INDIAN WARS AND PIONEERS OF TEXAS.
The Attempted Settlement of Beales' Rio Grande Colony in
Its Failure and the Sad Fate of Some of the Colonists-Twelve
Murdered-Mrs. Horn and Two
Sons and Mrs. Harris Carried into
Captivity-1834 to 1836.
Before narratingl the painful scenes attending
the attempt to form a colony of Europeans and
Americans on the Rio Grande, about thirty miles
above the present town of Eagle Pass, begun in
New York in November, 1833, and terminating in
bitter failure and the slaughter of a portion of the
colonists on the 2d of April, 1836, a few precedent
facts are condensed, for the more intelligent and
comprehensive understanding of the subject.
Dr. John Charles Beales, born in Aldborough,
Suffolk County, England, March 20, 1804, went to
Mexico, and, in 1830, married thewidow of Richard
Exter, an English merchant in that country. She
was a Mexican lady, her maiden name having been
Maria Dolores Soto. Prior to his death Mr. Exter
had become associated in certain empresario contracts
for introducing colonists into northern or
rather New Mexico with Stephen Julian Wilson, an
English naturalized citizen of Mexico.
In 1832 Dr. Beales and Jose Manuel Roquella
obtained from the State of Coahuila and Texas the
light to settle colonists in the following described
at the intersection of latitude 32
north with longitude 102 west from London, the
same being the southwest corner of a tract petitioned
for by Col. Reuben Ross; thence west on
the parallel of latitude 32 to the eastern limit of
New Mexico; thence north on the line dividing
New Mexico and the provinces (the State) of Coahuila
and Texas, to a point twenty leagues (521
miles) south of the Arkansas river; thence east to
longitude 102 , on the west boundary (really the
northwest corner) of the tract petitioned for by
Col. Reuben Ross;
thence south to the place of
beginning. Beales and Roquella employed Mr. A.
Le Grand, an American, to survey and mark the
boundaries of this territory and divide it into twelve 1
or more blocks. Le Grand, with an escort and ]
proper outfit, arrived on the ground from Santa Fe, (
and established the initial point, after a series of
observations, on the 27th'of June, 1833. From v
that date till the 30th of October, he was actively tl
engaged in the work, running lines north, south, M
east and west over most of the large territory. In
the night, eight inches of snow fell, and on the
30th, after several days' examination of its topography,
he was at the base of the mountain called
by the Mexicans " La Sierra Oscura." Here, for
the time being, he abandoned the work and proceeded
to Santa Fe to report to his employers.
Extracts from that report form the base for these
statements. Neither Beales and Roquella nor Col.
Reuben Ross ever proceeded farther in these enterprises;
but it is worthy of note that Le Grand preceded
Capt. R. B. Marcy, U. S. A., twenty-six
years in the exploration and survey of the upper
waters of the Colorado, Brazos, Red, Canadian and
Washita rivers, a field in which Capt. Marcy has
worn the honors of first explorer from the dates of
his two expeditions, respectively, in 1849 and 1853.
Le Grand's notes are quite full, noting the crossing
of every stream in all his 1800 to 2000 miles
in his subdivision of that large territory into districts
or blocks numbered 1 to 12.
Le Grand, in his diary, states that on the 14th
of August: " We fell in with a party of Riana Indians,
who informed us they were on their way to
Santa Fe, for the purpose of treating with the
government. We sent by them a copy of our journal
to this date."
On the 20th of August they visited a large encampment
of Comanche Indians, who were friendly
and traded with them.
On the night of September 10tll, in the country
between the Arkansas and Canadian, five of the
party -Kimble, Bois, Caseboth, Boring and
Ryon-deserted, taking with them all but four
of Le Grand's horses.
On the 21st of September, near the northeast
corner of the tract they saw, to the west, a large
body of Indians. This was probably in " No Man's
Land," now near the northeast corner of Sherman
On the night of September 27th, twenty miles
vest of the northeast corner, and therefore near
he northwest corner of Sherman County, they
rere attacked by a body of Snake Indians. 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 May 30, 2016.