History of Texas, together with a biographical history of Milam, Williamson, Bastrop, Travis, Lee and Burleson counties : containing a concise history of the state, with portraits and biographies of prominent citizens of the above named counties, and personal histories of many of the early settlers and leading families

IIISTOR J? OF TEXAS. 201

had ceased, to see what effect had been produced
on the rivulet. To his amazement he
found, in the previously almost dry bed of
the creek, a resistless torrent, filled with
floating hail, rolling nearly bank full, white
like ililk and as silent as a river of oil. IIe
at once saw the danger and rushed back to
the tent, shouting at the same time to the
soldiers and servant to "turn out." He
placed Mrs. Merriam and their child and
nurse in the ambulance, and with the aid of
three men started to run with it to tlhe higher
ground, a distance of not more than sixty
yards. Scarcely a minute had elapsed froni
the time the alarm lhad been given before the
water began to surge over the banks in waves
of such volume and force as to sweep the
party from their feet before they had traversed
thirty yards. The colonel called for assistance
upon some cavalry soldiers who had just
escaped from the United States mail station
near by, but they were too terror-stricken to
take heed.
Colonel Merriam then gave lup the hope of
saving his family in the carriage, and tried
to spring into it, intending to swim out with
them; but the icy torrent instantly swept
him away. Beiig an expert swimmer, lie
succeeded in reaching tLe bank 200 yards
below, and ran back to renew the attempt to
save his dear ones, when he received the
awful tidings that the moment lie was borne
away by the stream the carriage, with all its
precious freight, turned over and went rolling
down the flood, his wife saying as she
disappeared, .6"]My darling husband, goodby!"
The little rill of a few hours before,
which a child might step across, had become
a raging river nearly a mile in width, from
thirty to forty feet deep and covered with
masees of driftwood. The bereaved husband
procured a horse .';re one of thle cavalry and

rode far down the river, but could see nothing
distinctly in the darkness, while nothing
could be heard but the wild roar of the
waters.
Thus passed the long, wretched night.
Before day the momentary flood had passed
by, and the stream had shrunk within its
accustomed limits. The search began. The
drowned soldiers and servant, four in number,
were soon found, and the body of the
wife was taken from the water three-fourths
of a mile below. The body of the child was
not found until three days afterward, four
miles down the stream and a long distance
from the channel. The carriage was drifted
by the current about a mile, and lodged in a
thicket.
The storm had been frightful, beyond description.
The beaver ponds at the head of
the Concho were so filled with hail that the
fish were killed, and were washed out and deposited
on the surface of the surrounding
country in loads. Three days after the storm,
when the searching party left the Concho, the
hail lay in drifts to the depth of six feet.
Heavy indeed was the heart of the husband
and father when lie commenced his mnelancholy
march to thle post of the Concho, fiftythree
miles distant!
PUBLIC LANDS.
Under this head are included all the lands
owned by the State or held in trust for any
of its public institutions.
There are about 5,000,000 acres of unappropriated
public domain belonging to the
State. This may be acquired by the provisions
of the law relating to homestead do.
nations,

HISORY O TX-415

201

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I

Lewis Publishing Company, publisher. History of Texas, together with a biographical history of Milam, Williamson, Bastrop, Travis, Lee and Burleson counties : containing a concise history of the state, with portraits and biographies of prominent citizens of the above named counties, and personal histories of many of the early settlers and leading families. Chicago. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth29785/. Accessed September 20, 2014.