John Henry Brown.

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Bangor, being of an ardent military temperament.
Being also a warm sympathizer with the rebellion
in Canada in 1837-8, he crossed the border in the
latter year and joined his fortunes with those in
arms against the British power. In their final de-
feat he was captured, tried and sentenced to death.
By the intervention of friends, at great hazard to
themselves, on the night before his appointed exe-
cution, he escaped from prison, and by relays of
ho'-ses previously provided, rode in a gallop from
Montreal to Bangor. A large reward was offered
for him, dead or alive, and to escape extradition he
chartered a small vessel, on which, with his elder
son, Andrew Jackson Bryant', leaving the remainder
of his family behind, he sailed for Galveston, arriv-
ing there in January, 1839. His son entered the
Texas navy, as midshipman, won esteem as such,
and in the naval battle off Campeeehy in the spring
of 1843, was fearfullj' wounded,, displaying the
highest order of heroism. He sailed from Galves-
ton for New York a few months later for medical
treatment and to bring out his mother and the other
children, but the vessel went down at sea. No tid-
ings of it or any of its human freight were ever
received. In January, 1845, Mrs. Bryant arrived
in Galveston, accompanied by their sons, Charles

C. (now an employee on Texas Farm and Ranch),
Martin, Clinton and Wolfred N. (now of Dallas).

During the Mexican war, probably in 1846 or
1847, Maj. Bryant removed his family from Gal-
veston to Corpus Christi. It had been reinforced
at Galveston by the birth of a son named Edwin,
and a daughter, now of Dallas, and known through-
out the State from her brilliant and patriotic poet-
ical effusions, as Mrs. Welthea Bryant Leachman,
a favorite pet of the Texas Veteran Association, to
whom she is endeared by ties honorable to her
mind, her genius and her heart.

Maj. Bryant was a prominent and valued citizen
of Corpus Christi. He was mustering officer of the
three companies of Texas rangers, commanded
respectively by Capts. John S. Ford, John G.
Grumbles and Charles M. Blackwell. On the 11th
of January, 1850, he left Corpus Christi on horse-
back for Austin, on business growing out of this
official position, crossing the reef at the head of
Corpus Christi bay. Early on the next day, about
nine miles from Black Point, and in plain view of
several persons who had fortunately discovered the
danger and concealed themselves in some chaparral,
he was completely surprised, murdered and robbed
by a party of nine Indians. He had on his person
several hundred dollars in gold, and a large amount
in bank bills. In that locality he had no reason to
apprehend danger, but though surprised, he fought
with desperation, till overwhelmed by the odds
against him. The concealed and unarmed specta-
tors, though being unseen by the Indians, and see-
ing their approach in time to save themselves, could
give no warning to him whose life was at hazard.

The Southwest Coast in 1850 — Henry McCulloch's Fight on

the San Saba in 1851.

In 1849 and 1850, while Gen. Brooke, with head-
quarters at San Aptonio, was in command of the
United States troops in Texas, there was such a
Siuccession of Indian raids into the coast country
between the San Antonio and Nueces rivers, and
west of the latter stream in rear of Corpus Christi,

as to create a constant sense of insecurity among
the scattered population of that section. It will be
remembered, as shown elsewhere, that on the 11th
of January, 1850, Maj. Charles G. Bryant, of Cor-
pus Christi, was killed by one of those raiding



Gen. Brooke, in view of these increasing depre-
ciations, called into service a company of Texas
rangers, who were mustered in at Austin, Novem-
ber 5, 1850. Henry E. McCulIoch, for the fifth
time since June'8, 1846, was elected Captain, John
R. King, First Lieutenant, Calvin S. Turner, Second
Lieutenant, and Wm. C. McKean, was Orderly

The company formed a central camp on the
Aransas, between the Nueces and San Antonio,
and kept up an active system of scouts from the
one river to the other, and successively discovered,
pursued and broke up two or three raiding parties,
capturing their horses and outfits, though the sav-
ages in each case escaped into the almost impene-
trable chaparrals of that section. Two Indians,
however, during the stay of the company in that
locality, slipped inside the lines, captured a small
boy, son of Hart, at the Mission Refugio, and suc-
cessfully escaped ; but this in a period of five
months, was the only success they achieved, being
wholly defeated in every other attempt, and confi-
dence was restored. The company, being six
months' men, were discharged at Fort Merrill, on
the Nueces, on the 4th of May, 18.51, but reor-
ganized as a new company for another six months
on the next day. Capt. Gordon Granger (a
Federal General in the civil war) was the officer
who mustered out the old company and remus-
tered them in the new.

Of this second company (the sixth and last one
in the service of the United States commanded by
the same gentleman) Henry E. McCulloeh was
unanimouslyelectedCaptain, MilburnHarrell, First,
and Wm. C. McKean, Second Lieutenant, Oliver H.
F. Keese, Orderly Sergeant, the other Sergeants
being Houston Tom, Thomas Drennan and James
Eastwood ; the corporals w^re John M. Lewis,
Abner H. Beard, Thomas F. Mitchell and Archi-
bald Gipson; Wm. J. Boykin and James E. Keese,
buglers ; John Swearlnger, blacksmith ; Thomas
Sappington, farrier. There were seventy-four
privates and a total in rank and file of eighty-

In the mean time Gen. Brooke died in San
Antonio and Gen. Wm. S. Harney had succeeded
to the command. He directed Capt. McCulloch to
take such position in the mountains, covering the
head waters of the Guadalupe, Perdenales, Llano
and San Saba, as, by a system of energetic scout-
ing, would enable him best to protect the settle-
ments inside, in reality covering most of the
country between the upper Nueces and the Colo,
rado. About the 1st of June Capt. McCulloch
established his headquarters on the north branch of

the Llano river, about ten miles above the forks,-
and thenceforward had daily reports from a long
line of observation. This active service, without
any important action or discovery, continued until
early in August, when the scouts reported a con-
siderable and fresh 'Indian trail to the west of the
encampment bearing from the lower country in a
northerly direction.

Capt. McCulloch, with a detail of twenty-one
men, started in immediate pursuit.

Following the trail, rendered very plain by the
number of stolen horses driven by the Indians, it
became manifest that the robbers apprehended no
danger and were traveling leisurely. On reaching
the south branch of the San Saba, not far from its-
source, it became certain that the enemy was near
by, Capt. McCulloch halting the company, with
Chris. McCoy went forward, soon to discover the
Indians encamped on a deep branch, evidently feel-
ing secure, and their horses grazing at some distance
from them. A plan of attack was at once adopted.
A charge was so made as to cut the horses oft and
the Indians took position in the branch, but be-
trayed more of a desire to escape than to fight. .
The rangers, inspired by their captain, crowded
upon them whenever and wherever it could be done
without reckless exposure to their invisible shots.
Some of the squaws with bows and arrows, fought as
men, and two would have been killed in the deadly
melee but for the discovery of their sex, upon which
they were overpowered and disarmed, this being
the highest manifestation of chivalry possible under
the circumstances, including, of course, the safe
custody of the captured ladies. Herman L. Raven
was wounded by one of the squaws. Jeremiah
Campbell's horse was killed by a rifle ball. The
Indians were closely pressed as they retreated
down the branch until they found security in the
thickets on its borders.

Seven or eight warriors were left dead on the
ground. All the horses and other property of the
Indians were captured. It became evident that the
raiders had been robbing Mexicans on the Rio
Grande. On reflection Capt. McCulloch furnished,
the two squaws horses and outfits, telling them
to find their people and say to them that If they
would come into Fort Marlin Scott (two and a half
miles cast of Fredericksburg, and on the Perde-
nales), bring in any prisoners they might have and
pledge themselves to cease depredations on the
frontier, their horses and effects would be restored
to tbem. This offer was accepted and carried into
effect Ketemsi, chieJ of the defeated party, con-
tended that he had been warring on Mexicans only
and It was not right for Texians to attack him - a .



position untenable while he passed over and occu-
pied Texas soil in his hostile movements against
people with whom we were at peace. But in truth
he was ready lo rob and slay Texians as well as

The company continued in active service till the
expiration of their period of enlistment, when on the

5th of November, 1851, they were mustered out at
Fort Martin Scott. As previously stated, they
were mustered in at Fort Merrill by Capt. Gordon
Granger, afterwards a distinguished Union General
in the war between the States. They were mustered
out by James Longstreet, an equally distinguished
General on the Confederate side in the same war.

Governor Fitzhugh Lee's Hand-to-Hand Fight with a Stalwart

Warrior in 1855.

I am unable to give the date or precise locality
of the incident about to be narrated ; but it was
about 18o5, and not far from one of the U. S. mil-
itary posts then on our western frontier, and the
facts are derived from Capt. Hayes, the only wit-
ness of the scene. The hero of the occasion was
Fitzhugh Lee, then a young Lieutenant of cavalry
in the United States army, afterwards distinguished
as a General of cavalry in the Confederate army and
still later as Governor of Virginia. He is a nephew
of Gen. Robert E. Lee, and a son of Com. Sidney
Smith Lee, deceased, of the United States navy.

Capt. Hayes (then, I think, a lieutenant), and
Lieut. Lee, on the occasion referred to, were roam-
ing through a forest when they espied a large and
robust warrior quite near and mounted on horse-
back. As soon as he discovered them he gave a
steatorian war whoop and darted off through the
timber, pursued by Lee and Hayes. The chase con-
tinued for a considerable distance, first one and then
the other party gaining ground, till finally, owing
to thick brush on the bank of a creek, the Indian
was forced to abandon his horse and seek conceal-
ment, in doing which he leaped down the creek
bank where it was about ten feet high.

The pursuers dismounted, Lee passing down
the creek on one side and Hayes on the other.
In a little while Hayes saw Lee stoop down and
pick up a fine blanket, dropped by the Indian, and
called to him to be cautious, as the owner must be
near at hand. He had scarcely done so when the
savage sprang from behind a ledge of rocks, not
over four feet distant, and with a wild yell, seized
Lee, and a life and death struggle began. The
Indian was much the stronger of the two and
very soon had Lee down. The former had a
lance and a bow and arrow on his back while

Lee had a pistol and carbine, but, at ihe first
onset, the lance and carbine, respectively, wer&
dropped. Lee, being agile, rose to his feet, tightly
clenched by his antagonist, but was again thrown
to the ground. His pistol fell and rolled beyond
the reach of either. Lee rose a third time and was
again thrown, when they rolled over and over each
other. Lee, with his left hand, seized the Indian's
throat and endeavored to suffocate him, but his
hand was seized by the savage and restrained.
Lee continued his efforts — they again rolled over
each other and finally Lee found himself on top and
renewed his choking operation ; but at the same
instant discovered that they had rolled within reach
of his pistol, seizing which, unseen by the Indian,
he held it near the ground and fired, the ball pass-
ing through the Indian's cheeks.

The savage then made a powerful effort to-
" turn " Lee and get possession of the pistol. In
the language of Capt. Hayes: " Each man fought
with superhuman strength, and each knew that it
was a battle unto death."

In all this time, and it was but a moment, Capt.
Hayes had seen the struggle and hastened to reach
the spot in aid of his friend, for he dare not fire
unless immediately at them, lest he might kill Lee,
but he was delayed by brush and the bluff in cross-
ing the creek. " But," says he, " just as I reached
Fitz he fired again and the ball went crashing
through the Indian's heart, killing him. Lee then
arose and I said to him : That was a close call»
Fitz. He replied: 'Yes, I thought I was gone.'
Afterward I asked him how in the world he man-
aged to turn the heavy Indian ? In his own peculiar
way Fitz replied : ' I tell you what saved my life,
Jack. When I was a boy at school in Virginia I
learned a litt'e trick in wrestling that the boys



called the back heel, and the thought struck me,
when he had me down, that if I tried that Virginia
back heelon him I would get him. I tried it and I
got him.' "

An account of this rencounter speedily spread all
over the frontier of Texas and gave Fitzhugh Lee
a hold on the people which is a pleasant remem-
brance among the surviving pioneers unto this day,
and has never been weakened by any act of his
since : but, on the contrary, they have ever followed
and rejoiced over his brilliant career as soldier, and
statesman, with a pride akin to kinship. Not long
after the occurrence, he visited Dallas in charge of

an escort to a supply train, where the people gave a
ball and supper in his honor — then sent a commit-
tee to escort him on his return as far as McKinney.
where the same honors were paid.

As Governor of Virginia he worthily occupied a
seat honored aforetime by his grandfather, Light
Horse Harry Lee, of glorious memory, but erecting
another monument to the fact that since Richard
Lee, first of the name in America, came to the
colony- of Virginia as secretary to Governor Sir
William Beverly, in 1641, no Lee has ever left
a stain upon his name or proved untrue to his

Van Dorn's Fight at the Wichita Village, October 1, 1858.

Some years since Capt. (now ex-Governor) L. S.
Ross wrote the following brief account of this
battle, Maj. Van Dorn being of the U. S. Cavalry
and severely wounded: —

"In 1858 I returned from school and found
Maj. Van Dorn was at Belknap organizing an ex-
pedition against the Comanches, then supposed to
he somewhere on the head waters of the Arkansas
and Canadian rivers. I went at once to the Indian
agency and raised one hundred and thirty-five
Waco, Tehuacano, Toncahua and Caddo warriors,
and with them reported to Maj. Van Dorn for
co-operation in the expedition. He sent me in ad-
vance to the Wichita mountains, while he followed
with trains, supplies, and troops, expecting to
establish a depot there for supplies, etc. When I
reached the mountains, I sent a Waco and a Tehua-
cano Indian to the Wichita village, seventy-five
miles east of the Washita river, hoping to learn
through them where the Comanches were to be
found. When the scouts came in sight of the vil-
lage they found, to their surprise, "Buffalo Hump "
with his band of Comanches (the very ones we
were hunting), encamped there, trading and gam-
bling with the Wichitas. The scouts concealed
themselves until after dark, and then stole two

Comanche horses and returned to me to report the
facts. With difficulty I convinced Maj. Van Dorn
that the Indians could be relied upon and induced
him to turn the direction of his columns, and by a
forced march we reached the village at sunrise
October 1st, 1858, surprising and almost completely
destroying that band of the Comanches, capturing
their horses, tents, supplies and several prisoners,
among whom I captured the white girl named
" Lizzie," subsequently raised by my mother, and
of whose family or parentage no trace has been
discovered. For their services Maj. Van Dorn
gave the Indians of my command the spoils cap-
tured, horses, etc. I received for mj- pay a dan-
gerous gun-shot wound, still a painful reminder of
the occasion, together with a petition, signed on
the battle-field by every D. S. officer present, re-
questing my appointment by the Government in
the regular army for distinguished gallantry, and
after due time came a complimentary order from
Gen. Winfield Scott, which documents I still have,
but have never made or attempted to make use of

Tills, when but twenty years old, was the
beginning of Gen. Ross' brilliant career as a



A Story of Gen. Lee— His Attack Upon a Band of Savages in
1860, Wliile on the Way to the Rio Grande.

" Col. A. G. Brackett, who in 1886 and for sev-
eral years commanded at Fort Davis, Texas, spent
the better part of a long and arduous military career
in Indian fighting and the roughest of frontier work
generally," writes a correspondent of the St. Louis
Globe-Democrat; and then continues: " For years
prior to the war, when San Antonio was but a far
outlying post, when railways were an unknown
quantity in Texas' taxable values, and the Coman-
ches and Mexicans practically owned creation.
Col. Brackett was holding up his end of government
guard duty, and of necessity became intimate with
most of the men who for some portion of their lives
lived on the then far frontier, and afterward be-
came heroes of national story and song. To a
group of interested listeners Col. Brackett detailed
the following hitherto unprinted episode in the life
of Gen. Robert E. Lee — in 3860 a Colonel in com-
mand of the department of Texas, and in 1865 the
Confederacy's grandest soldier.

" ' Robert E. Lee,' says Col. Brackett, ' was on
his way from San Antonio to the Rio Grande for the
purpose of doing what he could toward bringing the
Cortinas war to a close and settling the disturbances
connected therewith. He had for his escort my
company of the Second Cavalry, and was marching
as rapidly as possible. He had done what he could
in his office, and now found his only safe plan was
to go himself to the spot where hostilities were pro-
gressing. He was a man who always attended to
everything himself as far as possible. Utterly with-
out pretension, he held every man to a strict per-
formance of his duty, and spared nothing in having
his plans carried out. He was an able department
commander, and foreshadowed many of those quali-
ties which made him famous in a more extended
sphere of action, and proved him one of the great-
est military leaders this country has produced. He
was strict in his ways, but at the same time was one
of the most benevolent and kind-hearted of meij.

" ' As he approached Seco river a messenger came
galloping up to him and reported that the Indians
were just ahead and were robbing the settlements


on and near that stream. It took but a moment to
pass the word to me. We dashed off with our
troops and were soon in the midst of the savages,
who, unaware of our proximity, were plundering
without hindrance and to their own great satisfac-
tion. But when the cavalry dashed in upon them
there were seen some amazing feats of horseman-
ship as with wild yells the Indians endeavored to
get out of the way. They had killed some head of
cattle, and were about to rob a house occupied by
women who had huddled together there, when Lee
appeared on the scene. Again they went in every
direction, but generally up the river toward the
mountains, the cattle lowing from fright, and' the
big bay horses of the troopers bounding after the
red men over the rocks, stones and bushes in a
way to gladden the heart of every true horseman.
For a time the din was great as the troops tore
through the bushes. It was a race for life, and a
most exciting one, as all must admit. How many
were hurt was never accurately known to the whites,
as an Indian can conceal himself in a place which
would almost seem impossible. The chase was
kept up for a couple of miles, but in the broken
ground all further efforts were useless. The men
returned to the house, when a recall was sounded,
their horses being blown and their clothing in
strings from the brush and briers. The women
were dreadfully frightened, their husbands and
brothers being away from home at the time of the
attack, but as the soldiers returned they came in
and were profuse in their thanks to Lee for his
timely arrival and his handsome performance in
beating off the red rascals. He was as impassive
as ever, but it was plainly to be seen that he
thoroughly enjoyed the discomfiture of the Indians,
as well as the eagerness of his men to get at them.'
" In lengthy and interesting mention of the great
commander as one who had broken bread and lived
in camps with him, Col. Brackett speaks of the
Confederate General with the respect and tender
appreciation of a lifetime soldier for a gallant



A Raid in Burnet County in April, 1861 — Death of James

Gracey — George Baker and Family's Escape —

Escape of John H. Stockman, a Boy.

In 1861 Thomas Dawson, a single man, lived
about nine miles westerly from Lampasas, and two
miles east of the road from Burnet to San Saba.
With him lived a fatherless boy of thirteen, John
H. Stockman, whose aunt. Miss Greenwood, subse-
quently became the wife of Dawson. On the 10th
of April, 1861, James, the thirteen-year-old son of
John N. Gracey, then and still (in 1887) of
Lampasas, went to Dawson's in search of horses,
and remained all night.

On the morning of the 11th these two boys, on
foot, went out seeking the horses. When about
two miles from the house and very near the Burnet
and San Saba road, while Stockman was trying to
kill a turkey a short distance from Gracey, and in
a body of post oaks, he heard a rumbling sound —
then shouts, and, on looking, discovered fifteen
Indians in charge of about a hundred stolen and
frightened horses. Checking up the herd, three of
the savages seized little Gracey, stripped off his
clothing, scalped him as he stood upon the ground,
then beckoned him to run, and as he did so, sent sev-
eral arrows through his body, causing instant death.
It was the work of but a moment, during which
Stockman stood among the trees as if paralyzed, not
doubting a similar fate ; but just as the wretches
were about to rush upon him, their attention was
directed to another party a short distance below on
the road. It consisted of George Baker, of Austin,
on horselDEck, his wife and infant, and Mr. Austin,
his father-in-law, in a buggy. Most of the Indians
were required to hold their restless herd, but the
remainder attacked the party. Mr. Baker sought
to defend his precious charge till they could reach
some timber and brush perhaps two hundred yards
away. He had both a gun and pistols. He was
soon wounded, but killed the most daring of the
assailants at an instant when Mrs. Baker was for
a moment at their mercy. But they were so san-
guine of killing the husband and holding the wife,
that the whole party succeeded in reaching the
desired haven and found partial protection. Mr.
Austin was an old man somewhat palsied in the
arms and could do nothing. Baker held them at
bay, firing several shots and wounding a second
Indian; but he was wounded several times and
finally became unable to do more. Mrs. Baker

drew the arrows from his body and staunched the
wounds as best, she could ; but in the last dread
alternative stood in his stead, wielding his weapon*
and holding the brutal creatures at a respectful
distance. An arrow entered the baby's stomach
through several folds of a Mexican blanket, but
not far enough to endanger its life.

In the meantime two other fortunate events-
transpired. The boy, Stockman, seized the occa-
sion to escape. He found partial protection for a
short distance along a ravine. Having on a very
white shirt, easily seen at a considerable distance,
he cast it off. Having to cross a small prairie, he
crawled perhaps half a mile, lacerating his flesh
and limbs, and while so engaged, a part of the
Indians, in preventing a stampede of the horses,,

Online LibraryJohn Henry BrownIndian wars and pioneers of Texas → online text (page 21 of 135)