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Vol 13 No. 05 - February 1936

Early Day Mail Lines In Texas

By J. Marvin Hunter

There were plenty of trials and thrills for travelers on early day stage lines in Texas. The stage coach drawn by four to six rolicking mules, speeding across the country, sometimes attended by armed guards on horseback to give protection against Indian attacks, and the great distance to be covered by traveling day and night through an unsettled and hostile region, made travel rather hazardous.

The San Antonio and San Diego Overland Mail Line was established in 1857, and continued to carry mail and passengers until the building of the G. H. & S. A. Railroad from San Antonio to El Paso in the 80's. This story details that line and other frontier lines of the day.

Mentions: The San Antonio and San Diego Overland Mail Line was established in 1857 * the G. H. & S. A. Railroad from San Antonio to El Paso * Indianola * California Steam Navigation Company * F. C. Taylor * Leon Springs, Boerne, Fredericksburg, Loyal Valley, Mason, Rock Spring Station, Menardville, Coglin's, McKavett, Kickapoo Springs, Lipan Springs, Concho Mail Station, Fort Concho, Centralia, Camp Melvin, Fort Stockton, Fort Davis, Fort Quitman, Toro, San Elizario, and Ysleta * The Old Coglin Stage Stand, Six Miles Above Menardville * F. K. Wright * Texas & Pacific railroad * Dangerfield * Haight's Store * Concho Mail

Bits Of Historical Information

By J. Marvin Hunter.

Mentions: David G. Burnett, President; Lorenzo- de Zavala, Vice-President; Samuel F. Carson, Secretary of State; B. Hardemann, Secretary of the Treasury; Thos. J. Rusk,. Secretary of War; Robert Potter, Secretary of the Navy; David Thomas, Attorney General * Jack Hay's regiment * Ben McCulloch * Sam Walker * P. Hansford Bell * the battle of Elk Horn * Ad Gillespie * the storming of Monterey; Mike Chevalier and Kit Ackland * Tom Galbreath * Ben Highsmith * Devine in Medina * Dr. William Motley * Terlingua, Brewster county, Texas * Magoosh, the last active chief of the Apaches * First Lieutenant J. C. Hale, 2d regiment; Second Lieutenant George A. Lamb, 2d regiment; First Sergeant Thomas F. Fowl, 2d regiment ; Private Lemuel Blakely, 1st regiment ; Private Cooper, 1st regiment ; Private A. R. Stevens, 1st regiment; Private Trask, 2d regiment. Among the prisoners taken were General Santa Anna, General Cos, Colonel Almonte, Colonel Bringas, Colonel Ocepedes, and Colonel Portilla.

A Desperate Hand-To-Hand Battle

In this story, Colonel F. M. McCaleb tells of a desperate battle between settlers and Indians on the head of the Concho river in 1859. It speaks of when the few early settlers of Uvalde county, who were then living near where the town of Sabinal is today, went about, with hearts of heavy dread and with feelings of high emotion, for the Indians were in their neighborhood, and they had killed John Davenport and John Bowles on that fateful day of October, 1859. Doak Bowles, son of John Bowles whom the Indians had killed that day, his heart burning with revenge, led a party of the settlers and eight or ten soldiers from Fort Inge and followed the trail of the Indians to the head of the Concho, where they surprised them in camp early one morning. The Indians mounted their horses and ran when they saw the men coming. The men made a wild disordered charge, soldiers, settlers and pack mules, went helter-skelter, end then followed one of the longest running Indian fights and one of the most desperate little fights on record. This is the account.

Mentions: Colonel F. M. McCaleb * October 28th, 1859, the few early settlers of Uvalde county, who. were then living near where the town of Sabinal is today, went about, with hearts of heavy dread and with feelings of high emotion, for the Indians were in their neighborhood, and they had killed John Davenport and John Bowles on that fateful day. Doak Bowles, son of John Bowles whom the Indians had killed that day, his heart burning with revenge, led a party of the settlers and eight or ten soldiers from Fort Inge and followed the trail of the Indians to the head of the Concho, where they... * Lieut. Haden * Ben Pulliam * Dan Arnold * John Kenedy * William Thomas * Mr. Arnette * Clabe Davenport * John Bowles * Chicon, 8 miles south of Castroville * Mr. Wheat * Rev. D. V. York, of Altus, Oklahoma * Rutherford College in North Carolina * Rev. R. F. Curl * Rev. Frank Buckelew * Claude CalIan * John B. Callan * Dr. John R. Callan * Menardville *

John L. Goforth; A Plow Pioneer Of Parker

By T. U. Taylor

When the Civil War opened, Parker County was still on the frontier. It ranked as a frontier county not only by the State authorities, but as a matter of fact and reality. The red warrior became very active when he learned that most of the able-bodied men had volunteered to serve in the Confederate army. In the year 1861 Parker county had only 800 voters, but it sent over 1100 men into active service, either as Confederate soldiers or as volunteers for frontier companies to defend women and children against the ruthless Comanches. The women and boys under fourteen were left home to make bread and meat.

The writer's father was on the frontier service while a brother joined the Confederacy and never returned. The Civil War laid a heavy toll on Parker county, but for four years the women and boys kept the home fires burning and enough food to keep the body going and growing.

When the war closed, the Parker county boys came home to break new ground, plant crops in the spring of 1865, and earn the homespun, and homemade shoes. The southeastern part of Parker county was largely prairie and these prairies stretched from the Brazos near Granbury to the cross timbers near Fort Worth, and from the mouth of Nolan river to the Wise county line, with the exception of a ribbon of timber along the few creeks. It was well-watered and well grassed. Naturally, the returning soldier turned his attention to stock, and gathered cows and horses with their young, and began again the life of the range. The soldier knew one thing well: that a cow would have a calf, and that this calf in two years would produce. The range cattle were not fed in winter, and they were left on the prairies and breaks along the creeks. The few that got on the "lift" were treated as sick cattle, and were soon on their feet, and fed back to strength. Our neighbors in all directions, with one exception, turned to cattle or horses. My father started both cattle and horses, but in two years pnuemonia took him away, and now he sleeps in the family plot in Weatherford.

However, John L. Goforth was never bitten by the stock bee, and he turned his attention and all his energy to the plow. This is his story.

Further Mentions: O. M. Roberts * Parker County * the Brazos near Granbury * cross timbers near Fort Worth * Weatherford * Caddo Peak * Red River Station * old Buchanan * Robinson's old mill on the Clear Fork * Bear Creeks * Erin-Go Bragh * Cresson * the H. & T. C. Railroad * Annie Goforth *

Six-Shooters In The Old Southwest

By Hon. Frost Woodhull, County Judge, Bexar County

The writer of this account is an expert on Pistols and Six-Shooters in Southwest Texas in early days of the frontier. The first side-arms used in Southwest Texas weren't side-arms. They were tremendous affairs eighteen inches long with a bore of about an inch, single shot, unrifled, equipped with a ponderous flint lock. They weren't side-arms, because they were too cumbersome to be worn on the body. They were carried on horseback, one on the near side and one on the off side of the horse: Even at that, although their effective range couldn't have been over a hundred feet, they must have created considerable consternation among the Indians against whom they were used. Most of these guns were produced in quantity, but some of them were beautifully hand-made dueling pistols which had been handed down in pairs from father to son, generation to generation. These family heirlooms for the most part were inlaid with silver and gold, were highly engraved, and although getting shot with any gun in any event must be unpleasant, nevertheless it was probably more agreeable to be shot by one of these beautiful affairs than to be slaughtered by a "common" mass production horse-pistol.

One peculiar type of these old single shot muzzle loaded affairs had…

Mentions: Captain Samuel Colt * Captain Jack Hays * John Hays Hammond * the Frontier Model Colt * Civil War Remington * Civil War Colt * Manhattan Arms Company six-shooter, or a Forehand and Wadsworth * 44 calibre Russian Model * Adolph Toepperwein of San Antonio *

A Journey Through Texas In 1856

By Frederick Law Olmsted (Continued from Last Month.)

Mentions: a joint celebration of the Masons, Odd Fellows, and Sons of Temperance * Nacogdoches * The Angelina ferry * Mr. Brown * Crockett * Trinity river * Brazos, Colorado Guadalupe bottoms * Mark Tapley * Centerville-county town of Leon county * the Centerville hotel *

Taking The Law To The Rio Grande

By Clyde Wantland

IT IS A MATTER of record that Juan Nepomucena Cortinas was the genius that or ganized and brought into being and controlled for many years the licensed raiders that scourged the lower stretches of the Rio Grande during and right after the Civil War period.

Cortinas, one of the heirs to the Espiritu Santo grant of land, comprising a quarter million acres on part of which Brownsville is built, began his career of raiding and banditry for the announced purpose of pushing back the Americans to the east bank of the Nueces river.

In his foray against the American settlers, he captured three of their largest cities, including Brownsville; occupied and held two government forts, and rallied around his banner upward of 1,000 desperate characters.

It was then up to Captain Lee H. McNelly who was commissioned for this purpose, to put an end to the arrogant and lawless actions of "Cortina’s Raiders". This is the story.

Mentions: the Espiritu Santo grant of land, comprising a quarter million acres on part of which Brownsville is built * Juan Nepomucena Cortina * Port Isabel * Captain Lee H. McNelly * Pital Hill * the present city of Edinburg * Rancho Retama * Herman Rock, Lina Sandina and Jesus Sandoval * Rancho Los Cuevos * Calistro Gomez * Boyd * One of the rangers, Parrott * Lieut. Henry Guy Carleton * Sergeant Leahy * Colonel Potter * Camargo, up above Rio Grande * Participants in the Los Cuevos battle besides Captain McNelly, were Lieutenants Wright and Robinson; Sergeants, Orrell, Wright, Armstrong and Hall; Corporals Williams and Rudd., Privates, Adams, Allen, Boyd, Callicut, Devine, Durham, Evans, Fleming, Griffen, Gorman, Gourley, Hardy, Haby, Maben, Mackey, McGovern, McNelly, Melvin, Mayers, MeKirney, Charles and W. W. Nichols, Parrott, Queensbury, Rock, Rector, Reichel, Rowe, Saldana, Sandoval, Siebert, Smith, Welsh, and Wofford * Captains King and Kenedy * Gregorio Gonzales, sheriff of Webb county * Carrizo Springs * Carrizo Springs on Pendencia creek * Oakville * Lieut. Lee Hall *

Baileys And Polleys Among Earliest Texans

Edward M. Golson.

James Briton Bailey, the subject of this account, landed in Texas after a varied career on what is today Galveston Island with his wife and small children in 1818. He purchased a wagon and ox team and trekked the long distance between Angleton and West Columbia, where he was granted by the Mexican government, three years prior to the arrival of Austin's colony, a league of land which is still known as Bailey's Prairie.


At one time, Polley owned over 150,000 head of cattle and was next to King, the largest cattle owner in the State. Among the heirs of this claim were Mrs. Jesse Tiner, Mrs. Hubbard Polley, Mrs. S. G. Garrett, Mrs. Wright and Mrs. Edward M. Golson. It is interesting to observe, in the union of the Bailey and Polley families that James B. Bailey was the first captain of the militia organized by Austin's colony while Joseph H. Polley was the first sheriff appointed by Stephen F. Austin.

Mentions: the prairie between what is now Angleton and West Columbia * James Briton Bailey, a grandson of Kenneth Bailey, who was decended from the Baileys of Dunain, Scotland * Ballie's Island * his daughter, Ann Elizabeth, wife of John Irvine * James Briton Bailey, our subject, landed in Texas after a varied career on what is today Galveston Island with his wife and small children in 1818 * Brit Bailey * Mary Bailley * Joseph H. Polley a native of New York State * Moses Austin * Stephen F. Austin's colony * the Conservation Society Exhibits of the Witte Museum * Mrs. Josephine Polley Golsen of San Antonio * Michael Mul doon * Sutherland Springs * Polley owned over 150,000 head of cattle and was next to King, the largest cattle owner in the State * Mrs. Jesse Tiner, Mrs. Hubbard Polley, Mrs. S. G. Garrett, Mrs. Wright and Mrs. Edward M. Golson * Noah Smithwick *

Noah Smithwick Recorded Texas History

By J. Marvin Hunter

Noah Smithwick was born in Marian county, North Carolina, January 1, 1808. He came of good old revolutionary stock, his ancestors on both sides having fought in the patriot army. The Smithwicks came from England to America early in the 18th century, settling in North Carolina and eventually son, Noah made his way to Texas where he became a gunsmith and kept an amazing memior of life in early Texas. This is his story.

Mentions: Nanna Smithwick Donaldson * Edward Smithwick * Martin Varner * Thomas B. Bell * the marriage of Nicolas McNutt to Miss Cartwright * Jesse Thompson *

"I'll Know What You're Talking About"

 Ulmer S. Bird, in San Angelo Standard

 If you've milked a cow in a blizzard with the mercury down and down;

 If you've known a world all smiling today, the next its cynical frown;

 Found your old cow horse with a broken leg, shot him, and drug him out,

 Then talk to me about hardships, and I'll know what you're talking about.

 When your girl has come to the altar,

 believing in you as the very man, And you start together and trust. each

 other, and work and pray and plan, And home is home in want or plenty,

 for faith is its strong redoubt,

 Then talk to me about love, and I'll

 know what you're talking about.

 If you've lived on nothing and hope for a year, then hope got battered and smashed.

 And prospects were all you had again, and prospects couldn't be cashed,

 And you've seen your loved ones in actual need, and an ache that would not come out

 In your heart, then, brother, I know what you're talking about.

 When you've helped five hundred lambs to totter, two hundred bleated and died…

Rangers' Desperate Battle With Indians (From the Brownsville Sentinel, 1875)

During the month of January, 1851, Lieutenant Ed Burleson, later, Major Burleson, was ordered to San Antonio, to deliver to an officer of the United States a Comanche prisoner taken in a fight at Amargosa, May 29, 1850. The native was returned to his people. Burleson was on his return on the 27th, of January when just this side of the Nueces, on the road from San Antonio to Laredo, he saw three Indians on horseback. He took eight men and pursued them directing the balance of his party to keep the road and move on.

After a vigorous pursuit for two or three miles, the Indians halted, and prepared for battle. In addition to three mounted there were eleven red devils on foot. The rangers promptly opened the fight-moving up to within fifty or sixty yards of the Comanche line. By some mistake the men dismounted, and as they improperly thought, by the order of Burleson. The Indians charged them immediately and a terrible hand-to-hand fight ensued. Shots were delivered at the distance of a foot or two. This is the sad tale of that desperate fight.

Mentions: Lieutenant Ed Burleson * Baker Barton, a gallant soldier * William Lackey * Jem Carr * Alf Tom * Jem Wilkenson * Leach * Jack Spencer * Lyons * Sam Duncan * Fort McIntosh * Captain Sidney Burbank

John B. Hood: The Man Of Courage

By Ebb Girvin.

General Hood was born in Owensville, Kentucky, in the year 1831. He graduated at West Point, which in itself means that he came from an honorable family known throughout the State. Probably from a family of notable social and political levels would be necessary to secure such an appointment. Hood maintained a reputation for courage and bravery, and also the finer traits of character throughout his trying career. This account details his grand character as well as his humble and sad experiences later in life.

Mentions: Fort Mason, Texas * Devil's river * General Twiggs * Chickahominy Heights * J. E. Johnston * Peachtree Creek * General Thomas * Mr. and Mrs. G. A. MacNaughton, of Austin *

Old Rockport Road; Laid Out By A Preacher

By Arda Talbot Raht. The old Rockport was one of the early ports on the Texas coast. The old ports of Texas, reached after such weeks of adventuring in tiny ships scarcely fitted to cross the stormy Gulf, were used only as brief resting spots until in the swaying, creaking schooners of the prairie the adventurers pressed on into still greater dangers.

Many of the most gripping of early Texas stories are grouped around these ports. Here the pirates of the Gulf sailed into old Palacios Bay, where the mouth of the Tres Palacios made a snug hiding place. Matagorda, which was so much the center of Texas culture, and which, with its plantations back in the bottoms, and the summer homes of the planters in the town itself gave such a picture of the Old South, has passed its halcyon days. With the changing of industry, one by one the families moved away. Those who remained did so because they depended on the bay for a livelihood or because they could not bear to leave its shining waters. Then, so gradually they scarcely knew it, the bay itself was gone. For with the opening of the mouth of the Colorado River all of the debris swept down by the river formed into marsh land and now one must walk straight out over two miles of rush grown waste to reach the moonswept waters.

Rockport grew so gradually that it is scarcely possible to say just when it could be classed as a township though it was not really laid out until 1868. This was done by the engineer of the Morgan Steamship Company. It is not to be wondered that the Company should select a port and build a warehouse and the famous old Morgan wharf. For the King and Kennedy Company of what is now the King Ranch and the Coleman, Mathis and Fulton Company, owners of the Taft Ranch, guaranteed a $1,000 shipment of freight every ten days. This was all in hides, horns and hoofs. The lattle were all driven in and only the hides, horns and hoofs were used, as the beef was too expensive to ship.

The Boston Canned Beef Company happened to "get wind" of the tremendous amount of beef that was wasted so it wasn't very long before they had erected a large canning plant next to the slaughtering pens. They used…

Mentions: old Palacios Bay * Tres Palacios * Old Indianola * "Dannie" Sullivan * Rockport * the famous old Morgan wharf * the King Ranch and the Coleman, Mathis and Fulton Company * the Taft Ranch * The Boston Canned Beef Company * the King and Kennedy Company * the Morgan Steamship Company * Castroville * Rev. DeVilbiss * Oak Island Church * Rev. J. K. Harwell * M. A. Higgenbotham * J. F. Gayle * B. B. Gayle * Medina * Rockport Road * the first Oak Island church * Uncle Dick Gayle * Rev. R. N. DeVilbiss * Tabitha Menefee of Flatonia * Tom Menefee * R. N. Menefee * Travis Park Methodist Church * the Pegg homestead * Grandpa Pegg * the Somerset Road * Losoya * Popalota * Chillopin Creek * Sinton * Captain Jack Elgin * Jack Hines * the River Jordan

Some names mentioned in this volume:

Ackland; Pvt Adams; Rev Adkins; Pvt Allen; Col Almonte; Sgt Armstrong; Dan Arnold; Austin; Ann Elizbeth Bailey; Brit Bailey; James B. Bailey; James Briton ; Kenneth Briton; Mary Briton; D. W. C. Baker; Baker Barton; P. Hansford Bell; Thomas B. Bell; Bertillion; Ulmer S. Bird; Lemuel Blakely; Doak Bowles; Pvt Boyd; Col Bringas; TOC Brown; Rev Frank Buckelew; Capt Sidney Burbank; Lt Ed Burleson; Maj Burleson; David G. Burnett; Claude Callan; John B. Callan; Dr John R. Callan; Pvt Callicut; Lt Henry Guy Carleton; Jem Carr; Samuel F. Carson; Chevalier; Capt Samuel Colt; D. E. Conwill; L. L. Cook; Juan Nepomucena Cortinas; Cos; Rev R. F. Curl; Davenport; Clabe Davenport; Davis; R. N. DeVilbiss; Mrs R. N. DeVilbiss; Rev DeVilbiss; Pvt Devine; Nanna Smithwick Donaldson; Sam Duncan; Pvt Durham; Duval; Chas Eckhart ; Tex Elam; Capt Jack Elgin; Pvt Evans; Joseph E. Field; Fisher; Pvt Fleming; W. R. Fletcher; Henry Stuart Foote; Thomas F. Fowl; Z. T. Fulmore; Galbreath; H. P. N. Gammel; Garrett; Mrs S. G. Garrett; B. B. Gayle; Dick Gayle; Gov Gayle; J. F. Gayle; Gillespie; Ebb Girvin; Girvin; Annie Goforth; John L. Goforth; Mrs John L. Goforth; ; Edward M. Golson; Mrs Edward M. Golson; Mrs Josephine Polley ; Calistro Gomez; Gregorio Gonzales; Pvt Gorman; Pvt Gourley; Thomas J. Green; Pvt Griffen; Pvt Haby; Lt Haden; J. C. Hale; Lt Lee Hall; Sgt Hall; John Hays Hammond; B. Hardemann; Pvt Hardy; Gertrude Harris; Rev J. K. Harwell; Mrs Ray Hay; Hays; M. A. Higgenbotham; Highsmith; Jack Hines; Mrs Mary Austin Holley; ; John B. Hood; Gen F. Huston; John Irvine; J. E. Johnston; George William Kendall; Capt Kenedy; John Kenedy; King; William Lackey; Gen Lamar; George A. Lamb; Sgt Leahy; Lee; John J. Linn; Lyons; Pvt Maben; Pvt Mackey; G. A. MacNaughton; Mrs G. A. MacNaughton; Chief Magoosh; Pvt Mayers; McCaleb; McCulloch; Pvt McGovern; Pvt McKinney; ; Capt Lee H. McNelly; Pvt McNelly; Nicholas McNutt; Pvt Melvin; R. N. Menefee; Miss Tabitha Menefee; Tom Menefee; H. A. Moos; R. Mosoriak; Dr William Motley; Neil; Rev Chester Newell; Pvt Charles Nichols; Pvt W. W. Nichols; Col Ocepedes; Dannie O'Connel; Gen Oglethorpe; Frederick Law Olmsted; Sgt Orrell; Pvt Parrott; Col Poe; Mrs Hubbard Polley; Joseph H. Polley; Col Portilla; Col Potter; Pulliam; Pvt Queensbury; Arda Talbot Raht; Raht; Deaf Rector; Pvt Rector; Pvt Reichel; Sam C. Reid; Roberts; Lt Robinson; Herman Rock; Pvt Rock; Rose; Pvt Rowe; Rudd; Thos J. Rusk; Pvt Saldana; Lina Sandina; Jesus Sandoval; ; Pvt Sandoval; Santa Anna; Gen Lopez ; Shackelford; Sherman; Pvt Siebert; Edward Smithwick; ; Jack Spencer; W. Preston Stapp; A. R. Stevens; Dannie Sullivan; F. C. Taylor; Fred Thalmann; Jesse Thompson; Eugene Thumim; Mrs Jesse Tiner; Adolph Toepperwein; Alf Tom; Twiggs ; Martin Varner; Ben Wade; Walker; Wallace; Wantland; Ward; Pvt Welsh; Ira Wheat; B. G. Wiemers; J. W. Wilbarger; Jem Wilkenson; Corp Williams; Pvt Wofford; Hon Frost Woodhull; Woodhull; F. K. Wright; Lt Wright; Sgt Wright; Henderson Yoakum; Rev D. V. York; Zavala; Zarate

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