarmed the settlers onthe west side
of the Guadalupe, the remainder of the district
mentioned being still a wilderness, and a company
of thirty-two men and boys from the west side of
the river in De Witt County, assembled to meet
and repel the raiders. John York, a brave old
soldier who commanded a company in the storming
of San Antonio in 1835, was made Captain ; Eiehard
H. Cblsholm, another veteran, Lieutenant, with H.
B. McB. Pridgen and Newton Porter, Sergeants,
and Joseph Tumlinson, guide.

On the night of October 10th, these hastily col-
lected volunteers encamped on the head waters of
the Cabesa, twenty-five miles above Goliad. On
the morning of the 11th they traveled some miles
up the country, and then struck the trail of the
Indians, which bore southerly towards the mouth
of the Escondida, a tributary of the San Antonio
from the southwest side. It became evident the
enemy had secured a considerablenumber of horses,
were leaving the country, and the pursuit was
quickened. Passing the San Antonio, on its west
bank they found the recently abandoned camp of
the savages, with a letter and some trifling articles
proving they were the murderers of Lockard and
Vivian. The letter found was from George W.
Smyth, Commissioner of the General Land Office,
to a citizen of Robertson County, on official busi-
ness, and sent by Lockard. Young Vivian was
the son of a neighbor of my parents when I was a
child in Missouri, and a kinsman of Mrs. Dr. A.
A. Johnston, of Dallas. Believing that they had
been discovered, and that the Indians were hastily

retreating, Capt. York pressed forward rapidly till^
on reaching the brushy banks of the Escondida,
about five miles beyond the abandoned camp, and
while a portion of the pursuers were a little behind^
those in front received a heavy fire from ambush,
accompanied by yells of dtfiance and imprecations
in broken English, which threw some of the inex-
perienced into confusion, causing a recoil, and this
disconcerted those in the rear, but tiie brave old
leader ordered the men to dismount in a grove of
trees, and was obeyed by a portion of his followers,
who returned and kept up the fire. Lieut. Chis-
holm (Uncle Dick, who cast the first cannon ball in
the Texas revolution) tried to rally the halting,
but the panic was on them and he tried in vain.
James H. Sykes, a stalwart man of reckless daring,
dashed up to the dense chaparral in which the
Indians were sheltered, and was killed. James
Bell, a son-in-law of Capt. York, and a man of ap-
proved nerve, was shot down between the contend-
ing parties, when Capt. York ran to him and while
stooping to raise him up was shot through the
kidneys. The brave couple expired in the embrace
of each other. Joseph Tumlinson and Hugh R.
Young were severely wounded, and James York,
son of the dead captain, one of the handsomest
boys I ever knew, was shot centrally through the
cheeks from side to side, supposed at the time to
be fatally, but he rode home and finally recovered,
though greatly disfigured. The contest was kept
up about an hour, when both parties retired, ours
only a little down the creek to get water for the
wounded. It was believed the Indians lost six or
seven in killed, but of this there was no certainty.
Besides those already named among those who
stood to their colors to the last were William R.
Taylor (Goliad), Johnson, A. Berry, and others
whose names cannot be recalled. Some men of
unquestioned courage were among the victims of
the panic, and others were inexperienced boys who
had never been under fire.

This, so far as is remembered, was the last raid
in that section of country below the Seguin and
San Antonio road; but above that line the pioneers
of the frontier, till some years after the Civil War,
were the victims of a predatory and brutal war, in
which the most remorseless cruelties were more or
less practiced.

The facts as herein narrated were communicated
to me by a number of the participants on the 20th
of October, only nine days after the fight, and have
been so preserved ever since. I persohally knew
every one named in connection with the engagement.

HENRY Mcculloch.



Death of Maj. Charles G. Bryant.

The isolated murder of this estimable gentleman,
by the Indians, occurred about fourteen months
after the events herein described, but being in the
same section of the State, the facts are added to
this chapter, with some other matters of interest
in relation to him and his family.

Charles G. Bryant was born in 1803 at Thomas-
ton, Maine, and was long captain of a company in

Online LibraryJohn Henry BrownIndian wars and pioneers of Texas → online text (page 20 of 135)