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Vol 09 No. 04 - January 1932

General Steven Watts Kearney (Cover picture)

By Col. M. L. Crimmins

One of the outstanding soldiers of the Mexican War was Stephen Watts Kearny. On May 13, 1846 war was declared with Mexico. General Kearny was put in command of the Army of the West. General Kearny commanded the force of sailors and marines with Company C of the First U. S. Dragoons, at the Battle of San Gabriel and the Plains of the Mesa, California on January 8, and 9, 1847. He was appointed Governor of California from March 1, 1847, until June when he left to become Military and Civil Governor of Vera Cruz, Mexico. On October 31, 1848, he died at St. Louis Mo., in line of duty as a result of illness contracted at Vera Cruz, Mexico. He was breveted Major General December 5, 1846, for gallant and meritorious conduct, in New Mexico and California, to date of the Battle of San Pasqual. It was due to the inspiring courage of General Kearny that the long hard march from Fort Leavenworth to Santa Fe and California was accomplished and due to his diplomacy that New Mexico was occupied without blood-shed.

The spirit of this man inspired his men. He walked many miles that his foot-sore men might ride his charger. The courage of the men will always be a reflection of the courage of their commander. With the cooperation of naval forces under Commodore Stockton and the Californians under General Fremont, the acquisition of California and the intervening states was made possible and brought to our country a huge source of wealth and prosperity.

Further mentions: First U. S. Dragoons * Army of the West * Santa Fe, the capitol of New Mexico * General Kearny * Philip Kearny and Lady Barney Dexter Kearny, his wife * Michael K e a r n y * Monmouth, New Jersey * Columbia College, New York * First Lieutenant Thirteenth U. S. Infantry * Battle of Queenstown Heights * Fort Leavenworth, Kansas * "Oregon Trail" * Fort Laramie, Wyoming * "South Pass." * Green River * On June 30, 1846, General Kearny was appointed Brigadier-General * St. Louis Flying Horse Artillery * Bent's Fort * James W. Magoffin * Major General Winfield Scott * Winfield Scott * Clinton H. Kearny * Battle of San Pasqual * Merriwether Lewis * Maj. Swords * Lieut. Hammond * Lieut. Warner of the Topo. Engs * Mr. Robideaux * Miss Cotheal, a sister of Mrs. Major Swords * Lieut. Col. Fremont * Capt. Cooke * Capt. Allen * Capt. Moore * Major and Mrs. Stewart and to Mrs. Hunt * Bishop Hawkes * Mr. Kennerly


On Armistice Day a monument was dedicated at Fort Park, near Groesbeck, in Limestone county, where Cynthia Ann Parker was kidnapped by the Indians in 1836. The old fort is about two miles northwest of Groesbeck. Col. Alvin M. Owsley delivered an address at the dedication.

Justice Conner May Seek Spanish Gold

Justice Truman H. Conner mentions a legend about Spanish gold buried in Eastland county. Years ago the jurist ' was "on the verge of finding it." At that time he loaded some supplies in a wagon and with Judge Black followed a map supposed to show the way to gold cached in Southwest Texas, near the Pecos River. They never found the landmarks-the vagaries of weather had worn away the markings. Two years ago Justice Conner went back, alone this time, for Judge Black 'had died. Success was not forthcoming, but Justice Conner talked to other persons who have convinced him that the treasure actually is buried somewhere in the vicinity. It is near Castle Gap, in the neighborhood of what is known as…

Further mentions: J. Frank Dobie * Emperor Maximilian * Live Oak Creek near Sheffield


"…the flag carried by San Flouston's Texas troops in the battle of San Jacinto in 1836 had been discovered in the possession of Mrs. Mary Virginia Moore Drew, of Ardmore, Oklahoma. According to the story the flag, which is a wisp of silk bearing three stars, is well preserved and has a bullet hole through it. The flag was the property of General Sam Houston and was carried by John G. Moore: then a boy of 12 years, according to the story. Mrs. Drew is a daughter of Mr. Moore..."


Mentions: Mrs. Sam Dowty, of San Angelo * Max Mehl, a coin collector * F. B. Mason

When Ghosts Walked in Courthouse Shade

By Vivion Richardson. Recollections of Thomas W., (Captain) Blount, and the history of the the San Augustine country, the "Valley of the Giants.". The progenitor of the Blount family came from Normandy with William the Conqueror, and when his descendants, adherents of Charles I, were driven from England by Cromwell they turned to America. Captain Blount's great grandfather lost a leg at the siege of Savannah and George Washington during his second term in the capitol made the old man customs collector in the very city where he had been wounded. The grandson, Stephen W. Blount, came from Georgia to San Augustine and at the famous meeting in the blacksmith shop at Washington-on-the Brazos, stood up and proposed the adoption of the Declaration of Independence.

Further Mentions: his wife, Mary Landon * Talladega, Ala * Elisha Roberts, the last alcalde under the Mexican regime * George Teel * Rusk and Palestine * Gen. Summerfield Griffith * one Donald McDonald, who operated a mill two miles below San Augustine in the early days * with S. S. Davis and William Nash * Dr. Isaac Jackson Roberts * Thomas J. Rusk, with K. L. Anderson, later vice president of the Republic * Dr. Stone, the eminent Southern surgeon of the New Orleans Medical College * John A. Green, who was lieutenant governor of Texas for ten years and whose descendants still live in San Augustine * George Whitfield Terrell, a tall, spare man whom the Indians called the Lean Captain * Anson Jones * Pinckney Henderson * K. L. Anderson * O. M. Roberts * Ben Roberts * Three-Legged Willie Williamson * Judge Ochiltree


Mentions: Colorado county * old Confederates of Eagle Lake * The Harvey's Creek box * Oak Grove box * The Dunlavy box * Mentz and Bernardo boxes * Cryers precinct * Altair, Nada and Garwood * Rock Island precinct * Sheridan, Provident City * Santa Anna precinct * Sandies * Weimer

Jake Alford, Pioneer Officer

Jake Alford, veteran Eastland county attorney living and practicing his profession at Rising Star, is one of the pioneers of this section and in an early day served four years as a deputy sheriff under Bill Adams, picturesque frontier peace officer of Brown county, and had the distinction of serving four years and handling many noted badmen but never having made an arrest. Alford, when only 17, was sent by his chief one time to run down and arrest a gang of horse thieves that had stolen horses from settlers in Hamilton and Brown counties. The rustlers, it was believed, were making their way into Indian Territory, leading and driving the stolen horses.

Further mentions: Brownwood * Putnam * Hamilton county * Green Simpson, sheriff of Shackelford county * Bill Adams * Cisco * J. W. Hartman

El Tordillo Holds Secrets

IN THE OLDER settled parts of state are many points of interest, where tragedies have been enacted, and where buried treasure has been searched for. One of these points of tragic interest is El Tordillo, near where the three counties of Wilson, Live Oak and Atascosa join. The following article, written by J. B. Polley of Floresville, is full of interest regarding this place. THIS IS UNUSUALLY GOOD EARLY HISTORY OF THE AREA!

Further Mentions: Hills of El Capote & El Tordilla * El Capote erects its head twelve miles below Seguin on the east side of the Guadalupe River * other eminences that were known in the old days as landmarks-Santarita, Tequache, San Cartha and Lomo Alto * the -Medina River * the Calvillo ranch, nearly opposite the town of Floresville * the Nueces River a short distance below Oakville * "The first settlers in the vicinity of El Tordillo were the brothers Dan and William Brister. They moved there in 1854, from a place they had settled in 1874 on the Cibolo, just above the mouth of the Martinez, driven to the move, old Dan said, because the Cibolo country had got so full of people that lie didn't have elbow room. The next movers to the Tordillo section were Capt. John F. Tom and his brothers, Alfred and Charles, who, in 1855, moved from the Guadalupe River, near Seguin * Capt. Peter Tumlinson, who them lived on the Gallinas, some twenty miles northwest of the Tordillo * a man by the name of Hopkins * Alex Walker * Shockley Hollow * E. J. Davis * Bell Branch * Mrs. Ellen Tom * the Coynes and Peevy feud * Frank Tennill * the old Barlow ranch' on Weedy * Campbellton * John Campbell's store at Campbellton * Jim Coynes * cowardly John Schrier * Bivarias ranch * Callahan * man named Owens * Edwards * Joe Weyman * Lee Mayes, a lad of 18 * . A German by the 'name of Rabensburg, an American named Sanderfur * Ben Rosser and Capt. Simp Torn

Sheriff When Nueces Was Dead Line

O. W. Nolen, Dilley, Texas.

This is the story of J. C. B. Harkness, born in Green county, Alabama, August 23, 1842. He was one of the most noted sheriffs of the pioneer days of the Southwest. Beginning his career as a peace officer in 1878 he served at the tine when outlawry was so firmly entrenched in the country that any officer who honestly endeavored to enforce the law was immediately marked for death by the cattle rustlers, horse thieves and border toughs. It was in those days that the Nueces was known as the "dead line" for sheriffs, and Sheriff Harkness not only crossed the "dead line" time and again but he helped to wipe out the sinister, imaginary line, for at one time he had three counties under his jurisdiction. Before Zacala and La Salle counties were organized they were attached to Frio county and Sheriff Harkness not only crossed the "dead line" but he also whipped the outlaws to a finish in a great brush covered territory as large as some states in this county, and larger than some whole European countries. This is his story.

Further Mentions: C Company of the 11th Alabama regiment * Al Fields * Joe Loston of Pearsall * Slaughter & Woodward * Governor O. M. Roberts * Billy Thompson, King Fisher * B. L. Crouch's ranch on the Leona * Frio Town * Miss Martha Meriwether of Alabama

A Real Texas Cowboy

By Mrs. Harriet Phenix Pharr, Reagan, Texas. Here is some FINE, very early Jacksboro and Jacks County history. The account is written by the daughter of the P. K. Phenix Family who came to Texas in 1849, settling at Bookston, Lamar county and then settling on the bank of Keechi Creek, Jacks county. The first courthouse in Jacks county was held in their house.

Further Mentions: President Buchanan was an uncle of the writer’s father * Daniel Tucker * N. T. Byers, a Baptist missionary * Elder Gormley, a Christian minister * William and Newton Nix * John Chisholm of Lamar county * John Curry * Mrs. Campbell * Mr. Mason, who was on his way to his son's home, a mile away. Mr. Mason found Campbell and his wife dead, and went on to his son's and found he, too, had been murdered. A short distance from the house lie found the body of his son's wife, and her little child yet alive and clinging to its dead mother's breast


Interesting letter and early Mason, county history from Mrs. Maddnx, a daughter of William Greenwood, who settled in Mason county in the early fifties, and was one of the prominent citizens of that section for many years. Mentions: Mr. Turner, the oldest settler at Camp San Saba * Grandfather Allen * another settler by the name of Rumsey, or Ramsey * Jack Couch' * Hugh Allen * Mr. Pill Turner * Albert Turner

Tells Of The Rondout Robbery

An interesting account of the $3,000,000 mail robbery at Rondout, Illinois, related by Roy R. Roche, of Watertown, Wisconsin, who himself looked into the business end of a sawed off shotgun, when he and several other railway mail clerks were held up in the famous $3,000,000 mail robbery at, Rondout, Ill.

Further Mentions: the Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul mail train * William Fahy * the Newton brothers captured at Del Rio * Herbert Holliday was another member of the daring band * Another man by the name of Glasscock

First Settlers At Jacksboro

By J. Marvin Hunter. Account of Samuel Dunn Houston who was born in Caldwell county, Texas, July 14, 1855. (Contains nice old photo of Mr Houston). His parents were Mr. and Mrs. Fred E. Houston, who came from Tennessee in an ox-wagon, locating first on the San Marcos River, within two miles of the present town of Luling. This was prior to 1840, and they were among the earliest settlers there. Samuel Dunn Houston was a nephew of General Sam Houston, and was named for him. He worked on his father's farm and ranch near Lockhart until he was about seventeen years old, then became a sure enough cowboy. Altogether he made twenty-eight trips "up the trail." This is a great story of his life and adventures as well as good history of the area.

Further Mentions: Ogallala, Nebraska * R. G. Head * the boss, John Sanders * Tusler's ranch on Pumpkin Creek * four thousand big Texas steers that belonged to D. R. Fant * the old King Ranch herds * the Court House Rock * the old seven Crook Ranch * Theodore Luce, of Lockhart, Texas * the Neobrara River * the Dillon Ranch * Jack Woods, an old cowboy that worked on the Bosler ranch

The Skittish Years Of Old Fort Concho

By O. R. Parsons. Although Fort Concho lasted only twenty years, it protected west Texas during the most important twenty years of its early history. Protection came at the right time to play a big role in opening the Edwards Plateau to the ranchmen, the sheep herder, the small agriculturist and other pioneers of civilization. When the fort was built the settlements in Tom Green county were hardly worthy of the name. There was Ben Ficklin, a small mail station, and the only one in a radius of a hundred miles and more the Bismark farm, consisting of fifteen people, counting noses of children and women, all of whom settled near the main Concho.

Further Mentions: A timely Indian raid at Fort McKavett in 1866 * Spring Creek * a little German settlement called Fredericksburg * , a San Antonio contracting and hauling firm, Adams & Wickes * the Fort Concho Realty Co * Menardville * The Nimitz Hotel (built by the same Nimitz who made the Fredericksburg Hotel famous) * Hackberry Creek in the southwestern corner of Mitchell county * Capt. Bryan Marsh, with eighteen members of Company B, Frontier Battalion of Texas Rangers * Colonel Grierson, the commanding officer * A San Angelo man, John Hoffer, was then a member of the Texas Rangers * Reveille * General MacKenzie and General Shafter

Trail Historian Corrects Errors

THE FAMED Chisholm cattle trail, about which more has been written than any other southwestern trail cannot be traced in Texas for the reason that it never existed in this state according to George W. Saunders, who has spent more than fifty-five years on trail history. Furthermore while Chisholm blazed the trail which bore his name, Mr. Saunders says, it should have been called the McCoy trail in honor of the man who had it blazed. "Texas," said Mr. Saunders, "had four well-defined trails with many intersecting them. The four main trails were the Goodnight and Loving, the Wilson to Wilbarger, the Cameron to Montague, and the Live Oak to Kimble. "

Further Mentions: Joe McCoy of Abilene * Goliad, Bee, Live Oaks, San Patricio, Refugio, Victoria, Gonzales and Karnes counties, Texas * Red River station * Colverts' Ferry below Denison * Doan's Crossing * Fayette Tankersley of Mertzon, Texas * Tom Green, Irion, Reagan, Upton, Crane, Ward, Winkler and Loving * The counties on the Cameron-Montague county trail, are Cameron, Willacy, Hidalgo, Brooks, Kenedy, Kleberg, Nueces, Jim Wells, San Patricio, Live Oak, Bee, Goliad, Karnes, Wilson, Gonzales, Guadalupe, Caldwell, Hays, Travis, Williamson, Bell, Coryell, MeLennan, Bosque, Hill, Johnson, Tarrant, Denton, Wise, Cooke and Montague. * The trail from Wilson to Wilbarger passed through the counties that now are Wilson, Bexar, Kendall, Kerr, Gillespie, Kimble, Menard, Concho, McCullough, Coleman, Calahan, Shackleford, Throckmorton, Baylor and Wilbarger. * "The trail from Live Oak to Kimble went through what are now the counties of Live Oak, McCullen, LaSalle, Dimmit, Zavala, Uvalde, Real, Edwards and Kimble

Texas Pioneer Recalls Battle With Indians

Captain J. P. Wylie, of Dallas, former Indian fighter, remembers as though it occurred yesterday the disastrous Dove Creek Indian fight in what is now Tom Green county in 1865, one of the thrilling chapters in West Texas history. The soldiers and settlers were badly defeated in this fight. Mr. Wylie joined Company A, under Captain Cook, and went to Camp San Saba, whence we were before long transferred to Camp Colorado, in Coleman county, where with Company B, we formed a battalion, under Captain Fossett and Captain Tolton. He goes on to describe the events that led up to and occurred during this bloody fight.

"My parents moved from Van Buren county, Arkansas, to Texas in 1845, the year Texas was annexed to the United States," Capt. Wylie said in describing, his early life in the Lone Star state and the events leading up to the battle of Dove Creek. "Mother often told me about the trip and the experiences of the family on the way.

We came through Indian Territory and crossed the Red River near Paris, then called Pin hook, and settled in Navarro county, near the future site of Corsienna. That part of the country still was full of Indians, who were friendly and who, mother, said, took a delight in playing with me, a white papoose being a novelty to them.

Further Mentions: Lieutenant Mulkey and Private Mart Chilters * a buck private named Bedford * Spring Creek * an old frontiersman named Sharp * Captain Tolton

Free Masonry In Texas

By Anson Jones. This is a brief and sad sketch of the first establishment of Freemasonry in Texas. It was founded, as this article declares, "amid the stern concomitants of adversity and war, but its foundations were laid broad and deep; and upon them has been raised a superstructure of strength and beauty, symmetrical in its proportions, and vast in its dimensions, which I trust will rise "usque ad astra," and continue as a beacon to guide and cheer worthy Masons on their journey of life; and against which the wasting storms of time shall beat in vain and the restless waves of persecution dash themselves to destruction in angry foam; while the presiding genius of the institution, from its lofty walls, shall ever continue to exclaim in emphatic tones, to be heard by all- East, West, North and South." [Matt 23:10]

Further Mentions: John A. Wharton, Asa Brigham, James A. E. Phelps, Alexander Russell * Bro. J. P. Caldwell * Gen. John Austin's * the M. W. Grand Master of that body, J. H. Holland * Master Mason, Bro. W. D. Hall * St. Johns Lodge No. 5 * Holland Lodge No. 36


Mentions: the organization of Wilbarger county * Doans, where the old western trail crossed the river into what has since become the State of Oklahoma * Dodge City, Kansas * Mrs. Bertha Doan Ross, daughter of the late C. F. Doan, first man to bring his family to Wilbarger county, and founder of the Doan Crossing store * the old Doan farm

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