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Columbus, Texas

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Consider the Lily:
The Ungilded History of Colorado County, Texas

by Bill Stein

(Copyright, Nesbitt Memorial Library and Bill Stein)

Part 2 : 1828-1836

As regards the history of the area that is now known as Colorado County, Texas, the decade between 1826 and 1835 is the least well documented since the arrival of Austin's colonists. Some people who were in the area in those years wrote reminiscences, but they concentrated either on their experiences shortly after they arrived, which, in their cases, was before 1826, or on their experiences during the hostilities by which the colonists forced their separation from Mexico. Historians have seldom turned their attention to the intervening decade. Those who have, have tended to be interested only in the events that led to the rebellion. One must not imagine, however, that the citizens on the Colorado spent the entire decade preparing for or fomenting a revolution.

Most of the specifics of the colonists lives during that decade are unknown. Their troubles with Indians certainly persisted, though seemingly they had abated. In 1832, when Levi Bostick moved his family to a site near where Columbus would be established, the area was still subject to Indian raids. Naturally enough, so were sites well upriver. In the early 1830s, the Rabbs had numerous horses stolen from their homes near the present site of La Grange. Such raids most likely were the work of renegade individuals.1

One old Indian fighter, James J. Ross, made his peace with the Tonkawas at least, and used them, quite illegally, for his own ends. Initially, he impressed the Indians to pick cotton or gather pecans. Then, he encouraged his new Tonkawa friends to steal horses from the Comanches and trade them to him for whiskey. This practice caused at least one unwelcome visit to the settlement by the Comanches, who were searching for the Tonkawas. Later, Ross and the Tonkawas apparently had trouble distinguishing a horse owned by a Comanche from one owned by a settler, for a number of the latter began showing up in Ross' corrals. In response to complaints, in 1834 the government ordered Ross to run the Indians off his land and to cease encouraging them to steal. When he refused, a posse of his neighbors decided to enforce the order. Ross, attempting to intervene, fired guns at the posse and was shot dead. 2

Ross' predecessor as militia captain, Robert H. Kuykendall, maintained a far better reputation than Ross, but suffered an equally grievous fate. Apparently in the late 1820s, he went blind from what a physician later described as "a supposed depression of the brain." That physician, Robert Peebles, performed surgery on Kuykendall on March 20, 1830 in Brazoria, and reported the following week that his patient seemed to be better though he still could not see. Neither the details of the surgery nor the degree of Kuykendall's improvement after it is known. Kuykendall was tough enough to survive the medical attentions of the time, though only for a year or two. He died, probably in 1832, but certainly before November 1833. 3

In early 1828, the government of Austin's Colony was reorganized. The colony itself was elevated to the status of a municipality, designated the Municipality of Austin. The Colorado District and the other districts were eliminated, and the local alcaldes were replaced by a single assembly, known as the ayuntamiento, which convened regularly in the municipality's capital, San Felipe. Initially, the ayuntamiento consisted of a single alcalde, two regidors, and an officer called the sindico procurador, of which Rawson Alley was the first. Each official served a term of one year. The new civil form of government seems to have left the existing militia divisions intact, ordering an election for a captain and two lieutenants in the former Colorado District on March 30, 1828, for its first year. However, on February 11, 1829, the ayuntamiento reorganized the militia districts, creating five, the first four of which were to field one company. The fifth, which comprised all of the territory along the Colorado River north of Skull Creek, that is, most of what is now Colorado County, was to field only half a company, reflecting, one must suppose, the area's then limited population.4

On February 2, 1830, the ayuntamiento turned its attention to the settler's land grants, ordering several persons, including those interested in the labors on the Colorado River that adjoined the Elizabeth Tumlinson league, to appear before them on March 2. That day, William Bluford Dewees entered his claim to title to the labors, but the ayuntamiento disallowed it and declared the labors vacant. The same day, they addressed the situation regarding William Rabb's land grant on the Colorado River. In addition to his single league, Rabb had been granted a bonus of three leagues on condition that he build a saw and grist mill. The ayuntamiento avoided mention that he had not yet complied with that condition, but pointed out that he had been driven off the land three times by Indians, and recommended that title to his bonus leagues be affirmed. Their recommendation, however, was not acted upon. Instead, two months later, the ayuntamiento reversed all its previous decrees regarding land, including that which had declared the Colorado River labors vacant, but decided to investigate all of Austin's land grants to be sure that the terms under which they were given had been complied with.5

Like Rabb, another settler on the Colorado, James Cummins, had been granted bonus land on the condition that he build a mill, a condition which he too had as yet failed to comply with. Cummins had gotten a full hacienda (five square leagues) as his bonus. On September 3, 1829, he agreed to convey two of the five leagues to William Robinson, on condition that Robinson build a mill on one of the two leagues before April 1, 1830. Robinson did not complete the mill, and consequently, did not get title to the land. On April 2, Cummins, worried about his own title, wrote the land office. He explained that he had made every attempt to construct the mill, but, because of a lack of skilled labor and proper provisions, he had failed. He threw himself on the mercy of the government, pointing out that he had expended most of his resources in attempting to build the mill, that the debts he had incurred had compelled him to sell the league on which he had settled and which he had spent six years developing, and that if he were forced to forfeit the hacienda, he would be unable to support his large family. He asked for either more time to build the mill, or for a concession of two leagues within the colony. Stephen F. Austin attached a statement supporting his request, and pointed out that Cummins had served as alcalde for four years.6

The ayuntamiento addressed both Cummins' and Rabb's situations on December 15, 1830. They blamed Indian incursions for the failure of both men to build mills; acknowledged their service to the community and their status as pioneers, and, in Cummins' case, cited his service as alcalde without compensation; and gave each man an additional eighteen months to comply with the terms of their grants. Cummins apparently recognized that he would not be able to build a mill, for on February 9, 1831, the government followed his earlier suggestion, repossessing his hacienda, but authorizing him to select two leagues in its stead. He asked for the northernmost and southernmost leagues in his original hacienda, and, on November 18, 1831, took title to them. Rabb built his mill, apparently in 1831, and retained title to his land. He did not live long after completing it, however, dying before the end of 1831.7

Apparently, in 1832, the ayuntamiento created an entity known as the District of Alfred which encompassed territory that now is a part of Colorado County. The exact character of the district is unknown, though evidently it was a subsidiary of the Municipality of Austin. Five representatives from the District of Alfred, Samuel Bruff, David Wright, William Demetrius Lacey, William R. Hensley, and Jesse Burnam, attended the Convention of 1832, which met from October 1 through October 6. On the last day of the convention, William Robinson was appointed treasurer of the district.8

The creation of the District of Alfred probably indicates that there had been an increase in the population of the settlements along the Colorado River. The population of the entire colony certainly had increased markedly in the first few months of 1830. By that summer, there were more than 4000 people in the colony, and by the end of the next year, more than 5000. By the summer of 1832, Austin claimed that his colony had a population of about 8000.9

Whether or not it stimulated the population, the contract, secured by Austin and Samuel May Williams on February 25, 1831, which allowed them to settle 800 more families on vacant lands within Austin's original colony and on other lands in Texas, certainly had stimulated land ownership in the area of what would become Colorado County. In April and May 1831, six leagues of prime land along the east side of the Navidad River and seven tracts on the Colorado River were taken by colonists. Among the new land owners on the Navidad were Jesse Burnam, William W. W. Thompson, and James Bowie, each of whom patented full leagues. On the Colorado, William B. Dewees took title to a half-league of land, which supplemented the half-league he had taken as James Cook's partner seven years earlier. He was entitled to the additional land evidently because he had gotten married. Just upriver from Dewees' new tract, Henry Austin, who was Stephen F. Austin's cousin, took title to a full five leagues. He had applied for eleven leagues on February 24, 1830, on the grounds that he had already gone to considerable trouble and expense to introduce navigation to the rivers of Texas, and that he intended to bring not only his family of eight persons, but also industry and capital to the colony. Evidently, his reasoning was good enough, for his request was granted. Certainly, too, it paid to have relatives in high places.10

Nicholas Dillard's school apparently had lasted a very short time. The building that it had occupied, probably hastily and less-than-ideally constructed, must have quickly fallen into disrepair. Though it is referred to in an 1833 document as the "school-house," it is fairly certain that there were no schools in the immediate area in 1834. That year, about a year after her husband, Levi, had died, Martha Hill Bostick took it upon herself to hire a man named Lovelady to instruct her children. Lovelady's school, which convened in the Bostick home, attracted students from throughout the settlement.11

In late April and early May 1833, another flood, the second since they had arrived on the Colorado, afflicted the settlers. Fortunately, crop damage was slight. However, many settlers were, without doubt, unprepared for the flood. The three surviving Alley brothers, Rawson, Abraham, and William, were trapped in their house for several days by the rising waters. Rawson Alley had been selected to attend the Convention of 1833, which convened in San Felipe on April 1, but he had been too ill to attend. Still sick, he died while the flood was at its apex, leaving his brothers to bury him, in what must have been a quick and muddy ceremony, after the waters receded several days later. John Rabb, who lived about a half mile from his brother, Andrew, on the river near where La Grange would later be established, did not evacuate his family until the waters covered the floors of his house. When he had gotten them to safety, he and another man, who was apparently named Baptiste, returned to the house to attempt to save the family's furniture and other things. They secured some items in the top of a cedar tree, then tried to make their way to Andrew Rabb's house. Baptiste failed to make it, but saved himself from drowning by spending the night in a tree. John Rabb arrived safely, cut a hole in the roof, and spent the night in his brother's loft. The next day, both men were rescued. When the flood waters receded, the Rabb brothers quite sensibly moved their houses to higher ground. The mill that their father had completed less than two years earlier was apparently destroyed.12

Members of the rather large Rabb family settled not only in present-day Fayette County, but in what is now Wharton County. Andrew Rabb, his brother Thomas J. Rabb, and his brother-in-law Joseph Newman, had, in the summer of 1824, been granted adjacent leagues of land on the east side of the Colorado River just south of the present Colorado County line. Thomas Rabb apparently lived in the area continuously, while Andrew and John Rabb, the latter of whom reportedly bought land from the former in 1827, alternately lived there and elsewhere. As early as 1832, a second group of people who were related to each other in all manner of ways, began moving into the area just south of the Rabbs. On February 15, 1832, Eli Mercer, then living in the Mina precinct, purchased a tract of land just south of Joseph Newman's. A few years later, William Jones Elliott Heard moved in south of Mercer.13

As the settlement around Mercer's developed, families from what would soon become Germany began moving into the area east of Cummins Creek a few miles north of its mouth. The German settlement had its genesis on Mill Creek, when a fugitive from justice who, to better conceal himself, had truncated his name to Friedrich Ernst, moved into the area with his family and another German-speaking man, Charles Fordtran. Ernst, who received title to his league of land on April 16, 1831, at first had difficulty sustaining himself and his family. Nonetheless, and despite the risk of exposing his whereabouts to the authorities, he soon wrote a letter describing his trip and mightily praising his new home. The letter became widely known in Oldenburg at least. Within a few years, a colony of Germans, at least some of whom had been attracted to Texas by the letter, and most of whom seemingly could speak neither the language of their adopted country, Spanish, nor that favored by most of the earlier settlers in the area, English, would develop around Ernst's home.14

Among the newly arrived Germans were Peter Pieper, Friedrich Adolph Zimmerscheidt, and Bernard Beimer. Pieper came to America from Westphalia, apparently without a proper passport, in 1833. Zimmerscheidt may have arrived in Texas as early as 1832, and certainly had by 1834. They were eventually to receive a square league of land each, Pieper's to the north of and adjacent to Zimmerscheidt's. Pieper, who was forty when he emigrated, had left a wife, their daughter, and her son by a previous marriage behind him. Probably in 1834, but certainly before March 1835, he appeared at the land office and requested a league of land. Zimmerscheidt may have accompanied Pieper, for he too visited the land office in, apparently, 1834. Unlike Pieper, Zimmerscheidt had had the foresight to bring his wife to Texas with him. Both men had the leagues in which they were interested surveyed in 1834 by the same man, Samuel P. Browne. The league Pieper requested was set aside for him, but he was not allowed to take title until he met an undefined condition. Probably, as proof that he had one, he was given a deadline to produce his family. Intending all along, we must suppose, to import his wife and children, he got word to them that they must leave their native land on or before March 15, 1835 in order to arrive in Texas on time. His dutiful wife complied, securing the necessary papers and, while she was at it, legalizing her husband's prior emigration. She arrived in Texas with the children, apparently just under the wire. However, she was destined never again to see her husband. Family lore has it that she was killed by Indians while on her way to meet him. From whatever cause, she died, but her two children survived. Pieper, with his deadline hanging over him, went in search of his family, found the children, declared to the boy, whose name was Anton Menke, that henceforth he must be known as Anton Pieper, identified himself to his not-yet-six-year-old daughter, and carried them off to the land office to get title to his league. He succeeded in doing so on February 11, 1836. Five days earlier, Beimer, who applied for his land on November 5, 1835, had taken title to a league. Zimmerscheidt, however, apparently did not complete his paperwork, and did not receive title until much later.15

The death of Elizabeth Tumlinson, some time before February 2, 1830, triggered a series of events which led to the establishment of the town of Columbus. Tumlinson, whose husband, John, had been killed by Indians in 1823, received title to a league of land on the Colorado River the following year. Upon her death, her plantation was offered for rent; whether successfully or not cannot be said. Three years later, on December 19, 1833, Tumlinson's six surviving children or their representatives met somewhere in the District of Alfred to split up the land. Three commissioners, Dewees, Robert J. Moseley, and Collins M. Beeson, and a surveyor, William R. Hensley, divided Tumlinson's league and labor into six pieces, which they called lots, and numbered each lot from one to six. Each heir then drew a slip of paper from a hat to determine which lot he received. Less than a year later, on September 6, 1834, John J. Tumlinson sold half of the part of the league that he had thereby inherited to Dewees.16

Dewees may have coveted the property ever since 1823, when he accompanied Stephen F. Austin, who at the time had designs on establishing a city there, to the site. Moseley, who may have rented the property from the Tumlinsons, certainly already lived in the area. So did Martha Hill Bostick and her family, who had lived inside the bend to the north of the property Dewees purchased since 1832. Dewees, who, because evidence indicates he lived on the site before completing purchase of it, may also have rented some of the Tumlinson land, was firmly established there by the end of 1834. For the next two or three years, though some people called it Moseley's, the site would be most often referred to as Dewees' Crossing.17

Shortly after acquiring the place, Dewees initiated his own plan to establish a city on it. Just what happened next is not altogether clear. Certainly, no progress as regards the construction of buildings was made. Travelers began crossing the river, apparently with increasing frequency, at Dewees', and with decreasing frequency at Beeson's. Dewees may have toyed with the idea of resurrecting the name of Montezuma for his proposed town, and indeed may have marketed lots under that name. Whatever the case, by the end of 1835, the incipient town, not yet stout enough even to be called a fledgling, had acquired the name Columbus.18

The first mention of the town by name occurred in a December 30, 1835 petition, signed by 54 men, asking the provisional government to create a new municipality, the Municipality of Colorado, with its seat of government at the town of Columbus. The petition recommended boundaries for the new municipality, and declared that at least 1500 people lived within them. Working quickly, the General Council of the Provisional Government of Texas passed the law that created the municipality less than two weeks later, on January 8, 1836. The following day, the government elected William Menefee and William Demetrius Lacey as the municipality's first and second judges. The Municipality of Colorado extended to the Lavaca River on the southwest, to Buckner's Creek and the La Bahia Road on the northwest, and to the San Bernard on the northeast. To the south, the boundary was a true east-west line that extended from the southernmost point of the Municipality of Austin on the San Bernard River to the Lavaca River. The Municipality of Colorado thereby included much of what is now the northern part of Wharton County, considerable land in what is now the northeastern part of Lavaca County, and the southeastern half, more or less, of what is now Fayette County. The law which created it also appointed Lacey, Eli Mercer, and Robert Brotherton to set up, at Columbus, a seat of government, with facilities for maintaining records and holding court; and to ensure that elections for civil officials were held on or before February 1, 1836, that is, almost immediately. No record of any such elections has been found. However, the law also gave the new municipality the authority to elect and send two delegates to the general convention which was to meet at Washington in March 1836, and two such delegates, Menefee and Lacey, were certainly elected and seated. The election returns were signed by Martin D. Ramsey, who identified himself as the alcalde, that is, as the chief elected civil official of the municipality.19

The new municipality hardly had time to get off the ground before the Mexican army, responding to the revolutionary incursions of the Texas settlers, arrived at the gates of the Alamo. In late February 1836, as the siege of the Alamo moved toward its inevitable conclusion, Thomas J. Rabb raised a company of men from the area around his home, and marched off with them to Gonzales. The company, which included Rabb's near neighbors Elijah G. and Eli Mercer, William Jones Elliott Heard, and James Nelson, joined the growing army at Gonzales on March 6, the same day that the Alamo was captured and its garrison annihilated by the Mexican army. Five days later, Sam Houston arrived in Gonzales to take command. He organized the army on the thirteenth, and, after hearing of the capture of the Alamo and in expectation of the arrival of the Mexican army, began retreating toward the Colorado River, leaving Gonzales in the middle of the night. The residents of Gonzales, whose town was burned behind them, quickly followed the army.20

Houston and his men, including two of Jesse Burnam's sons, John Hickerson Burnam and William Owen Burnam, who were serving in Rabb's company, arrived at Burnam's Crossing on March 16. They crossed the Colorado in drizzly conditions on the 17th, then moved a short distance downriver and, that afternoon, established a camp near John Crier's home on the east bank of the river. Two days later, soaked by a persistent rain, they proceeded downriver. On March 20, Houston detached about 100 men under Sydney Sherman to guard Dewees' Crossing, and proceeded with the main army to Beeson's Crossing, where, possibly, two more of Rabb's volunteers, Leander Beeson and John James Tumlinson, who had been in the army for nearly a month, were reunited with their families.21

To the north of Houston's army, the German settlement was in an uproar. As much in fear of Indians, whom they believed the Mexicans had urged to action, as of the Mexican army, the German settlers had hidden whatever precious objects they could not carry and fled to the east. Stopped by traffic and bad road conditions, a number of them, including William Frels, Peter Pieper, and Jacob Wolters, camped on the west side of the Brazos River in what is now Washington County until the cessation of hostilities. Two of the German settlers who lingered too long, Renke Stoeltje and Casper Simon, were captured by the Mexicans and interrogated, then released. Another German family in the area was not so lucky. Indians forced their way into the home of Conrad Jürgens and shot him, wounding him in the arm. Since he had no weapon, he fled through the back door, leaving his pregnant wife, Mary Theresa, and two sons behind. He quickly found help, but by the time the four men who went to investigate could reach the house, the Jürgens family had been captured and carried away.22

On March 18, while at Crier's, Houston had dispatched a scouting party consisting of Erastus "Deaf" Smith, Henry Wax Karnes, John Sharp, and six other mounted men. On the west side of the Navidad, on the road which led from Beeson's Crossing to Gonzales, they discovered recent horse tracks, and, after making sure their weapons were loaded and operational, followed the tracks to the east. Before reaching the Navidad, they encountered a few Mexican scouts and attacked. The Mexicans scrambled for the thick woods in the Navidad bottom, some on horseback and some afoot. One, whose horse was shot out from under him, attempted to fight but was killed by shots to the body and head. Another was captured. Houston's scouts, with their prisoner, returned to the scene of the attack, gathered what articles they could from the dead man, then set out on the road to Beeson's Crossing. They had learned from their prisoner that a sizable unit of the Mexican army commanded by Joaquin de Ramírez y Sesma was right behind them. The scouts crossed the Navidad at the home of William W. W. Thompson, setting fire to his house as they left. They arrived at Benjamin Beeson's house to find it guarded by some of Houston's men. One of the scouts escorted their prisoner across the river to Houston's camp; the others apparently tried to get a look at the just-arriving Mexicans. While they were gone, five of Houston's soldiers, determined to steal some bacon from Beeson's house, crossed the river and found the house guarded by a lone sentinel. They bullied their way past him, broke down Beeson's door, and helped themselves to the bacon. As they were mounting their horses, they saw the scouts, chased by a number of Mexican soldiers, running for the house. The five thieves made for the river and crossed to the camp. The scouts spent the night at or near Beeson's house. The next morning, before crossing the river themselves, they set the house and its outbuildings afire.23

The arrival of a unit of the Mexican army, which camped on the west side of the Colorado about midway between Dewees' and Beeson's Crossings, thrilled Houston's men. They were eager for a fight, and fully expected to make one at the Colorado. They cut down several large cottonwood trees at Beeson's and positioned them, as fortifications, along the bank. That evening, Houston sent four or five men farther downriver, to the now seldom-used and otherwise unguarded Atascosito Crossing, to report to him if the Mexican army attempted to cross there. The next few days, the armies remained in their positions. Houston's army, which subsisted on supplies and foodstuffs provided, voluntarily or otherwise, by J. W. E. Wallace, Rhoda G. Hunt, and presumably other persons in the area, was augmented by the addition of several volunteer companies from east Texas. On March 21, Sion Record Bostick joined. Even as he enlisted, for some now obscure military reason, the army moved his family's home from its site inside the bend north of where Columbus would soon grow into the fledgling town itself. On March 23, Houston sent another 100 men to reinforce Sherman at Dewees' Crossing. Sherman, camped about sixty yards from the river, had fortified his position with a trench.24

On the 23rd or 24th, Houston sent a detachment of cavalry numbering, apparently, 64 men, to scout the Mexican positions. The cavalry, under Karnes' command, crossed at Beeson's, but were spotted by the Mexicans before they could get near enough to gather any meaningful information. After the Mexicans opened up on them with artillery, they retreated to the river, threw their saddles in the ferry boat, forced their horses to swim across, and dug in to do battle. The Mexicans, however, never arrived. At dusk, Karnes' men crossed the river and returned to their campsite. Sherman, meanwhile, had set up an ambush and had attempted to lure the Mexicans into it by exposing a few of his scouts to their army and hoping they would pursue. Apparently, the Mexican army was well-trained to avoid such ambushes. For the third time, they passed up the opportunity to chase down mounted men. Sherman's gambit drew no response at all from the Mexican encampment.25

Until at least the 24th, Houston had been determined to fight on the Colorado. While he was camped on the river, his army grew and got better organized every day. His men were eager for battle, and he had received fairly reliable reports on the strength of Ramírez y Sesma's forces in the area. However, on the 26th, Houston rather suddenly decided that a retreat to the Brazos was in order. Thomas Rabb, who had persistently warned Houston that he and many others would leave to attend to their families if the army retreated from the Colorado, did just that. He went to his home to evacuate his wife and children, and left command of his company to Heard. William B. Dewees also left the army, joining his family, which had been camped with some seventy-five others on the east side of the river, awaiting developments. He helped evacuate the families to San Felipe and beyond. Sherman, at Dewees' Crossing, received the order to retreat on the evening of the 26th, and immediately broke camp. His men marched six or seven miles before camping for the night. The next day, they rendezvoused with Houston's men near the San Bernard, and with them, crossed the river.26

More units of the Mexican army crossed the Navidad and entered what would become Colorado County on March 24. It took them until the 27th, however, to reach the old Atascosito Crossing on the Colorado. There, they began building rafts and ferrying men, animals, and equipment across the swollen river. On April 4, they sent a unit upriver to explore Beeson's and Dewees' Crossings. At Dewees', they found Robert J. Moseley's house still standing and apparently took from it some cable and tools. That night, the president, Antonio López de Santa Anna, arrived at his army's camp at the Atascosito Crossing. He crossed the Colorado on April 6 and the San Bernard on the 7th. He was followed by the division commanded by Vicente Filisola, which arrived at the crossing on the 10th and took three days to get across the river. Of course, Santa Anna and his men pursued Houston's army to San Jacinto, where, with the defeat of the Mexican army on April 21 and the capture of Santa Anna the next day, the independence of Texas was secured. Bostick and another of Heard's men, Joel Walter Robison, were two of the several men who later claimed to have participated in the capture of Santa Anna. Three of Heard's men, James Nelson, Mitchell Putnam, and Leroy Wilkinson, were wounded in the battle, Wilkinson so severely that within a year, he died of his wound.27

Santa Anna's army, now commanded by Filisola, retreated, in horribly muddy conditions, to the Colorado. The earliest detachments arrived to secure the Atascosito Crossing in early May. Thereafter, the remnants of the Mexican army filtered through, on their way home. They were closely followed by the newly independent Texans who had fled their homes some two months earlier. Dewees, who with a few others arrived at Dewees' Crossing on May 10, was apparently among the first to return. Before daring to cross to the west side of the river, he and another man set out to find the Mexican army. They rode down to the Atascosito Crossing and observed some of its units still crossing the river. Satisfied that they were in no danger, they returned to Dewees' Crossing, built rafts, and crossed to their old homesites. They found their homes destroyed. Most of the Germans too, returning to their settlements near Cummins Creek, found their houses destroyed.28

Continue with Part 3