Lest we digress too much, let us get back to matters in Texas. Immediately after the war, attention focused again on the Indians who were still a problem. The Indians, in 1848, controlled most of Texas. The Indians controlled West Texas from a line drawn roughly from Laredo, north to the western edge of Lake Texoma on the Red River. The Indians often made raids into the settled parts of Texas from this area.

The Texas Rangers were organized and placed into federal service to patrol the Texas border area. They were all commanded by Irishmen. Captains John S. Ford, J. B. McGown, and John Grumbler were all given the assignments, Grumbler was, soon after, replaced by Big Foot Wallace.

The United States Army built a number of forts in West Texas to help edge the frontier forward and to protect pioneer settlers from the Indians. In 1850, 40% of the enlisted men at Fort Stockton, Fort Davis, and Fort Duncan were Irish. There were also a good number of Irish women at these forts as well. Fort McIntosh was activated in Laredo in 1849. Irishman Lieutenant Phil Sheridan was stationed there. His commander was a Captain McLean. Two of the forts were built on land owned by John Twohig, the Irish merchant from San Antonio who escaped from Perote Castle in '43. The U.S. government paid him a fee for the use of the sites at Fort Duncan and Fort Martin Scott. As you have no doubt noted many of the forts had a Celtic name; Davis, Duncan, Scott, McIntosh, McKavett, and Croghan. Fort Davis, and the town that grew up beside it of the same name, are named for Jefferson Davis, as are the nearby mountains, and Jeff Davis County. Fort Duncan, at Eagle Pass, was named for Colonel James Duncan who died in the Mexican War. Fort Martin Scott is named after a major in the Fifth Infantry who was killed at the Battle of Molino del Rey. Fort McIntosh, located at Laredo was named for Colonel James S. McIntosh who died of wounds suffered in the Mexican War. Fort McKavett is named for Captain Henry McKavett who fell at Monterrey. Fort Croghan is named after General George Croghan. Fort Clark, near Bracketville, was originally called Fort Riley. Fort Bliss was built at different locations. The second time it was built, it was built on land owned by Irish born James Magoffin. Earlier on this land, there was a trading post which became a settlement known as Magoffinville.


James Wiley Magoffin >


Magoffinville eventually became the place of El Paso and Fort Bliss society. Fort Bliss was located in Magoffinville in 1851, and again between 1854 and 1868. When Fort Bliss was relocated for the third time in 1893, the Magoffin property became a founding part of El Paso. The center of its location is where Magoffin and Octavia Streets intersect in El Paso today. James Magoffin's son, Joseph, was a four term Mayor of El Paso.

One of the men stationed in the frontier forts was Charles Travis, only son of William Barrett Travis. Young Travis served in the Texas Legislature and as a Texas Ranger before joining the army. He was a captain with the Second Cavalry in 1851.

The forts were long overdue to protect the settlers on the frontier with the Indians. Unfortunately the Indians never attacked the forts. They attacked the settlements, or settlers out in the fields, or on the range. The Indians were long gone before any troops could be notified, dispatched from a fort, and be of any help.


McBain Jameson and some friends were hunting near present day Plano, Texas. They had two boys with them. They ran into some Indians and were killed. The young boys were never seen again.

Lieutenant Montgomery Pike Harrison, a grandson of President William Henry Harrison and older brother of President Benjamin Harrison, was captured by Indians in October of 1849 near present day Ira, Texas in Scurlock County. His body was later recovered.

In May of 1859, Ranger Captain John S. Ford fought a pitched battle with Indians about fourteen miles north of Alice, Texas.

Seventeen year old D. C. "Doc" Sullivan was a boy - older than his years. When he was fourteen, he was riding with the Rangers when he was captured along with the Mier men. After his release in 1846, he and his best friend, Alphens D. Neal, were out riding when they were attacked by hostile Indians. Sullivan was killed, and Neal was hit with eight wounds and passed out. The Indians stripped him of all his clothes and left him for dead. Later, Neal came to. He got up and walked naked a long, long distance to San Patricio. When he approached the town, he was almost killed as the settlers thought the naked, sunburned lad was an Indian!

A Doctor McGee was killed in another raid, and Texas Ranger James Callahan raised a troop to go after the Indians. While in pursuit of the Indians, the Indians crossed over the Rio Grande into Mexico and thought they were safe. The Rangers crossed right behind them and gave chase into Mexico. Callahan had 110 men with him. The Indians began to gain personnel,both Indians and Mexicans on the move. When they wheeled to face the Texans, there were 750 Mexicans and Indians.

The Rangers just kept on acomin' and ran right through the Indian-Mexican line and made for a deep ravine where they set up a defensive position. A 200 man Mexican infantry unit joined the Indians and Mexicans. The fight went on all day. At dark, Callahan found the enemy had withdrawn. He followed a trail to the Mexican town of Piedras Negras and, not finding them there, took the town.

By now the whole affair was a "cause celebre" on the border. U.S. forces from Eagle Lake moved onto the U.S. bank of the Rio Grande opposite Piedras Negras and prepared to give the Rangers covering fire should they need it. The Rangers did need such support, for they discovered some 1200 Mexicans moving toward the town. Callahan set fire to the town, and under cover from the U.S. troops, withdrew the 84 surviving Rangers into Texas. One of the Rangers was Davy Crockett Burleson, the son of Edward Burleson and Sarah Owens.

John Salmon Ford left Texas in 1851 when his Ranger unit completed its tour of duty. Ford joined with Texas born Jose M. J. Carabajal to set up an independent republic on the Mexican side of the Rio Grande. The venture did not work out and Ford was soon back on the Texas side. John S. Ford decided to enter politics. He was elected a Texas State Senator, Mayor of Brownsville, and Mayor of Austin. Ford was very active in the Know Nothing Party, and in a secret, pro-slavery organization known as the Order of the Lone Star of the West.

In 1857, Ford was again asked to raise another Ranger company to protect communities against the Indians. He joined his force with 100 friendly Tonkawa Indians under the command of Shapely P. Ross. The combined unit tracked a group of Tenawa Comanche Indians into Oklahoma. The Comanches were led by a chief known as Iron Jacket. He wore an ancient, Spanish conquistador piece of armor (mail). Among Ford's men was his 73 year old father. The final fight occurred on the north bank of the Canadian River in Oklahoma in what has come to be called the Battle of Antelope Hill. It lasted six hours. Two Rangers were killed. 76 Indians were killed and 300 horses captured.

< John S. Ford

The battle was over when reports came in of a large band of Indians heading toward the Ranger's position. This turned out to be the band of Quahadi Commance under Peta Nocona. Several skirmishes were fought, but the Rangers decided to withdraw having expended most of their energy and ammunition in the previous battle and fearing more Indians were on the way. The Texan withdrawal greatly enhanced the position of Nocona among the Indians.

In 1852, the last battle with the Karankawa Indians was fought. John Hynes, son of Refugio colonist Peter Hynes, was Sheriff and Chief Justice of Refugio County. He led a citizens group after a troublesome band of Karankawas and chased them out of the county for good. With John Hynes was: Thomas O'Connor, Peter and William Fagan, and James Fox.

The Patterson Settlement was attacked by Indians in 1856. John Kennedy and his brother Ross Kennedy of County Monaghans, Ireland were among those who pursued the Indians. Ross Kennedy was a wagonmaster and later a pony express rider. He settled in Sabinal, as the Patterson Settlement later was known, in 1850.

Laurence Sullivan Ross, a young man with both Irish and Scotch forbears, was a student at the University of Alabama. His family was in Texas since 1839. During summers and school vacations, Ross left to fight Indians. Ross was in the Battle of Antelope Hill and another fight four months later, also north of the Red River. He became proficient enough that the United States gave him command, in 1858, of 135 friendly Indians and an attached U.S. Cavalry unit. Laurence Ross was 20 years old at the time.

Ross was fighting hostile Indians in the Wichita Mountains, he rescued a white girl who was held captive. He adopted her and called her Lizzie. Ross was recognized for his bravery in several encounters with the Indians by General Winfield Scott, Commander of the United States Army. Scott offered Ross a commission as a regular Captain in the U.S. Army. Ross declined the commission and returned to his studies at the University of Alabama, graduating in 1859.

............................................................................Lawrence Sullivan Ross >

In 1860, Ross was back in Texas. Governor Sam Houston appointed him in command of a company of Texas Rangers on the frontier. In December of that year, his unit attacked a large band of Comanche Indians on the Peace River, believed to be led Peta Nocona. The battle went to the knife. Ross and the Indian leader fought hand to hand, eye to eye, as did the rest of the combatants. All the Indian braves, and the leader, were killed. The Comanches later noted that this battle signaled the breaking of their spirit to resist the United State's hold on them. It was after this engagement that Cynthia Ann Parker was found in the Indian camp, 25 years after she was taken as a captive from Fort Parker. She was the wife of the Chief and had two sons and a daughter by him. Peta Nocona and his sons, Quanah and Pecos, were not at the battle. They left the camp on the Peace River several days earlier. Though Sul Ross believed he killed Peta during the battle and reported as much, Peta and his sons were not there. The leader Ross killed was a sub-chief of the tribe.

Cynthia Ann Parker and her daughter, Prairie Flower, were brought back to a Ranger camp near Fort Griffin where she was picked up by her uncle, Isaac Parker. Isaac Parker brought her back to his home in Birdville, Texas, east of Fort Worth. Cynthia Ann tried several times to escape. The family decided to move her further from the border and placed her with with her brother, Silas Parker, Jr. in East Texas. That did not work out as a visitor to the Parker home who spoke Comanche disclosed she asked him to help her escape with her child. Cynthia Ann could not adjust to, what she considered, the strange life of the Texans.

< Cynthia Ann Parker

Cynthia Ann was then placed in her married sister's home, the home of Ruff O'Quinn in Edom, Texas. There the schoolteacher, Lestor Murphy, taught English to Prairie Flower, Cynthia's daughter, and to Cynthia Ann. Much progress was being made, as both began to enjoy the lessons. But then tragedy struck. Prairie Flower came down with a virulent fever and died. Cynthia Ann Parker was desolated and began to withdraw from the family. She would not do anything, even eat. Soon, she too was dead. Cynthia Ann Parker was 37 years old when she died in 1864.

An interesting aspect of the story of Cynthia Ann Parker is that her Indian children retained a pride in her family name. Quanha (which means sweet aroma) and Pecos (named for the river) both carried the name Parker. Quanha Parker named his son, Baldwin Parker and his daughter, Wanda Parker.


Margaret Mary (Healy) Murphy, the orphan who was raised by Irish relatives named Murphy in Matamoros who operated an hotel there during the Mexican War, was a very interesting woman. Because of the development of the war, her story and that of the Murphys could not be told in more detail. We will take that time now and tell you how she came to be an orphan and living in a Matamoros hotel.

We need to go back to 1838 in County Kerry, Ireland. It was just five years after Margret Mary Healy was born. Her mother, the former Jane Murphy, died. She had married Doctor Richard Healy and Margaret Mary was their first child. Her brothers, Richard and Thomas, were three and four and there was an infant sister, Jane, called Jeannie. Her Aunts, Mary and Johanna Murphy the younger sisters of Jane Murphy, helped to care for the children allowing Doctor Healy to continue his practice without worrying about the care of his children. The Aunts became very attached t the Healy children.

At this time in Ireland things were beginning to deteriorate. The political and social problems caused by the English were beginning to be over shadowed by a great starvation that threatened the very survival of the Irish. This starvation was but another burden placed on the Irish by the way in which the English managed and failed to manage Ireland. Doctor Healy's course was clear, he was to aid and assist the sick and dying as best he could. The Murphy's opted to immigrate to America, taking with them Doctor Healy's two sons, Richard and Thomas. The baby, Jeannie, was placed in the home of nearby cousins, the Barry family. Margret Mary remained with her father.

By 1845, it was clear the only way to survive the life threatening situation in Ireland was to leave. Doctor Healy was offered an opportunity that would allow him to join his children in America. He was to serve as a doctor on board a ship for America. He made plans to place Margaret Mary with her God Parents, the Barry's, They were to send her, with the Barry's girls, to a convent boarding school in Belgium operated by the Sisters of Saint Mary of Namur. Her sister, Jeannie was to follow when she was old enough.

Margaret Mary would have none of it and insisted on going with her father. After trying for a considerable time to convince Margaret Mary and with sailing time at hand, Doctor Healy yielded and consented to his headstrong daughter accompanying him. After a difficult crossing during which Margaret Mary assisted her father in his duties toward the sick and dying, the Healys arrived in America and found the Murphys and Richard and Thomas Healy in West Virginia.

They arrived finding the Murphys amid plans to move west eventually to Texas, the newest state in the Union. Though there was talk of a possible war with Mexico, the opportunities they believed would be in Texas would be worth the effort. During the trip, her father passed away. This was when they were in New Orleans awaiting a ship to Texas. They were in contact with the McGloin's who advised them to a business opportunity in Matamoros where McGloin had lived and had operated a business for several years. This turned out to be the hotel that the Murphy family with the Healy children operated during the Mexican War.

By 1848, the prosperity boom was over in Matamoros. Walter Murphy together with the two Healy boys, Richard and Thomas, left for the California Gold Rush, never to be heard from again. The rest of the Murphy's, John and his sisters, Mary and Johanna along with Margaret Mary Healy, continued to operate the hotel. Except for the sporadic outbreak of desperado and banditti raids the business was steady and peaceful. Most of their tenants and day customers who came to meet and discuss business were former U. S. Army officers who stayed in Matamoros after leaving the army to pursue business careers. One of these was John Bernard Murphy who was no relation to the Muphys running the hotel. They were from County Kerry and John B. Murphy emigrated from County Cork, Ireland in 1845. He joined Taylor's army where he advnced to the rank of Captain.

The McGloins and McMullens from Texas and their business contacts in Matamoros were also good customers and visitors. Occasionally the Murphys were reminded that their hotel was located in a border town. Guests were sometimes too boisterous or worse. There where incidents where robbers and bandits would bring misery and sadness to Matamoros and to the lives of anyone who happened in their way.

Margeret Mary Healy was enjoying an afternoon siesta after the rush of the luncheon crowd. She was dozing on the porch of the hotel when she heard a commotion down the street coming toward the hotel. There were gunshots and a man on horseback furiously riding her way. Her Uncle John Murphy came out to see what all the noise was about. Margaret Mary Healy saw him gunned down as an escaping bandit came riding by firing his pistol indiscriminately.

For sometime now, John Barnard Murphy had been studying law as he worked in the law offices of Edmund J. Davis. Davis would go on to be a Judge and then Governor of Texas. Murphy's hard work was successful and he made some money. He was ready to open his own law office. Using his contacts with McGloin and McMullen developed at the Matamoros hotel, he investigated some real estate opportunities that would place him close enough to the towns of Freeport, Laredo and Corpus Christi where his law clients were located. He decided to buy a ranch near Mathis in San Patricio County. The ranch was built around an old stagecoach stop known as Echo. He also decided to get married.

On her sixteenth birthday, May 4, 1849, Margaret Mary Healy married John B. Murphy. The Aunts invited the couple to live in the hotel.

The ranch home at Echo was vandalized during the war. John Murphy saw to its renovation while the couple lived in the hotel. Eventually they took leave of the hotel, the Murphys and Matamoros and moved to the ranch. The Murphy ranch prospered as did John Murphy's law practice. Mrs. Murphy gave generously of her time to assist the work hands and their familes. In 1854, a severe yellow fever epidemic hit San Patricio County. Mrs. Mrs. Murphy, perhaps because of the time she spent helping her father or from something else within, emerged to care for the sick. She did so without distinction as to their race, color, creed or financial status. An excellent horsewoman, she, on several occasions, would mount up and race the 35 miles to Corpus Christi for needed medicine to save a life.

< Mary Margaret Healy Murphy

The Murphy Ranch at Echo was a welcome respite to the difficult life in the Nueces Valley. The McGloin, McMullen, Kenedy families and Edmund Davis were all frequent visitors to the ranch as were many a missionary priest making his rounds between Victoria and Laredo.

Marauding Mexican bandits had supplanted the Indians as the pervading threat of the period. As the Indians were pushed from the border area by the patrols of the Texas Rangers and the U. S. military, Mexican bands began to raid property and cattle in San Patricio County.


The Indians were not the only people feeling the pressure of American expansionism. The resident Mexican population in Texas were, for the most part, treated with scorn and distrust by most Texans and U. S. soldiers. The Mexicans of Texas found themselves in a caste system with rules that were none of their making and without any appeal. The United States Constitution and laws were not for them. To the Mexican in Texas, the laws were only tools the gringo used to their advantage.

On a hot mid-July day in 1859, the Sheriff of Brownsville arrested a drunk Mexican. The arrest was made in the center of the town's street. Many people saw the brutal way the Sheriff handled the Mexican. One who saw the unnecessary roughness with which the Sheriff dispensed gringo justice was Juan Nepomuceno Cortinas. He was called "Cheno" by his family.

Cortinas was a bitter man. He witnessed first hand the humiliation of the much larger Mexican force at Palo Alto. He saw his family lose Texas land to gringo legal tricks and chicanery as had many Mexican families. When Cortinas saw the events in the street, he became concerned for the Mexican man. Looking closer, Cortinas saw that he was a man who worked for his family. Cheno Cortinas was moved to intercede on the man's behalf. Cortinas protested the rough treatment to the Sheriff. The Sheriff's response was to insult Cortinas. Cortinas was angered and frustrated. The Sheriff continued to insult him, while at the same time hurting the man in his grasp. Guns were drawn and the Sheriff fell to the ground with a wound in the shoulder.

Cortinas ran to get his horse. He mounted and came back to where the Mexican man was standing in the street. Cortinas picked him up, placed the older man behind him on the horse and galloped out of town. The whole incident happened in plain view. Mexican and Texan saw it all from start to finish right before their eyes. Cortinas rode to Matamoros where much was made of him and his courageous act.

That was not the first time Cortinas had tweaked the gringo's nose. In 1847, Cortinas was hired as a mule driver of a string of mules belonging to a Texan. He murdered the Texan and sold the mule string to the U. S. Army. This bold act was looked on approvingly by young male Mexicans and gained Cortinas something of a reputation of standing up to the gringos. In the intervening years up to the event in Brownsville, it was Cortinas who led many of the raids that stole Texas cattle and sold them in Mexico.

All these events and the audacious act on the Brownsville street against the local Sheriff while he helped an older Mexican were recounted in the cantinas of Matamoros. One thing led to another, and after two days of talking and drinking, Cortinas was something of a local hero.

The night of the third day after the incident, many of the better Mexican families on both sides of the river attended a gala ball in Matamoros. The talk among the impressionable young men was about the actions of Juan Nepomuceno "Cheno" Cortinas. These young Mexican men were, like Cortinas, from among the finest Hispanic families in Matamoros and Brownsville. And like his family, theirs had lost land to the gringos by dubious means, and were treated as lesser citizens by the Texans, even though most of them were Texans. After the ball and more talk and much drinking, things took there own course.

Small groups of Mexican men filtered across the border and gathered in Brownsville. Soon there were a hundreds of them chanting "Viva Cortinas" and such. They took over the town. When the town's people awoke the next day they found this band of Mexican men in possession of their town. Americans noted for their cruelty to Mexicans were shot and the jail was emptied (the Sheriff left town). The Mexican flag was flown over Fort Brown (the fort was recently evacuated, as the fort was no longer deemed needed). Cortinas set up his headquarters in the fort. Chaos was rampant; Mexicans were walking through the streets of Brownsville discharging guns, hooting and hollering.

Order was restored when General Caravajal, the Commander of Mexican troops in Matamoros, and another Mexican officer, Miguel Tijerina, a cousin of Cortinas, crossed over and liberated the town from the youths. After the town was secured the two generals and their troops returned to their side of the river.

Cortinas issued a proclamation declaring himself the protector of Mexicans in Texas. He vowed he would destroy any gringos opposed to him or his self appointed task.

In reaction to the incident and Cortinas' bold declaration, the merchants of Brownsville under a W. B. Thompson formed a group known as the "Brownsville Tigers." They were able to capture one of Cortinas' followers, sixty year old Tomás Cabrera. They placed Cabrera in the Brownsville jail. Cortinas sent a message to the Tigers, that unless Cabrera was released, he would burn the town to the ground.

The Tigers decided to take the offensive. They knew Cortinas and his followers were at his mother's ranch outside of Brownsville. Everyday they did nothing, more and more Mexicans were wanting to join the "cause" and making thier way to the ranchero. The Tigers felt the sooner they attacked, the fewer men they would have to fight.

The "Tigers" were composed of 40 Texans and 20 Tejanos. They even had two small brass cannon, one was supplied by General Caravajal. Their plan was to pursue Cortinas and his followers and bring back to justice those who shot the four townspeople, and others who damaged property. They would disperse the rest.

The attack was begun on October 22, 1859. When the "Tigers" came into contact with some vaqueros, they met stiff resistance. After a few days of observing the Mexicans grow in size and preparing for a counter attack, the brave Brownsville "Tigers" dropped the cannon and competed with each other to see who could get back to Brownsville first.

On the Mexican side of the Rio Grande, there were still hard feelings over the recent war. Most Mexicans felt the invasion of their country was unjustified. Many felt the United States stole much of their country. The same was true of many a family's personal property. On the American side, the administration of the law against Mexicans was pronouncedly harsher than it was against the gringos, and when a Mexican questioned or clashed with a gringo, it became even worse. In Cortinas they had a champion. Cortinas became a legend: he shot the Sheriff, rescued a Mexican from abuse, held Brownsville hostage, exacted some justice, and scattered his gringo pursuers.

Cortinas played to his new found fame. He fired one of the captured cannons every morning. It could clearly be heard in Brownsville and Matamoros. He intercepted the mail from Brownsville. He captured a bilingual American doctor named Campbell, to read the English language letters to him. He captured other citizens and conducted raids in the area.

A company of Texas Rangers was sent to the area. The commander was an Irishman, W. G. Tobin. This particular unit of Rangers was not one Texans can hold in high esteem. They were very close to being on the other side of the law themselves. Texas historian T. R. Ferenbach called them "street sweepings", Texas historian Walter Prescott Webb called them "sorry."

The first thing these Rangers did when they entered Brownsville was to lynch 60 year old Tomáa Cabrera, the supporter of Cortinas that was being held in the Brownsville Jail. Cortinas' men retaliated by ambushing a squad of the Rangers, killing three of them.

The citizens of Brownsville reorganized the brave and courageous "Brownsville Tigers" (see the Appendices for a list of Celtic members). This time Irishman, Mifflin Kenedy the steamboat captain, was the leader. Together with Tobin's men, they set out for the Santa Rita ranch, the rancho of Cortinas' mother. This brave band of men netted the same result as the previous foray to the Santa Rita. The action only increased the notoriety of Cortinas and his recruiting power. Cortinas was as much a symbol as anything else. He stood up to the gringos, who did not bother to cloak their prejudice against Mexicans with any form of civility. Now Cortinas would pay back the gringos for past insults.

There was something wrong though, Cortinas' family did not back him, the Tejano community in Texas, for the most part, did not back him in any talk of revolt against Texas. In fact, Cortinas himself believed Texas and Sam Houston were great. He thought, under Houston's leadership, Mexicans living in Texas would be given fair treatment.

Not satisfied with enough men coming over to hs growing "army", Cortinas had Tejanos shanghied to become his recruits. He sent enforcers out to shake down "contributions' from Mexicans and Tejanos. Soon his movement was not one he controlled. The people who flocked to join him were basically men from Mexico. All to often these men were thieves and escaped convicts. They began to do what thieves and escaped convicts do, and soon turned the heads of any Mexicans in Texas who thought the movement a good one.

In December of 1859, Colonel Robert E. Lee, of the United States Army sent a unit of 165 men to Brownsville . They combined with Tobin's men and set out for the ranch. This time when contact was made, the Mexicans withdrew.

Meanwhile in Austin, just prior to the most recent confrontation, the Governor of Texas, Hardin Runnels, asked John Salmon Ford to head for Brownsville forming a troop of men as he went. Ford left Austin and on the way to Brownsville picked up 53 trusted men, mostly former Rangers. His group caught up with the U. S. soldiers and Tobin's men as the combined force pushed Cortinas north along the Rio Grande. Cortinas was burning everything gringo as he passed it. When he got to Rio Grande City, then a small settlement, he decided to stand and fight. The U.S. commander's report says it all:

Major Ford led the advance, and took both his guns (Cortinas' cannon), ammunition, wagons, and baggage. He lost everything.

Of the 300 men with Cortinas, 60 were dead and the rest on the run. Ford had sixteen wounded. Cortinas set up a headquarters in Mexico and continued raiding Texas with his band.

Cortinas fortified a bend in the Rio Grande above Brownsville. His plan was to capture one of the Kenedy-King steamboats, the Ranchero. The plan became known. Ford and his men, with Tobin's men, crossed into Mexico to attack the fortified position. Cortinas had several hundred men including more than 50 that served as cavalry. The Rangers were 45 in number and were supported by the Ranchero's two small cannon. The Rangers charged with six-guns blazing. They lost one man and four wounded. The Mexicans lost 30 dead and 40 injured. The Mexicans withdrew all the way into Mexico and that was the end of the Cortinas revolt, but not Cortinas. He returns to fight another day.


In 1848, there was another rebellion in Ireland. One of the many through the years as the Irish tried to throw the English from their land. President James K. Polk wrote in his diary:

All of my sympathies are with the oppressed and suffering people of Ireland... I sincerely wish the Irish Patriots success...

England was again able to quash the rebellion. They quashed it brutally as they did so many times in more than 800 years of their occupation of Ireland. England went so far as to arrest U.S. citizens of Irish extraction that were in Ireland or England. Polk had Secretary of State Buchanan make a formal protest "against the arbitrary and despotic order of that Government (England) " and to " guard against a similar exercise of despotic power in the future." The Americans were released.

Sam Houston had something to say about tyranny, and he used the English and their treatment of the Irish as an example:

When tyrants ask you to yield one jot of your liberty, and you consent thereto, it is the first link forged in the chain that will eventually hold you in bondage.

The Irish, that noble race so prolific of brave warriors, grand statesmen and brilliant orators, whose deeds of bravery have immortalized every battlefield over which the British flag waved, permitted the English lords to be centuries in forging their fetters, inch by inch, here a little ad there a little, until today they are in helpless bondage.

The time to resist the encroachments of tyrants is in the incipient state thereof.


Between the Mexican War and events leading to the Civil War, there were people of Irish, and Celtic extraction in Texas who deserve some mention. Each is described briefly in the paragraphs that follow.

Jane McManus published in O'Sullivan's Democratic Review a series entitled "The Presidents of Texas." She also published a novel under a pen name, Cora Montgomery. The novel was entitled, Eagle Pass; or Life on the Border. In the book, she again covered many of the political points she had been preaching for years. She supported slavery and the annexation of Cuba. She decried the payments to Mexican officals for Arizona, New Mexico and California. She felt the United States should have annexed all of Mexico. In that way the U.S. would have granted liberty and freedom to all the people of Mexico. Instead by giving cash to its corrupt leaders, the money would maintain a yoke on the peopleof Mexico. She wrote "...we have taken eighteen millions from the industry of our own honest toilers to supply their tyrants with more scourges and stronger chains. We knew when we were paying all these millions to the Mexican generals that every dollar would be expended to the hurt of the oppressed working men of Mexico..."

McManus also criticized U. S. Indian policy as a "blot on the very name of Christianity ... an enexorable system of despoilment and extermination."

Recently it has been determined through the analysis of handwriting that while working as a writer for O'Sullivan it was Jane McManus who first used the term "manifest destiny" for which her editor, O'Sullivan, received credit.

In 1859, Jame McManus Storms returned to Texas and Matagorda. She married a man from Matagorda, a man she had met in Washington D.C. as a Congressman from Texas, William Leslie Cazneau. She supported Congressman Cazaneau's proposal to have the United States aquire the Dominican Republic.

"Choctaw" Bill Robinson was not an Indian fighter. He was a Baptist missionary who served Rusk, Johnson, Erath and Comanche counties. He got his names from a band of Choctaws, who after attending several of his services, complained his sermons were too long.

There is a tree located eight miles north of present day Gustine, Texas called the "Choctaw" Robinson Tree. The tree was near what was then a rowdy frontier town. The Reverend Robinson often spread his message from under this tree, with a sixgun nestled in the crook of the tree.

John C. C. Hill graduated from Mineria College in Mexico City in 1850 and began a successful career, in Mexico, as a mining and railroad engineer. When Santa Anna was removed from power, Hill was housed by General José María Tormel who had two sons in the same school John Hill was attending. Later, in the ins and outs of Mexican politics, Hill was able to save the life of General Ampudia by securing his release from prison.

Lieutenant Charles Finch Mackenzie, formerly of the 41st Welsh Regiment, led a group of settlers to form a community around Cow House Creek near Waco Texas in 1850.

In the Red River Expedition of 1852, George B. McClellan, who would later go on to fame in the Civil War and as the Democratic nominee against Lincoln during the war, searched the headwaters of the Red River to settle a border dispute between Texas and Oklahoma.

Mary Kavanaugh was the first female graduate of the Baylor College system. She graduated in 1855.

In 1847, Rufus C. Burleson came to Texas. He is pictured to the left. He was of Celtic ancestry (Welsh). Rufus Burleson helped found Baylor University. He served as President from 1851 until 1861, and then again in 1889. As one of Texas' first Baptist ministers, he ministered to some of Texas history's famous people. He baptized Suzannah Dickerson, the survivor of the Alamo. He was the minister who presided at the marriage of Mrs. Dickerson's daughter, Angelina Dickerson, known as the "Babe of the Alamo." He baptized Sam Houston. After he immersed Houston in Kountze Creek for his baptism, Reverend Burleson told Houston his sins were all washed away, to which Houston replied, "God help the fishes."

John Hemphill, the son of an Irish immigrant, was elected Chief Justice of the Texas Supreme Court. A position he held for eighteen years. In 1859, he was elected United States Senator. He served until July of 1861. Hemphill County is named for him. A drawing of him is to the right.

Bryan Callaghan, an Irish born San Antonio merchant, was elected Mayor of San Antonio in 1846. He succeeded an Irishman in office, Edward Dwyer. In 1849, Irish born Doctor James M. Devine served four terms as Mayor (1849-1857). Callaghan's son, Bryan Callaghan II, would also be elected Mayor of San Antonio; known as King Bryan, he held the office for 37 years (1885-1912).

The first lawyer in Dallas was John C. McCoy. He arrived in 1845, and by 1883 was Dallas' fourth largest landowner.

Sidney Sherman, whose last military assignment was as Commander in Chief of the Texas Army, brought the first railroad to Texas. The paperwork and land negotiations were begun in 1847. The first train was pulled by the locomotive, The General Sherman, in 1852. The name of Texas' first railroad was, The Buffalo Bayou, Brazos, and Colorado Railroad.

Peter H. Bell, of Irish ancestry, was elected Governor of Texas in 1849. Governor Bell served two terms. He is the only governor of Texas that was formerly a Texas Ranger.

< Peter H. Bell

J. W. McCown, a merchant in Cameron, Texas, received in 1850-1851 store goods that were delivered by the steamboat Washington. Merchant McCown's goods were delivered by the first, last and only steamboat to navigate the Little River.

Henry Kinney was developing Corpus Christi during the period. He planned to bring in Irish and Scotch families. Among the Irish and Scotch that came to Corpus as part of the plan were the: Dunn, Gallagher, McIntire, McBride, McGregor, Reid, and Reynolds families.

Kinney was arrested by U. S. authorities in April of 1855 for violation of the Neutrality Laws. The U. S. government was closely watching another settlement plan of Kinney's. Kinney received a grant of 22 million acres in the Mosquito Indian region of Nicaragua. The U. S. felt Kinney planned to settle men on the grant who would help Kinney conquer Nicaragua, reintroduce slavery, and then apply for annexation to the United States.

Margaret Heffernan was born of Irish parents in 1825. The family came to Texas in 1826. Her father John was killed in the Texas Revolution. Margaret married three times due to the unfortunate demise of her first two husbands. She was a licensed butcher in Victoria, Texas and invested her money well. She became a horse trader and cattle owner. She owned, at one time, the largest head of cattle in Texas. She participated in the cattle drives to Kansas. She died in 1873, on the trail. She was 48 years old.

Mary McCrory Jones, wife of Anson Jones, was instrumental in organizing the Daughters of the Republic of Texas and served as its first President.

Mary Murphy, one of the aunts of Margaret Mary Healy - Murphy, who ran the hotel in Matamoros together with her brothers and sister Johanna, married James McGloin of the San Patricio Colony. His first wife, the daughter of his business partner, John McMullen, had died. The wedding took place in 1853.

Edmund J. Davis, who had helped get John Barnard Murphy, Margaret Mary Healy's husband, started in the law business, was elected District Attorney in 1853. His office was in Brownsville. The next year, he was appointed a District Judge.

A Presbyterian college for men, Austin College, was established at Huntsville, Texas in 1849. Samuel McKinney was its first president. McKinney was a native of County Armagh, Ireland. McKinney resigned in 1853 because of problems with school trustee, Sam Houston, who was also a neighbor of the school. In 1862, Samuel McKinney returned as president to help a then foundering institution. McKinney and his two sons were the faculty. In 1863, Sam Houston sent for McKinney from his deathbed, McKinney was able to offer Houston comfort.

Austin College moved to Shermn, Texas in 1878.

Saint Mary's University in San Antonio was founded by the Society of Mary. Three Marianist brothers and a layman, Timothy O'Neill started the school in 1852.

John Anderson, born in Dungannon, Ireland, established in Clarkesville, Texas the Anderson Academy. It was a boarding school for boys.

The first Mayor of Corpus Christi, after it incorporated in 1852, was Ben F. Neal.

1848 saw the Gold Rush in California. John Coffee Hays and John Ford both participated in blazing trails to El Paso as a way west. Hays' trail came from San Antonio, while the one Ford helped break was from the Waco area. Jack Hays left Texas to join the flow west as did a lot of Texans. He became the Sheriff of San Francisco, and eventually founded the town of Oakland, California. Another Texas Ranger went west and became a sheriff, Ben McCulloch. He was Sheriff of Sacramento, California. He returned to Texas in 1852 to become a U.S. Marshal.

Major Samuel B. Bales arrived in Austin, Texas in 1849. His father, John Bales, was born in Ireland. Samuel became the Superintendent of the erection of the State Capitol buildings.

James B. Shaw, who was born in Ireland, represented Texas in financial matters dealing with the United States. Once, Sam Houston sent Shaw to Washington D.C. to collect five million dollars from the United States for the sale of parts of Texas to Colorado and New Mexico in 1850.

In 1850, Frederick S. Jackson, of Scottish ancestry, developed a 6,000 acre plantation near Palestine, Texas. His house was the first in the area to have fine furniture, silverware, and a piano. The Jackson's were noted for their hospitality.

Martha Gaffney ran a large plantation in the Red River area near Clarksville. Her husband died shortly after obtaining the land in the 1840s. Martha Gaffney built the plantation to 1800 acres with over 512 slaves. It was very profitable until the Civil War when she was forced to provide the resources of her plantation to the Confederate cause.

Another Celtic woman who ran a plantation, actually two, was Rebecca McIntosh Hagerty. She was the daughter of William McIntosh the mixed heritage Chief of the Lower Creek Nation when it was in Georgia. Her father, wanting to move his people away from the ever encoaching, never satisfied settlers, went to the the United States Government and obtained an agreement to move the Creeks from parts of Georgia and Alabama in return for land in what was known as Indian Territory (later Oklahoma).

For this he signed his own death warrant. There was a tribal law, that William McIntosh helped make, that stated the penalty for yielding any more land to the Americans was death. For signing the treaty with the United States, the tribe killed McIntosh. Killed with him was his son-in-law, Samuel Hawkins, who supported McIntosh's position of getting land the Creeks could live on in peace versus being pushed out of their lands with no where to go. Within days of the signing of the document, the Creeks not supporting McIntosh's actions surrounded his cabin. Chili McIntosh, a son, carried McIntosh's daughter, his half-sister Rebecca out of the cabin in his arms. Other members of the family were allowed to leave as the surrounding party was focused on McIntosh and his senior followers. Seeking the protection of the United States government McIntosh's family and other Creeks who supported him were allowed to move to their new lands in Indian Territory in Oklahoma. The first group, which had McIntosh's daughter Rebecca among them, arrived at Fort Gibson in 1829. "Roley" McIntosh, William's half brother became principal Chief. A position he held 1837-1859.

Rebecca married a friend and business associate of Sam Houston, Benjamin Hawkins in1831. Hawkins was the brother of Samuel Hawkins killed with Chief McIntosh. Hawkins was asked by Houston to move to Nacogdoches in 1835. Rebecca and her children moved with him to Nacogdoches. Hawkins was involved in at first encouraging along with Houston, the Creeks and Cherokees coming into the Texas Revolution to assist the Texans and then later in getting the two Indian tribes to not enter on behalf of the Mexican government who had been making land promises. After the revolution, Hawkins was granted two tracts of lands in the Nacogdoches area for services he provided during the Texas Revolution. One tract was of 3, 965 acres south of Linden, Texas and another tract of 640 in Cass County (now Marion County). Hawkins was involved in a plan to help settle some 5,000 Creeks among the lands of Cherokee controlled by Chief Bowles. In return the Cherokees were to receive $100,000. Hawkins was to make the down payment of $20,000. There were many Texans and Cherokees unhappy with the prospect of Creek Indians moving in amongst them. In 1935, Thomas Rusk asked Houston to rein in the program and Benjamin Hawkins. Benjamin Hawkins was killed in 1836 most probably by Cherokee Indians, though there has been some speculation that Texans were involved.

Rebecca McIntosh Hawkins took her children, William, Louise and Anna, and settled in on the smaller tract. In 1838, she married Spire M. Hagerty, a plantation owner in nearby Harrison County. Rebecca and her children moved to the plantation known as Phoenix. Rebecca and Spire Hagerty had five children, By 1849, the couple was estranged due to Hagerty's continual drunkenness. He died soon after. In 1851, Rebecca McIntosh Hawkins Hagerty was managing the Phoenix plantation in the names of her surviving children. In addition Rebecca was managing another plantation, Refuge, which she co-owned with her sister HettieWillison and she fought to keep the Hawkin's property in the name of her children by Bejamin Hawkins. She was assisted in her plantations by two son in laws, James C. Scott, who married her daughter Louisa; and Sam McFarland who married daughter Anna.

Her combined operations were on 10,142 acres. She owned 102 slaves and annually produced 500-600 bales of cotton. In an 1860 census of Cass County, Rebecca owned more slaves than any other landowner. She was one of the state's richest citizen. In Texas of the 1850's and 1860's that was a remarkable accomplishment for a woman let alone one that was also considered of mixed heritage. Rebecca maintained her ties with the tribe. Visits and commerce between those in Oklahoma and the plantations were regular. Her status in the tribe was enhanced when her half brother Chillicothe "Chili" became Chief. In 1880, Rebecca moved back to Indian Territory. She died there in 1888. The Phoenix plantationed remained in the family unitl 1915 when it was sold to T. J. Taylor, Lady Bird Johnson's father. Thanks to Charles Steger of Atlanta, Texas for assistance in providing details on Rebecca McIntosh and the website of Bill Boatmun a descendent of Chief William McIntosh whose website is dedicated to Chief McIntosh's genealogy.

Take a closer look at her story from the point of view of her being a daughter, mother and wife. She is one of the daughters of the Chief of her people who has had three wives. Imagine trying to keep straight all the cousins, aunts and uncles let alone those who were half sisters, brothers etc. She observes the interaction with the whites by her father, which he tries to keep positive and the interaction with the Creek family at large which is at times very negative.

< Rebecca McIntosh To see her properties on a map, click here >

As a child she is raised in the lush valleys and hills of Georgia among the higher echelons of her immediate society only to suddenly see her father murdered and the family practically on the run and nearly penniless. She arrives in the uniquely strange, desolate and confusing flat land of the U. S. government's Indian Territory . She marries a Creek who is drawing his people and others into the Texas Revolution and an association with the Texans and Cherokees. She is a part of the environment controlled by Sam Houston, who becomes the biggest name in Texas. Her husband is awarded two parcels of land by a grateful Texas government, one of them very large. She moves to Texas only to have her husband and father of their three children murdered under questionable circumstances. Sam Houston, her husband's sponsor as it were, is revealed to be at the very least duplicitous.

She successfully withdraws with her children to a quieter place in Texas and later marries a Texas plantation owner. This, apparently offered her some protection during the period Texans were out to exterminate the Indian. She has five children by her new husband who turns out to be a surly drunk. She becomes estranged from him but not before she has him file the necessary legal paperwork to protect her earlier children's heritage, the land, from her first marriage.

She married her second husband in 1838 lost him and four of her children within the next ten years. All the while raising her surviving children and keeping up the legal land fight on her first husband's land and her remaining household and land from her second husband. She builds it into a very successful enterprise together with other elements of her family and in-laws. She sees to it that all the land is in her children's names as do her sisters for their children. They cede control of the land and operations when the children are old enough to manage it well.

The family maintained their Creek ties despite their rise in industry and when each of the seniors could, they went back to the Indian Territory to be among the Creeks and to die there.

John Fitzgerald was Harris County Sheriff during the years 1844-1846. David Russell was next and then came two brothers in succession. James B. Hogan was Sheriff from 1850-1854. His brother, Thomas M. Hogan, was elected Sheriff in 1854. Both brothers were at San Jacinto.

Corpus Christi's first resident priest arrived in 1853. He was Dublin born Bernard O'Reilly. When Father O'Reilly died, he left a bequeath that led to the development of the University of Dallas.

In 1853, Irishman John Vance opened an inn at Castroville. It became the Vance Hotel, and important stop on the Laredo-San Antonio road.

In 1854, Robert E. Lee was back in Texas and stationed at Fort Mason. His previous assignment was, in 1852, to be the Superintendent at West Point. Lee, himself, was a West Pointer. He received his appointment from John C. Calhoun. While Lee was Superintendent at West Point, his boss was a former West Point classmate, Jefferson Davis. Robert E. Lee was stationed in Texas until 1861.

In 1853, William McFaddin, the man Houston left in charge of the baggage, sick and wounded while he went on to San Jacinto, prospered enough in the cattle business to erect a two story home in the Beaumont area. McFaddin was only seventeen years old, when Houston gave him and Robert McNutt the assignment just prior to the Battle of San Jacinto. When McFaddin died in 1897, he owned 4,574 acres, and had an interest in another 1,214 acres. William McFaddin gave his son, William Perry Herring McFaddin, control of the McFaddin businesses when the son turned seventeen The son increased the family holdings extensively. For a time, the McFaddin name was very fashionable. Restaurants in New York advertised their beef, as "McFaddin beef." Clothes designers in London advertised their clothes were made from "McFaddin pelts."

Sea Rim Park, and the J. D. Murphree and McFaddin Marsh Wildlife Preserves were created from McFaddin holdings. Today the largest beach in Jefferson County is McFaddin Beach.

A piece of Europe's history came to Texas in 1853. Jerome Napoleon Bonaparte, Jr., grandson of Elizabeth (Patterson) Bonaparte who married the youngest brother of Napoleon Bonaparte, was stationed in Texas' frontier forts. As a young woman, Miss Patterson was said to be one of America's most beautiful women. Her father was born in Ireland. Elizabeth and Jerome were married in this country and sailed on her father's ship, The Erin, to Europe. They had a son, Jerome Napoleon Bonaparte, who had a son, Charles Jerome Bonaparte who served in Teddy Roosevelt's Cabinet, first as Attorney General and then as Secretary of the Navy.

Elizabeth Patterson's brother, Robert, married Mary Caton, daughter of Richard Caton and Mary Carroll. After Robert's death, Mary Patterson married the brother of the Duke of Wellington, Richard, the Marquess of Wellesley. Richard Wellesley was the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland. Mary Patterson was, then, sister-in-law to both Napoleon and the Duke of Wellington.

In the late eighteen fifties, there was a retail grocer in Houston by the name of John Collins. His store was the most profitable grocery store in Houston. It was a large two-story brick building located at the corner of Travis Street and Preston Avenue on what was known as Market Square. Most all the business from out of town would enter Houston over the Long Bridge at the foot of Preston on Market Square. S. O. Young in his True Stories of Old Houston and Houstonians recalls a holiday season when Mr. Collins decided to corner the market on turkeys. Sometime before Christmas, he bought all the turkeys for miles around. A week before Christmas, he had 400 turkeys in a pen located on a vacant lot beside his store. There was not a turkey to be had in Houston that Christmas, unless you bought it from old man Collins. That was what John Collins thought, that was until some kids decided to do a little mischief. During the night they left the turkey pen gate open. Next morning when John Collins discovered the dastardly deed, there was not one turkey remaining in his pen.

Not yet done, and Christmas still about a week away, grocer Collins printed a flyer advertising fifty cents for every turkey returned. The flyer was distributed everywhere. Within an hour after the flyers were distributed young boys from the community were bringing him turkeys. The next day more turkeys were being returned. Soon Collins realized he had paid out $300.00 at fifty cents a bird, which meant he now had 600 turkeys or 200 more than before the gobblers got away. Now he really had a corner on the turkey market in Houston!

The most successful retailer in Houston at this time was also on Market Square. He to was an Irishman. Irish born John Kennedy started a bakery business that expanded into much more. In 1850, he owned $10,000 in real property, by 1860 the figure was $100,000. The building he built for his business still stands in Market Square and is the oldest commercial building in Houston.

There is a little known incident in Texas history known as the San Andreas Salt War. It resulted in what amounted to an armed invasion of New Mexico by Texans.

It began in August of 1852 when James Magoffin acquired an interest in a tract of land in New Mexico that contained the San Andreas Salt Springs. He sought to charge a toll from all who took salt from the spring. For years and years, the residents of Las Cruces and Mesilla, New Mexico obtained their salt free from Mother Nature at the San Andreas Springs. Magoffin's intent to charge a toll to obtain the salt did not sit well with the citizens of Doñ Ana County, New Mexico where the two cities were located.

A wagontrain left Doñ Ana County with the announced purpose of taking salt from the springs as their ancestors had done, without paying anyone for it. Maggofin was alerted to the wagontrain and convinced his friend, El Paso Sheriff, William Ford to raise a posse to met the wagontrain and enforce the toll. Magoffin, his son Samuel, Sheriff Ford and 26 men rode into New Mexico. They confronted the wagontrain at Chinos, New Mexico. There were 125 men riding with the wagontrain. The conversation was short. The exchange of gunfire that followed lasted for ten minutes. It wasn't until the Texans fired a blast or two from the howitzer they brought along with them that the shooting stopped and those in the wagontrain dispersed leaving behind the oxen and wagons.

The Texans unhitched the oxen and drove them back with them to Texas. The next time the issue was faced was in a New Mexico court where the Texans were made to compensate for the oxen. The idea of charging a toll for access to the springs was soon forgotten.

< Senator Thomas Jefferson Rusk

In 1857, United States Senator Thomas Jefferson Rusk was elected President Pro Tempore of the Senate of the United States. Before the year was out he died. His law partner, the first governor of the State of Texas, and a Celt, James Pinckney Henderson replaced him in the United States Senate.

In 1860, Alexander Garret, of Irish and Scottish heritage, was appointed the first Episcopal Bishop in Texas.

In 1856, another man of Celtic stock was elected President of the United States of America. He was James Buchanan. Buchanan was a Jackson man who served that administration as the U. S. Minister to Russia. In 1834 he was elected to the United States Senate. Among others in the U. S. senate during his time there were such American History luninaries as Martin Van Buren, John Tyler, James Polk, Millard Filmore and Franklin Pierce. All of them became U. S. Presidents. There were also the following in those Senate chambers: Daniel Webster, Henry Clay and John C. Calhoun.

Buchanan rose to become the Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. He was active in the efforts to annex Texas. He served as President Polk' Secretary of State. The country was moving foward with internal strife during his term. Buchanan was a northen Democrat from Pennsylvania. But he had a different view of things than most northerners. He once wrote " I am not friendly to slavery in the abstract, but the price of continued unity rest on the willingness of all to recognize the plain constitutional rights granted to each part. The constitutional rights of the South, under one constitutional compact, are as much entitled to protection as those of any other portion of the union."