Friday, September 23, 2011

Settling

I've been reading Larry McMurtry's books this past summer. I'd read Lonesome Dove and the one after that, but not the two prequels to them. After reading the first book I have no idea how the West was settled at all. It wouldn't have been by me for sure. I believe all the situations he set up in the books. When I was doing some genealogy research a number of years ago I got all caught up in Colonel Jack Hays. He was a relative of my husband and he was one of the first Texas Rangers. I found the book about him in a small used book store after I'd read the copy in our branch library. I bought it for my father in law for Christmas that year. Captain Jack was something else and his friend and fellow ranger was Samuel H. Walker, the co-inventor of the Walker Colt handgun. There are Walkers in my family and there have been Sam Walkers and I had a grandfather who was a Texas Ranger, so that led to my reading a number of books about Texas militia and wars. How cool would it have been for him to be one of my ancestors and Captain Jack to be one of my husband's. Well, it was not to be. Sam Walker was killed before he could sire any of my ancestors. Oh well, a brush with greatness was fun and my husband is still a descendant of Captain Jack. There are portraits of both of them at the Ranger Hall of Fame in Waco.

One of the books I read about Sam Walker's adventures during the Mexican war told about the Texas prisoners being marched to Mexico City. A great distance from anywhere in Texas. Actually I think they caught him twice and made him walk. I guess it was a good thing I was born a girl and a century later. I'd not have made a good pioneer woman.

Captain Jack and his band of Rangers chased and killed the Comanches around San Antonio and central Texas until it was somewhat safer for settlers. Actually not all that many were killed.  The Comanches were wonderful fighters, great horse thieves, and could blend into the environment so well they couldn't be seen until it was too late.  Many a settler or ranger found themselves afoot when the Comanches were around.  It was not safe at all back in those days for many reasons, but the Comanche braves were a big part of it. Part of my family settled around Austin and while reading books about early settlers in that part of Texas there were a number of stories about families who were brutally killed by Indians. If there had been anywhere else to go but into the wildness that was where these people were trying to make a new life, I would have stayed where I was or gone back to where I came from. I would not have made a good settler, but I'm glad they did. I'm also glad my ancestors settled here finally. I love it in Texas, even if it is still sort of wild. 

5 comments:

  1. I always have mental anguish when I hear about the Indians being killed by settlers. It doesn't seem right that the land and all on it should be taken away from people whose ancestral home it is. That was official government policy, by the way, and a dead Indian was not any worse than the chopping down of whole forests or the slaughter of 60 millions of buffalo, mostly for hides and tongues. The government policy was that the buffalo was the grocery store or post exchange to the Indians and everything they needed to sustain them was in that single animal. Kill them and you can put the Indians on wild Indian reservations and feed them old, sick milk cows. And that is what the government did. So killing one Indian was not a bad thing in the day, it was, matter of fact, expected.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Abe,
    I agree with your point of view, but the truth was that the people who were trying to settle were being killed. They were encouraged to come to Texas, Kansas or Oklahoma to start a new life, but in some cases they lost that life and their children's lives. Or their children were stolen and sold into slavery.

    I'm part Cherokee, the ones who really got shafted, so I really understand what you are saying.

    Yvonne,
    Thanks for stopping by. It is always nice to see your post.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Sorry about the above comment being deleted blogger has been playing up since I came back from a two day rest.

    Thanks for your comment, I am unable to do voluntary work because of health problems with epilepsy. I don't usually take notice of what people think or say but when you hear things about one's own it hurts.
    Yvonne.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Ahh sweetie,
    I don't know what the heck happened to the comment above. I was looking at why there were some weird things going on here and it must have been accidentally deleted.

    Like I said on your blog, we do what we can and raise the kids the best we know how. And it would be hurtful if one said something rude.

    ReplyDelete