The early history of Galveston, by Dr. J. O. Dyer

20 The Early History of Galveston.
cup by being passed through a cork or piece of wood. This kept the wick
from being submerged, and permitting combustion. The lamp was called a
"dip" or drip lamp. Soap was made with lye obtained by soaking wood
ashes.
To return to the fire-making. You that have dry materials and matches,
cnd in impatience resort to the use of kerosene, imagine again the patience
and skill required to kindle a fire with the primitive spark and damp or
et wood. At the expiration possibly of an hour the fire was hot enough
to boil water. As the cooking of the early colonists was often done on the
outside, the kettle was provided with a metal rest, or frame. Now for the
water: the few who had ship casks caught a supply with old sails. The
majority drank water obtained from shallow holes on the bay shore. This
water was very brackish and had to be boiled. The fresh water ponds of
the settlement had become salty, the 1835 storm causing an overflow. The
sick child obtained a gruel made of coarse flour and water. Fresh milk
wvas out of question; the few cattle brought by fleeing colonists were
slaughtered for food. Condensed milk was not in the thought of Gail Borden,
who was with the army seventy-five or 100 miles away from the island,
where he later perfected his process. Food was fairly plentiful. The captured
Mexican vessels Montezuma and Pacheo (Pocket) contained supplies
of beans, corned beef, ship's biscuits and rum. Beef, game, fish and oysters
were plentiful, and the fleeing refugees had gathered a few hasty
stores. However, there were no luxuries or medicines, until after the battle
rc. San Jacinto. Calico was selling for 75 cents per yard, and many of the
women and children wore skirts of dressed deer skin, obtained from the
friendly Coshutta and Toncawa tribes. Added to the discomfort caused by
daily rain, the mosquitoes became very troublesome. The proximity ol
bayous and marshes formed breeding places for millions. Large fires had
to be kept up, to each of which, was added a little ship's tar to increase
the smoke. The Flash, a small armed cruiser or schooner commanded by
Luke Falvel, had brought a number of refugees from Velasco about the
middle of April. She also brought two small brass cannons called the
"Twin Sisters." These cannons were made in Cincinnati, Ohio, by friends
of the Texas patriots and shipped to New Orleans, from thence to Velasco.
At Velasco a certain Col. A. Houston placed them on the Flash, fearing
they would be captured by the advancing Mexicans. Captain Falvel, at
Galveston, did not know what to do with the cannons. There was no officer
in Galveston then, and no military camp as yet. The Ohio, a small sloop
belonging to the Harris Bros., of Harrisburg, was in the bay, and on her
return the cannons went to Harrisburg, where it was known the government
had been last. Lieut. Aaron Burns commanded the Ohio. (Both
Falvel and Burns lived in Galveston and were buried there.) Certain historians
describe that these guns went from Velasco overland to the army.
Another story says Burnet ordered the guns to be sent from Galveston to
Harrisburg.
Possibly the victory of San Jacinto was won by Captain Falvel's action,
for there was no government officer here on their arrival, and those here
knew nothing of the whereabouts of either the army or the government.
The Flash was owned by private parties in New Orleans and did not

Dyer, Joseph O. The early history of Galveston, by Dr. J. O. Dyer. Galveston, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth24651/. Accessed October 30, 2014.