Indian wars and pioneers of Texas / by John Henry Brown. Page: 42 of 894
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INDIAN WARS AND PIONEERS OF TEXAS.
but little, indeed dreaded lest thereby she might
never see her children, but hope suggested that as
a prisoner she might never again see them, while
her redemption might be followed by theirs. A
great many Indians had here congregated. Her
old woman friend, in reply to her questions, told
her she was to be sold, wept bitterly and applied
to her neck and arms a peculiar red paint, symbolic
of undying friendship. They started early next
morning and traveled till dark, encamping near
a pond. They started before day next morning
and soon reached a river, necessarily the Pecos or
ancient Puerco, which they forded, and soon
arrived at a small town on its margin, where they
encamped for the remainder of the day. The
inhabitants visited the camp from curiosity, among
them a man who spoke broken English, who asked
if Mrs. Horn was for sale and was answered
affirmatively by her owner. He then gave her to
understand that if he bought her he expected her
to remain with him, to which, with the feelings of
a pure woman, she promptly replied that she did
not wish to exchange her miserable condition for
a worse one. He offered two horses for her, however,
but they were declined. Finding he could
not buy her, he told her that in San Miguel there
was a rich American merchant, named Benjamin
Hill, who would probably buy her. Her mistress
seemed anxious that she should fall into American
hands, and she was herself of course intensely
anxious to do so.
They reached San Miguel on the next day and
encamped there. She soon conveyed, through an
old woman of the place, a message to Mr. Hill.
He promptly appeared and asked her if she knew
Mrs. Harris, and if she had two children among the
Indians. Being answered in the affirmative, he
said: " You are the woman I have heard of," and
added, " I suppose you would be happy to get away
from these people." "I answered in the affirmative,
when he bid the wretched captive ' Good morning,'
and deliberately walked off without uttering another
word, and my throbbing bosom swelled with unutterable
anguish as he disappeared."
For two days longer she remained in excruciating
suspense as to her fate. Mr. Hill neither visited
nor sent her anything, while the Mexicans were very
kind (it should be understood that, while at Dolores,
she and her two little boys had learned to speak
Spanish and this was to her advantage now, as it
had been among her captors, more or less of whom
spoke that language.)
On the morning of the third day the Indians began
preparations for leaving, and when three-fourths
of the animals were packed and some had left, a
good-hearted Mexican appeared and offered to buy
Mrs. Horn, but was told it was too late. The applicant
insisted, exhibited four beautiful bridles and
invited the Indian owning her to go with her to his
house, near by. He consented. In passing Hill's
store on the way, her mistress, knowing she preferred
passing into American hands, persuaded her
to enter it. Mr. Hill offered a worthless old horse
for her, and then refused to give some red and blue
cloth, which the Indians fancied, for her. They
then went to the Mexican's house and he gave for
her two fine horses, the four fine bridles, two fine
blankets, two looking glasses, two knives, some
tobacco, powder and balls, articles then of very
great cost. She says: '"I subsequently learned
that for my ransom I was indebted to the benevolent
heart of an American gentleman, a trader, then
absent, who had authorized this Mexican to purchase
us at any cost, and had made himself responsible
for the same. Had I the name of my benefactor
I would gratefully record it in letters of gold
and preserve it as a precious memento of his truly
It will be shown in the sequel that the noble
heart, to which the ransomed captive paid homage,
pulsated in the manly breast of Mr. William
Donoho, then of Santa Fe, but a Missourian, and
afterwards of Clarksville, Texas, where his only
surviving child, Mr. James B. Donoho, yet resides.
His widow died there in 1880, preceded by him in
Theredemption of this daughter of multiplied
sorrows occurred, as stated, at San Miguel, New
Mexico, on the 19th of September, 1837 -one
year, five months and fifteen days after her capture
on the 4th of April, 1836, on the Nueces river.
On the 21st, much to her surprise, Mr. Hill sent
a servant requesting her to remove to his house.
This she refused. The servant came a second
time, saying, in the name of his master, that if she
did not go he would compel her to do so. A trial
was had and she was awarded to Hill. She remained
in his service as a serrant, fed on mush
and milk and denied a seat at the luxurious table
of himself and mistress till the 2d of November.
A generous-hearted gentlemen named Smith,
residing sixty miles distant in the mines, hearing
of her situation, sent the necessary means and
escort to have her taken to his place for temporary
protection. She left on the 2d and arrived at Mr.
Smith's on the 4th. The grateful heart thus notes
the change: " The contrast between this and the
house I had left exhibited the difference between
a servant and a guest, between the cold heart that
would coin the tears of helpless misery into gold
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Brown, John Henry. Indian wars and pioneers of Texas / by John Henry Brown., book, ; Austin, Tex.. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth6725/m1/42/: accessed May 29, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; .