Gonzales and De Witt Counties in 1848 - Death of
Dr. Barnett, Capt. John York and Others - Death
of Maj. Charles G. Bryant in 1850
For several years prior to 1848 the country between the Guadalupe and San Antonio rivers escaped annoyance from the Indians, though their depredations beyond were frequent. The people in the section referred to had ceased to regard themselves as exposed to danger, and were therefore unprepared for it. Early in October, 1848, they realized, however, that they were open to savage fury. A party of Indians descended from the mountains along the valley of the Cibolo, and thence southeasterly to the " Sandies," a set of small streams in the western part of Gonzales County. On the Sandies they came across and killed Dr. George W. Barnett, also a recent settlers in that locality - the same gentleman mentioned in my chapter on the events in 1888 and 1885, as a Captain in '35, a signer of the Declaration of Independence, a soldier at San Jacinto and a senator of the Republic.
George Washington Barnett (1793-1848) Born in South Carolina, December 12, 1793. Served in the Texas Army during the Texas War of Independence; member of Texas Republic Senate, 1837-43. Killed by Lipan-Apache Indians while hunting deer near Gonzales, Tex., October 8, 1848. Interment at Old Cemetery.
Another party of Indians, presumed to be of the same band, and acting in concert with them, crossed from the west to the east side of the San Antonio, and formed a junction with the first named party, the two bands numbering thirty-five or forty warriors, including, it was believed, some outlawed Mexicans, the Indians being Lipans, then living in the border Mexican State of Coahuila, beyond the Rio Grade. Before their junction, about the 5th of October, the second named or lower gang had killed a Mr. Lockard (or Lockhart) and a young man of Goliad County, son of Mr. Thacker Vivian, at the Goliad and San Antonio crossing of the Eeleto creek.
These events alarmed the settlers on the wet side of the Guadalupe, the remainder of the district mentioned being still a wilderness, and a company of thirty-two men and boys from the wet side of the river in De Witt County, assembled to meet and repel the raiders. John York, a brave old soldier who commanded a company in the storming of San Antonio in 1885, was made Captain; Richard H. Chisholm, another veteran, Lieutenant, with H. B. McB. Pridgen and Newton Porter, Sergeants, and Joseph Tumlinson, guide.
On the night of October 10th, these hastily collected volunteers encamped on the headwaters of the Caboose, twenty-five miles above Goliad. On the morning of the 11th they traveled some miles up the country, and then struck the trail of the Indians, which bore southerly towards the mouth of the Escondida, a tributary of the San Antonio from the southwest side. It became evident the enemy had secured a considerable number of harm, were leaving the country, and the pursuit was quickened. Passing the San Antonio, on its west bank they found the recently abandoned camp of the savages, with a letter and some trifling articles proving they were the murderers of Lockard and Vivian. The letter found was from George W. Smyth, Commissioner of the General Land Office, to a citizen of Robertson County, on official business, and sent by Lockard. Young Vivian was the son of a neighbor of my parents when I was a child in Missouri, and a kinsman of Mrs. Dr. A. A. Johnston, of Dallas. Believing that they had been discovered, and that the Indians were hastily retreating, Capt. York premed forward rapidly till, on reaching the brushy banks of the Escondida, about five miles beyond the abandoned camp, anti while a portion of the pursuers were a little behind, those in front received a heavy fire from ambush, accompanied by yells of defiance and imprecations in broken English, which threw some of the inexperienced into confusion, earning a recoil, and this disconcerted those in the roar, but the brave old leader ordered the men to dismount in a grove of trees, and was obeyed by a portion of his followers, who returned and kept up the fire. Lient. Chisholm (Uncle Dick, who cast the first cannon ball in the Texas revolution) tried to rally the halting, but the panic was on them and he tried in vain. James H. Sykes, a stalwart man of reckless daring, dashed up to the dense chaparral in which the Indians were sheltered, and was killed. James Bell, a son-in-law of Capt. York, and a man of approved nerve, was shot down between the contending parties, when Capt. York ran to him and while stooping to raise him up was shot through the kidneys. The brave couple expired in the embrace of each other. Joseph Tumlinson and Hugh B. Young were severely wounded, and James York, son of the dead captain, one of the handsomest boys I ever knew, was shot centrally through the cheeks from aide to side, supposed at the time to be fatally, but he rode home and finally recovered, though greatly disfigured. The contest was kept up about an hour, when both parties retired, ours only a little down the creek to get water for the wounded. It was believed the Indians lost six or seven in killed, but of this there was no certainty. Besides those already named among those who stood to their colon to the last were William B. Taylor (Goliad), Johnson, A. Berry, and others whose names cannot be recalled. Some men of unquestioned courage were among the victims of the panic, and others ware inexperienced boys who had never been under fire.
This, so far as is remembered, was the last raid in that section of country below the Seguin and San Antonio road; but above that line the pioneers of the frontier, till some years after the Civil War, were the victims of a predatory and brutal war, in which the most remorseless cruelties were more or less practiced.
The facts as herein narrated were communicated to me by a number of the participants on the 20th of October, only nine days after the fight, and have been so preserved ever since. I personally knew every one named in connection with the engagement.
Excerpt from "Indian Wars and Pioneers of Texas"
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