The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 60, July 1956 - April, 1957 Page: 359
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Major Whitfield Chalk, Hero of the Republic of Texas 359
sengers and crew except Chalk and the captain of the craft suc-
cumbed to cholera.2
Chalk's immediate objective was Nashville, a lively village on
the Brazos which served as the county seat of Milam County from
1837 to 1845.3 This county comprised a territorial empire from
which over two dozen counties were gradually carved. The ma-
jority of the residents of the booming hamlet, like Chalk, had
come from Tennessee, and included the empresario, Sterling C.
Robertson, George C. Childress, the Reverend Z. N. Morrell, Ben
and Henry McCulloch, and other distinguished men who were
to play important roles in converting the Texas wilderness into
a thriving commonwealth.
At San Felipe de Austin on his way up the Brazos, Chalk met
some old friends from Tennessee who brought a horse to convey
him the remaining distance into the interior. His companions
had a supply of corn meal, coffee, and honey obtained from bee
trees, and, as was the Texas custom, they depended on wild game
for meat. Camping at night near the buffalo-Indian trails, with
his saddle blanket for his bed, his saddle for a pillow, and his
rifle by his side, was a novel experience for Chalk.
The wild cattle, Mustang horses, buffalo, deer, and antelope
grazing on the lush native oats and rye, which grew waist-high in
the Nile-rich virgin soil, enthralled Chalk. A few plantations and
an occasional small farm further attested the fertility of the land.
There were droves of Mexican hogs, flocks of wild turkeys, prairie
chickens, quail, and other birds in profusion, and between the Big
Brazos and the Little Brazos bear roamed the thickets. Often a
coyote or a lobo wolf loped out of the way of the travelers; now
and then a panther bounded across their path; or near by a rattle-
snake clattered. Thus did the tenderfoot matriculate in the school
of frontier life, a course in which he was to become a post-grad-
uate. Fortunately, Chalk and his friends failed to encounter that
far-more-dreaded predatory animal on this first journey-the
renegade two-legged species. Soon enough would the newcomer
have his share of that diversion.
In accord with his original burning purpose, Chalk lost no
2"A Survivor of the Mier Expedition," Frontier Times (November, 1923), I, No.
2, p. 23.
3Nashville declined and faded into a ghost town during the Civil War.
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 60, July 1956 - April, 1957, periodical, 1957; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101163/m1/388/: accessed August 18, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.