The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 82, July 1978 - April, 1979 Page: 172
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
Brevet Major James ILongstreet, then stationed at Fort Chadbourne,
was put in charge of the captured horses and supplies; he had them
taken to Fort Martin Scott and, as was the custom, assumed command
of the fort from Lieutenant Theodore Fink while he was there. There
is, then, little doubt about the event that Petri recorded at Fort Martin
Scott. It commemorates the occasion when government agents, their
Indian employees, and the army mollified indignant Lipan Apaches and
returned to them their property.27
Petri's paintings and sketches of Indians also give strong pictorial
support to the special and friendly relationship that existed between
the German settlers and the local Indians. Never did Petri portray In-
dians as a fiendish, murderous lot, chronically looking for horses to steal,
captives to take, and scalps to lift. Instead, Petri portrays Indian youths
casually spraddled on their ponies in front of his cabin, a small Indian
girl eating a melon, and other serene and tranquil scenes. They invite
reexamination of the nature and reasons why the Germans and Indians
got along so well.
People who leave a record of their time and place-the people they
saw and knew, the events they witnessed or endured-ordinary do so
via the written word. Richard Petri was an exception; if he wrote so
much as a single letter it has failed to survive; he even neglected to sign
most of his paintings. Yet he managed to leave a superb account of life
on a hill country Texas farm in the 1850os. He must have been fasci-
nated with that world, for he sketched everything, from homely scenes
of routine activities to the strange, painted visitors who rode out of the
Pedernales bottom. It would have taken him a volume or more to
describe what he portrayed with relatively few drawings and paintings.
Such records are to be sought out and cherished, as much by the his-
torian and ethnohistorian as by the artist.
27Capron to Lea, Feb. 18, 1853; John Conner to Howard, Feb. 24, 1853; Thomas H. O.
Addicks to Howard, Feb. 24, 1853; Howard to Lea, n.d., received Feb. 23, 1853, Office of
Indian Affairs, Letters Received; Post Returns, Fort Martin Scott, Feb., 1853 (RG 234, NA).
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 82, July 1978 - April, 1979, periodical, 1978/1979; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101206/m1/208/: accessed April 30, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.