TexasEscapes.com HOME Welcome to Texas Escapes
A magazine written by Texas
Custom Search
NEW
TEXAS TOWNS
GHOST TOWNS
COUNTIES
TOPICS
TRIPS
ARCHITECTURE
COLUMNS
ARCHIVE
SITE MAP
SEARCH SITE
HOTELS




Texas | Columns | All Things Historical

BATTLE OF THE NECHES

by Archie P. McDonald, PhD
Archie McDonald, PhD

Sam Houston and Mirabeau B. Lamar, the first two presidents of the Republic of Texas did not agree on anything, and the policy of their administrations toward Indians offers ample evidence of their differences -- Houston loved them and Lamar did not.

Houston's fondness for the Cherokee grew from his boyhood experiences with them in Tennessee. Raised by a widow and often disapproving older brothers, Houston spent a large part of his younger years living among the Cherokee. After he left Tennessee late in the 1820s, he again lived with and operated a trading post for Indians in western Arkansas-eastern Oklahoma.

Lamar, on the other hand, came from Georgia, where many regarded the Cherokee as enemies because they occupied land by treaties dating from colonial days. Georgians drove them out of their state, contrary to a Supreme Court decision upholding the Indian's right to the land, when President Andrew Jackson refused to enforce the Court's ruling. The Battle of the Neches, fought in Smith and Van Zandt counties on July 15-16, 1839, had similar cause.

During Houston's administration, the first for the new Republic of Texas, the president tried vainly to get the Texas Congress to honor a treaty he had negotiated with Cherokees in East Texas that kept them pacified during the Revolution in exchange for title to their lands. When Lamar succeeded Houston he adopted a policy similar to that of his home state -- to chase the Indians out of Texas so their land could be occupied by white settlers. Many East Texans agreed with Lamar.

The Cherokee in East Texas were led by Chief Bowl, or Duwali in the Indian tongue. His people had been forced westward before and were unwilling to abandon established homes again. And so was fought the Battle of the Neches, with the predictable outcome -- surviving Cherokee were driven north into Indian Territory, later known as Oklahoma.

Quite a few prominent Texans engaged in the battle, among them Kelsey H. Douglass, former Texas secretary of war and later U.S. Senator Thomas Jefferson Rusk, former interim president of Texas David G. Burnet, later Confederate General Albert Sidney Johnston, and later Confederate Postmaster John H. Reagan.

The Texans brought about 500 men to the fracas, the Indians a few more with estimates ranging from 600 to 700. Even so, they were over matched. Bowl, or Duwali, was shot by Henry Conner and Robert W. Smith. Lamar and many other Texans considered this noble work. They had ended Indian difficulties forever in the eastern part of Texas and gained control of additional land for whites to settle. The Cherokee -- and Houston -- had a different view.


All Things Historical November 12-18, 2000 Column
A syndicated column in over 70 East Texas newspapers
Published by permission.
(Archie P. McDonald is Director of the East Texas Historical Association and author or editor of more than 20 books on Texas)





COLUMNS:
  • Mike Cox - "Texas Tales"
  • Clay Coppedge - "Letters from Central Texas"
  • Murray Montgomery - "Lone Star Diary"
  • Wanda Orton - "Wandering"
  • Michael Barr - "Hindsights"
  • Maggie Van Ostrand - "A Balloon in Cactus"
  • David Knape - "Once Upon A Line" Poems
  • Roger Todd Moore - "Moore Texas" Cartoons
  • John Troesser
    More columns



  • All Texas Towns :
    Gulf Gulf Coast East East Texas North Central North Central Woutn Central South Panhandle Panhandle
    South South Texas Hill Hill Country West West Texas Ghost Ghost Towns counties COUNTIES

    TEXAS ESCAPES CONTENTS
    HOME | TEXAS ESCAPES ONLINE MAGAZINE | SEARCH SITE
    TEXAS TOWNS A-Z | TEXAS GHOST TOWNS A-Z | TEXAS COUNTIES

    Texas Hill Country | East Texas | Central Texas North | Central Texas South | West Texas | Texas Panhandle | South Texas | Texas Gulf Coast
    TRIPS | STATES PARKS | RIVERS | LAKES | DRIVES | FORTS | MAPS

    Texas Attractions
    TEXAS TOPICS
    People | Ghosts | Historic Trees | Cemeteries | Small Town Sagas | WWII | History | Texas Centennial | Black History | Art | Music | Animals | Books | Food
    COLUMNS : History, Humor, Topical and Opinion

    TEXAS ARCHITECTURE | IMAGES
    Courthouses | Jails | Churches | Gas Stations | Schoolhouses | Bridges | Theaters | Monuments/Statues | Depots | Water Towers | Post Offices | Grain Elevators | Lodges | Museums | Rooms with a Past | Gargoyles | Cornerstones | Pitted Dates | Stores | Banks | Drive-by Architecture | Signs | Ghost Signs | Old Neon | Murals | Then & Now
    Vintage Photos

    USA | MEXICO | HOTELS

    Privacy Statement | Disclaimer | Contributors | Staff | Contact TE
    Website Content Copyright Texas Escapes LLC. All Rights Reserved