John Henry Brown.

Indian wars and pioneers of Texas online

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The issue of this marriage has been four children:
Derance, Walter Tharp, Mamie, and Tom Miller.



STERLING C. ROBERTSON,

EMPRESARIO OF ROBERTSON'S COLONY.



Sterling C. Robertson was born in Nashville,
Tenn., about the j ear 1785. He served as Major
of Tennessee troops in the War of 1812 and 1814
and was honorably discharged. He received a
liberal education and was reared in the occupation
of planting. He engaged in agriculture in Giles
County, Tenn., but in a few years moved to Nash-
ville. Enterprising and adventurous, and being
possessed of large means, in the year 1823 he
formed a company in Nashville to explore the wild
province of Texas. He penetrated as far as Brazos
and formed a permanent camp at the mouth of
Little river. All the party returned to Tennessee,
however, except Col. Robertson. He visited
the settlements that had been made and, while
there, conceived the idea of planting a colony in
Texas. Fill6d with enthusiasm over this plan, he



went to his home in Tennessee; there he purchased
a contract that had been made by the Mexican
government with Robert Leftwich for the settle-
ment of 800 families. The colonial grant embraced
a tract of land, snd by the terms of the contract
Col. Robertson was given six years in which to
introduce the 800 families ; he was to receive forty
leagues and forty labors of land for his services.
In 1829, at his own expense, he introduced 100
families, who were driven out by the military in
consequence of false representations made to the
government in regard to Col. Robertson and his
colonists. The matter was finally adjusted and in
the spring of 1834 the colony was restored, and in
the summer of the same year he laid out the town
of Sarahville D'Vlesca. A land office was opened
about October 1, of the same year, and the settle-



INDIAN WARS AND PIONEERS OE TEXAS.



393



ments were rapidly made. In the summer of 1835
he visited Tennessee, Mississippi, Louisiana and
Kentucliy, malting known the inducements to emi-
gration. He had been authorized by the Mexican
government to offer to settlers who were heads of
families one league and one labor of land, one-
fourth of a league, to single men, and to foreigners
marrying native Americans, one league and a quar-
ter of land.



border he was subject to all the trials and hardships
inseparable from contact with the wild and savage
Indians. Enterprising and patriotic, he had many
opportunities for an exhibition of those traits.

From the campaigns of 1812 and 1814, down to
1842, the year of his death, he was an active partici-
pant in every struggle of his countrymen. Before
the revolution of 1835-6 he introduced more than
600 families into the colonies, fully one-half of the




STERLING C. ROBERTSON.



Col. Robertson was a delegate to the General
Convention of 1836, was one of the signers of the
Declaration of Independence, and of the Consti-
tution of the Republic of Texas. He commanded
a military company in the spring of 1836 and re-
ceived therefor a donation of 640 acres of land,
having participated in the battle of San Jacinto.
He was a member of the First Senate of the Con-
gress of the Republic of Texas.

He died in Robertson County, Texas, March 4,
1842, in the fift}' -seventh year of his age. No man
ever led a more eventful or trying life. On the



whole number having come at his expense. It
would require a volume to recount in detail all his
experiences, the adventures, trials and escapes
through which he passed from the time of his com-
ing to the frontier until his decease.

He was a gentleman of rare culture and was es-
teemed, not only for the nobility of his nature, but
for his cotpmanding intellectuality and unselflsh
devotion to his country and the cause of constitu-
tional freedom. He was a leader among that band
of heroes and statesmen who laid the foundation
for the Texas of to-day.



394



INDIAN WARS AND PIONEERS OF TEXAS.



GEORGE BERNHARD ZIMPELMAN,



AUSTIN.



The pioneers of Texas whose coining antedates
the year 1846, are, as years pass, rapidly joining
the " great majority," and those who remain are
representatives of an historic past, whose experi-
ences, with the passage of time, become more and
more interesting.

George B. Zimpelman left his native home in
Germany in 1845, and came to America to seek
his fortune. He was born in the then Kingdom of
Bavaria, July 24th, 1832. His father, John J.
Zimpelman, was a life-long and influential citizen,
and by occupation a prosperous farmer. He was
also born in Bavaria, was there reared, and married
a daughter of Valentine Hochdoerffer, who was
likewise a well-to-do farmer in Bavaria.

Much had been published and circulated in Ger-
many and other foreign countries about this time
concerning the new Republic of Texas, and young
Zimpelman, having caught the spirit of the hour,
decided to make his way hither. He decided on
New Orleans as his first American point of des-
tination, landing there in January, 1845. He re-
mained there about one year, and served as a
salesman in a dry goods house, and in December
of the same year proceeded to Texas and to
Austin, the recently established seat of govern-
ment. Austin was then on the extreme Western
frontier. Settlers had, however, taken up farms
along the Colorado and in the vicinity of the
capital city. Building operations were quite lively,
and, in lieu of something better, young Zimpelman
adapted himself to the situation, and took up car-
pentering as an apprentice, and in due time be-
came a master carpenter. He continued in this
business until 1854. He then became interested in
and followed gunsmithing for two years. In 1856
he located on a stock farm hear Austin and pur-
sued stockraising and agriculture until the breaking
out of the great Civil War. Upon the first call to
arms in 1861 he promptly volunteered to defend
the cause of his adopted country, and became a
member of Terry's Texas Rangers, the Eighth
Texas Cavalry, as a private, and followed his
regiment through all of the vicissitudes of that
sanguinary conflict, sharing in all of its victories
and defeats, and declining all offers of advance-
ments from the ranks, preferring to stand in line
of battle with his comrades. The heroic services
of Terry's Texas Rangers as an organization is



already a matter of historic record, and needs not '
to be here recounted. Mr. Zimpelman, with his
regiment, participated in many of the hardest
fought battles of the conflict, and in the battles
of Murfreesboro, Shelbyville, Corinth, Shilo, and
Chickamauga, was six times wounded, and was
three times wounded in the siege of Atlanta.

After the war he returned to his farm near Aus-
tin and resumed the peaceful avocation of stock
raising. In 1866 he was elected Sheriff of Travis
County, but the Radical reconstruction policy of
the United States Government precluded his serving
as such. This state of affairs soon, however, came
to an end and, he was again elected to the office in
1869 and re-elected in 1873, serving until 1876.
Upon retirement from oflSce he engaged in banking
in the city of Austin as a member of the banking
firm of Foster, Ludlow & Co., and continued in this
connection until 1877 when the partnership was
dissolved.

No citizen of Austin has been more active in the
upbuilding of the city and loyal to her business
interests. Mr. Zimpelman promptly identified him-
self with and labored for its development. He
took active part in the establishment of the ice
factory, street car lines, bridge across the Colorado
river and was the first man to bring to public notice
the possibility of a dam across the Colorado river
for water power. He spent a considerable amount
of money in making surveys and demonstrated its
practicability. Mr. Zimpelman next spent about
three years in mining in Chihuahua, Mexico, and at
the same time executed a contract with the Mexican
Government for the surveying of public lands. He
returned to Austin in 1888 and the following year
he engaged in mining projects in Lower California.
In 1893 he was appointed Postmaster of the
city of Austin under Postmaster-General Bissell
and has ably performed the duties of the office,
which he still holds. There are few men in Austin
(if indeed there are any) who have been more
active in business and more faithful in fulfilling the
duties of oflSce (which Mr. Zimpelman holds to be
a sacred trust) than the subject of this brief sketch.
Mr. Zimpelman was married in Travis County to
Miss Sarah C, daughter of Thos. Matthews, a
farmer and a pioneer of 1850. Mrs. Zimpelman
died in 1886, leaving three sons and two daughters,
Mary Louise, who became the wife of Hon. Chas



INDIAN WARS AND PIONEERS OF TEXAS.



395



H. Howard, both now deceased; Thos. M., of
Austin; Joseph L., George W., of Utah, and a
Miss Waldin, now assistant money order clerk in
the Austin post office.



Mr. Zimpelman is a member of long and high
standing in the order of Free and Accepted Masons,
and enjoys the full confidence and esteem of a wide
circle of loyal friends.



THOMAS MOORE, M. D.,

WACO.



Dr. Thomas Moore was born in Mercer County,
Ky., August 6th, 1815. His parents were John
and Phoebe (Westerfield) Moore.

John Moore, also a native of Kentucky, was born
in 1789 and was the son of Thomas Moore (born in
1755), who was the son of Simon Moore, who, when
a young man, emigrated to Kentucky with Daniel
Boone's colony ; his ancestor was Thomas Moore,
who emigrated to America from England.

Dr. Moore was the eldest of the children born to
John and Phoebe (Westerfield) Moore, and the
only one now living of a large family. His father
served in the volunteer force in the Northwest under
Gen. William Henry Harrison in the War of 1812.
He was a farmer and school teacher by occupation,
and died in Lawrence County, Ala., in 1863. His
widow survived him until 1875, when she departed
this life at Waco, Texas. They were active mem-
bers of the Church of Christ. In 1836 young
Moore began the study of medicine in Glasgow,
Ky. , in the office of Dr. W. D. Jourdan. In the fall
of 1837 he commenced the practice of his profes-
sion in Allen County ; later practiced in Warren
and Simpson Counties, Ky., until 1845; and then
moved to Limestone County, Ala., where he
remained until 1853, in which year he moved to Bur-
net County, Texas, where he continued actively
engaged in practice. As a physician he was skill-
full and his professional labors became so extensive
and arduous as to result in such serious impairment
of his health that he abandoned the practice of
medicine. He then began the study of law, was
admitted to the bar and was soon earnestly and
successfully engaged in the pursuit of his new



profession, practicing in the various courts of
Texas.

He has never been a politician in the strict sense
of the term. He has never sought office, and has
never accepted office, save when called upon to do
so by the voice of the people. He was a member
of the Secession Convention of Texas. In that
body he served as a member of the Committee on
Federal Relations and aided the chairman of that
committee in preparing the address to people of
Texas advocating secession. During the war he
was appointed, by Judge T. J. Devine, one of the
Confederate States receivers for the court at Austin,
which position he held until the close of the war.
In 1866, while A. J. Hamilton was Provisional
Governor, Dr. Moore was, with his son, John
Moore, and some others, arrested by the military
authorities on the charge that they were opponents
of and inimical to the policy of reconstruction that
was being pursued. He was taken to Austin and
held in prison there seventy-eight days, when he, his
son and their companions, were released, after being
brought before a magistrate and giving bond. In
1867 Dr. Moore moved to Waco, where he has
since resided and devoted himself to the practice of
law. He was united in marriage in Glasgow, Ky.,
March 9, 1837, to Miss Eliza J. Dodd. They have
had eight children, five sons and three daughters,
born to them, viz. : John, Thomas P., Luke, James
I., Bart, Emily A., now Mrs. Frazier, of Bosque
County ; Ida, now Mrs. Hays, and Jennie, now
Mrs. Muenenhall.

March 9, 1887, they celebrated their golden wed-
ding, which was made a great event in Waco.



396



INDIAN WARS AND PIONEERS OF TEXAS.



M. L. OPPENHEIMER,



EAGLE PASS.



The histor3' of the later material growth of Eagle
Pass is as phenotndial as its Indian and pioneer
history is thrilling and instructive.

The bustling, ambitious and tireless men of
business soon followed in the wake of the pioneers
and pushed the work of permanent development in
agriculture and commerce to its present stage of
growth and advancement and for this reason the
brief facts touching the leading men and financiers
of this latter historical epoch should find a becom-
ing place in this history.

Mr. Oppenhi imer belongs to and is identified
with the history of Eagle Pass and his rise in the
business and financial world is a fair illustration of
what push, perseverance and well-directed industry
will accomplish in a new and growing country.

Mr. Oppenheimer is a native of Bavaria and was
born November 16th, 1852. He left his native
home and came to America alone, and went direct
to San Antonio about the year 1867, when a youth
of about fifteen years. He secured a clerkship in
the store of a relative, B. Oppenheimer (now de-
ceased), then a leading merchant of that city, and
later represented the house as travelling salesman
in the Rio Grande valley. He thereafter worked
for the mercantile house of Goldfrank, Frank &
Company, of San Antonio, as accountant, for about
six years. For the following three years he repre-
sented his former employer, B. Oppenheimer, on
the Rio Grande and for one year the firm of Leon



& E. Blum, of Galveston, in the same region. Mr.
Oppenheimer, having ever an eye to the best chance,
became impressed with the advantages afforded by
the existing business situation and future prospects
of Eagle Pass, resigned his position, purchased a
stock of general merchandise and in 1881 embarked
in business at that place. The venture proved a
financial success and he made money. He con-
tinued in trade until 1892 and then purchased an
interest in the banking business of S. P. Simpson
'& Company, the oldest banking house west of San
Antonio, and in 1895 became sole owner of the
institution. He transacts a large volume of busi-
ness annually on a safe and conservative business
basis and his bank is one of the strong financial
institutions of Southwest Texas. Mr. Oppen-
heimer's rise in the world, from an humble begin-
ning as a poor boy 'from a foreign land, has been
steady and honorable. He is a good man for his
city, takes a, just pride in its institutions, and aids
liberally with his influence and ample means all
movements tending to its advancement and well-
being. He is president of the Texas-Mexican
Electric Light & Power Company and connected
with other leading enterprises. Mr. Oppenheimer
married an estimable San Antonio lady in 1883 and
they have three children : Leonidas, Alexander and
Ella. They have a spacious and attractive home
and are esteemed for their excellent social accom-
plishments.



WILLIAM P. HARDEMAN,

SUPERINTENDENT CONFEDERATE HOME.



Gen. William P. Hardeman is one of the very
few men now living who has served Texas in every
military struggle from her first permanent colonial
settlement. Though now eighty years of age, he
retains his mental faculties unimpaired and to a
singular degree his phj'sical activity.

He was born in Williamson County, Tenn., the
4th day of November, 1816. His family has been
distinguished in the early history of the Southern



States. His grandfather, Thomas Hardeman, was
a member of the first Constitutional Convention of
Tennessee. His father, Thomas J. Hardeman,
served several terms with marked distinction as a
member of the Congress of the Republic of Texas.
He was the author of the resolution of the Texas
Congress which gave the name of Austin to the
capital of the State. The mother of Gen. Harde-
man was the daughter of Ezekiel Polk, of Irish



INDIAN WARS AND PIONEERS OF TEXAS.



397



descent, who was a signer of the Mecklenberg
Declaration of Independence in North Carolina.
The Hardemans were of Welsh origin. The blood
of Wales and Ireland thus mingling in the veins of
William P. Hardeman, it is not strange that an
ardent love for independence and a hatred of
oppression, in every form, should have marked his
career.

His father reached Texas with his family in 1835,
just at the time when the colonists were preparing
for unequal war with Mexico. Burleson Milam,
Frank Johnson, and others, had determined to
capture the garrison at San Antonio. Their fol-
lowers were the frontier hnnters and almost their



sponded with alacrity by volunteering, and started
for San Antonio with twenty-one men. His
father demanded that his name should be entered
in the muster roll as a volunteer and it was so
written. Houston, who had heard from the servant
of Travis of the massacre at the Alamo, fell back
from Gonzales. Hardeman, with the little band of
twenty-one men, was not so fortunate, for, know-
ing neither the fate of Travis nor the retreat of
Houston, they rode in upon the Mexican pickets
and narrowly escaped capture. The horses were
exhausted by forced marches to reach the Alamo
and Capt. Dimmit, who was in command, ordered
them to abandon their horses, which they did, and




GKN. WIM. r. HARDEMAN.



only weapons were the hunter's rifle. Artillery
was especially needed, and W. P. Hardeman, then
but nineteen years old, accompanied his uncle,
'Bailey Hardeman, and a few neighbors to Dimmit's
landing, below the month of the Lavaca river, and
procured an eighteen pound cannon, which had
been brought on a schooner from Matagorda Pass.
On the march the force was increased to seventy-
five men, among whom were twenty men known as
the Mobile Grays. Marching rapidly with this
piece of artillery to San Antonio, the news of the
approaching reinforcement reached Gen. Cos in
advance and precipitated his surrender, which
occurred before the artillery arrived.

In the spring of 1836, when Travis, hemmed in
with his men, appealed from the Alamo for help,
young Hardeman, then not twenty years old, re-



retreated on foot down the Guadalupe, marching
four days without food. On their return, Bailey
Hardeman, who was a member of President Burnet's
cabinet, ordered W. P. Hardeman back from
Harrisburg to Matagorda County, with a commis-
sion for John Bowman to raise a company, and to
remain in the county. On his arrival he found but
four men in that county, among whom was one who
had just escaped the Fannin massacre. The trip
was one of exposure and hardship ; no shelter, no
food, except such as he carried in his saddlebags.
Swimming the San Bernard river and sleeping, wet
and uncovered on the prairie at night, he at last
reached Harrisburg, but sick, exhausted and unable
to accompany his brother, Munroe Hardeman, with
the army. In 1837 he ranged the frontier with
Deaf Smith four months. On the 22d of February,



398



INDIAN WARS AND PIONEERS OF TEXAS.



1839, he was with Col. John H. Moore in the fight
with the Comanche Indians at Wallace's Greek,
seven miles above San Saba. In April, 1839, he
was in the Cordova fight, under Burleson, four
miles east of Seguin. He served as a member of
the celebrated mounted company commanded by
Ben McCuUoch, during the Mexican "War of 1846.
He has been married three times and farmed on the
San Marcos river until sent by his county to the
State Secession Convention of 1861. In politics
Gen. Hardeman is a Democrat of the strict con-
struction school and, believing that secession alone
could preserve the institutions of the South from
Federal aggression, he voted for secession and on
many a bloody field he sought to establish it with
arms. He joined the command destined for Arizona
and New Mexico with a full company of young
men, the very flower of the Guadalupe valley, and
became senior Captain in the regiment commanded
by Col. Riley, in which the lamented William E.
Scurry was Lieutenant-Colonel, and Henry Raguet
was Major. At the battle of Val Verde, he was
promoted for distinguished gallantry on the field
and became the Major of the regiment. The
charge on McRae's battery, made by the Con-
federates at Val Verde, is one of the most re-
markable in the annals of war. In this battle
Hardeman was wounded. During that expedition
Hardeman was sent to Albuquerque with Capts.
Walker and Copewood, to hold the plain with
150 men. In that town all the ammunition, re-
serve supplies, and medicines for the army, were
stored. Fifteen hundred Federal soldiers attacked
the position. Hardeman was advised of their ap-
proach and could have retreated, but his retreat
meant the surrender of the army, for behind it was
a desert, destitute of supplies. For five days and
nights, his men never leaving their guns, he sus-
tained the attack and held the position until rein-
forcements arrived from Santa Fe. This defense
saved the army. A council of war was held the
night before the army began to retreat from Albu-
querque. The situation was fully discussed, but
no oflScer proposed any definite action, until Maj.
Jackson called on Hardeman, who was present, to
express his views on the situation. Gen. Sibley
then invited Hardeman to speak. He remarked
that it was manifest that the enemy could reinforce
quicker than the Confederates, and the sooner the
army got away the better. He was the only man
who had the moral courage to advise a retreat,
which all knew was inevitable, and his advice was
promptly adopted by Gen. Sibley.

When the retreat began, Gen. Green's regiment
was attacked at Peralto. It was saved by the



timely return of Hardeman, who was then in com-
mand of his regiment and who had started to cap-
ture Fort Craig, then garrisoned by Federal troops
under Kit Carson. His men waded the river, which
was full of floating ice, during the night. The line
of retreat was across the mountains to a point on
the river below Fort Craig. To Hardeman is due
the credit of saving the artillery on that retreat.
On the arrival of the army at El Paso he was
ordered by Col. Riley to go to the interior of
Texas and recruit. Here was exemplifled Harde-
man's unselfish devotion to duty. His first im-
pulse was that of joy at the prospect of soon seeing
again his wife and children, but he knew that his
long experience as a frontiersman better qualified
him to take the regiment safely across the plains,
than any other one in the command, and he asked
Gen. Sibley to countermand the order. He was in
the battle of Galveston, with the land forces, on
January 1, 1863, when the Federal boats were
either captured or driven from the harbor and a
Massachusetts regiment captured.

After the battle of Galveston, Gen. Magruder
requested Hardeman, then Lieutenant-Colonel of
the Fourth Regiment, to resign, and accept com-
mand of Peter Hardeman's regiment, for the pur-
pose of organizing a new force to return to
Arizona. Afterward, when Col. Riley fell at
Iberia, Louisiana, Gen. E. Kirby Smith ordered
Hardeman back to command his own regiment,
with which he remained until the close of the war.
After his return to his old regiment he participated
in the disastrous night attack on Fort Butler. Lieut.
Wilkins was present when Gen. Geeen requested
Hardeman's opinion about making the attack.
Hardeman said that many good men would fall
and nothing could be gained, for the river was full
of gunboats and, if the night attack should be
successful, the enemy would recapture the fort next
day. He added: "If the attack is made I will
lead my regiment in the fight." Green's orders to
attack were imperative and the result was more'
disastrous to the command than any other battle of
the war n this attack Hardeman was again
wounded. With 250 men he met the advance of
the army, under Gen. Banks, near Pleasant Hill.
With his small force he stubbornly resisted the
march of the Federal army, retreating and fighting
at every step, until night. At night the enemy
camped on the south side of a creek near the old
mill and Hardeman, with his little force, rested for
a time in the woods on the other side. In the
night, at ten o'clock, he put his men in motion and
fiercely charged the whole Federal army. The
strength of the attacking force was not known and



Online LibraryJohn Henry BrownIndian wars and pioneers of Texas → online text (page 73 of 135)