History of Texas, together with a biographical history of Milam, Williamson, Bastrop, Travis, Lee and Burleson counties : containing a concise history of the state, with portraits and biographies of prominent citizens of the above named counties, and personal histories of many of the early settlers and leading families Page: 434
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TISTORY OF TEXAS.
Lelia, at home; and George, a miller at
Georgetown. The wife and mother died in
the fall of 1869. In 1872 Mr. Bruce married
Mrs. Wileinan, and they have had seven
children, four now living: Ida, Kate, Aleta
and Alta. Mr. Bruce is a member of the
1k ikILLIAM P. BIRD.-From half to
g' three-quarters of a century ago the
name of Captain John Bird was as
well-known to the scattered settlers of central
Texas as that of General Sam Houston was to
the whole people of the Republic immediately
atfer the battle of San Jacinto. He
stood to the settlers of this section in the
same relation that Houston did to all of the
settlers, that is, as their friend and protector.
The territory extending from the vicinity of
where Belton now stands to the vicinity of
Brenham he covered with his rangers, and not
once but many times did his alertness,
bravery, skill and daring save the people of
this section from the visitations of the heartless
savages of the frontier. Captain Bird
has never been accorded as extended a space
in the history of this locality as that to which
he is entitled, and a somewhat fuller reference
to him will therefore be made in this place
in connection with what is said of his son,
the subject of this notice.
William Bird, the father of John Bird and'
the grandfather of William P. of this article,
was a native of England. He came to
America some time during the latter part of
the last century and settled in Tennessee.
There his son John was born in 1795. He
was reared in that State and practically on
the frontier. The settlers at that date were in
a constant state of warfare with the Indians,
and all men able to bear arms, especially the
younger men, had abundant opportunity to
become familiar with Indian customs and
character. John Bird saw considerable service
during those years as an Indian fighter.
He also served under Jackson in the war of
1812, and in this way, by the time he had
reached middle life, was well accustomed to
the smell of powder and versed in the simpler
arts of war. He was a man of strong physical
courage, full of daring yet cool and collected
in danger. He possessed individuality
and a certain gift of command which easily
won for him the leadership in every c6mmunity
and company in which he was thrown.
Like most brave men he sympathized with
the weak, and to excite him to action it was
only necessary to tell him that some one was
in distress. The spectacle of a few colonies
of his fellow-countrymen struggling against
a great military power like Mexico moved
him as it did many another noble soul to cast
his fortunes in Texas at an early day and
where he willingly took up the life of a
frontiersman with all its hardships and uncertainties.
He came to Texas in 1829, being
then married and the head of a family. He
made his first stop on the Brazos river at a
place then known as "Old Cow Cooper's,"
located in what is now Austin county. He
had been there but a short time when his
services were demanded in averting attacks
of the Indians and running down Indian
horse-thieves and affording general protection
to the lives and property of the settlers.
Once in the service, his skill as a leader and
the confidence which his presence always inspired
kept him there till his death. He was
in nearly every expedition set on foot in this
general section in those days, and organized
at different times a number of companies for
service against the Indians. He was opposed
to the war of 1835-'36, by which Texas won
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Lewis Publishing Company, publisher. History of Texas, together with a biographical history of Milam, Williamson, Bastrop, Travis, Lee and Burleson counties : containing a concise history of the state, with portraits and biographies of prominent citizens of the above named counties, and personal histories of many of the early settlers and leading families, book, 1893; Chicago. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth29785/m1/465/?rotate=90: accessed December 14, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; .