Gossip About the Pathfinders

Taken from Loose Leaves of the History of Lamar County
Article appeared in The Paris News on Friday, August 19, 1921

The class of 1819 is very small. There are several reasons why his was so. This was the year that the revolutionary forces of the Republic of Mexico gained sufficient momentum to drive the Spanish garrisons from all of their posts along Red River. During that and the following year was indeed a critical period for the Pathfinder in the Red River District. Up to the year 1819, the Indians had been for the most part friendly—the whites traded with them freely. But when the Spanish garrisons began to see that their days of dominion and domination were rapidly drawing to a close they began to put out “the poison” to the Indians. In other words they did what they could to stir up the strife between the Red men and the settlers as well as the Mexican soldiers. In this undertaking the Spanish garrisons were successful. They did not save themselves, it is true; they were driven out by the soldiers of the Republic of Mexico. But the Mexican soldiers were not prepared to garrison the same forts from which they had driven the Spanish forces. The Republic of Mexico was just getting on its feet; the war of the revolution had been going on about ten years, and the resources of the Republic were at a very low ebb. While the Mexican soldiers could go back after they had evicted their enemies, the settlers were forced to remain and bear the brunt of Indian warfare alone. During the years of 1819 and 1820 the families of the Pathfinders did not know what security of life really meant. Much of the time they would not dare sleep in their humble cabin homes but rather resorted to the thickets and bramble patches. Here noble women and innocent children abode and struggled for life in the very midst of all the perils and penalties of the law of the jungle. An account of the terrors and dangers that surrounded every individual and every hearthstone in that far off time can but fill us with admiration for every man, woman, and child who endured these things that we who have come after them might enjoy the fruit of their endurance. The Historical Society of Lamar County believes that it is the patriotic duty of the people of the present day to rescue from oblivion the name and character of every man, woman, and child that lived and endured the hardships of those early years and also the names of all who died by torture, scalping, knife, or disease as an offering on their country's altar. It is for the accomplishment of such a noble task that the members of the Historical Society give themselves heart and soul to their work without compensation or hope of material reward.

Quite a number of families came in, but the Indian depredations were so frequent and distressing that all or practically all of them went on to other localities which they hoped would offer greater security.
The only name that can now be placed with certainty in the class of 1819 is that of Major Hamlin Cook, who was connected with Long's expedition. Major Cook built a block house at Pecan Point. This was, of course, erected with the hope of making such a showing that recognition for the Long government might be had from the United States.

The history of this ill fated expedition is too well known to need a repetition here. The building of the block house no doubt operated as a sort of restraining influence on the Indians. The settler had also established small herds of cattle and most of them had some hogs, but the Indian raids were a serious backset to these pastoral industries. Colonel George Wright tells us that a considerable number of these families were not only murdered but scalped, but he does not name a single family or individual who laid the costly gift of life upon their country's altar in those far off perilous days of the old Red River District. Nothing should be left undone that is calculated to perpetuate the names of these heroes and heroines.

 


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