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    "A company of Lipans came to the house of Mr. Westfall, the 'Leather Stocking' of the west. Shot him through the Lungs."

    [William A. "Bigfoot" Wallace]. J. M. Henson Autograph Letter Signed. Three and one-half pages, 8" x 10", Arroyo Medio [Texas], July 10, 1855. A gripping account of the Indian attack suffered by Edward Dixon Westfall, and mentioning William "Bigfoot" Wallace's role in discovering the wounded Westfall. In part: "Indians out again Stealing and Killing. Had fight with them six miles from here, wounded one got away, wasnt in the fight myself followed after them about Sixty miles didnt catch up. A company of Lipans came to the house of Mr. [Edward Dixon] Westfall, the 'Leather Stocking' of the west. Shot him through the Lungs. Shot a Frenchman that was with him dead. They didn't know it - Westfall pushed a board off shoot out of a crack, the Indians ran off-Old Big Foot went with some men in search of Negroes. went by Westfall's, found Frenchman dead-eat up with Buzzards almost, thought Westfall was killed and left for the nearest Settlement, Fort Inge distant about 30 miles-found Westfalls trail going in the same direction knew he was wounded badly and pushed on after it and reached the Fort the day after Westfall did who was out four days without anything to eat, and but a Gourd full of water not being able the first ten days to go but Seven miles. He is likely to recover and is going back as soon as he gets well. We are talking about going into Mexico after the Rascals and neutrality laws will not prevent it."

    Westfall had served under Wallace when Wallace was commissioned to raise a company of rangers for the defense of the frontier. After his service, Westfall returned to his cabin in Zavala County, and soon thereafter suffered this attack.

    The letter also contains information about the Know-Nothing Party, which was especially popular in Texas during the mid-1850s. After jokingly cursing his friend-"drat your vagrant gizzard wonderin in furrin parts"-Henson tries to convince him to come back to Texas and run for office. "Why didn't you tell me for what you left Texas whether for good or not. What have you done with your negroes &c &c. You must not think of deserting Texas that way Samuel. It will not do. I have just discovered new ladders to distinction here and a man of ambition and daring can become conspicuous. Come back and try your hand in politics. I was earnestly Solicited to come out for the Legislature but declined. Great excitement prevailing about the election. Native Americans [the Know Nothing political party] one of whom I am which, against the Democratic party. Respectable and influential Germans going to vote the American [another name for the Know Nothings] Ticket. Probable success of the American Ticket, I hope so." The letter exhibits smoothed folds; written on light-blue, lined paper.


    More Information:

    [Transcribed as written:]

     

    Arroy Medio July 10th 1855

     

    Dear Samuel

     

    "Buenas Tatus"[?] to you. You are a pretty fellow indeed. Me, thinking about you figuring in waco in hickory shirt and blue jacket building "Jacal"[?] and "Cornels" and you drat your vagrant gizzard wonderin in furrin [foreign] parts. Why didn't you tell me for what you left Texas whether for good or not. What have you done with your negroes &c &c.  You must not think of deserting Texas that way Samuel. It will not do. I have just discovered new ladders to distinction here and a man of ambition and daring can become conspicuous. Come back and try your hand in politics. I was earnestly Solicited to come out for the Legislature but declined. Great excitement prevailing about the election. Native Americans one of whom I am which, against the Democratic party. Respectable and influential Germans going to vote the American Ticket. Probable success of the American Ticket, I hope so.

     

    You must beat Tom Clingman if you can. The people of NC[?] do not know how to appreciate Native American opposition to foreigners or Roman Catholics in the sense they are opposed to them, because they know nothing essentially about them. Let any of them live here in this vicinity a while and they will reject the Swine tail and all. We have had a fine season of rain recently most too late to do much good pretty fair average Crops -grass fine and cattle sleek as Stable horses. Indians out again Stealing and Killing. Had fight with them six miles from here, wounded one got away, wasnt in the fight myself followed after them about Sixty miles didnt catch up. A company of Lipans came to the house of Mr. Westfall, the "Leather Stocking" of the west. Shot him through the Lungs. Shot a Frenchman that was with him dead. They didn't know it - Westfall pushed a board off shoot out of a crack, the Indians ran off-Old Big Foot went with some men in search of Negroes. went by Westfall's, found Frenchman dead-eat up with Buzzards almost, thought Westfall was killed and left for the nearest Settlement, Fort Inge distant about 30 miles-found Westfalls trail going in the same direction knew he was wounded badly and pushed on after it and reached the Fort the day after Westfall did who was out four days without anything to eat, and but a Gourd full of water not being able the first ten days to go but Seven miles. He is likely to recover and is going back as soon as he gets well. We are talking about going into Mexico after the Rascals and neutrality laws will not prevent it. The Revolution is going successfully in Mexico and a number have gone from about here to join the Federalists. It is a very popular thing here and elicits material aid from all classes and conditions  I understand. Stirring times these you ought to come back, you broke up the nest on the Hondo. Marsh is well Senioretta saucy and, and the dogs dead  "intende" where will it end "Queen Sabe" Give my respects-love &c-to all that inquire for me. If Peter [. . . illegible] has come back tell him not to be uneasy about his money that it shall be forth coming whenever a proper demand is made upon me. How is Dirgan coming on with his Springs tell him I am well &c. You must write a long letter next time and write Soon

     

    Your Good friend

    J M Henson



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