Otsego Herald: A letter from the ‘Republican Army of Texas’

Paul Donnelly Village historian Hugh MacDougall, right, poseswith Katherine Lloyd and Harry Bradshaw Mathewsat a recent Friends of the VIllage Library event. MacDougall will be the speaker at another library event at 3 p.m. Sunday.

The Otsego Herald for Oct. 4, 1819, compiled, with comments:

 Prospects improve

Alexandria, (Lou.), August 6,1818

Prospects here brighten daily; letters from different parts of the United States promise men and means. ... The great want for American troops now, is to keep the Indians that are with us in order, so as to prevent them from killing prisoners, as well as well as women and children, and plundering private property. ...

We shall advance in ten days at least, from this place towards St. Antonio; we have large parties out in that quarter. Col. Cook is despatched for Pacan Point (Pecan Point) to bring on a detachment of troops collected at that place, and will form a junction on the Rio Brasee. The adjutant general and Major Smith have taken a party on to Galvestown (sic) agreeably to arrangements, there to open a port and establish a court of admiralty.

The pay of a private soldier in our service is $13 per month, corporal $16, and sergeant $20, commissioned officers in proportion, plus a bounty of ten sections of land ... agreeable to rank.

About 200 persons have voluntarily taken the oath of allegiance in the new republic. ...

COMMENT: To say that I had never heard of, and had great difficulty in identifying, this “Republican Army of Texas” is all too true. The Texas revolution against Mexico took place in 1836, and it joined the United States in 1846. In 1818, the territory still belonged to Spain. The only reference I have found reads:

“The first conflict between Anglo-Americans and Texas Indians occurred on Galveston Island late in the fall of 1819, antedating more than a year the arrival of Moses Austin at San Antonio de Bezar, seeking permission to establish a colony in the province of Texas.” See: James T. de Shields, “Border Wars of Texas,” Tioga, Texas. 1912, p. 17.

Another source describes a Letter of 1811 in which an Indian agent speaks of “another Collection of Bad men & some Women,” whom he described as escapees from American jails, who had established a settlement at Pacan Point on the Red River, much to the annoyance of the Caddo Indians.

A marriage?

In Greenfield, N.Y., we perceive the marriage announced of Doctor Young, aged 70, to Miss James, aged 18. In future the phraseology of such unions should be altered — for marriage, read adoption. — National Advertiser.

COMMENT: But it presumably would be perfectly legal even today.

Boundary dispute with Canada

It appears that the fort which our government began to erect on Lake Champlain, falls within the British lines. This is to be regretted, but if it fairly belongs to them by treaty, let them have it. If we lose Rouse’s Point, it is said we shall receive a compensation in the District of Maine.

Our Northeastern boundary, it is said, will be many miles further north than has heretofore been supposed. — It will extend so far as completely to cut off communication between the provinces, and will embrace within our limits a considerable French Settlement, which has formerly been under the jurisdiction of Canada. — Portland Argus

COMMENT: As to the fort, it was indeed just inside the Canadian frontier, and construction immediately ceased. The unfinished fort was popularly renamed “Fort Blunder.” In 1842 the Webster-Ashburton Treaty was signed between Britain and the US, and did divide the disputed territory in northern Maine. It gave America 7,000 square miles and Britain 5,000 square miles.

Lost watch chain

A gold watch chain with a seal and 2 keys, was lost on the 9th September. Whoever has found the same and will leave it with the Printers hereof, shall be handsomely rewarded.

COMMENT: Presumably this notice was sent to a number of newspaper printers, since neither the paper nor where the chain was lost is given.

‘Reflection at Sea’

See how beneath the moonbeam’s smile,

Yon little billow heaves its breast,

And foams and sparkles for a while,

And murm’ring then, subsides to rest.

Thus man, the sport of envious care,

Rises on Time’s eventful sea.

And having swell’d a moment there,

Thus melts into eternity.

COMMENT: Nearly every issue of The Otsego Herald carried a number of poems, usually much longer than this one, and thus not practical to include in our excerpts.

This poem was written by Thomas Moore (1780-1852). He was an Irish poet, singer, songwriter and entertainer, now best remembered for the lyrics of “The Minstrel Boy” and “The Last Rose of Summer.” This brief verse of his, however, seems to carry a significant meaning about the brief nature of life.

Oaksville cotton factory

Notice: The Stockholders of the Oaksville Cotton Manufacturing Company are notified to meet at the store of R. Williams in Cooperstown,on the 11th day of October next.

RUSSELL WILLIAMS, Cooperstown, Sept.25. 1818 [sic]

COMMENT: The factory was established in 1815, with an authorized capital of $50,000.

Recommended for you