With these adventures and troubles with the Mexicans and Indians, nothing
more transpired to call us from home until the disturbances in Shelby, Panola
and Harrison counties, which created great excitement at the time and have
become a part of the history of Texas. Authors of Texian history have, in
some instances passed them over almost without notice. By others mention
has been made of them in such manner as to give a wrong color and others
have made statements inconsistent with the facts, and in no instances has a
complete, full and fair statement been made of the whole matter. And as one
of the principal actors in the scenes and as my memory is vivid as to all the
transactions, I have seen proper to recount them, and where any statement of
mine may seem doubtful or be disputed, there are living witnesses of high
character and standing in Texas, to whom I shall refer, if necessary, to sustain
my every assertion.
In 1838, two men, large traders, by the name of Rathburn, from Buffalo,
New York, had been swindled, by some company there, out of a fortune. The
estate had been obtained through the wife of the younger of the two men, and
he came to Texas to secure what remained to his family. He made a confidential
friend of Seth Shelton and placed the property in his hands, consisting in
negroes, money and whatever else he had brought to Texas. He came to Texas
under the name of Brewster, and in company with a young man named McLure
and John McKinney, who were privy to the contract with Shelton. E. M.
Dagget, of Fort Worth and others, came to Texas in the same company.
Brewster bought a large quantity of land, was taken sick and died at Shelton's
Shelton determined to secure this property for himself. McLure and McKinney
were the only persons who could identify the property of Brewster, and to
secure his object the witnesses must be removed, and so both were killed by
The killing of McLure took place as follows: He was clerking in a store
on the Sabine river, the two men went there and raised a difficulty with him,
not getting any advantage of him on that day. Next day they returned to the
store and entered in seeming good humor, laughing and talking; McLure had
his gun in his hand, but thrown off his guard by their conduct, set it down,
when McFadgin sprang to one side, revealing Jim Strickland, who instantly
fired, killing McLure before he could recover his weapon. They then defied the
law and resisted arrest.
About this time a difficulty arose between Jo Goodbread and Charles W.
Jackson. Goodbread had been waylaying Jackson. After this they met in
Shelbyville, when the trouble was renewed and Jackson fired and killed Goodbread.
Jackson surrendered to the authorities, moved his trial to Panola county
and was acquitted. When he went to Panola a crowd also went for the purpose
of assassinating him, but his guard was too great and the effort was a failure
The men who had gone with and protected Jackson, then went to the houses of
Strickland and McFadgin, and not being able te capture the men, as they were
absent, they removed the furniture from the houses and destroyed them by fire.
Middleton, John W. History of the regulators and moderators and the Shelby County war in 1841 and 1842, in the republic of Texas, with facts and incidents in the early history of the republic and state, from 1837 to the annexation, together with incidents of frontier life and Indian troubles, and the war on the reserve in Young County in 1857. Fort Worth, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth2362/. Accessed January 24, 2015.