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

INDIAN WARS AND PIONEERS OF TEXAS.

61

Death of Capt. Robert M. Coleman in 1837
Murder of " Mrs.
Coleman and her Heroic Boy" and the Battle
of Brushy in 1839.

Robert M. Coleman, a native of Trigg County,
Kentucky, born in 1799, is elsewhere mentioned in
connection with the expedition under himself first,
and Col. John H. Moore, secondly, into the
Tehuacano Hill region, in 1835. He was a gallant
man, courageous and impetuous, and settled on the
Colorado, near Bastrop, in 1830. He was in the
siege of Bexar, in the fall of 1835, signed the
Declaration of Independence on the second of
March, 1836, and commanded a company at San
Jacinto, on the 21st of April, his wife and children
being then among the refugees east of the Trinity.
In the summer of 1837, while on a mission to
Velasco, at the mouth of the Brazos, he was
drowned while bathing in the river. This was
justly deplored as a great loss to the frontier of the
country. He left, besides his wife, three sons and
two daughters.
Mrs. Coleman returned to their former home in
what was called Wells' prairie, a prolongation of
the lower end of Webber's prairie, perhaps twelve
miles above Bastrop, her nearest neighbors being
the late Geo. W. Davis and Dr. J. W. Robertson,
of Austin, and one or two others. Her cabin and
little field stood in the lower point of a small
prairie, closely flanked on the east, west and south
by dense bottom timber, the only approach being
through the prairie on the north, and it was very
narrow. She and her sons made a small crop there
in 1838.
On the 18th of February, 1839, while Mrs.
Coleman and four of her children were employed
a short distance from the cabin, a large body of
Indians, estimated at from two to three hundred,
suddenly emerged from the timber, and with the
wildest yells, rushed towards them. They fled to
the cabin and all reached it except Thomas, a
child of five years, who was captured, never more
to return to his kindred though occasionally heard
of many years later as a Comanche warrior. At
the moment of the attack James Coleman and

Rogers were farther away, separated from the
others by the Indians, and being powerless, escaped
down the bottom to notify the people
below.
As Mrs. Coleman reached the door of the cabin,
Albert and the two little girls entered, when, mising

little Thomas, she halted to look for him. It was
but for an instant, but long enough for an arrow
to pierce her throat. In the throes of death she
sprang inside. Albert closed and barred the door,
and she sank to the floor, speedily to expire.
Albert was a boy under fifteen years of age, but
a worthy son of his brave sire. There being two
or three guns in the cabin, he made a heroic fight,
holding the enemy at bay for some time, certainly
killing four of their number; in the meantime
raising a puncheon, causing his two little sisters
to get under the floor, replacing the puncheon,
and enjoining upon them, whether he survived or
perished, to make no noise until sure that white
men called them. Soon after this he received a
fatal wound. As life ebbed he sank down, repeated
his former injunction to his little sisters,
then, pillowing his head on his mother's pulseless
bosom, died. A year later, in the Congress of
Texas, my youthful heart was electrified on hearing
the old patriot, William Menefee, of Colorado,
in a speech on the "Cherokee Land Bill," utter
an eloquent apostrophe to " Mrs. Coleman and
her heroic boy."
For some reason, doubtless under the impression
that there were other men in the house, the Indians
withdrew. They next appeared at the house of
Dr. Robertson, captured seven negroes and, the
doctor being absent, robbed the house.
At twilight John D. Anderson, a youth who lived
within a few miles (afterwards distinguished as a
lawyer and an orator), rode to the cabin and called
the children by name. They recognized his voice
and answered. He then raised a puncheon and
released them. Remounting, with one before and
one behind him, he conveyed them to Geo. W.
Davis' house, where the families of the vicinity had
assembled for safety-possibly at a different
house, but Mr. Davis remained in charge of the
guard left to protect the women and children.
Speedily two squads of men assembled at the
locality
twenty-five under Capt. Joseph Burleson
and twenty-seven commanded by Capt. James
Rogers. Thus, fifty-two in number, they pursued
the savages in a northerly direction. On the next
forenoon, near a place since called Post Oak Island
and three or four miles north of Bruhy creek, they

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 December 24, 2014.