© 1997-2006, Wallace L. McKeehan, All Rights Reserved
Independence Resolutions & Consultations-Index | Anahuac, Velasco, Nacogdoches

Sedicion. Art. 26 Los que emprendieren cualquiera sedicion, conspiracion o motin, o indujeren a cometer estos delitos contra mi real servicio, seguridad de las plazas y paises de mis dominios, contra la tropa, su comandante u oficiales, seran ahorcados en cualquiera numero que sean, y los que hubieren tenido noticia, y no lo delaten luego que puedan, sufriran la misma pena. Ministerio de Guerra y Marina, Ordenanza militar para el regimen, disciplina, subordinacion y servicio del ejercito, 2:230.

Sedition. Art. 26 Those who engage in sedition, conspiracy, or mutiny, or induce others to commit these crimes against my royal service, against the security of the town and countryside of my dominions, against the troops, their commandant of officers, shall be hanged, whatever the number may be, and those who have been warned and do not leave, can suffer the same penalty.

Colonel Juan Davis Bradburn

The Events at Anahuac, 1831-1832

[From Juan Davis Bradburn by Margaret Swett Hanson. The transcript below is an edited translation from a handwritten Spanish manuscript prepared by Bradburn in 1832 for Commandant General Vicente Filisola of the Eastern Interior States, Republic of Mexico. Subject headings are those added by the current author, WLM.]

Because of the importance of what happened in the Department of Texas and the interest that every Mexican must feel under the circumstances, I feel that it is my duty to acquaint my superiors and the nation in general of the many incidents, many of them insignificant at first glance, which contributed to the loss of those important territories beginning in 1830 and continuing until June 30, 1832. Some persons who claimed that I behaved as a despot motivated by my own feelings unjustly gave rise to complaints against me [although] they result from personal hatred and their own interests, or the force of circumstances.

Arrival at Perry's Point (Anahuac). Early in 1830 I was in Matamoros on leave granted by the Supreme Government when His Excellency Señor Don Manuel de Mier y Terán, Commandant General of the Eastern Interior States, arrived. When my leave expired I reported to him and he decided to send me to a locality in his jurisdiction and thereafter, I was under his command. At that period it was intended that Mexican governing bodies should be established among the frontier colonies particularly along the virtually uninhabited Gulf Coast. Galveston Bay attracted the attention of the Government, and Senor Terán decided to send me there to establish a colony which later took the name of Anahuac. I left the Brazos de Santiago aboard the schooner Alabama Packet at the end of October accompanied by Lieutenant Ignacio Dominguez, who came as quartermaster, by Sublieutenant Don Juan María Pacho with 13 soldiers from the Company of Pueblo Viejo, and by Señor José Rincón with 20 recruits from the 12th Battalion and 8 convict soldiers, all assigned to found a town on the most favorable portion of Galveston Bay. General Terán issued my instructions which I followed exactly, and which in brief consisted in the establishment of a new community, a village which would be populated largely with native Mexicans, and which would be protected by a fort, [and] charged with carrying into effect the provisions of the Law of April 6, 1830. The said instructions consisting of 19 articles, also ordered me to recognize the petitions of already established settlers in the area so that the Government could issue titles. Above all [the instructions] provided that we deport ourselves in complete harmony with all the colonies, but unfortunately as we will see later on, it was impossible to maintain the friendly relationships so much recommended. Following a voyage of [6] days, we arrived at a place called Pere [Perry's Point] which was suitably situated to be selected as the site of the community we were going to establish.

Interaction with Francisco Madero and José Carbajal. A few days after our arrival one civilian, Don Francisco Madero, appeared there as a Commissioner of the State of Coahuila y Texas. This gentleman came in compliance with orders like my own from my superior in the General Government. He, like me, was to grant titles, found a community, name civil officials, etc. Never did Señor Madero explain to me the objectives of his commission although I knew that he was undertaking similar responsibilities so like my own, and being convinced that it would be virtually impossible for two Commissioners to perform the same mission, I sent my Adjutant, Dominguez, to politely request a conference with him. But he refused, which led to several very heated communications between us on this subject. However, although complete harmony continued between us, unfavorable rumors spread among the settlers. There were even those who tried to spread the idea that the General Government did not intend to give them the land on which they were settled and that I would not issue titles. The ill feeling reached such a high pitch that the settlers at Atascosito and San Jacinto armed themselves with the intent to attack me in our newly established community of Anahuac, [and] from which they probably would have been able to oust us since we were barely settled. Señor Juan Williams became the leader of the settlers and the uprising would have inevitably occurred had I not sent Lieutenant Pacho with a squad of soldiers to demand an interview to eliminate the basic causes of the revolt.

On reaching the ranch of Señor Smith I ordered that Commissioner Don Francisco Madero be summoned to the essential interview, at which we both agreed that we would suspend carrying out our commissions until we could consult with our respective superiors. But no sooner had the Commissioner contacted Juan Williams alone than he reneged and asked for time to consider what had to be done. A meeting was set for 9 A.M. the following day, but neither he nor his surveyor, José María Carbajal, appeared, so I considered it advisable to bring them to Anahuac. Carbajal, speaking English, promoted discord and absolute disobedience among the colonists. In my opinion, this was the only certain way to insure tranquillity there, and also to protect against an attack on the small military troop under my command. These events resulted in continuing ill feelings towards the General Government by many of the settlers. My conduct in this affair was approved by His Excellency, Señor General Don Manuel Mier y Terán and the General Government.

Development of a village and fort. While these upheavals were disturbing our countryside, we laid out our town and began making rapid progress until November, 1831, when Señor Terán came to Anahuac. All the surrounding settlements came to see our new village and its fine location excited rivalry on the part of the inhabitants of Harrisburg and Brazoria. Empresario Don Esteban Austin used all of his influence to quiet the feelings of the settlers at San Felipe, but those from Harrisburg viewed with displeasure a federal establishment so close by, and which without doubt would sooner or later stop the smuggling that they practiced along the coast. The residents of Harrisburg sent out the schooner Champion, advising the captain to avoid paying me the tonnage due, although doubtless they told him that I might use force to compel obedience, having been commissioned Captain of the Port and acting Administrator of the Customhouse by the General Government.

Appointment of customs agents: Dunlap, Lindsay, Austin, Fisher. [With] the impossibility of enforcing the laws against smuggling from Anahuac [which was] 38 leagues distant from Brazoria and the Brazos River, it became necessary to name a commissioner at that port to enforce the Law of April 6, 1830, and also to keep an eye on the arrival of foreigners and slaves. To better decide on the nomination of such a commissioner and to avoid ill feeling among the settlers of San Felipe and Brazoria, I consulted with Señor Samuel Williams (Sr. Austin's agent), requesting him to choose some resident agreeable to the settlers and to him, the choice falling on Juan Austin, who, however, refused the appointment. Later Doctor William Dobie Dunlap, a merchant from Anahuac, was selected, but he met so much opposition that he resigned. Then I sent Captain James Lindsay with a sergeant and 10 soldiers from my small force, but at the same time, Don Juan Austin arrived and asked to take the post, which [request] for political reasons was granted although he had scorned the chance earlier. Senor Lindsay remained as Captain of the Port and Don Juan Austin as Administrator, which appointments restored obedience and tranquillity. In September, Lieutenant Dominguez went to take Lindsay's place until Señor George Fisher should arrive, he having been designated to fill the post.

No sooner had I notified the communities of Fisher's appointment than I found determined opposition at Brazoria, where the residents refused to accept him, much less obey his orders for ship captains to sail around to Anahuac. This unjust regulation resulted in the ship Nelson firing on the soldiers and a force of 50 men who left Brazoria to attack, wounding one. The small force that I had was too small to enforce obedience of the settlers, and Fisher, on the other hand, added to the ill feeling and rebellion by his actions. It reached such a point with the merchants, in particular Señores Morgan and Reid, that I found it necessary to overrule certain orders that I considered improper which brought down on me the hatred of the State Administrator, who thereafter incited those he could influence to oppose me.

Expresses weariness from command--approval of Terán. November, when Señor Terán arrived at Anahuac, was a time of entire satisfaction for me. I wanted to be relieved of my command of the place although most of the residents and settlers said that they wanted me to stay. Most of my officers, tired from all the responsibilities of founding a new community in the wilderness, felt obliged to complain to His Excellency against me, but he quickly made them see that their objections were unfounded, and he tried to reconcile us. Also, the General overruled as unimportant the complaints against me that emanated from the Departments of Bexar and Saltillo, approving in strong terms my military conduct and recognizing the progress that had been made, due chiefly to all of us having done more than had been hoped. He returned to Matamoros praising the usefulness of the new community to the nation.

Arming of the Texian schooners--discussions with Col. Estevan F. Austin. Before he left, the General gave me orders to buy the cannons in Brazoria and either to install them as a battery at the mouth of the Brazos River or take them to Anahuac in order to take them away from the colonists. His Excellency also gave me instructions necessary for the forming of a municipality at Anahuac, since it was then only a military settlement. (I state this to prove to the public that Señor Terán did not intend to name civil authorities at other places than here) To all of which I have given compliance whenever circumstance permitted. During the months of December, 1830, and January, 1831, Juan Austin and his associates sent agents to the several colonies to inquire into the feelings relative to making themselves independent of the Mexican Government. They learned that there was still much disagreement about the matter. Several letters of Colonel Don Esteban Austin and of Juan Austin on this subject have been sent to the Commandant General from New Orleans and New York. I received from the United States of America several [letters] referring to the preparations of weapons, supplies, and volunteers for that objective. Meanwhile, false rumors circulated through the colonies to incite animosity against me and the Federal responsibilities under my direction. We knew, also, that to carry out their plans, they would have to use the schooners Nelson, William A. Tyson, Sabine, and others, and our suspicions were confirmed when the above schooners sailed out of the Brazos without paying the required duties and firing on the troops that tried to oppose their departures.

These same schooners returned to the Brazos armed with cannon to enter forcibly, [and were] protected by the settlers at Brazoria, who took up arms under the leadership of Juan Austin. At almost the same time in January, a resident of San Felipe de Austin reinforced the certainty that a conspiracy was planned by the residents by bringing to my office an important document containing the names of ten of the principal residents of San Felipe, who held meetings to plot the independence of Texas from the Central Government. This document, together with data on all the events of those months, was sent to the Commandant General. Since political matters formed one of the principal instructions that I had received from His Excellency, I granted an interview requested by Colonel [Stephen F.] Austin to discuss our differences in a friendly manner and to stop the quarrels that were plaguing the settlements as well as to halt the preparations the settlers were making. It was planned to be held in Harrisburg, but the Administrator, Fisher, who should have participated in the conference, refused to take part and only tried to discredit me with my own superiors because of my willingness to participate, saying that I worked against the Mexicans. But all these slanders and lies vanished because of the official correspondence and private letters which I sent to Señor Terán relating to the interview, and these documents will convince the Government relative to my military conduct during my command at Anahuac.

Building fortifications and conflict with junior officers. Quartermaster Juan María Pacho was replaced by Lieutenant Don Juan Cortina, and the latter took charge of the construction of the fort but wasted much time making changes in my instructions. Eventually, Marine Lieutenant José María Jimenéz was put in charge of the construction work. But when completed, I saw that the redoubt did not dominate the surroundings, nor was it possible to construct a moat, so I ordered the work elevated and built a parapet of beams and stakes. Unfortunately this change, which I made for our greater safety, was not to Lieutenant Jimenéz's liking, and he became my enemy from that time on. About this time, Lieutenant Colonel Don Domingo Ugartechea arrived at Galveston with a contingent of troops and orders to build a small fort at the mouth of the Brazos River. He brought with him instructions necessary to his assignment, and like all other military commanders in Texas at that time, he was charged with using political methods before the use of arms. I added to these a list of names of settlers who had become known as leaders of the enemies of the Government, a list which, as we shall see, fell into the hands of those mentioned in spite of the warning I gave Ugartechea about their trustworthiness.

Confrontation with John Austin--Hearing for Travis, Jack and others. Several important events concerning my safety occurred in Brazoria unknown to me. Juan Austin at the head of 300 men marched against me to demand that some prisoners be handed over to them although they were being interrogated for serious crimes against the Anahuac military establishment. The expedition came, accompanied by Lieutenant Dominguez, who was under Colonel Ugartechea's command, and Juan Austin as the leader, to upset the tranquillity of the town and attack our fort. When the commissioners arrived, we knew that a small body of troops were in the vicinity. I therefore immediately assembled my officers and at once went with Senor Austin and Lieutenant Dominguez to a meeting ordering Lieutenant Cortina to preside as the senior officer. All of us having heard the reading of the letter from Senor Ugartechea and the claims that Juan Austin made, the Prosecutor took the floor and explained the reasons for the imprisonment of William B. Travis, Patrick Jack, and company with such clarity, quoting the order in the Military Regulations which gives the right to judge in Court Martial the crimes they had committed, that even Austin himself was convinced. He stated with chagrin the reason for their coming and said that he had been duped. We had just reached agreement over our misunderstandings when Lieutenant Dominguez, who came with the rebels, advised Lieutenant Cortina and the rest of the officers that our horses were stolen. It was not necessary to repeat the statement: all my officers shouted, " . . . to arms, Mexicans . . ." and went voluntarily to their respective posts. Lieutenant Cortina, who until then had not wanted to believe my warnings about what was going to happen, and all the other officers behaved admirably, working on the fort all night without rest, and they were obedient to my orders.

Demand for release of Jack, Lindsay and Edwards--Mexican convict soldiers. The imprudence of an officer complicated the circumstances. He had acquired a young Anglo girl from an inhabitant of Texas. The Texan was tarred and feathered by the settlers, and feelings ran very high against the garrison. The town of Anahuac was so excited that it was necessary to call out the troops at two o'clock in the morning to stop disorders stemming from this incident. Juan Austin, Juan Williams, the Alcalde of Anahuac, with another member of the ayuntamiento aided in this scandalous attack and soon organized a company of 80 men who joined the rebellious neighbors of Brazoria. They handed me an ultimatum from their officers demanding that I hand over the prisoners, Patrick Jack, James Lindsay, and Monroe Edwards, and added that I should also deliver to them two Mexican convict soldiers who had attempted to rape a woman of the settlement. These scandalous happenings which took place on the 26th resulted in several reports. Lieutenants Pacho and Silva and Doctor Garcia Ugarte stood firm at the Plaza de Malinche despite the arrival of 13 armed men who stood ready to assault the fort, liberate the prisoners, and kill me. On the night of the 26th, the insurrection was such that at the suggestion of Lieutenant Carlos Ocampo, who was acting chief of the garrison, and Lieutenant Cortina, who was still sick in bed, I ordered my officers to meet to consider whether the prisoners were being punished according to law in order that we might appease the rebels, which was done more for political reasons than for any other.The rebels having been dispersed, Lieutenant Cortina and the entire garrison went to work anew on the redoubt strongholds and in mounting cannon to prevent any further assault on our flag. Lieutenant Cortina gave an extraordinary example of obedience and perseverance in all this work.

List of rebel leaders and runaway slaves. Another most unusual thing which I must mention to explain the entire truth and which I have not been able to understand is how the list of leaders that I had given to Señor Ugartechea happened to fall into the hands of my enemies and made the trouble worse. One matter which caused me much trouble and brought down the hatred of the community against me was the protection I gave to two escaped slaves. In August, 1831, the slaves appeared and claimed to have come from the United States of the North, begging me to extend to them the protection of the Mexican flag. Since my instructions did not provide for the case, I immediately sent them to the fort to work until I could consult with the Commandant General of the Eastern States to find out what I should do with them. He decided that my reply to the slave owners, if they appeared to claim them, [should be] that military commanders had no authority at the frontier to decide national matters and that the claimants could register their complaints to the Government through the American Minister in Mexico [City] so that a precedent could be established to decide similar cases. Señor Don Manuel Mier y Terán, who by good luck happened to be in Anahuac when the [owner's] agents came to claim the slaves, told them what he had ordered me to do in his letter. I have scrupulously followed his orders relative to this matter despite my having realized that it could cause me a thousand important problems. I knew at the time that powerful groups were forming to demand that I hand over those slaves. Some enemies of the Government and the settlers in general blamed me for these decisions and had made much of this pretext to rise in arms against the garrison at Anahuac.

Loss of the schooner Topaz. Another excuse used by the colonists against me stemmed from the loss of the schooner Topaz, but in this matter my reports place me beyond responsibility. After the events which took place aboard the schooner Topaz between Matamoros and Anahuac, Marine Lieutenant Don José María Jimenez, to whom I had given command [of the vessel] after his arrival in Galveston, refused to follow my orders. After having inventoried the cargo of the vessel, he ordered it delivered to the warehouse of the deceased Captain Rider, the owner. Unfortunately the vessel was lost at the mouth of the Brazos River, as may be found in the depositions regarding the events aboard which are in the files of the Commandant General. It is desirable that the whole account of this affair be placed before the public, [and] even the revolution and the death of Señor Terán should not stop the course of this affair, nor leave unpunished crimes of this magnitude. This matter has not failed to irritate the feelings of the settlers, and furthermore, they could bring up questions between the two governments since it is well known how many untruthful things have been published in the papers of North America accusing Mexican officers who were aboard the Topaz of being criminals, calling them thieves and murderers, when there could not have been anything else aboard an unloaded schooner which they themselves chartered for transportation.

Arrival of Piedras--Bradburn agrees to resign command. During the first days that the insurgents spent in Anahuac, the schooner Marta, [which] I had sent to Matamoros for funds and supplies for the garrison, anchored in Galveston Bay. Lieutenant Colonel Felix María Subaran and Sergeant Campo were on board, imprisoned for political opinions and being sent to Fort Terín to be put under the orders of Colonel José de las Piedras. Having disembarked and being short of men, particularly officers, I appointed him [Subaran] as deputy commander, persuaded that every Mexican loves his country when it is threatened by foreign enemies, and I was not wrong. Subaran behaved very well in every commission that I assigned to him, and he continued in this service until July 1, when Señor Colonel Don José de las Piedras arrived. Piedras came as a result of my letter begging men and ammunition for war, and in a few days he marched and arrived at the village of the Coushatta Indians. As he neared Anahuac, he encountered resistance on the part of the settlers. He made a peace treaty with them, offering to relieve me of command. I agreed to it all since General Terán had told me that I could not expect aid in men or money because of the revolution in the interior. A Council of War was held in the quarters of Señor Don José de las Piedras which considered the political events of the day and our local situation. I made the statement that the revolution in Texas was based wholly on pretexts, but if relieving me of command would reestablish peace and order, I would be willing to yield in everything with the proviso that under no circumstance would I be given the same command again, since this move would make the settlers believe that I had been punished. Before the arrival of Colonel Piedras it was said that I was jailed in Anahuac on his orders. The Council again conferred command on me, although Lieutenant Colonel Subaran expected it, as some official had promised it to him. But recognizing my precarious situation, I handed over the command of the garrison and fort to Colonel Piedras, convinced that destruction of the federal establishment was inevitable and despite knowing that from the moment when I surrendered my command my own life would be in danger in the midst of the colonists. On July 2, I effected the change of command to Colonel Piedras as commander of Anahuac, and he immediately released the prisoners, Travis, Jack, and company, as well as the sailors from the schooner Topaz and others no less criminal. He sent them to the village of Liberty in charge of the Alcalde there, and I at the same time delivered to him [Piedras] certain documents so that he would be fully aware of reasons for their imprisonment and would have information for following up their trials, which resulted in him writing me a letter asking me to again take command, to which I answered that my departure was urgent because of the perils to which I was now exposed.

Dissension among officers and ranks--call for Bradburn to return to command. Lieutenant Cortina was therefore named commander of Anahuac, and Colonel Piedras left to return to Nacogdoches, leaving orders that Lieutenant Colonel Subaran should follow soon afterwards in spite of my warning him of the dangerous consequences which could break out as a result. He did not want to take part in anything, although at 3 o'clock in the morning some of the officers came to my house to tell me that the garrison was disgusted, particularly with the newly named commander. I sent word of what was happening to Colonel Piedras, who told me to have no fear about it, but at the moment of departing, he gave me a letter advising that [while] Señor Cortina had been nominated, [Piedras] requested me to take command in case of a new attack. Since Señor Subaran's arrival, two new redoubts had been constructed without delaying the building of the warehouses; thus, the stronghold was now able to dominate the Plaza de Malinche. This last redoubt, which the officers called Fort Davis, was designed by Lieutenant Colonel Subaran and me. It was located above the edge of the Battery Plaza, with the water at its base, a moat and a drawbridge, and a barracks inside, all of heavy construction and equipped to handle 50 men. I put a 6 caliber cannon of my own ready for mounting during any invasion. This redoubt allowed the resumption of commerce, and the stronghold's flanks were defended by land and water, with the field between the two fortifications free and safe for the horses of the garrison. We were still preparing ourselves for defense on the 3rd day after Colonel Piedras had left Anahuac. At this moment Señor Anorga notified me that his commander, Señor Cortina, ordered him to let me know that the soldiers had disobeyed him and had assembled in the plaza in rebellion. Having heard the same from Subaran, I called the officers together in Lieutenant Cortina's quarters. They wanted me to resume command, but having wished to be sure of the intention of the troops and that their declaration was in favor of Señor Santa Anna, I asked Lieutenant Colonel [Subaran] as his immediate superior, and I immediately gave orders that he be recognized, hoping that this measure would restore peace and good sense, which we so badly needed to resist our common enemies. Unfortunately, at the moment the mutiny began, Travis, Jack, and company, who Señor Piedras had sent to the town of Liberty, came back and, buying some barrels of aguardiente, invited the soldiers to their houses to thus seduce them from their duty to their officers. In these circumstances, [Travis] succeeded in involving Señor Subaran, who became drunk and foolish. On July 2nd [12th] it was necessary to assemble the troops and place them in readiness for marching without the knowledge of the commander [Subaran]. But seeing the disorder and being unable to correct it, I begged Cortina as Administrator of the Customhouse to use all of his influence to charter two vessels to transport the garrison to Matamoros, convinced that if we marched overland, we would lose many men due to the inevitable lack of money and food.

Isolation, personal danger and departure overland to Louisiana. From the moment I surrendered the command, my life was continuously in danger despite there being a guard at my door. At night my enemies, directed by Travis, who now had control of Anahuac, would sneak up to my quarters, which made me decide to leave. I told my intentions to Señor Subaran, and that officer agreed to everything so long as I went by water, and for that reason he had a boat delivered to me on the pretext that I was going to a ranch. The rebels blockaded my departure with two larger boats than mine and kept up a continuous watch across the bay, which forced me to go by land. My friends provided guides and horses, risking their own lives so that I might go safely. The 13th of July Lieutenants Ocampo, Cortina, and Montero, also fled with Sublieutenant Dominguez, Cadet Anorga, and Lieutenant Miguel Nieto with all the cavalry. On the same day that all this group had abandoned the fort, I left Anahuac at 8 P.M. Having gone near the house of my guide, I learned that the officers mentioned were in his house. I asked for an interview with Lieutenant Cortina, who told me the reason for their departure, because despite [my] having left after they did, I did not know what had happened. [Cortina] told me that he had asked the Alcalde of Atascosito for help to continue me in my post [and] the alcalde undertook to gather the men. But some of them found the arrangement distasteful as I had outlined it, claiming that the fort was not easy to take when defended by cannon. Cortina volunteered to take it himself with 20 men, and to make this possible, a messenger was ordered to go to the Sabine to bring back the men assembled there. Without being well informed of what happened, later I learned that Colonel Jose Antonio Mexia had arrived at Galveston Bay, [and] Lieutenant Colonel Subaran went on board the vessels with his troops, cannon, and ammunition. This took place after I had already gone to Louisiana. After the departure of the Lieutenant Colonel, Lieutenant Don Juan Cortina, Lieutenant Manuel Montero, and Cadet Anorga were the only ones of the garrison who stayed in Anahuac, having to suffer the insults from the settlers.

In the course of my travels, which I performed incognito, from Anahuac to the banks of the Mississippi, I came across many people I had known in the settlements and I asked them where they were going so far away. They answered to help our brothers drive the Spaniards out of Texas. Traveling in this way, I learned the opinions and hopes of the principal inhabitants of the whole countryside. One judge who lives on the banks of the Rio Matan [said] he could easily have enlisted 4,000 men for the Texas campaign. It is a very popular topic among the people of that State and of the United States of the North, and from what I already know from the time that I spent in command in Texas, it is necessary to have a sizable force to reduce the settlers and the inhabitants of the said district to obedience to Mexican laws because until now they have only observed Anglo-American laws. The settlements that now exist between the River Neches and the Sabine may be estimated at 2,000 or more inhabitants at least, and many of them have large and important ranches, some with 40 or more slaves. Cotton, corn, and wheat are the principal crops; these settlers raise cattle in great numbers and are able to export their products via the Neches River and also to import from New Orleans all that they need for their ranches.

Samuel M. WilliamsThomas Jefferson ChambersSplit loyalties of the settlers. Finally I will comment to the Supreme Government that lawyers Samuel Williams (left), Jefferson Chambers (right), Ira R. Lewis, and Abner Kuykendall raised a company of 80 or 100 volunteers and they were ready to defend Anahuac. But they abandoned their plans when they met Señor Piedras with his treaties of peace, which he had just signed with the insurgent settlers. But the revolution having continued its spread throughout Texas because of the circumstances, the rebellious settlers burned in effigy the first three leaders who were coming to my assistance, but they did not do the same to Father Michael Muldoon only because it was too costly to provide a priest's garment. With this increase in strength I could have defended myself much better if they had arrived in time since in Anahuac I could depend on one other company because all the settlers who lived near Atascosito were always sympathetic to the Mexicans. Some of them have had to claim neutrality, or even to have taken the other side, in order to save their own lives and belongings from the rebels. All of this I place before the Señor Commandant General of the Eastern Interior States so that when the time and opportunity come to punish the settlers, he will take into account those who have been involved by their own free will and those who were forced into it.

Lack of government support and insubordination. Also I should point out to every officer who may take command of the troops in Texas that the scarcity of money has always been and always will be the cause of insubordination of the troops. Otherwise all of their orders will be useless, because it has been necessary to live on borrowed money loaned by the enemy. Nothing has caused so much trouble in Anahuac as when the schooner Marta, which I had sent to Matamoros for the payroll and provisions, came back without a cent. Food and the small loans which they advanced to us at Anahuac to eke out our misery were paid after much delay by a commissary that had no funds. The officers found themselves obliged to sell their scrip for from 5 to 50 percent discount, and the soldiers, having received only half of their wages, were far in debt and annoyed with the military service at that place [Anahuac].

On my departure from Anahuac, the population was about 1000 inhabitants and on my arrival in New Orleans where I stayed one month; I gave an account of my experiences in the Texas colonies to the Mexican consul.

Juan (John) Davis Bradburn 1787-1842

Kentucky Colonel, Army of the Republic of Mexico
Battle of New Orleans, War of 1812
Gutierrez-Magee Expeditions
Insurgent under Mina and Guerrero
Confidant of Guerrero & Iturbide

According to his Mexican military record, John Davis Bradburn was born in 1787 in Richmond, Virginia. No records of his early family history in VA have been found. The Blackburn family appears first in ChristianCo, KY about 1800 where his father William C. and he, John Davis Bradburn, appear on the 1810 census. William B. Scates, a contemporary at Anahuac, claimed to have lived near the family and that two sons John and William were merchants in Springfield, TN across the KY border. Scates relates that the Bradburn brothers were arrested in MauryCo, Tennessee for theft of slaves and one drowned in the Duck River during an escape. There is no evidence that these Bradburns were related to John Davis Bradburn. Bradburn was appointed an officer in the Louisiana militia in Natchitoches in 1814 where it is believed he was a trader and became familiar with diverse Mexican patriots and sympathizers in the independence movements against Spain. It is believed that he participated in the first Gutierrez-Magee expedition into Texas. He served in the 18th Louisiana Regiment as third lieutenant in the War of 1812 arriving in New Orleans on 8 Jan 1815, the same day of the defeat of the British by Jackson. Bradburn’s combined unit included future Texans James and Rezin Bowie, Joshua Childs, John Durst, Warren D.C. and John Hall, John Latham and William Little and an entire company under Francisco Alverado comprised of native born Mexicans, all of which he outranked. Bradburn became associated with Juan Pablo Anaya and Henry Perry in renewed plans with Gutierrez de Lara to capture Texas and separate her from Spain. He was assigned to raise cannons abandoned in the Sabine River in 1814 by John Smith.

At Galveston Island in 1817, Bradburn along with other American adventurers Henry Perry and Guilford Dudley Young joined Francisco Xavier Mina on his assault on the Tamaulipas coast where he rose to the number two commander in the American division of the force under Col. Young. Joining Mexican insurgent Pedro Moreno in Fort Sombrero, the force withstood a prolonged Spanish siege in which Young was killed and Lt. Col. Bradburn became commander of the American companies. The insurgents were routed and many slaughtered by the royal forces during attempts to escape.  In Aug 1817, Bradburn managed to escape during the fatal siege of Ft. Sombrero and then participated in local resistance activities around Guanajuato and San Luis Potosi through 1819 where he eventually gained the trust and confidence of rebel leader Vicente Guerrero. In Dec 1820, Bradburn visited the camp of Iturbide to request pardons for himself and twelve associates under the general offer of amnesty to rebels offered by Viceroy Apodaca.  The pardon was granted and Bradburn joined the royalist forces of Agustín Iturbide in Teloloapan at the beginning of the campaign against Guerrero and was appointed an aide to Iturbide.  The offer was thought to be influenced by Bradburn's humane treatment of royal prisoners captured while serving with the rebel forces, prisoners which Guerrero ordered summarily executed.  The appointment is also thought to have been influenced because of Bradburn's intimate knowledge of the character and position of Guerrero.  According to some historians, Bradburn defected to the Iturbide side as a spy for Guerrero with his consent.  After several severe defeats of royal forces by those of Guerrero in early 1821, Bradburn soon became an important intermediary between the Iturbide and Guerrero forces in Iturbide’s plan to unify all of Mexico by an alliance with Guerrero for independence from Spain.  In a letter to Guerrero, Iturbide stated that he had learned from Bradburn of his high patriotic character, offering a pardon and asking him to join forces with the government who would obtain his demanded reforms from Spain.    As an aid to now Emperor Iturbide, Bradburn traveled to Washington, DC in 1822 as a courier on the first Republic of Mexico warship, Iguala, purchased from the United States and carried the news of recognition of the independent Mexico by the United States of the North home to Mexico City.

Bradburn’s position in the inner circles of Emperor Augustín Iturbide's regime placed him in contact with the elite of both creole and peninsulare society. At age 34, he married María Josefa Hurtado de Mendoza y Caballero de los Olivos, the fifth Marquise de Ciria and 15th marshal of Castilla, the family of which held large tracts of property around the Zocala in Mexico City. María Josefa's brother, Agustin Hurtado, the ninth Count of the Valley of Orizaba (a Mexican title) married the sister of Maríano Paredes y Arrillaga, largely a centralist military man and later the President of Mexico in 1846. Similar to Belgian Adrian Woll, another ex-patriot and colleague on the Mina Expedition, Bradburn plotted his course as a professional military man through the collapse of the Iturbide empire and rise of the Federalists in 1824. His close associates were Nicholás Bravo, Manuel de Mier y Terán and Anastacio Bustamante. Bradburn is thought to have evolved into largely a conservative and centralist supporter simply because his position as a "by-the-book" apolitical career officer flourished best under those regimes. It is interesting to compare Bradburn's stringent centralist military stance and career to that of another US Southern-born officer in the service of Mexico, Peter (Pedro) Ellis Bean, whose loyalties often could not clearly be assessed, but who went much less by the military rule book and exhibited sympathy for the Texian causes against the central Mexican government.  The different early course of the two in their encounters with Spanish peninsulares, the Spanish royal government and Creole viceregalism during the Mexican independence movement may have set the course that lasted through their careers.  Bradburn's association with the independence movement was largely with anti-government forces with European background, the viceregalism of the Iturbide court after independence and later that of Bustamante with only a short and possibly defective relationship with the populist forces of Guerrero.  Bean's encounter with royal Spanish forces began with populist and independent-minded filibusters of US origin resulting in a 10 years encounter with regal punishment in Spanish prisons.  His insurgent associations were solely with the Creole libertarian populist rebels primarily José Morelos and associates who were temporarily losers in their cause.  In contrast to Bean who returned to Anglo-culture to marry in Tennessee, continuing both his Anglo and Mexican cultural contacts including wives and families, Bradburn remained immersed in solely Mexican culture both in Mexico and Texas except for business associations in Mexico with North Americans.

In the early 1800’s, American business men in Mexico, some of whom he is thought to have known or been associated with in Kentucky and Tennessee, came to Bradburn for his help and influence. This included Andrew Erwin and Robert Leftwich, land speculators and purported empresarios with the Texas Association of Nashville. He aided Col. Benjamin Rush Milam in 1824 by certifying that he had served with insurgent José Felix Trespalacios in the independence movement.

Bradburn faired well through the post-Iturbide period, under first President Guadalupe Victoria, the Pedraza versus Guerrero election in which Pedraza won and was then deposed and installation of his old boss Guerrero with close associate Bustamante as Vice-President. At the close of 1829, Bustamante and the centralists were in power. In 1828 Bradburn and partner Stephen Staples were granted exclusive license from Coahuila y Tejas to develop and manage steamboat traffic on the Rio Grande through the state, but political instability kept the venture from success. In 1830 Bradburn was living with his wife and son near Matamoros when he offered his services to Mier y Terán who was visiting there. Mier y Terán soon after commissioned Bradburn to join his team charged with enforcement of the Bustamante Decree of 1830 and under which he was eventually assigned to build a fort and community at Perry's Point, which had been renamed Anahuac under the "Mexicanization" program for Texas. Mier y Terán soon after commissioned Bradburn to participate in enforcement of the Bustamante Decree of 1830 in Texas.   Kentucky Colonel Juan Davis Bradburn returned to Texas to resume his role in its history. Bradburn was first sent to New Orleans and western Louisiana to purchase equipment and determine the status of US troops on the border as well as the mood in the heart of the Austin Colony. He reported no overt evidence for a US invasion of Texas and that the majority of colonists were honest, law abiding and loyal to their adopted government. He arrived in Anahuac with the Bustamante Decree and detailed instructions of his mission from superiors in hand and began to implement them to the letter as described in his Memorial. After Bradburn’s abdication of his command and arrival overland in New Orleans on 6 Aug, he obtained refuge for a time at the Mexican consulate where he wrote his side of the incident and made other detailed reports to the government. It is believed that he was not completely out of danger in the city since reports of the events at Anahuac and Velasco were reaching there as early as 26 Jul, ten days before his arrival. A sweeping description thought again to be backed or written by Travis of his despotism was published there, but soon after major newspapers also published Bradburn’s side of the story with comments by editors that his version was far different than those coming from across the Sabine River.

No sooner than Bradburn had arrived back in Mexico from New Orleans on 18 Sep 1832, he made himself available and participated in a decisive battle over santanista forces directed by President Anastacio Bustamante himself at San Miguel de Grande and Dolores. On 11 Dec Bustamante promoted Bradburn to Brigadier General based on the action. As commander of the centralista forces at Reynosa, Bradburn entered into a truce with local militia commander on the Federalist side, Lorenzo Cortino, on 13 Jan 1833 reflecting the national truce between Bustamante and Santa Anna to reinstate the Constitution of 1824. Bradburn appears to have retired from active service prior to the period in 1834 and 1835 when Santa Anna dissolved the government and took dictatorial control of Mexico. He lived with his wife and son Andres near Matamoros and engaged in truck farming for the local markets. Living also at the time in Matamoros was his old colleague at Anahuac, George Fisher, who ran a print and bookshop. Fisher printed an anti-santanista newspaper in Matamoros, was expelled from Mexico forced and went to New Orleans where he engaged in ex-patriate activities against the Santa Anna dictatorship.  Fisher joined forces with Genl. José Mexia and served as his secretary, then later became a strong supporter of the Texian cause, a citizen of the Republic and eventually retired to California where he also was a noted civil servant.

After the renewed resistance in Texas against Santa Anna’s dictatorship and the centralistas, Bradburn reluctantly returned to active service under Gen. José Urrea after agreement to his wishes that he would not have to serve against eastern Texians. Ironically, he was with Urrea in Feb 1836 as he moved up the coast toward Goliad to intercept raiders on the Matamoros customs house under one of Bradburn’s adversaries at Anahuac, Frank W. Johnson. Bradburn appears to have remained at Copano Bay where Urrea had appointed him commander of the port during the Alamo defeat, the Goliad Massacre of Fannin’s force and Battle of San Jacinto. Filisola ordered him to remain in charge of the port after San Jacinto. Bradburn’s loyal service to command dwindled to near nothing due to conflicting orders of superiors and lack of support, a situation not unlike his situation at Anahuac. On 13 Jun he returned home to Matamoros and resumed civilian life with his family.

Remaining a professional and loyal military man in the service of the conservative centralists to the end, Bradburn returned again to service in the Federalist Wars, but along with Gen. Woll and Condelle, refused to serve under Pedro de Ampudia in 1840. Records suggest that he may have served under Gen. Rafael Vasquez who returned to Texas in 1842, but there is no concrete evidence of where, when or if he served in significant actions. In April 1842, the Kentucky Colonel in the service of the United States of Mexico died and was buried on his 4606-acre ranch Puerta Verdes along the northeastern shore of the Rio Grande River, part of which is in current Hidalgo County, TX. His widow and young son, Andrés Davis Bradburn y Hurtado, returned to Mexico City. Andrés Bradburn became known as priest Father Davis and in 1880 sold the Hurtado family properties in Mexico's center on which was the Church and Cemetery of San Diego.

Independence Resolutions & Consultations-Index | Anahuac, Velasco, Nacogdoches
© 1997-2006 Wallace L. McKeehan, All Rights Reserved