Indian wars and pioneers of Texas Page: 196 of 894
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INDIAN WARS AND PIONEERS OF TEXAS.
Rouge and Donaldson, La., and continued to live
there until the year 1830, when he conclulded to go
to Austin's Colony in the then Mexican Province of
Texas. He had heard of Texas from persons he
had met in New Orleans when visiting tlat place to
purchase supplies for his plantation. Visiting
Texas in 1830, he satisfied himself that it was tie
coming empire of the Southwest and, returning to
the United States, sold out his interests in Louisiana
and embarked his family in a sailing vessel in
May. 1831, bound out of New Orleans for Texas.
Passagre by sea proved stormy and disastrous, resulting
in the wrecking of the vessel off the coast
of 'Iexas. Mr. and Mrs. Lewis with their four
children, all girls, were saved in the boats and, after
undergoing terrible hardships for several days at
sea, tossed about at the mercy of the waves, they
were landed near the town of Matagorda, in Matagorda
County, on the coast of Texas, then a part
of Austin's Colony. Everything was lost in the
wreck. All that was left was on their shivering
bodies. Relics and mementoes, as well as furniture
and wearing apparel, luxuries and necessaries of
life, were all swallowed up in the Gulf of Mexico.
With hospitality, cliaracteristic of life in a new
country, the people of Matagorda took into their
arms the Lewis family and provided for them until
they procured a home. This crushing blow wellnigh
crazed Mrs. Lewis and she implored her husband
to return to the United States, but he insisted
on remaining. As soon as the means could be procured
it was determined that San Felipe de Austin,
the seat of government of Austin's Colony, was
the proper place to settle and practice his profession
A writer of the period between 1831 and 1833,
speaking of the people of San Felipe de Austin,
under the head of " Early Days in Texas," says:
"San Felipe was established by S. F. Austin, in
1824, on the Brazos, and was name(l by Governor
Garcia as the capital of Austin's Colony. It was
the first Anglo-American town established in Texas.
Stephen F. Austin, the empresario, and Samuel M.
Williams, his secretary, lived here. IIere was kept
the land office; here met the Ayuntamiento, the
colonists to designate their lands, and to receive
their titles, and strangers who visited the country;
here resided the prominent lawyers of the colonists
of Austin, among whom were W. B. Travis, W. II.
Jack, Ira R. Lewis, T. J. Chambers, Luke Lesassier,
Thomas M. Duke, Hosea League, Robert M.
Williamson (three-legged Willie) and others. The
society of San Felipe at that day was good. The
colonists were required by Austin to bring with
them from their former places of residence, certifi12
cates of good character. By printed notices they
were informed if they failed in this, their application
to be received as colonists would be rejected.
San Felipe could boast of elegant, refined and
beautiful women, as well as noble and cultured
men. Mrs. Ira R. Lewis, Mrs. James F. Perry
(the sister of S. F. Austin), Mrs. W. H. Jack, Mrs.
Nancy McKinney, Mrs. Townsend, Mrs. Peyton
(sister of Bailey Peyton), Mrs. Parmer and others,
from their personal attractions, lovely womanly
character, would command attention and adiniration
anywhere. HIere was established the first
Sunday school, the first newspaper andi the first
Masonic Lodge in Texas. HIere assembled the
representative men to consult and plan for the
weal of Texas, and it so continued until it was
(lestroyed by fire on the approach of the Mexican
army, un(ler Santa Anna, in 1836. But for this
destruction it would have, in all probalility, have
been selected as the capital of the Republic of
After practicing his profession for several years
at San Felipe, Col. Lewis returned to Matagorda,
which place became for many years his permanent
place of residence.
Mrs. I. R. Lewis died January 11th, 1887, at the
residence of her son-in-law, Maj. M. A. Bryan,
and was interred in the family cemetery at Independence,
Colonel and Mrs. Lewis had four children, all
girls, viz., Laura, born in 1824, atNatcliez; Louisa,
born near Baton Rouge, La., in December, 1825,
Cora and Stella, born in Baton Rouge, La., in the
years, respectively, 1828 and 1830.
Laura married at Matagorda, Texas, I)r. A. F.
Axson and was the mother of three children, viz.,
Lewis, Clinton J. and B. Palmer, all born in New
Orleans. Louisa married IIon. Geo. Hancock of
Austin, Texas, and was the mother of one child,
viz., Lewis, born in Austin, Texas. Cora married
Moses Austin Bryan of Brazoria, November 3(1,
1856, and was the mother of six children, to wit,
Gum AM., who died at the age of two years, in
Brazoria; Stella Louisa, who died at the age of four
years, at In(lependence; Lewis Randolph, born
October 2d, 1858; Beauregard, born January 16th,
1862; Austin Y., born December 20th, 1863;
Stonewall Jackson, born February 2d, 1866. Of
these children the first four were born in Brazoria
County, Texas, on their father's plantation on
Oyster creek, called "Retire." The last two
were born near Independence on their father's
plantation. Stella married Maj. Hal. G. Runnels,
of Harris County, Texas, an only son of Governor
Hiram G. Runnels and cousin of Governor Hardin
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Brown, John Henry. Indian wars and pioneers of Texas, book, 1880~; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth6725/m1/196/: accessed January 22, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; .