Subject: Seguin Memorial Brochure
Date: 08/12/99
From: W.L. McKeehan

In reviewing the link "Seguin Statue to Be Erected", I am triggered to comment on the last two statements in the brochure section "The Need to Honor Juan N. Seguin":

The History of Texas has often been told without a full representation of the contributions of Tejanos and the risks they faced. During the fight for independence, both Anglos and Tejanos fought equally hard against the tyranny of Santa Anna, who was openly violating the Mexican Constitution of 1824. However, if the fight for independence had been unsuccessful, most of the Anglos could have returned to the United States without further risk. The Tejanos, on the other hand, would have been subjected to loss of property at best or, most likely, loss of life.
The statement of course is true for those fresh from the US after the war for independence broke who had come temporarily for one reason or another to participate in the resistance militarily. However, it is an erroneous statement when applied to the great majority of Anglo-Mexican immigrants who gave up all for a new life, the hope of economic, political and personal freedom, and to contribute to development of a free society at the invitation of the Mexican government and protection by the Constitution of 1824. Anglo and Hispanic resident Tejanos, who resisted tyranny and Centralism, faced equal dangers and equal losses of life and property, both groups were forced to abandoned homes and property (of which most were destroyed) and both fled east to the Sabine River for sanctuary on the Runaway Scrape. From another point of view, one might argue that if the fight for independence had been unsuccessful, Anglo Tejano colonists would have been the greatest losers while those Hispanic Tejanos who were willing would most likely have been offered amnesty and return of their property.

W.L. McKeehan
Bellaire, TX

Subject: Watch Tower/Powder House
Date: 08/14/99
From: Steve Rode

A Texas Historical Marker on East Commerce at Olive [in San Antonio, Texas] notes the location of the Powder Mill. Somewhere north of that was the Watch Tower. Is that site marked and has any archaeological work been done in that area?

Steve Rode
San Antonio

The sites are one and the same. The site is presently adjacent to the east side city cemeteries, almost directly across Commerce Street from Clara Driscoll's grave site, and occupied by a vacant business building and a turn of the century frame house. There has been no archaeology to date, but the city historical and parks departments are aware of it's existence. If any development of the cemeteries is undertaken the were be some action taken to investigate and/or preserve it.

Waynne Cox, UTSA
Archaeological Consultant to Alamo de Parras

Subject: John Moore
Date: 08/16/1999
From: Richard Pearsey

I have two questions.

  1. What happened to Col. John Moore after the "Come and Take It" skirmish at Gonzales?
  2. What's the best resource book about the events surrounding that incident.
Richard Pearsey
Sugar Land, Texas

To my knowledge, there is no single comprehensive biography of Col. John Henry Moore from Austin's Colony, prominent minuteman Captain from Fayette County and who some consider the founder of La Grange, Texas. There should be, but fortunately, his heroic contributions, which are many, are scattered about in various histories and archives. L.R. Weyand and H. Wade in Early History of Fayette County give one of the most concise I have found with some insight into his person:

"In a list of services that Moore rendered his county, the founding of LaGrange is of first importance. In 1831 Moore was granted the half-league on which LaGrange now stands. On this land he built a block house on a street designated as Main. Main Street which served as a nucleus of the later LaGrange, was not far from the spot where the old La Bahía trail crossed the Colorado.

Later Moore moved to his plantation six miles from LaGrange and there built a typical southern home. Here he became a successful cattle raiser, farmer, and, in time, a wealthy man. Negro slaves drove vast herds of his cattle to market in Kansas City. Moore's personal characteristics were as varied as his talents. It was his dislike for the study of Latin, for instance, that prompted him to run away from a Tennessee college and come to Texas. Moore's father, however, followed and took the boy back home. Later Moore came back to Texas, settling first in Columbus and then in LaGrange. At Columbus he married the daughter of James Cummins. Several children were born to this union. After they grew up Moore, strangely enough, sought to keep them from marrying. The children, however, disregarded this objection, the oldest daughter to the extent of eloping. Moore never forgave the son-in-law who was a party to this runaway marriage.

In lighter moods, Moore was a clever storyteller. He could take the part of a clown in a show as easily as he could assume the role of an orator. As an orator his great knowledge of human nature, his clear vision, and his seasoned philosophy stood him in good stead. A rather austere side of his nature is shown by the fact he often stood near the preacher in church to note if the people were listening and were properly decorous. It might be added that he built the first Christian church in Fayette County." Col. Moore was ready and willing at a moment's notice to assemble settlers and assume leadership in response to Mexican Centralista threat, but most commonly in regional security against Indian vandalism and depredations both in the colony and the Republic. He was one of the first to be called upon by Lamar's presidency which was known for its "get tough" policy toward Indian depredations which some credit with having made some of the horse Indians more receptive for peace negotiations during the subsequent Houston administration. In addition to the Battle of Gonzales, Moore is known for his Defeat on the San Saba 1838 for which he retaliated with a vengeance on his Victory on the Colorado 1840. Moore mustered and commanded Fayette County companies under Captains Rabb and Dawson to respond to the Vazquez invasion of San Antonio in 1842. Due to illness he did not actually participate in the Battle of Salado to remove Gen. Adrian Woll's Centralista forces from San Antonio. Some say he may have prevented the disastrous massacre of Fayette County men under Capt. Nicholas Dawson if he had been in better shape and taken command. He was second in command to Capt. Mathew Caldwell of the Texians who chased Gen. Adrian Woll's retreating forces toward the Rio Grande after the Battle of Salado.

Wallace L. McKeehan, Consulting Editor to Alamo de Parras

See Also:The Sons of DeWitt Colony Texas--Battle of Gonzales

Subject: San Luis Potosi logbook/de la Peña Diary concurrences
From: Robert L. Durham

Re: Alan Huffines' Blood of Noble Men, the Alamo Siege and Battle -- I'm sure anyone reading this fine book must have been struck by the virtual word for word concurrence between the entries from the San Luis Potosi logbook and the corresponding entries from the de la Peña Diary. I kept hoping Alan would address this in one of his footnotes but he never did.

The entries were so close, I have a strong feeling that they were identical in the original Spanish, and that the slight differences were only because the translators of the respective documents varied the sentence structure a little. Is there any explanation for this?

What, if anything, does this concurrence tell us about the validity of the de la Peña diary? I think I know what Tom Lindley would have to say!!!

Bob Durham
Dayton, OH

The San Luis Potosi journal is very similar to portions of de la Peña's Alamo remembrances.  I did not address this because my work is not about historiography (I stated as much in the introduction) it is about event chronology. It is likely that de la Peña used the document to pen his own work. Both are different enough, have seperate details and are not a word for word copy. If I were to construct an history of the Gulf War and one of my pards from the same war-time organization had kept a journal, I would likely borrow from it. Don't we all, as historians, use various journals, diaries, etc, to record events? Possibly de la Peña used it only to refresh himself and most of the similarities are concerning those events taking place prior to de la Peña's arrival in San Antonio. I do not think this discounts de la Peña at all, although certain people may use it to further their conspiracy theories.

Hope this helps and thanks for your comments on the book,

Alan C. Huffines

Subject: Tejanos & Indians
Date: 08/18/99
From: Mick Martínez

Anglo-Texian attitudes, opinions and personal experiences toward the Indians of the region, during the first part of the 19th century, are well documented.

What was the relationship between the Tejanos and the various Indian tribes in and around the three populated areas (Nacogdoches, San Antonio/Goliad and the area south of the Nueces) during this same period?

Mick Martínez
Irving, Texas

Just as Anglo-Indian relations were a mixed bag, although they tended generally be of an exclusionary nature, Tejano-Indian relations were also complex. Trade with some groups, the remnants of the Caddoans, the Wichita groups of north central Texas, and arriving immigrant Indians such as the Alabamas, Couchattas, and Cherokees, was carried on by the Tejanos of East Texas through the end of the Mexican period (1835-36).

There is also some evidence of trade with the Comanches out of East Texas, but much of this was carried on by Anglo American traders who penetrated the region during the Mexican War of Independence era (1810-1821), when Spanish officials could not control the province's borders. Other than minor raids in which horses and other livestock were the targets, there seems to have been little conflict between East Texas Tejanos and surrounding Indian peoples.

Perhaps the most important reason was the general decline in the aboriginal populations and the small immigrant Indian population that was replacing it. In other words, through the mid-1820s there seems to have been enough room for everyone.

One last proof of the establishment of reasonably close ties between Tejanos and immigrant Indians was the on-going suspicion of Anglos of an alliance between Cherokees and Tejanos loyal to Mexico during the Texas War of Independence and Republic periods (1835-1845). During the Cordova Rebellion (1839), the great fear was a Cherokee uprising behind the lines of Mexican invasion from Mexico. Of course, Lamar's war against the Cherokees soon thereafter, which led to the survivors' flight to Indian Territory, combined with the dispersion of East Texas's Tejano population following the Cordova episode, brought an end to Tejano-Indian relations after a history of 150 years.

Along the San Antonio River valley, Tejano-Indian relations were just as complex. During the late 1780s the combination of warfare and diplomacy had resulted in peace treaties with the surviving major independent groups, the Comanches and Lipans, although both San Antonio and La Bahía experienced periodic raids by young braves beyond the control of peace chiefs.

The Lipan Apaches in particular were a problem during the 1790s, as their traditional enemies, the Comanches and other north-central Texas tribes harassed them continually. The Karankawa continued an independent existence along a coastal stretch below the mouth of the Brazos, but their decline was evident even to themselves and they combined periodic depredations with truces during which they sought supplies from the remaining missionaries in the area. Their status as nuisance Indians, however, made them the targets of attacks by Austin's colonists, who received the blessings of Tejano authorities in San Antonio.

Other coastal and southeast Texas bands, which had been in the process of collapse during the late 18th century, entirely disappeared during the 1820s, either merging with surviving Tonkawa in central Texas or the Karankawa, or completely detribalizing and joining the Tejano population. This process was particularly thorough at the missions, where the few Indian families began intermarrying with Tejano settlers even before secularization began in 1793. Unfortunately, evidence for this process is only circumstantial and fragmentary.

For the Tejanos of the San Antonio-La Bahía region, the biggest Indian challenge by the 1820s was the Comanches. The peace established during the 1780s survived until the outbreak of the Mexican War of Independence, when regular supply of "gifts" that the Spanish government had agreed to supply to the Indians in return for their cooperation dried up. During the 1790s and 1800s, Comanche bands and other groups regularly visited San Antonio, where they were feted, bribed, and serviced by the town's blacksmiths, tailors, and other craftsmen, but when the money for these services and the goods given to the Indians stopped arriving, the Indians reverted to their previous practice of raiding for what they wanted or needed. Reports out of San Antonio during the 1810s-1830s are full of accounts of Indian depredations, which caused tremendous damage to the town's agricultural production, as farmers feared going to outlying fields except under escort.

Anglo Americans were able to exploit hostile relations between Indians and Mexicans during the Texas War of Independence, gaining allies in the Apache bands that roamed the southern edges of the Edwards Plateau and the country between Coahuila and Texas north of the Rio Grande. A couple of examples of the degree to which the Apaches and Comanches (as well as other smaller central and plains Indian groups) continued to be a problem:

1) the inclusion of requests for the establishment of a string of new presidios west and north of San Antonio in a northeasterly arc to create a buffer against raiding into the settled portion of the country;

2) the agreement forged with Stephen F. Austin, which authorized him to increase his colonization efforts so long as new settlement took place above San Antonio along the Camino Real. The result of this latter effort was the establishment of Mina de Bastrop at the crossing of the Colorado River, at today's Bastrop.

In the Trans-Nueces, the remnants of a handful of Coahuiltecan bands roamed among the ranges that settlers from the Rio Grande towns claimed north of the river, but were not a threat. Much more problematical were the Apaches and Comanches who raided into the region and whose destruction of livestock caused economic hardship. During the 1810s, their depredations grew so dangerous that many of the ranchos were abandoned for prolonged periods of time. There is ample evidence for this period of hostility in the records of the General Land Office concern the land claims processed during the 1850s as a result of Texas gaining juridical possession of the region following the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo (1848). Although the depredations diminished starting in the 1830s, occasional raids continued into the Civil War era.

In general, then, Tejanos held ambivalent and sometimes contradictory views of the Indians of the region. Unable themselves to fully occupy the country, they were content to live amicably with those groups who chose a sedentary existence, relied on trade to accomplish their subsistence goals, or sought an alliance with the Tejanos against their enemies. The Tejanos' every inability to control all of the countryside exposed them to raids from the more independent minded groups, and toward these the Tejanos held no sympathies. The Lipan Apaches in particular were the targets, on various occasions, of plans for wars of extermination. In the end, however, the Tejano-Indian relations disappeared as an issue with the establishment of Anglo-American hegemony in Texas. By 1850 the San Antonio area was adequately defended and the Indian wars shifted west. Anglo and German settlers faced Comanches and Apaches on the Edwards Plateau, and Mexican settlements below the Rio Grande continued to be targets of long-distance raids.

For Alamo de Parras
J. F. de la Teja,
Associate Professor of History
Southwest Texas State University



See Also:

Subject:Tejano & Indian Relationship
Date: 08/19/99
From: Robert L. Durham

Excellent information regarding the relationship between the early Tejanos and the Native Americans.  Were the Lipan Apaches, the Plains Apaches, and the Kiowa Apaches different tribes, or different names for the same tribe?

Robert L. Durham
Dayton, OH

Apache is a European term applied to a number of Athapaskan speaking peoples of the Southwest. In terms of language-family, the various Apaches are related to the Navajo and to some Indian groups of the Pacific Northwest. The Rocky Mountains separates the Apaches into eastern and western branches. The eastern Apaches of the 19th century were the Lipans and the Mescaleros. Because they were band peoples, the Apaches were very independent and groups splintered often. For strategic purposes some groups would ally themselves with other tribes. That's what happened with the Kiowa Apaches, they are a combination of Kiowas and Apaches and are a mid-19th century phenomenon.

J. F. De la Teja.


Subject: Tejano & Indian Relationship
Date: 08/20/99
From: W.L. McKeehan

In my opinion, which I think is in general agreement with correspondent de la Teja, there was no substantial difference between relationships and attitudes of the Tejanos (meaning Hispanic-Tejano) and Anglo-Tejano colonists prior to 1836 except one of scale.  The gap of ca. 4000 years of cultural development between the two groups of European origin and nomadic aboriginal tribes that roamed Texas ranges was so great as to make Hispanic and Anglo differences in attitudes and philosophy miniscule.  The differences in attitude among different tribes and even small bands of aboriginals was far greater than the differences between Anglo and Hispanic culture.  Both when they were the majority and later the minority, historically Hispanic-Tejanos suffered far more per capita than the general Texas population from hostile nomadic aborigines that roamed and exploited the Texas frontier simply because their numbers were smaller and they were in their path on thefrontera.

The failure of both missionary and military approaches under both Spain and Mexico to pacify, assimilate or exterminate hostile aboriginal populations, resulted in desperate local policies of defense by extermination which equaled or exceeded brutalities on both sides seen anytime after Anglo colonization.  Unfortunately, those individuals and tribes willing to assimilate and co-exist peacefully were most often not distinguished.  Because of the ratio of hostiles to Tejanos, the losers were the long-suffering Tejanos.  This situation in the early 1800's was in no small part motivation to open Texas to immigration through the Empresario system.  Subsequent Texian policy in dealing with Indians in all its complications into statehood through the 19th century even to the fine detail of the modis operandi of the Texas Rangers can be found in our Spanish and Mexican roots.

On a positive note, in less than 200 years, the ca. 4000 year cultural gap closed, the attitudes and policies employed in early 1800 Texas with all their complications and tragedy worked.  There are more Texans today of native American aboriginal descent than ever in history carrying on the traditions of their ancestors while living in peace and economic prosperity beside Texans of every other conceivable origin.

W.L. McKeehan
Bellaire, TX

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