The Texas Republican. (Brazoria, Tex.), Vol. 1, No. 56, Ed. 1, Saturday, October 10, 1835 Page: 1 of 4
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f Vol. II.
Brazoria Saturday October 10 1835.
rmnnriTnTiniv id nDTUTPn I
XllJU l.VjfVliXjlAl IO X .n X w
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P. C. GRAY o
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From tr.e Net
THE-Stf Ak'E tTER
'Some strange com."110.11011.
Is in his brain; he bites us I'P
Stops on a sudden looks upon
Then lays his ringer on his temple;
Springs out into fast gait; then stops.
- Strikes his breast hard; and then anon
His ej'e against the moon; in most
2ii3n-wcn h;n:-sct himself.
Suaks. Heniw: Vin.
A lew vears age near the sunsat of j
anautunma! !a 1 TCuc'itd a populous
town on the banks of the Mississippi.
An accident to the steamboat wherein
i liad-ernnarKcd and by wiucn raanv
. .1 ..!. .1. 1 1
liviK! mnrn hi) Ihrmijm the 5"rnlf5S.I
P . j j . I
ness of un ignorant and irunken engis
i i i j. . r
neer had cempe led the directors of
!' 7. ' .... ... -
' ! i . '
cempany and repair the damages that
1...1LJII a V b ;
. ... ' 1 . j -
i.-J.u.... ..j.-iL.-. l..i.
on board that unpretend'ngcraft which
were beynd the reach of mechanist or
clururgeon. The dead mere strewing
!he deck; fragments of the boiler and
broken wcels were lying around; and
masses of soat and cinders from the
unclean pipes blackened the dedc. On
'every side wore corpses and wailing
friends and tearful eyes. A few settees
had been brought up from the cabin
and on the mattrasseswith which they
were covered the dead were laid. It
was an awful scene. Two haurs be-
fore all was well; and every heart seem
ed bounding with the rapid impulse of
life'and hope. I myself escaped by a
miracle. I was seated nt the stern of
the boat near the end window of the
cabin over the rudder watching as is
my wont to see the turbulent waters
boil around the keel and mark the
landscape flit and recede. A neise
like an earthquake which made the
shuddering boat receil many yards
a rush of het steam through the brolc
n windows the hissing of the pie-
ces nf the boiler as they drepped into
the river and after one sad pause of
v an instant the shrieks and groans of
tia AmaA rttri.tir nnrl fho eiirvii'inrr
mourners- these were the signs which
betokened the appalling disaster and
convinced roe visibly for the first time;
what a vast amount of pain' and misery
can be crowded into a passing moment
It is a sight ef horror to behold the
strong man smitten down in his might:
to see the pride of womenhood defaced
and blighted by sudden death; to hear
the lamentations of grief and despair
where bat a little time before were
heard the light laugh of pleasure and
the tones of delight. Hew distant was
the thought ef harm; from each and all!
Truly it is said by the great bard ol
Jteaure 'We knew what we are but
not what we shall be.' We weave the
garlands of joy evea by the precipice
of death; we disport in the sunbeam
linoundiujofthe storm that is booming
I far and will soon be at hand!
The sun descended as we entered
the town which was situated on'ascen-
ding grounds near the river. A swell
of upland overlooking near at hand a
few p .tches ef green which I took to
bo cotton fields and which apparent
ly commanded an extended view of the
shares and course of ihc great Father
f Rivers strcached rearward Irom
l.i i r :.i : .
mc iiiicu. vvt'ituiui; wiiii uAuiiuiiiciu
and gratitude for my deliverance; and
seeing also that there had thronged to
thewarfa large number of citizens
sufficient for every purpose of charita-
ble assistance toward the sufferers and
the dead on board of the steam-boat I
selected that pertjon of my luggage
which had not been destroyed and
after seeking a hotel made the best of
my way to the upland of which I have
spaken. I felt like one snatched fr.m
lie grave; nnd deeply impressed with
he sense of the danger from which 1
had escaped through the watchfulness
of a benignant providence I deters
mined to seek sonic hat of retirement
and quint my agitated spirit with thank-
When I gained the c ninence. I fnund
that the view was calculated to heigh
ten and evpanti all the leelings With
which my heart was surcharged to thr
overflow. A few gorgeous cluuds be-
dight in crimson .and purple were sail'
ing in glory along ic melancholy west;
d.rk cypresses Jiung to their tons with
trailing clusters of wild vine colored
with mingled violet amher and omer-
ud stvod in rebel befare the horizon;
v'lnlc" aar on cither hand the gre.it
Mis."iss BP was Peen rolling alng with
"' .nrt" nf n 'liveriiia ndiancc and exhi-b.tiho-
ev:u a' thai .distance: tue tur-
bulent might wl;h makes it scciniue
a prostrate Niagara. At a distance
... !. .ViMm...t. r.fthe view it was
III (.'AUlCA'iui' w
bisf in dark woods at..d r1'3')'
lands; an emblem roofe stfiki.' at the
moment o that obscurity wVh like
the shadow curiam in the vi'ien ftf:r.
z i overhung jhe sirvm- of life
tunc making of the Past a dream and
ot the Fu.ure a vast unknown.
It is impossible to describe the scnsi-
.-'....: . ... !.... ....
IIOI15 Wllllill ailllliaic nil uuou.i. ui uu
American as he looks at this runmnir
" i..i ii.
ocean ana the lotiff long vale tiirougli
. . IT . i
which it rol s. He gazes enward with
the e-o ol anticipation to
taut pcnod.vhcn that aln
the not dis
(able stretcir of landscape shall become
bnslrt with towns and vocal with the
sounds of human industry; when the
busy hum of scholars at their tasks of
artists at their labors ol the husband-
man folding his flocks vr garnering
the rich treasures of. the harvest shall
succeed the moanincs of the cypress
nnd the mingled howling3 of roaming
beasts of prey and yet wilder Indians:
whon the light of civilization and reli-
gion shall extend over forests and saw
annahs until the progress of our peo
pie through the dominions of the recedu
ing Abonginese shall bo in the ex-
pressive words of Scripture 'as the
morning spread upon the mountains:
;i great people and a strong; of whom
there hath not been eer the likenei-
iher shall be any more after it te the
cars of many ccneratiene.'
s I turned to survey the prospect
I saw at no great distance from the
snot where I stood a white tent or pa-
vilion surmounted with a parti-colored
flag which was waving te the evening
breeze and on which I read the words.
'The Sxake Eateb.' The tent
was open on one side like a oor bc
fore which there was a curtain en-
ches were placed in an amphitheatri-
cal form before the tent which were
then filling with people. The faint
glimmer of an early lamp was perceiv-
able behind the dark curtain; and mo-
ved with curiosity I bent my steps to-
wards the "assemblage. I paid the re-
quisite sum to the person who kept the
gate of a picket fence which surround-
ed the amphitheatre and took my seat
among the crovd in the open air.
Twilight had now set in and the
s winkling of the stars could be seen' 01.
rhe broad bosom of the Mississippi at
it moved in voiceless solemnity toward
the ocean. The cypresse assume r
;he semblenco ef weird and ghastl;
forms against the sky and the occa
s-ionnlaweep of a belated hawk fron
he far off prairies with his disma
scream gave token that the day hat.
died and that its dirge was sounding.
Presently at the tinkle of a little bell
the curtain ef the tent was lifted. A
young man was seated at a tabic with
glass and apparently subdivided into
twe or more drawers. He seemed
about eight aad twenty years of age:
his face was thin and a leaden wan
ness verspread his features but his
saken eye had that supernatural bright-
ness so often seen in his eyes of the
consumptive. His voice though faint
wa musical uninterrupted ny an oc-
casional cough; aid as he removed his
CrilVnf. nnrl tllrnnrl hie irriuli.indeni'nr
cravat and turned his wrisbands over
the cuffs of his coat he said:
"The company has assembled lo see
the Snake Eater. If any one wishes to
satisfy himself with regard to the rep
ile which I am now about to devour in
the presence of you all and to restore
him again from my throat alie. he
will please draw nigh.'
He turned the closed cover . of the'
box over toward the audience as he
made this observation und disclose to
the sight a hideous rattlesnake. Ii
was coiled and when disturbed
elevated Us spiry head from its circle
and while its forked tongue played with
a rapid motion it darted against the
glass in vain attempts to escape while j
us ituues cuiuimicu to quiver Willi a
violent and whizzing sound accompan.
ied by that apparent flattening 'ef the
head which dciwtcs the highest pich
of resentment. Its dilated eve shot
nrc; and the coarso scales on its con-
torted form grew rugged in its anger.
After this upoe the Snake Eater
placed the box in its original position.
V chilly .shudder ran through the as-
sembly when after turning his baclc
to the bchelder he bent his face far a
momeii at the edge of one of the draw-
ers witna kind of chuckling sound and
dicw forth Jdic horrid rcpi'ilc with his
hcad-'n1"'" lonake now seemed lan
gum and pa.
icad of tue v
guid and passive through the rattfes
to sound. He nlaced tli
cuomous serpent to his
''Is 'ie Ppeti his mouth and the
iur.'i' spire ueg-in to descend. It was
no appalling sight lo see that huge
moiUlrum horroiJum making its way in-
to the jhr?at of u human being. The
cheeks of the young man began to di-
late and hi:5 complexion became a liv-
id purple fits eyes seemed bursting
from theti sockets masses of loan
gathered about his lips and he look-
ed as ii in the severest struggles of the
last mortal agony. as if tasting ot
death. Several of the audience shriek-
ed with afirigVt.
After apparently mumbling nnd
craunching his fearful meal the Snake
Eater again partially epened his lips
and thefoiked tongue wf the reptile
was seen p'ayingj like threads of bright
red fire bc'wern them Presently it
began to cm rge. It moved very slow
ly as if held back by ether serpents
that h'ad preceded it in the awful de-
glutition of its master. As the long
loathsome felds hung from his lips and
continuod to extend the fnaturetof the
Snake Eater assumed their wonted as-
pect; and in a moment the reptile had
cmeiged was replaced in the box and
the feat was accomplished.
Alter seating lumselt tor a lew sec-
ends to recover from the perilous ex
ecution of his taski the Snake Eater
rose and addressed the audience. He
desired them to believe that he had
wished not to appal but to surprise
them. There was he acknowledged
an arl in what he had done but it was
a mysterious and undisceverable one.
'They call mc mad' he added bitterfy
'and a conjuror; but a conjurer I- am
nene and though I had been mad I am
not now; yet often do I wish I wore.
You will denominate my calling one
of foolish hazard and perhaps of dis-
gust; but did vau know all you would
judge of me better. I thank you for
your attendance; and if I succeed in
surprising you my aim has been won.'
The audience in the enthusiasm ef
western feeling gave the performer
Ihrec hearty cheers and retired with
wonder-stricken faces; "I lingered be-
hind until the last had departed and
-stepped into the tent whero the Snake
Eater had drawn a few eatables from
'lis knapsack which he was discussing
vith considerable relish. I found him
-ociable but sad. By degrees my ob-
servations excited a sympathy in his
mind; and as we sat. towards midnight
in his solitary house of canvass the
dark .Mississippi rolling below the
pale stars fretting the vault above and
the far West strcchimr in dimnp
around he thus began:
The Snake Eater's Story.
"I am not my friend what you
sec me. Though ragged hen-abouts as
one who has dealings with 'familiar
spirits and wizards' I am a only heart-
broken man the child of sorrow and
almost without hope. Do not speak
phathy can at beat bu'tiuvaken a-fJcgh
.r . .. .. ... . j. ..
uius toryour sympathy; tor human sym
f ll aII.- . E - . - - I a . Y
uiu iruua hi mouruiui lenuerncss inmv
Breast whitliout peunng ono ray of
sunshine upon the troubled fountain:
they must (low on in darkness without
a prospect of day. Liste.i to ne.
"Eight short years ago with the
spirit of adventure striking within me.
I came as it were directlv from the
.Vnltz nf :in nnii-nrtrif-r in .. rf iU A
nmir. St.-.i- tn !;' rr r
- .. v .w ...... a... I.UUIIII 1. A
came with prodigal endowments from
ny father; and seeking the then fron-
tiers of civilization embarked in trade
with settlers and Indians. I bought
furs and sold all kinds of mercantile
riches. I prospered; my capilal re-
doubled itself in all respects I was
prosperous. You may perhaps desire
to know my motive for thus leaving the
charms of society and seeking the se-
clusion of the wilderness human cf.
fecuon. An uncle had preceded me.
He had a ward to whom I had been
deeply and devotedly attached from my
childhood. She was the paragonof her
sex I speak not as a rhapsodist or
with enthusiasm; for the leveliest beirtg
that ever cam? from the hands of God
in this lower world could not excel
her for beauty. She made the beauty
perfect by the graces of a mind pn fr-
aud clear as forming diamond. Her
voice was melody; her smile a burst of
living and pearly light; and her calm
uliie eyes were tha sweet expositors
at a sinless affection. 1 he young peach
vheu the airs and beams of summer
'lave awakened Us ripening plus'ies
as it gls-vs- among . leaves tha'
rcmh'e to the rich chant of the nightin-
gale.surpassed not her cheeks.for bloom
or loveliness when the fair hair divi-
ded on her brow and fell in masses of
waving and silken gold around them.
Trul' I loved her with my whole
-.on!. She was my idol my cyno-
sure the centre of every desire and
the obpet of every desire.
'We were married. Time went On
and brought me a bud from the rose
Jiat I had established in my green bow-
er of home. We wcro blest indeed.
loof from saciety though we missed
a few of its luxuries) we 'uffercd none
of its vexations and demoralizing cor-
ruptions. On Sabbath days we redo
many miles through the wilderness to
'.vorship our Maker in his sanctuary
and hear the word of1 life from the lips
of those who wurneyed through the
forost On missionary enterprises and
for the edification of the believing em-
bassadors fram a court of which the
most noble ceurt of earth affords not
the faintest emblem.
On the day that our dear little Sarah
attained her second year she was sea-
ted by the counter and her mother was
standing by when three fierce looking
Indians entered the store. They had
evidently travelled a long way for their
leggins were torn and dirty and their
feet almost bare. I recognized one of
them instantly as The Crouching Wolf
a desperate being who hung alternate
ly arounu me SKins 01 settlements oeg-
ging for rum or getting it in barter for
small peltry which he obtained in the
chaser Just one year before he had
visited me" for the puroose of prbcuring
the lira water or ardent spirit. res
fused him and he left mc with the vow
of future vengeance.
"Hoaghl said he as he reeled up
with his grufi'looking companions to
wards the counter where my child was
playing .and my wife stood: The
Crouching Wolf said he would come
hack. He wants the talking water
he wants that or revenge. He will
"1 tried to reason with him but he
was deaf to reason. He had already
tasted from the flagron of one of his
red comrades and the fumes were in
"Come rriedicino-man the Wolf
wants the fire milk. Where is it? He
cannot wait. His spirit is up and his
forehead is warm.'
"I saw that he grow desperate
but my resolution was fited: stenly
denied him. It w.i a fdtal denial.
"Ho stepped back a few paces
growled some guttural sentences to his
companions and the hree then advan-
ced towards my child. I was motion-
less and paralyzed with terror. As
the Wolf approached my daughter he
drew a tomahawk from his belt and
flourished it on high. I sprang taward
him but was pushed back by his com
panions the dear innocent unaffrig.
ted smiled in the face of the Crouch-
ing Wolf and it seemed as if the cheer-
ful purity of her look stayed his venge-
ful arm. He paused until a scream
from the mother aroussd the terror of
her first-born. She shrunk back from
the relentless savage while her mother
was kept like myself at bay and whilo
her sweet red lip chiselled like her
mother's was "quivering with dismay
she said in childish simplicity:
"Naughty Indian if he iiurt3 Sa-
rah ma will be angry and punish him.
As she said this she burst iulo tears
her last for ever!
In one instant the trenchant wea
peon of the infurated Indian clove as"
sunder the head of my babe; in the
next his excited comrades Iiad mur.-
dered the wife of my bosom. I ha-e
an indistinct and horrid remembrance
of my burning store. the red fiends
yelling over the consuming roof and.
walls my escape to the forest; the
rest was but silence and oblivion. I
was & mad men!
"Ten months after I found myself
in New Orleans. I had reached th
city no one knows how bad been.
c6nvcyed lo a hospital kindly trca'cd
and discharged as cured but an out-
cast and a beggar. Misfortunes sel-
dom corns single. My father had died
and as I had already received my share
of his estate the residue melted away
among a host of brothers. My inher-i
itance had been destryed by the Indi
ans. I was without a non.o or alnenn
"II iw I subsisted I scarcely know-
U last as I was one day walking oil
the levee I saw a group collected a-
round an Indian who was performing-
certain tricks from a box. with a rattle-
snake. It was the Crouching Wolf.
"The murderer of my wife and
child!" I exclaimed as I penetrated
thrcurh the ring and with one huge-
blow felled the vile monster to the
earth. I siczed him by the throat.
I placed my knee upon his breast. la
a few moments he was a distorted and
ghastly corpse beneath my feet.
"My award of retribution was con-
sidered just and no jffort was made to
arrest me. Availing; myself of the box:
belonging to the Crouching Wolf
which I contended was mine as a debt
I soon learnt the mystery of his art a
it were by intuition. The upper draw-
er of the box contained the real rattle-
snake; the other merely the skin ef
one which could be inflated by the
breath at wiih The motion
of the tongue which was dried
and had wires within was produced by
loadstone; the movement of the rattles
by the same cause.
"'Filled from the lungs it could rea
dily be taken into the nVmth and com j
pressea into a very smau cora;ius 1
nrwt ivViil po.nininff nittintrcl inflated!
.... .... .-(.-...jj ....
again. I bought a new snake trom a
museum which T killed and oreDaretl
according to the model before me. 1
could not endure the thought of evea
usin the same instruments formerly
employed by the destroyer of all I most
loved on earth and I turned from the
trickery with fcelin js of almost positive
A little practice mido me an adeot
in the mystery ofsnake-cating and t
have since wandered in loneliness frent
town to town attempting this curious
enterprize. Mv pecuniary sucenss has
been sufficient for mv comfort and con
veniencc and the danger of the fea.
is only in appearance. With a slight
exertion I can resolve my face irjro'
the colers and contortions y.ou witnes-
sed this evening aad "which heigntaa
the interest of the spectaelfr.fBut
these things I can only terapefflriry
divert my thoughts for I"ca"rryjwitb-
in my heart an aching fever which
no prosperity can allay or remove
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The Texas Republican. (Brazoria, Tex.), Vol. 1, No. 56, Ed. 1, Saturday, October 10, 1835, newspaper, October 10, 1835; Brazoria, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth80274/m1/1/: accessed August 21, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting The Dolph Briscoe Center for American History.