Old Texians Jul 4, 2008 8:51:22 GMT -6
Post by benotforgot on Jul 4, 2008 8:51:22 GMT -6
The following is excerpted from Rip Ford's Texas by John Salmon Ford which is available online via Google Books . . .
San Augustine, a town in the county of the same name, stands in the "Redlands" -- so called from the color of the soil. Around San Augustine many former residents of the state of Tennessee had settled. They were men of respectability and influence, and had taken an active part in the war against Mexico.
Captain William Kimbro commanded a company at the battle of San Jacinto. Dr. Joseph Rowe was a prominent actor in affairs. The Holmans were men of intelligence, and had much to do in the shaping of public opinion. The Burdetts, the Paynes, and last though not least, the Greers, were among the leading men of that section. The list might be extended, and would include many others of equal worth.
General Sam Houston stopped on the "Redlands." His home had been at San Augustine. Houston was on his way from New Orleans whither he had gone to have the wound treated he had received at San Jacinto treated. His wound was on the ankle. It was still unhealed. It was dressed while he was at Natchitoches by Dr. [Robert Anderson] Irion, who was later General Houston's secretary of state during his first presidency.
Houston was then a splendid specimen of manhood. A form and features which would have adorned the walks of royalty, a fund of conversational powers almost unequalled, the matchless gift of oratory, a vast grasp of intellect -- all marked him a great man.
General Houston accepted the hospitality of ELISHA ROBERTS and of his son-in-law, Colonel Philip Sublett. The latter commanded the Texians at the "Grass Fight," which came off near San Antonio in 1835 and was one of the hardest contested affairs of the war.
It was arranged to have General Houston meet his friends at San Augustine on the FOURTH OF JULY, 1836. It was a joyous reunion. The fearless pioneers, who had left home and kindred and all their attendant attractions to aid in reclaiming a vast and fertile empire from the predominance of Indians, came together to salute their friend, the successful leader of a revolution, with the laurels of San Jacinto fresh upon his brow. Honest and stout hands were clasped, and true hearts thrilled in response to the promptings of sincere friendship. It was a scene one could never forget.
The gentleman chosen to welcome the general was Colonel Jonas Harrison, long and familiarly called "Old Jonas Harrison, the Hunter." Memory paints him now as he stood in his brown, home-spun clothes, slouched hat, and coarse boots, to receive the Washington of Texas. The mental question was "Old chap, what can you say worthy of this memorable occasion?" He drew himself up to his full height, and in a short address combined eloquence and logic so deftly and ably that all were assured a master stood before them.
General Houston replied in his happiest manner. The two held the audience entranced, unconscious of aught save the enthusiasm engendered by their burning words. At this moment when more than fifty years have been measured upon the sundial of time, the grand Old Hunter looms up before the mind's eye as the equal, if not the superior, of General Houston in oratory. A few months thereafter a mighty mind was eclipsed, a gifted tongue silenced in death; the man of the people was gathered to his fathers. Few of this day know of him.
In this assembly which greeted General Houston were men of note. Colonel James Bullock who commanded the Texians in 1832, when they expelled the Mexican troops under Colonel [Jose de las] Piedras from Nacogdoches, and Colonel Alexander Horton, one of General Houston's aides at San Jacinto, were there. One splendid old soldier must not be omitted: Donald McDonald was captain of a company, on the British side, at the battle of Lundy's Lane [during the War of 1812]. He went into the fight with eighty odd men and came out with fifteen. Colonel S. W. Blount, a signer of the Texas Declaration of Independence, was also present, if memory is not at fault.
These gentlemen of eastern Texas are mentioned to show the kind of men constituting the class since called "Old Texians." A more candid, friendly, and hospitable population never occupied any country. A stranger was not allowed to pass a house without being invited to stop. No difference how long a guest remained, provided he minded his own business, he was entertained free of cost. If he asked for his bill, he was told a repetition of the inquiry would be taken as an insult. The coffee pot was on the fire at nearly every house in the country from daylight till bedtime. A visitor was invited to take a cup -- a refusal was not taken in good part.
Energy, bravery, a practical view of all matters, self-reliance, moderation, and a disposition to act in concert with their fellow citizens were the characteristics of the early settlers. Danger menaced them unceasingly, rendered them cautious, and moulded them into soldiers. Having to take care of themselves gave them an idea of what their far-off neighbors needed to make them comfortable and to protect them. Thus they acquired correct ideas of what was necessary to preserve order and give adequate protection to person and property. Many of those commonsense men rose to the full height of soldiers, legislators, and statesmen. . . .