Memoirs & Sketches by Old Texians
Memories of San Jacinto
Sion Record Bostick. From The Quarterly of the Texas Historical Association, October 1901.
"I was at home at Columbus, but on the 21st day of March, after the Alamo had fallen and Fannin and his men had been massacred, I reenlisted at Columbus under Captain Moseley Baker, who had a company in Colonel Ed. Burleson's regiment of Houston's army, then retreating before the victorious Mexicans. Baker's company was sent to San Felipe to guard it, and Houston's army crossed the Brazos above San Felipe at Groce's (Ferry). My company crossed the Brazos at San Felipe and threw up some little fortifications. After the Mexicans crossed the Colorado river General Houston ordered us to cross over the river and burn San Felipe. The people had already abandoned the place, leaving everything they had in the houses and stores. We obeyed our orders, but remained in camp on the east side of the Brazes opposite San Felipe, and placed a picket guard on the west side to give notice of the approach of the Mexicans.
In a few days, the Mexicans came up. One morning about sunrise they captured Simpson, one of our pickets. The other three pickets, Jack (James) Bell, I. L. Hill, and George W. Pettus got away and crossed the river in a dugout. We had some skirmish firing across the river at them. We would not let them cross, and they went down the Brazos and crossed at Richmond. We were ordered to join Houston at Donoho's below Groce's outside of the Brazos bottom in the edge of the prairie. The scouts reported that Santa Anna had gone down to Harrisburg on Buffalo bayou, where he never halted, but, after burning the place, moved on down the bayou to a point opposite the San Jacinto river, or rather below there. Houston's army followed, found Harrisburg burned up, moved on down the bayou, and went into camp just above the mouth of the San Jacinto river. The Mexicans came back up the river and some skirmishing took place on the 20th. They camped that night not far from Houston's army. The next day in the evening Houston ordered us to attack the Mexicans. Sherman on the left commenced the fight. We were all on foot except a small cavalry force under Lamar. We moved down a slope slowly, but when we started up a long sloping ridge (the Mexican breastworks were on the top of it), we all went in double quick. Everyone of us was yelling: 'Remember the Alamo! Remember Fannin!' In a little while the Mexicans broke and ran. Just back of their was low marshy land and a kind of lake. Many of them tried to cross, but they bogged down, and we shot them. A few got through, and we captured them next day.
Captain Moseley Baker told me on the morning of the 22nd to scout around on the prairie and see if I could find any escaping Mexicans. I went and fell in with two other scouts, one of whom was named Joel Robinson, and the other Henry Sylvester. We had horses that we had captured from the Mexicans. When we were about eight miles from the battle field, about one o'clock, we saw the head and shoulders of a man above the tall sedge grass, walking through the prairie. As soon as we saw him we started towards him in a gallop. When he discovered us, he squatted in the grass; but we soon came to the place. As we rode up we aimed at him and told him to surrender. He held up his hands and spoke in Spanish, but I could not understand him. He was dressed a common soldier with dingy looking white uniform. Under the uniform he had on a fine shirt. As we went back to camp the prisoner rode behind Robinson awhile and then rode behind Sylvester. I was the youngest and smallest of the party, and I would not agree to let him ride behind me. I wanted to shoot him. We did not know who he was. He was tolerably dark skinned, weighed about one hundred and forty-five pounds, and wore side whiskers. When we got to camp, the Mexican soldiers, then prisoners, saluted him and said 'el presidente.' We knew then that we had made a big haul. All three of us who had captured him were angry at ourselves for not killing him out on the prairie to be consumed by the wolves and buzzards. We took him to General Houston, who was wounded and lying under a big oak tree.
The remainder of the story of the battle others have told. It is history. I have told what I saw as a young private; I was not seventeen years old. The causes of the discontent and the troubles with Mexico I did not then know. History tells all that. As a boy all I knew was that we had a row on our hands, and they wanted to fight. I thought I could kill Mexicans as easily as I could deer and turkeys. In 1842 I helped General Burleson whip the Comanches at Plum Creek fight, and in 1848, during the Mexican War, I went out again under Claiborne Herbert. Still later, in 1861, I went again, this time to Virginia, and served in Hood's brigade in the Fifth Texas. During the war with Spain I was very much troubled because I was too old to go......"
Jesse Burnam Recollections. "I was born in Kentucky, Madison County, Sept. 15 1792, being the youngest son of seven. My father died when I was quite young and my mother moved to Tennessee in my sixteenth year and settled in Red Fork County near Shelbyville. We were very poor. In my 20th year I married an orphan girl named Temperance Baker. I was still poor. I made rails for a jackleg blacksmith and had him to make me three knives and forks and I put handles to them. My wife sold the stockings she was married in - made by her own hands - for a set of plates and spun and wove cloth for sheets and tick for feathers. I traded for a small piece of land and then we were ready for housekeeping. We used gourds for cups. In my 22d year I went into the war of 1812. John Hutcheson was my captain and Col. John Coffee commanded the brigade. During this campaign I contracted a disease and the physicians advised me to seek a warmer climate.
I started with nine families besides my own and settled on Red River at Pecan Point. From there I went to the interior of Texas, stopping for a few months where Independence now is. I had three horses and brought what I could on them, my wife bringing her spinning wheel and weaving apparatus. We got out of bread before we stopped. Being too feeble to hunt, I employed an old man to keep me in meat. I had fixed up a camp so that my family could be comfortable. My man failed to kill a deer and we were out of food for two days. At last I heard one of my children say "I am so hungry." I had been lying there hoping to hear the old man's gun. I was too feeble to hunt but I got up and began to fix my gun slowly. I listened all the time f or the old man's gun. I didn't feel as though I could walk but I started on my first hunt. I had not gone far when I saw two deer, a fawn and its mother. I shot the fawn first, knowing the doe would not run far; then I shot and killed her. "Oh ho!" said I "two deer in one day and my first hunt." I took the fawn to camp to my hungry children and took William, my oldest boy, and a horse after the doe. My wife dressed a skin and made William a shirt but it lacked one sleeve, so she dressed the fawn skin that day and made the other sleeve. It was while camped at Independence that I saw my first Indian. I went out to kill a deer and had killed one and was butchering it when an Indian came up and wanted to take it from me. I would not let him have it but got it on my back the best I could and started for camp. The Indian began to yell, I suppose for help, but I would have died rather than give the deer up. I thought if there was only one I would put my knife in him and save my gun for another. I walked along as fast as I could, he pulling at the deer and making signs that he wanted it on his back. I could not put it down to rest, so I walked into a gully and rested it on a bank, the Indian all the time making frightful threats and grimaces. Oh, but I was mad! When I got to camp it was full of Indians and everyone had been dividing meat with them. I told them I would not give them a piece to save my life and that if the Indian came about me I would kill him. I stayed in that camp four or five months, and then moved down on the Colorado to what is now the John Holman plantation. It was the league that Austin had surveyed for me, my name being the thirteenth on the list of Austin's Colony. All the colony had moved further down, so it was the highest upon the river of any of the settlements, and most exposed to Indians. All my neighbors moved down for protection, and at last I had to go, but did not stay long, I went back and built me a block house to fight from. It was at this place I had my trouble with the Indians in recovering the horses they tried to carry off. We were still out of bread, and it had been nine months since we had seen any. A man from lower down the country came up and told me that he had corn that he had planted with a stick. There were no hoes nor plows in the colony. I gave him a horse for twenty bushels and went sixty miles after it with two horses, and brought eight bushels back. I walked and led my horse. I had prepared a mortar before I left home to beat it in, and a sieve made of deer skin stretched over a hoop and with holes punched in it. I had always young men about me for protection, and they would generally beat the corn. Then we would have to be very saving, of course, and were allowed only one piece of bread around. During the time I was without bread, a man stayed all night with us who had just come to the country. He had some crackers and gave the children some. My son took his out in the yard, made him a little wagon and used the crackers for wheels. Our honey we kept in a deer skin, for we had no jars, jugs, nor cans. I would take the skin off a deer whole, except having to cut it around the neck and legs, and would tie the holes up very tight. Then I would hang it up by the four legs, and we had quite a nice can, which we always kept pretty well filled. About this time my oldest daughters dresses were worn out before we could get any cotton to spin, and she wore a dress of dressed buckskin. I never wore a deerskin shirt, though there were many that did. I had pants and a hunting shirt made of deer skin. My wife colored the skin brown and fringed the hunting shirt, and it was considered the nicest suit in the colony.
At one time while in camp at Independence, I had about six loads of powder. A traveler stopped at my camp, and I asked him if he had any. He said he had. I had a Mexican dollar that Colonel Groce gave to one of the children for dried buffalo meat. He asked me if I would sell him some. I told him no, but he could take as much as he wanted. But, not wishing to accept it that way, he gave one of the children the dollar. I gave it to the traveler and told him to give me as much powder as he could, for I was nearly out and did not know where to get any. He asked for a teacup and filled it about two-thirds full. At one time I had twelve loads and killed eleven deer with them. You asked me to tell you about taking the man's leg off. I was living on the Colorado at that time. His name was Parker, and he lived on the opposite side of the river. His leg was terribly diseased, and he begged us to cut it off for two months before we consented. One day he sent for me, I went over, and he took hold of my hand with both of his and said, "Oh, have you come to take my leg off?" I said, "Yes, I have come to do anything you want me to do." That is right, he said: "If I die I don't want to take it with me." So Tom Williams, Kuykendall, Bostick and I undertook the job with a dull saw and shoe knife, the only tools we had. I heated and bent a needle to take up the arteries with. I was to have the management of it and hold the flesh back; Tom Williams was to do the cutting of the flesh, and Bostick to saw the bone, and Kuykendall to do the sewing. I took his suspenders off and bandaged the leg just above where we wanted to cut. I put a hair rope over the bandage, put a stick in it and twisted it just as long as I could; then I was ready to begin operations. When Mr. Kuykendall began to sew it he trembled, so I took the needle and finished it. Parker rested easy for several days; but the third day he complained of his heel hurting on the other leg, and the eleventh day he died.
The first fight we had with the Indians was at Skull Creek. We were commanded by Bob Kuykendall, who had eighteen men in the fight. We killed fourteen Indians and wounded seven, who afterwards went and complained to the general government. We lost not a man. I killed one and wounded two. I served as lieutenant under Kuykendall, and after two or three months took his place as captain. The next fight with the Indians I had was in the recovery of some horses at what is now known as the John Holman plantation, where I first settled on the Colorado. There was seven families living above, who were compelled to move further down into the settlements. They were stopping with me, and the horses belonged principally to them. The Indians had been concealed in the bottom waiting for an opportunity to steal the horses. One morning at daylight, three Indians were seen driving horses by a man living with me. They were aiming for the head of the prairie on Williams creek. He ran in and gave the alarm, before I was out of bed. I had William, my oldest son, to saddle my horse, which I always kept secure, while I got ready. My horse was very fast, and he was the only one left. I mounted him, taking a pair of holster pistols and a rifle. The Indians were in sight when I started, and they were three quarters of a mile from the house when I overtook them, in plain view of my family and those who were camped there at the time. I ran up within forty yards of them, dismounted, and attempted to fire on them, but they jumped about so that it was impossible to get a true shot at them, still driving the horses before them. I again mounted and pursued them. By this time the Indians that had remained in the bottom had joined them, making twelve in number. Seeing my only resort was to stampede the horses, I made a charge, yelling and shooting at the same time. The Indians stopped and prepared for me, thinking I would run through them, as the Mexicans always did. Attention being drawn from the horses, they turned towards home, as I expected. No sooner was this done than I charged in between them and the Indians. They fired one gun and a number of arrows, but none hit me. I succeeded in recapturing the horses, eight in number.
In 1824, I was informed by Captain White, an old trader who ran a small vessel, that there were Indians at the mouth of the Colorado river. He lived at LaBahia, and had started from there, and embarked at Port Lavaca in his little boat loaded with salt to trade for corn. He steered up the Colorado to what is called the Old Landing, two miles from the mouth. The Carankawas were camped there, and they requested him to stop on his return with corn, as they wanted to trade with him. After landing he left a Mexican and a little boy in charge of his boat. He went up Peach Creek to the Kincheloe settlement in search of corn. There he told of the Indians being at the mouth of the river. These Indians were hostile to the whites. The settlers sent a runner to me, sixty miles above. I received the news as I was on my way to the field to plow. Taking my harness off and putting my saddle on, was ready in about a half hour. Having but two neighbors near me I left them, and went to Judge Cummins, fifteen miles below on my route. From this settlement I took half the men, which was seven, leaving the others to watch the Wacoes. I always left half the men at home for protection. I then went to the Kincheloe settlement and took five from there which made my number twelve. White in the meantime had exchanged his salt for corn, the corn to be delivered and the salt to be received at the boat. So we started on our march with a sack of corn a piece on our horses, having sixty miles to go. We camped after leaving Kincheloe's at Jennings camp, where Captain Rawls joined me with twelve men. He had gone to the assistance of Captain Jones on the Brazos. On his return to Kincheloe's settlement he heard that I had left there with only twelve men. He never unsaddled but came on and overtook me at the place mentioned. Next morning I started, expecting to go where White had landed that night. Knowing I would be seen in the daylight, I waited in the post oaks until dark, then marched on, traveling twenty miles to reach the landing. We were very sleepy and tired, after traveling one hundred and twenty miles. White was to inform the Indians of his return by making a campfire, a signal used by them. He gave the signal just at daylight. I left twelve of my men at the boat, for fear the Indians might come in a different direction, while I took the other half and went afoot down the river, to the Indians landing place, about a hundred yards below where White had landed to wait for them. About half an hour by sun the Indians came rowing up the river, very slowly and cautiously as though they expected some danger. The river banks were low, but with sufficient brush to conceal us. Just as they were landing, I fired on them, which was intended as a signal for my men to fire. My signal shot killed one Indian, and in less than five minutes we had killed eight. The other two swam off with the canoe, which they kept between them and us; but finally one of them received a mortal wound from one of my men named Eray, who took rest on my shoulder while I took hold of a bush to steady myself, and as one of the Indians raised his head to guide the canoe he received the shot. I returned home without the loss of a man. White wanted to go down the river, so I sent some of my men with him for fear he would be molested by the remainder of the Indians. Three men went with him until they thought him out of danger, and then came back. He was taken after they left him, but through the entreaties of the Mexicans who were with him, he was turned loose."
A few days after my return James Campbell. came to me and said he had som business in San Antonio that he was oblige to tend to himself, and the Indians was so bad out thare that he wanted five or six men to go with him as a guard. He said he would give a dollar a day and foot all the bills. "Now," said he, "If you will go git up a croud to suit yourself and here take that for your trouble," handing me a five dollar gold peace. "I want to start tomorrow at ten oclock." I went round and got Brother Solomon, Jim Roberts, John Sowell, and Hardin Turner, and between sundown and dark we arived at the ditch in the edg of town, when Campbell purposed to turn down the ditch and camp as thare was good grass and watter. We struck camp and tamed our horses loose to graze until after supper, then tied them up for the night, and about one hour before day next morning we all turned [them] loose again, and after breakfast we all started after our horses and all found our horses but Campbell. He kept circleing farther and farther from camp, and by this time the rest of us was all saddled and was going to help hunt the missing horse but just then we heard Campbell hollow and we suposed. he had found his horse and hollowed to let us know that he had found him, so we would not go to help hunt. We waited and waited, he did not come so about sunrise we all mounted and went in the direction we had heard him hollow, but we had no suspitions of Indians until we rode upon his boddy, and he had been kilt, skelped, and striped. We taken the trail and they put me ahead to trail. I says, "Boys, if you will keep up with me we will catch th[e] redskins." They all said, "Light out." I struck a gallope and run the trail about seven miles on the divide between the Almos and Salow when we came in sight of two Indians and quickened our pace, and Brother Solomon and I soon distanced the other boys and we ran side by side, neither one of our horses could gain on the other. One of the savages found we was going to out ran him and he threw himself of his horse and prepared to fight. He strung his bow and was adjusting an arrow when we both fired at the same time, both balls takeing effect in his brea[s]t, cutting his bow string and shivering his bow in splinters, and the redskin bit the ground. We knew it was no use to give chase to the other redskin for he was on Campbells horse, the best horse in the croud, and he mad good his escape. So we taken the dead savages horse and accuterements and returned and burried Campbell, but the savage that got away must have had Campbells cloths containing his money and papers as they was never recovered.
Elizabeth Davis Guthrie McKinney. The following was published in the History of Gonzales County, Texas by daughter of Elizabeth Davis Guthrie McKinney and granddaughter of Daniel and Elizabeth Davis, Johnnie Elizabeth McKinney Thornton:
I have written this short historical sketch of my life this 30th day of December, 1939 at the request of the Daughters of the Republic of Texas Chapter of Texas. In the eventide of my life, of my eighty second year, breathing space, comfort, and contentment, I record with pleasure the recollections of my earlier days. My memory carries me back to the sweet face of a Christian mother with the dauntless courage of a true pioneer; for hers was a life of hardships, bravery, and sacrifices. She, Elizabeth Davis, came from Kentucky to Texas on February 20, 1831. The family of her father, Daniel Davis, and the Darst family, were among the first colonists of the DeWitt settlement. They too drank of the waters of the "Old Blue Guadalupe" and thought it a good place to live despite the wilderness and the marauding Indians. My uncle John Davis responded to the call of the Alamo and was one of the immortal thirty-two that never came back. My mother was in the Runaway Scrape, well known in Gonzales history. In 1854, at Sweet Home, Lavaca County, she married John McKinney, a man of sterling and fearless character. He came from Mississippi to Texas in 1846, traveling on the Belle of Red River to New Orleans, then to Texas by Prairie Schooner, and located near the place where Hallettsville now stands. He was the first sheriff of Lavaca County. In this capacity he served admirably for two terms; for all the privations incident to the sturdy pioneer of the early days of the Republic of Texas were experienced. To the union of John McKinney and Elizabeth Davis were born two children: Kate, in 1855, and I, Johnnie Elizabeth, in 1858. 1 recall with pleasure the happy days of my early childhood spent at Old Moulton. I could never forget our gay and happy home, noted far and wide for its true Southern hospitality. And neither could I forget the accompanying vicissitudes and sorrows of those by-gone days. The Civil War came. How we watched, and waited, and suffered as the years dragged by. Then the Reconstruction era and the carpet baggers stirring up strife among the Negroes. Sometimes there was no flour; coffee, scarce at one dollar a pound; and Confederate money, then the medium of exchange, was a scrap of paper. Yet undaunted, we pressed on and managed to live through it all. Educational advantages were few in the days of my youth. I was tutored at home by my half sister until I was fifteen, when I was sent for two years to Concrete College, (now near Cuero, in DeWitt County). It was founded and conducted by Rev. J.V.I. Covey, who was the Baptist minister of the Concrete community. In 1874, 1 became a charter member of the Ladies' Order of the Masonic Lodge, called at that time the Good Samaritan, taking the degree also Master Reliance, at Moulton, Texas. A year later, on December 16, 1875, 1 was married to Wiley Thornton, a young man of trustworthiness and dependability. It was quite a coincidence that the same man that conferred on me the Masonic degree, baptized me (at the age of fifteen) and performed our nuptials, Rev. A.S. Bunting. After the wedding ceremony dinner was served to approximately one hundred guests, who arrived by buckboard and horseback. We then lived for seven years on the farm of my father-in-law, James Ash Thornton, who had come from Athens, Georgia, and settled in Lavaca County. Incidentally, he built and operated the first cotton gin in that county. In 1883 we purchased our own home and farm in the Big Hill section of Gonzales County. Our dwelling was located on the main traveled road which was close to the only church for some twenty miles around. Therefore our home was a stopping place for all the circuit riders whom we entertained with pleasure. For many years my husband was church secretary and Sunday School Superintendent of the Live Oak Baptist Church. We lived on this farm at Big Hill until 1900 when we moved to Gonzales to educate our children. We were blessed with seven children: two boys and five girls, all of whom are living. Mr. Thornton died in 1905, his death being the only great sorrow in my married life. While I have not accumulated any material wealth down through these years, I have stored up riches in the fact that God has been good to me and blessed me with an abundance of health, kind, loving children, and faithful friends. I have lived and I am still living happily and contented. Johnnie Elizabeth Thornton. Reprinted by permission of the Gonzales County Historical Commission).
Early Reminiscences, Texas--By D. L. Kokernot (Gonzales Inquirer of August 17, 1878). My first acquaintance with Sam Houston was in the year 1834. My friend, George M. Patrick, employed me to go to Nacogdoches for him in order to get land titles from the Empressario for different persons and myself, for whom he had surveyed. At that time a trip through the wilderness from the Trinity River to the above place was considered a long and perilous journey, being without settlers or roads, nothing but a small Indian trail through an Indian country. On the 15th of May I arrived at the town, and as I walked up the street I noticed the finest looking man I ever saw, seated on the steps of Col. Thorn's storehouse. He was dressed in a complete Indian costume made of buckskin and ornamented with a profuse variety of beads, and his massive head was covered with a line broad beaver hat. When he arose I stopped and looked at him with both surprise and admiration and bid him good morning. He asked me whence I had come. I told him from Galveston Bay, Middle Texas. Then he invited me to sit down and have a chat with him in reference to land matters, which I did for a considerable time. Our conversation ended, he invited me into the store to take a glass of wine with him, which I readily accepted. He then told me he owned some land on Cedar Point, Galveston Bay, as also on Goose Creek. I remarked that the Goose Creek land was located by one Dr. Wight, and that I had the field notes with me with a view to getting a patent on the land. He said: "All right, if you can get it." But, sure enough, I never did, as a patent had already been issued to the General. "Now, my friend," said the General, "tell me the news." I replied the news is war; that it was rumored that Santa Anna was gathering troops to send into Texas to disarm the inhabitants. "But," said I, "we are determined not to surrender our arms". "Well, my friend," said he, "how will you act in that case?" I replied: "We will fight them to the last, or die in the attempt." "That is right," said he; "they shall never drive us out so long as we can fight them." As he made this remark his eyes sparkled with lightning, and another bottle of wine was ordered on the strength of it.
"Now," said he, "the people ought to organize and get ready to meet him." I told him I was of the same opinion. "Who will command the army?" he asked. I replied: "My dear sir, if I had the authority to make the appointment you are the man; for you are the finest looking man I ever laid eyes on." He immediately replied, "Well, my dear sir, if I get the appointment of commander I will give you a commission." Then he pulled out a small pocketbook and asked my name, which he wrote in his book, and then wrote his own name and handed it to me. After talking a while longer we shook hands and bade each other farewell. From that day I loved Sam Houston. He proved a friend indeed in times of need, as many letters in my possession will show. The next morning I started for home. After crossing the Natchez River I was taken very sick with burning fever, being about twenty-five miles from any house, and lost at that, and to render my situation still more uncomfortable, a severe thunder storm came up. The lightning was very heavy, striking the trees all around me and filling my mind with consternation and gloomy forebodings. I reached a small prairie and took up my solitary lodging for the night. The storm continued to rage during the entire night. On the following morning, I found that I was lost, and traveling up the river to the north. I mounted my horse and took the trail I had been traveling knowing it would lead somewhere. And sure enough, after having traveled about three miles I found myself in the middle of a large Indian village. I rode up to a large log house, which proved to be the residence of the big chief. He came out and invited me to alight. I told him I was sick and lost. He looked at me, felt my pulse, gave a grunt and left the hut, but returned in a few minutes witil a small gourd containing some kind of stuff which he told me to drink. I obeyed, but desired a cup of good strong coffee more than the medicine. I accordingly got some ground coffee out of my saddlebags, gave it to the old squaw and she soon prepared a good cup which I drank, greatly to my benefit. She also brought in some nice venison and some sort of bread, and the king and I took breakfast together. After breakfast I asked him if there was a white man in the vicinity. He said there was, and caught his horse and led the way to the other end of the village to the house of one Mr. Roberts. He then left, with the promise that he would come and see me again. Mr. Roberts told me that he was king of the Billoxi Indians, a brave, good man, which I found to be the truth.
The next day I saw the old king and told him I wished a pilot to conduct me through the wilderness. He told me his son would conduct me to the village of the Long King on the Trinity. In the meantime, I remained about a week with the old king, and had a fine;time bear hunting, attending a wedding and a regular Indian dance. I enjoyed myself hugely. The morning after the wedding the young prince came to lead me through the wilderness to the village of the Long King. Shaking hands with the old king and Mr. Roberts, we set out, and that night reached the Village. The king and the royal family came out and gave us a cordial welcome, inviting us into the royal castle. In a short time the old squaws prepared us a good supper, consisting of broiled venison and corn bread. The Long King was a fine looking man, six feet, six inches high, well formed and straight as an arrow. Next morning, having breakfasted on broiled venison and bear meat (a repast worthy of a king) I took leave of my hospitable friends and turned my face homewards, where I arrived in two days, safe and sound, without any further mishap.
In the year 1832 1 bought a tract of land on the San Jacinto Bay, situated one mile above Capt. William Scott's place, and about one and a half miles from the battlefield of San Jacinto, where I resided for several years after the battle was fought which gained the independence of Texas. In the fall of 1835 a call came for men to march to the field of conflict and repel the invading army of Mexico, under the command of General Cos, who was a brother-in-law of Santa Anna. Having mustered ten men, I set off post haste for Gonzales, where we were to rendezvous. We found all the settlers along the route ready to aid by furnishing provisions and whatever else was necessary and in their power to bestow. After a perilous ride across the country from the Colorado to Peach Creek, we reached the house of Judge McClure, where we stopped to get refreshments. The Judge gave us a hearty welcome, furnishing corn for our horses, as well as an excellent repast for ourselves. His wife treated us most kindly, as if we were her brothers. This estimable lady displayed all the noble qualities of woman in aid of the struggle for liberty. She also was called upon to endure many dangers and hardships incident to the Texas revolution. Her name ought to be inscribed on the immortal roll of the veterans of the Lone Star Republic. She still lives on the old homestead on Peach Creek, Gonzales County, as the wife of Hon. Charles Braches, who is one of our best citizens. On that day we reached Gonzales and were greatly rejoiced to meet Stephen F. Austin, the Father of Texas, who had made his escape from a Mexican dungeon and reached Texas in safety at this critical moment in her history.
During our stay in Gonzales a battle was fought at La Bahia, or old Goliad, in which the Texans were victorious. Preparations were now made in earnest for war, which we felt was already upon us. In the meantime a large party of Comanche Indians came near the town and committed some depredations. Col. Ed. Burleson with a party of men went in pursuit, attacked the Indians and routed them, taking one prisoner and killing some, thzugh the number is not known as the savages carried off their dead and wounded. After receiving reinforcements, preparations were made for active service. The men were addressed in earnest and eloquent terms by Col. Wallace, Robert Williamson, our three-legged champion of Anahuac, and the Rev. Dr. W. P. Smith, and by acclamation Stephen F. Austin was elected commmander-in-chief of the little army of patriots, numbering about 100 men. The necessary preparations were made; we crossed the Guadalupe and took up the line of march for San Antonio, and camped that night on the Cibolo. A spy came in and reported that some two hundred Mexicans were encamped near the powder house, a short distance from the city. Gen. Austin ordered Cal. Burleson to call for volunteers to attack the enemy that night. Seventy-five of us responded to the call, and by 10 o'clock were mounted and ready to take up the line of march. About 2 o'clock next morning we had surrounded the Mexicans, but they came up missing; the camp was deserted. We returned to camp on the Salado. That night the Comanches stampeded all our horses and left us without anything to eat save parched corn. During our stay here two fine young men whose names are not remembered, killed themselves by eating pecans. Notwithstanding pickets were stationed and charged to be very vigilant, an Indian crawled up within fifty yards of me and fired, the ball whistling near my head. I returned his fire, and as he gave a yell I am inclined to think the ball took effect, though I did not take time to look after him. This alarm placed the army in motion in a few moments.
On the following morning, the army took up the line of march for the Mission Las Pados [Espada], on the San Antonio River, about ten miles below the city, where we arrived some time in the afternoon. During the night Deaf Smith, who had been sent to the city to spy out the number and situation of the enemy, returned, and but for my intervention would have been shot by one of our pickets who had hailed him three times to no purpose. Seeing Smith's movements, I surmised that it might be our faithful spy, and stopped the picket just as he put his hand on the trigger to fire at the deaf man. The morning following, Gen. Austin ordered Capt. Fannin and Capt. James Bowie to call for volunteers to select a camp near the city for our army. About eighty-two stepped out. Among them a few names are remembered, as follows: Charles Mason, A. H. Jones, A. Turner, John and Charles Dorsett and also Col. Richard Andrews, who lost his life at the Battle of Concepcion. We went up the river to the Mission Concepcion, which is some two miles below the city, in the bend of the river. Here we found a number of Mexicans gathering pecans, but they fled instanter. This was selected as the site for our encampment.
About 2 o'clock a Mexican came into camp with a bag of "bolonces," which he sold to us at 25 cents apiece. After taking a good look at our camp he left, doubtless well satisfied. Capt. Bowie then remarked: "Now, boys, we will have some fun." The Mexican was an officer in disguise, which Bowie was aware of, but let him return to his command because he wanted the Mexicans to make the attack. Capt. Bowie said: "We will get a fight tonight or in the morning." Accordingly a strong guard was stationed. About daylight the Mexican cavalry made a dash upon our pickets and captured seventeen of our -horses. Then they came from every direction infantry, cavalry and artillery. Our camp was in the bend of the river, in the shape of a horseshoe. The second bank of the river was six feet high, in which we cut deep steps in order to make the ascent. Our position was an admirable one for defense. The Mexicans were stationed in the open prairie. The attack was made on us at sunrise, by at least one thousand against eighty-two. We reserved our fire until the enemy came within forty yards of us. Then we let fly at them, and, as the Kentuckian said, it would have done you good to have seen us drop them. Our officers, Bowie and Fannin, exhibited the utmost coolness and bravery by going up and down the lines and exhorting us to keep cool and not to fire until we saw the eyes of the enemy. About half past two the last Mexican was killed around the cannon and the gun was seized and turned upon the enemy. At 3 o'clock the enemy retreated, leaving one hundred and twenty dead on the field, besides many that were thrown into the river. Our loss amounted in round numbers to one man the brave Col. Andrews---who was killed by a grapeshot.
About this time the main army came up and encamped on the victorious battlefield. The next day a Mexican priest came and asked the privilege of removing the bodies of the dead Mexicans. He was told that he could take them and welcome. I shall here relate an incident which evinced the coolest bravery. Capt. Carnes who at the time the battle began was up in the steeple of the Mission making observations on the enemy, was cut off. In the midst of the battle he resolved to make his way through the cavalry of the enemy to our lines. With no weapon save a long shotgun he undertook the perilous task of cutting his way through three hundred cavalry. His great coolness and and expertness in the use of the old gun enabled him to keep the enemy at a proper distance, and though his shotpouch was torn from side and his clothes riddled with bullets, he reached our camp without a scratch. Such deliberate bravery was never witnessed on the plains of Texas. At this juncture our noble commander, Gen. Austin, informed us that business of importance required him to resign and return to his colony. We parted with him with great regret. Col. Ed Burleson was elected to fill his place as commander of our patriotic army. In a few days the army marched toward the city and encamped some two miles above at San Pedro Springs. Here, under the command of Col. W. B. Travis, we had a jolly time, chasing the Mexican cavalry over the plains of San Antonio, with whom we had seven skirmishes, though neither of them proved very serious, except the "grass light," in which a goodly number of Mexicans were killed and seven or eight of our men wounded. From this time until the capture of the Alamo, skirmishes were frequent.
On the 5th of December, Col. Milam and Col. Francis W. Johnson called for volunteers to take the city and capture the Alamo. Some 250 or 300 voluntered. That night we took possession of the Veramendi house, situated in the northern part of the place. This gave us a fair chance to fire upon the Mexicans as they came to the cannon, which were placed across the street. From this house we broke through one house after another until we reached the Plaza. In this movement no little work and much hard fighting was done. Col. Milam, one of the noblest and bravest officers, fell in this heroic struggle, greatly lamented by all. The battle raged during four days, when Gen. Cos surrendered himself and army to Gen. Burleson. Thus some four hundred Texans had fought and vanquished fifteen hundred Mexicans in their fortified city. Our loss was comparatively small, while the enemy's was considerable. Every Texan was a sharpshooter, whose rusty Kentucky rifle seldom failed to bring down the game, while the enemy shot at random. Thus ended the campaign of 1835. We now began to think of home. Our clothes were well worn; we were barefooted, and winter had set in. Traveling through some severe weather, rain and northers, we reached home in safety, and had some time in which to rest and recuperate for the severer campaign of 1836.
Autobiographical Sketch of George Lord: I volunteered on the 21st of Dec. 1836 in New Orleans, La., in a company under command of Captain Lyons. Arrived at Galveston, Texas, February 14th, 1837. Muster into service about the last of February 1837 at camp on the Lavaca River in Captain John Hollidays company in the second regiment of volunteers. In June my company was turned over to Captain Jordans company. In the fall of 1837, the company was sent to San Antonio and was discharged in June 1838. References: Muster Roll, Pay Roll, Bounty Land, 1280 acres No. 4417, Services 17 months and 15 days.
In 1848 I was on the ranch of Col. Patton when 52 Comanche Indians came and had a talk. A few days after they killed on of our men by the name of Tolbert. After Col. Burlesons fight with Cordova on the Guadalupe. I joined Capt. Dawsons company in San Antonio to intercept those that made their escape. We captured two or three of them. In May 1839, a surveying party, led by Col. Franks with 12 men west of San Antonio, was attacked by Mexicans and Indians, commanded by Manuel Flores. They captured and afterwards killed F. Bollinger and three Mexicans. References: M.S. Bennet.
In June 1839 I joined an expedition against the Comanche Indians under Col. Karnes at San Antonio, there were one hundred men. References: Miles S. Bennet and other expeditions.
Sept. 1839 I joined the Federal forces under General Antonia Canales on the Nueces River. I was in both campaigns. During the second campaign I was at the taking of Guerrero at the battle of Alcantra, was at Monterrey. During the second campaign I was at the taking of Laredo and at the battle of Saltillo under Col. Jordan, service 11 months.
June 1842 at Corpus Christi, I joined Capt. Ewin Carnerous [sic] company, was in his company at the battle of Lipantitlan on the Nueces and at the battle of Salado near San Antonio. Sept. 1842 was in Capt. Cs company at the battle of Meir, was at the rescue at the Salado, and at the Bean Drawing. Was a prisoner in Mexico until Sept. 16 1844. References: Pay Roll, Pension Roll, Services 26 months, 15 days.
In 1844 I joined a company at Corpus Christi under H.C. Davis, afterwards in the spring, Capt. Bell, Ex Governor took charge of the company. In the summer after General Taylor took possession of Corpus Christi in 1845, I was discharged. Services 9 months. References: Pay Roll
Clippings from The Cuero Star in the Valentine Bennet Scrapbook by Miles S. Bennet.
AN OLD LANDMARK GONE: George Lord, an Aged Citizen Passes Away. A Pioneer of the Early Days He Leaves Many to Mourn His Death in This Section.
Geoge Lord is dead. That expression will call to mind days long gone by, and many of our old time citizens will more than realize that death is certain. One by one they pass away and many are the heartaches of those near and ear to them at the thoguth that never again will their loving hands guide them nor their long proven and tried experience direct them. Mr. Lord was in his 79th year, having been born in Essex county, England, April 21, 1816, and died in DeWitt county, Texas, February 23, 1895, one of DeWitts oldest and most substantial citizens. In 1834 he sailed from Europe and landed in Canada, where he remained two years, then came to new Orleans and in the latter part of 36 he joined a company organized in that city to take part in the Mexican war. The following February the company landed in Galveston and after a few skirmished with the enemy along the coast his company was consolidated with that of Captain Jordan and was sent ot San Antonio in October of he same year. In the first campaign he took part in the battles of Alcantre, Matamoros, and Monterrey and was at the taking of Guerrero in Mexico. During the second campaign he was at the taking of Laredo and in the battle of Lipantitlan under Captain Cameron. He was in the battle of and surrendered at Mier, where he was numbered among the fortunate ones as drawing the white bean. He, however, was retained prisoner for two years, until 1844. Mr. Lord served over two years in the civil war, though he was exempt from service on account of age. In 1849 he dug gold in California and returned with over $7000 in gold dust, which he had coined at the New Orleans mint and which was the basis of his fortune. By virtue of a letter patent he was given 1280 acres by the state near Cheapside, this county, on which he has lived since his return from California. Mr. Lord was an Episcopalian and a good citizen. He was married in New Orleans October 15, 1832, to Miss Kate Myers and they have had eleven children, nine of whom are living with some thirty odd grandchildren and a host of friends to mourn the irreparable loss. The funeral took place at the family residence at 10 oclock this morning.