Friday, February 24, 2012

Big Jack Rabbit

Going through and old chest looking for something to post on my other blog.
I ran across this picture of one of my uncles skinning this dang rabbit.. It was taken back in the 40's some where around Austin, Texas, judging by the shadow it looks like late afternoon. My dad said they ate for a month off that rabbit, rabbit stew, rabbit chile, leg of rabbit, & the back strap was to kill for. You just don't see to many like this any more around here. I'm guessing with over population they have shrunk quite a bit.
I just wish he had it mounted.



Wednesday, February 22, 2012


I reading  Jess & Dan's blog  they are planting some Yucca's on their place. Well that brought back some painful memory's for me. I was riding my 4-wheeler around my place and spotted some Yucca's over in a lot of brush.

I got the bright idea it would be nice to clear this out & make a picnic & camping spot for friends that wanted to come out and camp. I figured if I took that 4-wheeler and knock down that brush I would scare what ever monsters where in there out. Did you know that the brush out there has THORNS on it. I do now. My 4-wheeler was green when I started & was red when I finished. I never bled so much in all my life. In fact I had a friend stop by to see what I was doing and he came to the conclusion that I didn't have enough blood left in me to finish what I had started. Well as you can tell I'm still kicking. I didn't bleed out. I ran around in circles on that 4-wheeler and knocked that brush down. Did you know that a 4-wheeler tire can have 10 plugs in it and still hold air? I poked more holes in them tires than Swiss cheese has. I even had slime in all four of them.
 After I knocked all all that brush down it was time for the pick and rake to go to work. I dug all the roots from that brush up and started raking it in piles. I figured if I didn't get the roots up that the brush would come back like gang busters being how I had fertilized it with all that blood. After digging and raking for a month I finally finished up Yucca Flats.

This year when I went out. All my dang Yucca's had fallen down deader than a door nail. The good news is baby Yucca's are coming up in there place. You think all that blood killed them?

History of Texas has moved

I moved all my blogging about Texas history to here.

Terlingua Jim, was not the right name to call history about Texas. From now on this blog will be about my life & things around Terlingua.
Thanks,to all who read my blog. I'm kind of new to this blogging so I hope you stick around until I get settled in.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

The McCoys

The McCoy's were on my Mothers side of the Family

Jesse McCoy, 32, born 1804 in Gyrosburg, Tennessee, a resident of Gonzales and Private rifleman in the Gonzales Rangers.
He was son of John and Martha Dunbar McCoy who were among the first settlers of the DeWitt Colony at Old Station on
the Lavaca. Jesse McCoy arrived with his parents in the DeWitt Colony on 9 Mar 1827 from MO where he received one
fourth league. His tract on which he paid his first installment "At Gonzales, this 4th of July 1835, we having been appointed by
the Ayto of Gonzales as Commissioners of the State for collecting the State dues for lands under the 25 art of the law of the
24th of March, 1825 certify that we have been paid the sum of three Dollars and ninety cents and 5/6 in full of first installments
in Jesse McCoy's Quarter of a league of land deeded to him by the Commissioner Jose Antonio Navarro. Thomas R. Miller
Adam Zumwalt B. D. McClure" was on the east bank of the Guadalupe River south of Gonzales on the current
Gonzales-DeWitt County border. The author's 3rd great grandparents David and Mary Ann Zumwalt Burket purchased a
portion on the tract after their return in 1837 from the Run Away Scrape. Jesse McCoy's widow was named Kitty.

Jesse McCoy's father and family of four received a sitio of land next to Jesse McCoy's tract at the same time. Father John
"Devil" or "Padre" McCoy as he was known by Indians and the Mexicans, respectively, was the head of the McCoy clan in TX
and Indian fighter in LincolnCo, MO before coming to TX. John McCoy and members of the Zumwalt family served together
in Daniel Boone’s Mounted Rangers in MO and directly under his son Capt. Nathan Boone in LincolnCo, MO. On 12 Apr
1834, Jesse McCoy requested " have his stock mark and Brand recorded which he says is as follows--Ear mark a
swallow fork in each ear and an under bit in the left, and his brand the letters J and T joined which he declares to
be his true mark and that he has no other." A claim presented to the House of Representatives and the Senate of the
Republic of Texas in Dec 1837 by "Alamo widow" Kitty McCoy suggests that Jesse provided supplies to the young Texas
Army: "...the first auditor is authorized to audit the claim of the widow Kitty McCoy as per vouchers of Byrd
Lockhart and Colonel William H. Patton for beef and corn valued at three hundred and seventy dollars in military
script." Joseph Rowe, Speaker of the House (signed); S.H. Everett, Pres. Pro Tem Senate (signed); Approved by Sam
Houston (signed).

RUNAWAY SCRAPE. The term Runaway Scrape was the name Texans applied to the flight from their homes when Antonio López de Santa Anna began his attempted conquest of Texas in February 1836. The first communities to be affected were those in the south central portions of Texas around San Patricio, Refugio, and San Antonio. The people began to leave that area as early as January 14, 1836, when the Mexicans were reported gathering on the Rio Grande. When Sam Houston arrived in Gonzales on March 11 and was informed of the fall of the Alamo, he decided upon retreat to the Colorado River and ordered all inhabitants to accompany him. Couriers were dispatched from Gonzales to carry the news of the fall of the Alamo, and when they received that news, people all over Texas began to leave everything and make their way to safety. Houston's retreat marked the beginning of the Runaway Scrape on a really large scale. Washington-on-the-Brazos was deserted by March 17, and about April 1 Richmond was evacuated, as were the settlements on both sides of the Brazos River. The further retreat of Houston toward the Sabine left all of the settlements between the Colorado and the Brazos unprotected, and the settlers in that area at once began making their way toward Louisiana or Galveston Island. The section of East Texas around Nacogdoches and San Augustine was abandoned a little prior to April 13. The flight was marked by lack of preparation and by panic caused by fear both of the Mexican Army and of the Indians. The people used any means of transportation or none at all. Added to the discomforts of travel were all kinds of diseases, intensified by cold, rain, and hunger. Many persons died and were buried where they fell. The flight continued until news came of the victory in the battle of San Jacinto. At first no credence was put in this news because so many false rumors had been circulated, but gradually the refugees began to reverse their steps and turn back toward home, many toward homes that no longer existed.

Coming To Texas

 I have no idea who this person is but I thought his story on coming to Texas was interesting.

From the Diary of Thomas J. Pilgrim
In the fall of 1828, 1 started from the western part of the state of New York for Texas. I was in a company with 60 other men, women and children. We were led by Elias R. Wightman, who had lived for about 3 years there and was well fitted to be the leader. We traveled in wagon to Olean Point, on the head waters of the Alleghany River. There we built a raft in two pieces. In it we placed our baggage and pushed off to drift with the current. The first day we had no trouble, but by night we were cold and wet. We sought shelter in an Indian village on the north bank of the stream. The old chief seemed moved with pity at our condition, for the weather was very bad. He took us to a cabin about 20 feet square, with a good floor and a fireplace. The floor was covered with peas and beans in the shuck, which he showed us could be scraped up into one corner and a fire made in the fireplace. Truly grateful for his kindness, we soon had a good fire and a plain but tasty meal and all slept soundly. The next day being Sunday, we remained and spent it in such devotional exercises as circumstances would permit. Monday morning we again started on our voyage, having taken on board a pilot to go with us as far as Pittsburgh. About noon we heard a roaring ahead that sounded like a waterfall, but we learned that it came from a dam built across the stream. On one side was a mill. On the other a narrow space was left, through which a gentle current flowed and where the boats or rafts could pass safely. But our pilot kept in the center of the current, and we passed over a fall about 4 feet high. Everyone was drenched with water.
We all fell to dipping out water with such vessels as we could find and were soon on our way again. Before night we overtook a raft of pine plank and climbed on it. When we reached Pittsburgh, we discharged our pilot who had caused us much trouble and done us little good. At Pittsburgh we had intended to take a steamer, but finding none ready to leave, we continued on our raft to Cincinnati. We remained there for several days, and I bought a set of Spanish books and began to study the language. Soon we took passages on a steamer for New Orleans and in due time reached that city. We remained there about two weeks, waiting for a ship. At length we found a little vessel from Maine, run by just three men and only one of these was very capable. The captain offered either to sell us the vessel for five hundred dollars or to take us to Texas for that amount. We accepted the latter offer and provided ourselves suitably for the voyage. Before long we were drifting down the Mississippi in perfect calm, at the mercy of the current. This calm continued for many days, until we were far out of sight of land. We were now on the Gulf, drifting about we knew not where, and there was not enough breeze to move the vessel. Finally the wind rose and blew a gale straight ahead. Soon all on board were seasick except the crew and me and many wished that they had never started. For two days the gale continued, and then again there was a perfect calm. And thus gale and calm succeeded each other until we found ourselves off the entrance to Matagorda Bay. The wind was blowing directly out of the pass, and there was little chance of being able to enter, but we resolved to try. Of all those on board, but the crew, I was the only one who knew how to sail a vessel, and the work falling on me was great. Besides we were nearly out of food. For several days we had only one-half pint each of water daily. Part of the time I drank none of mine, giving it to the children. It was plain that we must do everything possible to make harbor soon. For 24 hours we beat against wind and current, but all in vain. We actually lost 3 miles. Finally we ran down to Aransas and entered the Bay safely. Soon all was landed. Fires were made and water was secured. The women did some badly needed washing of clothes. Twelve of the men took their rifles and went in search of game, leaving only the captain, the mate and myself behind.
The vessel was anchored about 200 yards from shore. We had been there only about an hour when we saw several canoes coming down the bay with Indians. These we knew to be Karankawas, who were said to be cannibals. As there wasnly one old musket on board, we feared for the safety of the women and children. The Indians landed and went in the direction of the women. The mate and I jumped into our little boat. He took the oars, and I took the old musket and we rowed toward the Indians, but kept between them and the women. We drew near the Indians and I kept the musket pointed toward the chief, who motioned for me not to fire and made signs of friendship. This position we kept for some time, for we were hoping that the hunters would soon return. They did so presently and we then felt safe. The women were taken on board first and then the men. Lastly, a few Indians were allowed to come. They showed no unfriendliness. Their canoes were well stored with fish, all neatly dressed. They traded to us as many fish as we needed and then left. We were truly glad to have escaped so well. After staying here for several days and supplying ourselves with water and such food as we could get, we again set sail. The wind was now fair and we shaped our course off Pass Caballo. The Captain gave me the helm and went to his berth for sleep. In a few minutes the wind had died down and it was calm. I thought our chance for landing was small and so told Mr. Wightman. I told him I had charge of the vessel, and if he thought best I would beach her, and we would make our way as best we could by land. He said that would never do, for we were more than a hundred miles from any white settlement. We would have no means of travel by land, and the country was full of hostile Indians. Our only safety was in staying with the vessel.
I awoke the captain, who at once saw our danger. We decided to try to make it up the pass. The mate and I went ahead in the boat and sounded it. Then taking a long rope, we guided our vessel into the bay. Soon we were within 2 miles of Matagorda, which then contained two families. The next day Mr. Wightman went to the settlement. He returned with the present of a Christmas dinner, which consisted of some hominy and fresh milk. We promptly ate it. The next day, we landed having been 22 days from New Orleans. Some went to work at once to build homes on the spot. Five young men started up the country. We were told it was 22 miles to a settlement and as we had been so long on board a ship, we thought it would be easy to walk this distance. We started without a blanket or over garment and with only three little biscuits. This was the last of December, and the country was nearly covered with water. The only road was a dim trail through the high grass. About noon the rain began to fall in torrents, and the wind blew strong from the north. The water grew deeper and night was coming, with no sign of a settlement. Three of the men declared they would go no farther, I told them that if they stayed there it meant certain death, but they said if life depended on it they could go no farther. Near us was an old liveoak, which had fallen and lain there for ages. On the underside of its trunk we built a fire, which we kept burning through the night. Having enough tall grass to raise us above the water, we laid down and rested quite well, in spite of the rain and wind. In the morning we arose and started out in the rain, wind and water. We had gone only about a mile when we heard the crowing of chickens. Soon we struck a plain path and were shortly at the home of Daniel Rawls. here we found plenty of food, for which no charge was made. The rain continued to fall and in the evening of the second day, we saw a miserable looking object coming. He was one of our number whom we had left behind. He had left with another, from whom he had become separated on the way. Two horses were soon ready to go and hunt for him. Mr. Rawls riding one horse and I the other. When darkness overtook us we entered a thicket and staked out our horses. By breaking off limbs of bushes and covering them with long moss, we made a bed above the water, on which we slept.
In the morning we continued our way to Matagorda, only to find that the lost man had not returned. Hearing nothing of him, we retraced our steps and found that in our absence he had come in. Here we all remained until the weather cleared up, when we separated and left. The others went eastward to the Brazos, I on foot and alone, made my way north to San Felipe, about 60 miles distant.

Monday, February 20, 2012

A little more about the canon

There was a link on my last post to this. The post was so long I don't know if you went here so I thought I would post this piece about the canon. In my old age I love reading about Texas History.

Old Come and Take It Flag
Battle of Gonzales
October 1835
The "Lexington-Concord" of Texas
Centralista Dictatorship. Through the summer of 1835, DeWitt Colonists, the majority who were loyal Federalist Mexican citizens, followed closely with increasing alarm the assumption of dictatorial powers by Santa Anna, the annulment of the liberal Constitution of 1824, dissolution of the legislature of Coahuila y Texas and, particularly, reports of his brutal tyranny, rape and pillaging of any one who opposed. The news of how the dictator rewarded troops with two days of rape and looting of the citizenry of Zacatecas for their resistance was particularly frightening to those with developed homesteads and families. On a visit to Gonzales after returning from Mexico City, Edward Gritten, reputedly a friend of Santa Anna himself, found the DeWitt Colonists still loyal to the Mexican government, desirous of peace, but ready to resist any centralista troops that entered the area other than those in support of the Constitution of 1824. Gritten managed to convince Colonel Ugartechea, commander of Mexican forces in San Antonio, to send letters of assurance that troops were not coming to the colony. At this time, the majority of DeWitt Colonists still opposed overt and armed resistance to the Mexican authorities and disapproved of the more aggressive talks about war and independence going on in San Felipe throughout 1835. In fact, Dewitt Colonists distributed the letters of assurance from Ugartechea to other settlements to show justification for their loyalty to the government and disapproval of insurrection.
Skepticism and mistrust increased rapidly when the brutality of the Centralista troops became reality within DeWitt Colony territory rather than distal theory and propaganda of firebrand Texas "hawks" and War Party members. Without provocation a Mexican soldier attacked Jesse McCoy in Adam Zumwalt’s store with the butt of his rifle and news of the altercation spread rapidly among the outlying farms and ranches of the colony.
Recall of the Gonzales Cannon. As part of the disarmament of Texians or the consolidation of armaments for suppression of Federalist sentiments by the Centralista (Santanista) dictatorship, the military authorities in San Antonio requested the return of a cannon which had been "loaned" to the DeWitt Colonists in 1831 for protection against Indians.   The cannon was likely among a variety of cannons captured from the Republican Army of the North at the Battle of Alazan, some of which were spiked by the Spanish crown forces, which had been stored in the arsenal at San Antonio. In response to a formal request in Jan 1831 by Empresario Greene DeWitt for armaments to buttress defense against Indian raiders, Jefe-Politico Ramon Musquiz approved delivery of a cannon on Mar 1831.  Musquiz advised the military commander at Bexar, Antonio Elozua, that a bronze four or six pounder could be given to the colony upon his approval.  Elozua approved provided that an appropriate receipt was obtained.  On 10 Mar 1831, James Tumlinson signed for the weapon, a bronze gun, and transported it to Gonzales. Musquiz informed DeWitt in writing the specific terms of the receipt that he expected:
"On March __, 1831, I the Empresario of this colony, I Green DeWitt admit that I received from ___ a reinforced bronze cannon for the defense of this settlement against the savage Indians which are making hostilities against it.  I offer to maintain the said cannon in the same state in which I received it and am obligated to return it as soon as it is asked for by the principle commander of the army in this department." 
It was a relatively useless cannon for real defense since it probably had been "spiked" after capture from the Republican Army, presumably to prevent use of it against the Spanish authorities if recaptured. A spiked cannon is one in which the hole towards the rear where the powder is that is used for ignition and firing has been blocked with a metal spike. This reduced the cannon to largely a noisemaker, which must be fired by laying a wick along the length of the muzzle from the powder packed behind whatever one wanted to try to pack into the cannon and fire inefficiently from it. The cannon was mostly displayed and occasionally fired from the log fort overlooking the ferry crossing at Gonzales to signal nearby Indians that their presence was noted and to think seriously before attempting some thievery or vandalism. Colonel Domingo Ugartechea, military commander at San Antonio under General Martin Perfecto Cos (Santa Anna’s brother-in-law), sent a Corporal DeLeon and several men to obtain the cannon from alcalde Andrew Ponton under the pretense that it was needed for defense of San Antonio. DeWitt Colonists knew well that the cannon was essentially useless for full military defense without extensive overhaul and that there were many more of these type unmounted tubes in the arsenal at San Antonio. When Corporal DeLeon arrived on 25 Sep 1835, a poll taken by alcalde Ponton indicated that all but three citizens contacted were against giving up the cannon. Gonzales and surrounding DeWitt Colonists prepared for trouble, moving families together to safety, consolidating weapons and supplies and dispatching messengers through the countryside and surrounding settlements. The cannon was buried in G.W. Davis’ peach orchard in the west outer Gonzales town.
Ponton Letter to Musquiz. On 26 Sep alcalde Andrew Ponton sent the following letter to Jefe-Politico Ramon Musquiz (unedited):
Gonzales Sept 26th 1835.  Excellent Sir.  I received an order purporting to have come from you for a certain piece of Ordnance which is in this place. It happened that I was absent an so was the remainder part of the Ayuntamto when your dispatch arrived in consequence the men who bore sd dispatch were necessarily detained untill to day for an answer. This is a matter of delicasy to me nor do I know without further information how to act this cannon was as I have always been informed given in perpetuity to this Town for its defense against the Indians. The dangers which existed at the time we received this cannon still exist and for the same purposes it is still needed here---our common enemy is still be dreaded or prepared against. How or in what manner such arms are appropriated throughout the country I am as yet ignorant but am led to believe that dippositions of this nature should be permanent at least as long as the procuring cause exists. I must therefore I hope be excused from delivering up the sd cannon untill I have obtained more information on the subject matter. At least untill I have an opportunity of consulting the chief of this department on the subject---as well to act without precipitation---as to perform strictly and clearly my duty, and I assure you, that if, after a mature deliberation on the subject, I find it be my duty & in justice to your self---I obligate my self to comply with your demands---and will without delay send the cannon to you.  God & Liberty---ANDREW PONTON, Alcalde.
Confrontation on the Guadalupe River. Upon receipt of the above letter, Col. Ugartechea sent Lt. Francisco Castaneda from San Antonio with over a hundred men to demand the cannon, but to avoid confrontation if at all possible. Castaneda was authorized to arrest the alcalde and others who resisted and to bring them to Bexar as prisoners. On 29 Sep, Castaneda’s forward messengers met Pvt. Isabel de la Garza who reported that he with Corporal DeLeon and his men had been detained and disarmed by the colonists, but he had escaped the afternoon of the day before. Later in the day Castaneda met another member of the DeLeon party who had been released who confirmed the report and further reported that men were assembling over the last two days in Gonzales and now was near 200. In the afternoon of 29 Sep, Lt. Castaneda’s force arrived within several miles of the west bank of the Guadalupe. Castaneda had sent advance messengers to the river bank prior to his arrival requesting a meeting with alcalde Ponton, but had been informed that the alcalde was not available and only he could make an official decision regarding the cannon. The next morning the Mexican troops arrived on the west bank of the Guadalupe where all rafts, boats or barges for fording the river which was swollen at the time from rain in the area had been removed to the east bank by the colonists. Casteneda again requested a meeting with the alcalde, but was greeted from across the river by regidor Joseph Clements who again informed Casteneda that alcalde Ponton was unavailable, but at 4 PM he should arrive or otherwise as regidor, Clements would speak for him. Spread among the bushes and trees on the east bank were a group of armed colonists who became known as the "Original Old Gonzales 18."
Regidor Clement Refuses Demand for Cannon. Being unable to cross the river easily and with the colonists spread across the east bank, Lt. Castaneda communicated in the afternoon with regidor Clements and associates under elected Capt. Albert Martin by shouting across the river. The colonists allowed one Mexican messenger to swim across and deliver messages. The words of regidor Joseph Clements reflected the position of the colonists which had been arrived at previously in downtown Gonzales on the municipal plaza:
Gonzales Sept 30th 1835.  Sir.  Owing to the absence of the alcalde the duty has devolved upon me of answering the communication directed to the Alcalde of this Town demanding agin the cannon which is in this Town as well as in answer to your note wishing to open negociation on the subject.  In answer to the first demand made for the sd cannon  The Alcalde espressed his coubts of what was strictly his duty in the matter, and wished to consult the Political chief of this Department before he decided possitively in the case and fanally---This rigor Priveledg of consulting our chief seems is denied us the only answer I can therefore give youis that I cannot now will not deliver to you the cannon agreeable to my notions of peopriety---And these are also the sentiments of all the members of this Ayuntamiento who are now present. The sd cannon is now in this Town and if force it from us we must submit---We are weak and few in numbers but will nevertheless contend for what we believe to be just principles.  God and Liberty Joseph D. Clements Regigor.  Addressed:  Franco Castenada, En el llano en frente de Gonzales.
Parleys Fail--Colonists take the Offensive. Lt. Castaneda retired from the river bank and on the night of 29 Sep camped on high ground about 300 yards from the river on a spot subsequently known as DeWitt’s or Santa Anna’s Mound. Meanwhile, Dr. Launcelot Smithers who was in San Antonio at the time of the confrontation interceded with Col. Ugartechea and offered to act as peacemaker and negotiator between the colonists and Mexican forces if he would order his soldiers to refrain from hostile action. Also in the meantime, Capt. Martin was replaced by election as commander of the Texans as contingents from the current Fayette county area under Col. John Henry Moore, Columbus under Burleson, Coleman and Wallace and other DeWitt Colony settlements arrived including Andrew Kent and son David Boyd Kent and "Black" Adam Zumwalt and son Andrew Zumwalt from the Lavaca River settlements. Adam Zumwalt in his applications for pension refers to serving under a Capt. Gohene in the action. Smithers had arrived at the Castaneda camp and delivered further communications from Castaneda to colonist scouts among which was Capt. Mathew Caldwell. Caldwell assured that the Centralista force would not be attacked that evening and proposed a meeting of Lt. Castaneda and Col. Moore early in the morning.
On 30 Sep 1835 Captain Albert Martin sent the following message by couriers to San Felipe and the Lavaca and Navidad River valleys:
Fellow Citizens of St. Philipe & the Lavaca.   Gonzales Sept. 30th 1835.  A detachment of Mexican forces from Bejar, amounting to about one hundred and fifty men, are encamped opposite us; we expect an attack momently. Yesterday we were but 18 strong, to day 150 & and forces constantly arriving. We wish all the aid & despatch that is possible to give us that we may take up soon our line of march for Bejar and drive from our country all the Mexican forces. Give us all the aid & dispatch that is possible. respectfully yours Captain Albert Martin, R. M. Coleman Capt., J.H. Moore Capt.  [Addressed] Fellow Citizens of St. Philipe and the Lavaca
Castaneda was aware of the increasing size of the Texan force and the difficulty in fording the swollen Guadalupe. On the morning of 1 Oct he moved camp to 7 miles upstream still on the west bank in a more defensible position and near an easier ford on or near the farm of Ezekial Williams. The colonists prepared to take the offensive by making ready their assorted weapons of all shapes and sizes. On 1 Oct John Sowell, Jacob Darst and Richard Chisholm dug up the Gonzales cannon from the Davis peach orchard and mounted it on a pair of wooden wheels from a cotton wagon owned by Eli Mitchell. Darst unspiked the cannon touchhole while he and blacksmiths Chisholm, Sowell and others cut every piece of loose metal (horseshoes, chains, trace rings, etc.) they could find into shrapnel that would fit into the barrel of the cannon.
Officers of the Texan force decided that the Castaneda’s strategy either was to await reinforcements from San Antonio or to attempt a fording of the Guadalupe at an easy ford about 15 miles further north. In reality his orders were to demand the cannon, await further orders and to avoid any engagement with a superior force that would cause embarrassment to the government and its forces. The decision was made to take the offensive. On Thursday night 1 Oct at 7 PM, the Texan force began to move across the river at the Gonzales ferry crossing with 50 mounted men along with the cannon and those on foot. Before departure, the group had been joined by frontier Methodist preacher W.P. Smith on his white mule from Rutersville in the Moore Settlement on the Colorado River. With mounted men in the lead followed by the mounted cannon flanked by men on foot and a small rear guard on foot, the Texan force approached the Mexican position in a thick fog about 3 AM of 2 Oct. A dog signaled the arrival of the Texans and Mexican pickets fired wounding one Texan slightly. Neither force could determine the exact position of the other and both waited for the dawn. When the fog lifted somewhat, the Texans found themselves in the corn and watermelon fields of Ezekial Williams and commenced to move into an open area within 350 yards of the main Mexican force where they began firing on the Mexican position. A cavalry of 40 under Lt. Gregorio Perez attacked the Texan position, which fell back to the river bank under protection of woods lining the river. Out of the mist appeared Launcelot Smither who had earlier been arrested and stripped of his belongings upon commencement of the Texan attack on the Mexican position. Smithers relayed Castaneda’s desire for a meeting, but was in turn arrested by the Texans who suspected he was an agent of the Mexicans. Lt. Castaneda and Col. Moore met in full view of both forces in an open area where the views described above in the Macomb letter were expressed. With no compromise, each commander returned to their positions and Lt. Col. Wallace ordered cannoneer J.C. Neill to fire the cannon loaded with 16 inches of powder and scrap metal, a harmless shot known as the first shot of the Texas Revolution. The Texans fired a rifle volley and Col. Moore led a modest charge toward the Mexican position without actually closing with the Mexican force. Lt. Castaneda immediately retreated with one casualty and returned to San Antonio. It is believed by this time that Lt. Castaneda had received subsequent orders from Col. Ugartechea in San Antonio to retire at once if his interview with the alcalde were unsuccessful and in his judgement the Texan forces were superior to his. The Texan force sustained a minor gunshot wound and one bloody nose do to a spooked horse when the firing commenced. Thus ended the confrontation on William’s farm that became known over the years as the Battle of Gonzales or the "Lexington of Texas" commencing with the "Texas shot heard round the world."
The confrontation precipitated the muster of the first Texian Republican Army with Stephen F. Austin as Commander and the march in defense of San Antonio de Bexar and restoration of the Constitution of 1824 which was occupied by Centralista forces under command of recently proclaimed dictator of all of Mexico Antonio Lopez Santa Anna (see Muster at Gonzales and Battle of Bexar). 

Hope you are not getting bored with this little bit of Texas history. 

Sunday, February 19, 2012

A Little More About The Ponton's

PONTON. William Sr., Andrew, Joel. The Pontons originated in Virginia with William Ponton (b. abt 1772), the oldest child of Joel and Hannah Ponton of Amherst County, VA. Joel Ponton was a Revolutionary War soldier who died on 22 Jun 1826 in Nelson County, VA. Family legend says that the Ponton and Morelands were of French descent having originally come to New Amsterdam (New York) in the 17th century. William Ponton married Isabella Moreland of Pennsylvania on 12 Jan 1801 and they had children Joel (b. 3 Jul 1802), Andrew (b. 1804) and Mary Jane (b. abt 1810) in Virginia and Sarah Ann (b. 16 Sep 1820) in Missouri. William Ponton owned land in HowardCo, MO in 1819 and the family lived also in Boonville, CooperCo, MO where several children were born. It is thought that the Pontons and the John William and Catherine McClure Burket families were good friends in Missouri before coming to Texas. Upon the urging of son-in-law James B. Patrick who married Mary Jane Ponton, the Pontons and Patricks moved to the DeWitt Colony arriving 17 Dec 1829. The Patricks remained in or around Gonzales where James B. arriving in 1829 received title in 1831 to a league on the south bank of the Guadalupe River southwest of Gonzales. J.B. Patrick purchased 2 lots in inner Gonzales town on each of which he built structures, one a home on Water St. About the same time brother-in-law, Andrew Ponton, a single man, received title to a quarter sitio on the Gonzales-LavacaCo line. Andrew Ponton also purchased two lots in inner Gonzales town where he had a smokehouse which was one of the only two structures still identifiable after the burning of Gonzales by Houston's retreating army.
The elder William and Isabella Ponton settled on a league just north of current Hallettsville granted to them in current Lavaca County in the Austin Colony on 27 Nov 1832, the same day as title was passed to James Campbell on the league between the Ponton tract and current Hallettsville. Joel Ponton and family at first remained behind in MO, but followed in late 1833. He purchased in fall 1835 a lot at the bend of the San Marcos River on the far northwest corner of the Gonzales town tract. On 20 May 1834, a band of Comanches caught William Ponton and John Hays away from their guns and horses while they were cutting poles for a crib. Lavaca County author, Judge Paul Boethel in A History of Lavaca County describes the event:
"William Ponton, a member of DeWitt’s Colony, was killed by the Indians near his home on Ponton’s Creek in 1834. It was in spring, good rains had fallen for some time and the ground was covered with a luxuriant growth of wild flowers and grass, and game was abundant when a stray band of Comanches fell upon this settler and his companion. Ponton and his companion, named John Hays, left the house as day was breaking, May 20th, and rode out to the timber, where the Dickson or Evergreen schoolhouse once stood, to cut poles for a crib. They had been chopping about two hours and the pile of poles was steadily growing, when Ponton suddenly dropped his axe, pointed towards the top of the hill to the south, and said: 'John, look yonder; what do you reckon that is?' There, just beyond the crest of the hill, was a glimpse of several figures moving about. The two men turned pale as they realized their situation. They had brought their guns with them but had left them, together with their horses and lunch basket, a full half mile below them, where they had first started in to work. They crept in behind some trees and watched the crest of the hill, where the moving figures had disappeared, but Hays felt certain he caught the glitter of a lance before they vanished. 'Our only chance will be to get to our guns and horses,' said Ponton. 'Mebbe they haven't seen our horses. Come on, let's run for it,' and throwing aside his axe, he made a run for them, closely followed by Hays. They had hardly covered two hundred yards, however, before they heard a shrill cry from the hill and saw the Indians riding down upon them, waving their lances over their heads. A minute or two later, Ponton and Hays reached a shallow gully that stretched directly across their path; the heavy rains had made the bottom of it a quagmire, and gathering all his strength, Hays cleared it in a jump but Ponton fell short. As Hays ran on, he caught a glimpse of his comrade struggling to free himself of the mud and mire and the Indians were fast closing in upon him. Reaching the spot where they had started in to work, he saw that the horses had become frightened and had broken loose, and at the moment were galloping away across the prairie to the left. Catching up his rifle, he ran to a dense thicket of low bushes that covered two or three acres of ground on the far bank. He reached it in a few minutes and turned to look back for Ponton. The Indians were all dismounted and around the gully and he could see that his comrade was a prisoner. Working his way deep into the dense underbrush on his hands and knees, dragging his rifle behind him, he found his cover, and prepared to make his stand by laying out his ammunition beside him. In a little while, the Indians came up and rode around and around the thicket, sometimes venturing in a short distance, and then out. The underbrush was so dense he could only be guided by their voices. About two in the afternoon, the Indians brought Ponton up and made him call his comrade, but getting no response they continued their search. Just as night came on, they brought Ponton back again and this time in agony. He called upon Hays to come out and maybe they would spare his life, stating they had cut all the skin off the bottom of his feet. Again and again Ponton called to him as they continued to torture him and finally the Indians built a huge fire before the thicket. By and by all sounds ceased and Hays concluded his comrade had been killed and the Indians had ridden away, but he stayed in the thicket all night. He crept out of his hiding the next day and hurried to the nearest settlement where he organized a rescue party and returned to the scene. The party found Ponton, scalped and horribly mutilated, near the thicket."
In 1835, Andrew Ponton emerged as the Alcalde of Gonzales who guided the government of the colony through the events leading to separation from Mexico including the original confrontation at Gonzales over the Gonzales cannon. The event became known as the Battle of Gonzales, the "Lexington" of Texas and the precipitation of events leading to victory over Santa Anna at San Jacinto. Andrew Ponton became the agent for disposition of his parents league on the Lavaca River north of the Hallett home near current Hallettsville, but before any of the family could settle and improve it they were forced to flee east on the Runaway Scrape in front of Santa Anna's army. In the fall of 1837, Andrew Ponton, his brother Joel Ponton and family and sisters Sarah Ann Eggleston and Mary Jane Patrick and families returned to the DeWitt Colony to begin life again in an independent Texas Republic. Andrew, his widowed mother Isabella Ponton, and the Egglestons established homesteads on the William Ponton league on the Lavaca River near Hallettsville in addition to their homes in Gonzales town proper. The Patricks remained in Houston for a time until daughter Sarah Jane was born in 1837 and then returned to Gonzales. In 1838 the Patricks and Sarah Ann Ponton Eggleston were in San Felipe where Mary Jane Ponton Patrick became ill and died, probably in Apr 1839, in the presence of mother Isabella and other relatives. While in San Felipe, titles to tracts on their father's league were formalized. Andrew Ponton and his mother returned to a homestead on the Lavaca River, Joel Ponton acquired and settled property on the Navidad River and the Egglestons settled in Gonzales town. James B. Patrick and children also apparently returned to Gonzales town where he continued to be active in Gonzales town politics and public service. Andrew Ponton apparently made his home and spent most of the time through 1841 in Gonzales where he continued in public service as described below. After his marriage to Mary H. Berry in 1841, the couple focused on stockraising on their league on the upper Lavaca River. With slaves Austin, Elvira and Sam, the Pontons became prosperous. Upon statehood, Ponton was elected the first county judge of Lavaca County. Widowed matriarch of the Ponton clan made her home until her death after 1850 with daughter Sarah Ann and son-in-law Horace Eggleston in Gonzales.
Andrew Ponton. Andrew Ponton (1804-1850) was born in Amherst County, Virginia and went to the DeWitt Colony, Gonzales County, Texas in 1829 from Boonville, Cooper County, Missouri with his parents, two sisters and others. Andrew's parents were William Ponton (1772-1834) and Isabella Mooreland (1782-1860), a native of Pennsylvania. William was killed by a stray band of Indians May 20, 1834 where he and a friend John Hays were cutting poles for a crib. The daughters were: Polly "Mary" Jane Patrick (1810 near Lovingston, Nelson County, Virginia-1837 San Felipe, Austin Colony) married May 29, 1828 James Blair Patrick in Cooper County, Missouri; and Sarah Ann (September 16, 1820 Boonville, Cooper County, Missouri) who married Horace Eggleston. Andrew married July 8, 1841 Mary H. Berry in Columbus, Colorado County, Republic of Texas with his brother Joel Ponton, a minister of the Disciples of Christ Church, performing the ceremony. He died July 4, 1850 and was buried in the Gonzales Masonic Cemetery where the Texas Centennial Commission erected an Historical Marker on his grave in 1936. His brother Joel (July 3, 1802 near Lovingston, Amherst County, Virginia) married January 5, 1827 in Cooper County, Missouri Sarah Ann Reavis (June 8, 1794 August 31, 1837), a native of Rutherford County, North Carolina, and died in Gonzales County. The school where Andrew received his education has not been found.
In 1835 Andrew was elected Alcalde of Gonzales, and in September he was a member of the Gonzales Committee for Safety. The Mexican government had furnished a cannon for the protection of Gonzales' inhabitants against Indians; in 1835 Mexico sent soldiers to Gonzales to get the cannon or bring Ponton to San Antonio as a hostage. He put them off, and the final result was that he sent a very diplomatic letter of why he could not return the cannon. He was a farmer, stockman, politician and judge. He was the first chief justice of Gonzales County, a member of the Second Congress, House of Representatives in Houston for the County of Gonzales 1837-1838. He was elected the first chief justice of Lavaca County when it was formed in 1846. His land grant was issued June 18, 1832 and was located on the Gonzales-Lavaca County line. Andrew Ponton and his son Thomas Jefferson were members of the Masonic Order A.F. & A.M. Andrew and Mary had four children: William W. (1842) joined the Confederate army in 1862 and was soon released for a disability; Andrew S. (1845-1862) joined the Confederate army in September, 1861 and was killed in the battle at Atlanta in 1862; Thomas Jefferson Ponton Sr. (April 6, 1847 Gonzales County-December 9, 1889 Gonzales) after his high school education studied law and became a prominent attorney in Gonzales County, married February 27, 1872 in Gonzales Martha "Mattie" Kentuckey Brown (1849-1887) and had seven children with descendants later living in California and Florida; and Samuel Virgin (1849 1856). B. Elmer Spradley (From The History of Gonzales County, Texas. Reprinted by permission of the Gonzales County Historical Commission).
Joel Ponton. Joel Ponton was both medical doctor and a minister of the Disciples of Christ Church. He married Sara Reavis in CooperCo, MO on 5 Jan 1827 where they had children Andrew Judson (b. 4 Aug 1829; d. 12 Jan 1908, buried Junction, KimbleCo, TX), William Lee (m. Lutilia Ezzell 1856) and Jemima Jane (m. Thomas L. Hunt 1848). After arrival in Gonzales, a fourth David Barton (m. Lemelia Lay) was born 30 Apr 1834. On 31 Mar 1837, another son, Joseph Parthenias (m. Eliza Jane Bownds), was born in Columbus on the way back to the Gonzales area after their flight to East Texas. Wife and mother Sara Reavis Ponton died 31 Aug 1837 in Gonzales. On 28 Mar 1839, Dr. Ponton married Rhoda Delaney who adopted his children and bore more children Joel (b. 1842), Alexander (b. 1843), Martha and Ellen (and probably more) while Ponton ministered both to the physical and spiritual illnesses of his clients. Records indicate that he commonly applied steam and lobelia treatment, steam to cause sweating and lobelia (Indian tobacco) as an emetic. As a doctor, Ponton was in large demand and widely respected in the community, he had a large practice kept busy by the hazards of pioneer life. It is unclear if Dr. & Reverend Ponton practiced his spiritual ministry in the colony prior to independence. However, afterwards he was an enthusiastic minister in the early Church of Christ and established at least two congregations on the Rio Navidad in 1841-1842. In early Texas days, both of his ministeries combined could not support the large family. Ponton supported his family by as a rancher and farmer and also served the public in civil capacities. In spring 1839 after attending the death of his sister Mary Jane Ponton Patrick in San Felipe and the settlement of the William Ponton estate among the children, Ponton established his homestead on the Navidad River. On the way to the homestead on the Navidad, he purchased a 45 year old slave named Squire from James Campbell near Hallettsville. Both of Dr. Ponton's ministeries kept him on the road between homesteads and settlements, most frequently to Gonzales town. On 5 Aug 1840, he and Tucker Foley while on the way to Gonzales from their Navidad River homestead were attacked by a band of 27 Comanches on their way to the great raid on the coast at Linnville. Dr. Ponton survived, but companion Foley did not. On 5 Mar 1850, wife Rhoda Delaney Ponton died leaving him a 48 year old widower with 11 dependent children. On 11 Jul 1850, he married 18 year old Mary Henderson, one of six children of James and Lucinda Henderson from Water Hole Branch on the Lyons League about 12 miles south of Hallettsville. Joel and Mary Ponton settled near Hallettsville and had eight more children, Sarah, James, Alice, Laura, John, Lena, Henry and Victor Hugo.
Upon the death of his brother Andrew Ponton in 1850, Joel Ponton became the administrator of his estate by will of widow Mary H. Berry Ponton. After Andrew's widow Mary H. Ponton married Dr. Daniel C. Bellows in Dec 1850, the couple challenged Joel Ponton's position as administrator of the Andrew Ponton estate and he was removed, but after Ponton had established home tracts and slaves Austin and Elvira as property of the children of Andrew Ponton. The Bellows became owners of the Hicks Hotel and Tavern in Hallettsville, renamed it The Mansion House and after financial difficulties with it, Mary H. Berry Ponton Bellows died in Dec 1856 and Bellows moved out of the area. In 1857, Joel Ponton was re-established as guardian of the Andrew Ponton minor hiers and estate. He was forced to sell Austin for $157 and Elvira for $800 and tracts of land to support his nephews.
When the Civil War came, Dr. Joel Ponton supported the cause of the south without wavering and continued to do so after Lee's surrender. Prior to "Yankee Rule" in Lavaca County, Ponton served as deputy county clerk Josiah Dowling, he tried without success to obtain office under reconstruction and was elected county judge in 1866 when open polls were restored. However, he was removed form office by Federal authorities. He became again deputy county clerk under Josiah Dowling through Mar 1869. As county clerk and local minister, Ponton took care of both the civil and ceremonial formalities of marriages in the area. Wife Mary Henderson Ponton died on 17 Aug 1868 and Dr. Ponton married for the fourth time, Mrs. M.A. Beedle, by minister James Ballard. She died on 31 Mar 1871. In the same year Joel Ponton married Mrs. Harriet W. Koonce, mother of a daughter-in-law Elizabeth Koonce Mayo Ponton. On 1 Feb 1875 five times married DeWitt Colony pioneer doctor, minister, rancher and farmer Dr. Joel Ponton died with his large family in attendance. He is said to be buried on the Koonce tract of land near the Kent homestead on the Andrew Kent league in a location known as Ezzell, established by Sam and Ira Ezzell.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Family Tree

Before I went to Terlingua Ole Ben of "An Older Texan Remembers" and I were talking about our ancestors. I e-mailed him a few things about my ancestors. One was the dairy truck I us on my blog. My Grand Father had a big dairy here in Austin.
 This blog is about the ancestors on my Grand Mothers side of the family. Her last name was Ponton. So instead of e-mailing back and forth to Ben thought I would just blog about it. So here is the first of many.

PONTON, ANDREW (1804–1850). Andrew Ponton, pioneer farmer, stockman, politician, and judge, was born in 1804 in Nelson, Amherst County, Virginia, one of four children of William and Isabell (Moreland) Ponton. With his father and brother-in-law, James Blair Patrick, he arrived in Texas on December 17, 1829. He received his land title on June 18, 1832, and was married on July 8, 1841, to Mary H. Berry in Gonzales County, Republic of Texas. Of the couple's four sons, Andrew S. was killed in the battle of Atlanta, and Thomas Jefferson was an attorney in Gonzales County.
Ponton was the last alcalde of Gonzales, elected to that position in 1835. In May 1835 he was a member of the Gonzales Committee of Safety (see COMMITTEES OF SAFETY AND CORRESPONDENCE). In September 1835, when Domingo de Ugartechea demanded that the Gonzales "come and take it" cannon be surrendered to Mexican soldiers or that Ponton be brought to San Antonio as a hostage, Ponton put off the Mexicans with excuses; he sent calls for help to the settlements and was a defender in the battle of Gonzales on October 2, 1835. On February 23, 1836, William B. Travis sent Ponton an appeal asking for men and provisions for the relief of the Alamo, and men from Gonzales answered his request.
Ponton was the first judge of the Municipality of Gonzales and a member from Gonzales County of the Second Congress of the republic in 1837–38. He was the first chief justice of Lavaca County, elected on July 13, 1846. Ponton was a Mason. He died on July 4, 1850, and is buried in the Old Gonzales Masonic Cemetery, where the Texas Centennial Commission erected a marker on his grave in 1936.

Here is the letter Travis wrote to Andrew Ponton.