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November 10, 2010     Hays Free Press
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November 10, 2010
 

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Page 4D F'EATtJRE COLUMNISTS Hays Free Press * November 10, 2010 artS the Texas Ranger lieuten- t prepared to fight 150 r more Indians with only 18 men on Nov. 10, 1837, he must have questioned the wis- dom of his recldess decision to part company with his captain, William Mosby Eastland. Born in Kentucky and raised in Tennessee, Easfland was 28 in 1834, when he moved to Texas with his wife and children, two brothers and a cousin named Nicholas Mosby Dawson. The clan settled on a piece of land In what became Fayette County just three years later. With the political pot ap- proaching the boiling point in the summer of 1835, Eastland waged war on the Wacos and Tawakonis as an officer of an all- volunteer company. Later that year, he switched from fighting Indians to fighting Mexican sol- diers as a participant in the Siege of Bexar, the first major engage- ment of the Texas Revolution. Easfland at the Battle of San Jacinto might best be described as a ferocious tiger with an insatiable blood lust. Passing along Gen. Sam Houston's order to stop the carnage, he report- edly said, "Boys, take prisoners. You know how to take prison- ers. Take them with the butt of (your) guns...and knock their brains out." IN Five months later, Easfland enlisted in the Texas Rangers, officially formed the previous November. Following a promo- tion to captain in December 1836, he tried to impose strict discipline on the unruly ranks, a very unpopular move. According to Walter P. Webb in his classic "The Texas Rang- ers," the enlisted men "marched out, stacked their arms, told him to go to hell and they would go home." Eastland managed to meet them halfway without los- hag their respect and remained in charge until 1838. In early October of 1837, the Kichais, a small Caddoan affili- ate based near present-day Pal- estine, raided Fort Smith located at the junction of the Leon and Lampasas rivers. Capt. Eastland gave pursuit with his company of Rangers but after a few days lost the Indians' trail. At this point, the discipline Eastland had worked so hard to instill broke down. A bitter argument with his second-in- command ended with the hard- headed lieutenant going his own way with half of the company, a grand total of 17 men. The breakaway Rangers picked up the Kichais' trail a week or so later and tracked them north to present-day Archer County south of Wichita Falls. That was when the raiders, who numbered between 150 and 180, finally asked them- selves why they were running from such a pitifully small hand- ful of whites. The Battle of Stone Houses, so-called because of three rock mounds, could have been avoided. Cherokee and Dela- ware traveling companions of the Kichais were close to arrang- ing a peaceful solution, when a Ranger killed an Indian for his plug of tobacco. Seconds after the cold-blood- ed murder, the Kichais attacked. Two hours into the uneven battle, the Indians set fire to the prairie in order to force the Tex- ans out in the open. The eight surviving Rangers escaped on foot in the smoke and walked all the way to the Sabine River. Eastland left the frontier corps a little while later and took part in his last Indian campaign, this time against the Comanches, in 1839. He then turned his attention to his long neglected family and also to politics, which resulted in his 1840 election as a Fayette County land commissioner. Eastland's battlefield vacation was cut short by the troubles of 1842. In the second military incursion in eight months by the Mexican military, a strike force under the command of a French-born mercenary seized San Antonio. The ex-Ranger quickly came out of retirement, found plenty of men anxious to follow him and rode for the Alamo City. Eastland arrived too late for the Battle of Salado Creek, where a hastily organized force of Texans convinced the invad- ers to hightail it for home. But Eastland's joy at the news of the victory was turned to incon- solable sorrow by a personal tragedy, A second group of Fayette County volunteers led by Nicholas Dawson had been surrounded and massacred by 500 Mexican cavalry only a mile and a half from Salado Creek. Besides his cousin, the dead also included a nephew hardly old enough to shave. Overcome with remorse andrage, Eastland was signed up for the punitive expedition commanded by Gen. Alexander Somervell. When President Houston's man refused to go no farther than the Rio Grande, he plunged ahead with the unau- thorized expedition that was taken captive en masse at the Mexican border town of Mier. As punishment for an ill-fated escape attempt, the prisoners were forced to draw beans from a pot. Easfland picked the initial black bean and was shot along with 16 other Texans who had the same bad luck. William Mosby Eastland rests today alongside his kinsmen and other Lone Star martyrs in the memorial tomb atop Monu- ment Hill outside La Grange. It is worth the stop for all Texans who take their history seriously. Buy "Secession & Civil War" column collection for $14.20 and get "Outlaws & Lawmen" or "Rev- olution & Republic"at half price. Mail $21.30 to Bartee Halle, P.O. Box 152, Friendswood, TX 77549 or order on-line at twith.com. Rick Stanley, step brother and close confidant of Elvis Presley 1. Plant a tree: now is still a perfect time to get that shade or ornamental tree in the ground. 2. Plant flowering peren- nials: it's never too late. Even though their tops will be burned back with the first hard freeze, their roots will be hardy. During the cool days of winter, they will establish a healthy root system for a show in the spring. 3. Plant some winter bloom- Ing annuals: in centralTexas, we can grow pansies, snapdragons, violas, stock, cyclamen, flowering cabbage and kale. Remember to work in some organic plant food such as blood and bone meal. These slow release plant foods will feed your plants throughout the winter and into the spring. Pansies love blood meal. 4. Plant fall bulbs: there is still plenty of time. There is a great selection of late winter to IT'S ABOUT 1 early spring flowering bulbs to choose from. Look for tulips, narcissus, jonquils, mus- cari, daffodils, ranunculus, and anemones. Bulbs benefit ftom the slow release phosphorus found in bone meal. Mix a tahle- spoon in the root zone when planting. 5. Force some bulbs Indoors: this is a fun activity for Thanks- giving and Christmastime. The easiest are paperwhite narcis- sus. Add some potting mixto a clay or plastic 6" bulb pan (fill about Vz way). Place 3 to 5 bulbs on top of the soil and add some decorative gravel to keep them upright and firm. All you need to do now is water the bulbs in and place the pot in a sunny lo- cation. It takes around 3 weeks for the bulbs to force out their foliage and open their flowers. Easy and decorative. 6. Winterize your lawn: use a slow release organic lawn food. This will give nutrition and strength to your lawn for the coming cold months. 7. Cutback your perenmials: after the first frost, and raulch your beds with compost and mulch mixed together. This combination will feed the roots while conserving water a~ad warming the bed. 8. Onions, scallions, gm'- Ilc: November is onion, scal- lion, and garlic month. To be successful with growing these vegetable gems, don't wait till the days get long again. Success requires growing in the short days of winter. You too can grow an onion 6" across! Timing is most important. 9. Keep on the lookout for fall bedding (annual) plants: as temperatures cool, we can begin to plant dianthus, snap- dragons, and petunias. 10.Watch for black spot and mildew on roses: with cooler weather, these pesky rose diseases will begin to show up. An organic spray of Neem off or wettable sulfur should help in keeping it at bay. If you have a question for Chris, send it via email to iathyme@ yahoo.com. Or mail a postcard to It's About Thyme: 11726 Man- chaca Road, Austin, TX 78748 www. itsaboutthyme.com 1401 North FM 1626 Buda, Texas 78610 NOVEMBER 14-17 Starts at 6:45 with music Free optional meal for our guests served each night from 5:30 to 6:30 PM. Child care available from ages 0- 5 grade. Please RSVP for meal and/or register for child care at toby@hayshills.com or call 295-3132 ext 21. 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