Nesbitt Memorial Library Journal, Volume 9, Number 3, September, 1999 Page: 155
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The Writings of Fannie Amelia Dickson Darden
to the mainland. The fort being on the extreme
east end of the island was encircled in front by
the beach, which was at that time literally cov-
ered with shells. I was permitted to go on the
beach, but seeing some Mexican prisoners stand-
ing around I was afraid to venture, but Col.
Morehead tried to encourage me by saying that
they had no arms. I looked at them in order to
verify this assertion, but I was not to be deceived.
I had seen the woman who had no arms, and
who could cut such wonderful things in paper
with her toes. So I assured him that he must be
mistaken as I saw them very plainly myself. So
he led me past them, and I found myself in magic
land. That wonderful beach! A belt of shining
sand covered with shells! Never had I seen any
thing like this. I had owned a few shells, trea-
sures carefully kept, but to gather them in my
arms, to fill my hat to overflowing with them, to
throw away some that I might pick up prettier
ones, was like a fairy tale, and the shells, more
valuable to me, than diamonds, and pearls which
would have been revealed by the Fairy's magic
wand. Then the waves rolling and dashing at my
feet, leaving the white wreathes of foam on the
shore, their grand and deep voice chanting for-
ever in solemn songs of praise! The years have
passed, but still that glorious voice, its tuneful
anthem sings, but many hands have culled the
shells, and now only a few are found where once
they were thickly strewn, or piled in snowy heaps
along the wave-swept shore. Galveston island
had been successively under the control of Mexi-
cans and freebooters from the year 1816, Lafitte
having abandoned it in 1821, but there was no
vestige of any habitation left upon it by its former
occupants. Save the fort and the tents of prison-
ers, it presented a long, low, and desolate stretch
of land, and yet in one year from that time it was
almost a city.
That afternoon we took a small sail boat
and resumed our journey. I was again very sick
as our little boat danced and rolled on the bay,
but after we had crossed Red Fish Bar, we sailed
smoothly on, and on. Reaching the mainland the
passengers were regaled with some fresh milk,
which they all declared was a feast for royalty
itself. Many years have passed but when I re-
call that time I can still taste that milk, and have
never seen any since that compared with it. At
night we reached Spillman's island which is at
the junction of San Jacinto and Galveston bays,
where we passed the night in a house consisting
of one room, curtained off into apartments, and
early the next morning after a breakfast taken
under the boughs of a spreading tree, our sails
were again spread and we resumed our journey.
The bay here is very beautiful, being thickly in-
terspersed with small islands all of which are
crowned with cedar and margined with beaches
of shells of snowy whiteness. This lovely scene
in tranquil beauty lies:
Beneath the glowing sun, where shadows thrown,
From many tinted clouds a picture fair
Hath limned, within lands gaily decked in green,
And bright hued flowers, with a cincture rare
Of snowy shells, from whose bright banks be-
The waters play, then sweeping swiftly on,
They rush with loud complaining to the shore.
The mainland spread out in prairies of
richest green, dotted with motts of trees, and in
a short time we entered the San Jacinto river
which empties into the bay. When the morning
sun had fully started on his daily round we were
at the memorable battle fields of San Jacinto.
Here the passengers landed and soon we stood
on that historic spot and gazed upon the seven
graves of those patriots who were slain in the
battle. It was scarcely a year since the sangui-
nary conflict had taken place in which the small
band of Texians with trailed rifles marched in
silence but with hearts resolved to meet Santa
Anna with his choice legions of Tampico and
Zacatecas. But theirs was but the "silence which
preceded the tornado" for when from Houston
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Nesbitt Memorial Library. Nesbitt Memorial Library Journal, Volume 9, Number 3, September, 1999, periodical, September 1999; Columbus, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth151407/m1/27/?q=nesbitt%20memorial%20library%20journal: accessed June 27, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Nesbitt Memorial Library.