Two Texas Grigsby Families

There have been numerous families with the Grigsby name who lived in Texas around the time of the Texas Revolution and the Republic of Texas. We mention two families today. They both had interesting stories. One settled near the eastern border of Texas, generally in Jefferson County and the other more in and around Houston County.

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Bill Kelley’s Mine

This is a story of a legendary Big Bend area mine. It is sometimes referred to by other names in newspaper accounts, books and articles. Since Bill Kelley figures into the story, more recently it has been called “Bill Kelly’s Mine.” Mrs. Eugenia H. Chandley wrote about it in the March 22, 1939 edition of the Alpine, Texas Sul Ross Skyline. According to the legend, a young man named Bill Kelley was from the Black Seminoles in Coahuila, Mexico and told some of his relatives of finding a treasure on the Texas side of the Rio Grande. Kelley had told his employers, the Reagan brothers, of coming across an outcropping of stone that shined like gold, while he was holding a herd of horses for them. Kelley chipped off some of the rock, put it in his pack and relayed the news of his find to the Reagans.

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Cowboy Strike of 1883 and the Ghost Town of Tascosa

Image credit: Boston Globe, Marcy 24, 1883

In the spring of 1883, the newspapers like the Boston Globe reported that hundreds of cowboys went on strike for higher wages. The next day, a Wyoming newspaper gave more details, repeating the $50 per month demand. This article alluded to the possible threats of danger facing cowboys who declined to participate in the strike, but gives the number of strikers to be two hundred. Both have typographical or transcription errors. “Tosasa” in the Boston Globe article is probably a misspelling of Tascosa. The Wyoming article calls the county of the strike “Lascasa” and places it near the Texas-New Mexico border. The articles begin to settle down in a few days and give the location to be Tascosa.

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Mow-way (Shaking Hand or Hand Shaker)

This individual was a Comanche leader of the Kotsoteka branch or band of the tribe. He is thought to have been born about 1826 and he died in 1886. He was known to have been a warrior and participated in some of the earliest treaties between the tribe and the Confederate government in 1861. The Confederate negotiations were led by Albert Pike (1809 – 1891) who had been appointed in March of 1861 to serve as Indian Commissioner by Confederate President Jefferson Davis to attempt to draw up agreements with the tribes west of the Arkansas River. Pike was trained as an attorney and in the past had represented other tribes in negotiations with the United States government. In the summer of 1861, Pike worked on treaties with the Creek, Choctaw, Chickasaw, Seminole, Osage, Senaca and Shawnee. In August, 1861 he met with representatives of four bands of the Comanche tribe and Mow-way was a representative of the Kotsoteka. The agreement with the Comanche tribe seems to have been that they would give up their captives and receive compensation and confine themselves to agreed areas. Pike went on to serve in the Confederate Army. He eventually resigned his command after a disagreement over leadership decisions and did not serve to the end of the Civil War.

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