The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 49, July 1945 - April, 1946 Page: 40
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
consideration of $500. Calm weather prevailed for days until
they were out of sight of land, when suddenly they found
themselves in the grip of a gale which lasted two days. There-
after, calm and gale alternated until the entrance to Matagorda
Bay was passed. Buffeted by winds, imperiled by a drunken
crew, and threatened with a shortage of food and water, the
party faced a desperate situation calling for stern meas-
ures. Because he alone escaped seasickness and had a work-
ing knowledge of this type of craft, Pilgrim arose to the
occasion, assumed command, and rationed the food and water
supply. According to his own version, for several days he
gave his fresh water to the children while he was "subsisting
only on pilot bread and raw whisky." Relief was obtained when
the party put in at Aransas, secured fresh water, and obtained
fish from the Carancahua Indians. After twenty-two days of
hardships and privation, the party landed successfully along
Matagorda; even then they were more than twenty miles from
a settlement. The following morning, Pilgrim and four com-
panions - all young men - set out in search of a settlement.
Again hardship and exposure was their lot as they struggled
through swamps and sedge grass drenched with December rains.
Settlers were found about sixty miles from San Felipe, and
among these Pilgrim met Josiah H. Bell en route to his home
in Columbia. From this meeting an invitation to San Felipe
was extended by Bell to Pilgrim, the acceptance of which was
the beginning of an enduring friendship.
Soon after reaching San Felipe, Pilgrim made the acquaintance
of the empresario and was deeply impressed, as evidenced by
his eloquent tribute to the Father of Texas. Austin was not
long in coming to a full appreciation of this young man just
turned twenty-three, for he immediately approved Pilgrim's
plans for organizing and teaching a school. Within a short time
the school was under way with an attendance of approximately
forty, mostly boys. After a decade in this work at San Felipe,
Pilgrim moved to Columbia. There he taught the first school
in Brazoria County. He moved about from one plantation to
another. Being a gifted linguist, he taught Latin, Greek, and
Spanish, in addition to history, rhetoric, compositon, natural
philosophy, and moral philosophy, to say nothing of the ordinary
elementary branches. Later, he became identified with Gonzales
College and remained at that school until his death, October 29,
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 49, July 1945 - April, 1946, periodical, 1946; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth146056/m1/49/: accessed July 25, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.