Nesbitt Memorial Library Journal, Volume 2, Number 2, May, 1992 Page: 72
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Nesbitt Memorial Library Journal
writes that, in 1821, "about Christmas, Robt. and Joseph Kuykendall and Daniel
Gilleland proceeded on to the Colorado and settled temporarily on the east side of the
river near the crossing of the La Bahia road. These were the first families that settled
on the Colorado."4 Later, he says that his uncle Robert lived "a few miles below the La
Bahia crossing" in the summer of 1823.6
Kuykendall has much more to say about the settlement on the Colorado. In
his recollections concerning Thomas Marshall Duke, he writes that Duke and others
"landed near the mouth of the Colorado in June 1822" and that he then "continued on
up to the settlement near the locality of the present town of Columbus." He goes on
to state that Duke was present when, in December 1822, "the settlers convened near
the locality of the present town of Columbus where they ... held an election for civil and
In his recollections of John Ingram, Kuykendall writes that Ingram accom-
panied Thomas Williams to Texas, where "early in the spring of '22 they continued on
to the Colorado and settled at a point about twenty five miles below the present town
of La Grange. A few families from Arkansas had already settled on the Colorado."7 Later,
after telling of Ingram's return to Arkansas and subsequent permanent move to Texas,
he states that in 1824, "Ingram was near the locality of the present town of Columbus."'
Kuykendall thus claims that there was a settlement on the Colorado as early as 1821,
but is careful to state only that it was "near" present-day Columbus.
Dewees, in his first letter that is addressed "Colorado River, Coahuila and
Texas," gives more details about the origin of the settlement on the Colorado. The letter,
dated March 15, 1823, implies that the settlement had been in existence since at least
the fall of 1822.
About six months since in company with two families I came to this river. We struck the
river at the crossing of the old La Bahia road... There we were delighted by the sight of
a small log cabin, on the west bank of the river. We shouted in order to learn who was living
there. We ascertained them to be two old adventurers by the names of Buckner and
Powell. They informed us that there was no way of crossing the river, but that about
twelve miles below, on our side of the river, a few families had settled in. The next morning
we started from our place of encampment to join these families... On our arrival at the
settlement we found five or six families, among whom was my old friend Jesse Burnham,
whom I had previously known in Arkansas as well as in Kentucky, also Gillelan and the
Kirkendalls; they were engaged in building cabins.9
4 James Hampton Kuykendall, "Reminiscences of Early Texans," The Quarterly of the Texas State His-
torical Association, vol. 7, no. 1 (July 1903), p. 29.
5 ibid., p. 33.
6 James Hampton Kuykendall, "Reminiscences of Early Texans," The Quarterly of the Texas State
HistoricalAssociation, vol. 6, no. 3 (January 1903), pp. 247-248.
7 ibid., p. 320-321.
8 ibid., p. 326.
9 Dewees, Letters From An Early Settler Of Texas, p. 29-30. The two adventurers were probably Aylett
C. "Strap" Buckner and Peter Powell. Evidence exists that Dewees may have had a familial tie to the man
he calls his "old friend," Jesse Burnam. Skipper Steely, in his book Six Months From Tennessee (Paris, Texas:
The Wright Press, 1982), suggests that Dewees had traveled to Arkansas in company with Jesse and Samuel
Burnam, the latter of whom is described as Dewees' brother-in-law. Frank Steitz, working in archives and
libraries in Arkansas, turned up a printed transcription of the record of a marriage between "Samuel Burnum"
and "Eldee Deioese." No link between Eldee Deioese (whose peculiar surname might certainly have been
pronounced like "Dewees" and may represent the original spelling or simply a misspelling of the name) and
William B. Dewees has yet been uncovered, nor has any firm link between the Burnams. Ernest Mae Seaholm
discovered a document in the Barker Texas History Center at the University of Texas in Austin entitled
"Recollections and Legendry of my Maternal grand father and his family" dated February 5, 1921 but unsigned,
which provides detailed information about Jesse Burnam's family. The writer lists Burnam's brothers without
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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/m1/4/?q=nesbitt%20memorial%20library%20journal: accessed June 23, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Nesbitt Memorial Library.