Indian wars and pioneers of Texas / by John Henry Brown. Page: 270 of 894
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INDIAN WARS AND PIONEERS OF TEXAS.
independence, and is supposed to have killed more
Indians than any other gun, besides having supplied
the owner's family with food for many years. The
owner, Rufus C. Campbell, was not only distinguished
for 'Old Betsy's' unerring aim, but also
as having forged the fetters which were put upon
Gen. Santa Anna, when it was thought he was
planning to escape. Mr. Campbell's widow (who
was a daughter of Uncle David Ayers) had the
pleasure of hearing Miss Lucy Diske, one of their
forty-five grandchildren, make a very beautiful and
appropriate address upon presenting the Veterans
with an elegant satin flag from the ladies of
"The Rev. J. C. Woollam, our grand old Chaplain,
his colossal frame and white head towering
above all others, in his opening prayer brought
tears to all eyes. I have met with the Veterans
several times, and the last meeting always seems
more heartfelt, more glorious, more like a meeting
of a holy brotherhood, than any former one. On
these occasions familiar faces call up soul-stirring
scenes in the past, and thrilling adventures flash
upon their memories. As they meet in these annual
re-unions and exchange heartfelt greetings,
they are filled with the desires and hopes of other
The days when life was new, and the
heart promised what the fancy drew'
" times that tried men's souls'
when their lives,
their fortunes, and their sacred honor were pledged
for home and country, God and liberty; that
period when the repeated assaults of Indians and
Mexicans had nerved their arms and fired their
hearts to strike for freedom from the tyrannical
oppression of Mexico. It comes to them with the
freshness of yesterday, when they left their homes
and loved ones, to face the foe, drive back the
invader, and save their all from destruction.
Sooner will their right hand forget its cunning
and their tongues cleave to the roof of
their mouths, than they cease to remember
and talk of Gonzales, Goliad, Concepcion, the
storming of San Antonio, where the gallant Milam
fell, the massacre of Fannin, the fall of the Alamo,
the battle of San Jacinto, of Plum Creek, the Salado,
the Cherokee fight, and other bloody and desperate
engagements. The names of all of these, with the
date of each engagement, printed upon placards,
are always placed upon the walls of the assembly
room. As a placard catches the eye of the veterans
one will say to another: ' We were together in
that fight; don't you remember how you had to
hold the mule's nose to keep her from betraying
us to the Indians before we were ready for them ? '
'I don't see your wife; the good woman can now
sleep in a white gown if she likes'
the custom of our frontier women sleeping in
colored gowns so as not to be so good a mark for
Indians in case of a night attack. To which the
answer will be: 'Oh, yes; but it always costs something
to come to these meetings, and when my wife
found I would have to pay full fare for her on the
cars, she said as I was so much better of my rheumatism,
I could make out without her; but she will
miss it mightily, as she liked to talk over her Indian
scares with those who knew her in the old times,
when we would be for weeks together with nothing
but venison to eat.'
"It was a touching sight when the genial president
of the Association (himself a hero of many
battles) would single out some noted Indian fighter,
and taking the old man upon the stage, tell the
audience of some of his heroic deeds. How every
eye would kindle with enthusiasm, and every voice
raise a cheer, and the poor old hero, bursting into
tears, would sink into his seat, with not a dry eye
"It is this which makes these meetings so dear to
these old ones. At home they are nothing but
poor decrepit old men and women, who are outliving
their allotted span of life-
fossils that cumber
the ground. They know it; they feel it; but
when they meet at these reunions, all is changed;
instead of being looked upon as unwelcome
intruders, they are treated with the greatest courtesy,
with veneration, as heroes, and every man, woman
and child seeks to do them honor. It is no wonder
that their tears lie near the surface, and are often
seen filling their eyes when some gallant youth or
beautiful maiden tells of their heroic deeds and the
manly fortitude displayed by them in conquering
all the hardships, difficulties and dangers by which
they were surrounded.
" Nor should admiration and veneration be confined
to their heroic deeds upon the battlefield.
The women of this land should always hold them in
grateful remembrance; for were they not the first
men on earth to throw around the wife and mother
the protection of the homestead law? Were they
not the first to protect woman in the ownershiP
of her separate property, and to give her an interest
in the community property? They also surpassed
all other legislators, in making provision, for all
time to come, for the universal free education of
" The memorial service is very solemn and affecting,
and the Rev. Mr. Stribling always very eloquent
in his sermon. Thirty-nine is the number
on the death-roll for last year. Among them is
the late lamented Col. Charles DeMorse, who
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Brown, John Henry. Indian wars and pioneers of Texas / by John Henry Brown., book, 1880~; Austin, Tex.. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth6725/m1/270/: accessed July 27, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; .