Nesbitt Memorial Library Journal, Volume 2, Number 2, May, 1992 Page: 78
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Nesbitt Memorial Library Journal
July 1944 issue of the Southwestern Historical Quarterly. Almonte's unit arrived on the
Colorado on March 24. On March 26, they marched "three leagues" downriver and
camped about "one and a half leagues" from the Atascosito Crossing.33 While they were
marching south, Houston left the Colorado. Almonte noted in his journal that evening,
"the enemy burnt some houses up the river,"34 a direction which would fit the location
Still another witness, John Sharpe, quoted in Henry Stuart Foote's Texas
and the Texans, gives a much fuller description of Beeson's, and tells of its destruction
Beason had a large quantity of corn in his crib, and, attached to his gin was a mill, which
might have been of service to the enemy, in grinding corn for the army; the house, also,
was large, and would have accommodated a large body of the enemy, and have served
to protect them, in case we had made an attack upon them. We, therefore, concluded to
burn every thing standing, and retreat across the river; which we did before the enemy
had come in sight.35
A third writer, Robert Hancock Hunter, who was with Houston's army on the Colorado,
gives more direct evidence that Beeson's was burned. As families and soldiers were
scrambling to cross the river at Beeson's, he and nine of his fellow troopers raided
Beeson's smokehouse. Though they succeeded in taking some bacon, they were chased
across the river by Mexican soldiers. The following day another group of Texans crossed
the river intent on securing some bacon for themselves, but found that "the house was
burnt down, the house was smoking."3e
It seems evident from this testimony that Beeson's was indeed burned.
Beeson had been in Texas for about a dozen years when the retreating army burned down
his complex of buildings, for he had received his land grant on August 7, 1824.37 His
wife, Elizabeth, is said to have operated an inn at the crossing which bore the family
name, a fact which would explain Sharpe's statement that Beeson's house was large.
Beeson's Crossing is thought to have been at a point near the foot of Walnut Street on
the east side of Columbus. If in fact the crossing was at that point, then Beeson's home
33 Juan Nepomuceno Almonte, "The Private Journal of Juan Nepomuceno Almonte," Southwestern
Historical Quarterly, vol. 48, no. 1 (July 1944), p. 27. Almonte later states, on page 30, that Beeson's was
two and one-half leagues from the Atascosito Crossing, meaning that the Mexican army camped about one
league downriver from Beeson's the night of the 26th. A league, which varies in length today from about two
and a half to four and a half miles, was probably understood by Almonte to mean 5000 varas. A vara was
a unit of variable length which was eventually standardized in Texas to 33.3 inches. Using that standard, a
league is about 2.63 miles, meaning that the army was about four miles north of the Atascosito Crossing when
it stopped for the night.
34 "The Private Journal of Juan Nepomuceno Almonte," p. 27. Almonte also indicates that Dewees'
Crossing, which he identifies as "Luis" and "Louis or Dewes or Mosely," (p. 30) was not burned. (The name
"Luis" is pronounced very much like and probably represents Almonte's attempt to spell the word "Dewees."
"Louis" is simply an Anglicized version of the name. The third name, "Mosely," Almonte goes on to imply,
is that of another man who lives near the crossing. He is likely to have been Robert J. Mosely, who, with
Dewees and Collins Beeson, was appointed to a three man board to oversee the division of the Tumlinson
league (see Deed Book J, Office of the County Clerk, Colorado County, Texas, page 626)). Almonte tells us
that, on April 3, a scout sent to "the pass of Luis" reported "that the Americans had abandoned the country,
and ... that they had not burnt the houses." (p. 30) The next day, he wrote, "iron tools, and 2 cables were
found in the house of Mosely" (p. 30), which was, obviously, still standing.
35 Henry Stuart Foote, Texas and the Texans (Philadelphia: Thomas, Cowperthwait & Co., 1841), p.
36 Robert Hancock Hunter, The Narrative of Robert Hancock Hunter (Austin: The Encino Press, 1966),
37 Lester Gladstone Bugbee, "The Old Three Hundred," The Quarterly of the Texas State Historical
Association, vol. 1, no. 2 (October 1897), p. 110.
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Nesbitt Memorial Library. Nesbitt Memorial Library Journal, Volume 2, Number 2, May, 1992, periodical, May 1992; Columbus, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth151385/m1/10/?q=nesbitt%20memorial%20library%20journal: accessed April 26, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Nesbitt Memorial Library.