Indian wars and pioneers of Texas Page: 83 of 894
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INDIAN TVARS AND PIONEERS OF TEXAS.
warriors commanded by their well-known and wily
old chief, "Capt. Jim Kerr," a name that he
assumed in 1826 as an evidence of his friendship
for the first settler of Gonzales, after that gentleman
had been broken up by other Indians in July
of that year. The medicine man of the party was
On the second day out and on the head waters of
Peach creek, they struck a fresh trail of foot
Indians, bearing directly for Gonzales. This, of
course, changed their plans. Duty to their threatened
neighbors demanded that they should follow
and break up this invading party.
They followed the trail rapidly for three or four
hours and then came in sight of the enemy, who
promptly entered an almost impenetrable thicket
bordering a branch and in a post oak country.
The hostiles, concealed from view, had every
advantage, and every attempt to reach a point from
which they could be seen or fired upon was exposing
the party attempting it to the fire of the
unseen enemy. Several hours passed in which
occasional shots were fired. From the first Capt.
Jim refused to enter or allow his men to enter the
thicket, saying the dangei was too great and Toncahuas
too scarce to run such hazards. One of
his men, however, from behind the only tree well
situated for defense, was killed, the only loss sustained
by the attacking party. Finally, impatient
of delay and dreading the approach of night,
McCulloch got a promise from Capt. Jim to so
place his men around the lower end of the thicket
as to kill any who might attempt to escape, while
he, his brother, Randall and Henson would crawl
through it from the upper end. Wolfin declined a
ticket in what he regarded as so dangerous a lottery.
Slowly they moved, observing every possible
"one by one "
each of the four
killed an Indian and two or three others were
wounded. The assailed Indians fired many shots
and arrows, but seemed doomed to failure. In
thickets nothing is so effective as the rifle ball.
Finally the survivors of the enemy (nine of an
original thirteen) emerged in the branch at the
lower end of the thicket and were allowed by Capt.
Jim to escape. When the whites effected an exit
the enemy was beyond reach, sheltered in a yet
This closed the campaign. The Toncahuas,
scalping the four dead hostiles, felt impelled by a
patriotic sense of duty to hasten home and celebrate
their victory. They fleeced off portions of the
thighs and breasts of the dead and all started in;
but they soon stopped on the way and went through
most of the mystic ceremonies attending a war
dance, thoroughly commingling weird wails over
their fallen comrade with their wild and equally
weird exultations over their fallen foes. This ceremony
over, they hastened home to repeat the savage
scenes with increased ferocity. McCulloch and
party, more leisurely, returned to Gonzales, to be
welcomed by the people who had thus been protected
from a night attack by the discgmfited
invaders. Such inroads by foot Indians almost
invariably resulted in the loss of numerous horses,
and one or more -alas! sometimes many -lives
to the settlers.
This was forty-eight and a half years ago; yet,
as I write this, on the 19th day of August, 1887,
Henry E. McCulloch, hale, well-preserved and spotless
before his countrymen, is my guest at the
ex-Confederate reunion in Dallas, and verifies the
accuracy of this narrative. Our friendship began
later in that same year, and every succeeding year
has been an additional record of time, attesting a
friendship lacking but eighteen months of ha f a
century. After 1839 his name is interwoven with
the hazards of the Southwestern frontier, as Texas
ranger -private, lieutenant and captain -down
to annexation in 1846; then a captain in and after
the Mexican war under the United States; later as
the first Confederate colonel in Texas, and from
April, 1862, to the close of the war, as a brigadiergeneral
in the Confederate army.
Moore's Defeat on the San Saba, 1839.
In consequence of the repeated and continued
inroads of the Indians through 1837 and 1838, at
the close of the latter year Col. John. H. Moore,
of Fayette, already distinguished alike for gallantry
and patriotism, determined to chastise them. Calling
for volunteers from the thinly settled country
around him, he succeeded in raising a force of fiftyfive
whites, forty-two Lipan and twelve Toncahua
Indians, an aggregate of one hundred and nine.
Col. Castro, chief of the Lipans, commanded his
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Brown, John Henry. Indian wars and pioneers of Texas, book, 1880~; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth6725/m1/83/: accessed May 21, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; .