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The Historical Story of Bee County Texas By Camp Ezell
Copyright 1973 by Camp Ezell and Beeville Publishing Co, Inc.
Table of Contents Forward Acknowledgements Introduction
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 Pictures Corrections

01-Early Texas Background  << 02-The Colonists Arrive >> 03-Area Was Stockman's Paradise

The Colonists Arrive

Under the ten-month monarchal reign of lturbide, several attempts were made to colonize the coastal regions of Texas, without results. But after the province of Texas was joined with Coahuila in I 824 to form the provisional state of Coahuila and Texas, its congress passed a colonization law on March 24, 1825, which was designed to bring people to the region who ‘‘would promote the cultivation of its fertile lands, the raising and multiplication of stock, and the progress of the arts and commerce . . . All foreigners, who in virtue of the general law of the I 8th of August 1824, which guarantees the security of their person and property, in the territory of the Mexican Nations, wish to remove to any settlements of the State of Coahuila and Texas, are at liberty to do so; and the said State invites and calls them.” (“Texas Irish Empresarios and Their Colonies,” by the Rt. Rev. Msgr. William H. Oberste.)

The colonization law gave the “empresarios” (land agents) an assigned territory in which to locate their colonists. The land agents did not own the territories assigned to them for colonization, but each was to receive five leagues (22,540 acres) and five labors (885 acres) of land for every one hundred families brought in as settlers. The law stipulated that empresarios had to obtain the approval of the State and Federal Government for the colonization of any territory lying within twenty border leagues of the boundary of any foreign nation (about fifty miles) or within ten leagues (twenty-five miles) of the coast.

There were a number of men given the title of empresario, including Stephen F. Austin, who later became known as the “Father of Texas,” but we are concerned chiefly with only four—Santiago (James) Hewetson and Santiago (James) Power, who settled the colony of Refugio, and John McMullen and James McGloin, who established the San Patricia colony, of which our present county was a part. All four of these land agents were natives of Ireland, but Hewetson and Power became naturalized citizens of Mexico. We are particularly interested in the McMullen-McGloin project because this involves present Bee County.

Don Martin De Leon came from Spain in I 805 and established a large ranch between the Aransas and Nueces Rivers in 1805, but in 1821 when Mexico gained independence from Spain, all Spanish grants were revoked. However, in 824, De Leon received a charter from the Mexican government to settle a colony in Victoria County, and as an Empresaric he founded the town of Victoria. Incidentally, he is the great-great-great-grandfather of Mrs. John Bell of Beeville, who is the former Virginia De Leon.

Another Empresario has direct descendents in Beeville. James Power is the great-great-grandfather of the children of the late Phil Welder: Gracie, Phil Jr., Dora, Mattie, Genevieve, Frankie, Mary, Marguerite, Claudia, and Edmond.

Under the original colonization law of the Mexican government, all settlers had to be natives of Ireland and members of the Roman Catholic Church. However, James Power persuaded the officials to amend the law and permit natives of the United States, France, England, and Germany to settle in Texas. Grace Bauer, in her history of Bee County written for the Bee County Centennial in 1958, named three families from the United States who took advantage of this special permission: Robert Carlisle, Isaac Robinson, and James Douglas.

The original rule requiring colonists to be natives of Ireland was prompted by reports from the United States that the many Irish immigrants in New York and other eastern states were industrious, honest, and law-abiding citizens, and it was felt that people of this nationality would become outstanding citizens of Mexico.

McGloin and McMullen went to New York City during the summer of  1829, conferred with many Irish immigrants who had recently arrived from the Emerald Isle, loaded two ships, the Albion and the New Packet, and set sail for Texas. The Albion, according to the captain, Thomas Duehart, was misled and landed at Matagorda, instead of the Port of Copano. Captain Jonan Harris, skipper of the New Packet, brought his passengers to the Port of Aransas (now known as Copano).

Father Oberste’s research reveals that the report to the Secretary of the Department of Relations shows that the following families arrived with John McMullen on the brig New Packet, for the purpose of becoming colonists on the Nueces River in the Department of Texas: B. Henry Doyle, priest; James Browne, single; John Carzol (?) and wife; John Heffernan, wife and four children; Patrick Hayes, single; Jeremiah Toole, wife and four children; John Gonly (Conley), single; James Quinn, wife and three children; Thomas MacMiley, single; Margaret Quinn, single; James Brune (Brown), single; Patrick Kavlagun (?), wife and three children; Bernard Candey (Candy), single, and Thomas Gierren (Geran?) and wife.

The report shows that the following families arrived on the Albion:

James Magloin (McGloin), Empresario, his wife and six children and one servant girl; Thomas Henry, wife and four children; Patrick McGloin, wife and child; Patrick McGloin and wife; John Lamb and wife; James Keveny and wife; Felix Hart, wife and three children; the widow Hart, one son and one daughter; Pedro de Oro, wife and two children; William Ryan, wife and child; William Wallace, wife and five children; John Scott, wife and six children; Patrick Brennan, wife and son; James O’Connor, wife and three children; William Quinn, wife and two children; Peter McCan, wife and son; Patrick Neven and wife; and Dionysio McGowan, wife and five children; and the following single persons: Doctor Cullen, Marcos Kelly, John McGloin, John Faddin (?), Joseph Coleman, William Quinn, and Martin McGloin. (Signed by Marian Casio, Matagorday, October 31, 1829.)

Father Oberste says there was another list of persons aboard the Albion (and is evidently one presented to the Vice-Consul of Mexico at New York by James McGloin on making arrangements to transport the colonists to Texas. This list shows some discrepancies, and also some additional names). The list follows:

Edward McGloin and family, Thomas Hennesy and family, John Lamb and family, William Quinn and family, Phelia Hart and family, John Scott and family, James Keveny and family, Dionysio McGowan and daughter, Patrick McGloin and family, William Ryan and family, James OConnor and family, John (Charles) Gillan and family, Patrick Brennan and family, Patrick Boyle and family, William Wallace and family, Mark KeIy (single), and Patrick Golden and family. (This list was signed by V. Obregon, New York, September 2, 1829.)

The schooner Albion made two other trips to New York City to bring additional colonists to San Patricia, anchoring at El Copano on December 31, 1829, and during the middle of March 1830.

Another schooner, the Messenger, brought Mrs. Ann Burke and other colonists, landing at Copano on May 6, 1834. Mrs. Burke, Mrs. Mary Carroll, and Patrick Carroll lost their mates as the result of a cholera epidemic on the way, and the bodies were buried at sea. In later years Mrs. Burke married Patrick Carroll, and this couple and their son, Patrick Burke Jr., donated one hundred fifty acres of land for the townsite of Beeville (on the Poesta).

Many of the San Patricia colonists camped at the ruins of the Mission near Refugio until they could proceed to San Patricia to lay claim to their respective land grants issued by the Mexican government.

Hobart Huson writes a short story in his history, Refugio,’ concerning some of the colonists: McCampbell relates an amusing incident of these Irishmen landing and seeing prickly pear for the first time. The tunas looked luscious to them, and they took off their shirts and filled them with fruit. Having emptied their loads aboard the vessel, they put their shirts back on, in ignorance of the thousands of microscopic stickers embedded there in.

Grace Bauer in her Centennial History of Bee County lists the following as the original Bee County colonists: Jeremiah OToole, James Brown, Patrick Hayes, Felix Hart, James O’Connor, Patrick O’Boyle, William Quinn, and the Widow Hart and family. They arrived on the Albion in 1829 and settled near Papalote and Aransas Creeks.

Upon arriving on their land grants, the settlers began erecting homes, most of them square huts built by driving logs into the ground, stopping up the cracks with mud and moss, and the roofs were made of split logs. They built chimneys with fireplaces for heating purposes in winter time, and many of them located their domiciles near the creeks in order to have access to water.

Each colonist received from the Mexican government ten milk cows, one cart, and a yoke of oxen, and a garrison of soldiers was sent to guard and protect the settlers from hostile Indians. However, the untrained soldiers were so lazy, and also cowardly when it came to resisting incursions of Indians, that they proved to be more of a nuisance than a benefit.

John Hefferman and his brother, James Hefferman, and their families were among the first colonists to settle in this area. That was in the latter part of 1834 or early 1835. (The name originally was “Heffernan,” but later was changed to Hefferman.)

The John Hefferman family took up their headright at San Patricia, while the James Heffermans came to their land grant of 4605 acres of land on the east bank of Poesta Creek, on the site on which the town of Beeville was built.

The James Hefferman family was massacred by the Indians and Mexicans on their own property in 1836. Mrs. I. C. Madray in her ‘History of Bee County, published in 1939, was privileged to talk with a number of descendants of the colonists, and was enabled to read and reproduce some rare documents that otherwise probably would have been lost to posterity. Among these papers was the story of the massacre as told by Mary Hefferman, daughter of John Hefferman of San Patricia and niece of James Hefferman, who was murdered with the other members of his family.

Mary Heffermans story follows:

“My uncle, James Hefferman, still lived on the Poesta when the war (Texas Revolution) broke out. My father’s family lived at San Patricia. My father and a cousin, John Ryan, went to James Hefferman to assist him in laying by his crop, so they all could join General Fannin’s command at Goliad.

“The day before they finished plowing they were attacked by Mexicans and Indians in the field while at work, and all were killed. (Including John Hefferman and John Ryan.—Editor.) The Indians then went to the house and killed the family of James Hefferman, which consisted of his wife and five children.

“The first intimation of the sad fate that had befallen these early settlers was received by relatives and friends at San Patricio when they found at their cowpen one morning the cows of James Hefferman, which he had taken from there to his home on the Poesta. This aroused the suspicion of the family, who at once sent their boys to find out what the trouble was.

‘On coming to the site of the settlement and seeing no one, they re­turned to San Patricio and reported no one at home. Then a party of men went to investigate. They found the men dead in the field. They had been dead several days. The body of the eldest son of James Hefferman was lying between the field and the house, while the bodies of Mrs. Heffer­man and the four younger children were found at the house.

“The remains were collected and placed in one large box and were buried near the scene of the murder, although the exact spot cannot be located. The calves of the cows which returned to San Patricio were dead in the pens, the only living thing on the place being a little dog.

“The field where the men were killed was located on the spot now occupied by the Courthouse, while the house and pens were west of that loca­tion, about where the old Whitehead home formerly stood. The site is now occupied by the Mexican school (Jackson School today.)”

This book is not a work on the genealogy of the colonists who settled here, but in order to make clear a point that has been cloudy, I am going to trace the family tree of Mary Hefferman, daughter of John Hefferman of San Patricio and niece of James Hefferman who settled on the banks of Poesta Creek. Mary Hefferman fell heir to the land grant of her uncle, as well as to the headright of her father at San Patricio.

In January 1833, Mary Elizabeth Hefferman, at the age of seventeen years, was married to Hiram Riggs in Brazoria. They were the parents of nine children, one of whom was John, who married Elizabeth Susan Glover in 1862.

Josephine Elizabeth Riggs, daughter of John and Elizabeth Susan Riggs, married H. Brown Skaggs in Georgia in 1843. They had one son, Ernest Lee Skaggs, born October 13, I 887, in Beeville. On July I, 1907, Ernest Skaggs married Mary and Halsey. After the death of Brown Skaggs in 1889, Josephine Skaggs married Stephen A. Wofford in 1893. They had one son, Glover, and a daughter, Mary Ellen, both born in Beeville.

Ernest Lee and Mary and Skaggs had two children, Blanche Ernez and Glover Lee. Ernez Skaggs married Bernard McWhorter in Beeville on July 9, 1931, and three children were born to this union: Mary Gay, Lee Ann, Anthony Francis (Mike), and Clarence Bernard Jr. (Pat).

Lee Ann McWhorter married William R. Stubbins and they and their three children, Lisa Gay, Chris John, and Laura Lee, own and live on a tract of land three and one-half miles northeast of Beeville on part of the original Colonial Land Grant of June 30, 1835, to the Heffermans. The Stubbins children constitute the ninth generation of the Hefferman family to have possession of and live on this property. (William R. Stubbins Jr., eldest child of Mr. and Mrs. Stubbins, died in December 1971.)

In hurriedly reading Mary Hefferman’s story of the massacre of the Hef­ferman family, most of the people overlooked the fact that Mary stated that her father and John Ryan came to Bee County to help James Heffer­man lay by his crop, and that “all were killed,” as well as the wife and children of James Hefferman. The word ‘all” included John (Mary’s father), John Ryan, and James Hefferman, her uncle.

Many people, including this writer, asked Mrs. McWhorter how could she be a descendant of James Hefferman when the entire family was killed? She was not a descendant of James Hefferman, but Mary Hefferman Riggs (daughter of John Hefferman) was her great-great-grandmother. Hefferman Street in Beeville was named in memory of the family that came from Ireland to settle in this area.

The family of Mrs. John Hefferman continued to live in San Patricio until after the Battle of San Jacinto, when General Sam Houston ordered all settlers on the frontier of Mexico to either go east or into Mexico. Mrs. Hefferman, with the rest of her family, went east, locating at Brazoria, where her daughter, Mary, married Hiram Riggs in 1838. Then they moved to Goliad, where Mr. Riggs farmed for six years. In 1844, they moved to Corpus Christi where Mr. Riggs engaged in the mercantile business until his death in 1855. Mary Hefferman Riggs died there in 1903 at the age of 82 years. Burial was in the old Bayview Cemetery in Corpus Christi.

Some of the colonists came from Tipperary County, Ireland. Under their contract with the Mexican government they were required to bring enough supplies, including arms and ammunition, to last them two years. Mrs. Madray was informed by some of the descendants of the settlers that the new citizens of Texas had to make a paste of cactus roots for axle grease to lubricate the axles of the rickety and creeching old carts that were furnished by the government.

Upon landing at Copano, the colonists’ bedding, clothing, food-stuffs, cooking utensils, arms, ammunition, axes, spades, and farming equipment were stacked in individual piles on land high enough above the water’s edge to protect the property from the tides.

One hour after Mrs. Ann Burke landed at Copano, labor pains started paving the way for the entrance of a child who was destined to become one of Bee County’s prominent ranchmen, and Patrick Burke Jr. was born. His father had succumbed to cholera while en route to the Texas coast and was buried at sea.

After reaching mature years, this man, who was the first child born to any of the Irish colonists who settled on the Poesta, wrote a brief auto­biography, which was published in the Galveston News. His story describes many of the hardships that were experienced by the first settlers and is a historical gem that should be preserved, it follows:

“My birth occurred about one hour after my mother set foot on Texas soil, and before she had gone one mile from the shore where she and the other colonists were landed. Her breast rose and she was unable to nurse me. This section of the country was uninhabited, and it was out of the question to obtain milk or nourishment suitable for an infant.

“But Providence, in His kindness and mysterious way, provided the relief. At this juncture an Indian squaw, who had left her babe with her tribe, entered the camp of the colonists, and her heart no doubt being touched by my cries, came to my mother’s bed, took me and nursed me. Thus as God sent the ravens to feed Elijah at the brook Cherith, so did He send this uncouth and uncivilized Indian squaw to nurse and furnish me, a starving infant, with nourishment in the wilderness of Texas. She carried me to her tribe and cared for me until my sick and bereaved mother was able to take care of me.

“Each day she brought me back for my mother to see me. Her manner of handling me was in striking contrast with that of my own mother. She would pitch and sling me about like I was a pup or a bundle of dry goods.

“During all the time the colonists remained in this camp this woman was the only Indian who came about us, or even came in sight of any one of the colonists. If others of the tribe ever came near our camp they kept themselves perfectly secreted.

“From this camp i-he colonists went and settled at or around San Patricio. They remained loyal to the Mexican government until 1836, notwithstanding the bad faith which characterized its dealings with them. When the revolution of 1836 developed, these hardy and noble pioneers from oppressed Ireland, breathing the true spirit of freedom, went east and joined the other colonists in the fight for liberty and political independence.

“Before annexation my mother married Pat Carroll and they went to New Orleans but returned to San Patricio after the battle of San Jacinto. During the time intervening between this battle and annexation, this part of Texas was subject to both Mexican and Indian raids, and we returned to a country without supplies. Our homes had been destroyed and hard times stared us in i-he face.

“We soon constructed log houses, made picket fashion with dirt floors and thatched roofs, clapboards being used to stop the cracks between the pickets. Our pioneer architecture was simple and inexpensive and did not require the outlay of large sums of money for plans, specifications, material, and construction, but doubtless as much peace, content­ment and real happiness was found dwelling in our quaint old homes as we now find in the palatial homes in our towns and cities.

“Our table fare, bread and meat, was also simple, but our digestive organs were always good, and dyspepsia never interfered with the keen relish and fine appetites we always carried to the table with us. We drank water from the creeks, ponds, barrels, and cow tracks, enjoyed good health and never heard of microbes, germ theories, and diseases of modern times.

‘‘After we returned to our colonial homes Indian raids were still frequent. They invariably came on the full moon during the spring, summer and autumn months, and oxen coming home with arrows shot in their bodies often admonished us that Indians were lurking in the neighborhood and ready to surprise us by swooping down upon us. They frequently swept the country of saddle ponies, not leaving mounts enough in the com­munity on which the men could pursue them. In making their escape when they were pursued they always had the advantage of their pursuers. They generally had already stolen the best horses and were returning with a large herd when discovered and could change mounts whenever the horses they were riding became jaded, while our men usually had to take for mounts such animals as the Indians had left behind or had failed to get.

“Whenever the Indians succeeded in crossing the Nueces River, about ten miles above Oakville, they were safe from further pursuit. In order to prevent the Indians from stealing our horses, the settlers usually made a thick, high brush fence around -their back door, without an entrance except through the house. About the full of the moon, or whenever an Indian raid was anticipated, the horses, oxen and milk cows were kept in this enclosure.

“One night the Indians stole Pat Corrigan’s horse, which was tied to his gallery post. His wife heard them and told him the Indians were getting his horse. He picked up his gun, ran into the yard and snapped his old pistol at them three times. He just happened to see three Indians with their drawn bows hid in the grass in time for him to make a safe retreat into his house.

“When a boy I went under the care of Major John Wood, with others, in pursuit of the Indians. A man named Mandola, who had been captured when a boy and reared to manhood by the Indians, was our guide. He was trained in all of their arts and cunning and could even trail them by scent, It was hard sometimes for our men to distinguish between an Indian and a mustang trail, but Mandola was never at a loss to tell one from the other. We traveled that night until 12 o’clock and then slept till daylight. Next morning when we awoke, Mandola arose and sniffed the balmy atmosphere a time or two and said he smelt the fumes of cooking meat and that our foes were not far away.

‘‘We did not go farther than five miles before we came upon and sur­prised our enemies while they were enjoying their breakfast of horse meat cooked on coals. Immediately a quick and spirited fight ensued. Major Wood kept me with him, the other men separating and taking advanta­geous positions in the scattering timber. One savage and ferocious old squaw attacked the Major and me. We tried as long as possible to avoid the necessity of shooting her, but she could handle her bow and arrows as well and as accurately as a trained warrior, and was hurling the missiles of death at us so rapidly that we were compelled to exchange shots with her in order to save our lives. Major Wood received an arrow wound in the fleshy part of the thigh.

‘This was the last Indian raid and the last fight of this unfortunate squaw-warrior. One force numbered fourteen. I do not know how many Indians there were, but when the battle had ended we were the victors, with seven dead Indians stretched upon the field. A few old sore-back ponies and horses and the bows and arrows of the slain Indians were the spoils of our victory.

“Once I went with my stepfather to Long Lake, carrying a jug with which to bring back some fresh drinking water. We were in no particular hurry, and while walking leisurely about the lake we discovered the Indians in some timber a short distance above us, cooking meat. While they did not seem to see us, we were suddenly inspired with Saint Paul’s injunction to lay aside every weight and run with swiftness the race set before us, so casting our jug aside, we pulled off the prettiest race you ever saw, going back into town, San Patricio, with the old man leading me a neck or two. The sulking Redskins, who always seemed to need good horses in their business, made a call that night at the premises of several of the citizens, who found themselves without mounts and work animals the next morning.

‘‘In those days the country was full of deer, panthers, and other kinds of game and wild animals. On one occasion while I was a boy I went with Major Wood, Bill Clark and Martin O’Tool (the last named being a San Jacinto and Mexican War veteran) to cut a road through the bottom. While we were at work the dogs treed a large panther which we killed with an ax.

“There were also many wild mustang horses, and it was a sight to see them running when the settlers were trying to catch them. If we could manage to catch one of these old horses, we would tie an imitation man upon him and let him loose. Of course he would make for the herd, which would try to outrun him. This would start every mustang for miles around to running, and the noise from these running horses, which sometimes numbered thousands, often sounded like the terrific roar of a passing cyclone. After they had run themselves down we could guide them into the pens with long wings which we had built for capturing them.

“It required strength and skill to rope and throw one of these old snorting, jumping, fighting horses. It looked like some of them could squeal, paw, kick and jump at the same time, and they could never be conquered until they were roped, thrown and tied down. We generally roached(?) their manes and tails and used the hair for making ropes.

“After the annexation the United States sent troops to protect us against Indian raids, and though only a boy I drove an ox wagon three years carrying supplies for the troops from Corpus Christi to Fort Merrill. I had to support my mother and my three little half-brothers and two little half-sisters, as well as my stepfather who was nearly blind and could not work. He lost his eye when hit by a cork which flew from a bottle of English port while he was opening it.

“I made thirty dollars per month, and that was considered good wages for a boy in those times. When I commenced on this job I was scarcely large enough to put the yoke on the oxen. I wore hickory shirts and red shoes, and it unusually took me eight days to make the round trip. Some­times an axle would break and then I was two weeks making the round trip. There were only two blacksmiths accessible, one being at each end of the route.

‘‘I made these trips alone, sleeping at night by the side of my wagon. Finally, John Ross bought me a good wagon at a government sale, pay­ing thirty dollars for it. I worked it out.”

Patrick Burke was married to Nancy Jane Ryan of Refugio County. They were blessed with four sons and four daughters. The sons were Joseph, Pete, Ed, and John Burke, and the daughters were Mrs. Mollie Thurston, Mrs. Sam (Alice) Smith, Mrs. John (Clara) Wilson, and Mrs. Bud (Jennie) Clare, all of whom grew up in Beeville. They are all deceased, but Mrs. John Burke, the former Cora McMurray of Live Oak County, still lives here and is in her ninety-first year.

Patrick Burke died in August 1912 at the age of seventy-eight years.

The Burke and Hefferman families, among the earliest settlers in what is now Bee County, came from Tipperary County in the southern part of Ireland. All of the early pioneers spoke frequently of being oppressed in their native country, which helped them decide to come to the Western Hemisphere. The severe conditions of oppression in Ireland during the early and middle part of the nineteenth century were described in the August 1958 issue of American Heritage. The article was a condensation of a book, The Coming of the Green, by Leonard Patrick O’Connor Wibberley, and the Bee-Picayune published excerpts from the story in the Centennial Edition, October 16, 1958. The article follows:

“Ireland at this time (the beginning of the nineteenth century) had been united with England by an Act of Union, which, dissolving the Irish Parliament, had with one stroke deprived the Irish of what little self-government they had previously enjoyed. “Rebellion after rebellion had failed to shake off England’s control. The land was owned by foreign landlords who planted tenants as their most valuable crop.

“The system was to rent small acreages to the landless Irish so that the landlord was certain of his rents—the hazards attendant upon agri­culture being faced by the tenant, who could be utterly destroyed by one crop failure. If the tenant did well with his small rented farm, the land­lord raised the rent. If the tenant objected to the raising of the rent he was evicted, for he had few rights under the law and could get no one to represent him in those he did possess.

“Twenty to thirty tenants often shared a farm that only a few decades previously had supported but one farmer and his family. The plots were so small that the tenants could not live on the produce from them.

“The Irish tenant farmer planted potatoes in early spring because if was a crop that looked after itself. Then he turned his wife and his children out to beg. He himself went to England to search for work, for there was none for him in Ireland. If work was lacking he, too, became a beggar. When autumn came he returned to his plot, harvested his potatoes, and using these and whatever money the family had gleaned in the summer months, contrived to get through the desolation of winter until the cycle could be repeated again.

“The house he lived in was made of boards and turf, and if he could get a little pig to fatten on potato peelings, or perhaps a hen or two, the pig and the hens shared the turf house with the Irishman and his family, for there was nowhere else to put the livestock.

“The place he should go was to America. The Irish were not strangers to America, for they knew it by repute, and many of their kinsfolk had gone there from the earliest times. Some of them had gone as indentured servants, bound to another man for a number of years, after which they would be set free in the new land to make their own fortunes.

“America was the land where all that was denied in Ireland might be achieved, including liberty, and the very word conjured up the brightest imaginings in the minds of the Irish.

“A letter from America would put a whole Irish village in a state of tingling excitement. Someone would have to be found who could read the letter because the Irish Catholics for nearly a hundred years had been forbidden schooling. The letter, in laborious print and misspelled, would declare: ‘I’m learning to write, as you can see. Schools here are free for everyone.’ And at that there would be a silence of wonder that such a thing could be possible.

‘We eat every day here like we would in Ireland at Christmas,’ I-he letter would continue. ‘Any man may speak what is on his mind without i-he least fear. If a man will work he need never go hungry.’ “In almost every case the letter expressed the hope that those to whom it was addressed would be able to come to America soon. A little money might be enclosed toward the fare of a brother or a mother. And these letters, combined with the increasing miserable conditions in Ireland, moved first hundreds and then thousands of Irishmen and their families to migrate.”

01-Early Texas Background  << 02-The Colonists Arrive >> 03-Area Was Stockman's Paradise


The Historical Story of Bee County Texas By Camp Ezell
Copyright 1973 by Camp Ezell and Beeville Publishing Co, Inc.
Table of Contents Forward Acknowledgements Introduction
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 Pictures Corrections

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