Indian wars and pioneers of Texas / by John Henry Brown.

INDIAN WARS AND PIONEERS OF TEXAS.

17

An Adventure in 1826.

In the year 1826 a party of fourteen men of the
Red river settlements, of which Eli Hopkins was
quasi-leader, made a trip to the west, hunting and
trading with Indians. Besides Hopkins I have
been able to gather the names of Henry Stout,
Jamas Clark, Charles Birkham, Charles Humphreys,
-
Ford,
Tyler, and W allace eight
of the fourteen -though the only published
allusion to the matter I have ever seen (in the
Clarksville Times about 1874), only names Messrs.
Hopkins and Clark and states the whole number
at twenty men -nor does it give the year of the
occurrence. I obtained the date, the number of
men and the additional six names from Henry Stout,
some years later.
It seems that on their return trip homewards, these
fourteen men were surrounded and beset by a large
party of Indians, some of whom had been trading
in their camp before. Instead of opening fire, the
Indians demanded the surrender of Humphreys to
them, describing him by the absence of a front
tooth (a loss they had discovered in their previous
visit and now pretended to have known before),
alleging that on some former occasion Humphreys

had depredated upon them. This was known to
be false and a ruse to gain some advantage. So,
when the chief and a few others (who had retired
to let the party consult), returned for an answer,
they were told that Humphreys was a good man,
had done them no wrong and they would die rather
than surrender him. Wallace was the interpreter
and had been up to that time suspected of cowardice
by some of the party. But in this crisis they
quickly discovered their error, for Wallace, with
cool and quiet determination, became the hero,
telling them that he would die right there rather
than give up an innocent man to such murderous
wretches. His spirit was infectious. Every man
leveled his gun at some one of the Indians, Hopkins
holding a deadly aim on the chief, till they all
agreed to leave the ground and not again molest
them.
They at once retired, evidently unwilling to
hazard an attack on such men. Intrepid coolness
saved them while timidity would have brought their
destruction. As it was they reached home in
safety.

The Early Days of Harris County
1824 to 1838.

The first political subdivision of the large district
of which the present large county of Harris,
containing a little over eighteen hundred square
miles, formed but a part, was erected into the
municipality of Harrisburg not long before the revolution
began, in 1835. It is, at this day, interesting
to note the first settlement of that now old,
historic and wealthy district, embracing the noble
city of Houston, in which the whole State feels
justifiable pride. For a short while also the island
of Galveston formed a part of Harrisburg
"county" -so called under the Republic, after
independence in March, 1836.
The first Americans to cultivate the earth in that
region were Mr. Knight and Walter C. White, who,
at the time of Long's expedition in 1820, burnt off
a canebrake and raised a crop of corn on the San
Jacinto, near its mouth; but they did not remain
2

there, becoming subsequently well-known citizens of
Brazoria. For an account of the first actual settlers
of the district during the first ten or twelve
years, I am indebted to the fine memory and facile
pen of Mrs. Mary J. Briscoe, of Houston, whose
evidence dates from childhood days, her father,
John R. Harris, the founder of Harrisburg, having
settled there in 1824, and laid out the town in 1826.
He built the first steam saw mill in Texas, for which
he received as a bounty two leagues of land. He
became also a merchant, established a tanneiy and
owned the schooner " Rights of Man," which plied
between Harrisburg and New Orleans. In 1828 his
brother David came; in 1830 William P. Harris
came, accompanied by " Honest " Bob Wilson, and
in 1832 came Samuel M. Harris, a fourth brother,
all of whom came from Cayuga County, New York,
and were valuable men. Mary J., daughter of the

Brown, John Henry. Indian wars and pioneers of Texas / by John Henry Brown.. Austin, Tex.. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth6725/. Accessed July 31, 2014.