Indian wars and pioneers of Texas Page: 228 of 894
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INDlIAN l ARS AND PIONEERS OF TEXA-S.
ISABELLA HADDON GORDON,
One of Red River County's early-settlers, a noble
Christian woman who linked her name permanently
with that of the county's history, was born August
10th, 1805, in Montgomery County, Ky., and was a
daughter of Frank and Katie (Elliott) Hopkins, of
Kentucky. Her paternal grandfather, Wm. Hopkins,
was from one of the New England States, and
her maternal grandfather, James Elliott, was from
Virginia. Her maternal grandmother was Katie
(Stewart) Elliott of Virginia. Her father was a
leading and wealthy planter of Kentucky. He
moved to Indiana the year of the battle of Tippecanoe,
carrying with him all his slaves, which he
lost by some legal technicality. In 1823 he moved
to Texas, settling at the mouth of Mill creek, which
is now in Bowie County. At that time all the white
settlers lived in neighborhoods within a mile of
Red river, and it was ten years before there were
any white settlements on the prairie. The subject
of this sketch was married, April 18th, 1824, to
John Hanks, a native of Kentucky, who died in
1827. One child, Minerva, blessed this union, is
still living and is the widow of Robert Graham.
The subject of this notice was married the second
time to James Clark, then a member of the Arkansas
legislature and a son of Benjamin Clark, a native
of Tennessee, who at the time lived in Arkansas,
but moved soon after to Texas. To this union three
children were born. The first, Frank H., born
April 27th, 1830, attended law school at Lexington,
boarding with Chief Justice Marshall, and had
the benefit of the advice and association of that
eminent jurist. This bright son and promising
lawyer died in 1856. The second son, Dr. Pat
Clark, is a physician and resident of Red River
County. The third and youngest son of this union
is Capt. James Clark, a leading and representative
citizen of Red River County. In the fall of 1832,
when Mr. Clark was a resident of Jonesboro, a
settlement on Red river, Gen. Sam Houston crossed
the river with five companions and with one of them
passed his first night in Texas at the house of the
subject of this sketch, his four other companions
being prepared to camp out. He remained with
the then Mrs. Clark awaiting guides to take him to
Nacogdoches, as at that time there were no roads.
The whole party were gentlemanly in dress and
conduct, contrary to a statement published as a
matter of history, that they were intoxicated and
disorderly; the companions of Gen. Houston were
white men and not Indians, as erroneously declared
in the statement alluded to. James Clark died in
1838 at the late home of his widow in Clarksville,
Texas, which city is named in his honor.
This husband and the second of her brothers were
in the war of 1836, and fought for the independence
of Texas and it was through the instrumentality
of Mrs. Gordon, who at that time was Mrs.
Clark, that a large number of recruits were collected
and equipped at her expense and sent forward
to aid in gaining the independence of the
Lone Star Republic. The third husband of this
lady was Dr. George Gordon, of Covington, Ky.
John, their first son, died while discharging the
duties of a soldier in the Confederate army.
Belle was their second and Dick the third. Dr.
Gordon served in the Confederate army as assistant
to her son (and his step-son) Dr. Pat Clark, who
was surgeon of Gen. Lane's Regiment. Prior to
the time of Mrs. Gordon's arrival in Texas, the
prairies were inhabited by hostile Indians, but from
about 1826 to 1836 settlements were made by
several tribes of friendly Indians, Kickapoos,
Delawares, and Shawnees, who were really a protection
to the whites. There was one Delaware
chief who had lost a hand (he said in the battle of
Tippecanoe), and there is a creek in the neighborhood
that derives its name from him-" Cuthand."
Mrs. Gordon knew many of these Indians,
as they came to trade with the white people.
After the war of 1836, Texas made no provisions
for these Indians, and they returned peacefully to
their homes. The Shawnee chief was called
"Cow-leach," and lived on a prairie four miles
from Clarksville, and it still bears his name.
When our subject was first married, for one year
she lived within a mile of a village inhabited by
friendly Choctaw Indians, and they were good
neighbors. Her nearest white neighbor, a Mr.
Cullum, was four miles off. The white people at
an early day were in constant dread of hostile
Indians. There was a settlement of Caddos on the
Sabine river, about one hundred and fifty miles
distant, and one of them came and told Mrs.
Gordon that the friendly. Indians near had planned
to kill the white people. This was a favorite
trick of the Indians to get the white people to
leave their homes so that the redskins could pillage.
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Brown, John Henry. Indian wars and pioneers of Texas, book, 1880~; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth6725/m1/228/: accessed January 22, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; .