Starr County Historical Newspaper Abstracts

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 CHAPTER II: 1845-1847



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 CHAPTER III: 1847-1849



FOREWORD:  The retreat of the victorious American troops at the close of the Mexican American war was met with an influx of American traders and land speculators pouring into the lands on the East bank of the Rio Grande.  In 1847, HENRY CLAY DAVIS divided up portions of land (opposite of Camargo on the Rio Grande) that belonged to his wife HILARIA GARZA to establish a new township.  Originally called Rancho Davis, the settlement quickly grew and in 1848 was dubbed “Rio Grande City,” the county seat of Starr County.  By 1848, it was flooded with merchants hoping to make a healthy profit out of the new routes of trade flowing between Mexico and the United States.   The settlement of Roma was just 15 miles above Rio Grande City and began to take form in 1848.  These two cities thrived off the fact that the Rio Grande could only be navigated up to Roma, making these places ideal junctions between the overland trade and the steamboat lines.  In addition, the relatively lax enforcement of tariffs by Mexico enabled large margins of profit.

            This environment of opportunity on the frontier attracted robbers and gamblers, as well as industrious merchants.  Early in the county’s history, the conflict between these groups resulted in the organization of Starr county by those who hoped to see order prevail.  In an effort to curb the lawlessness, thievery, and murder which was commonplace in the earliest days, the county officials tried to aggressively enforce the law, sometimes using vigilante justice.  By 1850, the fledgling cities of Roma and Rio Grande City had grown significantly, with dozens of merchants and hundreds of residents, with a diversity of American, Mexican, and European residents.

By Scott Grayson, 2007


19th September 1848      The Corpus Christi Star, Corpus Christi, TX   Vol. 1, No. 2

H. CLAY DAVIS.—This enterprising gentleman so well known as the founder of Rio Grande City, opposite Camargo, arrive in Corpus Christi a few days since.  One of the objects of his visit, we hear, was to ascertain the shortest possible route between here and his place.  As the distance is but about 135 miles, we may well conclude that the trade, of at least a great proportion of it, will find its way here.—Mr. Davis, we have ever heard, is a pushing man, and when he deems it advantageous to come across the country for goods, few in his neighborhood will seek other channels.—Thus we will not only have the trade from Presidio, Laredo, and Mier, but we will even have it as low down as Camargo.  Mr. Davis left here for home on Saturday (????) accompanied by Mr. WATSON and Capt. LEWIS. (page 1, column 1)                                                         TRANSCRIBED by Scott Grayson, 2007


TRANSPORTATION TO THE RIO GRANDE.—The attention of the citizens and traders on the Rio Grande, and the shippers in New Orleans and other places is called to the Corpus Christi and Rio Grande Line of Transportation which will at once be established from this point.  By this means we will be brought in direct and regular communications with the most important trading points on the frontier of Mexico, and the advantage to traders exceed any thing there has ever been held out. 

     By the river it is dangerous varatious and costly in the extreme, attended with the greatest uncertainty as to time of delivery.  A New Orleans merchant in shipping, for instance, H. Clay Davis place via the Rio Grande pays a heavy freight to the Brazos, and the heaviest insurance known on the coast, and if a “norther” be blowing may remain a week outside the bar.  When the goods are landed on the island, then is storage to pay;  they are taken to the mouth of the Rio Grande at an expense of transportation almost equal to that from New Orleans, and there, unless a steamer be in readiness, they are again stored before shipped.  On the steamer, then the freight and insurance is again heavy, and by the time it is landed at its destination has cost almost double whit it would if passed through here.

     The Transportation line will take freight from N. Orleans and land it at the enumeration points at the rate set down in their advertisement.  And this will be done expeditiously, too, for so soon as the vessel comes in, which she can do in almost any weather, the bar being the best on the coast, the goods will be transferred to wagons and at once started to their points of destination, which will be reached in 6 or 7 days. 

   We will again set down the distance from Corpus Christi to several points:-- To Loredo 133 miles, to Mier 142 miles, to Rio Grande City 130 miles.

   To San Antonio, 110 miles, the Transportation Line will also run, and from the facilities of the route and cheapness of freight, we think they will be well patronized.

(page 2, column 3)                                                         TRANSCRIBED by Scott Grayson, 2007


26th September 1848      The Corpus Christi Star, Corpus Christi, TX            Vol. 1, No. 3


Mr. S. R. MILLER came in from Rio Grande City on Saturday for goods bringing with him a number of pack mules. 

From a conversation with Mr. MILLER, we learn that Mexicans are coming in freely for goods, and that there is a scarcity of those articles known as “Mexican goods.”  He says that the idea that the country is flooded with goods is very erroneous.  It is true that in Monterrey and Saltillo there are large amounts, but they are not suited to the trade, having principle been brought in whilst are army occupied the country, and selected by persons who know not the leading articles in Mexican trade.

The Mexican traders prefer crossing the river for goods, even if there is an American on their side with a stock, for the general belief that goods are cheaper on this side has taken such a hold on them that it cannot be eradicated.  Besides they do not have to pay so high a duty when they purchase on American soil.

Fifteen miles above Rio Grande City, at the Garcia Rancho, on this side of the River, a town has been laid out, and there are already some thirty Americans there, with two stores or trading houses—the place is called Roma.

Still higher up, and immediately opposite Mier, Mr. JOHN HAYES is building and we have heard from another source that a number of Mexican families will move over.

A little below Guerrero, Mexican families are settling and improvising. 

The land lying on this side and on the banks of the Rio Grande, having belonged for years to Mexicans living on the opposite bank, who have been deterred from settling on them from fear of wild Indians.  Now that the land is in the hands of the United States, and protection is certain, they are moving over and will continue to do so until the who country is settled up. 

All of these points, Mr. MILLER said, look upon Corpus Christi as their depot, not only from the facility, but from the cheapness of transportation.  A steamer will land goods at Rio Grande City for 3 dollars per bbl. To which add freight to the Brazos, from there to New Orleans, and the river and sea insurance, and different commissions, and the bbl will cost near six dollars before it is delivered at Rio Grande City.  To any point above there, so much per hundred pounds is paid, which added to the amount already set down, makes the freight frequently exceed the original cost of many articles.  When the citizens and traders then, at the point in question contrast those prices with the cost by Corpus Christi ($3.25) and the short time it takes to fill an order from New Orleans at that price, self interest and every other consideration will call them here.
                                                                                    TRANSCRIBED by Scott Grayson, 2007


3rd October 1848    The Corpus Christi Star, Corpus Christi, TX            Vol. 1, No. 4

J. P. KELSEY: Commissioning and Forwarding Merchant Corpus Christi Texas He also has a large and convenient warehouse at Rio Grande City, where he will receive any goods on sale or storage.

(page 1, column 1)                                                         TRANSCRIBED by Scott Grayson, 2007


10th October 1848    The Corpus Christi Star, Corpus Christi, TX            Vol. 1, No. 5

THE FRONTIER.— We conversed yesterday with an intelligent trader from the Rio Grande, whose habitation is on this side of the river opposite of Guerrero.  He says many persons have moved over to their lands on the American side, but we fear they are far from being comfortable.  They have no protection from the Mexican authorities, and none from the Americans; and in order to save their property and to protect themselves from the Indians and marauding bands, they have formed a sort of provisional government, by selecting an alcalde and four advisors.

            For the information of those who live above the Salado, we will tell them that they are in the county of Webb, of which Laredo is the county seat; and those below that stream, down to where the upper line of the municipality of Reinoso strikes the Rio Grande, are in the county of Star, the capital of which is Rio Grande City, (Clay Davis’)  The latter county has been organized and the officers elected, to whom the Mexican citizens will apply for justice and the settlement of all grievances—The former county, we believe, has not been thoroughly organized, and until it is, and Americans troops stationed upon the line, we would advise all to form themselves into communities, and establish a sort of provisional government for their protections.  We trsut that it will not be long before everything is regulated, so that those Mexicans who have become Americans by the treaty of Guadalupe, will be amply protected in life and property, in order that they may settle down in quiet.  We intend hereafter to devote more of our paper to this subject, and to instructing our new citizens, in order that they may be well informed of the operation of the Government into whose embrace they have just (fallen?) By their own free will.                                                      TRANSCRIBED by Scott Grayson, 2007

24th October 1848    The Corpus Christi Star, Corpus Christi, TX            Vol. 1, No. 7


            It was with no little satisfaction that we received advices a few days ago of the capture of a gang of robbers in Star county.  Chief Justice being advised of their whereabouts, called upon the citizens for assistance, and with hearty good will they rallied around him, and arrested eleven men, who were taken to the county seat and confined and will be kept in custody until the meeting of the District Court.  This argues well for the future peace and quiet of the frontier, and the news of it will be joyfully received by all who respect the laws of the land, and who believe that good order and morality should predominate over lawlessness and crime.

            An example is here set by Star county that should be followed up by every county on the frontier, in order to rid this line of a set of unprincipled men, who by rapine and plunder, hope to live and fatten off the industry of honest citizens.  Wherever a band of these outlaws id know to be, let some one of the county officers call on the citizens for aid to arrest them, and the call will certainly be responded to.  Energetic action on the part of the officers is all that is needed to clear the frontier of petty thieves and marauders, and sure the good end to be obtained will not only justify the means , but will render them popular.  Let the citizens but show a determination to sustain the laws, and to let no transgression go unwhipt of justice, and soon society will attain that wholesome stand without which there can neither be peace, happiness, or prosperity.

            We have reason to believe that many bad men have resorted to the frontier, in the hope that in the sparsely settled counties they could pursue uninterrupted a life of idleness and crime, and prey successfully upon the property of Americans and Mexicans.  But we see in the above act of the Chief Justice of Star county, an indication that they will not be suffered to glide so smoothly down the path of vice as imagined; and if every good citizen will do his duty, they will find their stamping ground too hot to hold them.

            We have heard men who speak lightly of robbing Mexicans, but who would not entertain for a moment the idea of robbing an American.  We do not believe in this doctrine.  We are at peace with Mexico, and it is the duty of every good citizen to respect the treaty, which guarantees them protection in life and property; and the American who would rob them is as much a villain as though he broke open his neighbor’s money chest.  He who robs a Mexican, will rob an American, and had we ought valuable, we should watch him closely.

            We sincerely wish that the citizens of the frontier would stir themselves in this business.  A little exertion now, will save them labor and vexation hereafter.  Whenever they hear of a robbery being committed in their county, let the citizens turn out and bring the offenders to justice.  Do this now, and the frontier will be quiet and peaceable; defer it until bands are well organized, and you will give a strong foothold to bad men, in whose vicinity there will be no security in life or property.

(page 2, column 1)                                                                     TRANSCRIBED by Scott Grayson, 2007


FROM SALTILLO.—A party of Americans arrived here last evening from Saltillo.  They report that everything was quiet there, and that BUSTAMENTE was expected to arrive in Monterey on the 16th of next month, at the head of two divisions of Mexican troops—the first commanded by Gen. MIÑON, who was second in command, and the other by Gen. MEJIA.  The cause of sending these troops to the frontier was to put down any insurrectionary movement there.  The people talk considerable about separation from the central government, but appeared to be generally opposed to any foreign interference.  ARISTA was not in Monterey when our informant left, but was expected there in a couple of months.

            The party crossed the country from Saltillo here but neither saw nor heard of any Indians on the route.                                                                 TRANSCRIBED by Scott Grayson, 2007

 4th November 1848      Independent American and General Advertiser, Platteville, WI

 The Chihuahua trade amounts to about two million dollars annually, and the cost of transportation is estimated to be 33 1/3 percent.  On the route through Texas, should the distance as calculated not exceed five hundred miles, the expense of transportation would not exceed ten percent.—a difference of several hundred thousand dollars, which could not fail to turn the trade this way.

 14th November 1848    The Corpus Christi Star, Corpus Christi, TX            Vol. 1, No. 10


 We are indebted to the courtesy of Judge NORTON for the following correspondence and proceedings of meetings held at Rio Grande City and the town of Roma, expressing the sense of those communities upon the recent arrest of the robber band who had been preying on the Mexican population on this side of the river.  We give them a place with a great deal of pleasure:


     Rio Grande City Oct 31, 1848


Friend Peoples, There has been much excitement in this community of late, growing out of the arrest of a band of robbers who had, after various acts of wholesale plunder and theft, set at defiance the civil authorities of Starr County.  There appears to have been a well organized scheme of robbery, principally directed against our Mexican citizens, and from all the facts elicited during the examination, but for their arrest and imprisonment, their operations would not have been confined to this side of the Rio Grande.  The annals of crime perhaps can scarcely furnish a parallel, but I have not time to give you particulars.  It would seem almost incredible to learn of the number of mules and horses that have been stolen, this side of the river, within the last two or three months.  In one instance, five Mexicans were killed who were quietly herding their stock, and the entire caballada, numbering about sixty horses and mules, were taken and drove off.—

Enclosed I send you a copy of the preamble and resolutions of the meeting held in the town of Roma, also chief Justice STAKES’ reply, and the manifesto of the citizens of Rio Grande City, all of which please give a place in your paper.

You shall hear from me at a more convenient period.  In haste,

Yours,    Serapio[1]                                                                       TRANSCRIBED by Scott Grayson, 2007


At a meeting of the citizens of Rio Grande City, held at the house of H. CLAY DAVIS, on the 27th of October 1848, Judge A. G. STAKES was unanimously elected chairman, and E. R. HORD appointed Secretary.  The objects of the meeting having been stated, on motion of Dr. RAMSEY, a committee of five were appointed to draft resolutions expressive of the sense of the meeting.  E. BASSE, J. L. BAKER, H. CLAY DAVIS, Hon. F. BELDEN, and Dr. RAMSEY were appointed a committee, and reported the following preamble and resolutions:

Whereas, since the withdrawal of the Army of the United States from the valley of the upper Rio Grande, and the consequent unprotected state of our frontier, various acts of outlawry and crime have been perpetrated within the limits of this county, by men having no permanent abiding place, or interest common with our citizens; and whereas their well known organization and fearful increase in the numbers of such characters, had rendered it incumbent upon civil authorities (in order to enforce the law, and thereby uphold the sovereignty of the State over this portion of her territory) to call upon Maj. T. W. SHERMAN, commanding District Rio Grande, to aid them in the proper execution of such duty, to which he cheerfully yielded, therefore,

Resolved, that the grateful acknowledgements of the civil authorities and citizens generally of Starr County, are justly due to Maj. T. W. SHERMAN, for his decision and promptness in sending a detachment of the forces under his command to this place.

Resolved, that our thanks are also due to Lieut. Julius P. GARESHCHIE, commanding detachment, for the alacrity and firmness with which he sustained the civil authorities; and that his mild gentlemanly and officer-like conduct during his stay among us, has entitled him to the lasting esteem of this community.

Resolved, That the arrival at this point yesterday of a detachment of the force intended for the permanent protection and defense of our frontier, is a matter of joyous gratulation, and is to be regarded as the harbinger of those blessing which are so much to be desired and wished for among the boundary of the neighboring republics,--confidence and amity in the mutual intercourse between the citizens of both countries, protection to domestic enterprise and industry, and peace and tranquility at home; and that we in behalf of our citizens, do hereby unanimously extend to Maj. LAMOTTE and officers commanding detachment, a sincere and cordial welcome.

Resolved that a copy of the foregoing preamble and resolutions be furnished to the officers therein named, and that a copy be also furnished to the “Frontier Sentinel” and “Corpus Christi Star” for publication.


On motion, the meeting adjourned

A. G. Stakes, Chariman

E. R. Hord, Secretary



H. Clay Davis                                                   A. G. Stakes

D. C. Phelps                                                     H. Watson

J. Munroe                                                         J. C. Graham

D. M. Shropshire                                            E. R. Hord

R. Clark                                                           S. R. Miller

J. L. Blythe                                                       J. Sissoms

E. R. Rainwater                                                J. L. Baker

T. M. Snow                                                      E. Basse

J. Gasbrook                                                     J. Dorsey

C. Letts                                                            J. Pierpont          

A. H. Brown                                                    J. L. Haynes


At a meeting of the citizens of Roma, held at the store of P. H. PROUT, on the 10th of October, 1848, P. H. PROUT was called to the Chair, and Dr. WILKINSON appointed secretary.  The objects of the meeting having been explained by the chairman, on motion of Capt. W. F. BOWEN, a committee of three were appointed by the Chair to draft and report resolutions expressive of the sense of the meeting – E. C. NESBITT, J. H. BEAN, and Wm. F. BOWEN, were appointed a committee, and reported the following preamble and resolutions:

Whereas,-certain misguided young men, among whom were two or three residents of this place, left on a secret expedition, some time since, and by their acts during their absence caused much regret and mortification to the law abiding, and peace-loving inhabitants of this place, and so gave opportunity to the evil minded of calumniating and disparaging our settlement and it residents; and whereas under these circumstances it was the unanimous wish of the whole of our community that a legal examination of the parties implicated by this act should take place, to the end that the extent of their derelictions should be ascertained and the guilty persons made amenable to law for all offenses against it.

Therefore, resolved, that the thanks of our whole community are due to the Hon. A. G. STAKES, Chief Justice of the county for his indefatigable assiduity in collecting proof required to bind over the accused to answer at the next term of the district court, and for the promptness with which he raised and brought from the county seat a force of citizens adequate to enforce the mandates of the law.

Resolved, that our thanks are due to Chief Justice A. G. STAKES, and to Justices D. M. HASTINGS, and G. SAIS, for the promptness with which they organized the court of examination and the patience, dignity, and firmness with which they conducted its proceedings.  Also to Francisco GARZA, Coroner and ex-officio Sheriff, and our fellow citizens and neighbors from Rio Grande City, and precinct No 2 for their instantaneous response to the call of Chief Justice, and for the extreme alacrity with which they repaired to this place in accordance therewith…                              TRANSCRIBED by Scott Grayson, 2007


14th November 1848    Independent American and General Advertiser, Platteville, WI

 The Chihuahua trade amounts to about two million dollars annually, and the cost of transportation is estimated to be 33 1/3 percent.  On the route through Texas, should the distance as calculated not exceed five hundred miles, the expense of transportation would not exceed ten percent.—a difference of several hundred thousand dollars, which could not fail to turn the trade this way.                                   TRANSCRIBED by Scott Grayson, 2007

 30th November 1848    Milwaukee Sentinel and Gazette, Milwaukee, WI

 Advices from Brazos and Corpus Christi state that 300 Comanches were on the American side of the river, above Mexar, who murdered one man, and burned several ranchos, and escaped, carrying off the women.

The American commandant at Rio Grande city received an express requesting the assistance of the U. S. Troops above (and here the N.Y. line failed east of Syracuse)

                                                                                                TRANSCRIBED by Scott Grayson, 2007

 23th December 1848       The Corpus Christi Star, Corpus Christi, TX            Vol 1., No 14


WILL BE SOLD on the first day of March 1849, one hundred town lots of this town tract.  The condition one fifth cash in hand, the remainder in four equal installments of six, twelve, eighteen, and twenty four months.  Bond for title, with forfeiture of all payments in case of non compliance with the terms.

            In offering to the public this desirable property, the proprietors do not desire to present a colored picture of the location, or to hold out false inducements, the leading facts are going to shoe the character of the spot selected together with the advantages of the place, so far as the Mexican trade is concerned will be sufficient.  This town is situated on the east bank of the Rio Grande, about midway between Camargo and Mier on a high stone bluff; the adjacent land is of the richest soil, well adapted to the cultivation of the main staples of the South, such as cane, cotton, corn, tobacco, etc., and also furnishing an inexhaustible range for stock raising.  On this tract are fine stone quarries for all building purposes, and last though not least, steamboat navigation certain and sure, four fifths of the year.  Besides this town is almost in front of the main road leading to Monterey, Saltillo, and Zacatecas.  The position is an elevated one, presenting the most interesting views of mountains and vallies (sic) to be found on the river.  All that is asked is, for every person wishing to purchase, to come examine for themselves.

                                                WM. WILKINSON

                                                J. H. BEAN

                                    Commissioners for stockholders:

                                                M. KENNEDY

                                                P. H. PROUT

Dec 23.

Agents for Justo Garcia, Jose Maria Garcia, and others.

                                                                                                TRANSCRIBED by Scott Grayson, 2007

13th January 1849     The Corpus Christi Star, Corpus Christi, TX

[Correspondence of the Corpus Christi Star,]

Friendly peoples,  having an opportunity to communicate with you by private conveyance, I will endeavor to furnish you with such items of interest as can hastily be gathered.  Since my last, matters and things out here have assumed a less mutable form and suspense and doubt have measurably given place to certainty.  To every lover of good order and well wisher to society, it is truly gratifying to witness the change which has taken place here within the past few months.  Since the arrest and imprisonment of the migratory gang of gentry who had at one time become a burthen and curse to the inhabitants of this frontier, quiet and order have prevailed throughout our country.  We are occasionally infested with a straggler or two whose apparent aversion to honest industry and labour, would seem scarcely to enable them to live above suspicion; but no recent outrages in law and order have occurred.  The same natural causes, no doubt, that influenced our forefathers to build cities, are operating in our sunny clime to no limited extent.

            Our own embryo city is growing rapidly in commerce, importance and population.  Within the past week, several gentlemen of wealth and influence have arrived here from the interior, and are about returning for their families with the intention of settling permanently.  We learn from good authority, that two or three of the party will turn their attention to agriculture and stock raising, and have already made suitable investments for that purpose.

            Lieut. VEALY of the 1st US infantry has just returned from opening a good road to Laredo, and has dug a sufficient number of wells to furnish water at all seasons.

            The neighboring village of Roma is improving, and our fellow citizens John HAYS and Jack EVERETT[2], are making highly creditable improvements in their projected town opposite Mier.  They are both worthy citizens, and the natural beauty of the site, with well known enterprising industry of the proprietors, will no doubt insure the reward of their labours.  Camp Ringgold, near this place, presents a lively appearance at this time.  It is rumored that Capt. E. DEAS’ company of Artillery new stationed here, we be relieved by two companies of the 2nd Dragoons.  We are highly gratifies to hear of this order on account of the necessity for mounted forces.  When the Dragoons arrive, Indians and a certain class of semi Americans, whose proneness to lay unlawful hands upon horse flesh, has long since rendered them offensive to this community, had better keep (shady?)

            There are four private steamers running on the Rio Grande at this time, viz: Tom Kirkman, Capt. MARTIN; Del Norte, Capt. LOCKHART; Tom McKinney, Capt. EMERSON; Warren, Capt. REED.

            We learn from a gentleman in authority on the other side, that Camargo has been made a port of entry.  We have not heard who the Administrador will be, it is supposed that he will be sent from the city of Mexico.  Col CARABAJAL, and others, are opening a new road from Camargo to Monterey—the direction for most of the distance will be near the banks of the River San Juan.  When completed it will be of considerable advantage to Rio Grande City, as also to Camargo.  The route has already been surveyed, it is well supplied with water, and is said to be 50 miles nearer than the old road traveled by our Army.  The troops to be stationed at Camargo have arrived in Monterey, and are daily looked for at their place of destination.  Gen BUSTAMENTE has been relieved from the command of frontier forces, by Gen. MINON, who will establish his headquarters at Monterey.

Yours, Serapio   TRANSCRIBED by Scott Grayson, 2007





FOREWORD:  Gold was discovered as Sutter’s mill in California in January of 1848.  Attempts to keep this discovery quiet were at first successful, but by March the news had spread to San Francisco and in August it was published in the New York Times.  Hundreds of thousands would seek to make their fortune in California, but the routes from the East Coast of the United States were long and dangerous. From New York, sea routes around the tip of South America took over 5 months, and the overland “California trail” through the American Rocky Mountains could take as long, and was completely impassable in the winter and spring months. 

A number of eager fortune seekers quickly organized into “companies” and collected their provisions in the winter of 1848 to set West across Mexico, so as to bypass the winter blockage of the high Rocky Mountains.  Many of these Southern routes crisscrossed through Texas and Mexico, and a number of “Californians,” as the gold-seekers were dubbed, traveled up the Rio Grande by steamboat, and embarked on their overland journey from the towns of Rio Grande City, Camargo, Roma, or Mier.

Early in 1849, cholera broke out throughout the major cities of Europe and America.  Because it is spread through contaminated water sources, large cities were particularly susceptible to massive outbreaks.  The poor sanitary condition among the Californian emigrants, and their rapid migration through the West led to a rash of cholera outbreaks along most of the immigration routes.  Throughout the US, many thousands would die in 1849, and in Texas, many towns were temporarily abandoned in avoidance of the deadly scourge.

                                                                                                                                by Scott Grayson, 2007

13th January 1849     The Corpus Christi Star, Corpus Christi, TX

From the Victoria Advocate


There is now no longer any doubt but that the Asiatic Cholera, that scourge of mankind, has again made its appearance upon our continent.  The first cases occurred at quarantine New York City, something over three weeks ago, since which time it has found its way to several other points, among which are New Orleans, Houston, Lavaca, and our own place (Victoria, TX)…                                      TRANSCRIBED by Scott Grayson, 2007

10th February 1849     The Corpus Christi Star, Corpus Christi, TX

           Among the names of gentlemen attached to the California expedition, now here, will be found that of Mr. John S. ROBB, the well know “solitaire” of the St. Louis Reveille…

            Mr. ROBB informed the editor of the Galveston New that many large parties are preparing to leave St. Louis for California by way on Independence, about the 1st of May.  That route requires a delay till the snow shall have left the plains.  The number expected to take this route is estimated at 5000, arriving principally from Wisconson, Iowa, Illinois, and Missouri.  This route cannot be much short of two thousand miles, while from Corpus Christi it does not exceed eleven or twelve hundred.  The latter route also affords a better road, and much better grazing for horses and mules; it also passes through a climate mild and temperate at all seasons.                           TRANSCRIBED by Scott Grayson, 2007



            We recently made a trip to the Rio Grande, going by the upper of Mier route, and returning by the Camargo road.  Our first watering place was Palo Alto, on the Agua Dulce, after leaving which we struck a course a little west of south, which direction, with occasional slight deviations, we maintained throughout our trip.  We found abundance of water on the prairies, and were rather astonished to find that the country so frequently heard described as a sandy desert, was in reality a region as fertile as any on the globe; covered, even in the middle of winter, with luxuriant verdure, and abounding with vast holds of deer, antelope, wild catlle, mustangs, &c.  With the exception of about 8 miles through Los Encinales ( a sort of scrubby live oak, growing on sandy soil,) there was no part of the country that bore the slightest resemblance to a “sandy desert,” and even here there is said to be abundance of water.

            After five days of easy travel, we struck the Rio Grande at Buena Vista, opposite Mier, where Mr, John C. HAYS has erected a fine stone mansion which commands a beautiful view on both sides of the river.  From hence to Mier, by the present road is about three miles, but it is Mr. HAYS intention to cut a road directly through from the river, which he estimates will reduce the distance to little more than two miles.  He has already obtained the necessary permission from the Mexican authorities, and is ixpected to commence work within a few days—Capt Jack EVERITT is building an adobe house within a few feet of Mr. HAYS’ mansion, intended, we believe, for a warehouse, these two gentlemen having gone into partnership, and intending to carry on a general mercantile and commission business.  Mr. HAYS also has a large field ploughed up and fenced in, ready to put in corn.  He has also a fine large flat boat plying as a ferry boat and connecting the Mexican and American sides of the river, and which we think must be extremely profitable.

            A fine road, vut directly through the chaparral, and 30 feet wide, led us to the old Rancho de Garcia, six miles below, now the city of Roma.  We were really surprised at the many evidences of rapid growth presented by this beautifully situated place.  Although but four months have elapsed since the ground it covers was a wilderness of chaparral , it already contains a population of about 100 souls, nearly one-half of whom are American, a number of substantial store houses are already erected, and many others were going up in all directions.  The situation is one of the most beautiful on the river, being on a high rocky bluff, commanding a view of the country for nine miles on either side.  Directly in front and far in the distance can be seen the mountains, at the feet of which lay the Mexican town of Cerralvo, Lampasas, and Sabinas; and then beyond them again, just lifting their heads above the others, are the mountains of Monterey.  The noble river, winding below, completes a landscape of unexampled beauty.  The hill upon which the town is built is an inexhaustible stone quarry, and furnishes most of the material used in construction of their houses.

            Here we found Mr. Robert MITCHELL, of New Orleans, who had just returned from working a lead mine in the Cerralvo mountains.  He stated that the vein of lead was remarkably rich, but that after working it awhile it assumed all the appearance of silver ore, and on submitting it to the inspection of some Mexicans they pronounced it to be silver.—After becoming perfectly satisfied to this fact, Mr. MITCHELL abandoned the undertaking, and taking all his tools with him, left the mine to any person who might choose to work it.  His reasons for taking this step were, as he stated to us, the difficulty and expense usually attendant upon working a silver mine, the uncertain remuneration, and his own advanced age.  He informed us that he had recently visited the mine at Vallazilla, which was supposed to be the richest and most profitable silver mine in the world, before the water broke in the workmen years ago.  A company were about to undertake the working of it, he said, and had sent to the United States for the proper machinery to pump the water out, which was 40 feet deep.

            From Roma, we returned to HAYS’ Ranch, and crossed the river to Mier.  This little Mexican town presents a dull, lifeless appearance, and is only interesting in having been the scene of the desperate fight between the handful of Texans under Col. FISHER, and AMPUDIA’s army, many memorials of which still exist.

            Rio Grande City, or Rancho Davis, is about fifteen miles below Roma, a good straight road being cut some distance back from the river.  The place is older and larger than Roma, and contains a number of well-built brick houses, while others are going up in all directions.  The hotel, a fine three story brick building, is kept by a Mr. ARMSTRONG, and appears to be well supported.  Some three quarters of a mile below the town, on a beautiful rising ground, are the quarters of the U. S. troops intended to be stationed along our frontier.  The exact spot selected for the post we believe was not known, although it was supposed that their present location would be the one.  There were two companies of the 1st Infantry, and one of the 3rd artillery in garrison there, Capt DEAS, of the last, being in command of the post.  Mr. DAVIS had had a road cut direct from the town to the camp, and as we walked up on our return, we found our friend, Chief Justice Stakes, with his coat off, hoe and rake in hand, hard at work putting in the garden seeds.

             We started from this place on our return, and for the first sixty miles we found water at intervals of about sixteen or twenty miles; when we arrived at Los Encinales we found abundance of water even in the midst of the sand.  There was a heavily laden wagon in our company, yet at no time did we lack abundance of water, both for ourselves and our animals.  Capt Jack EVERITT, who was of our party, said that he had never before seen it so dry a time, many water holes being dry for the first time in his recollection.  This settles the question as to the possibility of procuring water on the prairies in the summer time.


FOR CALIFORNIA.—A party consisting of six individuals left this city on Sunday for California.—They intend on going by way of Presidio, San Fernando, and perhaps Chihuahua.  Another party is now getting ready to leave about the first of February.  They will proceed to a point lower down on the Rio Grande, thence by way of Monclova, &c.

            The above is from the San Antonio Texian of the 25th ult.  We believe the party last mentioned left here this morning, on their route to Mier, Monclova, etc.

                                                                                                TRANSCRIBED by Scott Grayson, 2007





The following correspondence recently occurred between Maj.LAMOTTE, commanding the US forces on the Rio Grande, and the alcalde of Camargo, in reference to citizens of Mexico hunting mustangs and will cattle in the State of Texas:



Nov 10, 1848

To the Alcalde of Camargo, Mexico:

            Sir—It has come to my knowledge that many citizens of Mexico are in the habitual practice of crossing the Rio Grande and hunting mustang and wild cattle.  Anxious to prevent any interruption to the friendly feelings now existing between the inhabitants along the border, I beg to call the attention of your Honor to the fact that cattle and horse constitute property, and in this case, they belong either to individuals or the State of Texas—that the citizens of no other State can come into this for the purpose of appropriating such property, still less should it be attempted by those of a foreign country.  I shall esteem it a favor, therefore, if you will caution your people against this practice, and will cause it to be known that the cattle and horses so caught in the future will be liable to confiscation, and the persons engaged in it to a process under the law of trespass.

With high respect, I am Sir,

Your obedient servant,

J. H. LAMOTTE, Maj U. S. A. comd’g.



November 11, 1848

            Sir—I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your communication dated yesterday, in which you request me to inform the inhabitants of this place, who may go to Texas to catch wild cattle or mustangs, that in the future all such animal which they may secure, will be confiscated, and they themselves tried for breaking the laws; stating at the same time that you feel disposed to avoid all interruption of the friendly relations now existing between the two frontiers.  In answer I will say that I esteem your kind sentiments, and that I am equally desirous that there should be no cause for their interruption.  As the case to which your note refers, however, tends to limit the rights of Mexican citizens, who have held property in Texas from time immemorial—which rights were solemdly guarantied (sic)to them by the treaty of peace between the Government of Mexico and that of the United States.  I have thought it proper to advise the Governor of this State of it, so that it may be ascertained whether the local laws of Texas can annul those guaranties.  In the meantime I will inform the inhabitants in my jurisdiction of the danger which threatens them in case they enter the State of State of (sic) Texas for the purpose you mention.  The citizens of this country, proprietors of large tracts of land and cattle in Texas, have always claimed wild animals on their lands as the product of cows and mares with which they stocked them, and although they have sometimes had to abandon them on account of inroad of the savages, they have never given up their right to them, and those were declared inviolable by the 3rd paragraph of the 8th article of said treaty.  I think it proper to inform you that his Excellency the Governor of this State has given orders that all Mexican citizens who go to Texas must have a passport, at the same time requesting the authorities on this line not to give this document to any person excepting such as have urgent business in that portion of Texas which formerly composed part of Tamaulipas, and upon no consideration to persons of suspicious character, or who have have (sic) no legal object there—which request I have complied with.

            I take this opportunity of offering you my due appreciation and respect.  God and Liberty.  J. MARIA G. VILLARREAL

To Major J. H. LaMotte, commanding U. S. forces in Texas  

TRANSCRIBED by Scott Grayson, 2007

17th March 1849     The Corpus Christi Star, Corpus Christi, TX

CHOLERA ON THE RIO GRANDE—We regret to learn that the Cholera has made its appearance at most towns of the Rio Grande—Matamoros, Brownsville, Rio Grande City, etc.  Many deaths have occurred, and numbers of the inhabitants are leaving for more healthy parts of the country.

Later.—Capt. Jack EVERETT and Mr. MYERS arrived here from the Rio Grande on Wednesday evening.  They confirm the worst reports of cholera in the region.  Col L. P. COOK and wife have died of the disease.  Col C. was Secretary of the Navy during the administration of President LAMAR, and at the time of his death, a resident of Brownsville.                                                                              TRANSCRIBED by Scott Grayson, 2007


Capt. Jack EVERETT and Mr. MYERS returned to Corpus Christi on Wednesday evening from a trip to the Rio Grande, bringing with them about one hundred good horses, many of which have already been sold to the Holmes county boys.

            We understand that a like number of mules are on the road, and will be here in a few days.  With the exertions now making, we do not think Californians by this route will suffer much detention.                                                         TRANSCRIBED by Scott Grayson, 2007


            ANOTHER ARRIVAL.—In our papers of to-day be found an account of the organization of a new gold-seeking company, including a list of members called the “Holmes County (Miss.) Mining Company.” “Little Holmes” has turned out the right kind of stuff for such an enterprise and we predict for them a realization of their golden dreams.  They are expected to leave for California some time during the ensuing week. 

                                                                                                TRANSCRIBED by Scott Grayson, 2007


“Westward the Star of Empire takes its way”

The HOLMES COUNTY (MISS.) MINING COMPANY,” under the command of Major Walter H. HARVEY[3], of Alabama, arrived here on Wednesday evening, en route for California. 

            The Company consist of sixty five men, organized in Holmes County, Miss., and efficiently prepared to sift the yellow love upon the scientific principles of mining.

            The Association is a Joint Stock Company, governed by a Constitution, which provides for a legislative tribunal, which is also judicial; providing likewise for a military department.  The officers are Captain, tow Lieutenants, Sergeants, etc.

            Major HARVEY, the Captain of the Company is a scientific miner, having considerable experience in the mines of Georgia and Alabama, besides a military education at West Point, which , combined with indomitable energy and the few glances he has had at the animal, make him a most suitable person to direct the energies of this manly band on the new theatre on which they are destined to act.

            The 1st Lieutenant, J. H. DOUGLASS is a gentleman of energy and considerable experience.

            2nd Lieutenant, Wm. DALE

            1st Sergeant, R. R. CAMPBELL, 2nd do., Charles A. LEAKE, 3rd do., Geo. W. GORDON, 4th do.,Mr. SHEARER.  Treasurer Mr Neal McGANN.

             The following is a list of the members of the Association:

Joseph Wallis,

R. I. Cousert,

Thomas W. Carson,

G. A. Cousert,

Wm. Shearer,

W. L. Wright,

E. R. Hurger,

R. B. Harvey,

Williamson Dale,

T. W. Gulledge,

Jas. W. Whitman,

Chas. Floyd,

Fielding Davis,

J. M. Gordon

James H. Douglass,

W. A. Pope,

A. T. Horton,

J. R. Bell,

W. Grigsby,

Jas. W. Dale,

B. W. Moore,

Jefferson Williams,

G. W. Ward,

Wiley Ward,

L. J. Porter,

Brown Cade,

M. M. Wade,

J. A. Carlton,

A. L. Harvey,

R. A. Foster,

John Buck,

Chas. McIntire,

Jas. L. Cade,

J. T. Doxey,

Neal McCann,

J. M. Kendricks,

Chas. Leake,

Jackson Landfair,

R. L. Moore,

Absalom Dantzler,

W. E. Green,

J. K. Payne,

Alonzo Rhodes,

R. R. Campbell,

G. W. Gordon,

G. A. Allison,

J. W. Dorherty,

Wm. Ellis,

Martin Tool,

John M. Coleman,

Wm. Jones,

A. C. Wollop,

H. D. Davenport,

Parker Ford,

J. W. Robertson,

Levi Wise,

E. J. Harvey,

Howard Blake,

and Wm. Hughes.

Still another.—The steamer Fanny brought down from Galveston the “Carson Association of New York,” Capt. J. J. BOYD, numbering about fifty members.  They ailed from New York to Galveston, and thence by the Fanny to this place.

                                                                                                TRANSCRIBED by Scott Grayson, 2007

24th March 1849     The Corpus Christi Star, Corpus Christi, TX

FROM THE RIO GRANDE.—By several arrivals from the Rio Grande, we learn the cholera is still raging in Matamoros—ten to fifteen deaths occurring daily.  It has also made its appearance at Camargo, Reynosa, and Monterey.  At Brownsville, many of the California emigrants have died—a gentleman informs us that the number exceeds sixty!  Rio Grande City, by deaths and desertions from the town, has been nearly depopulated.

                                                                                                TRANSCRIBED by Scott Grayson, 2007

             ARRIVAL OF CALIFORNIANS FROM BOSTON.—The Schooner J. W. Herbert, Capt LEWIS, arrived at St. Joseph’s yesterday bringing over thirty New England boys, bound for Sacramento.  The J. W. H. sailed for Boston on the 1st inst.

            The following list of the Company was kindly furnished us by one of its officers:

Wm. C. Waters,   President

Thos. Brooks,   Vice President

Benj. S. Grush,   Treasurer

Joseph Hale,   Secretary

Warren Prince, E. M. Chipman, Wm. Warner,   Directors

David E. Parker,

Wm. E. Cox,

Henry Danforth.,

Jere Horton,

David Hunteen?

M. Dominick,

G. Dresser,

L. E. Taylor,

Rob’t McCloy,

G. P. Merriman,

Jas. Hewes, jr.

Geo. W. Copeland,

A. B. Newhall,

Gideon Low,

Wm. A. Symonds,

J. G. Nelson,

J. Blaney, jr.

Henry Fowler,

Isaac Keley

 The following gentlemen accompany the expedition:

Chas Robinson, C. F. Boyden, J. C. Walton, Stephen Jones, Joseph McGaffy

            We learn from one of the passengers that a vessel left New York for this port (Corpus Christi) previous to the sailing of the Herbert, with a large number of Californians.  She will probably arrive today.

                                                                                                TRANSCRIBED by Scott Grayson, 2007


Presidio Rio Grande, March 10, 1849

            I arrived at this place on the 5th inst. In company with some twenty five of the best men of those who left Corpus Christi under the name of “Mazatlan Rangers,” and we are now preparing provisions, etc. for a regular start for the Pacific.  It is unnecessary to give a description of the country over which we passed, as it would be folly to run a road to this point over our trail, which measures two hundred and thirty one miles, whilst one can be readily obtained in less than a hundred and seventy, over an open and level country with plenty of water.

            I did not intend to write anything for publication until my arrival at El Paso del Norte; but as a gentleman just from Laredo informs me that accounts of great suffering on our part have reached that place, and that they emanted from men who came up with us as far as the Laredo road, and turned off on that road to Laredo, I am induced to make a statement of facts connected with this trip.  There is not a man of any truth or character in that party which will corroborate such a silly statement.  You know how we started from Corpus Christi—the wagons loaded down with trunks and other things unnecessary for such a march, and they were hauled by three yole of cattle, in poor condition when they started, and for the first few days grew worse by neglect.  A large number of the men were unfit to go to California by any route, and will be unfit to stay there if they ever arrive, unless they get some situation in the shade, and in the neighborhood of a cologne lake—men who know nothing of life beyond the measuring tape, the handing out of needles and thread, and such like operations as real manhood would scorn to engage in.  Such men after paying in their $150 in New Orleans, deemed it out of character to do any labor in facilitating their progress, and the result was that we came on very slowly, for the good and willing men of the command were too much disgusted to labor for themselves and others.  When every means had failed to work on harmoniously, it was resolved to dissolve the company and force each man to work his way through.  This was accomplished before the arrival at the Laredo road, and all but about twenty-five, started off south, though there course was north of west, in order to travel on a road.  If they suffered one hour after leaving Corpus Christi, it was whilst on that road, unless, indeed, they put in the bill of suffering, sunburnt hands, torn pantaloons, and a few pricks from the nopal leaves.  They were never without water, save one day, when they could not travel sixteen miles to reach it; provisions were plenty in the wagons, the county abound in game, and the lakes and rivers were full of fish, and yet they complaine of their sufferings.  How many such men do you think will ever reach the Pacific shore?

… (Page 2 column 2)                                                                     TRANSCRIBED by Scott Grayson, 2007

            31 March 1849     The Corpus Christi Star, Corpus Christi, TX

 CHOLERA ON THE RIO GRANDE.—The steamship Globe arrived at Galveston Monday, the 26th inst. From the Brazos.  She brought over some thirty Californians, the remnants of two or three parties who have started up the Rio Grande and were oblidged to return, either from inability to procure the means of transportaion, or from the dread of cholera, which they report as raging to a fearful extent all along the Rio Grande.  Among these passengers, were some ten or twelve who left New Orleans with Col. WEBB, of which party Mr. AUDUBON, jr., the son and assistant to the great naturalist, was Treasurer.  This party was originally ninety strong, but some thirty died of cholera on the passage up the Rio Grande, and the majority of the remainder have determined to return home to take a fresh start.  They report that the towns on the American side of the river were nearly deserted, and on the Mexican side, the deaths were averaging over one hundred a day.  In Matamoros, for the two days preceding the departure of the Globe, 175 deaths per day have been reported, and in Camargo the mortality was nearly as great.  All along the river, as the boat passed, the Mexicans would line the banks, and holding out their bottles, beg in the most piteous manner for remedies (medicines).  We were unable to procure the names of the Americans who died of cholera, but we learn that the disease, at the last accounts, had not gone above Mier, on the Mexican side of the river, or Roma, on this side.  The latter place was said to be totally deserted, and Clay Davis’s nearly so.  In Brownsville, our informant stated, not twenty persons were to be seen in a day’s walk

            At Rio Grande City, Mr. AUDUBON, the Treasurer of Col. WEBB’s party of Californians, was robbed of twelve thousand dollars, the property of the company, which he had deposited with the barkeeper of the hotel there.  Part of the money ($4,000) was subsequently recovered, by the confession of one of the party who was seized with the cholera.  This, together with the sickness, completely broke up the party, and Webb left Roma with less than twenty men. 

            Capt. GLOVER, late American Consul at Monterey, came passenger on the Globe, and we are indebted to him for most of the above items.  He also informed us that the Governor of Nuevo Leon had officially notified him that hereafter no parties of armed Americans would be allowed to pass through Mexican territory.  Orders to this effect, he said, had been issued by the Central Government, and the Governors of different States.  This prohibition caused by the bad conduct of a party of Americans who had started from Vera Cruz for Mazatlan, and running out of funds on the road, commenced levying contributions on the inhabitants.

                                                                                                TRANSCRIBED by Scott Grayson, 2007

MR. UPSHUR—From one of the passengers who arrived at Galveston Monday, we heard of the rumored death of the gentleman whose name heads this article.  It was stated that he died of cholera, at Rio Grande City.  We shall wait further intelligence with great anxiety.                                                                            TRANSCRIBED by Scott Grayson, 2007

  31st March 1849     New Orleans Picayune, New Orleans, LA

 CHOLERA ON THE RIO GRANDE.—The New Orleans Picayune, of the 31st ult., publishes the following extract from a latter dated Brazos, March 24:

     “I have been to Brownsville, where I found most of the stores closed in consequence of the people having left, fearing the cholera.  Matamoras is most awfully afflicted with this malady.  I was there three times, but could not see a business man; forty-five deaths occurred the day I was there, and sixty-one burials took place yesterday out of a population of only 7,000.  Here the deaths are two or three every day, and we have lost some of our best men.  F---- and myself were both taken to Brownsville, but immediately procured attendance and are now doing well.  I have just learned the death of the clerk, mate and barkeeper of the steamboat Tom McKinney.

     “Camargo contains 3000 people, and 35 have been buried there in one day; there are only five Americans left in the whole place.

     “Most of our population have left or died.  No business doing, and it is useless to attempt to do anything until after the plague has left.”            TRANSCRIBED by Scott Grayson, 2007

  April 9th 1849    The Sandusky Clarion   Sandusky, OH


             The New Orleans Picayune of March 29th has further particulars of WEBB’s California expedition.  It left New Orleans on the 4th of March and reached Brazos on the 8th.  The next day, they proceeded up the Rio Grande and encamped opposite Clay Davies’ Ranchero.  On the same evening cholera broke out amongst them and one man died.  The next day 3 others fell victims to the same disease.  It spread alarmingly among the company, developing itself in its most awful type.  On the following day 4 more died, causing great consternation among the survivors, of whom a large portion were more or less affected by the same morbid symptoms. 

            A complete disorganization of the company followed.  Col. W. then left the camp and went up the river for the purpose of buying mules, but before he returned, Mr. Anderson ordered the company to disband, in consequence of the prevalence of the frightful malady among them.  17 members of the company, on the 3rd day after the cholera appeared, returned to Brazos, and immediately sailed for New Orleans.  Audubon’s saddlebags, containing $12,000 in gold, had been left in charge of the bar-keeper at Davies’s Rancho, who plundered them and divided the spoils with another Mexican.  Subsequently a large part of the gold was disgorged by them, under a threat of being shot, and fearing death from cholera, by which the bar-keeper was attacked.

            The following is a list of those who died at the encampment: 

Hamilton of Boston

Of New York:            Samuel H. Liscom

                        J. T. Hall

                        J. Sherwood

                        W. H. Harrison of Cincinnati

                        Edward Whittlesey of Buffalo

                        J. Howard of N.O.

                        J. R. Bucknell of N. O.

                        John Lambert of N. O.

            The bodies were brought over to the American side of the river and interred at Davis Ranchero.

TRANSCRIBED by Scott Grayson, 2007

19st April 1849     Burlington Hawk Eye, Burlington, IA

 Wm H. Harrison, who died of cholera on the Rio Grande, a few weeks since, was a grand-son of President Harrison.  He was a member of Col Webb’s California Company

TRANSCRIBED by Scott Grayson, 2008

 21st April 1849     The Corpus Christi Star, Corpus Christi, TX

 The government steamer Hetzel arrived at Lavaca, from Brazos Santiago, on Tuesday last, and left for New Orleans on Wednesday.  We are informed that she carried over some forty or fifty Californians who found it impossible to proceed by the Brazos route, among whom were the remnants of Col. WEBB’s party, whose misfortunes we mentioned a week or two ago.  The Colonel himself, we understand, is in San Antonio. 

The remains of tow or three other parties were also on the Hetzel, including the sole surviving member of a company of fifteen.  Two of this party were murdered at Matamoros and twelve died of cholera, leaving but one man alive.  Our informant was unable to learn the name or starting point of this party.            TRANSCRIBED by Scott Grayson, 2007




 21st April 1849     The Corpus Christi Star, Corpus Christi, TX

 MORE INDIAN RUMORS.—When Capt. Jack. EVERITT left here for the Rio Grande, some time since, he took with him a wagon belonging to Col. KINNEY, filled with goods.  This wagon, on its return, was to bring out a Mexican family from Mier to this place, the head of which, Gonzales, accompanied them.  A party of mustangers, who arrived here a few days since, report that the whole party, including the driver, have been murdered by the Indians, the mules stolen and the wagon broken to pieces.  The drivers, whose name was WELCH, was a temperate, industrious man, and the mules were a very valuable team.   One old Mexican, who left with the wagon, is said to have escaped during the fight and returned to Mier.  We trust this rumor is incorrect, but from the late reports of the presence of large bodies of Indians on the Rio Grande, we fear the worst.  A day or two, however, will relieve us from suspense. 

The same men who brought the above news also state that another body of Indians entered the town of Rio Grande City (Clay Davis’) and stole therefrom all the horses belonging to the artillery companies stationed at that place.  Some Mexicans went in pursuit and succeeded in recovering a part of the horses.  The Indians are said to be headed by the notorious ROQUE, a Mexican who was taken prisoner by the Comanches when a boy, and remained with them upwards of twenty years.  So great was the terror occasioned by the presence of these Indians upon the Rio Grande, that the different parties of mustangers were about to unite at a given point for protections. (page 2, column 2)


            The government steamer Hetzel arrived at Lavaca, from Brazos Santiago, on Tuesday last, and left for New Orleans on Wednesday.  We are informed that she carried over some forty or fifty Californians who found it impossible to proceed by the Brazos route, among whom were the remnants of Col. WEBB’s party, who misfortunes we mentioned a week or two ago.  The Colonel himself, we understand, is in San Antonio.

            The remains of two or three other parties were also on the Hetzel, including the sole surviving member of a company of fifteen.  Two of this party were murdered in Matamoros, and twelve died of the cholera, leaving but one man alive.  Our informant was unable to learn the name or starting point of this party. (page 2, column 1)

                                                                                                TRANSCRIBED by Scott Grayson, 2007

 9th June 1849     The Corpus Christi Star, Corpus Christi, TX

 STATE SENATE.—H. CLAY DAVIS, of Rio Grande City, is a candidate to represent the counties of Starr, Webb, and Cameron in the next session of the State Senate.  We have not seen the announcement, but we understand that Chief Justice A. G. STAKES is also a candidate for the same office.

                                                                                                TRANSCRIBED by Scott Grayson, 2007

 Mr. UPSHUR—The friends of this gentleman (whom we killed some time since on what we thought was good authority) will be glad to learn that he is alive and kicking.  A letter from himself, announcing this interesting fact, was shown to us yesterday, and as we suppose he ought to know the true state of the case, we make the amende.  Seriously, we are happy to state that the report of his death was incorrect, and that he may shortly be expected to pay a visit to this section of the country.

                                                                                                TRANSCRIBED by Scott Grayson, 2007

 16th June 1849     The Corpus Christi Star, Corpus Christi, TX

             DEATH OF CAPT. DEAS.—Capt. Edward DEAS, 4th artillery, stationed at Camp Ringgold, was drowned from on board the steamer Yazoo near Rio Grande City, on the 6th inst.

            Capt DEAS had served on both lines during the Mexican war, and was taken prisoner shortly after the battles of the 8th and 9th of May[5].  His brother George DEAS was Assistant Adjutant General of the Late General WORTH, commandant of the (S??) Military Department.                                                                 TRANSCRIBED by Scott Grayson, 2007

 25th June 1849     Republican Compiler, Gettysburg, PA

 Capt. Edward DEAS of the 4th artillery, formerly stationed at Carlisle Barrack, was drowned on the 13th ultimate from steamer Yazoo, near Rio Grande City.  He served in both lines of the Mexican War, and was taken prisoner while swimming across the river to see a Mexican senorita, and carried to Matamoras.  Capt. DEAS, although somewhat eccentric in character, was nevertheless, rated among the best drill officers in the army.

                                                                                                TRANSCRIBED by Scott Grayson, 2007

30th June 1849     The Corpus Christi Star, Corpus Christi, TX

INDIANS AT THE SALT LAKE.—Capt. LEWIS informs us that on the 24th inst. A party of Indains made an attack on his house at the Salt Lake, and carried off all the horses belonging to him.  Capt. L. who was at home at the time, as soon as he heard of the robbery, immediately raised a party of six or eight men and started in pursuit.  Night coming on, they tracked the Indians by their own signals, and finally overtaking them recovered all their horses and one or two belonging to the enemy.  The Indians, however, escaped.

            Capt LEWIS reports the condition of the whole Rio Grande country as deplorable in the extreme.  From Brownsville to Laredo, with the exception of the towns of Rio Grande City and Roma, the whole country on this side of the river is desserted, most of the inhabitants having taken refuge on the Mexican side; and a region which was a short time since covered with large farms and ranchos, and comparatively thickly populated, has become a howling wilderness.                                           TRANSCRIBED by Scott Grayson, 2007


21st July 1849     The Corpus Christi Star, Corpus Christi, TX

INDIANS.—The mail rider from Rio Grande City to this (town h)ad a narrow escape last week, having been (attacke)d by a party of Indians some distance the other side (of El) Encinales, and closely pursued for several miles, (the fl)eetness of his horse saved him.

(A)bout the same time, a party of traders from Guerrero, (?) in number, on their way to this town with a quantity (of p)ack mules, were attacked by Indians near a place (cal?)led the Presenos, about sixty miles from here, and one (of) the party killed, another mortally wounded, and the (w)hole caballada taken.  The wounded man died before he could be brought in here.

            We learned that a party of Indians, number not ascertained, was seen near the Alazan on Wednesday by some of the Mexicans employed on Col KINNEY’s rancho.  They were supposed to be down there for the purpose of stealing horses and cattle  

                                                                                                TRANSCRIBED by Scott Grayson, 2007

 4th August 1849      The Corpus Christi Star, Corpus Christi, TX

FROM RIO GRANDE CITY.—Fearful Example of the Lynch Law.—The Brownsville Flag says that a few days since, while in a fandango ballroom, a man by the name of JACK MILLS committed an unprovoked murder upon the body of a respectable Mexican citizen of that place—deliberately shooting him down with his revolver.  This act so exasperated the citizens of Rio Grande City, when taken in connection with the former acts and threats of this man, (MILLS,) that a meeting was convened and resolutions passed that he should be exterminated.  A committee for this purpose was appointed, who most fatally performed their mission—piercing him, as we understand, with full thirty balls.”                                                               TRANSCRIBED by Scott Grayson, 2007


CHAPTER VI: 1850-1853


FOREWORD: The mid 19th century was a period of aggressive expansion for the US, following the precedents of the Mexican Cession, the Oregon boundary disputes, and the Gadsen purchase.  Political instability and chaos in Northern Mexico encouraged a number of Texans and veterans of the Mexican-American war to reclaim and “liberate” the area they had occupied during the previous war, under the title “Republic of the Sierra Madre.”  

The attempt to establish a new state in Northern Mexico was led by Jose Maria Carbajal, a prominent member of the Texas revolution, who championed a Northern Mexican state (consisting of Coahuila, Nuevo Leon, and Tamaulipas) free from both Mexico and Texas.  He was part of the revolution establishing the short lived “Republic of the Rio Grande” in 1840, and his politics resulted in seemingly unusual allegiances, fighting for Texas in their revolution, but for Mexico in the Mexican American War.  He had little trouble recruiting Texans to his cause, particularly along the embattled Rio Grande Valley.

            The motives of these “filibusters” were various.  American merchants had suffered substantial financial losses resulting from strict and irregular tariffs, and frequent confiscation of goods.  In addition to threatening the financial future of the border towns on which many had gambled there entire fortunes, the political instability in Northern Mexico enabled increasing incidents of American merchants being slaughtered on either side of the Rio Grande by Mexican bandits.  Those who participated in a successful revolution were also likely to receive immeasurable rewards in both land and economic influence in the new state.  Many of the early merchants in Rio Grande City and Roma participated in the four Merchant’s wars between 1850 and 1853.  The events included the occupation of Camargo in September of 1850, a failed attack on Matamoros in October of 1850, an invasion near Camargo in February of 1852, and attacks at Camargo and Reynosa in the spring of 1853.  Carbajal raids often resulted in Mexican civilian casualties and appeared as brutal and unjustified as the acts they supposedly sought to prevent.  All along, the American government made frequent attempts to arrest and try the members of these raids for violating the Neutrality Act, but these legal actions had no lasting effect.

            Citizens of Starr County that participated in the raids included Jack Everitt, Edward R. Hord, A. H. Norton, R. C. Trimble, and Peter Dowd.


26th February 1850      Zanesville Courier, Zanesville, OH

Letters received here, on Saturday evening announce the death of Capt W. F. BOWEN, formerly a citizen of this place. 

     The accounts are, substantially, as follows.—Mr. BOWEN and five others were on a trading expedition to the interior of Mexico.  After crossing the Rio Grande at Roma, in Texas, they proceeded on their way until near the town of Salinas, in Mexico, about 75 miles from Roma, where they were met by three Mexicans, who demanded their passports—the party not having passports, were permitted to pass upon the payment of 50 dollars to each Mexican.  Shortly after the same three men with thirty more made a similar demand.

     Mr. Bowen’s party then commenced unpacking their mules and making breastworks of the packs.  Two of the party then went out to negotiate with the leaders of the gang, and while so doing, an attack was made—by 15 or 20 Mexicans crowding upon BOWEN’s party, and the fight immediately commenced, and resulted in the death of three Americans (or 2 killed and 1 wounded) Capt BOWEN, being the last who fell.  The two men who went out to negotiate were made prisoners, and sent to the Camargo prison,

     Capt. IRVING, the last of the party, was by some accident a few miles in the rear, and escaped and has returned to Roma.

     We also copy the account of this melancholy occurrence from extracts of New Orleans papers in the Baltimore Sun…                                      TRANSCRIBED by Scott Grayson, 2007


     AMERICANS KILLED ON THE RIO GRANDE –The New Orleans papers contain new from Brownsville, Texas to the 30th ult.  The Texans are much excited on the subject of protection of their frontier, and find great fault with the secretary of War for furnishing them with infantry instead of cavalry, and call for the raising of companies of rangers—The New Orleans True Delta publishes a letter dated Camargo Jan (39?), giving an account of the murder of Texans by Mexicans as follows:

     A few days ago, a number of Texan merchants were brutally murdered near Salinas, by the official bandits that occupy this line, seemingly for the purpose of enforcing the revenue laws, but in reality to plunder and brutally murder, without any provocation, all parties that are not in sufficient force to protect themselves.  I will state the particulars of the late atrocity as related to me by one of the Americans now in prison here.  L. WARTHINGTON, W. F. BOWEN, R. CAMPBELL, --- HILLMAN and PETER MANGUS, all of Roma, brought over some goods to this side of the river.  If they complied not with the law, they did with the customs of this Mexican frontier, by paying the guards to let them pass.  The same was agreed upon $250.  The traders were only a few leagues on the road, when the same officers who took the bribe, overhauled them and demanded another stipend, which was complied with by the Americans.  A few days afterwards, while the party was encamped at a creek near Salinas, they were surprised by the very same officers, who has already received two bribes to pass the goods, and a force of twenty-five soldiers, and fired upon before they had time to seize their arms.  At the first volley, Mr. WORTHINGTON was shot through the head.  CAMPBELL gallantly returned fire, but he soon fell, pierced by eight balls.  BOWEN, who was desperately wounded by the first fire, retreated towards the creek, and was pursued by the ruthless miscreants, who beat his brains out with the butt of WARTHINGTON’s gun.  HILLMAN and MANGUS being left alone, and when all hope of being able to defend against such fearful odds had ?? surrendered at discretion.  The latter requested only permission to bury the remains of their fallen comrades, but even that ?? was denied them.  The Mexicans, after mutilating the dead, a prey to the wolves and vultures.

                                                                                                TRANSCRIBED by Scott Grayson, 2007

June 26th 1851     Texas State Gazette, Austin, TX

By the arrival of the steamer “Tom Kirkman,” from above, we learn that a serious affray occurred at Rio Grande City on the 21st ult. Between D. W. Shropshire and J. Van Alston, in which the former was killed.  They were both gamblers, residing at the above place, and it is said that the affray was caused by a dispute at the gaming table.  Both parties were well armed with pistols and bowie knives, which were all brought into requisition, the latter article producing the horrible and fatal finales.—Rio Grande Sentinel

TRANSCRIBED by Scott Grayson, 2005

September 26th 1851     New York Times, New York City, NY

Important from the Rio Grande—The Revolutionary movement in Tamaulipas.

The Houston (Texas) Telegraph of the 5th instant comes to use with some further particulars, more definite in detail, than any we have yet had, concerning the movement on foot in the States of Coahuila and Tamaulipas, to declare their independence of Mexico.  We quote:

            Their plans are now so well matured that a decisive blow will probably be struck in a few weeks.  A large number of volunteers from Texas have been enlisted and large quantities of arms, ammunition, and military stores have been procured to carry on the war against the Central Government.  Upward of 200 texan volunteers were encamped near Roma a few weeks since, waiting for orders from CANALES and his associates.

It is said that General AVALOS and the other officers in command of the Mexican forces, are aware that the great mass of people of those Departments are opposed to the Central Government, and they have intimated to the leaders of the revolutionary party that they can offer but a feeble resistance if a respectable military force is brought to operate against them.  It is also said that Gen. AVALOS has actually removed a portion of his property to Brownsville, in anticipation of the success of the revolutionary party.  CARABAJAL at present is the ostensible commander of the revolutionary forces, but as soon as offensive operations are commenced, it is probably that CANALES will take command in person.

            The Americans on this side of the Rio Grande are quite confident that this movement will be successful, as the Central Government is so destitute of means, that it is unable to pay the soldiers now stationed along the frontier, and they are consequently much dissatisfied.

            It is believed that a large number of the Government troops will join the standard of CARABAJAL as soon as it is displayed on the west bank of the Rio Grande.  Many of the merchants on this side of the river are willing to aid the revolutionary party, as they have suffered severely from the impositions of the Mexican custom-house officers.  The trade of Brownsville, Roma, and most of the towns on the east bank of the Rio Grande, has lately been almost ruined by the Mexican revenue officers, who have endeavored, by the most tyrannical impositions, to prevent Americans from trading with any of the towns or settlements.

TRANSCRIBED by Scott Grayson, 2008

October 15th 1851  Burlington Hawkeye, Burlington IA

 The latest accounts from the Rio Grande, bring intelligence of a revolutionary movement on the northern frontier of Mexico.  On the 3rd Sept., the citizens of Guerrero put forth a pronunciamento, followed on the 6th by one from Camargo.  The causes assigned for the revolutionary movement are, as we learn, as follows:

1.      The utter failure of the Federal Government to protect the Northern Mexican States from Indian Depredations

2.      The unjust, unequal, and prohibitory system of duties, which operates most destructively on the interest of the people of the frontier.

3.      The despotic powers exercised by the Federal government, over the rights and representation of the several states.

 The advocates of the revolution, comprising of many native Mexicans and a number of Americans, are commanded by Col. CARVAJAL, an active, enterprising and efficient partisan captain.  They demand, in substance, the expulsion of permanent troops from the State; the inviolability of the reights and property of the citizens; the endowment of the States with all powers not granted to the General Government; equal representation in the Senate by popular election; the abolition of prohibitions; and the reduction of impost duties, the abrogation of the heavy penalties for smuggling, and simple forfeiture substituted; the free introduction of groceries on the frontier for five years; a frontier customs house at Reynoso; the liberating force to be employed in protecting the frontier states from the savages, &c., &c.  The forces will not lay down their arms until these are obtained, and if the Government persists in refusing the armed petition, the Sates will organize a provision government, laying aside all ideas of sucession or annexation.

            From this the reader may judge the view of the Revolutionary party.

            The Revolutionist had several engagements with the Government troops; Camargo, Mier, and several other towns were in their hands, and they were in march for Reynoso and Matamoras.

            Among the knowing ones it is said President Arista is at the head of this movement, and that he is now en route from Mexico to Sierra Madre, his object being to revolutionize all the northern Mexican States.

TRANSCRIBED by Scott Grayson, 2008

 October 23rd 1851    New York Times, New York City, NY

Northern Mexico—The Revolution

From the New Orleans True Delta


            Since I last had this pleasure, the Comanche and the U. S. Steamer corvette have arrive from the Upper Rio Grande, nearly opposite the head quarters of Col Carvajal, bringing news now confirmatory of previous advice, of the fight at Camargo.  Col CARVAJAL commenced the engagement with but fifty men, and continued it in a series of skirmishes for two days, losing only the use, for a time, of seven men slightly wounded.  The government troops, commanded by Col Camacho, numbered, it is stated, nearly two hundred, of which number he had thirty eight killed and as many more—most of them dangerously—wounded, the remainder surrendering themselves prisoners of war.

            General AVALOS—or, as he is termed, Guajalote, by his enemies, from exploits attributed to him in former years, on the Vera Cruz and City of Mexico Road—has fortified himself for a siege in Matamoros!  His position is equally disagreeable and unsafe, and he cannot but be satisfied of it.

            A few days ago the city authorities waited upon him to request compliance with the new tariff of rates established by Col CARVAJAL for the government of the Custom House officials, and which they demanded to have put in force immediately.

            His compliance was quickly extorted, but the Collector was refractory, and protested against the change, and was only brought to his senses by the Jefe Politico ordering out the National Guard, and placing him and his Deputy in custody, where they have remained until the present time in close confinement.

TRANSCRIBED by Scott Grayson, 2008

October 31st, 1851    New York Times, New York City, NY

The Sierra Madre Disturbance

From the New Orleans True Delta

            The state of affairs in the Northern States of our feeble neighbor, as detailed in our columns yesterday morning, differ little, if at all, from that of previous dates, no collision of opposing forces, no further demonstrations of hostile or revolutionary character as other points than those previously particularized, having occurred.  The whereabouts of CANALES appears to be a matter of some doubt, although he had declared for the revolution, and had been one of its earliest and most active instigators.  His well known faithles (sic) character and moral worthlessness prevented any reliance being placed upon his professions, or any credit given to his boastful parades of readiness to cooperate in the movement to separate the Sierra Madre country from the parent stem.  His purpose, it is generally believed upon the frontier, was solely to obtain the control of the revolt, so as to be more favorably situated to sate his cupidity, when the necessities of the Government at the city of Mexico compelled it to negotiate for the reestablishment of the status quo, not having the means of reducing its refractory citizens to order and subordination.

            In this expectation, if really indulged by him, he was completely disappointed, by the greater celerity of CARAVAJAL, who, possessed of a better character for talents, intelligence and probity, has managed to attract to his standard a formidable body of men enured to war, acquainted with a soldier’s duty, and familiar with frontier service, many of them having borne arms before, during and since the Mexican war, in Northern Mexico, and on the United States line of the Rio Grande.

            It was mainly owing to the efficiency of these auxiliaries that his triumph over the troops of the confederation at Camargo was obtained, and the severe loss of the latter, a circumstance that is never noticed in  slight actions between contending bodies of Mexicans, is entirely attributed to their skill, coolness and intrepidity as marksmen.  He has since been joined by Capt.  Ford of the Texan Rangers, who was mustered out of the United States Service on the 23rd of September; and who with the rank of Lt. Col. Is at the head of about three hundred picked men, constituting the elite and reliable of the revolutionary army.

            Col. Ford has the character of being an intelligent, daring, and enterprizing (sic) partizan (sic) officer, and if not betrayed by the slippery chiefs with whom he will be constantly in contact, and in some measure subordinate to, he will give infinite trouble to any force treble to his own in numbers that can be brought against him.  As at present contemplated, however, his movement in conjunction with CARVAJAL appears to us full of rashness unless the people of Northern Mexico are more united and determined than advices in our possession justify us in concluding.  If CARVAJAL be so close to Matamoros, as is represented, with a force of eleven hundred men—or six hundred, as our correspondent with greater correctness, we think, states—the success or unsuccess of the revolution will soon be determined, as AVALOS declares himself immovably fixed in his resolution to give battle to the “rebels.”  The later officer, by reducing the duties on imports, has replenished his military chest—the estimated value of the good introduced from the American side of the river exceeding five hundred thousand dollars, principally owned by foreign houses.  This move of his is very adroit, but the mechants who have profited by it are very sharply reprehended by the friends of the Revolution, who allege that they were influenced more by cupidity than a love of freedom in the steps taken. 

            Merchants generally are more mindful of their individual interests than the affairs of States, or the intrigues and pronunciamentos of turbulent military chieftains, and we are less surprised to find them introducing their merchandise in this instance, than at their temerity in risking it in a city soon, in all probability, to be the theatre of a bloody contest, with results so very uncertain.  Should CARVAJAL succeed over AVALOS, there can be no doubt of his intentions in regard to the merchandise introduced by permission of the latter; but in any case, it is more than doubtful if they even be permitted to leave Matamoros, intil an increase equal to the difference between what they have already paid and the Mexican Tariff be exacted.

            We notice an address of proclamation of AVALOS to the soldiers and citizens, in which he charges upon two American houses in Brownsville, the responsibility of originating the present disturbances.  No one knows better than AVALOS the utter untruthfulness of the charge, or better qualified to explain fully the origin of the discontent, and the causes—entirely of Mexican origin—which produced it.

            We regret to find a disposition, as unworthy as it is ungenerous, existing between Point Isabel and at Brownsville, to implicate honorable merchants in Mexican broils, upon no better evidence than is furnished by a vigilant and judicious regard for their own interests, for to that extent, no more, are they involved in transactions with which American citizens cannot, and ought not, if they respect the laws of their country, to be compromised.

            Whatever man be the result of CARVAJAL’s present movements, we are sure our citizens will hold themselves aloof from any active participation in the quarrel, leaving it with those who originated if and their allies, who have denationalized themselves to take part in the emeute.

            That Mexico cannot reduce her Northern States to subjection, if they are determined to set up for themselves, is certain; but of that determination we are not sufficiently assured to be able to speak with any confidence, or predict the probable end of the affair.


From the New Orleans Picayune

            THE REVOLTUION IN NORTHERN MEXICO—ITS AIDERS, INSTIGATORS, &c.—We have received a letter from Texas vy the last arrival, in which it is distinctly asserted that Capt. Forbes BRITTON, of Corpus Christi, has had no hand whatever in fomenting or getting up the revolution now in progress across the Rio Grande, and which, as every one at all posted up on the subject knows, is headed by CARVAJAL, a Mexican of revolutionary notoriety.  The late outbreak, which appears to have been successful, so far, is stated in this letter to be a Mexican speculation at bottom, although no inconsiderable number of Texan Rangers, recently disbanded and with nothing to do, have joined the revolutionists.  The friends of Capt. BRITTON, knowing that he has been all the while in Corpus Christi pursuing his regular vocations, fell hurt at seeing his name in any way mixed up with this business of CARVAJAL’s, and one of them has written us, desiring that we should contradict the rumor that he had any hand in it.

TRANSCRIBED by Scott Grayson, 2008

 November 14th, 1851                    New York Times, New York City, NY



By telegraph to The New York Times




Desertion of American Troops – Government troops concentrating at Monterey

New Orleans, Tuesday, Nov. 11,

            The steamship Louisiana arrive at this port to-day, with advices from Galveston, Texas to the 7th inst.

            All the troops but ten, who were stationed at the Ringgold barracks, have deserted and joined the insurgents.

            The Mexican Government are concentrating their forces at Monterey, and Gen. Uraga has been appointed to the command of 5,000 men, with whom he intends marching at once to the seat of war, for the purpose of suppressing the revolution, if he can.

TRANSCRIBED by Scott Grayson, 2008

 January 13th 1852    New York Times, New York City, NY


Difficulties between the United States and Mexican Authorities—Position of Carvajal,

 From the N. O. Picayune Jan. 3,

By the arrival last evening of the schooner alderman, from the Brazos, we have received the Rio Bravo of the 24th ult., and also our special correspondence up to the same date.  From these sources of information we are led to believe that the position of CARVAJAL is not so desperate as it had appeared.   The rumor that he had been arrested and imprisoned by Gen. Harney is destitute of foundation.  It is not certainly known whether he is on this side of the other of the Rio Grande, but it is evident that reinforcements are congregating to assist him.

            The Rio Bravo of the 24th contains CARVAJAL’s official report to the ayuntamientos of Guerrero, Mier, Camargo and Laredo.  As this is merely a recetial of events, the particulars of which we have already published, we do not think it is necessary to copy the document.  The following is the concluding paragraph of the report:

            To particularize would require too much space.  Should the reports of the large force, which the tyrant has placed at the disposal of his willing tools, AVALOS, URAGA, and the faithless traitor, CANALES, be confirmed, I shall for the present, in imitation of the heroes of our revolution, divide my forces into small parties to observe and harass the enemy.  Before many weeks I shall assume the offensive, and drive them from your soil…

TRANSCRIBED by Scott Grayson, 2008

February 10th 1852    New York Times, New York City, NY

Rio Grande News

Baltimore, Monday Feb. 9,

A letter from the Rio Grande says that the Mexican Congress has refused to ratify the reduced tariff of Gen AVALOS for Matamoros.  The latter says he will resist the action.

Mr. SAMUEL WARD, of New York, Government Revenue agent, has arrived in Rio Grande City.

TRANSCRIBED by Scott Grayson, 2008

March 6th 1852    New York Times, New York City, NY

Later from the Rio Grand—The Sierra Madre Revolution—Proceedings of the U. S. Court at Brownsville…

 New Orleans, Tuesday Feb 24, 1852

            By the arrival of the steamship Yacht yesterday from Brazos Santiago, which port she left on the 19th inst., we have letters from the Rio Grande to the 17th inst.  Judge Watrous, of the U. S. district  Court, which has lately been in session in Brownsville, came passenger on the Yacht.  He proceeds to Washington City to attend his impeachment before the House of representatives.  The Court adjourned on the 12th inst., and the Grand Inquest found true bills against a number of people for violating the neutrality laws of 1818, among whom are the following: Gen. J. M. J. CARVAJAL, Col C. R. WHEATE, Major Jack EVERITT, Capt. McLANE, R. H. FORD, and R. C. TRIMBLE.  The cases were continued until the next June term, but it is very doubtful whether any of them will ever be tried—for, in the first place, with a few exceptions, none of them have been arrested.

            The increase tax laid by the Mexican Government on the imports, which is so bitterly denounced by the merchants and citizens generally, is highly favorable to the revolutionary movements of Gen CARVAJAL, who was daily expected to attack Camargo, and then make a descent on Matamoros…

TRANSCRIBED by Scott Grayson, 2008



April 12th 1852    Republican Compiler, Gettysburg, PA


Still Later form Texas—American Steamboat Fired Upon by the Mexicans


NEW ORLEANS, April 7th—Late advices from Texas report that the steamer Camanche, while ascending the Rio Grande with forty passengers, including many ladies, and also general CARVAJAL, was fired upon by the Mexican soldiers from the bank of the river.  The shot struck the boat, but luckily no lives were lost.  The shots were probably intended for CARVAJAL.  The outrage had excited much indignation on the part of the Americans.

TRANSCRIBED by Scott Grayson, 2008

 April 21st 1852             New York Times, New York City, NY

             The Rio Bravo has the following Rio Grande Items:

            “ General CARVAJAL, having business in Brownsville, arrived here yesterday morning on the Comanche.  On his way down, he was arrested by a company of United States troops, under Lieutenant GIBBONS. Immediately on his arrival at this place, bail was entered, and CARVAJAL was discharged from custody.

            The General is accompanied by Brevet Lieut. Col J. H. GONZALES, his aid and military secretary, Col Jose M. CABASOS, formerly in command of the Reynosa squadron, and Major A. N. NORTON of the commissary department.  Col. CABASOS, (whose grandfather was executed by the Spanish Government, 1817) with Don Ignazio GUERRA, and several other gentlemen of this frontier, who are with him, are exiles.

TRANSCRIBED by Scott Grayson, 2008

 May 12 1852             The Ohio Repository, Canton, OH

 May 3, 1852, New Orleans

Great excitement prevailed at Rio Grande City in consequence of the murder of Mr. Patton, a respectable merchant, by the Mexicans.  A number of citizens pursued and overtook the murderers & lynched them, and also a party of six others belonging to an organized band formed for robbing and murdering Americans.  The murderers professed to act under Gen. Canales and say that Canales intends to capture Brownsville.  The citizens are preparing to receive him

TRANSCRIBED by Scott Grayson, 2008

 May 7th 1852              New York Times, New York City, NY

 Late from the Rio Grande—Lawless State of Affairs

New Orleans, Monday May 3.

We have received from Brownsville dates to the 28th ult.  The inhabitants of Rio Grande City were greatly excited by the murder of a Mr. PATTON, a  respectable merchant, by some Mexicans, who were pursued and captured some ten miles out of the city, and  immediately hung—and also, six others, who were said to belong to a regularly organized band for murdering and robbing Americans.  Several murders and robberies have been committed by Mexicans, who profess to act under Gen. CANALES’ orders, and say that they will soon alarm and capture Brownsville.  The settlers on the American side of the river were all arming and preparing for future attacks.

TRANSCRIBED by Scott Grayson, 2008

 May 11th 1852    New York Times, New York City, NY

 FROM TEXAS.—Late Brownsville papers announce the murder of Mr. PATTEN, of Brazos, by some Mexicans, near the Rio Grande City, and the hanging of the murderers by citizens of the latter place.  A party also started out and killed six other Mexicans in the neighborhood, who had been a longtime in the habit of committing depredations.

            Mr. THOMAS H. HARRIS, of Rio Grande, is missing, and is supposed to have been murdered.

            The house of A. V. EDMUNDSON, about 40 miles from Brownsville, was charged upon by a band of Mexicans and robbed of everything it contained, which was carried off, together with all the settler’s stock.  The robbers were said to act under the orders of General CANALES.

TRANSCRIBED by Scott Grayson, 2008

May 13th 1852                New York Times, New York City, NY

Important from the Rio Grande.

By arrival of the Yacht at New Orleans, we have Brownsville papers to the 24th of April.

            The old tariff of 1845 is now (since the 14th ult.) in force in Matamoros, the one temporarily established by the local authorities of that place, during the prevalence of the recent disturbances on the frontier, having been removed.

            The Genio, a Matamoros paper, says that it is true that the steamer Camanche was fired into by Mexicans from that bank of the river, those who committed the deed deserve severe chastisement.

            The same paper informs us that the citizens of that place have united in a petition for the pardon of four of CARVAJAL’s men, two Americans and two Mexicans, taken prisoner during the siege of Matamoros, and for the last six months incarcerated there. 

The Rio Bravo of the 28th, contains the following account of some exciting events at Rio Grande City. 

Mr. PATTON, a gentleman from Brazos, formerly of Missouri, started from Rio Grande City for the purpose of overtaking some stock, which was being driven into the interior, and stopped to sleep at a noted camping ground, called “The Well.”  Here were encamped two Mexicans and a boy.  When Mr. P. was asleep he was set upon and his brains beaten out by these fellows, for the sake of his money and effects.  Information to this effect having been given by the boy, a party of citizens started out in pursuit, and one of the fellows was taken.  After a regular trial, he was hung by the citizens of Rio Grande city, in the presence of the whole people—all concurring.  Just before his execution, he made other confessions, in consequence of which a party started from Roma, crossed the river, and returned with the other fellow who had assisted in the murder of Mr. Patton.  After the same formalities had been extended to him, he was also hung at that place.  But the work was not yet finished—justice was to be administer to others.  A party started out, and near the scene of the murder, charged upon and killed six more of the villains, who have been in the habit for a long time, of committing similar depredations in the vicinity.

The Rio Bravos says that Mr. THOS. H. HARRIS, of Roma, in all probability has been murdered by the same gang of robber, or one of its various ramifications.

The same paper says that the mail rider from Brownsville was killed by Indians about 20 miles from Laredo.

All accounts from that quarter, says the Rio Bravo, speak in the most gloomy and desponding tone of the probability of ever being relieved from the scourge with which they are so frequently visited.  Most of the settlers have recrossed the rive for protection, and their field remain uncultivated.  There is but one feeling on this subject, upon the Rio Grande, and that is, that an entire change in relation to Indian policy must be adopted by the Government, or the territory, for which so much treasure and blood was shed, will shortly revert back to its original owners—the red skins.

TRANSCRIBED by Scott Grayson, 2008

 May 17, 1852             Republican Compiler,

 We have Brownsville papers to the 28th of April.  The Rio Bravo of that date contains the following: 

     A party of gentlemen arrived last evening from Rio Grande city, from whom we learn that Mr. PATTON, a gentleman from Brazos, Texas, formerly of Missouri, started from Rio Grande city, for the purpose of overtaking some stock which was driven into the interior, and stopped to sleep at a noted campground called “The Well.”  Here were encamped two Mexicans and a boy. 

     When Mr. P. was asleep, he was set upon and his brains beaten out by these fellows, for the sake of his money and effects.  Information to this effect have been given by the boy, a party of citizens started out in pursuit, and one of the fellows was taken.  After a regular trial, he was hung by the citizens of Rio Grande City, in the presence of the whole people—all concurring.  Just before the execution, he made other confessions, from which a party started at Roma, crossed the river, and returned with the other fellow who had assisted at the murder of Mr. PATTON-he was also hung.  But the work was not yet finished.  A party started out and near the scene of the murder charged upon and killed six others, who have been in the habit, for a long time, of committing similar depredation in the vicinity.  We have neither space nor inclination to comment on these events.  Those abroad can know nothing of our situation and the necessity of such acts.  It is sufficient to say that the whole people concurred in the executions.

   We have yet to record another probably murder, and probably by the same gang of robbers of one of its various ramifications.  Mr. THOMAS H. HARRIS of Roma left Rio Grande city for this place, about sixteen days ago, and has not since been heard from.  There is scarcely a doubt as to his fate. 

     If things go on at this rate not a Mexican, in a short time, will be suffered to live upon this side of the river.

     Since writing the above, we have seen a letter from Rio Grande City, in which it is stated that the murderers confessed that a party to which they belonged was organized on the other side of the river for the express purpose of murdering Americans on this side of the river, and that a large number of gang are still on this side.

    Mexican Irruption—American Settlers Driven from their Homes.—The house of Mr. A. V. EDMONDSON was attacked on Friday last, while the inmates including himself and two or three others persons, were unconscious of any danger.  Upon going to the door, Mr. Edmondson saw that the house was surrounded by Mexican robbers, who, upon his appearance, commenced firing upon the house.  Seizing his arms, which were unfortunately not in condition for use, he called upon the others to follow, made a rush through the line and succeeded in making is escape unhurt.  Many shots were fired after them, but none took effect; one man however, had three ball holes through his shirt. 

     Proceeding to a ranch at some distance, they obtained assistance, but returned too late to effect their purpose.  The place had been completely robbed of everything it contained—all the household furniture, provisions, clothing, down to the smallest articles, were carried across the river, and all stock, consisting of twenty-two horses and mules, driven off, as they believe, in the direction of Matamoras, on the Mexican side of the river.  A skirmish across the river took place between the parties, and the robbers, in derision, said they had only now commenced, and intended to rob every American on the river, and kill them if they could.  They said they were acting under the orders of General Canales, and they intended shortly to attack and sack Brownsville.  Threats of this kind have been frequently made from persons over the way, and it is said, have in many instances come from Mexican officers.

TRANSCRIBED by Scott Grayson, 2008

 June 3rd 1852              New York Times, New York City, NY

 Later form the Rio Grande, More Mexican Outrages.

New Orleans, Wednesday June 2nd

            The Steamship Yacht had arrived at this port with date from Brownsville of the 26th ult.  Outrages by the Mexicans are of continued occurrence.  A party from the Mexican side crossed the Rio Grande and killed five Americans, who were encamped at Lake Campacuas, on the American side—two others succeeded in effecting their escape.  The steamer Camanche had again been fired into by the Mexicans, and Mr. BRASHEAR, a Custom House officer was dangerously wounded.  An American lady passenger narrowly escaped with her life.  At Rio Grande City, a Mr. ROGERS, an American merchant, was assassinated in his own store, by a party of Mexicans.  The most intense excitement prevails alongside the river.

TRANSCRIBED by Scott Grayson, 2008

 June 10rd 1852                New York Times, New York City, NY

 Important from the Rio Grande

From the New Orleans Picayune, June 2 1852

            By the arrival at this port of the steamship Yacht, from Brazos Santiago, we have received dates from Brownsville to the 26th ult.  The new is of the most exciting character

            The Flag of the 15th ult. States that, on the evening of the 10th ult., a gang of about forty men, consisting of Mexicans and Indians, attacked a party of seven Americans who were encamped at a lake called Campacacuas; five of those at the camp are said to have been murdered, and all their party taken into Mexico.  Two of the men, fortunately, were on the margin of the lake, shooting ducks, at the time, and succeeded in making their escape.  These robbers and murderers are said to have crossed the river some forty mile above Brownsville, on Monday, the 7th ult., and a detachment of them openly recrossed it again soon after perpetrating the murder, bearing with them the right hand of each of their slaughtered victims, while the remainder of the savages coolly encamped on the ground where the massacre occurred, expecting, no doubt, another feast of blood from those they deemed absent from the camp, and would probably return, unsuspicious of danger.

            The population of the neighborhood was not only too sparse for resistance, but afraid to venture out to bury the dead after the murderers were gone.  The Flag contains a letter from WARREN ADAMS, which says that it is understood that these Mexicans and Indians were instructed by the authorities in Mexico, to kill and plunder all American citizens near the frontier, and that acting, as they did, under the instructions of the aforesaid authorities, they mutilated the bodies of the murdered men, taking the right hand of each to testify that they were entitled to the reward of thirty to fourty dollars offered by Mexico for each American they murdered on the frontier.

            The Rio Bravo of the 20th says that the steamer Camanche was fired again into last week, and a lady passenger, Mrs. ROGERS, the wife of the man spoken of above who was on her way up to join her husband, very narrowly escaped a similar fate.

            The following card, published in the Rio Bravo, gives the particulars of the outrage:

            We the undersigned passengers from Brownsville to St. Louis, Edinburg, and Rio Grande City, on the steamboat called the Camanche, commanded by RICHARD KING, and plying on the Rio Grande, to and from the American towns on said river, exclusively, do, hereby state that, on Monday , May 17, 1852, at a point known by the name of Rancho Santa Anna, on the Mexican shore, while said boat was quietly and peaceably pursuing her course up said river from Brownsville, as aforesaid, she was fired into from the Mexican shore while very near the same, by a party of Mexicans (exact number not known) who discharged some twelve shots, two of which took effect on the persons of W. B. BRASHER and his son, a boy of some four years old, and the balance on different parts of the boat.

            Mr. BRASHER is a Revenue officer, stationed at Rio Grande City, and was proceeding up the river, accompanied by his family, to resume the duties of his office at that place.

            We further state that there was no cause or provocation given by any of the passengers, officers or crew of said boat.  To warrant the outrage thus wantonly committed to a vessel belonging to the United States, and running upon a river free to both nations.

F. FAUNTLEROY                              E. C. TAYLOR

                        JOHN L. EDMUNDSON                     A. V. EDMUNDSON

                        JOHN A. EWING                              J. F. GEORGE

                        A. D. BRASHEAR                            TRINIDAD FLORES

                        JACOB SCHWARTZ                           ANTONIO LEAL

            We, the undersigned, officers, on board the steamboat Camanche, do hereby certify that the above statement is correct and true in every particular.

                        R. KING,  Captain.                                   JOHN MARTIN, Pilot.

                        J. M. WARL, Mate.                          CHARLES NEAL, Engineer.

                        EDWARD DOWNEY, Clerk.   JOS. W. TAYLOR, Engineer.

             On the evening of the 14th inst., Mr. PHILIP ROGERS, a merchant of Rio Grande City, while standing behind his counter, was stabbed to the heart and killed by a Mexican, who had, ostensibly, come in to purchase goods. 

            As strange as it may seem abroad, says the Rio Bravo, this is the tenth murder which has taken place within the last three weeks.  For the last two months the average has been three killed per week.  No man’s life is safe from these Mexican assassins for a single hour.  It has become a grave question, what is to be done in this state of things?  If it should continue there will not be an American on the river in six months.

TRANSCRIBED by Scott Grayson, 2008

July 21st  1852                        New York Times, New York City, NY 

 San Antonio Western Texan, of the 7th inst., says: “ It is reported that an express passed through this city, on Sunday, from Brownsville, with dispatches for GOV. BELL, and stated that the Mexicans had fired into another steamboat, killing the captain and wounding several others.  It has also been reported that another express passed through here, on Tuesday, from Rio Grande City, with dispatches for Gov. BELL, and stated that Roma and Rio Grande City have been attacked by about five hundred Mexicans and Indians, and all the houses burned, and that several Americans had been killed.  We give these reports as we heard them on the streets, without passing any reliance on them.”

            Not much reliance was placed on the report of CARVAJAL’s intentions to attack Matamoros.

TRANSCRIBED by Scott Grayson, 2008

 July 22nd 1852             New York Times, New York City, NY

 The San Antonio Texans says that “ it is reported” that couriers have passed through that city with intelligence that the Mexicans had fired into another steamboat on the Rio Grande, killing the captain, and wounding several others; and that Roma and Rio Grande city had been attacked by about five hundred Mexicans and Indians, and all the houses burned, except that of CLAY DAVIS and a fandango house, in the latter place, and that several Americans had been killed.

            The Nueces Valley learns by a private letter from the Rio Grande, that it is the intention of Gen CARVAJAL to make one more attempt to take Matamoros.  The editor does not think the attempt will succeed, as CARVAJAL’s previous defeats had given his enemies confidence, and he does not possess sufficient confidence with the people.

TRANSCRIBED by Scott Grayson, 2008

 September 6th 1852    New York Times, New York City, NY

 Later from Texas

From the New Orleans Picayune 25, ult.

            By the arrival of the steamship Louisiana, Capt. FORBES, we have received dates from Galveston to the 20th ult.

            The Southwestern American learns that Col J. S. GILLETTE will soon leave Austin for the Rio Grande, where he will muster into service three companies of rangers, for the protection of the frontier; and that Capt. G. K LEWIS, Henry Clay DAVIS, and Mr. SHAW have been commissioned to raise companies.

            A correspondent of the Nueces Valley, writing from Brownsville says:

            Preparations are being made in the State of Tamaulipas for a coup d’etat.  The Governor elect RAMON PRMETO, is entitled to his seat on the 15th inst, but it is understood that JESUS CARDENAS does not intend to surrender the reins of government without being compelled to do so by force.  Both parties are arming for war.

TRANSCRIBED by Scott Grayson, 2008

 December 8th 1852    New York Times, New York City, NY

 From Texas

From the New Orleans Delta, Nov 30.

            A meteor of a very large size was seen to fall at Roma, on the evening of the 20th of Nov., at about 7 o’clock, bearing South from that place, which was accompanied by a slight shock of an earthquake, which kept the river for a few moments in quite a commotion, and caused the windows in the frame houses to rattle to the tune of Yankee Doodle.  It was seen at a considerable distance; though it appeared as large in size as a 32-pound cannon ball, and although the evening was quite dark, it made all appear as bright as the midday sun.

            A man by the name of SMALLY was shot in Rio Grande City a few days since, by Mr. OBERLY, who, as usual in such cases, has escaped.  SMALLY, it is thought, will not recover.

            Many of the National Guard of Matamoros have again passed over to this side of the river, and…

TRANSCRIBED by Scott Grayson, 2008

 April 11th 1853    New York Times, New York City, NY

 Southern Mail Arrival—From the Rio Grande Seizure of Reynosa by Carvajal

New Orleans papers of Sunday and Monday have been received.

            The Picayune has the Rio Grande Flag of March 30 which says CARVAJAL had again crossed the river, and taken possession of Reynosa.  The band of adventurers numbered sixty men, under the immediate command of Major NORTON, one of the leaders in the first movement of CARVAJAL.  The real objective of this foray seems to have made itself manifest from the outset, as one of the first acts of the men, on entering Reynosa, was to seize the principal citizens, the Alcades or civil magistrates, and hang them up till they had extorted $4,000 as a price for their lives and the security of the defenseless citizens.  A rumor was current in Brownsville that the town of Edinburg had been destroyed, from some cause growing out of a new filibuster movement, but the Flag was unable to trace it to a reliable source.  Edinburg is an American town situated in from of  the Mexican town of Reynosa.

            The Picayune has also private letters which confirm the seizure of Reynosa and mention a threatened attack on Edinburg.

TRANSCRIBED by Scott Grayson, 2008

 April 12th 1853    New York Times, New York City, NY

 The following from the N. O. Picayune was referred to in our telegraphic dispatch on Monday:


            BROWNSVILLE, Wednesday March 30th 1853.

            GENTLEMEN—Presuming that an account, although a hasty one, of the filibustering operations along the Rio Grande will not be unexceptible, I send you a few lines in relation thereto.  CARAVAJAL, the second WASHINGTON, as he styled himself just before he ran away from Matamoras, is again in arms, robbing and plundering the frontier, and unless a strong arm is interposed for our protection, the scenes of two years ago will be renewed.  Some time before the Texas Rangers were disbanded it was known that CARVAJAL was intriguing with them to join his standard, and it appears with considerable success.  They were mustered out of the State service about the 6th of this month, and as soon as they could be united a plan of attacking Reynosa was formed and carried out a few days ago.  A Major NORTON, who lost an arm at Matamoros, and at present a Justice of the Peace, took possession o Reynossa on the 26th inst. with fifty or sixty Americans, mostly disbanded Rangers.  He demanded a large sum of money in the name of CARVAJAL, and as the article was somewhat scarce he strung up the Alcalde until he turned over the money, when he returned to plunder on this side of the river. 

            It is reported that one or two Mexicans were killed by way of pastime.  CARVAJAL is said to be about with a much larger force, threatening Camargo.  He is supposed to have about 100 Rangers with him, and a large party of renegade Mexicans.  The movement is a marauding one, which adds tenfold to its enormity.  The Mexicans threatened to retaliate, and an express has been received from Edinburg for military protection.  The commanding officer at Fort Brown has set up a small detachment of foot, but they will be of little service.  We want protection on the Rio Grande.  There is an entire regiment of mounted rifles somewhere on the prairies, which should be along our river.  From Ringgold down a distance of some 200 miles, there is not a single mounted man.               Yours, BROWNSVILLE

TRANSCRIBED by Scott Grayson, 2008

 April 21st 1853            New York Times, New York City, NY

 Arrest and Imprisonment of Carvajal

New Orleans, Wednesday, April 20

            The Delta has later new from the Rio Grande, the dates being the 15th inst.

            A company of United States troops had arrested Carvajal at Rio Grande City.  He was afterwards released, and again arrested by the United States Marshal, and is now confined at Fort Brown, under s strong guard.  Witnesses have been summoned to attend examination, which takes place on the 20th inst.

TRANSCRIBED by Scott Grayson, 2008

April 23rd 1853    New York Times, New York City, NY

 Filibustering on the Rio Grande

Correspondence of the St. Louis Republican

BROWNSVILLE, Texas, March 30, 1853


            The filibustiers are again in motion, and it will not be at all surprising if the scenes of two years ago were reenacted with some few addenda.  Some time before the Texas Rangers were mustered out of service, CARVAJAL was negotiating with them under his standard for another foray across the Rio Grande.  You may recollect that the  first filibustier movement was made by the disbanded rangers joining CARVAJAL.  This second one has been brought about by the same kind of people.  The three companies of rangers were mustered out about the 6th inst. and it appears quite a number of them immediately joined CARVAJAL.  Active operations commenced on the 25th or 26th inst. by the capture of Reynosa, some seventy-five miles above.  One of CARVAJAL’s officers, a Major NORTON, with 50 or 60 Americans, crossed the river and took possession of the town with opposition.  He demanded of the authorities a large sum of money in the name of CARVAJAL, and in order to accelerate its payment, strung up the Alcalde by the neck until he consented to turn over all he could scrape together, some $4,000.  then shooting one or two poor devils, just to keep in practice, they recrossed the river.  This NORTON, the leader of these marauders, is a Justice of the Peace, and is supposed to be now with CARVAJAL, who has a pretty large force of renegade Mexicans and Rangers, and and (sic) threatens to attack Camargo.

            Whatever may have been CARVAJAL’s original objective in carrying war into Tamaulipas, I cannot say, but now his only object is plunder.  He is a highway robber, and a very cowardly one at that.  You may be surprised at such transactions, but you must recollect that man is desperately wicked, and that when all restraints are removed, this wickedness shows itself.  Civil law along all frontiers, and this one in particular, sits loosely in the saddle, and military law, as it should be, is tied hand and foot, so people can do pretty much as they please.  Several flibustiers (sic) have been brought up before the courts, but have always managed to find some way of escaping justice.

            This movement will throw the whole of the Rio Grande frontier into confusion worse confounded.  The Mexicans threaten to retaliate, and the people of Edinburg, as small town immediately opposite Reynosa, have petitioned the commanding officer of Fort Brown for troops to protect them.  An officer and some fifteen men have been dispatched to that point.  The rifle regiment now at Fort Merrill and that vicinity, will doubtless be pushed forward on the Rio Grande.  They would have been here long since, had not Texas undertook to defend the frontier by her own Rangers, but as they have a second time pitched into the Mexicans, I presume they will hereafter allow mercenaries to defend the state.  I will keep you advise of the movements in this quarter.

TRANSCRIBED by Scott Grayson, 2008

 April 28th 1853    New York Times, New York City, NY

 Rio Grande—The Capture of Carvajal

Dates from Brownsville to the 13th inst., reach us through New Orleans.

The following particulars are given of the arrest of CARVAJAL:

Capt Smith,, 7th U. S. Infantry, temporarily in command of Company B, U. S. Mounted Rifles, arrived at Brownsville on the 11th, having in charge General CARVAJAL, Quartermaster DOWD, and Lieut. ROUNDTREE, of the Liberating Army.  These persons were arrested at Rio Grande City, or Davis Rancho, on the morning of the 1st inst., between 3 and 4 o’clock.  They, with several others in or about the premises of Mr. DOWD, were arrested by U. S. troops, under the command of Major PAUL, in obedience, it is understood, to orders from Headquarters and Washington.

The orders of Capt SMITH, we believe (says the Flag,) were to deliver them, at this place, to the custody of a U. S. Commissioner.  These persons, we understand, complain of the manner of their arrest; it is very natural they should do so; but although one of them is an ex-chief justice, and another a person of very considerable knowledge of our laws, and although there was a Judge of the District Court in the town, to whom they could apply for a writ of habeas corpus, they declined to doing so, preferring, we suppose, to create popular feelings in their favor.”

After remaining in custody a short time, they were discharged for want of some formality in relation to their arrest, but were subsequently rearrested by Mr. LEMAN, Deputy U. S. Marshal, who placed them in confinement in the Fort, under the charge of Col. WEBSTER.  The Marshal himself was soon after arrested, on a charge of having abducted the prisoners, and fined one hundred dollars for failing to appear before Judge McLANE, which act the Flag considers unwarrantable.

The Flag continues:

Mr LEMAN has left for Reynosa, the scene of the recent outrages of the prisoners, with a military escort, for the purpose of procuring testimony in the case, and upon his return they will doubtlessly be examined before somecompetent authority, (if there be such among us,) or taken to Galveston, and there turned over to the custody of the U. S. Marshal.  It is confidently hoped that the later course will be pursued, to the end that quiet may be restored on our frontier, and that justice may be mated out to the prisoners.  Every praise is due both to the Deputy Marchal and to Col. WEBSTER, the Commandant of Fort Brown, for the prompt action taken by them in this matter.  It shows a commendable determination on their part to enforce a compliance with the law.  Had not this course been pursued, there is every indication that the people themselves, en masse, would have taken the offenders in hand, when they would have had a far more summary and perhaps more effectual treatment.

The Flag, in advocating the adoption of a treaty of extradition between the United States and Mexico, for the mutual surrender of criminals, states that:

“Since the time the army of the United States was withdrawn from this frontier, depredation upon both sides of the river have been of almost daily occurrence; principally, it is true, perpetrated by persons of Mexican origin, but finding their protectors and defender among a class of Americans too frequently to be found on our border.  This state of things has already produced bloodshed, and has cost our State within the last few months some $85,000, besides retarding the settlement of one of the most fertile and beautiful sections of the Union.  Moveable property of every description is stolen from one side of the river, and openly paraded and offered for sale on the other side—the state of individual feeling that exists on either side rendering it almost impossible for the legitimate owner to recover his property.  Murder walks in our midst: a citizen of either Republic is assassinated—a trip of eighty or a hundred yards places the murderer in another jurisdiction, and he is safe.”

TRANSCRIBED by Scott Grayson, 2008

July 16th 1853                         New York Times, New York City, NY

 Later form Texas

From the N. O. Picayune

            The U. S. Steamship Fashion, Capt. BAKER arrived last night from Brazos Santiago, which port she left on the 6th inst.

            Mr. STEAGEL, former deputy sheriff at Brownsville, was killed about July 1, by Mr. CONRAD, Editor of the American Flag, in self defense, and was discharged.  A bad feeling exists between the citizens and filibusters, the latter threatening to execute vengeance on the citizens.

            We find the following items in the American Flag of the 29th inst.

            On Monday last, the following persons appeared before the U. S. District Court under the indictment of having violated the neutrality laws of the United States, viz: Jose M. J. CARVAJAL, R. H. HORD, E. R. HORD, A. J. MASON, A. NORTON, R. C. TRIMBLE.  A petition was made by the defendants for a change of venue, which was granted by the court, no opposition having been made thereto.  Each of the defendants was bound over in sureties to appear at the next term of the court at Galveston, to be held in January next.

            By passengers from above, arrived on the steamer Camanche on Sunday last, we learn the following:

            On the 16th inst., information was received by Capt. GRANGER, of the rifles stationed at Bellsville. Opposite the Mexican town of Guerrero, that a party of fifteen or twenty idians had crossed the Rio Grande from the Mexican side, about eight miles above his post.  He immediately dispatched a party of men to follow their trail, and dividing the remainder of his company into two parties, stationed them in such a manner as to intercept the Indians on their return.  Not more than thirty-six hours had elapsed form the time of their crossing the river, when one of the divided parties discovered the Indain’s return trail, which satisfied them that they were making for the pass in the river at full speed.  The troops overtook them while crossing their animals, five Indians were killed on the spot, some five or six wounded, horses, arrows, guns, blankets, etc. were taken from them, and those who escaped swam the river entirely naked.  It would appear that these Indians were fully aware of the presence of the Rifles at Bellsville.  They traveled one hundred and thirty six miles in thirty six hours, despoiling the ranchos from the place of their crossing down to Jack EVERITT’s rancho.  They returned by the way of the Seus.

            A cold-blooded murder was committed on the night of the 21st inst. in Rio Grande City, by a man of the name of KENNEDY, on the person of Corporal RILEY, of Lieut TILFORD’s Company of the Mounted Rifles.  The murdere immediately fled to the opposite side of the river.  A reward of $100 was offer for his apprehension, and KENNEDY was soon arraigned before Judge Lynch’s Court, sentenced, and hung.

            Troops are continually arriving at the Mexican towns on the frontier, and in such numer we have never before seen on this line.  Military encampments are also being established at point on the Rio Grande, which hitherto have not been considered of sufficient importance to be guarded by Custom-House Guards.  The proprietor of a baking establishment in Camargo had been consulted upon a contract for baking bread for 10,000 men.  It is reported by passengers recently arrived from Rio Grande City, that opinions are freely expressed on the other side as to the validity in SANTA ANNA’s


Opinion, of the treaty of peace, the saem having been made and ratified during his absence, thus creating a question as to the necessity of complying with its observance.  The “divine mission” of SANTA ANNA, to reclaim the lost importance of the Mexican territory is also alluded to.

            The American Flag publishes a communication from CARVAJAL to the editors of that paper, in which he complains of being misunderstood and misrepresented both in the United States and Mexico, and denies most emphatically that he issued any order to his officers to take the life of Mr. MORSE. He says:

            “The time will soon come when I shall claim a hearing before the American public, when I shall present such facts and documents as will compel all candid minds to do me the justice which my sufferings for the most honorable cause demand.

TRANSCRIBED by Scott Grayson, 2008

[1] “Serapio” is almost certainly Serapio de la Garza, the son of Francisco de la Garza, and brother-in-law to Henry Clay Davis

[2] Jack Everett was one of Zachary Taylor’s officers in the Mexican American War

[3] Harvey would become attorney for Tulare Co., CA in 1852

[4] Mr. Peoples was the original editor and publisher of the Corpus Christi Star, by departed in 1849 for California

[5] Battles of Palo Alto (May 8, 1846) and Resaca de la Palma (May 9, 1846) in South Texas.  Deas was apparently captured shortly after these engagements while swimming across the Rio Grande to visit a “Mexican Senorita.

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