The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 32, July 1928 - April, 1929 Page: 8
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
The controversies between DeWitt and De Leon had not been
limited to a dispute over territory. The two colonies had exhibited
their dislike for one another over such questions as the ownership
of a mule, 3 contraband trade, and guns.'4 In October, 1826, a
boat had anchored at the mouth of the Lavaca River. The cargo
on board was the property of a man by the name of Powell from
Missouri. With Powell was a Dr. Oldivar of French origin, who
claimed to be a Mexican officer, and who had promised Powell to
help him sell his cargo of goods. Powell, who had applied for ad-
mission to DeWitt's colony and been received, no sooner began to
unload the goods than a large amount of tobacco, the only article
on which the colonists were not exempt from a tax, was discovered.
Dr. Oldivar, it was thought, quickly reported the contraband article
to the Mexican empresario, De Leon. The cargo was seized but
returned to Powell; and later seized again by De Leon as a result
of instructions to him from the jefe politico. A rumor that the
cargo was to be seized and the DeWitt colony annihilated caused
great alarm in the colony. In spite of the attempts of Kerr,
DeWitt's manager during his absence, to pacify the colonists, they
were armed and awaiting the arrival of De Leon and the soldiers.
De Leon seized the cargo and also the colonists' guns. They were
promised that the guns would be returned, but several years later
the promise had not been completely fulfilled. That the whole
affair quieted down was due, perhaps, to the work of Austin.'l
The irascible De Leon also had difficulties with his neighbors to
the south, Power and Hewetson. That De Leon should become in-
volved with his neighbors in boundary disputes was almost in-
evitable. Since he and his colonists were Mexicans and held a
favored position before the law and since their boundaries were
undefined, it was only natural that they should be found attempting
gradually to push out and widen the area they claimed. They
resented being encircled by Anglo-American colonies. They pre-
ferred that the surrounding territory remain open for themselves
"Austin Papers (Eugene C. Barker, ed.), American Historical Associa-
tion, Annual Report, 1919, II, 1276.
14Rather, "DeWitt's Colony," in Texas State Historical Association
Quarterly, VIII, 111-112.
"DeWitt believed the crafty De Leon had bribed Dr. Oldivar to involve
him in difficulties with the government and thereby cause him to lose his
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 32, July 1928 - April, 1929, periodical, 1929; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101089/m1/12/: accessed August 23, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.