Indian wars and pioneers of Texas Page: 16 of 894
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INDIAN WARS AND PIONEERS OF TEXAS.
Stephen F. Austin and Green De Witt of Missouri,
Haden Edwards of Mississippi, and Robert Leftwich
of Nashville, Tennessee (the original grantee in
what subsequently became Robertson's Colony),
were in the city of Mexico, seeking colonial privileges
in Texas, three Cherokee chiefs, Bowles,
Fields and Nicollet, were also there, seeking a
grant, or some sort of concession, to the district in
which they were locating, not a contract for colonization,
as desired by the gentleman named, but a
specific grant to their people in tribal capacity.
But they did not succeed, receiving only polite
promises of something when Mexican affairs should
be more settled.
In 1826 Fields and John Dunn Hunter (both of
mixed blood, Hunter possibly altogether white, but
of this there is no positive knowledge, and both of
good education) visited the Mexican capital on a
similar mission for the Cherokees, but they also
failed and returned to their people in an ill humor,
just in time to sympathize with Haden Edwards
and his colonists in their outrageous treatment by
the Mexican Governor of the State of Coahuila and
Texas, in declaring, without trial or investigation,
the annulment of his contract and ordering the
expulsion of himself and brother from the country.
Fields and Hunter, smarting under what they considered
the bad faith of Mexico, induced their
people to treat with and sustain the Edwards party
in what received the name of the Fredonian war.
But this had a brief existence. Bean, as agent of
Mexico, seduced the Indians from their agreement
and secured their support of the Mexican troops
then advancing, which caused the Fredonians to
yield the hopeless contest and leave the country.
Not only this, but the Cherokees turned upon their
two most enlightened and zealous champions.
They basely assassinated both Fields and Hunter.
This ended that embroglio. The Cherokees claimed
a promise from Bean that Mexico, in reward for
their course, would grant them the lands desired.
Whether, so promised or not, the grant was never
A band of Cherokees, en route to their people in
Texas, halted on Red river, in order to raise a
crop of corn, in the winter of 1828-9. An account
of what followed was written and published in 1855,
and is here reproduced. * * * They had not
been at this place very long before their villages
were discovered by a party of Wacos, on a robbing
expedition from the Brazos; and these freebooters,
true to their instincts from time immemorial, lay
concealed till the silent midnight hour, and then,
stealthily entering the herds of the sleeping Cherokees,
stampeded their horses, driving off a large
number. To follow them was labor in vain
to quietly forget the deed was not the maxim among
the red sons of Tennessee.
A council was held and the matter discussed.
After the opinions of the warriors had been given,
the principal war-chief rose, and in substance said:
" My brothers! the wild men of the far-off Brazos
have come into our camp while the Cherokee slept!
They have stolen our most useful property. Without
horses we are poor, and cannot make corn.
The Cherokees will hasten to plant their corn for
this spring, and while that is springing from the
ground and growing under the smiles of the Great
Spirit, and shall be waving around our women and
children, we will leave some old men and women to
watch it, and the Cherokee braves will spring upon
the cunning Wacos of the Brazos, as they have
sprung upon us."
The corn was planted, and in the month of May,
1829, a war party of fifty-five, well armed, left the
Red river villages on foot in search of the Wacos.
At this time the principal village of the Wacos was
on the bluff where the beautiful town of Waco now
greets the eye on the west bank of the Brazos.
One band of the Tehuacano (Ta-wak-a-no) Indians,
who have always been more or less connected with
the Wacos, were living on the east bank of the
river, three miles below. Both bands had erected
rude fortifications, by scooping up the earth in
various places and throwing up a circular embankment
three or four feet high, the remains of which
still are to be seen. The principal work of this
kind at the Waco village occupied a natural sink in
The Cherokees struck the Brazos above the village
some forty miles, and traveled downward
until they discovered signs of its proximity, and
then secreted themselves in the cedar brake till
night. The greater portion of the night was spent
in examining the position, through experienced
scouts. Having made the necessary observations,
the scouts reported near daylight, when the warchief
admonished them of what they had come
revenge! Waco scalps!! horses! ! !
led them forth from their hiding-place, under the
bank of the river, to a point about four hundred
yards from the wigwams of the slumbering Wacos.
Here they halted till rays of light, on that lovely
May morning, began to gild the eastern horizon.
The time for action had come. Moving with the
noiseless, elastic step peculiar to the sons of the
forest, the Cherokees approached the camp. But
a solitary Waco had aroused and was collecting the
remains of his fire of the previous night, preparatory
to his morning repast. His Indian ear caught
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Brown, John Henry. Indian wars and pioneers of Texas, book, 1880~; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth6725/m1/16/: accessed September 25, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; .