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ous in the past history of the commonwealth had
journeyed " across the narrow isthmus that divides
the sea of life from the ocean of eternity that lies

The Twenty-fourth legislature was then in session
and, on the 19th of March, out of respect to the
distinguished dead, passed by unanimous votes the
following resolutions : —

Senate Resolution, offered by Senator Dickson : —

" Whereas, One of our most distinguished and
honored citizens and patriotic gentlemen has been
called from our midst in the death of the late Moses
Austin Bryan and,

" Whereas, In his death we recognize the fact
that the State of Texas has sustained a loss of one
whose true and honored name has become of great
pride and held in highest esteem by all citizens of
Texas, therefore be it.

"Resolved, That the Senate of the Twenty-fourth
legislature of Texas do hold in sacred memory his
good name and patriotism, and do extend to his
beloved children and relatives their heartfelt sym-
pathies and condolence in this their hour of deepest
sorrow and distress."

House Resolution, offered by Giddings and
Rogers : —

" Whereas, We have learned with deep regret of
the death of Moses Austin Bryan, of Brenham, on
Saturday, March 16th last, and

" Whereas, In him ye lose another of those grand
old heroes, who by their valor, patriotism and
devotion to the principles of liberty, achieved the
independence of Texas and left it as a princely
heritage to posterity, therefore be it

"Resolved, First. That while we realize that
there is no escape from the relentless hand of Time
and recognize that he had passed the allotted age of
man, and had rounded out a long life of devotion
to our loved State, yet it is with feelings of pro-
found sorrow that we see him taken from our midst.
Second. That we extend to his sorrowing relatives
and friends our sincere sympathy for the great
personal loss they have susta,ined."

The remains were interred in the cemetery at
Independence, Washington County, Texas, and
were followed to their last resting-place by the
largest funeral cortege known in the history of
that place. The people, without distinction, united
in paying tribute to the memory of the fearless
soldier, stainless citizen, and blameless patriot,
who had lived among them through so many years,
and been such a faithful neighbor and friend, and
who, as he passed among them, had scattered all
about his path of life seeds of kindness, that,
sprung into life from the soil in which they fell,
and filled with the incense of heaven's own flowers
the tranquil evening hours of his departing day.




The subject of this sketch, Ira Randolph Lewis,
was one of the patriots, who, as an associate of
Austin, Houston, Travis and their compeers, severed
Texas from Mexico by the revolution of 1835-1836.
He was a prominent and distinguished lawyer and
political actor in those times. He was a delegate
ifrom and represented the Municipality of Matagorda
in the convention of 1833, the first ever called by the
people of Texas, and of which Stephen F. Austin
was president and Frank W. Johnson secretary.

This convention set forth the grievances of the
colonists in Texas of Anglo-American origin, in a
paper of unparalleled strength, prepared by David
G. Burnet, and addressed to the Mexican govern-
tn^at. S. F. Austin, W. H. Wharton and J. B.
Millet; were commissioned by the convention to pre-
sent this pa;per to the government of Mexico at the
city of Mexico. "Wharton and Miller refused to go
and encounter the dangers incident to such a mis- ■
sion, but Austin undertook the necessary task. His
imprisonment and sufferings in a Mexican dungeon
are matters familiar to every student of Texas

Again , in the consultation of 1835 , Matagorda sent
Mr. Lewis to represent it, together with R. E.-
Eoyal. What was done by these conventions is a
part of the history of Texas and the reader is
referred to volume one of Brown's History of
Texas, which gives in full the proceedings of both

He was again honored by being chosen a mem-
ber of the General Executive Council, consisting of
two members from each county, or municipality
as they were then called. The object of this coun-
cil was to assist the executive. Governor Smith, in
conducting the affairs of the Provisional Govern-

While performing his duties in the Executive
Council in February, 1836, Governor Henr3' Smith
commissioned T. J. Chambers, with rank as Gen-
eral, to go to the United States and enlist volun-
teer soldiers and raise funds to aid Texas in her
struggle with Mexico. Chambers appointed Lewis
on his staff with rank of Colonel and, with Cham-
bers' indorsement and Governor Smith's written
permission, he left the council in the latter part of
February, 1830, and proceeded at once to the
United States.

Col. Lewis, in his capacity as Commissioner for
Texas, actively canvassed in rapid succession the

towns and cities most accessible to him in those
days of the ox-cart, stage coach and river steamer.
But for this absence he would have participated in
the battle of San Jacinto.

On his return to Texas he made an official report-
to the President of the Republic, who was Gen.
Sam Houston. The report is as follows : —

" To the President of the Republic of Texas :

" In obedience to official duty and for the fur-
ther purpose of announcing to the proper author-
ities, for what otherwise might appear a wanton
absence from the country of my adoption during
her greatest difficulties, while in the United States
for the last ten months, I beg leave to communicate
the following information and report, which your
Excellency will be pleased to receive and transmit
to the officer of the proper department where it

" On the 9th day of January, of the present
year, the then existing government of this Re-
public passed a law authorizing T. J. Chambers,
Esq., to raise, arm, equip and command a division
as an auxiliary army for the defense of the cause
of Texas ; the particulars of which will more fully
appear by reference to said law, a copy of which is
herewith transmitted and made a part of the report,
being marked No. 1 ; the original is on file in the
archives of this government.

"After Gen. Chambers was commissioned and
instructed to go to the United States to procure
men and means to constitute his division, and put
it in motion and serve in Texas, he^ offered me
an office on his staff as paymaster of said division,
which I accepted and was immediately com-
missioned by the proper executive of this govern-
ment, a copy of which commission is here attached
and marked No. 2 ; a proper record of the original
is to be found in the war office.

" At the time I received my appointment, which
was in February last, and from all the information
then obtained, the enemy was expected to appear
in the months of May or June last, and as the corps
was to be raised in the United States, I received an
order from Gen. Chambers to repair forthwith
with him to the United States to aid and assist in
procuring the men and means necessary to place the
division in Texas for service as speedily as possi-
ble; and in obedience to which order, I set out
from San E'elipe for the United States for the object




mentioned in the order, a copy of which is here
attached, marked No. 3.

" On the day of leaving San Felipe the news, or
rumor, from the interior, gave information that the
enemy was in motion about Saltillo, and might be
expected in April and sooner than had been antici-
pated, which prompted a more speedy action on our
part, with a view of throwing aid into the country
in time to be of use in the first contest, but nothing
is more common than disappointment, for when we
reached Natchez the news had reached there in
authentic shape that Santa Anna had besieged the
Alamo at San Antonio about the first of March and
in a few days the melancholy news arrived that the
garrison had fallen, and all its gallant defenders
had been put to the sword.

"Gen. Chambers and myself immediately com-
municated with the most respectable and influential
citizens of that place and explained the situation
and unhappy condition of our country. In a short
time the most enthusiastic feeling was found to
prevail there — and large meetings were held by the
inhabitants to manifest this feeling, and offer aid
to suffering Texas. And at that time (in the month
of March last) I had the- high gratification to learn
from Judge Quitman and Gen. F. Huston that they
would visit Texas, and enlist in her war ; and men
of their influence, wealth and distinction, I knew
would induce much efficient aid from Mississippi.
At Natchez I received further orders to proceed
forthwith to the eastern country to explain the
cause of the war, the situation of our country, and
obtain men and means for her aid ; which order is
here attached in copy, marked No. 4.

" In obedience to said order, I set out on the first
of April last for Louisville, where I arrived on the
12th of that month. When I made known the object
of my visit, and consulted with many of the lead-
ing gentlemen of that place, as to the best course
to pursue, I found the best of feeling prevailing
for our cause and in a few days a mass meeting was
called, which I had the honor, by invitation, to
address on behalf of Texas, and had the pleasure
to have the most generous responses made to the
call for aid. By unremitting efforts I procured to
be raised and dispatched. Col. C. L. Harrison's
Louisville Battalion, the van of which, was Capt.
Wiggonton's company of near one hundred men,
and the balance soon followed, being aided to do
so by the munificence of the generous citizens of
that city. From there I proceeded to Lexington,
by invitation to meet a State convention then being
held in that place.

" To the convention and inhabitants of Lexington
and the surrounding country, I proclaimed the

cause of Texas, their condition and want of aid,, in
a public address. Here I remained for two weeks
making constant exertion for our cause and having
many meetings upon the subject, which resulted in
a display of the most generous and noble sympathy
and friendship in our favor and, ultimately, the
raising and dispatching of the Lexington Battalion
of about three hundred men, and the money for
their outfit and transportation to New Orleans, fur-
nished by the generous donations of the high-minded
and chivalrous inhabitants of that city and its
vicinity. From Lexington I proceeded to Cincinnati,
where I made known my objects, and, by the aid of
the most influential gentlemen of that place, a very
large meeting was convened, which I addressed in
favor of our cause ; which resulted in the raising
of a fine company of about eighty men, who were
furnished with an excellent outfit and means for
transportation as far as New Orleans, by the dona-
tions of the well-tried friends of our cause in that
great metropolis. In all of these four named
places I had the good fortune to be aided by ad-
visory committees, composed of gentlemen of dif-
ferent places, of the first standing and influence ;
and the different corps were raised and dispatched
and the means procured by superintending com-
mittees for that purpose in each place, appointed
by the citizens of the same, who procured the
means by donations and also disbursed the satne
for the purpose of purchasing the supplies and out-
fits for the different corps and if any surplus re-
mained, the respective committees paid over the
same to the persons who took command of the
different detachments.

" This course was adopted and pursued by my
own request and suggestion, to secure the infiuence
of the committees, and secure as far as possible
entire satisfaction. All this was done and the most
of the different corps had set out for Texas during
this period, when the melancholy news was daily
reaching the United States of the fall of the Alamo
the massacre of Fannin, of Ward and of King, and
that Santa Anna was passing triumphantly over the
country, burning and devastating as he went and
that he was in a short time to be looked for on the
banks of the Sabine. It was not until late in May
last that the news arrived in that part of the United
States, in such a shape as to be believed, of the
glorious battle of the San Jacinto, and the capture
of the monster, Santa Anna, or as his own vanity
induced him to call himself, " the Napoleon of the
West." Many delays necessarily took place from
the confused and distorted statements concerning
this country, which frequently got into circulation
there, and much time was lost and operations had


to be delayed in order to obtain counter-informa-
tion to correct them, but every effort was made to
get our men on as rapidly as possible, and I gave
written information of all done, to Gen. Chambers at
Nashville, where he was stationed, and to President
Burnet, through the Texas agent in New Orleans,
and as fast and in the order in which I progressed,
but I am surprised to. find that nothing exists in the
archives of this government to show that I have
done anything or communicated any information to
this government.

" My own communications may have shared the
fate and miscarriages of those of Messrs. Carson
and Hamilton, who I am fully sensible addressed
the government frequently and from different parts
of the United States, for I saw their letters ; but,
like myself, 1 am told, not a word has been heard
from them.

" Shortly after my effort before the public in
Cincinnati, I fell sick and was confined with a fever
and painful illness for near a month. During this
time I received orders to proceed to Pittsburg, to
purchase some cannon, and from there to Phila-
delphia and New York and, if practicable, to effect
a loan on the credit of Texas for fifty thousand
dollars to complete the outfit of the division then
being raised, which order is herewith submitted in
a true copy and marked No. 5.

" In obedience to the last named order, I set
out from Cincinnati on the first of June, that being
as soon as I could travel, or information from this
country would authorize it ; passing by Pittsburg
but found that no cannon could be procured at that
time, inasmuch as the only foundry which made,
them had a large contract on hand for the United
States, and would not make any others before fall.
From there I proceeded to Washington City on my
way to the Elust, and for the purpose of learnino'.
the disposition of that government in relation to
Texas; thinking at the same time that such infor-
mation might be wanting, on my attempting the
loan I wished to make, and my anticipations proved
true. In Washington I found our commissioners,
Messrs. Hamilton and Childress, making every
possible exertion for our cause, and with happy
effect. Gen. Austin, Wm. H, Wharton and Dr.
Archer, the former commissioners, then being on
their way home, and all as I found having produced
by their able efforts impressions of the most en-
couraging character in favor of our cause. From
there I proceeded to New York, by way of Balti-
more and Philadelphia. There I made propositions
for the money I wanted, and with the aid and under
the auspices of S. Swartwout, Esq., and James
Treat, Esq., two of the most noble and devoted

friends that Texas ever had, ox ever will have, I
was told that the money could be had if .the gov-
ernment of the United States would recognize our
independence, or take action upon the subject,
which would be tantarnount thereto, or manifest
a favorable disposition ; and at this point did
my negotiation for a loan cease for a time. Also
one other proposed loan of another commissioner,
Mr. R. Hamilton, for five hundred thousand
dollars, and which had been set in operation by the
first commissioners with a heavy banking house of
that city. During this suspension I was advised
by some friends of Texas to return to Washington
City, and see what was likely to be done there,
which I did, and had the gratification of meeting
our Secretary of State, Col. S. P. Carson, there,
but in bad health, notwithstanding which he gave
great aid and assistance to the cause of Texas, and
much credit is due him for the successful passage
of the favorable resolution in the Congress of the
United States concerning Texas. From Washing-
ton, Messrs. Carson, Hamilton, Childress, and
myself went up to New York, for the purpose of
concluding, if possible, the two loans which had
been proposed previously. In a short time after
we reached there, and as everything was assuming
a highly favorable aspect in relation to our busi-
ness, there appeared in public prints tliat famous,
proclamation of his Excellency, President Burnet,
denouncing, without distinction, all agents and com-
missioners then in the United States and announc-
ing that Mr. T. Toby was the only Texas agent.
The same mail which announced his appointment,
also brought the intelligence of the failure of
Messrs. Toby & Bro. ; all of which was well
calculated to produce what followed, namely, that,
state of confusion and distrust in the public mind
which prevailed in the United States, after conclu-
sion of the late administration of Burnet, and a
loss to Texas at that time, of more th»n half a
milHon of dollars, which aid she was on the eve of

"Immediately on seeing the proclamation, be-
fore alluded to, we withdrew all propositions for
money and made no further exertions of that,
nature. In a short time after this, which was about
the latter part of July last, I set out for the South
on my way home, and met Gen. Chambers at Cin-
cinnati, to whom I communicated the result of my
mission and who I found had sacrificed a large
portion of his private fortune to advance the cause
and aid the country. I found there that another
famous proclamation of his Excellency President
Burnet, had issued that no more volunteers were
wanted from the United States, which I found had



produced great confusion and dissatisfaction in
that country, particularly to those (and there were
many within my knowledge) who had prepared and
determined to emigrate to Texas, from " the dark
and bloody ground" of our existence, and when
to every rational mind it was supposed the war
would be prosecuted with vigor.

" But in a short time after the proclamation, last
alluded to, other threatened invasions by the Mex-
icans became imminent, and produced another
proclamation calling on the generous and sympa-
thizing of the world to come to the aid of suffering
Texas, but then it was too late in the season, as the
people of the North were afraid to come South until

" General Chambers made and was still making,
preparations to bring on a Sne band of gallant
emigrants (in addition to those already in this
country), who were to start in a short time after
Messrs. Wilson and Postlethwaite's return from

" I think their slanderous publications destroyed
all these efforts and for a time turned the tide of feel-
ing against Texas. On the first of September, I left
Louisville on my way home, but unfortunately was
taken sick on the river, and after I reached Natchez
was confined for near a month. After my recov-
ery I had some private business which detained me
for a short time, and news of an unfavorable char-
acter after that was concluded, I proceeded home-
wards, and arrived at this place on the eighth of
this month.

"The last service I did for the cause of Texas
was in Natchez, when I aided the quarter-master
general, at his request, in selling land scrip, and
assisted in obtaining some fifty thousand dollars for
the government to purchase provisions for the army ;
and that of refuting the pamphlet publication con-
taining the calumnies against Texas of Messrs.
Wilson and Postlethwaite. I had the pleasure of see-
ing before 1 left the United States, that the highest
friendly feeling was again up for Texas and perfect
confidence was . displayed throughout that country,
on the receipt of the news of the election of the
hero of San Jacinto to the presidencj', and the
appointment of his able Cabinet, and the policies of
the same.

" The present Congress I contracted no debt for,
or on account of this government, iior made it re-
sponsible for one thing.

"The foregoing services herein related I per-
formed at my own expense, and free of charge to
the government in any manner whatever.

" By my absence I left exposed and unprotected
all my property and effects on earth ; also my office.

papers and books of all kinds (professional and
private), which were all destroyed and thereby
leaving me damaged, with others (and worse than
thej', for most of them saved their papers at least),
to a large amount of property and effects, and worse
than all, subjected to incalculable difficulties and
confusion, by the loss of my books and papers.

" The foregoing is faithfully submitted to your
Excellency and a candid world, to show the cause
of my absence from the country at a time when I
should have rejoiced to have marched with your
Excellency and all my countrymen in arms, and
perhaps gained some of the brilliant honors by
many achieved, or died with the immortal slain.
And ihe same is submitted to account for the delays
and disappointments before explained.

" In the foregoing report I have discharged a
conscientious duty, in giving a plain and candid
expose, but not as full as I would have given had
it been required or compatible with official obliga-
tion, and of this I shall content myself as in all
other matters of my life with a quiet and approving
conscience, knowing that I have faithfully and
honorably discharged my duty to my country.

" I have the honor to be, with high regard,

" Your obedient and humble servant,

"I. E. Lewis.

"Columbia, December 12th, 1836."

"P. S. For the high and generous feeling of
kindness and sympathy, which I found prevailing
in Kentucky for our cause, the highest credit is due
bur distinguished fellow- citizens. Gen. S. F. Austin
and Dr. B. T. Archer, two of our first commission-
ers, but a short time previously had passed through
that country on their way East and who, by their
zealous and able efforts, had prepared the public
mind in the ha])piest manner to respond promptly
and generously to any call which might be made in
behalf of Texas, and made my efforts more profit-
able than I could have otherwise anticipated.

" In New York I had the pleasure of meeting one
of the last commissioners sent out b}' President
Burnet, viz., our distinguished and worthy fellow-
citizen,; James CoUinsworth, just as I was on the
eve of leaving that city."

Col. Lewis also served as a volunteer in the cam-
paign of 1842. against the invasion by Woll of

After the overthrow of Mexican rule in Texas,
Col. Lewis busied himself with his profession,
practicing principally in the counties of Matagorda^
Brazoria, Fort Bend and Wharton, until he acquired
considerable property, when he retired from the



practice to plantations purchased by him and com-
menced farming with negro slaves.

Though proficient in law and literature, Col.
Lewis discovered that he was not cut out for a
planter and, after meeting reverses, abandoned
farming and returned to the practice, in which he
continued until his death, vyhich occurred at the
home of his son-in-law, Maj. Moses Austin Bryan,
at Independence, in August, 1867.

The antecedents and family history of this public
servant and distinguished citizen are clearly traced
and well known, as he left behind him all his private
and public papers and correspondence, which are
numerous and carefully preserved ; all of which is
in the possession of his descendants living in Texas,
hereafter noted. These papers, if ever published,
will throw much light on what arc now obscure
places in Texas history, during the most trying
period. Col. Lewis was born in Virginia, Septem-
ber 25th, 1800. His mother was a Miss Randolph,
of the Virginia family of that name, and his father
was a physician. Doctor Jacob Lewis, who was
born the 13th day of October, 1767, in Somerset
County, State of New Jersey, and lived to a ripe
old age, dying in 1852 in Cincinnati, Ohio, the then
place of his residence.

The father of Dr. Lewis was a soldier in the
Revolutionary War, serving under Washington in

Online LibraryJohn Henry BrownIndian wars and pioneers of Texas → online text (page 33 of 135)