The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 103, July 1999 - April, 2000 Page: 482
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
Massachusetts, on April 18, 18o0). They were married in Gloucester,
Massachusetts, on March 7, 1825, and moved to the site (near Ann
Arbor) of Dixboro, Washtenaw County, Michigan Territory.6 Mary's
cousin, Frances Trask, at twenty years of age, joined the Dixes during
the founding period of the frontier village.
During her years in Dixboro, Frances Trask no doubt earned her
keep by a variety of means within and without Dix's household, his grist
mill, and a storehouse. Known locally as "Lady Trass," she was consid-
ered to be a fine horsewoman and good shot. One of her favorite pas-
times was watching deer licks on summer evenings for a chance to add
to the Dix larder.
A lack of expected prosperity in Dixboro combined with the lure of
vast amounts of advertised, low-priced property in Texas, prompted
John Dix to sell his remaining acreage in Michigan to James P. Clements
on October 18, 1833. He took his wife, Mary, and their four children to
Texas.8 One of the travelers with the Dix party to the wilds of Stephen
Fuller Austin's colony was Frances Judith Somes Trask.9
Alcalde John P. Coles had arrived in Texas with his wife, Mary
Eleanor, in the spring of 1822. They were among Austin's "Old Three
Hundred" original settlers, immigrating during a period when Mexico
wished to populate its northern frontier. Coles founded a community,
which soon included a public house and grist mill, on Yegua Creek in
1824, having gained title to 8.5 leagues (37,638 acres) of land.10
Eventually, the Mexican government grew concerned and suspicious
about the steady influx of Anglo Americans, as well as of the United
States' interest in developing the relatively untapped resources of Texas.
A law forbidding further immigration from the north was enacted on
April 6, 1830. Illegal passage of United States citizens continued with
minor opposition from Mexican officials. Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna
became the president of Mexico in January 1833. Fortunately for a few
thousand additional settlers, the restriction on Anglo immigration into
Texas was rescinded by Mexico's senate in May 1834.11 It was during this
time that the Dix party arrived in Matagorda Bay at the mouth of the
Colorado River, after having traveled down the Mississippi River and
bIbid., lo7o, 1071.
7 Ibid., 10o71.
8 Ibid., 1071.
0 Arthur August Grusendorf, "A Century of Education in Washington County, Texas" a revi-
sion of Grusendorf, "The Social and Philosophical Determinants of Education in Washington
County, Texas Since 1835" (Ph.D. diss., University of Texas at Austin, 1938), 4.
10 Noel Grisham and L. W. Kemp, 'John P. Coles," in Ron Tyler, Douglas E. Barnett, Roy R.
Barkley, Penelope C. Anderson, and Mark F. Odintz (eds.), The New Handbook of Texas (6 vols.;
Austin. Texas State Historical Association, 1996), II, 204.
11 Robert Calvert and Arnoldo De Leon, The Hstory of Texas (Arlington Heights, Ill.: Harlan
Davidson, Inc.), 1990, 57.
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 103, July 1999 - April, 2000, periodical, 2000; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101220/m1/538/: accessed October 20, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.