Claiborne Wright Cut the Cable
Taken from Loose Leaves of the History of Lamar County
March the 5th, 1816, was the date upon which Claiborne Wright cut the cable which moored the keep boat Pioneer to the bank of the Cumberland. It was just six months later when he tied up at the old Pecan Point landing. During these long and trying months, the gallant little Pioneer had waged a successful battle against all sorts of odds. The treacherous currents, the swollen streams with their menace of driftwood, and the uncharted banks and bars everywhere lurking, too numerous to mention or compute.
The devious water path chosen by this little company of pioneer settlers was in that day and time one of the most romantic to be found upon the continent. The rolling Cumberland, the beautiful Ohio, the mighty Mississippi and the sturdy Red River, all bound in winding banks and luxurious vegetation. The dangers, the fascination, the joy and hardships of such a journey can hardly be appreciated now.
Only one family—that of Col. Wm. Mabbit—lived at Pecan Point when Claiborne Wright disembarked. The Wilman brothers, two in number, lived there, it is true, but at that time neither of them had married. In fact, there was nothing at the Point that could legitimately be called even a village. In fact, Col. Mabbit and his two adventurous associates were simply traders dealing with the Indians.
The loss sustained by the Wrights in their little brush with the Cooshatta Indians was keenly felt when Pecan Point was reached. They were entirely out of bread, no corn was left for seed and neither was found upon landing. The sinking of their boat a short time after landing forced them to remain and endure privations which now seem almost unbelievable. For two years they subsisted entirely upon wild game and such natural fruits and berries as Nature provided in close proximity to their humble hut.
It was 100 miles to the nearest squatter's habitation, and the Indians were on all sides in such numbers that only the boldest men could feel justified in going abroad among them. It would have been sheer madness for Claiborne Wright to have undertaken a journey on foot to some far-off settlement in any direction. He therefore did the only thing prudent or apparently possible, by staying with his family where he landed and built his cabin.
At a later date, but still during these same two trying year, five other families came and pitched their camp near where the Wrights lived. But these were poor—had nothing to subsist upon but the same hard fare above referred to—jerked and barbecued game. After the second year after his arrival seed corn was obtained and these pioneers ate it with a relish now hardly experienced by the average person who partakes of a rare dainty.
In the year 1819 the Mexican soldiers ousted those of Spain from all of their posts and garrisons at points in the Red River country. Thus, Claiborne Wright passed from the dominion of Spain to that of Mexico without a removal or volition on his part.
During the latter part of the year 1818 "newcomers" brought the first domestic animals, such as horses, sows and hog, to the settlement at Pecan Point. Claiborne Wright secured his start of hogs from Col. Nathaniel Robins, a pioneer whose numerous progeny abide with us still, and who have contributed a long line of useful citizens to all sections of the great Red River valley, both in what is now Texas and Oklahoma.
The year 1818 must have been a dry one, and probably the same weather very largely characterized 1819. We have no actual information beyond the fact that George W. Wright, a son of Claiborne Wright, who tells us in his reminiscences that the latter year experienced an uncommon drought and that all the lakes along Red River dried up; that the pioneers had such rude implements for farming use, that they found it practically impossible to break the heavy turf of the virgin soil, but the lake beds easily lent themselves to cultivation and the yields were bountiful. The only difficulty experienced was keeping the bears out of their fields. These were glorious and heroic days, rich in achievement, filled with abundant evidences of personal courage and the ability to bear and endure. They were the builders who laid the foundation for an annex to the great American Republic which is now commonly characterized as the Great Southwest.
The purpose of the Lamar County Historical Society is to perpetuate their memories and to engrave their heroic achievements upon monuments of enduring granite, upon tablets of bronze and brass. But most of all, we want to give them a creditable place in history and keep their memories in the hearts of their descendants and countrymen.
Ed H. McCuistion,
Special thanks to Jeff Kemp for designing the Lamar County banner.
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