SONS OF DEWITT COLONY TEXAS
1997-2008, Wallace L. McKeehan, All Rights Reserved
DeWitt Colony Captains-Index | Capt. H.S. Brown | John Duff (Waco) Brown

 

Henry Stevenson BrownHENRY STEVENSON BROWN

Wide Ranging Minuteman & Indian Fighter
Battle of Velasco

Henry S. Brown to Stephen F. Austin New Orleanes March the 21 1828 COL AUSTON, DEAR SIR, I will inform you that I am still alived and have not for got the Texas I expect that I shall start with my family for that Contry this fall there is a good deal of talk about that Country in the Missouri and there is no doubt but the disturbance that took plase in edwards Colloney Caused a good many that was strongly in the way to moove to decline tho I think when they find every thing is going on well there a good many will moove from our Country there if it was so to happin that that Country was [to] fall in the hands of our goverment how son would it be one of the gratest, or in other words if slavery was admitted there or the people Cold be satisfied that they would be safe in taking there slaves there the emmigration would be grate I wold thank you to wright me on that subject and every other one that wold give information about the tines [times] of that Country one letter from you would do more good than 20 from some other men, I have bin informed after a certain time there cold be no more [slaves?] taking there perhaps after the first of January next tho that will give time for people to move this fall it is uncertain what part of the Contry I shall settle in tho I believe that I shall try near the cost. HENRY S. BROWN Col S F AUSTIN give my best respects to Mr S Williams tell him I would thank him kindley for a letter) my plase of residence Missouri Pike Cot Waverley [Addressed:] Col Stephen F Auston Austons Colioney Texas by Capt Harris


Henry Stevenson Brown was the son of Caleb and Jemima Stevenson Brown. Like many of the DeWitt Colony residents, he was from the St. Charles District of Missouri, where at one time he was sheriff. He married Margaret Kerr Jones about 1814, who was a sister of Major James Kerr. Although Brown moved between several areas of Texas, he was a transient resident with impact on Gonzales and the surrounding area from 1825. He was an elected delegate from Gonzales to the Texas Convention of 1832 in San Felipe and a member of the ayuntamiento of Brazoria in 1833. He was the father of John Henry Brown who was born in PikeCo, MO 20 Oct 1820. J.H. Brown acquired experience working with a newspaper in Missouri before coming to Texas where he lived with his uncle Major James Kerr. John Henry Brown participated in numerous minuteman responses to Indian attack, was wounded in the Battle of Salado where he served as Sargent in Capt. Adam Zumwalt's company of Lavaca River men. He also participated in the Somervell Expedition where he was a first sargeant in Capt. Mitchell's company. After marriage to Mary Mitchell of Groton, CT in 1843, he begin his career as prolific writer with the Victoria Advocate as editor and author of numerous and distinguished works to the present regarding Texas history. He was a distinguished public servant from several areas of Texas which included the Texas Legislature. J.H. Brown died in Dallas on 31 May 1895.  [The photo of the painting shown above was provided by descendant Herbert Reay Jr.  According to Reay, he first learned of the painting in a letter from John Henry Brown's daughter that mentioned a painting displayed in the museum at the University of Texas, Austin. Mr. Reay recently found the 6 x 8 inch oil painting on canvas labeled Capt. Henry S. Brown in the University of Texas Archives.  He was informed that the painting was among the papers donated to the archives by the family of a former curator of the University of Texas museum


Captain Brown, an early and well known pioneer of Texas, was born in Madison county, Kentucky, March 8, 1793, and remained there till, when the spirit of adventure, characteristic of him through life, led him, friendless and alone, to the wilds of Missouri, in which territory he took up his abode in St. Charles county. His immediate parents and ancestors for several generations had been respectable citizens of Baltimore and Carroll counties, Maryland. They were, without an exception, sterling patriots in the revolution of 1776, both his paternal and maternal grandfathers having been officers in that struggle. In the war of 1812, being but twenty years of age, lie volunteered and served in the extreme west against the Indians till its close. At Fort Clark (now Peoria), on the Illinois River, under the immediate eye of his colonel (Musick), and Governor Howard, of Missouri, he performed an act of gallantry, during the siege by a large Indian force, which caused those officers to compliment him by name in their reports to the secretary of war. Having married, about the close of the war, he began and for nine years continued a trade in flat and keel boats from Missouri to New Orleans, a life then checkered with many thrilling incidents of danger and adventure unknown of late years.

Captain Henry S. Brown, Pioneer
Mrs. C.A. Westbrook, Frontier Times 1925

Modified from the Texas Almanac 1873 and Sowell's Rangers and Pioneers of Texas. In December, 1824, he landed at the mouth of the Brazos River, Texas, having an outfit of goods for the Indian and Mexican trade. He was accompanied by a younger brother, John Duff Brown, afterward known as Waco Brown. Captain H.S. Brown in person fitted out a caravan and proceeded to Monterey, Mexico, at the same time sending his brother, with three men and a supply of goods, to trade with the wild Indians for horses, and mules, buffalo robes, etc. Mr. John Brown proceeded to the Clear Fork of the Brazos, traded off his merchandise to the Indians for over a thousand bead of horses and mules and a large number of robes. He had safely returned as far as the Bosque, when his camp was attacked at night and everything captured. His three companions, Thomas Jameson, James Musick, and Andrew Scott, escaped on foot and finally reached the lower Brazos. Mr. Brown, who was a confirmed cripple in one leg, secreted himself for the moment, supposing his companions would do the same, but when daylight came be found himself alone. After traveling as best be could for a day or two, he was taken prisoner by a party of Waco Indians, and by them kept for about fifteen months in their then favorite region, of which the present town site of Waco was one of the chief villages. He was captured in July or August, 1825, and by his stay among the Indians acquired a vast amount of information about the Waco and other tribes which proved to be of great value to General Austin and the early settlers. On reaching the settlements, Mr. Brown's comrades expressed the confident belief that he was killed at the time the camp was attacked, from the fact that he fell over them as they were awakened, an incident explained by him after his escape. On returning from Monterey and learning these facts, Captain Henry T. Brown determined to learn the fate of his brother, and fitted out a company of forty-two men who volunteered to follow his lead. He penetrated far up the country, found the Indians hostile at the intrusion, and had several encounters with them, the principal of which was at the Waco village, where he drove the whole force into and across the river killing a considerable number. At that time his brother was in another village only two miles above, but on the opposite bank. The expedition returned and Capt. Brown and John Duff Brown's wife were convinced that Mr. John Duff Brown was dead.

About a year later, in the autumn of 1826, Mr. Brown, thereafter known as Waco Brown, made his escape from a war party of seventeen Wacos on Cumming's Creek, now in Fayette county, the party having come down to kill and rob the settlers. He was brought along because he had promised to aid the raiders in stealing horses from settlers. He hastened to San Felipe, on the Brazos, where he found his brother, just returned from a second trip to Mexico, having a well-armed party with him. With these and some volunteer citizens Captain Brown hastened in search of the Indians, completely surprised them at daylight on the following morning, and killed all but one. From that time till 1832 Captain Brown continued in the Mexican trade, making his headquarters at Brazoria, Gonzales, and San Antonio. His life was one akin to the legends of romance, and won for him among those early pioneers of Texas the character of a brave, chivalrous, and sagacious border chief. His heart was warm and generous to a fault, but throughout those years of danger, as previously on the Mississippi River, his habits were sober, his intercourse with others honorable and he rarely ever had a difficulty with his fellow man. Misfortune often attended him, and he several times lost heavily by the Indians. Having located at Columbia in 1832, he was called to the command of the largest company (about eighty men and boys) in the bloody battle of Velasco on the twenty-sixth of June, 1832. His gallantry on that occasion has been for nearly forty years the theme of praise by his surviving comrades. Soon afterward he was on the field as next friend to Colonel Wm. T. Austin, in the issue between that gentleman and the chivalrous Colonel John A. Wharton, on the Brazos, an event in which both of the distinguished contestants bore themselves as men of courage and honor, and one always remembered with regret by their many mutual friends.

In 1833 Captain Brown was again in the West, and had several adventures with both Indians and border Mexicans. It was often said by old citizens that he had more contests with the Indians, and was more generally successful, than any of the brave pioneer chiefs of that day. He died in Columbia on the twenty-sixth of July, 1834, and sleeps his last sleep within a few a feet of Josiah H. Bell and the once famous Captain Bird Lockhart. His memory is honorably perpetuated in the name of the beautiful county of Brown, which was named in his honor. Mr. Rufus E. Brown, of Kendall county, and John Henry Brown, of Dallas, are his only surviving children.


Reminiscences of John Duff Brown (son of John Waco Brown)

John (Waco) Brown Pioneer Citizen and Indian Fighter John Brown was born in Madison County, Kentucky, September 9, 1796. He came from a long line of Colonial heroes of Revolutionary fame who were of English stock. One was a captain of the Continental Army and was killed at the River Raisin. His people have always been the defenders of their country. He married Nancy Ann Howell in 1820 and this union was blessed with the following children: Jno. Duff; Isham Kerr, the first white child that lived, born on the Lavaca River; Marie Nazia, the first American child born in San Antonio, and Carmelita. In about 1823 John Brown returned to his old Kentucky home, but returned back to Missouri in 1824. He developed bronchial trouble in December in 1824 and thought it best to go south for his health. He planned to leave his family and go to Cuba. On arriving in New Orleans, he met his older brother, Captain Henry Stevenson Brown, who induced him to go to the wilds of Texas. He arrived in Texas in December. Texas was a part of Mexico and was inhabited chiefly by many Indian tribes and was a paradise for wild animals of every kind. Captain Henry S. Brown was an Indian and Mexican trader. He furnished John Brown with goods to trade that appealed to the Indians and advised him to go toward the upper waters of the Brazos and barter his goods for horses, mules and peltries. This trading expedition was made of such men as James Musick, Thomas Jamison and Andrew Scott. They had accumulated eleven hundred horses and mules and peltries and started for the white settlement. On the third night of their homeward journey the Indians made a raid on their camp. The motive of the Indians was robbery and not murder. The eleven hundred horses and mules stampeded, which was the prime object of the Indians. John Brown was lame but he escaped alone through a thicket which was near their camp. His companions escaped together and reached home safely. He wandered three days without food, and wandered into camp of the Waco Indians. He feared his fate with them, but he made his choice between facing death by starvation and a tortured death by the Wacoes. They were cruel to him. They forced him to run the gauntlet, each brave beating him and slashing him as he ran. He was successful in running the gauntlet, as he was not felled before reaching the goal. An old Indian woman whose son had fallen in battle, traded for him from the Indian chief and adopted him as her own son. He was kindly treated but watched. He won their confidence after living with them eighteen months. In the fall of 1826 he was permitted to accompany a raiding party on the settlement. On the raiding exposition he escaped and succeeded in reaching San Felipe. This Indian band was annihilated by Captain Henry S. Brown and a band of well-trained Mexican soldiers; only one Indian escaped to tell the tale to his people. Hereafter John Brown was known as Waco Brown because he lived among the Waco Indians as an adopted son for eighteen months.

After he reached the white settlement he soon returned to Howell's Prairie, Missouri, to his family, who had mourned him as dead. He made preparations to return to Texas in 1827 with his family. After landing at Copano they went to Goliad by Mexican ox-carts which were the means of transportation by land in this period of history. Then from Goliad or La Bahia they went to Major James Kerr's home on the Lavaca. Major Kerr was the first settler on the Lavaca River by several years. John Brown was looking for a home in Texas and he moved his family to Carancahua Bayou. Here he chose a league of land, believing that in time, since the bayou was navigable from Matagorda Bay, that it would be valuable. The Mexican law required a crop to be planted on the land before the title could be perfect. He built a small cabin and planted a small crop of corn. The corn was planted in primitive way by punching holes in the earth with sharp sticks and covering the seed by pushing in the soil with the heel. He and his family lived in great fear of the Carancahua Indians. After making his crop and having the land surveyed, he then moved to San Antonio. Here they lived for three years. Small pox broke out in John Brown's family, the disease contracted from a Negro girl, loaned by Major Kerr, as a housekeeper for the Browns. It killed many of the citizens, and was fatal to Isham Kerr Brown and the father, John Brown. They were buried in the grounds of the Alamo. There their remains rest in peace. John Brown played his part in the settlement and developing of Jackson County. From the Cavalcade of Jackson County by I.T. Taylor.


SONS OF DEWITT COLONY TEXAS
1997-2008, Wallace L. McKeehan, All Rights Reserved.