Indian wars and pioneers of Texas Page: 9 of 894
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Indian Wars and Pioneers of Texas.
The first contest on the soil of Texas between
Americans and Indians antedates the visit of Moses
Austin to the country in 1820; but the combatants
were not Colonists; they were a part of the second
expedition of Capt. James Long in aid of the
patriots in the Mexican revolution. . His first expedition,
entering East Texas by land, had been
defeated in detail and driven from the country by
the troops of Spain, sent from San Antonio. This
second expedition came by water to Bolivar Point,
opposite the east end of Galveston Island, and fortified
that place. Some of the expedition, under
Don Felix Trespalacios, and among whom was the
subsequently distinguished martyr of Bexar in 1835,
Col. Benjamin R. Milam, sailed down the coast
and landed near Tampico. Fifty-two men remained
with Long, among whom were John Austin (commander
at Velasco in 1832), John McHenry,
deceased in Jackson County in 1885, and a number
of educated and daring Americans from different
States of the Union. In December, 1853, in De
Bow's New Orleans Review, the author of this work,
after repeated interviews with Capt. McHenry,
long his neighbor, gave this account of that first
strictly American-Indian fight in Texas, late in the
autumn of 1819. Its verity has never been questioned:
Long was at Bolivar, a French sloop
freighted with wines and Mexican supplies, bound
to Cassano, stranded on Galveston Island near the
present city. The Carancahua Indians, to the
number of 200 warriors, were then encamped in
the immediate vicinity, and at once attacked and
butchered all on board the sloop, plundered the
craft, and entered upon a general jollification and
war-dance. Long (discovering these facts) determined
to chastise them for their baseness. Accordingly
after nightfall, at the head of thirty men
(including McHenry), he passed over in small
boats to the island, and made an unexpected assault
upon the guilty wretches, who were then greatly
heated by the wines.
The Carancahuas, however, though surprised,
instantly seized their weapons, and yelling furiously,
met their assailants with determined courage.
With such superior numbers, they were a full match
for Long. The combatants soon came to a handto-hand
fight of doubtful issue; but Long directed
his men in a masterly manner and effected a retreat
to his boats, leaving thirty-two Indians killed, three
of his own men dead, and two badly besides several
slightly wounded. George Early was severely
wounded. Long's party took two Indian boys
prisoners, and retained them, one of whom was
accidentally killed some time afterwards. This is
doubtless the first engagement known between the
war-like Carancahuas and the Americans.
THE FIRST CONTEST WITH THE COLONISTS.
The first two schooner loads of immigrants to
Texas, under the auspices of Stephen F. Austin,
landed on the west bank, three miles above the
mouth of the Colorado, late in March, 1822, having
left New Orleans on the 7th of February. The first
of the two vessels to arrive was the schooner Only
Son, owned by Kincheloe and Anderson, two of the
immigrants, and commanded by Capt. Benjamin
Ellison, who made many subsequent trips to our
coast and died at his home in Groton, Connecticut,
July 17, 1880. [The writer met him at his own
home in 1869 and 1870, and found him to be a
refined and elegant old Christian gentleman, with
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Brown, John Henry. Indian wars and pioneers of Texas, book, 1880~; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth6725/m1/9/?rotate=270: accessed May 20, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; .