1997-2003, Wallace L. McKeehan, All Rights Reserved.
Life in the DeWitt Colony-Index

Colonial Life

Oberste in Texas Irish Empresarios and Their Colonies remarks:

In the year 1835 colonies at Refugio and San Patricio were beginning to grow and to become established.  Commissioner Vidaurri at Refugio and Balmaceda at San Patricio had put the colonists in possession of their lands, and as the newcomers proudly pointed out their leagues of land, and satisfying the Irish love of land, because over the centuries this right had been denied them, they could even chortle with glee that now they were the proud owners of more land than even the Lords of England.  We have a glimpse of conditions as they existed then from a letter written by two enthusiastic arrivals at San Patricio in 1835:

Dear Redmond
Sir,---I am to inform you that I arrived here in safety thanks be to God, after a passage both lingering and disagreeable, being nine weeks from New York, to N. Orleans and only three days to Matagorda, the very bay Captain McCarthy talked of, which I did not expect so near where Jemy was, although Neuesses bar, or the Aransas, which bar is from nine to ten feet; if a company of you joined and chartered a vessel, drawing from four to six feet could ride in at any time take you if you can, Do not come to the Mattagorda, and happy to inform you that, contrary to Mr. John Watters letter to me to Orleans which near had like to reach me, I found this country equal to what was said in the hand bills and better again, do not believe Martin M. or any person who went from here; poor lazy creatures having no inclinations to look after any prudence or industry, really I was astonished when I came amongst the colonists to see them all full of comfort, plenty of Corn, bread Mush Butter Milk and beef and what perhaps those who sent this false report never enjoyed before. As for pigs and fowls they are as numerous as flees. Martin M. ought never show his face in any society as for Henry he acted the villin as is already explained in other letters, felonously striving to rob Carrol and the Priest of their cows. John Parrot and Henry met me at the bar, is well, has a large stock of cattle of every description. The freight from Orleans here is 50 cents pr foot, a Barrel from $2 to 2 50. Bring some boxes of glass, bars soap, plenty candle wicks, bring seeds of every kind, shallots; bring cross cut, whip and frame saws. Let Simon not delay to come as he will find everything according to your wishes. Bring good guns, and powder and shot of every kind.

This letter is for both of you---Bring as many cart wheels and cart mountings as you can, Chains for oxen; no timber, as this is the country for timber of every kind. Bring good Ploughs. Carts rate at $100, here. Bring a supply of sugar coffee and tea and flour for 8 or 9 months; if you have any to spare, you get your price. Gun locks and every thing belonging to locks, screws of every kind, plates for screws Your goods both small and large and every little article you can pack. Pots, pans with covers, ovens &, white muslin both white and brown in pieces. Bring tin cups. Porringers. Any man working 2 days in the week may take his gun and fishing rod the remainder and his horse. Bring your clean english blankets both second hand and new, as you'l get a horse for one fowl. Bring a candle mould. Bring Jerry a good long fowling piece.

Mrs. McMains bring as much tickin as you can, as they were it in trowses here. Mrs. McMains do not be daunted the prospect here is good. Bring your beds. you'll have no work, your daughters can milk 50 cows for you, and make butter which is 25 cents a lb here, in Matamoras 50 cents. A cow has 2 calfes in 10 months a sheep and goat 3 yearlings in 15 months. The healthiest country in the world. The richest land will show like Gentlemens domains in Ireland. Fine wood and water as in any part of the world. As for game and fowl and fish of every kind no man can believe, but those that see. Go to Mr. John or Martin Wates 49 Duand Street, and they will more fully let you know. Give our love to all inquiring friends. Yours until death. Jemima and Mary Toll.

P.S. Bring corn mills, do not bring such a mill as I brought, as it is only a pepper mill. Bring mills with handles, such as you see in chatham square. Show this letter to John Waters. you get a league 3 miles square a labor of 177 acres a town lot of one acre square. Single men one fourth each gets when of age in addition to, you pay $100 to government and has six years to pay, they take Colony produce, the best laws in the world. The Indians are very kind and loving to each other. I was at two parties here we assemble and amuse ourselves. [David Wooman, Jr., Guide to Texas Emigrants, 168-169. (Boston: Printed by M. Hawes, for the Publishers, 81 Cornhill, near N. E. Museum. 1835].

Note from Oberste's Texas Irish Empresarios and Their Colonies. For many years afterwards the residents of San Patricio spoke of the great fiesta which took place on the banks of Agua Dulce Creek, to which McMullen and McGloin had invited their many friends from Matamoros. Since the empresarios had at one time been prominent in business in that Mexican border town they probably thought to advertise their colony by inviting their friends, and take this opportunity to induce them to settle along the Nueces. We are told that a great number from across the border accepted this invitation, and travelling over the old Matemoros road which leads to San Antonio, they came, then oxcarts laden with fruits, food, and gifts. In order to save their guests the inconvenience of crossing the Nueces, the people of San Patricio, well supplied to entertain the visitors, prepared a banquet on the shallow banks of the Agua Dulce Creek where there was a sufficient supply of water for man and beast. For several days the Mexican people were hospitably entertained to the accompaniment of Irish, and Mexican songs and dances. McMullen and McGloin had well succeeded in establishing a happy bond between two divergent people. Later when a settlement grew on banks of this same creek they named it Banquete in commemoration of this fiesta, and the place has retained the same name to this day.

1997-2003, Wallace L. McKeehan, All Rights Reserved.