Indian wars and pioneers of Texas Page: 19 of 894
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INDIAN WARS AND PIONEERS OF TEXAS.
the field rather than bear such tidings! " Where
there's a will there's a way," is a trite old adage,
and at this juncture of affairs it was verified by the
Cherokees. The old man who had advised the
"talk" now made a suggestion, which was seconded
by all. He proposed that a party should be
sent off a short distance to cut dry grass and bring
a lot; that men, loaded with this combustible
material, should cautiously approach each hole in
the breast-works, from the sides, using the grass
as a shield on the way; that the door-holes should
be stopped up with it (with new supplies constantly
arriving), and set on fire, by which very simple
process the inmates would be suffocated or compelled
to throw off the hides and leap out, breathless
and more or less blinded through the smoke,
while the Cherokees, stationed round in circles,
would have an easy time in butchering their
astounded red brethren. This was a rich idea,
and, delighted with the anticipated fun on their
part, and misery among their enemies, the Cherokees
speedily made all their arrangements and disposed
of their fighting-men to the best advantage.
The grass was placed in the required position, and
at the same moment, set on fire. For a moment
or two no response was heard from within; but
very soon the smoke was seen escaping through the
rocks and from under the skins, proving that each
little refuge was full of the strangulating exhalation.
To endure such a torture long was beyond
human power; and in a little while a doleful howl
issued forth, followed by a significant upheaving of
the buffalo-skin roofs, and a rush of the gasping
victims, blinded by smoke, leaping over the walls,
they knew not where. To render the picture more
appalling, the exulting Cherokees set up a terrible
yelling, and dealt death to the doomed creatures
with their guns, tomahawks, and scalping knives
until all were slain or had made their escape from
the dreadful sacrifice by headlong flight. Quite a
number of squaws and children, and perhaps a few
men, had been unable to rise, and died from suffocation
inside the works.
And thus ended this tragic scene in the course
of our Indian warfare. Comparatively few of the
Tehuacanos escaped. The surviving women and
children were preserved prisoners, and a considerable
number of horses, blankets, skins, and indeed
the entire camp equipage, fell into the hands of the
victors, who returned to their people on Red river
in triumph, displaying not only their available
booty but a large number of the greatest of all
Indian symbols of glory, scalps.
These facts I obtained in 1842 from an old
Spaniard, who composed one of the party, and I
have little doubt but they were furnished by him
This old Spaniard, whose name was Vasquez,
was a native of New Madrid, Missouri, and had
passed much of his life with different Indian tribes.
About 1840 he appeared at Gonzales, Texas, where
I formed his acquaintance. He fought with the
Texians at Salado, in September, and at Mier in
December, 1842. Escaping from the latter place
he returned to Gonzales, his home being with Capt.
Henry E. McCulloch, to suffer a cruel death soon
after. In 1843 he was captured by Mexican
banditti, west of the San Antonio, who, knowing
his fidelity to Texas, suspended him to a tree by
the heels, in which position he died and was a few
days subsequently found.
First Settlement of Gonzales in 1825
Attack by the Indians in
Murder of French Traders in 1835 at Castleman's
Battle of San Marcos
1825 to 1835.
The settlement of Gonzales and De Witt's colony,
of which it was the capital, is replete with matters
of unusual interest in the pioneer history of Texas
and its Indian wars. At its birth it was baptized
in blood, and for twenty years a succession of
bloody episodes attended its march towards peaceful
As soon as Green De Witt, then of Ralls County.
Missouri, entered into contract with the Mexican
authorities for colonizing that beautiful district of
country, now embracing all of Gonzales, Caldwell,
Guadalupe and De Witt counties and portions of
Lavaca, Wilson and Karnes, he left for Missouri to
bring out his family. At the same time, Maj.
James Kerr was appointed surveyor of the colony,
with authority to lay out the capital town and sub
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Brown, John Henry. Indian wars and pioneers of Texas, book, 1880~; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth6725/m1/19/?rotate=90: accessed April 26, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; .