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 is pictured to the left. 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 Andrew Jackson, who was in charge of American military forces there.
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.
< Andrew Jackson
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.
Painting of Battle of New Orleans>
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). Soto La Marina was selected as the landing place because 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.
For more details of the Mina Expedition and how it ended go to this link >
Two men who were on the Mina Expedition that stayed in Mexico and from whom we will learn more later, were John Davis Bradburn and 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 (Campeachy) in 1817 Lafitte's home, "Maison Rouge", on the left in the drawing below.
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.
In 1819, Chief John Bowles, a possible relative 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, Bowles sent Richard Fields, known as the "Diplomatic Chief" to represent the tribe to the American settlers and Spansh officials.
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.
< Richard Fields
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. 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.
< Juan Augustin de Iturbide
These three guarantees are represented today by the tricolor Mexican flag. Finding all this a fait accompli was the newly arriving Viceroy, Lieutenant General Juan O'Donojú.
Odonoju had been the Captain-General of Andalusa, a region of southern Spain stretching from the Mediterranean Sea to the Atlantic Ocean and Spain's border with Portugal. It is today composed of the provinces of: Huelva, Cadiz, Seville, Malaga, Cordova, Jaen, Granada and Almera.
That is Lieutenant General O'Donoju pictured to the left 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.
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 their's 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