The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 49, July 1945 - April, 1946 Page: 71
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The House of Barr and Davenport
was allowed to engage in the Louisiana-Texas trade, however,
because of the necessity of supplying Spanish troops in East
Texas and securing presents to distribute to the Indians in
order to maintain their partiality to Spain. The commandant
at Nacogdoches insisted that cutting off the Louisiana trade
entirely would be a serious detriment to the inhabitants of
Nacogdoches, to the friendly Indian tribes, and to all the province
because, lacking trade facilities with which to maintain them-
selves and to supply the Indian tribes, they would suffer for
want of necessities.12 The need for a close base of supplies was
further emphasized by the commandant of Nacogdoches. He
declared that the government had exhausted the means of main-
taining the troops on the East Texas frontier, and that it could
not continue to send supplies regularly ". . . because of the
great distance and poor condition of roads and swollen rivers
that delay the passage of the mule trains."3
The Indians living in the Neutral Ground and near its borders
were a barrier to American westward expansion. The Spaniards,
therefore, worked intensely to maintain their allegiance, while
the Americans exerted great effort to win their friendship.
The Spaniards had used the Indian tribes as a buffer many
decades before the Americans advanced across the Mississippi
and left no stone unturned in their anxiety to bolster the
Indian barrier. They encouraged Indians under American juris-
diction to immigrate to Spanish territory.14 They actively op-
posed attempts of American traders to establish commercial
relations with the Indians. They were lavish in their presents
to the Indians and maintained a warehouse in San Antonio for
the accumulation of large quantities of presents for distribution
among the Indians. These presents were usually obtained from
Mexico City, but the stock was supplemented from New Orleans
through the agency of licensed traders, the most prominent of
which were William Barr and Peter Samuel Davenport. These
presents usually consisted of muskets, gunpowder, knives,
scissors, axes, hoes, combs, glass beads, war paint, mirrors,
12Sebastian Rodriguez, December 5, 1805, MS., Bexar Archives.
13Commandant of Nacogdoches to the governor of Texas, March 6, 1807,
MS., Bexar Archives.
14The commandant general permitted Chief Cons Conche Blonhim to
move his tribe of Pascagulas across the Neutral Ground and settle along
the Sabine River. - Nemesio Salcedo to Antonio Cordero, August 16, 1806,
MS., Bexar Archives.
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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/m1/82/: accessed September 21, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.