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you could have seen, and I know he is alive! Go
to him at once." Her husband suggested that if
the men all left before help came from below she
would be in danger. "Never mind me! I can
take to the dogwood thicket and save myself!
Go, I tell you, to poor Wilbarger! "

The few men present determined to await till
morning the arrival of succor from below, but
Mrs. Hornsby refused to retire again, and busied
herself cooking till sunrise, so as to avoid any
delay when aid should come. When the men came
in the morning, she repeated to them in the most
earnest manner her dual vision, urged them to eat
quickly and hasten forward and, as they were
leaving, took from her bed a strong sheet, handed
it to them and said: " Take this, you will have to
bring him on a litter; he cannot sit on ahorse."
The men left and after long search found and
buried the bodies of Christian and Strother.

Wilbarger spent the day in alternate watching
and dozing till, late in the evening, completely ex-
hausted, having crawled to a stump from which a
more extended view was obtained, he was sinking
into a despairing slumber, when the rumbling of
horses' feet fell upon his ear. He arose and now
beheld his dehverers. When, after quite a search
they discovered the ghastly object -a mass of
blood — they involuntarily halted, seeing which he
beckoned and finally called : " Come on, friends • it
is Wilbarger." They came up, even then lie'si-
tating, for he was disfigured beyond recognition




He begged for water ! water ! which was promptly
furnished. He was wrapped in the sheet, placed
on Mr. Hornsby's horse and that gentleman,
mounting behind, held him in his arms, and thus,
slowly, he was borne to the house, to be embraced
with a mother's warmth by her who had seen him
in the vision.

The great loss of blood prevented febrile ten-
dencies, and, under good nursing, Mr. Wilbarger
recovered his usual health ; but the scalp having
taken with it the inner membrane, followed by two
days' exposure to the sun, never healed, The dome
of the skull remained bare, only protected by arti-
iicial covering. For eleven years he enjoyed
health, prospered and accumulated a handsome
estate. At the end of that time the skull rapidly

decayed, exposed the brain, brought on delirium,
and in a few weeks, just before the assurance of
annexation and in the twelfth year from his
calamity, his soul went to join that of his waiting
sister Margaret in that abode " where the wicked
cease from troubling and the weary are at rest."
Recalling the days of childhood, when the writer
often sat upon his lap and received many evidences
of his kindly nature, it is a pleasure to state that
in 1858 he enjoyed and embraced the opportunity
of honoring his memory by naming the county of
Wilbarger jointly for him and his brother Matthias,
a surveyor.

John Wilbarger, one of the sons of Josiah, while
a ranger, was killed by Indians in the Nueces
country, in 1847.

Events in 1833 and 1835 — Campaigns of Oldham, Coleman,

John H. Moore, Williamson, Burleson, Coheen — Fate

of Canoma — Choctaw Tom— The Toncahuas.

In the year 1833, a stranger from the United
States, named Reed, spent several days at Tenox-
titlan, Falls of the Brazos, now in the lower part of
Falls County. There were at that time seven
friendly Toncahua Indians at the place, with whom
Reed made an exchange of horses. The Indians
concluded they had been cheated and pretended to
leave; but secreted themselves and, on the second
day afterwards, lying in ambush, they killed Reed
as he was leaving the vicinity on his return to the
United States, and made prize of his horse and

, Canoma, a faithful and friendly Indian, was the
chief of a small band of Caddos, and passed much
of his time with or near the Americans at the Falls.
He was then in the vicinity. He took seven of his
tribe and pursued the Toncahuas. On the eighth
day he returned, bearing as trophies seven scalps,
Reed's horse and baggage, receiving substantial
commendation from the settlers.

In the spring of 1835 the faithful Canoma was
still about Tenoxtitlan. There were various indi-
cations of intended hostility by the wild tribes, but
it was mainly towards the people on the Colorado.
The wild Indians, as is well known to those conver-
sant with that period, considered the people of the
two rivers as separate tribes. The people at the

Falls, to avert an outbreak, employed Canoma to
go among the savages and endeavor to bring them
in for the purpose of making a treaty and of recov-
ering two children of Mr. Moss, then prisoners in
their hands.

Canoma, leaving two of his children as hostages,
undertook the mission and visited several tribes.
On returning he reported that those he had seen
were willing to treat with the Brazos people ; but
that about half were bitterly opposed to forming
friendly relations with the Coloradians, and that at
that moment a descent was being made on Bastrop
on that river by a party of the irreconcilables.

The people at the Falls immediately dispatched
Samuel McFall to advise the people of that infant
settlement of their danger. Before he reached his
destination the Indians had entered the settlement,
murdered a wagoner, stolen several horses and left,
and Col. Edward Burleson, in command of a small
party, was in pursuit.

In the meantime, some travelers lost their horses
at the Falls and employed Canoma to follow and
recover them. Canoma, with his wife and son,
armed with a written certification of his fidelity to
the whites, trailed the horses in the direction of and
nearly to the three forks of Little river, and re-
covered them. On his return with these American



horses, Burleson and party fell in with hira, but
were not aware of his faithful character. He ex-
hibited his credentials, with which Burleson was dis-
posed to be satisfied ; but his men, already incensed,
and finding Canoma in possession of the horses
under such suspicious circumstances, gave rein to
unreasoning exasperation. They killed him and his
son, leaving his wife to get in alone, which she lost
no time in doing. She reported these unfortunate
facts precisely as they had transpii'ed, and as they
were ever lamented by the chivalrous and kind-
hearted Burleson.

This intensely incensed the remainder of Cano-
ma' s party, who were still at the Falls. Choctaw
Tom, the principal man left among them, stated
that they did not blame the people at the Falls, but
that all the Indians would now make war on the
Coloradians, and, with all the band, left for the
Indian country.

Soon after this, in consequence of some depreda-
tions, Maj. Oldham raised a company of twenty-
five men in Washington, and made a successful
attack an the Keechi village, on the Trinity, now in
Leon County. He routed them, killed a number
and captured a considerable number of horses and
all their camp equipage.

Immediately after this, Capt. Robert M. Cole-
man, of Bastrop, with twenty-five men, three of
whom were Brazos men well known to many of the
Indians, made a campaign against the Tehuacanos,
at the famous springs of that name now in Lime-
stone County. He crossed the Brazos at Washing-
ton on the 4th of July, 1835. He was not
discovered till near the village. The Indians
manifested stubborn courage. A severe engage-
ment ensued, but in the end, though killing a
considerable number of Indians, Coleman was com-
pelled to retreat — having one man killed and four
wounded. The enemy were too numerous for so
small a party ; and it was believed that their recog-
nilion of the thi'ee Brazos men among tlioir assail-
ants, stimulated their courage and exasperated
them against tlie settlers on that river, as they were
already towards those on the Colorado.

Coleman fell back upon Parker's fort, two and a
half miles iibove the present town of Groesbeck,
and sent in an express, calling for an augmentation
of force to chastise the enemy. Thrctc companies
were immediately raised — one commanded by
Capt. Robert M. Williamson (the gifted, dauntless
and eloquent three-legged Willie of the popular
legends), one by Capt. Coheen and a third by Dr.
George W. Barnett. Col. John H. Moore was
given chief command and Joseph C. Neill (a

soldier at the Horseshoe) was made adjutant.
They joined Coleman at the fort and rapidly
advanced upon the Tehuacanos at the springs ;
but the wily red man had discovered them and

They then scoured the country up the Trinity as
far as the forks, near the subsequent site of Dallas,
then passed over to and down the Brazos, crossing
it where old Fort Graham stands, without encoun-
tering more than five or six Indians on several
occasions. They, however, killed one warrior and
made prisoners of several women and children.
One of the women, after her capture, killed her
own child, for which she was immediately shot.
Without any other event of moment the command
leisurely returned to the settlements.

[Note. Maj. Oldham was afterwards one of
the Mier prisoners. Dr. Barnett, from Tennessee,
at 37 years of age, on the second day of the next
March (1836), signed the Declaration of Tcxian
Independence. He served as a senator for a num-
ber of years and then moved to the western i)art of
Gonzales County, where, in the latest Indian raid
ever made into that section, he was killed while
alone, by the savages. The names of Robert M.
Williamson and John H. Moore are too intimately
identified with our history to justify farther notice
here. As a Lieutenant-Colonel at San Jacinto,
Joseph C. Neill was severely wounded. Robert
M. Coleman was born and reared in that portion of
Christian County, Kentucky, which afterwards be-
came Trigg County. He came to Texas in 1880.
He, too, at the age of 37, signed the Declaration
of Independence and, fifty- one days later, com-
manded a company at San Jacinto. He was
drowned at the mouth of the Brazos in 1837. In
1839 his wife and 13 year-old-son were killed at
their frontier home in Webber's prairie, on the
Colorado, and another son carried into captivity by
thu Indians, never to be restored to civilization.
Two little girls, concealed under the floor by their
heroic child brother before his fall, were saved.
Henry Bridgcr, a young man, i\w\\ just from Cole
County, Missouri, afterwards my ni^iglibor and close
friend in several campaigns and battles- — modest
as a maiden, fearless as ii tiger — also a Mier pris-
oner, saw his fiist service in this campaign of Col.
Moore. Sam MctFall, the bearer of the warning
from the Falls to Bastrop, iVoin choice went on
foot. He was six I'c^el and thvw, inches high, loan,
lithe and audacious. He was the greatest footman
ever known in Texas, and made the distance in
shorter time than a saddle horse could have done.
He becami' famous among tiie Mier ))iiHoncrs at
Pcrotc, 1843-4, by feigning lunacy and stampeding
whenever harnessed to one of tlie little Mexican
carts for hauling stone, a task forced upon his
comrades, but from which lie escaped as a
"lunatico." He died in McLennan County some
years ago, lamented as an exemplar of true," inborn
nobility of soul and dauntless courage.]



The Attempted Settlement of Beales' Rio Grande Colony in
1834— Its Failure and the Sad Fate of Some of the Col-
onists—Twelve Murdered — Mrs. Horn and Two
Sons and Mrs. Harris Carried into
Captivity — 1834 to 1836.

Before narrating the painful scenes attending
the attempt to form a colony of Europeans and
Americans on the Rio Grande, about thirty miles
above the present town of Eagle Pass, begun in
New York in November, 1833, and terminating in
bitter failure and the slaughter of a portion of the
colonists on the 2d of April, 1836, a few precedent
facts are condensed, for the more intelligent and
comprehensive understanding of the subject.

Dr. John Charles Beales, born in Aldborough,
Suffolk County, England, March 20, 1804, went to
Mexico, and, in 1830, married the widow of Richard
Exter, an English merchant in that country. She
was a Mexican lady, her maiden name having been
Maria Dolores Soto. Prior to his death Mr. Exter
had become associated in certain empresario con-
tracts for introducing colonists into northern or
rather New Mexico with Stephen Julian Wilson, an
English naturalized citizen of Mexico.

In 1832 Dr. Beales and Jose Manuel Roquella
obtained from the State of Coahuila and Texas the
right to settle colonists in the following described
limits: —

Beginning at the intersection of latitude 32°
north with longitude 102° west from London, the
same being the southwest corner of a tract peti-
tioned for by Col. Reuben Ross ; thence west on
the parallel of latitude 32° to the eastern hmit of
New Mexico ; thence north on the line dividing
New Mexico and the provinces (the State) of Coa-
huila and Texas, to a point twenty leagues (52f
miles) south of the Arkansas river ; thence east to
longitude 102°, on the west boundary (really the
northwest corner) of the tract petitioned for by
Col. Reuben Ross; — thence south to the place of
beginning. Beales and Roquella employed Mr. A.
Le Grand, an American, to survey and mark the
boundaries of this territory and divide it into twelve
or more blocks. Le Grand, with an escort and
proper outfit, arrived on the ground from Santa Fe,
and established the initial point, after a series of
observations, on the 27th of June, 1833. From
that date till the 30th of October, he was actively
engaged in the work, running lines north, south.

east and west over most of the large territory. In
the night, eight inches of snow fell, and on the
30th, after several days' examination of its topog-
raphy, he was at the base of the mountain called
by the Mexicans " La Sierra Oscura." Here, for
the time being, he abandoned the work and pro-
ceeded to Santa Fe to report to his employers.
Extracts from that report form the base for these
statements. Neither Beales and Roquella nor Col.
Reuben Ross ever proceeded farther in these enter-
prises ; but it is worthy of note that Le Grand pre-
ceded Capt. R. B. Marcy, D. S. A., twenty-six
years in the exploration and survey of the upper
waters of the Colorado, Brazos, Red, Canadian and
Washita rivers, a field in which Capt. Marcy has
worn the honors of first explorer from the dates of
his two expeditious, respectively, in 1849 and 1853.
Le Grand's notes are quite full, noting the cross-
ing of every stream in all his 1800 to 2000 miles
in his subdivision of that large territory Into dis-
tricts or blocks numbered 1 to 12.

Le Grand, in his diary, states that on the 14th
of August: " We fell in with a party of Riana In-
dians, who informed us they were on their way to
Santa Fe, for the purpose of treating with the
government. We sent by them a copy of our jour-
nal to this date."

On the 20th of August they visited a large en-
campment of Comanche Indians, who were friendly
and traded with them.

On the night of September 10th, in the country
between the Arkansas and Canadian, five of the
party — Kimble, Bois, Caseboth, Boring and
Ryon — deserted, taking with them all but four
of Le Grand's horses.

On the 21st of September, near the northeast
corner of the tract they saw, to the west, a large
body of Indians. This was probably in " No Man's
Land," now near the northeast corner of Sherman
County, Texas.

On the night of September 27th, twenty miles
west of the northeast corner, and therefore near
the northwest corner of Sherman County, they
were attacked by a body of Snake Indians. The



action was short but furious. The Indians, evi-
dently expecting to surprise and slaughter the
party while asleep, left nine warriors dead on the
ground. But the victors paid dearly for the
triumph; they lost three killed, McCrummins,
Weathers and Jones, and Thompson was slightly
wounded. They buried the dead on the 28th and
remained on the ground till the 2'.)th. The country
over which this party carried the compass and
chain, between June 27th and October 30th, 1833,
measuring on the ground about eighteen hundred
miles, covers about the western half of the pi-esent
misnamed Texas Panhandle, the eastern portion
(or a strip thereof) of the present New Mexico,
the western portion of "No Man's Land," and
south of the Panhandle to latitude 32. The
initial or southeast corner (the intersection of
longitude 102 with latitude 32), judging by our
present maps, was in the vicinity of the present
town of Midland, on the Texas and Pacific Railway,
but Le Grand's observations must necessarily have
been imperfect and fixed the point erroneously. It
was, however, sixteen miles south of what he called
throughout the ''Red river of Texas," meaning
the Colorado or Pasigono, while he designates as
"Red river" the stream still so called. This
large territory is now settled and being settled by
stock raisers, with a decided tendency towards
farming pursuits. The writer of this, through the
press of Texas, ever since 1872, has contended that
in due time Northwest Texas, from the Pacific
road to latitude 36° 30', notwithstanding consid-
erable districts of worthless land, would become
the seat of an independent and robust agricultural
population. It is now being verified.


Dr. Beales secured in his own name a right to
settle a colony extending from the Nueces to the
Rio Grande and lying above the road from San
Antonio to Laredo. Next above, extending north
to latitude 32°, was a similar privilege granted to
John L. Woodbury, which expired, as did similar
concessions to Dr. James Grant, a Scotchman
naturalized and married in Mexico (the same who
was killed by the Mexican army on its march to
Texas, in February, 1836, in what is known as the
Johnson and Grant expedition, beyond the Nueces
river), and various others. Dr. Beales entered
into some sort of partnership with Grant for
settling colonists on the Rio Grande and Nueces'
tract, and then, with Grant's approval, while re-
taining his official position as empresario, or con-
tractor with the State, formed in New York an

association styled the " Rio Grande and Texas
Land Company," for the purpose of raising
means to encourage immigration to the colony
from France, Ireland, England and Germany, in-
cluding also Americans. Mr. Egerton, an English
surveyor, was sent out first to examine the lands
and select a site for locating a town, and the first
immigrants. He performed that service and
returned to New York in the summer of 1833.

The Rio Grande and Texas Land Company organ-
ized on a basis of capital " divided into 800 shares,
each containing ten thousand acres, besides sur-
plus lands." Certificate No. 407, issued in New
York, July 11, 1834, signed, Isaac A. Johnson,
trustee ; Samuel Sawyer, secretary, and J. C. Beales,
empresario, with a miniature map of the lands, was
transmitted to me as a present or memento, as the
case might be, in the year 1874, by my relative,
Hon. Wm. Jessop Ward, of Baltimore, and now
lies before me. As a matter of fact, Beales,
like all other empresarios under the Mexican
colonization laws, contracted or got permission
to introduce a specified number of immigrants (800
in this case) and was to receive a given amount of
premium land in fee simple to himself for each
hundred families so introduced. Otherwise he had
no right to or interest in the lands, and all lands
not taken up by immigrants as headrights, or
awarded him as premiums within a certain term of
years from the date of the contract, remained, as
before, public domain of the State. Hence the
habit generally adopted by writers and map-makers
of styling these districts of country "•grants" to
A., B. or C. was and ever has been a misnomer.
They were in reality only permits.

The first, and so far as known or believed, the
only body of immigrants introduced by Dr. Beales,
sailed with him from New York, in the schooner
Amos Wright, Capt. Monroe, November 11th, 1833.
The party consisted of fifty-nine souls, men, women
and children, but how many of each class cannot be

On the 6th of December, 1833, the Amos Wright
entered Aransas bay, finding nine feet of water
on the bar; on the 12th they disembarked and
pitched their tents on the beach at Copano and
there remained till January ;i, 1831, finding there
only a Mexican coast-guard consisting of a corporal
and two men. On the 15th of December Don Jose
Maria Cosio, collector of customs, came down from
Goliad (the ancient La Bahia), and passed their
papers and goods as correct and was both courteous
and kind. Throughout the remainder of December,
January and February there were rapidly succeed-
ing wet and cold northers, indicating one of the



most inclement winters known to the inhabitants —
flooding the coast prairies and causing great dis-
comfort to the strangers, who, however, feasted
abundantly on wild game, fish and water fowl.

On the 20th Dr. Beales, his servant, Marcelino,
and Mr. Power started to Goliad to see the Alcalde,
Don Miguel Aldrete, and procure teams for trans-
portation, the roads being so flooded that, although
the distance was only about forty miles, they did
not arrive till the 22d. Returning with animals to
draw their vehicles, they arrived at Copano late on
the 31st of December, having halted, both in going
and returning, at the Irish settlement of Power's
and Hewetson's infant colony, at the old mission
of Refugio. (This colony had for empresarios Mr.
James Power and Dr. James Hewetson, both
well known in the subsequent history of that sorely
desolated section. )

The party left Copano on the 3d of January,
1834, and after numerous vexations and minor
accidents, arrived at Goliad, crossed and encamped
on the east bank of the San Antonio river on the
16th, having thus left behind them the level and
flooded coast lands. Dr. Beales notes that, while
at Goliad, " some of the foreigners in the town,
the lowest class of the Americans, behaved ex-
ceedingly ill, endeavoring, by all means in their
power, to seduce my families away." But only
one man left, and he secured his old Majordomo
(overseer or manager), John Quinn, and a
Mexican with his wife and four children, to
accompany the party. He also notes that on
Sunday (19th) a Carancahua Indian child was
baptized by the priest in Goliad, for which the
collector's wife, Senora Cosio, stood godmother.

On the 20th of January, with freshly purchased
oxen, they left for San Antonio and, after much
trouble and cold weather, arrived there on the 6th
of February. A few miles below that place (a
fact stated by Mrs. Horn, but not found in Beales'
diary) they found Mr. Smith, a stranger from the
United States, lying by the roadside, terribly
wounded, and with him a dead Mexican, while two
others of his Mexican escort had escaped severely
wounded. They had had a desperate fight with a
small party of Indians who had left Mr. Smith as
dead. Dr. Beales, both as physician and good
Samaritan, gave him every possible attention
and conveyed him to San Antonio, where he
lingered for a time and died after the colonists
left that place. While there a young German
couple in the party were married, but their names
are not given.

On the 18th of February, with fifteen carts and
wagons, the colonists left San Antonio for the

Rio Grande. On the 28th they crossed the Nueces
and for the first time entered the lands designated
as Beales' Colony. Mr. Little carved upon a
large tree on the west bank — " Los Primeros
colonos de la Villa de Dolores pasaron el 28 de
Febrero, 1834," which being rendered into Eng-
lish is: "The first colonists of the village of
Dolores passed here on the 28th of February,
1834," many of them, alas, never to pass again.

On the 2d of March Mr. Egerton went forward
to Presidio de Rio Grande to examine the route,
and returned at midnight with the information that
the best route was to cross the river at that point,
travel up on the west side and recross to the pro-
posed locality of Dolores, on the Las Moras creek,
which is below the present town of Del Rio and ten
or twelve miles from the northeast side of the Rio
Grande. They crossed the river on the oth and on
the 6th entered the Presidio, about five miles from
it. Slowly moving up on the west side, by a some-
what circuitous route and crossing a little river

Online LibraryJohn Henry BrownIndian wars and pioneers of Texas → online text (page 5 of 135)