The Quarterly of the Texas State Historical Association, Volume 8, July 1904 - April, 1905 Page: 103
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De Witt's Colony.
his Mexican colonists, sixty miles to the southwest, were their
nearest neighbors, and Bdjar, the nearest settlement to the west,
was seventy-eight miles distant."
The little frontier settlement, thus isolated, was destined to be
shortlived. Early in July, 1826, during the absence of several of
the colonists, who had gone to a Fourth of July celebration on the
Colorado, the place was attacked by a party of Indians.2 One
man was killed and scalped, and his home was plundered. The
survivors fled panic-stricken to the Colorado. It was not until the
latter portion of the year that any attempt was made again to oc-
cupy this section of the country. The following article concerning
this disastrous event is the only detailed account of it I have found.
It was published by the historian, Brown, in 1852, when some par-
ticipants were still alive:
Major Kerr had gone on business to the Brazos; Deaf Smith
and Geron Hinds were absent on a buffalo hunt; and it was agreed
that Bazil Durbin, John and Betsey Oliver and a very sprightly
negro boy (a servant of Major Kerr) named Jack, should go on
horseback to the Colorado celebration.
They started on Sunday, July 2d, and encamped for the night
on Thorn's Branch, fourteen miles east, having no apprehension
of danger at that time. The little party, however, were doomed to
disappointment, and about midnight, while sleeping soundly on
their blankets, were suddenly aroused by the firing of guns and the
yells of Indians.3 Durbin was shot in the shoulder by a musket
ball and badly wounded, but escaped with his companions into a
thicket near by, the horses and other effects being left in the pos-
session of the enemy. From loss of blood and intense pain, Durbin
repeatedly swooned, but was restored by the efforts of his compan-
ions and enabled to walk by noon on the following day, back to
Major Kerr's cabins, where the party was astounded to find John
Wightman lying dead and scalped in the passageway between the
rooms, and the house robbed of everything, including important
papers and three compasses, and that an unsuccessful attempt had
been made to burn it. They hurried down to Berry's cabin, and
found it closed and on the door written with charcoal-"Gone to
Burnham's, on the Colorado."
When Durbin and his companions left on the previous day,
Strickland, Musick and Major Kerr's negroes (Shade, Anise and
'Brown, History of Texas, I 126.
2 Kerr thought they were Wacos (Kerr to Austin, July 18, 1826. Austin
Papers, class P, no. 1). Others supposed them to be Comanches (Ken-
ney, History of Indian Tribes of Texas, in A Comprehensive History of
Texas, I 763).
SThese were probably the Tonkawas (Kerr to Austin, July 18, 1826.
Austin Papers, class P, no. 1).
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Texas State Historical Association. The Quarterly of the Texas State Historical Association, Volume 8, July 1904 - April, 1905, periodical, 1905; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101033/m1/105/: accessed March 29, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.