During its ownership and control of Texas, Spain had attempted to colonize the areas along the Rio Grande to take advantage of its fresh water system. The King of Spain granted ownership of blocks of land to certain private individuals who had shown an interest in colonization and had resided in the area for a number of years. After Mexico declared its independence from Spain, most of the Spanish grants were upheld. Similarly, most were also recognized under the Texas Republic, following its establishment.
Cynthia Ann Parker’s tragic story is better known, but there were other individuals including Rachel Parker Plummer who were taken by the Comanches in the attack on Fort Parker. The battle occurred on May 19, 1836 at a fort near Groesbeck, Limestone County, Texas. At the time, there were thirty or more members of the extended Parker family living in or around the stockade fort. Killed were Silas Mercer Parker, John Parker, Samuel Frost, Robert Frost and Benjamin Parker. Those who were captured included Cynthia Ann Parker, her brother John Richard Parker, Elizabeth Kellogg, Rachel Parker Plummer and her three year old son James Pratt Plummer.
(Image credit: http://www.tamu.edu)
As we approach the anniversary of the Battle of San Jacinto, we consider Moses Austin Bryan. He was an eyewitness to some of the key events in Texas history. Born in Herculaneum, Missouri, he came to Texas with his parents in 1831. He had first worked for his uncle Stephen Fuller Austin in a store in Austin’s Colony before enlisting in the Texas Army. After enlistment, he served as a secretary to Stephen F. Austin, was a witness to the signing of the Texas Declaration of Independence, fought in the Battle of San Jacinto, interviewed Santa Anna after his capture at San Jacinto (Bryan was the closest Spanish speaking Texas soldier to Sam Houston), served as secretary to the Texas Legation to the United States in 1839, participated in the Somervell Expedition in 1842 and served as a Confederate officer in the Civil War.
(Image credit: Houston Chronicle)
The name Joseph Cullinan might not be that familiar to some Texans regarding the state’s oil boom, but he was involved in the development of several of the early large Texas oil fields and had significant interests in several companies that are major energy companies today.
Chester William Nimitz came from a German Texas family having a long seafaring tradition. His grandfather, Charles Henry Nimitz, a former seaman of the German Merchant Marine, broke the string when he moved to the Hill Country of Texas to landlocked Fredericksburg and built the hotel that bears the family name.
John Camden West, Jr. was a lawyer, a judge, an educator and an author in Waco, Texas. He was born on April 12, 1834 in Camden, South Carolina from which he and his father got their names. He was 20 years old when he graduated from the University of South Carolina. He had a brother, Charles S. West, who by that time was already practicing law in Austin, Texas, and John joined him there in 1855.
Warren Angus Ferris was a surveyor and tracker. He is credited with being one of the first persons to map out Dallas County (prior to the better-known John Neely Bryan) and several other parts of Texas. He was born the day after Christmas in 1810 to Angus and Sarah Ferris of Glen Falls, New York, a family with a Quaker and Puritan heritage. He also had a younger brother named Charles Drake Ferris.