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

L

;

-19--

a
chance to get away, relieved himself of his chains and ran, and after a lively
chase through the cane and timber, finding it impossible to escape his pursuers,
surrendered. We started to Shelbyville and on the way were met by a company
of one hundred and seventy-three men who formed our escort to town.
The prisoners were carried to the town of Shelbyville, and there, on
Saturday at 12 o'clock, M. the citizens met in the Court House for their trial,
in being the ninth day of October, 1841. Previous to this time, at the re-capture
of the two men, they made full confession, and the third did the same, each confessing
in the absence of the others and ignorant of what had been said by them.
Each made the same statement and narrated all the circumstances of the killing
of Jackson and Lower, and these confessions were afterwards repeatedly confirmed
by them. On this testimony the citizens acted, and upon taking the vote
one hundred and seventy-four were found to have voted for their execution and
none against it. The men were then taken out and two of them executed, the
third and youngest was spared upon his promise of reform and the earnest pleading
of Henry Reynolds, a citizen, whose sympathy was strongly excited. With
this for a time ended excitement, but in the spring following, that is to say about
March, 1842, the old troubles were revived by the return of some of the members
of the old gang and their waylaying citizens upon the public roads and in the
woods. Long and persistent efforts to catch me at disadvantage had been made
by Jim Strickland, Henry Strickland, Farrar Metcalf, Jack Crane, John Heath
and three others whose names I never learned, and at last, on the morning of
the 26th of March, 1842 I went into the woods near my house looking for my
horses, and before I had intimation of the presence of any one, or just at the
moment I discovered these men, who had concealed themselves here in the
woods to deprive me of life, I was fired upon by two shots at once; three balls
entered my hip, two struck my hand, and one striking the powder horn at my
side and going through that gave me a flesh wound. Other balls pierced my
clothing in different places. I turned and walking a few steps was again fired
upon by two persons. I cannot tell at what time any of the wounds were received
except the one in the hip, which was given me at the first fire. The assassins
then ran and I went to my house, which was no great distance, without falling
or giving way to weakness; finding my wife gone in search of me I went
to look for her; we soon met and returned home. I then went over to the
residence of Nathan Matthews about a mile. I remained there two or three
days. Immediately after my arrival at Matthews' information of the occurence
was sent over the county, and before night fifty men had assembled armed and
proceeded to look for the perpetrators. Jack Crane was arrested and brought
into my presence by Elijah Roberts, a son of Moses F. Roberts, whose energy
and activity aided materially in the support of law and order.
I will here state that the night before the shooting I had a remarkable
dream by which I was warned of what was about to occur. I saw lovely persons
surrounding and protecting me and singing the hymn "How firm a foundation;"
I joined in the singing. Other hymns were sung, and the last one sung by us

I
I

-

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 December 27, 2014.