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

INDIAN WARS AND PIONEERS OF TEXAS.

59

March, to celebrate the birthday of our nationa
independence.
Devereau J. Woodlief, Thos. Gay, R. Stevenson
W. B. Scates, Asa Hoxey, James R. Cook, W. W
Hill, J. C. Hunt, Thos. P. Shapard, managers.
All these nine now sleep with their fathers. Mr.
Scates, the last to die a few years since, was s
signer of the Declaration of Independence; Woodlief
was terribly wounded at San Jacinto; the gallant
James R. Cook, a lieutenant at San Jacinto and
a colonel under Somervell in 1842-43, was killed
in a momentary difficulty about the first of April,
1843, a deeply lamented occurrence.
For a description of the ball in Houston credit is
due the gifted pen of a lady survivor of the scene,
then little more than a child:"Following
the impulses common to humanity,
as the 21st of April, 1837, drew near, the patriotic
citizens of Texas, with the memory of San Jacinto
still fresh in their minds and appreciating the advantages
resulting from it, resolved that the event
should be celebrated at the capital of the Republic,
which this victory had made possible, and which
had been most appropriately named for him who
wore the laurel. The city of Houston was at that
time a mere name, or at best a camp in the woods.
White tents and temporary structures of clapboards
and pine poles were scattered here and there near
the banks of the bayou, the substantial log house of
the pioneer was rare, or altogether wanting, it being
the intention of the builders soon to replace what
the needs of the hour demanded, with buildings
fitted to adorn the capital of a great Republic.
"The site of the capitol had been selected where
now stands the fine hotel bearing its name, but the
materials for its construction had not yet arrived
from Maine. There was, however, a large twostory
building about half finished on the spot now
occupied by T. W. House's bank. It was the
property of the firm of Kelsey the house comprised
one large room designed to serve as parlor,
bed-room and dining-room, and a small shed-room
at the back. The floor, or rather the lack of the
floor, in the large apartment, was concealed by a
carpet, which gave an air of comfort contrasting
strongly with the surroundings.
" As the time for going to the ball drew near,
which was as soon as convenient after dark, several
persons assembled at Capt. Baker's for the purpose
of going together. These were Gen. Houston,
Frank R. Lubbock, afterwards Governor, and his
wife, John Birdsall (soon after Attorney-General),
and Mary Jane Harris (the surviving widow of
Andrew Briscoe.) Gen. Houston was Mrs. Baker's
escort, Capt. Baker having gone to see that some
lady friends were provided for. When this party
approached the ball room, where dancing bad
already begun, the music, which was rendered by a
violin, bass viol and fife, immediately struck up
' Hail to the Chief,' the dancers withdrew to each
side of the hall, and the whole party, Gen. Houston
and Mrs. Baker leading, and maids bringing up the
rear, marched to the upper end of the room. Having
here laid aside wraps, and exchanged black
slippers for white ones, for there was no dressing
room, they were ready to join in the dance, which
was soon resumed. A new cotillion was formed by
the party who had just entered, with the addition
of another couple, whose names are not preserved,
and Mr. Jacob Cruger took the place of Mr. Birdsall,
who did not dance. Gen. Houston and Mrs.
Baker were partners, Mrs. Lubbock and Mr. Cruger,
and Mr. Lubbock and Miss Harris. Then

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 29, 2015.