The Lampasas Dispatch (Lampasas, Tex.), Vol. 20, No. 8, Ed. 2 Wednesday, December 10, 1890 Page: 4 of 21
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LAMPASAS DISPATCH, WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 10, 18C0.
My First Christmas In Texas.
In the month of September, 18—Frank
Norton, William Allen, Robert Wilson
and myself, loaded our<wagons with
some bedding, a few changes of clothing
some cooking utensils, provisions, tents,
ctc., and bidding adjeu to our Tennessee
friends, and tne scenes of our youth, we
started for Texas.
The reader will please bear in mind,
that at this time there was not direct
public transportation to that distant
land. There were three ways that we
had to choose fiom. One was to embark
on a Mississippi steamer and go to New
Orleans; from that point we could either
take shipping across the Gulf of . Mexico
to Galveston, or we could take-a .Red
river steamboat and land in Natchitoches
(pronounced by the natives Nacatush)
and from there pursue our journey over-
land; or we could make the entire jour-
ney overland in our own conveyances.
we chose the latter and being supplied
with the necessary outfits, for the long
and somewhat hazardous journey, in-
cluding good guns and plenty of ammu-
nition, on a bright, cool morning we
Our intention was to go as far west as
the Brazos river, unless we.sooner found
a country with which we could be satis-
fled. . Without any serious accident, on
the 10th day of November we reached
the Brazos river at a place called Jiash-
■ville. The little village of IJjashville
was situated on the west bank of the
Brazos river and about a dozen families
were congregated there for pr^ectlon
Qtrainst the Indians.
i 5The citizens were delighted to see us
and treated us with great kindness; and
as we were on the outskirts of civiliza
lion we concluded to remain there until
spring and examine the surrounding
country. we were well supplied with
buffalo beef, venison and turkeys and
the river fu-nished us all the fish we
could ask. During the month we took
several short trips over the country and
were delighted beyond our expectations.
At Nashville we formed the acquain-
tance of Capt. Tap'ov, and ho suggested
that we take a lengthy trip over the
"upper country," stating that his incli-
nations led him "further west" before
Captain Taylor owned a negro man,
familiarly lied Un'-'e M \ am! voir i-
l.e'-ved to go \ ili us as ] '. and take l'n-
cle 3Io.se along as chief cool- r>;id camp
Karly one bright December morning,
Captain Taylor, Mr, Norti , Mr. Allen,
Mr. Wi hi, I'ncle Mose and myself,
mounted our ho s with our g ins, a
blanket each, and a wa^et of provisions
. Led to i. ■ s:ul ' . i'ncle Mose in addi-
l on to his outfit, had p. mule packed with
an extra blanket for each of us. together
with our supply of salt, cot' and bread
We staged up the lira/- and traveled
lfis' ely, in d' * to be from home at
least a nion .
We engaged in a
about Texp", her
About 12 o'cl< :k. Uncle Mose (who had
gotten a sho «lis* nee ahead of us) sud-
denly íaised his gun and fired. We looked,
and saw a magnificent d-er undlv bound-
M.jie p.ospeets and
ing in the dire ion of a stream near us.
Uncle Mose 3at still, quietly looking in
the direction that the deer had taken, un-
til we reached where he was. "Did you
hit li'm?" enquired Captain Taylor.
' Course I did," said Uncle Mose, "I didn't
cum long here to waste no amnition." We
followed on towards the little stream, and
when we arrived there, sure enough, we
found Uncle Mo. j's deer, dead at t he
"What I dun t -le yer geminan?" said
Uncle Mo \ "Never mind" said Captain
Taylor, "we will look inside of your deer
and see if it is fit to eat."
The animal proved to be very fat and
tender, and after tying our horses out in
the rich mesquite grass, we proceeded to
assist U' cle Mose in preparing supper; and
the next morning, when we were ready to
start, there was but little venison left for
After breakfast, a straight forward
cou :e carried us across a high, roll'ng
The sun shone out brightly, and a gentle
breeze made our ride delightful.
In about an hour we began to see dark
specks ahead of r , and soon discovered
that they were bu?alo. As. we neared
them, their numbers. oemed to increase,
until all admitted we were in sight of
thousands of the majestic brutes.
Myself and the other three "newcom-
ers" were very desirous to stop and kill
some of them, but Captain Taylor assun 1
us that we woald have the opportunity of
shooting them to out- hearts content in a
All day we passed them on either side
of us, and at a short distance; and about
an hour before sunsen, we struck camps on
the bank of a beautiful stream of clear,
cold water. We unsaddled and tied our
horses, and Captain Taylor pointed out a
large herd of buffalo down the creek and
remarked, "Mose and I are accustomed to
such sights; you, gentlemen, can go down
to that herd and shoot a few, and 1 will as-
sist Mose about supper."
We cautiously approach d the game un-
til we thought it time to fire, when we all
commenced a fusilade, which, to our as-
tonishment, did not seem to disturb the
brutes as they jiitinuetl to graze.
After filing several rounds each, into
the monsters, we concluded to approach
nearer. Accordingly we advanced toward
them, until they stilted to run; and by
this time we found we h id b".*n shooting
at them neat a half mile. This w.is be-
fore the days of Sharp's old reliables,
Winchesters, ¡slim Jims, or L >ng Toms,
and we now found that we had never been
in gun Shot of the bull"; 'o.
When we returned to camps we found
Captain Taylor and I'ncle Mose r >t';ng a
fine buffalo calf, which the Captain had
shot near camps. The joke was on lis,
but we enjoyed the supper and breakfast
of huyalo veal, as well as if we had
The distance on the large praries w
deceive any one until they have had ac-
Next day Cap.¡un Taylor went with us
and gave us instructions when, where, and
how to sin t, and when we again went
into camps, each of us had killed a buffalo.
We i..nued up the Brazos for several
days, travel' >g leisurely and halting often
to rest and a'.e our ho. es. Buffalo,
deer and antelopes were on every hill, and
every time we crossed a si.earn, we saw
plenty of \ Id turkeys. We had a tolera-
bly reliable map with us and had some
knowledge of the distance we were from
liorna. At length we reached Waco vil-
lage, once the headquarters of a noted
tribe of Indians, from which it takes its
name. Waco is now a city of 20,000 inhab-
itants, with trains of cars arriving and
leaving nearly every hour.
At this place Captain Taylor thought it
advisable for us to leave the Brazos and
travel due west to the Colmado river. We
bid adieu to Waco Springs, and started
west acu s the country. Game, grass aud
water continued tobe plentiful; but after
a few days travel, we began to fiud a
rough, broken country, which greatly im-
peded our progress. When about eighty
miles west of Waco village, we found a
beautiful stream of clear water, strongly
impregnated with sulphur.
Its course was from west to east, and ac-
cordingly we traveled up the stream, until
we found two magnificent spi Ings of white
About one mile from these two springs
we found another. Each of them was dis-
charge 7 about twelve hundred gallons of
white sulphur water per minute.
They were situated in a lovely valley
not more than a mile wide, dotted over
with elm, ash, j' can and hackberry trees.
Near these great springs we found chaly-
beate and fresh water springs, bursting out
of the bluffs of the creek.
Intnis valley is isow situated the beau-
ti il little >. ity of Lampasas; the j. eat
health resort, the Saratoga of the South.
In tiie morning we started early,
due west, and 12 o'clock found us on a high
dividing ridge, where we halted for
dinner, and in the dim distance could see
what Si ;med to be a blue smoke, which
Captain Taylor assured us was the Colorado
The weather had been fair during the
eHtire trip, but whilst we were making
ready to start, Uncle Me e gazed a few
moineits towards the norti , ajut exclaim
ed, "Gemmans'we gv ne to liab a noi.her,
sure." Captain Taylor looked in the same
direction a moment, ana quietly sa 1
•'Yes, and that befo.e night."
We mounted and pressed forward as rai
idly as possible, toward the Colorado river.
We soon found an old buffalo trail, lead-
ing down the ¡.mlch: and following if,
fornd that we were rapidly descending.
In a sho . time We began to see cedáis on
ch side of "us, covering the sides of the
mountains, now hrulieds of feet obove us.
It was growing very \va:ui,and the rap-
tain informed us thai, this was an indica-
tion of a "blue norther," but whether it
would be wet or ill/, was mure than he
A few moments later, onddi ctly before
us Mowed the Colorado, a beautiful -licet
of Clearwater, al it two blind red yards
wide, rapidly making "its clear, winding
way to the sea."
Ten minutes later, aud we wvre at the
edge of the water, ourselves and horses
quenching our thirst, .lust at this time we
heard a roaring in the north, resenibli
that of the falls of Niagara, and in five
more minutes the entire sky was over-
spread with a dark, blue cloud. "1 be-
lieve it will be a dry norther, 1 tut we will
need plenty of good wood to-night," said
Captain Taylor. We rode out to where, we
would be protected fum the north wind
by a rock bluff, and found plenty of good
dry w "d, made a lousing fire, unsaddled
our weary 1 uses, and turned them loose to
graze on the rich, wild rye, w hich was
growing luxuriantly in the valley.
We had no fear that our horses wt aid
leave us, for you can scarcely ever force a
horse to face a norther.
The sun was now entirely obscured, the
wind howling fea fully among the trees,
but we were comfortably situated by a good
fire, and "under the shelter of a great
"It will be a dry blow," said Captain
Taylor, "/ 'id in all probability will be
clear before sun set; but we will have a
cold night, and in the morning will be a
fine time for a ar chase. The dogs will
be rested, and it will be cold enough for
them to make a long run. I want some
bear meat for supper o-morrow night."
As if to verify his predict n, the clouds
grew thinner, the w 'ul lulled gradually,
and in another hour the sun was shining
brightly, but it was now quite cold. Look-
ing down the Colorado, we saw a huge
rockv bluff, which seemed to be a hundred
feet high and neftrly perpendicular.
Between the base of the bluff and the
waters edge, was a narrow strip of land
about one hundred yards wide. This stiip
of level land was covered with a scatter-
ing growth of elm, pecan, hackberry, asli,
etc., and a rich earpet of wild rye.
It was yet „ .vo hou. till night, and Cap-
tain Taylor proposed that Mose stay at
camp with the dogs a nd horses, and we
would take our guns, and part of us go up
the river, and the others down, and exam-
ine for "bear sign," but cautioned us not to
shoot at anything, unless it was á bear or
an Indian, for said lie, "1 would bet my
boots that there is a bear in less than a
mile of our camp."
The Captain aud Norton took their guns
and walked u$ the river, while Allen,
Wilson and myself walked down the
river. Allen and Wilson walked down
near the waters edge, while I kept near
the foot of the bluff. I soon discovered a
lugged path or trail leading up the bluff,
and following it, in a short time found my-
self on a lock bench about eighty feet from
the earth below and rtinnimr paralell with
it. The bench was from three to four feet
wide, the bluff below me perpendicular,
while on my left, the bluff rose perpen-
dicular about forty feet higher. From the
soil below me at the base of the bluff*
sprang a number of tall elms, their tops
rising toa level with the bench on which 1
stood. On my right, and within one hun-
dred yards of me, flowed the magnificent
Colorado. The sun was rapidly descend-
ing behind the mountains on the west side,
of the river, which wa, led.me that 1 had
nit a short time to remain. 1 walked rap-
idly on down the bench, or offset in the
bluff, and after I had proceeded about a
hundred \arils further, the fiail began to
descend in the direction of the liver. I
soon discovered my compandors at the v a-
tersedge, intently examining something at
th.-ir I'eet, and when I j< ined t'ieni found
several large, fresh beartracts in the mud,
near the water.
Bruin had evidently been there thenigl1*
before for a drink ot ('olnr;ido water. We
all ieti'• lied toi.,mp aud reported out dis-
Captain Taylor's e\es fairly sparkl< 1,
as he remarked, "Now, gentlemen. to-nioi-
row is Christina* day, and 1 vote for bear
meat for dinner, 'lhe morning will be
cold, and the dogs can hold out to run lon-
ger than any fat bear. Set- that your guns
are in good condition and we will take an
Supper was soon over with and aftei a
good ca.npsmoke all round, we rolled our-
selves in our blankets, taking positions
near the lire, and had a good nights rest.
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The Lampasas Dispatch (Lampasas, Tex.), Vol. 20, No. 8, Ed. 2 Wednesday, December 10, 1890, newspaper, December 10, 1890; Lampasas, Texas. (https://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth179091/m1/4/: accessed March 22, 2019), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, https://texashistory.unt.edu; crediting The Dolph Briscoe Center for American History.