EAST TEXAS AGAIN
The Spanish were eager to populate East Texas to stop the migration into its lands of Indians and Americans. The Spanish considered many plans. One of the more successful was the empresario land grant system. It had worked successfully in Louisiana under Miro and Carondelet.
The term "grant" needs to be explained further. In the original plan, and as it generally remained, empresarios (from the Spanish word empresa for enterprise or venture) were businessmen or land speculators granted large blocks of land in exchange for an oath of allegiance to the State. The empresario was to bring in settlers to whom he would give a portion of his grant. The empresario was to insure his land grant was settled by people who fit the Spanish profile of the "right kind of colonists." This meant they were to be people of character and Catholic. If the empresario completed his colony in the agreed time, he would receive lands based on the performance of his responsibilities. One of the first plans presented to settle East Texas was a request of Nolan's friend, Father Brady, a Carmelite priest.
In 1804, Father Brady, together with Frenchman Bernado Despallier, was given permission to relocate Irish families from Spanish Louisiana to East Texas. The families were from his former parish in the Baton Rouge and Rapides area of Louisiana. Permission was granted, thus making Brady's project one of the first approved empresario grants even though it was never followed through.
William Barr also applied and was approved to establish a settlement near what is now Liberty, Texas. Another application was made by Diego Barry and Felipe O'Reilly to settle 10,000 Irish and Canary Island families in Texas. This application was disapproved. Father Brady's settlement was established, but without him, as he withdrew from the project before it was completed. Barr lost his grant when he did not settle any families by the date set in the grant.
The Governor of Texas in 1805, Antonio Cordero, put in motion a plan to move volunteer families from the Béxar area to a new town on the Trinity River off the El Camino Real to be called Villa de Santísma Trinidad de Salcedo. Santisma Trinidad de Salcedo was founded in January of 1806 on the east side of the Trinity River on the Camino Real.
This settlement was later called Spanish Bluff by some Americans. William Barr furnished the supplies for the town's founding. When Governor Cordero could not get enough volunteers from the Béxar area, the plan was expanded to include families from former Spanish Louisiana that wished to relocate to Spanish Texas. Among the latter were Irishmen: Miguel Quin (Michael Quinn), Juan Mequin (John McGee or Magee)and his wife the former Harriet Burgess, who was born in Ireland, their two sons and daughters. Others included: Enrique Seridan (Henry Sheridan), Hugo Coyle, James Fear, and John Mulroney. There was also Henry Poston, born in Ireland and a Peter Patterson. Most of these settlers were accompanied by their families.
The following spring a new census for Trinidad de Salcedo showed that Anna Calaxan (Callahan), Celeste Robertson, and Vincent McLaughlin joined the families there. Still more came in 1807, Rebecca Cheridan (Sheridan), Juan Malroni, Carlos Trahan, Juan McFale, and Jaime Mirlan (whose wife was the former Martha Jameson, were among the Irish at Trinidad de Salcedo.
East Texas squatters wanted to take advantage of the more open attitude toward settlers Spain was now exhibiting. Seeing the newly organized efforts, the East Texas squatters decided to make application for their land claims legal. They wanted to protect their homes. Unless the squatters were a known problem, the applications to live in Texas by people already there were granted. Among the applications dated previous to 1810 were those of Irishman Daniel Boone, nephew to the famous Daniel Boone of Kentucky. He was living in the Atascosita area. Others included Irish born Daniel Coleman Jones, and John Andreton, who identified himself as an Irishman from Brunswick, Virginia. Three others from Opelousas, Louisiana: John Runnels, Guilermo Gardner, and Juan Fears were all of Irish heritage. They applied for twenty six families from Opelousas to be declared residents.
The established settlements were also adding more Irish among their number. In 1802, John McFallen was in Nacogdoches. Timothy Barnett, a native of County Leinster, Ireland, was in Nacogdoches in 1803. In 1806, John Oconor stated, in the Nacogdoches Census, he was a "native of the capital of Connaught" (Connaught was an ancient Kingdom in Ireland). Another new arrival was John Beins who came from County Sligo and served in the British Army in the American Revolution. He was taken as a prisoner by the Continental Army. After the war, he settled in the United States and moved to Nacogdoches in 1803. He worked for Barr and Davenport. In 1806, the Spanish sold the old stone fort to the trading company of Barr and Davenport, known as The House of Barr and Davenport. In Trinidad de Salcedo, the names of Irishmen: Timeteo (Timothy) Barrett, Patricio (Patrick) Fitzgerald, and Joshua Ris (Reese or Rice) were added. John McGee built a flour mill in the settlement.
In Béxar, Thomas Starr was a tailor and James Orr was a carpenter, both were Irish and there in 1808. Daniel Boone moved to Béxar from Atascosita and became the garrison's gunsmith. Daniel Coleman Jones also moved to Béxar.
The man who was to be Governor of Texas in 1808, Manuel Maria de Salcedo, moved quickly up the ranks of the Spanish hierarchy. He served under his father who was governor of Louisiana at the time of the transfer of Louisiana to France in 1803. Young Salcedo captured the notorious Irish adventurer William Augustus Bowles.
Bowles had an interesting history. William Bowles joined the British Army in Maryland at the age of thirteen and was sent to Pennsylvania. He left the army to live with the Creek Indian Nation and took an Indian wife. While with the Creeks, Bowles played a large part in delaying Alexander McGillivray's ascendancy as Chief over the Florida Creeks. Acting as a British agent, Bowles harassed the Spanish in Florida and Eastern Louisiana. At one point, he was sent by the British with some Indians to London. The Indians were displayed and introduced to Londoners as examples of the American primitives. After this sojourn in show business, Bowles was back in Florida operating for the British against the Spanish. He was captured by the Spanish and sent to Cuba, and then to Spain for trial. He was banished to the Philippines. He escaped the Philippines and next showed up in the British colony of Sierre Leone, Africa. The British took him back to England and then back to Florida. From there Bowles began to harass the Spanish in Louisiana. While Bowles was operating against the Spanish in Louisiana, Salcedo was able to capture him. William Bowles was sent to Cuba and imprisoned in Moro Castle, where he died in 1805.
Governor Manuel Salcedo, in an 1809 report, estimated the population of Texas was approximately 4,000 people. In addition, there were 1,033 soldiers, most of them militia. Only about 353 of them were said to be veteran, Spanish soldiers. Most of the population were Indian, Hispanic, or both. The rest were largely Americans, French, and Irish. The Americans were first, second, or later generation from Europe, with a good percentage of them being Irish.
Irish Americans were moving south and westward from Pennsylvania, Ohio, Virginia, the Carolinas, Georgia, Tennessee, and Kentucky on to the Natchez Trace and into Texas. There was also the influx of second generation Irish Americans from the settlements in Louisiana, where the Spanish settled Irish families. While the exact total is not known, it is clear that when one combines the Irish Americans with the Irish born, the percentage of Irish among the non-Hispanic and non-Indian population in Spanish Texas around 1800 was a healthy percentage. The Spanish remained concentrated in the Béxar and La Bahía areas. The major growth in the Texas population was from the immigrants coming into East Texas (which for 80 years exhibited an autonomous air to Spanish rule). Many of these immigrants were Irish or of Irish extraction. The degree of influence of the Irish increased in Texas. Add in those settlers of Scotch and Welsh ancestry to the numbers, and you can see the influence of Celtic peoples has long been underestimated by historians in the study of early Texas. Given this background, it is easier to understand Michener's observation that the Irish gave Texas its basic character.
To find the reason why the Spanish allowed this encroachment of their territory, one has only to read official dispatches of the day, such as this one from the Governor of Texas - It will be "necessary to overlook certain acts, and suspend the execution of some orders, until the moment of acting with vigor has arrived; such as to pass by the disobedience of Miguel Oroo, an American citizen who lives on the other side of the Sabine, and to tolerate the intrusion of some foreigners within our territory. To compel them to return to the United States would only create excitement, or induce them to join those who have established themselves in the territory provisionally declared neutral...."
In New Spain, there existed several distinct classes of people. The Spanish were called Peninsulares, as Spain is on the Iberian Peninsula. They were also derogatorily called, Gachupínes (which one translation says, meant wearers of spurs). The Spanish may have been called this because, though they never represented more than one percent of the population, they rode rough shod over all the rest. More accurately, they were probably called Gachupínes because they could afford large ranches and outfitted themselves with ornate spurs whose purpose was to make a point to the vaquero more than to the vaca (cow).
Another translation of the word Gachupine is `blockhead.' The Peninsulares (Gachupínes) controlled the government, the army, universities, the Church, and its missions. To give you an idea of how rare was the honor that went to Hugh O'Connor, consider that fifty eight of the sixty one Viceroys of New Spain were Peninsulares. Similar percentages among judges, bishops and other offices were all Peninsulares. The second generation, Spanish born in New Spain, were called Criollos or Creoles. This class also came to include other persons of all European ancestry born in the colonies, affluent Mexicans, royal blooded Aztecs, and individuals wealthy enough to purchase the position. Next came people of mixed blood, children of Spanish and Indian parents were called Mestizos. Educated or "civilized" Indians were also of this class. Then came the Indians, followed by the Mulattos who were of mixed blood, Spanish and Negro. The Zambos were of mixed blood between Indian and Negro. There were other groups smaller than these that included other combinations (Castizo- Spanish+Mestizo, Morisco-Spanish+Mulatto, Chino- Spanish+Morisco, Salta Atras-Chino+Indian, Lobo- Salta Atras+Mulatto, Gibaro- Lobo+Chino, Albarazado- Gibaro+Mulatto, Cambujo- Alabarazado+Negro, Zambaigo- Cambujo+Indian, and still others). Wealth and property was almost entirely in the hands of the smallest group, the Peninsulares (Spaniards). The next smallest group were their children, the Creoles. The Creoles were generally well educated and aware of the American and French Revolutions and, for the most part, liberal in their views.
The two largest segments of the population, the Indians and Mestizos, were as separated from power and property, the Gachupínes and Creoles, as a servant was from his master. The Gachupíne ruled authoritatively. The educated Creoles chafed under their autocracy. The Creoles were able to have both wealth and property, but without the power. The King and Spain, represented by the Gachupínes, lost some of the formal basis of their power when Napoleon placed his brother Joseph on the Spanish throne. The Gachupínes were seen as being vulnerable by the other classes in the aftermath of Napoleon's actions. The smell of revolution was in the air.
The Creoles demanded self-government, but were quickly suppressed and their leaders imprisoned. In 1810, Father Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla started what was to be the beginning of the Mexican Revolution. Father Hidalgo was a Mestizo. He began an insurrection calling for no racial discrimination, redistribution of the land, and the end of Gachupíne rule. The beginning of his revolt, September 16, 1810, is celebrated as Independence Day in Mexico today. The revolt spread, and soon two of the Provinces next to Texas went over to the cause: Nuevo Santander and Coahuila. It was not to be, the only people actively revolting were the lower castes, a few soldiers, and some priests. The Army, Church, Gachupínes, and Creoles were united in their unwillingness to let the masses disenfranchise their status, and crushed the revolt.
The survivors spread out like sparks from a fire and set smoldering just under the surface. The smell of revolution was still in the air and some of the scents wafted into Texas and beyond.
In late 1810, American settlers inspired by events in Mexico and South America as well as by inaction on the part of the United States, attacked Baton Rouge, capitol of Spanish West Florida, rousted the loyalists and declared an independent republic from the Mississippi River to the Perdido River. Their flag was blue with a single centered silver star. The settlers then petitioned Washington for admittance to the Union. Active in all this was General James Wilkinson. In April, 1813 Wilkinson showed Spain his duplicity when he captured, with force, Mobile and Fort Charlotte in Spanish territory. This was quickly allowed under the convenient theory that West Florida was in the original Louisiana Purchase (to the Pearl River), and therefore United States territory. Others, at this time, pointed out that Texas was in the original Louisiana Purchase as well and therefore should become a part of the United States.
In Texas, there was a plot to establish a Mexican republic. In January of 1811, Antonio Saenz led a revolt to overthrow the Royalist government. It was defeated quickly. Another attempt later in the year was successful. Juan Bautista de las Casas had Governor Salcedo and other Royalists arrested. He sent Saenz and others out to the settlements to spread the revolution and its propaganda. In 39 days de Casas so thoroughly alienated everyone, that the province was gratefully taken back over by the Royalist, Juan Manuel Zambrano. He in turn placed control of the government into the hands of the ranking Royalist military commander, Simón de Herrera, until Governor Salcedo could return from testifying at the trials of the rebels. The trials were held in Monclova. Among those assisting in testifying against Casas was Lieutenant Colonel Ygnacio Elizondo, the Presidio Commandant at San Bautista and the man who captured Father Hildago.
GREEN FLAGGED ARMY
In late 1811, one of the leaders of Father Hidalgo's Mexican Revolution, José Bernado Gutiérrez de Lara, went to the United States to seek assistance. The Spanish Consul in New Orleans, Diego Murphy(Morphi), warned Spanish authorities about Gutiérrez in April of 1812. Gutiérrez visited with the U. S. Secretary of State, James Monroe. Monroe is known to have Scottish forbears, and had an Irish connection as well. A direct descendant, James Monroe, married a native of Ulster. In 1805 James Monroe encouraged President Jefferson to seize Texas, claiming it to be part of the Louisiana Purchase. In 1811, as Secretary of State of the United States, he again considered taking Texas for the United States. He decided instead to back the plans of Gutiérrez. After meeting with future President Monroe, Gutiérrez met with President James Madison in 1812. President Madison also have an Irish connection. His mother was Eleanor Conway. What was agreed to is not known; but we do know that Monroe assigned a diplomat, William Shaler, to follow events. We know that Shaler, who reported regularly to Monroe, recommended military assistance and on several occasions advanced Gutiérrez expense money.
Gutiérrez was allowed to raise an armed expeditionary force in U.S. territory and was not disturbed by civil or military inquiries. West Point graduates were allowed to resign their commissions in June of 1812, and join the expedition, in spite of a war with England. One of these men was to become the expedition's leader, Augustus William Magee. Magee was an Irishman from Boston. He graduated third in his class at West Point.
Only a short time earlier as a Lieutenant in the United States Army, under orders from General James Wilkinson, Magee cleared the Neutral Ground of bandits and ruffians with U. S. troops. This was not an easy task. The men in the Neutral Zone were rough and tough. One location, Pecan Point on the Red River, had over 500 ruffians and rogues in it. Magee was assisted in this effort by Lt. Zebulon Pike, who only recently returned from the expedition ordered by Wilkinson to scout Spanish territory. For successfully clearing the Neutral Ground, Magee received a commendation from Wilkinson and was recommended by Wilkinson for an early promotion. The promotion was not allowed and was possibly a factor in Magee's decision to join the expedition. Most historians agree it was Magee who planned and put together the expedition to invade Mexico, and that he took on Gutiérrez for his connections both in Washington and Mexico. Others suggest it was Wilkinson who was behind it all.
The Neutral Ground became the staging area for the expeditionary force, or the Army of The Republic of The North, as the expedition was to be called. Gutiérrez was nominally the ranking officer as he was accorded the rank of a General, but the 33 year old Magee was the heart and soul of the operation. Magee was described by Shaler to President James Monroe in a letter dated August 18, 1812; "...24 years old, very tall, robust, of handsome appearance and countenance, a commanding appearance as an officer and a prepossessing manner. He is accompanied by a number of young men of respectable character and education. (He is) one of the best informed officers of his age in the American Army, ... qualified to add lustre to the American name in the career he has chosen." The announced intention of the Army of the Republic of the North was to take Texas from a weak Spain and give it to the United States before England took it for themselves. As we shall see, that was not the intention of Gutiérrez.
The Magee Expedition was very popular in the United States. A toast to the success of Magee's volunteers was given at a Fourth of July reception in Natchitoches that was sponsored by the American military and local Justice of the Peace. Present was an official representative of the Spanish government, Apolinar de Mazmela. Mazmela complained to U.S. authorities of the incident and apparent U.S. support of the Army of the Republic of the North. Diego Murphy, the Spanish Consul, at New Orleans kept up a steady complaint to the United States on the developing situation. The Spanish called Magee a filibusteros. In French the term is filibustier and in English filibuster. All these terms refer to an adventurer who engages in private military action in a foreign country. Its actual origin is a Dutch term that meant someone who would take anything not nailed down.
In response to the Spanish complaints, Secretary of State James Monroe sent a representative to New Spain. His emissary was a man known by the Spanish, he had accompanied Pike on his trip into Spanish territory. This man was a Scotsman, Doctor John Hamilton Robinson. Robinson was sent to New Spain to meet with the Commandante General of the Interior Provinces, Don Nemesio Salcedo y Salcedo. Robinson's mission was to complain to the Spanish about the goings on in the Neutral Zone and to inform Spanish authorities President Madison was very concerned. In truth Dr. Robinson's mission was to add confusion to all that was going on and to cloud the U. S. support for the Army of the Republic of the North.
Magee waited until the war with England was well underway before making his move. Monroe asked for war on June 1, 1812. Congress declared war on June 18, 1812. The Army of the North marched under an emerald green flag into Texas in July, 1812. The pretext under which they marched was to prevent England from taking the poorly defended Spanish territory, and then possibly launching attacks on the United States from Texas. This was a distinct possibility as evidenced by the British attack on New Orleans in 1814.
The invading army's first contact was with a Spanish mule train carrying 80,000 pounds of wool and silver specie in the Neutral Zone. These were captured. Reuben Ross and a small party were sent to New Orleans to sell the wool and with the money thus gained, plus the specie, to purchase needed supplies. Next a small Spanish force was encountered at the Sabine River and another a little farther west. Both forces were routed and the Army of about 200 rode onto Nacogdoches. The Spanish evacuated Nacogdoches ahead of the advancing Army of the North. When Magee entered the settlement, he was greeted like a conquering hero. The Republicans stayed at Nacogdoches the remainder of the summer. Gutiérrez wrote and printed proclamations addressed and distributed to the Mexican population of Texas. There they found fertile ground. Texas and most of Neuva Espana were ready for a change.
Irishman Peter Samuel Davenport of Nacogdoches became an important part of Magee's army. In the past year he lost his wife to an illness. Davenport was angry with Spanish authorities for not getting medical assistance to his wife soon enough. Trader Davenport, now 48 years old, only recently married to a sixteen year old French girl from Natchitoches, welcomed the invaders and was quickly made Colonel Davenport, Army Quartermaster. During the summer, Davenport together with a company of thirty Mexicans, gathered supplies for the Army. In mid-September, the Army was on the march again having swelled its numbers to 300 Americans and about 100 Mexicans.
Among the Americans with Celtic names in the Magee Expedition were: a Joseph Carr, a man named Scott, John or Richard MacFarland, William McLane, Reuben Ross, Henry Perry, Daniel McClean, John McClanahan, James Patterson, William Owens, William Parker, John Adair, Captain McKim, Peter Samuel Davenport, and Augustus Magee.
The Army left Nacogdoches for Trindad de Salcedo. Finding no one there, they marched for Béxar. The Governor of Texas, Manuel Salcedo, with a large force and cannon lay in their path waiting at the Guadalupe River. Magee was aware of the Spanish force and skillfully flanked them, and headed for La Bahía and the town beside it now known as Goliad. They arrived outside La Bahía on the seventh of November. The garrison and the town's civilians decided to throw in with the Republicans as they hated the "Guachepen race" (sic). The green flag was hoisted over the presidio. La Bahía was fat with stores, armament, and silver which Magee used to pay his men. Magee wrote to his supporters in Natchitoches encouraging them to urge the United States to annex all of Texas, all the way to the Rio Grande. Davenport carried the letter to Natchitoches, he arrived there December 19, 1812.
Within days of the taking of La Bahía, Manuel Salcedo was outside the presidio with his large force and nine cannon. The Republicans had three six pound cannon they brought with them and at least one nine pound cannon found in the fort. The Royalists attacked the fort on November 14, 1812, but were repulsed when the Army of the Republic of the North came out of the fort to meet them. A siege of four months did more to wilt the Spanish militia made up of mostly Creoles and Mestizos than it did the Republicans who had plenty of stores in the presidio. Armed sorties by one side or the other over the four month siege often led to fixed battles. One of these is listed in Spanish archives as the Battle of the White Cow.
The Republicans made an armed sortie from the fort to obtain a white cow seen grazing near their position. The event was in the open and was viewed by most of the men of both armies. It appeared the Republicans would be successful in getting the beef, as the Royalists could not react fast enough to organize a move to stop it. As the cow was being driven toward the fort's gates, it bolted and made right for the forming Royalist's line. A battle resulted that lasted two hours and involved hundreds of men on both sides. From the reports it is unclear who won the battle, as both sides claimed the other had substantial (over 200) losses. The white cow was successfully defended and was in Spanish hands after the battle and no doubt on Spanish plates still later.
As the siege dragged on through the winter, a strange camaraderie developed between the American and Spanish officers. Visits were exchanged, and meals and views shared. Magee indicated he felt he should take advantage of the civilities and negotiate a withdrawal of all Americans from Texas and leave the Mexicans and Spanish to deal with one another. During one of his dinners with Salcedo he mentioned it. Salcedo immediately agreed. When Magee broached the subject with his men, they adamantly rejected the idea. Although the fraternization was questioned by the men, Magee's proposal did not turn them against him. His proposal, after all, was to secure their safety. Magee, however, felt bad about the incident and withrew to his tent. This event, coupled with Magee's rapid decline in health (some said of consumption an old term for tuberculosis), began to hurt the Republican cause. By January, Magee was delirious. Augustus Magee died on February 8, 1813, and with him went some of the fervor of the cause.
Samuel Kemper, Magee's second in command, assumed command. Kemper's older brothers were key players in the separation of West Florida from the Spanish in 1810. Samuel Kemper proved to be a worthy leader. After a few skirmishes, a battle was fought under his leadership that resulted in the Spanish retreating to Béxar. The word went out and more Americans joined the Army of the North. One of the Americans joining the Army of the North at this time was General Wilkinson's son, James Biddle Wilkinson. He was also a former Lieutenant in the U.S. Army.
The next battle was at Salado Creek. The Royalists waited in ambush for the Republicans. The Battle of Rosillo (so named to differentiate from a later battle at Salado Creek known as the Battle of Salado) lasted for an hour and ended with a total rout of the Royalists forces. Governor Salcedo asked for terms and was given them.
The Spanish soldiers were to be disbanded; Spanish Officers were released on parole. The Army of the North then entered Béxar uncontested on April 1, 1813. Governor Salcedo and several Spanish leaders met the Army of the Republic of the North at the city gates and formally surrendered themselves and the town.
All Royalist forces in Texas were defeated. Moral was high. The Mexican population was joining the revolution in large numbers. On April 6th, 1813, a Declaration of Independence of the State of Texas was issued, see Appendix VII. It was based almost entirely on the U.S. Declaration of Independence. Kemper and his men talked of joining Texas with the United States.
But then, things began to come apart. Gutiérrez stated the Americans were on Mexican soil, and since the military situation was in hand, demanded control be handed to him and his Mexican associates. Gutiérrez and his Mexicans drew up a constitution for Texas not based on the power of the people, but of a Junta, see Appendix VII. The junta was not be elected, but made up of Gutiérrez and his associates. A clause in the proposed constitution even stated "..the State of Texas forms a part of the Mexican Republic, to which it remains inviolably joined." Other stated facts were that: the Catholic Church was to be the official religion of Texas, San Fernando was to be the seat of government, and that every town would be governed by a military man appointed by the Junta. In addition there would be no jury system in matters before the courts, except in cases of murder. Even then, the chosen citizens will only `assist' the judge in making a decision.
American officials were as disturbed with the Gutiérrez constitution as were the Americans and Texans in the expedition. First of all because it tied Texas to Mexico, secondly because of the installation of an authortarian regime not unlike that of the Spanish they were replacing (what had happened to "liberty", "freedom" and "independence"?), and thirdly because Gutiérrez named as Secretary of State a Frenchman, Louis Massiot. It was known the French were trying to take over the expedition for their own purposes. Shaler reported that Gutierrez was in communication with Napoleon's agent in New Orleans, a Monsieur Gerard and had exchanged several communications with him. Robinson reported that a French official told him "the Emperor has a great desire to assist them and has promised to give them aid as soon as they have established any regular government." There was also report that General Humbert and a cadre of French officers were standing by in Louisiana ready to come forward and "manage" the military aspects of the remaining campaign for Gutierrez.
This set off alarms in Spain, France, and England, as well as the United States. President Madison resolved to replace Gutiérrez with another Hispanic leader. Some of the Americans and Texans simply left the expedition. Many of those who stayed occupied themselves with fiestas and siestas and let the Mexicans primp and preen knowing the real power was in their rifles and not any piece of paper.
Gutiérrez asked to send the captured Governor and the officers of his staff, who did not join the revolution, under escort to La Bahía where they could be better secured. Kemper agreed. Soon after, the governor and his party left Béxar, they were bound hand and foot by their escorts (led by a Capítan Antonio Delgado) and, as Texas historian and author Ted Schwarz reports from depositions taken from Mexican Royalist soldiers, "The prisoners were dismounted, disrobed, and robbed of their valuables. Governor Salcedo's tongue was cut out. After being refused spiritual sacrament, they were beheaded with swords whetted on the soles of their executioners' boots. The bodies were left on the field unburied." These murders upset many of the Americans. Magee's death, the Mexican's attempt to take control, their un-American constitution, and now the murder of Governor Salcedo and the men in his staff caused many more men to leave the expedition.
There was one Spanish military leader who believed steps should be taken immediately to preserve Texas for Spain and to prevent revolt from spreading into the northern provinces. He was Colonel Joaquin Arredondo, A Spaniard from Barcelona. Colonel Arredondo was successfully putting down a revolt in the province of San Luis Potosi. His orders were to return to the interior of Mexico mupon completion of his mission. Instead, Colonel Arredondo marched north to Texas. He boldy wrote Viceroy Venegas of his plan as well as Major General Felix Maria Calleja del Rey and the governor of of the province of Nuevo Leon and provisional governor of Nuevo Santander, Lieutenant Colonel Ramon Diaz de Bustamante. Bustamante had plenty of soldiers and supplies and refused to go the the aid of Salcedo when to have done so would, in Arredondo's opnion, have stopped the revolt then. Bustamante at first complained of Arredondo's interference but then changed his tune when Bexar fell to the Army of the North. Arrendondo went about soliciting supplies and men from the provinces and cities. He investigated all declinations with a military tribunal. He asked the Viceroy for assistance in getting what he needed for his campaign. The new Viceroy of New Spain (March, 1813), Major General Félix María Calleja del Rey, appointed Simón Herrera to be his new Commander General of the Interior Provinces. When the Viceroy learned Herrera was murdered with Governor Salcedo, he selected Joaquín Arredondo to the position. The Viceroy made the appointment with instructions to Arredondo to clear the invading army from Texas. Arredondo, a Spaniard from Barcelona, was in Nuevo Santander when he learned of his appointment. He sent orders to the commander at the Presidio del Rio Grande at San Juan Bautista, Ygnacio Elizondo, to organize his men and move into Texas. Arredondo's orders were for Elizondo to march with 400-500 men and two cannon to a position between the Frio and Medina Rivers, and there await Arredondo's arrival with the main force. Arredondo specifically instructed Elizondo to not engage the enemy, only to observe and await Arredondo and the main Spanish Army.
Elizondo exceeded his instructions. He was not able to observe anything west of the Medina River. He marched within sight of Béxar stopping at Alazán Creek. He sent a message to the Army of the Republic of the North stating all repentant insurgents would be pardoned, all Americans could leave Texas unharmed. He gave the Army of the Republic of the North 24 hours to consider these terms and one other; they were to submit twelve of the Mexican leaders to Elizondo. Impatient for a response, and still outraged at the murder of Salcedo and his staff, Elizondo sent another message to Gutiérrez personally:
I am determined that in Hell shall thou be put,
which will be thy last refuge, thy hairs pulled out,
thy body burnt, and thy ashes scattered, and I
denounce thee a coward, meet me on the field....
President Monroe's candidate to replace Gutiérrez joined the Army of the Republic of the North about this time. He was a Cuban gentleman, José Älvarez de Toledo. Toledo was a former Spanish naval officer and government official. In 1810-1811, Toledo represented Santo Domingo (the present day Dominican Republic) before the Spanish Cortes.
BACK AT BÉXAR
After the murder of Governor Salcedo and his staff became known, Gutiérrez and his staff were relieved of their commands by the Americans. With Elizondo before them, the Army of the Republic of the North knew there was soon to be another battle. The murder of Salcedo and his men meant the level of violence would be raised. Gutiérrez and his group left. Several of the Americans also left. Davenport left. Kemper, who gave his word for Salcedo's safety, left. Leaving with them were several Spanish officers who had joined the revolution. They were also distressed at the murder of the Governor and his staff. Another of the American leaders who left was Reuben Ross. He left because of information he obtained from an inside source. During the stay in Béxar, Ross found himself a pretty señorita with whom he had a relationship. He learned from her that a large part of the Mexican population in Béxar planned to turn on the Americans and kill them if Elizondo or Arredondo entered the city.
Major Henry Perry assumed command of the now more than 3,000 man Army of the North. Perry was of Irish ancestry. He was of the same Perry family as Irishman Oliver Hazard Perry who earned his place in U.S. history only a year earlier during the War of 1812 when he defeated a British squadron in the Battle of Lake Erie. Toledo was installed as the leader of the Mexican contingent. Replacing Gutiérrez with Toledo proved very quickly to be a mistake. Gutiérrez was a Mexican and directly tied to the leadership of the Mexican Revolution. Toledo was a foreigner and a stranger with a Gachupíne manner. To give you an idea of how the man operated, he arrived at Béxar with a large personal entourage of servants and assistants complete with a personal French chef. The ardor of the Mexicans in the Army of the Republic of the North cooled when Toledo was placed before them as their leader. The men, Mexican and American, who remained in the Army of the North were not of a high caliber. They were not the idealists and men of honor who marched with the Army of the North into Texas. They were opportunists in it solely for themselves and what benefits it would derive them.
The American and Texan force meanwhile continued to grow. Men were still coming to join the ranks of the revolution as news reached into the United States and spread of the sustained victories of the revolution. Taking charge of the situation, Henry Perry called for the Army of the Republic of the North to organize itself and to muster for parade. When only the American and Texan men responded, he sent word to Miguel Menchaca, the senior Mexican officer who had evolved as the accepted leader of the Mexican contingent of the Army of the Republic of the North. Perry reminded Menchaca that he and many of his men were on Elizondo's list. If Menchaca did not turn out the Mexican contingent for parade, he would seize those on the list, turn them over to Elizondo and march the rest of the army to New Orleans. The Mexicans and Tejanos soon after, fell into parade formation. Perry called for another parade formation the next morning on Sunday, June 20, 1813. In the morning, Perry reviewed the parade formation and then promptly marched them out of Béxar to attack Elizondo's force on Alazán Creek. The Army of the Republic of the North surprised most of the Mexican force attending a Catholic field Mass. The battle lasted four hours and ended with Elizondo and most of his men running for their lives. A Captain Kennedy among the Republicans was noted as having distinguished himself during the battle. Five Republicans were killed and 50 were wounded. Elizondo's Royalist force suffered 350 killed and 130 captured, of which 50 were wounded. Perry's victory gained his army the following supplies which were listed in an after action report:
5,000 pounds of gunpowder
250 stands of arms
1,000 mules and horses with saddles and bridles
$28,000 worth of dry goods and clothes
$7,000 in specie
4,000 pounds of biscuits
40 pecks of flour
25 pecks of salt
coffee beans, and sugar
cigars and liquor
In July, the Republicans were in Texas a year. They controlled Texas and defeated every force they faced. They even survived the dissension caused by Gutiérrez, and then Toledo. Now after defeating the largest force they faced to date, the dissension returned.
Don José Toledo insisted on taking command of the next fight. Mexican General Joaquin de Arredondo was proceeding slowly on the road from Laredo to Béxar with a large army. Arredondo's army was joined by the remnants of the men who lost at Alazán. Toledo wanted to set up an ambush position on the road to Béxar. There was plenty of time. Arredondo was encumbered and moving slowly because of the many baggage and supply wagons, and camp followers.
Perry acquiesced to Toledo's request. Toledo then announced the Army of the Republic of the North would have a new name and be reorganized. The new name was the Republican Army of North Mexico. The new organization called for the Mexican, American, Tejanos, and Indian forces to be organized along ethnic lines. Previously the army, which successfully defeated all before it was made up of more integrated units. A few days later, August 8, 1813, Toledo ordered all units to march out of the city to a campsite he selected. Not all units marched out, morale and heavy rains were so bad it took until August 15 for Toledo to resolve all problems and get his army into the field. He moved them to a campsite just off the Laredo-Béxar road down which Arredondo was plodding, and then moved them to his chosen ambush site. The site was 6 miles southwest of the Medina River on high ground where the Gallinas Creek crossed the Laredo-Béxar road. Toledo deployed there; the Americans and Texans, about 300 strong; about 600 Mexicans including the Tejanos under Menchaca; and 100 assorted Indians who had rejoined the Republicans. Overall a force of around 1,000 men. The Republicans also set into place seven cannon to cover the ambush. The terrain favored the Republicans. They had the high ground, though cover among the live oak trees was sparse. The ground on either side of the road going west from Gallinas Creek was blackjack sand several feet deep. The sand would make it difficult for the Royalists to maneuver or escape.
General Arredondo had with him 1,830 men; 635 infantry and 1,195 cavalry as reported by Captain McFarland on a scouting trip on August 13, 1813.
On August 17, Toledo ordered Menchaca to take 50 mounted men to disperse Arredondo's caballada, or horse herd. It was his plan to disrupt Arredondo's camp and prevent his men from getting any sleep as they prepared for a possible battle the next day. After conferring with the other Tejano officers, Menchaca and his men preferred to not carry out the order. It was their plan to capture the animals after the battle and to sell them for profit. The order was not followed.
Except for a single Royalist rider, a scout who became lost from his recon party, the battle, the next day, August 18, 1813, would have been different. The Republicans had been deployed for sometime and were anxious. The scout appeared before their line of fire. Someone fired, others did the same. They all missed, but what was worse their position was now revealed, there would be no ambush. Having lost the element of surprise, the Republicans decided the best strategy was to move forward and engage the enemy before it could get organized.
The Republicans charged forward to engage the Royalists. There were some problems. The mules to move the cannons had been let out to pasture. To move quickly the Republicans found they would need to use manpower to bring the cannon with them. The blackjack sand the Republicans planned to use to slow down the Royalists was now slowing their advance. The Republicans ran into a large vanguard. The vanguard was a cavalry unit under Elizondo sent out by Arredondo to make contact with the Republicans. Elizondo's orders were to make contact and then break off and fall back. Arredondo was alerted to the contact by the sound of the rifles firing and followed not long after by the sound of the Republican cannon. The cannon were being moved forward by great effort by the Republicans on foot.
Arredondo separated himself from the supply and baggage carts and spread out his line. He intentionally made it very long on either side of the Bexar-Laredo Road. His men where in the lush cover on the east bank of Galina Creek. He then sent out a party of 150 cavalry under Lieutenant Colonel Juan M. Zambrano along with two cannon to support Elizondo's withdrawal.
Elizondo and his mounted force put some distance between themselves and the advancing Republicans coming though the sand on foot. Advancing though the sand took its toll on the Republicans, they were tiring, and it was becoming increasingly difficult to advance their cannon. The gap between the Republicans and Elizondo's men allowed Zambrano and his men to join Elizondo. When the Republican's closed the distance to Elizondo and saw the Loyalists had increased in size, they believed this was Arredondo's main force. Excited the Republicans continued their advance. Zambrano and Elizondo, as ordered by Arredondo, continued to withdraw after the renewed contact. The Republicans were thus encouraged to push on even though fatigue and dehydration were beginning to take a higher toll than any Spanish bullet.
At this point, Toledo called for pulling back to the original ambush site, but just then the Republicans were able to capture the two small cannon Zambrano brought with him as well as some prisoners. Even though some of the true position of Arredondo was now known to the Republicans, they were taking fire from the sides. They wished to push forward. Arredondo's men, stretched on a long line along the eastern side of Galvan Creek, were ready to receive them. Arredondo's men closest to the road had not yet revealed their positions because they were unable to fire with Elizondo and Zanbrano's men in front of them.
Menchaca told Toledo his men were not in the habit of retreating from a fight. A clash of wills watched by all the Republicans resulted in Toledo ordering the advance. The men of Zambrano and Elizondo crossed the Galvan Creek and took positions behind the line of defense Arredondo had drawn up. The Republicans hesitated. At that moment Arredondo's artillery opened up and immediately found its mark. Arredondo at the two ends of his long line fold in so as to begin to encircle the Republicans.
Things began to unravel for the Republicans. The sand had claimed five of the seven Republican cannon. Only two cannon were at the battle site and able to respond to the Royalists. Elizondo and Zambrano re-inforced the front line of Arredondo. All the Mexicans who had originally deserted the Royalists now deserted the Republicans. The Americans, Texans, and Tejanos fought hard. They tried the right flank, and then the left, they even were able to penetrate to the rear and attack Arredondo from that direction, but each time he was ready and foiled the parry. The Republicans were able to make an attack on the rear as Arredondo had not yet been able to move enough men there. A group of Republicans were able to penetrate there and escape north on the road. For two hours the victor was in doubt, but the Republicans in their maneuvers had left the middle open, and Arredondo pushed forward and began to roll the Republicans back all the way to the Medina River and the battle was over.
More men fought this day and died for Texas in this battle than would at the Alamo, Goliad, and San Jacinto combined. Yet, this battle known by Texans as the Battle of Medina, and by the Mexicans as the Battle of the Encinal de Medina is little known or appreciated by most Texans. 600 Republicans died in the battle, 100 prisoners were shot. Arredondo sent Elizondo on to Béxar to take possession of the town. Fifty Americans who made it there were turned over to him by the townspeople. They were shot.
Arredondo, knowing the fate of Salcedo and his staff, ordered no prisoners be taken. When he got to Béxar, which served as the capitol of the short lived Republic, he rounded up 300 citizens who supported the revolution and about 500 wives, daughters, and female relatives. Everyday he had three men shot, their arms, and heads cut off and placed in a public place until all 300 were gone. Arredondo had the women cook for his army. Arredondo left Béxar to conduct a sweep throughout Texas, pledging to kill any Norteamericanos found on Spanish soil. Among Arredondo's officers who did well and gained a name for himself during this campaign was a young lieutenant named Antonio Lopéz de Santa Anna.
Arredondo effectively depopulated East Texas to a level close to sixty years earlier. There are reports Arredondo killed a third of the remaining population for supporting the rebellion. He brought female captives in to Béxar from as far away as Nacogdoches to cook for his army. Arredondo offered a special reward for anyone who would kill Peter Samuel Davenport.
Spanish reaction to Arredondo's brutality was such that a general amnesty was declared before the year was out for all but twelve of the leaders. Slowly the settlers returned to their homes.
Thus an army under an emerald flag, led by an Irishman, invaded Texas to make her a part of the United States. They won all their battles and chased the enemy all the way to the southern banks of the Rio Grande River. They held Texas for a year before the Spanish could muster a force large enough to defeat them. Some historians credit Magee with making the Rio Grande the eventual southern border of Texas. His army fought to free Texas, it issued a Declaration of Independence, and a Constitution. All this, twenty three years before the Texas Revolution. Augustus Magee's name, like Philip Nolan's, deserves to be recalled in the litany of Texas heroes who died to make Texas free.
Let us return now to a man we read of earlier, Peter Ellis Bean, the only known survivor of Nolan's men who were marched off to prison in Mexico. Bean came from Irish stock. His grandfather, Captain William Bean, was a friend of Daniel Boone, the first settler in Tennessee. William Bean's wife, Lydia, gave birth to the first American child (not an Indian) born in Tennessee. Captain Bean was also thought to have been one of the signers of the Watuga Agreement, which created the first independent local government in the United States, much to the displeasure of the English.
When Peter Ellis Bean and the other prisoners from Nolan's party were marched into Mexico, they were eventually imprisoned in Chihuahua. Bean escaped twice, once almost making it to El Paso. Each time he was recaptured. In 1807, the King of Spain finally decided the fate of Nolan's men. He ordered every fifth man should be hanged and the rest sent to hard labor. By the time the order got to Spanish authorities in Texas, only nine of the twenty taken prisoner had not succumbed to their harsh treatment. The Spanish officials in charge of carrying out the royal order decided that as there were less than ten prisoners, only one would have to die. The survivors were all duly marched into an open area. Each was to throw dice from a crystal cup onto a military drumhead. Whoever threw the lowest number would be hung. Peter Ellis Bean rolled a five, it turned out to be the second lowest number. Ephraim Blackburn rolled a four. He was hung and the rest marched to a filthy prison in Acapulco. Bean's reputation preceded him, he was kept in solitary confinement for the most part. On rare occasions over the years, he was allowed to work in chains under guard. On two such occasions he escaped, each time killing several guards. Each time he was recaptured. On one occasion he was captured on the Pacific coast 300 miles from the prison. He was found on the deck of an Irish ship where he was hidden by the Irish sailors. Each time he was brought back, he was subjected to flogging and other harsh treatment. After his last escape, he was chained so that he had to lay on his back. By this time Bean had a reputation in the prison and outside in the village, as quite a remarkable individual.
When the Mexican Revolution began in 1810, the rebels were outside the prison. Bean was asked, along with other prisoners, to help defend the prison/fort. Bean agreed, hoping this would provide him an opportunity to escape. After a few days, Bean was asked to lead a scouting party to check the position of the rebels. When the moment was right, he convinced those with him to join the rebels and they reported to the rebel commander.
In time he became an aide to that commander, one of the leaders of the revolt, José María Morelos. Using Bean's inside knowledge of the prison, an attack plan was devised and executed that resulted in a rebel victory. For his part, Bean was offered and accepted a commission as a Captain in the rebel Mexican Army. Though the revolt was later generally crushed, the rebels still held parts of Mexico and the revolution remained alive.
French General Jean-Joseph Humbert, who commanded the French force against the British in the landing at Killala, Ireland in 1798, was still in New Orleans in 1813. He claimed he had recruited a force of Irish and French men ready for an invasion of Texas and was asking around for American volunteers. Diego Murphy's son (also named Diego Murphy, and also the Spanish Consul in New Orleans) believed the general did have a force of about 600 men assembled in small groups waiting in Louisiana. One plan was discovered by the Spaniards and reported in their dispatches. Humbert's men were to launch a land attack by way of Nacogdoches, while Pierre and Jean Laffite's men would attack Matagorda or Tampico by sea. In November of 1813, General Humbert left New Orleans for Natchitoches to talk to elements of Magee's old army. General Humbert told the assembled men he had 2,000 Irish and French recruits in various parts of Louisiana waiting for his signal to assemble and start the invasion of Texas. The refugees of Magee's army held Humbert in high regard for what he tried to do for Ireland. They believed his story and threw their support to him. Others in the United States started again down the Natchez Trace toward the usual spots: Natchitoches, Natchez, New Orleans, and Nacogdoches.
A provisional Texas government was formed on the Spanish side of Natchitoches by the group on November 25, 1813. Diego Murphy, Junior reported to Spain he was watching events closely and that the whole expedition was all show with no substance behind it. Men were gathering, but the Natchitoches group was stalling. At Natchitoches, men from different groups attended a meeting in which Don José Toledo attempted to show the French had an ulterior motive for supporting the idea. Peter Samuel Davenport was at the meeting representing the Magee veterans, and Judge John C. Carr was there from Natchez. This had the effect of splitting some of Humbert's support. Men eager to get into Texas and not into politics left on their own. Doctor John Hamilton Robinson organized the men assembled from Natchez on January, 1814. Among the leaders of this group were: Judge John C. Carr, Doctor Nathan Kennedy, Anthony Campbell, Morris Flaherty, and others. In late March, Robinson crossed the Sabine with 50 men. Another small expedition followed, and then a third with Toledo as its leader. Don Diego watched all of them very closely. Rumor had it, Aaron Burr and/or General Humbert were on their way to unite the three camps. All three groups camped. They waited...and waited. No leader emerged from the groups and no famous name or money came forth to support them.
In August of 1814, General Humbert aboard one of Lafitte's ships, The Tiger, landed at the Mexican port of Nautla (between Tampico and Vera Cruz, a little south of Tuxpan). He negotiated with officials there about joining his revolution.
Also in Nautla was Colonel Peter Ellis Bean, who was collecting money for the Mexican Revolution. He successfully raised $10,000 in Tehaucan, and was now trying to find a way to the United States. As an official of the Mexican Revolution, it was his mission to try and raise money there.
While at Nautla, Bean observed a fight between an English brig, and Lafitte's Tiger. The English brig sent out two large boats toward the Tiger. As they approached, the Tiger was able to sink one and badly damage the other. The English brig pulled the men off the damaged boat and left. Colonel Peter Ellis Bean and his men were able to salvage the boat after it washed up onshore. Bean claimed the small schooner for Mexico, the first boat so claimed.
The next day it was learned the Tiger had run aground on a reef. Bean made ready the Mexican schooner to assist them. All the crew of the Tiger were transported to Nautla. At Nautla, General Humbert and the captain of the Tiger, Captain Dominic, asked Bean for the use of the schooner to sail back to Barataria Island. Bean agreed, as long as he was taken along. At Barataria, Bean met Lafitte who agreed to take Bean to New Orleans. Lafitte's ship arrived in New Orleans, just as British forces were about to attack. Being a good Irishman, Bean offered his services to General Jackson.
Jackson was another man whose heritage lay in the old sod. Many of the men on Jackson's staff were Irish: General Coffee, General Carroll, Colonel M'Rhea, Colonel Ross, Colonel Butler and many more. Being a diplomat and a general, Jackson wanted to use Bean, but could not put an official representative of a rebel force of a U.S. neighbor under his command. The U.S. was at war with England and did not need any additional problems with Spain just now.
After a while, Jackson had the solution. Bean joined the Battle of New Orleans under Jean Laffite. He commanded an artillery piece manned by Laffite Baratarians. Also at the Battle of New Orleans was General Humbert and Magee veterans: Henry Perry and Gutiérrez. Gutiérrez met Nolan on one of his early trips to Texas, and talked to Bean about him. Gutiérrez also knew Wilkinson, and they discussed him as well. Bean and Gutiérrez plotted strategy with yet another from the Magee expedition that was in New Orleans and participated in the battle, Don José Toledo.
The Mayor of New Orleans at this time was Augustine Macarty. Don Diego Morphi kept track of all of them, and tried to keep them divided and jealous of one another. He was disconsolate when everyone of them survived the battle! After the battle, Bean returned to Mexico and a Mexican wife, said to be very beautiful. Texas will hear his name again.
On February 17th, 1815, General Humbert issued a proclamation to arouse interest in the old two pronged, land-sea attack on Mexico. Once again men began to collect in Natchitoches, New Orleans, and Natchez. There was support this time from Irish merchants in London. William Miller, Thomas Cochrane, and Gregor McGregor traded for rebel arms. Too many Chiefs and not enough Indians kept this expedition from ever leaving the towns mentioned.
Colonel Henry Perry organized a force to invade Texas. His men were on Shell Island off Louisiana. Some U. S. officers came ashore and began arresting Perry's men trying to enforce the neutrality laws. Perry rescued some of his men forcibly from the U.S. officers. Perry moved his operations to Chat-au-Tigre an island on the west side of Vermillion Bay. In September, 1815, Perry moved his men to Boliver's Point in Texas with two sloops and a schooner. A Captain Dougherty was commanding the schooner. On a return trip from Louisiana with seventy-seven men and one woman, the schooner broke up on breakers in dense fog just off Bolivar Point. Six days later, Captain Dougherty was found by Captain Perry tied to a spar drifting in Galveston Bay. Perry was returning from a trip with the Coushatta Indians securing their cooperation regarding the base at Bolivar Point. After finding Dougherty, the men at Bolivar set out to find other survivors. They found eleven more. These included the lone woman. Because of the loss of so many men and the schooner, the endeavor was called off. By February 1816 all survivors returned to their homes.
Colonel Perry was arrested and indicted as were General Toledo and Dr. John Robinson in the district Court of Louisiana for violating neutrality laws.
For some time, pirates were operating out of Galveston and plundering ships of all nations. There are no pirate records to study, but as Ireland is an island nation, many of her young men were excellent sailors. Not a few Irish lads escaped from the British colonies in the Caribbean, most notably Jamaica, Montserrat, and Barbados. It is not very difficult to imagine several of them became pirates and enjoyed the aspect of plundering an English ship. The pirates in Galveston had a political slant about them; they called themselves Mexican patriots and, though they attacked any ship they could find, they seemed to prey on Spanish ships.
Revolutionary Mexico appointed Don Jose Manuel de Herrera to represent Mexico in the United States. Herrera directed Don Luis Aury to take Galveston Island for actions against Spain. Herrera later commissioned Don Luis Aury a Commodore of the fleet in the Republics of Venezuela, La Plata and New Grenada, as Governor of the Province of Texas and General in the Mexican Republican Army. Aury was formally installed on 12 September, 1816. He made his headquarters on Galveston Island. Aury had with him a squadron of twelve to fifteen small vessels.
Henry Perry, in the meantime, was again on Bolivar Point with a force of about one hundred men. He aligned himself with Aury. They were in turn shortly joined by the forces of Xavier Mina who had distinguished himself against Napoleon in his Peninsular Campaign against Spain. There is evidence Mina was provided supplies for his part of the effort by General Winfield Scott. Mina had met Scott in England earlier. Mina was provided the support in Baltimore before arriving at Galveston in November of 1816.
The three men successfully mounted an invasion by sea at Soto la Marina, Mexico (about 150 miles south of Matamoros). Solto La Marina was selected as the landing place as one of Aury's ships captured a Spanish ship in March of 1817 with correspondence aboard that stated the fort was "defenseless."
The three principals competed and argued among one another. After Aury's ships deposited the troops in place he and his ships departed the coast and the project. When Aury returned to Galveston he found other pirates had moved in. Aury sailed to join Gregor McGregor to support him in a plan to take Florida from Spain. ..................................Xavier Mina ......>
At Soto la Marina, the Mina Expedition captured the town, but disagreements arose. Colonel Perry, left with fifty men and headed north to Texas. In June, 1817, Perry's small but determined force was outside the gates of La Bahía, demanding the fort's surrender. The fort was able to send word to the governor at Béxar for assistance before it came under attack. Perry's men attacked the fort and appeared on the verge of taking it. At that moment, reinforcements in the form of a cavalry unit arrived from Béxar and caught the attackers between them and the fort. Perry and his second in command, Major Gordon, of Scottish ancestry, now found themselves caught between Spanish forces. The Spanish outnumbered them five to one.
Perry and Gordon were able to get themselves and their men to high ground at a place known as del Perdido and establish a defensive position. Martinez, the Governor of Texas, arrived with the remainder of his troops. They were Joined by General Arredondo. He surrounded the rebels and offered a truce. He told them if they would lay down their arms, they would not be killed. Those that did not, would be put to the sword. Perry's answer was, "... they would die rather than surrender." The Mexicans attacked. After fierce fighting, in which the rebels almost broke through twice, the battle was over. Perry and Gordon were dead and fourteen of the group were captured. Of those fourteen, eleven had Celtic names. They were: Samuel Allen, Irish born and a surgeon; Michael Kelly; Irish born Patrick Hurley, a blacksmith; John Smith, Irish born and a bricklayer; David Slater, Irish born and a sailor; William Thompson a Scottish sailor; John Robinson, a Scottish overseer; Antonio Miller and William Patten, both Scottish born; John McKendry; Patrick McDermitt; and John McHenry born in Ireland and formerly with Lafitte's pirates. Some of the Americans were able to evade capture. One who did and hid in Mexico, eventually to stay there was John Davis Bradburn. Bradburn was a Kentuckian with Irish origins. He later came to Texas as a Mexican official. Another was a Belgian mercenary, Adrian Woll.
Spanish authorities decided to do something about the Mexican "patriots" on Galveston. In the fall of 1817, the Spanish took the unusual tack of using pirates against pirates. They invited the infamous pirate, Jean Lafitte, to attack the Mexican pirates in Galveston and rid the island of these men who had proclaimed their area, the "Republic of Mexico." In return, Lafitte was to be pardoned of all his crimes against the Spanish. Through negotiation Lafitte convinced the Mexican pirates to leave. Lafitte then moved his own pirates from Barataria, Louisiana onto Galveston. He called the town Campeache and used it as a base of operations to pirate all ships, including Spanish ships. In a short time, he had over a 1,000 men and several ships. Business was good and he built himself a large red brick mansion, complete with second story cannon armament. He called his house Maison Rouge.
Galveston in 1817
Other developments at this time were the approval by the Cortes in Spain for a colonization plan by a Colonel Ricardo Reynal Keene. His plan called for the settling of Irish families in Texas in the area of Matagorda Bay.
Settlers continued to enter Texas, many of them Irish and Irish American, as the census of the settlements show. One of these was Aaron Cherry. His father, Thomas, and mother, Rachel Cherry, left Ireland in 1737 and settled in Berkley County, Virginia. Aaron Cherry was born there. At age 27, he joined the Continental Army and fought in the American Revolution in Thomas Moore's company. Aaron Cherry claimed he was in the boat with Washington when he crossed the Delaware. After the war, Aaron and his family moved from Virginia to Ohio and then down the Mississippi in a keel boat to New Orleans. They moved to Texas in 1818. He said he left his previous homes because it was getting so crowded you could "hear the sound of his neighbor's ax." He settled on a bluff on the Trinity River. He chose the spot because the wild cattle and deer grew fat from feeding on the "switch cane" which thrived in the river bottom. The area is where Shepherd, Texas is today.
Cherry raised cotton, sugar cane, corn, and tobacco. He traded with the Indians and with the pirate settlement on Galveston of Jean Laffite. Laffite would often bring a ship up the Trinity to trade coffee, quinine, and other goods for Cherry's crops, bear meat, and hides. When Aaron Cherry was an old man, he complained to his children of his mind's willingness to go on a hunt with them but his body was unable. His children, wanting him to again enjoy the thrill of the hunt, chased a bear into his front yard so he could shoot it. Cherry Point Gulley in Chambers County is said to be named for Aaron Cherry. In 1936 the Texas Centennial Committee named Aaron Cherry's home the oldest permanent settlement in the state.
As was mentioned earlier, there was a settlement developing on Ayish Bayou. This settlement would become San Augustine. Two of the early settlers were, Raymond Daley and John Ayers. They said they had served with Lafitte. Another settler was Bailey Anderson, son of John Anderson who was born in Scotland. Bailey Anderson fought in the American Revolution and the War of 1812. His mother was Sarah Carney. Bailey Anderson was in Texas in 1819. Bailey Anderson became the second Alcalde (mayor) of San Augustine. Still more settlers in Ayish Bayou were: Bryan Daugherty, Willis Murphy, John McGinnis, and Donald McDonald, a Scotsman who fought for the British at the Battle of Lundy's Lane in the War of 1812. He was captured. After his release, he came to Texas.
SON OF BOWLES
In 1819, Chief John Bowles, the son of William Augustus Bowles discussed earlier, led a band of Cherokees into Texas. He had been Chief since 1792. Chief Bowles' Indian name was Duwali. When Chief Bowles was younger, he was described as "being Gaelic in appearance having light eyes, red hair, and somewhat freckled." As a boy, he was called Red Bowles. In 1819, when he led his followers into Texas, he was a 63 years old. He was still described as "a man of unusual sagacity."
After the tribe arrived and settled in an area along the Angelina River, a younger man, Richard Fields, took the reins of Chief. This was how the Texans perceived it, actually Fields was more like a diplomat representing the tribe. Richard Fields was the great-grandson of Ludovic Grant, a Scottish trader who took a Cherokee wife. Fields attempted to have the Spanish authorities grant them legal claim to the lands they occupied. The Spanish never seriously considered the question. This added another factor against the Spanish in the growing fractious atmosphere that was again smelling of gunpowder and revolt. Chief Bowles meanwhile, was still very active in tribal affairs and will be heard from again.
Meanwhile, things began to deteriorate for Lafitte's pirates. In the summer of 1818, a very large and forceful hurricane struck Galveston Island, destroying most of the structures. Lafitte wisely moved his ships out to sea, but was not prepared for the destruction that greeted him on his return. That winter was more severe than usual, and many of his men froze to death. As if things were not bad enough, his business was off. There were fewer ships to plunder than ever.
Lafitte gave his men strict orders not to attack American ships. Whether it was because of his participation with General Andrew Jackson at the Battle of New Orleans where his men played a key part in repulsing the British, or fear of the American Navy, Lafitte avoided American ships. As shipping became scarce, some of his men became less discriminate and attacked American ships. One of these less discriminating pirates was a Captain William Brown. He was probably a Celt, but it is not him on whom we focus, rather the Irishman who rid Texas of pirates, Lieutenant Lawrence Kearney.
Kearney, aboard the brig of war, the U.S.S. Enterprise, was sent to clear Galveston island of pirates. This he did in 1821, Lafitte was allowed to sail his private ship out. On board Lafitte's schooner, Pride, was a Lieutenant Cochrane and 60 of Lafitte's best men. Other Celtic names among Lafitte's men were: Campbell, Lambert, Brown, and Roach. Cochrane later became an Admiral in the Mexican Navy. Campbell started a settlement on the mainland opposite Galveston called Campbell's Bayou. After Lafitte's ship cleared the harbor, Kearny leveled Campeache with cannonade.
END OF NEUVA ESPAÑA
The decline and fall of the Spanish empire in the Americas began with the rise of Napoleon, but was made manifest by others including some Irishmen: O'Higgins, O'Leary, O'Connor, Cochrane, and D'Evereaux in South America, and Jackson in the United States. The decline allowed pressure to be brought to bear on Spain. In South America, Republics were successfully declaring their independence.In April 1813, Wilkinson showed Spain his duplicity when he captured, by force, Mobile and Fort Charlotte in Spanish territory (the British used them as bases in the War of 1812). This led to the Americans taking the rest of West Florida (from the Pearl to the Perdido River). General Andrew Jackson began his Seminole campaign in 1817. Secretary of State, John Quincy Adams had told the Spanish to police the Indians in Florida or sell the territory to the United States. The Spanish continued to allow the Indians to operate with impunity attacking the United States from their territory. Moreover, Jackson had evidence the Indians were being directed by or at least heavy influenced and supplied by, at least two British men. Jackson did not stop at the border when pursuing them. He occupied parts of Florida and tried and hanged the two Englishmen. Monroe escalated events a step further telling Adams to inform negotiators that if the situation continued, the United States would take the Floridas and reassert its claims, based on their understanding of the boundaries of the Louisiana Purchase, of all of Texas to the Rio Grande. In 1819, the United States and Spain negotiated a treaty ceding Florida to the U.S.. Adams wanted to include Texas in the treaty but was outvoted.
In 1820, a revolutionary movement in Spain brought liberalism into power. The conservative elements in New Spain: the clergy and Gachupínes, became alarmed and moved to side with the Creoles and Mestizos for an independent Mexico. The leader who emerged over this coalition was a Creole land owner who was an officer in the Spanish army, Agustín de Iturbide.
In February, 1821, Iturbide was given command of a large number of troops to catch a guerrilla chieftain, Vincente Guerro. He was given this command by the newly arrived Viceroy, Juan O'Donojú. That is Lieutenant General O'Donoju pictured in color to the right of this paragraph. O'Donojú was Sean O'Donoghue, an Irishman in Spanish service. Arriving with him as his chaplain was Fray Miguel Muldoon, Father Michael Muldoon. No sooner was Iturbide in command of the troops when he convinced Guerrero to join him in making Mexico independent. Iturbide together with his lieutenants, among whom was Juan Bradburn, seized a million dollars of treasure enroute to Acapulco for transport to Spain. Iturbide then announced his Plan of Iquala. The plan declared that Mexico was to be declared an independent monarchy under a Spanish Bourbon Prince, the Roman Catholic Church was to retain all its powers, Creoles and Gachupínes were to have equal rights, and there was to be no confiscation of property. Popularly, the plan was known for its three guarantees: religion (Catholic), independence, and union with the Bourbons. These three guarantees are represented today by the tricolor Mexican flag.
By August, all the principals involved signed the agreement. A young Mexican officer, Antonio Lopéz de Santa Anna, was instrumental in bringing about the meeting between Iturbide and O'Donojú that settled matters in the New World. Those in the Old World, in Madrid, argued "de jure" that New Spain was still theirs for eighteen more years. The agreement, and immediate subsequent actions of Iturbide, made "de facto" the end of Spanish rule in Mexico.
Sean O'Donoghue, as Juan O'Donojú, signed the Treaty of Cordoba for Spain. Thus, an Irishman formally concluded that part of Texas history which for more than 300 years was known as Spanish Texas.
< Signature of Juan O'Donoju
APOLOGIA, CORRIGENDA, ERRATA, ET ADDENDA
I encourage anyone with comments or corrections to forward them to me. I apologize to anyone who was excluded and /or those families of individuals who deserved to be included but for one reason or another were left out. Please send me proof of their Celtic connection, at least one of which should be a primary source. If sending secondary sources be sure they are not related or derived from each other. My address is:
Gerard P. Moran
LaPorte, Texas 77571
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This first section of the Celtic Connection will be refined further, more illustrations added and then separated into units for easy loading and movement between elements of the subject. I will await reaction to this part of the Celtic Connection before posting Chapter II - Mexican Texas.
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