Nesbitt Memorial Library Journal, Volume 4, Number 1, January, 1994 Page: 5
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Brief History of Columbus
mercial; the 1836 edition of Stephen Fuller Austin's Map of Texas With
Parts of the Adjoining States; and H. Groves' 1837 Map of the Republic
of Texas. None of the four was Spanish. It is misleading to say that the
maps place Montezuma at the place where Columbus now stands. For
one thing, all four clearly place the community on the east side of the
Colorado River. For another, the scale of the maps makes exact
placement impossible. About all that may be positively stated is that the
maps show a locale named Montezuma on the east side of the river, at
the point where a road crossed it south of Cummins Creek. The road was
probably the Atascosita Road, for on May 5, 1836, Jos6 Enrique de la
Pena linked the two, describing his campsite on the Colorado River as
"at the Moctezuma Pass, also known as that of Atascosito" (see Jos6
Enrique de la Pena, With Santa Anna in Texas, translated and edited by
Carmen Perry, College Station: Texas A & M University Press, 1975,
page 166). That road crossed the river a few miles south of Columbus,
within the league of land on the east side of the river which was granted
to Rawson Alley (see page 56 of Book A For Bonds and Deeds, Office
of the County Clerk, Colorado County, Texas, in which the land is
described as "situado sobra el margen oriental del Rio Colorado al punto
donda (sic) crusa el comino (sic) del atascosito," or, rendered into
English, situated on the east bank of the Colorado River at the point
where the Atascosito Road crosses).
In any case, Zumwalt's supposition that Montezuma was an
Indian village is silly, if, as he indicates, his only reason for so assuming
is that he could find no evidence that it was a Spanish settlement. It is
very bad procedure indeed to limit oneself to two possible conclusions,
to develop no evidence to support either, but to choose one anyway. He
might just as well have written, "Since no evidence has been found to
show that Indians had a village here, it is supposed that the place was
a Spanish settlement."
In Thrall's history of Texas a narrative by Joutel, historian of the La Salle expedition,
recites that La Salle crossed the Colorado river on the 21st. of January, 1687, camping
on the night of the 20th. on Skull creek, where they found an Indian village which the
French called Hebemos.
The information in this paragraph comes from page 81 of Homer S.
Thrall's A Pictorial History of Texas (St. Louis: N. D. Thompson &
Company, 1879). Basing his text on a book written by a member of the
expedition, Henri Joutel, Thrall reports that Rene Robert Cavelier, Sieur
de la Salle and his party "crossed a plain two leagues, to the Prince's
(Navidad) River; this they found swollen and for two days traveled up its
west bank. On the third day, by felling a tree, they succeeded in crossing
their baggage. On Skull Creek they found an Indian village; (probably
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Nesbitt Memorial Library. Nesbitt Memorial Library Journal, Volume 4, Number 1, January, 1994, periodical, January 1994; Columbus, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth151390/m1/5/?q=nesbitt%20memorial%20library%20journal: accessed July 27, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Nesbitt Memorial Library.