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    First Hand Account of the Texas Cherokee War of 1839

    1839 Letter Describing Battles Against the Cherokees in Eastern Texas. 3pp., 7.75" x 9.75", written by P. F. Roddan, "Republic of Texas, Co. of Nacogdoches", October 26, 1839, integral address with manuscript postal and rate marking, to his parents in Franklinville, New York. The letter bears significant wear with several pieces detached or missing and some staining and toning to the paper; else, an important letter in good condition.

    P. F. Roddan provides a first hand account of a volunteer in the battles with the Cherokees under Burleson, Landrum and Rusk in the summer of 1839 near Rusk, Texas. Roddan came to Texas the previous March via Mississippi and New Orleans. He came to Texas on the promise of fast money and "landed at Nacogdoches a town that has been taken & retaken by the Mexicans burned and rebuilt 14 times it presents at this time little more than ruined heaps of rubbish and ashes." He further describes how the country was in a state of rebellion by several tribes of Indians that had been permitted to settle in the country called Eastern Texas "under a mask of friendship." He writes: "I immediately found a company of volunteers for the protection of the frontier...". They marched on the Indians and were told by them to turn back, but kept on and built a fort. The Indians were "daily expecting a reinforcement from Mexico". Roddan writes that "We would have been victims of tomeyhawks [sic] & scalping knives, an event occurred which exposed their bloody designs which coinciding with the situation would have been inevitable. Expresses was[sic] dispatched to various parts of the Republic in a few days an army of 1000 volunteers joined us to expel the two [Indians and Mexicans]." He then provides a dramatic account of the actual battle. Apparently an optimist, Roddan looks past the carnage and ends his letter "I have reason to believe I can do well in this country." A rare letter providing a contemporary look at the Cherokee War of 1839.

    This letter is accompanied by three other letters from other members of the Roddan clan written between 1848 and 1850. Of particular note is a one and a half page letter from brother R. F. Roddan, dated September 10, 1850 written from Nevada City to his mother. Written from the California gold fields he writes: "I have come to Nevada it is the best winter digens [sic] in this country...". He then provides his mother with a list of prices for various staples in the California gold field: "Coffee per pound .75, butter per pound $1.75, onions per pound $1.25...". From the Taking of Texas Collection.

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    Auction Dates
    June, 2008
    14th Saturday
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