Texas Almanac, 1945-1946 Page: 54
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54 TEXAS ALMANAC.-1945-1946.
defeat at the Battle of Medina on the
Medina River southwest of San Antomnio,
Aug. 18, 1813, in an extraordinarily
bloody conflict in which most of the
2,000 or 3,000 members of the expedition
were massacred by the royalist forces
under General Arredondo. After the bat-
tle, Arredondo established himself at San
Antonio and directed a slaughter of
Texas adherents of the republican move-
ment, which constitutes one of the tragic
chapters of the sorrowful chronicle of
Two expeditions aimed at making
Texas independent were led into Texas
by Dr. James Long of Natchez, Miss., in
1819 and 1821. In the first, Long cap-
tured Nacogdoches and went to Galves-
ton Island to enlist the aid of the Pirate
La Fitte. While away his followers were
defeated and dispersed. He led his sec-
ond expedition from a new base at Point
Bolivar on Galveston Bay, and captured
Goliad. Later his force was captured in
this town, however. Long was sent cap-
tive to Mexico, was paroled in 1822 and
killed shortly afterward. His followers
were later released.
Though associated with some of the
freebooter element of his day, Dr. Long
was undoubtedly motivated by a sincere
desire to free Texas from Spain. Mrs.
James (Jane Herbert Wilkinson) Long
worked valiantly for her husband's
cause. A marker erected by the Centen-
nial Control Commission at her old home
near Richmond, Texas, proclaims her the
"pioneer of Anglo-American women in
Texas." She is sometimes referred to as
the *Mother of Texas.
A prior but less significant'expedition
was that of Philip Nolan, an adventur-
ous character of the Texas-Louisiana
border, in 1800-01. Nolan had been a
successful trader and had led several ex-
Aeditions over the border to capture wild
orses. He had fallen under Spanish
suspicion in connection with the Burr
conspiracy. In his expedition of 1800-01,
ostensibly to capture wild horses, he was
accompanied by only eighteen or twenty
men, and was defeated in a battle with a
small force of Spanish troops on the
Brazos near the present site of Waco,
losing his life in the conflict. His nine
surviving followers were carried to Mex-
ico and one of them, Ephraim Blackburn,
was hanged in 1807 after a long-delayed
decision which awarded death to one. of
the prisoners by lot. Only one, Peter
Ellis Bean, is known to have regained his
Aury and La Fitte.
At the same time adventurers were
infesting the eastern border of Texas and
trying their fortunes in westward expe-
ditions, the Texas coast, notably Galves-
ton Island, became the harbor of pirates.
Luis Autry, who, like Gutierrez, had been
*The City of New Orleans is sometimes called
the Mother of Texas.
an adherent of Hidalgo, established him-
self at Galveston Island and did a suc-
cessful privateering business in 1816,
eventually sailing away on an expedi-
tion against Spain in Mexico, where he
He was succeeded by Jean La Fitte,
who had operated his ships prior to the
War of 1812 out of headquarters off the
mouth of the Mississippi. La Fitte's en-
terprise at Galveston thrived from 1817
until 1821, privateering against the Span-
ish commerce in the Gulf. In 1821, how-
ever, some of his men attacked vessels
flying the flag of the United States and
his Galveston base was closed by the
United States Navy.
In 1821, three hundred years after the
first visit of white man to the coast of
Texas, the vast wilderness between the
Rio Grndande and the Sabine was broken
by only three outposts of civilization-
San Antonio, Goliad and Nacogdoches.
The promising start that had been made
by the missions had been partly lost dur-
ing the period of stagnation between
1793 and 1821. The population did not
exceed 7,000 white people. There had
been a general backslid ing among the
Christian Indians and the white popula-
tion itself was an unstable element.
The seat of government at San An-
tonio was far removed from Mexico
City, and because of the slow means of
communication, the Governor there was
never sure that the regime under which
he had received his commssion had not
been overthrown. There was an infil-
tration of Anglo-Americans across the
eastern border but these, until the com-
ing of Austin's colony, were largely of
the freebooter type. On the eastern bor-
der lay a "neutral ground" harboring
adventurers and serving as headquarters
for adventurous expeditions into the
province. The wide expanse of Texas
itself was little better than a "no man's
Moses Austin Visits Texas.
At this point the destiny of Texas piv-
ots on the decision of a single man.
Moses Austin of Missouri, native of Con-
necticut who had been interested in lead
mining in Virginia and Missouri, came
upon hard times and decided to cast his
lot with Texas. Austin traveled from his
home in Missouri in 1820 to San Antonio
to seek permission to establish a colony
of Americans in Texas.
At San Antonio, through the interces-
sion of Baron de Bastrop, he was per-
mitted to file a formal application with
the Viceroy of Mexico. He returned to
Missouri overland, dying from hardships
suffered during the trip soon after reach-
ing his home, but his dying request was
that his son, Stephen F. Austin, carry out
his plans for establishing the Texas col-
ony, the father having received word just
before his death that his request of the
Spanish Government had been granted.
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Texas Almanac, 1945-1946, book, 1945; Dallas, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth117166/m1/56/: accessed May 28, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.