Indian wars and pioneers of Texas Page: 351 of 894
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INDIAN WARS AND PIONEERS OF TEXAS.
and, when twenty-five years of age, went to Bot
ton, Mass., where he remained until March 1I
1835, and then, determining to try his fortune i
Texas, took passage on a sailing vessel bound fo
New Orleans. Very rough weather was encountere
on the voyage and it took the ship forty-two day
to reach its destination. From New Orleans h
Proceeded up Red river to Natchitoches, La., an<
from thence overland to Nacogdoches, at whici
place he arrived May 3, 1835, with $20.00 in hi,
pockets, and shortly thereafter employed a guide
and with three companions, started out afoot t(
look at the country. The guide proved to be in.
competent and got the party lost in the woods.
After wandering about for over four days without
food they succeeded in making their way back to
Nacogdoches. Here Judge Blake obtained employment
as a clerk in the land-office, under George W.
Smith, who was commissioned to put old settlers in
Possession of lands north of the San Antonio road.
In September of that year (1835) two surveyors,
whose compasses were at Natchitoches, La., one
hundred and ten miles distant, offered $150.00
to anyone who would bring the instruments to
Nacogdoches within four days. Judge Blake
Undertook the journey, accomplished it in three
days and a half and was paid the sum promised.
Of a bold and resolute spirit he was among the
foremost in every expedition designed for the protection
of the country.
Davy Crockett, when on his way to take part in
the Texas revolution, stopped in Nacogdoches for
several days. During the time he took his famous
oath in the old stone fort to support the cause of
the Texians, not for the restoration of their rights
under the constitution of 1824, as was then being
sought, but until their absolute independence should
be achieved. While in the town he delivered a
speech to which Mr. Blake had the pleasure of
listening. He reports "Old Davy" as having
closed his speech as follows: " We'll go to the City
of Mexico and shake Santa Anna as a coon dog
would a possum."
The fall of the Alamo, the massacre at Goliad,
and the butchery of Johnson's and Grant's men
on and beyond the Nueces and the continued
retreat of Houston before the Mexican army,
sweeping victoriously eastward in three divisions,
cast a gloom over the country and the arrival of
the merciless invaders in the eastern part of the
province was daily expected. The roads about and
beyond Nacogdoches were lined with women and
children fleeing to Louisiana for safety. None
were afterwards seen in any part of that country
until the God of Battles smiled upon the Texian
arms at San Jacinto. The Indians taking advan3,
tage of the unsettled condition of the country were
n committing numerous murders and depredations.
ir Mr. Blake and two companions at this time were
d appointed to protect the retreat of the fugitives and
s watch the Indians, whom it was feared would rise
e and attempt an indiscriminate massacre. He and
d his comrades discharged the trust with vigilance and
h courage. Judge Blake served under Gen. Rusk, in
s 1839, in his expedition against the noted Cherokee
, Chief Bowles who had organized a formidable Indian
insurrection. On one occasion during the campaign
Gen. Rusk offered a furlough of ten days to
any of his soldiers who would carry a dispatch from
where he was stationed, north of the Sabine, to
Nacogdoches, seventy-five miles distant, and deliver
it upon the day of starting. The purport of
the message was a warning to volunteers not to
leave Nacogdoches for his camp except in parties
fifteen or twenty strong, as there were many Indians
upon the road. It was a perilous mission
to undertake, but Judge Blake volunteered to perform
the service. He was mounted on a fine
horse and made the trip in the time appointed.
He saw but one Indian on the road and gave
him a lively chase, but says that he felt no
exaggerated longing to overtake him and was
rather gratified that the distance widened rather
than diminished between them, and the Indian
finally lost to view. On arriving at Nacogdoches
he found Mrs. James S. Mayfield standing
guard, with a belt-of six-shooters around her waist
and a shot-gun on her shoulder. The young men
had all taken the field against the Indians and left
the old men and women to protect the settlement.
Many of the women of those days were good shots
and of undoubted courage. At his request Judge
Blake was permitted to relieve her and stood guard
for the rest of the night, but says that he was very
tired and is inclined to the belief that he put in the
greater part of the time that intervened to daydawn
sitting on the ground with his back against a
tree. Mr. Blake remained in Nacogdoches about
four days, and finding it very lonesome, returned to
his companions. Shortly thereafter he participated
in the two days' battle that resulted in a
signal victory for the whites and so completely
crushed the spirit of the Indians that no general
uprising ever after occurred. On the second day
when the Cherokees and their allies had retreated,
Bowles, while heroically trying to rally them, received
two or three gun-shot wounds and fell from
his horse. A moment later the Texians, firing right
and left as they rode, charged directly over his
body. Bob Smith and Judge Blake were side by
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Brown, John Henry. Indian wars and pioneers of Texas, book, 1880~; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth6725/m1/351/: accessed March 20, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; .