The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 38, July 1934 - April, 1935

The Texas Frontier, 1848-1861

THE TEXAS FRONTIER, 1848-1861
A. B. BENDER
II
GOVERnNMNT EXPLORATIONS IN TEXAS, 1851-18601
During the period, 1851-1860, the federal government continued
to open the Far West to trade and settlement, a policy which it had
inaugurated at the close of the Mexican War. In carrying out
this program, government officers and engineers established military
posts, negotiated with the Indian tribes, opened military and com-
mercial routes, surveyed the principal western rivers, sank artesian
wells, and explored the greater part of the trans-Mississippi coun-
try. In this paper, as in the preceding article, the writer has
attempted to present a chronological treatment of government ex-
plorations across West Texas in the decade preceding the Civil
War. These official activities played no small rl81e in the develop-
ment of the western part of the state.
The treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, 1848, in which the federal
government pledged itself to protect the Mexican frontier from
Indians2 on the border, also extended federal control over the
Texas Indians. In dealing with the Indian problem in Texas, as
in other portions of the Far West, the federal government had a
dual r81e to perform. On the one hand it had to guard white men
against Indian outrages; on the other, it had to protect the peaceful
tribes against other Indians and unscrupulous whites. In carry-
ing out this Indian policy, government officers and Indian agents
visited the peaceful tribes and penetrated the haunts of the hostile
warriors.
Desirous to determine the true condition of the peaceful tribes
of the state, Colonel Samuel Cooper, Assistant Adjutant General,
made a visit to the Indian villages near the Clear Fork of the
1This article is the second of a series dealing with the "Texas Frontier,
1848-1861." For an account of government explorations during 1848-1850,
see "Opening Routes Across West Texas, 1848-1850," in Southwestern His-
torical Quarterly, October, 1933. These articles are based on a doctoral
dissertation prepared under the direction of Professor T. M. Marshall,
Washington University, St. Louis.
'United States, Statutes at Large, 1789-1863 (Boston, 1852-1867), IX,
930-931.

135

Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 38, July 1934 - April, 1935. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth117143/. Accessed January 25, 2015.