American Indian Tribal Affiliation Study
Phase I: Ethnohistoric Literature Review
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Appendix 6:
Travel Literature
Letters from an Early Settler of Texas by William B. Dewees, compiled by C. Cardelle

Most of the material relates to the area of Red and Brazos rivers. In September 1822, a 1000-plus party of Camanche (sp) came to the Brazos River and brought dried buffalo meat, deerskins, and buffalo robes to trade for beads, sugar, etc. They seemed to have the Mexicans under their control because they made the Mexicans stand back whenever the Americans wanted to trade (p. 36).

Comanche Bondage: Beales's Settlement and Sarah Ann Horn's Narrative, by Carl Coke Rister

The book presents first a summarized history of the Dr. John C. Beale's Dolores Colony on Las Moras Creek confluence with the Rio Grande, then the narrative of the captivity of Mrs. Horn and her children by a Camanche (sp) group. This group attacked the members of the colony on April 14, 1830, while they were on their way to the Texas coast with the intention of returning home. The colony lasted one year and was a deep disillusionment. In fact, the Dolores colony had been attacked before by the Camanche (sp). Mrs. Horn indicates that the attack was one of the main determinants of their final decision to leave the area. The captivity narrative includes interesting cultural information on Comanche daily practices, as well as practices relating to medicine, childbirth, menses, and the chores of women (pp.188-198). Most of the environmental information confirms the reports of William Kenedy (see below). Mrs. Horn, however, states that one of the reasons their crops failed was the fact that in many places the land around La Moras Creek was covered with leaching salts (p.119).

Texas, by William Kenedy

Settlement of Villa de Dolores on the Rio Grande at Las Moras Creek. Flora noted include live oak, white oak, elm on Las Moras Creek. Stream dried up in hot seasons. Villa de Dolores on the left bank of stream. Shawnee hunted beaver for pelts on the Rio Grande. Beaver also on Las Moras & lots of fish. Colonizers left June 17, 1833. No other natives mentioned.

The Evolution of A State or Recollections of Old Texas Days, by Noah Smithwick

Important information on Native Americans, especially Comanche. Not fully applicable to Amistad. Confirms leadership of Lipan 'chief' Castro in 1838. Mentions his son Juan Castro. Use of sumac leaves for mixing with tobacco leaves for smoking is described (p. 180).

Diary of Gustav Dressel, Texas History Center Film 803.31

In general, not applicable to Amistad NRA, but discusses Cushadees, Bidais, Caddas, Alabamas and Lippans (sp) trading skins and game for lead, powder, cotton, and blankets. Dressel had partnership in a shop which sold cotton and beads to Natives, often in exchange for skins and medicinal herds such as sassafras and sarsaparilla (frames 30-31). Cushatees (sp) hunting bear on the Brazos during these years.

Personal Narrative of Explorations and Incidents, by John Russell Bartlett (Boundary Commission)

Lipan stated to range from Zacatecas to the Colorado. They remain in the Bolson de Mapimi in winter. He saw "Indian sign" near the Pecos but no natives.

Eagle Pass, Life on the Isthmus v. III, by Cora Montgomery

General and mostly pedestrian information about life at Fort Duncan in the 1850s. Description of physical appearance and some activities of Seminole chief Wild Cat. Wild Cat was accompanied by his cousin Crazy Bear and the interpreter Gopher John, a full-blooded black individual. The author states that Wild Cat traveled the border area for over six months to convince other Native groups to cease hostilities against settlers (pp. 73-76). The author commented that Wild Cat "might be converted into a permanent and powerful safeguard if the government would assign his band a home and rations" (p. 119). She also stated that "[T]he Indians have no longer homes or families in the wide band of unsettled country that borders the whole length of the navigable current of the Rio Bravo down to its mouth" (p. 141). Later she commented that the Mexican authorities had signed a formal treaty with the Seminole. She stated: "A beautiful location about thirty miles above Eagle Pass was assigned to this people (Seminole) after converting them one and all into full and entire citizens of the 'golden republic' by a quick, simple and satisfactory process of naturalization rather peculiar to Mexico" (p.145). The Seminole were aided by some Lipan.

A Journey Through Texas, by Frederick Law Olmstead

Description of Fort Inge on the Leona. Lipan, Tonkawa, and Mescalero camp at the head of the Leona. About 100 people recently brought there by the Indian agent (p. 288-290). Lipan leaders were Castro and Chiquito. Olmstead refers to an official estimate of 20,000 natives, but thinks only about 12,000 actually present. In July 1856 there were 1,540 people of various groups. Traveled to San Fernando (Mex). Saw Mescalero, Lipan, Tonkawa, and Comanche. Saw no Native Americans west of San Fernando. States that the mouth of the Pecos was still unexplored. Recent campaigns against Lipan who had retreated there (e.g., the Pecos) had almost exterminated them (p. 451-2).

Notes Taken During the Expedition by Capt. R. B. Marcy

Most of Marcy's notes do not apply to the Amistad NRA Project. However, his information stresses that many groups traveled through the Cross Timbers and Red River areas to trade. Reference to a party of Seminole who had traveled 150 miles to the Texas 'side' to buy whiskey (p. 70-71). Most of the information provided refers to the Choctaw and the Chickasaw on the reservation.

Wanderings in the Southwest in 1855, by J. D. B. Stillman

Jacob Davis Babcock Stillman was a New York physician who visited Texas in 1855 and served as a physician at Fort Clark. His report includes good environmental information for the areas north and west of San Antonio. Lipan attacked a settler on the Leona June 30, 1855 (p. 113). Stillman traveled frequently through the areas of Las Moras and San Felippe (sp) Creeks. Recorded Texas quail, mullet, and pricklypear on the San Felipe Creek (p. 123). Stated that the mustang grape grew along all the streams and attained a very large size (p. 123). Recorded outlaw parties of men hunting Native Americans (p.100). Traveled to the Pecos and to Beaver Lake, a natural lake on the Devil's River, in extreme Val Verde Co. Recorded prong-horned antelope near Live Oak Creek 15 miles southward of the Pecos (p. 135). Camanches (sp) and Apaches in the area of Live Oak Creek and the Pecos in October 1855. Good descriptions of the flora (pp. 138-139). Stillman states that there were no buffalo in the area anymore. The Natives had to go hunt buffalo further to the north. Participated in a battle which took place near the headwaters of Live Oak Creek. The Natives were well mounted and had shields, bows and arrows, lances and a few guns. The battle took place near hill that runs parallel to the creek. On the highest part of the hill Stillman reported the presence of 'Indian graves' (p. 159-160). The description of the battle is very interesting because of the tactics of the attackers. After the battle there were items of apparel and arrow points strewn over the ground. Stillman states that the troops followed the tracks of the attackers and decided they were Apache.

On the border with Mackenzie, by Capt. R. G. Carter

Most of the material not applicable to Amistad NRA. Detailed information on military campaigns against the Comanche, Kiowa, and Kiowa-Apache, but particularly against the Quahada on the Llano Estacado and at Adobe Walls. The book includes anecdotal and incidental information about the army and their families; not much is said about Native groups. Chapter XVI includes information about General Mackenzie's raid into Mexico. The raid was led from Ft. Clark but included troops from several frontier forts (400 men). The military attacked Native villages near the Santa Rosa Mountains, Mexico. These villages included Kickapoo, Lipan, Potawatami and Mescalero (p. 431). The raid aimed at stopping the attacks these groups were making on Texas settlers. Mackenzie was particularly interested in destroying the home base of the Kickapoo and the Apache (p. 433). The US troops were aided by the Seminole (p. 437). It is not known how many Natives were killed. The author states that apart from the Kickapoo and Lipan villages they had raided there was another Mescalero village at Zaragoza, Mexico (p. 449). The raid took place on May 19, 1873 (p. 463, see also present report—Fort Clark entry).

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Last Updated: 24-Apr-2007