Indian wars and pioneers of Texas Page: 89 of 894



a party that saw more of the entire episode
than any other one party. More than this, he took
care at once to gather all the facts not seen by him
and made copious notes of all, which have ever
since remained in his possession. In January, 1871,
in the town of Lavaca, the successor of Linnville,
he delivered (for a benevolent purpose) to a large
audience, embracing both ladies and gentlemen
resident in that section at the time of the raid, a
lecture historically narrating the events connected
with it, and received their public thanks for its
fullness, fairness and historical accuracy. These
remarks are justified by the false statements in
" Dewees' Letters from Texas," giving the credit
of fighting the battle of Plum Creek to four companies
of citizen volunteers, he claiming to have
been Captain of one of them, when in fact not one
of such companies was in the fight or even saw the
Indians. Tils falsehood was exposed by the writer
hereof, on the appearance of Dewees' book, in tle
Indianola Bulletin of January, 1853, an exposure
:ed in the intervening thirty-five years.
At the time of this raid the country between the
Guadalupe and San Marcos, on the west, and the
Colorado on the east, above a line drawn from Gonzales
to La Grange, was a wilderness, while below
that line it was tliinly settled. Between Gonzales
and Austin, on Plum creek, were two recent settlers,
Isom J. Goode an(l John A. Neill. From
Gonzales to within a few miles of La Grange there
was not a settler. There was not one between Gonzales
and Bastrop, nor one between Austin and San
Antonio. A road from Gonzales to Austin, then in
the first year of its existence, had been opened in
July, 1I :3.
This Indian rai(l was known to and encouraged
by Gen. Valcntin Canalizo, commandling in
Northern Mexico, witl headquarters in Matamoras.
The Comanches were easily persua(led into it in
retaliation for their loss of thirty-odd warriors in
the Council fight in San Antonio (luriing the previous
March. Renegade Mexicans and lawless In(lians
from some of the half-civilized tribes were induced
to join it. I)r. Branch T'. Archer, Secretary of
War, from information reaching him gave a warning
to the country two months earlier; but as no enemy
appeared, the occasion became derisively known as
the " Archer war."
On August 5, 1840, Dr. Joel Ponton and Tucker
Foley, citizens of the Lavaca (now Hallettsville)
neighborhood, en route to Gonzales, on the road
from Columbus and just west of I'onton's creek,
fell in with twenty-seven mounted warriors, and

were chased about three miles back to the creek.
Foley was captured, mutilated and killed. Ponton
received two wounds, but escaped, and during the
following night reached liome. Tile alarm was
givell, and next day thirty-six men, under Capt.
Adam Zumwalt, hastened to tlle scene, found and(
buried Foley, and then p)ursued the trail of the
In the meantime the mail carrier from Austin
arrived at Gonzales and reported a large and fresh
Indian trail crossing the road in the vicinity of
Plum creek, bearing towards tile coast. Thereupon
twenty-four volunteers, under Ben M1cCulloch, hastene(l
eastwardly to the Big Hill neighborhood,
about sixteen miles east. This is an extended
ridge bearing nortlleast and southwest, separating
tlhe waters of the Peach creeks of the Guadnlupe
from the heads of Iocky, Ponton's, anti
other tributaries of the Lavaca and the latter
stream itself. Indian raiders, bound below,
almost invariably crossed the Columbus and
Gonzales road at the most conspicuous elevation
of this ridge-the Big IIill. IIence MeCCullocli's
haste to that point. On the 6th McCulloch
an(l Zumwalt united on the trail andl rapidly followed
it in the direction of Vietoria. Some miles
below they fell in with sixty-five men from the
Cuero (now De WVitt County) settlements on tile
Guadalupe, anti some from Victoria, commanded
by Capt. John J. Tumlinson. IThe latter assumed
command of thie whole 125 by request and tlle march
was continued.
On thle same afternoon tlle In(lians approachedl
Victoria. At Spring creek, ablove the town, tliev
killed four negro(s belonging to Mr. Poage. On
the Texana road, east side of town, they met and
killed Col. I'inkney C'allwell, a l)rominelt citizen
an(l sol(lier of 18(;. Thley clhase(l various
persons into the town, killilg an unknown German,
a Mexican, and tliree more negroes. A
party hastily repaired to the sulurbs to confront
the enemy. Of their number Dr. Gray, Varlan
Richardson, William MeNuner an(d Mr. Daniels
were killed, a total of tliirteen.
The Indians retire(l antd lassedl the night on
Spring creek, liaving secured about fifteen hundrel
horses and mules on the prairie in front of Victoria,
* Arthur Foley was killed in the Fannin massacre,
March 27, 1836; James Foley was killed by Mexican
marauders west of the Nueces in 1839; Tucker was the
third brother to fall as slated. They were the sons of
an eccentric but wealthy planter (Washington Green Lee
Foley), who died in Lavaca County some years ago.
The father of Dr. Ponton was killed by Indians near his
home, on Ponton's creek, about 1834-35.

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Brown, John Henry. Indian wars and pioneers of Texas, book, 1880~; Austin, Texas. ( accessed March 24, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History,; .