Rosalie Hart Priour Autobiography

"Adventures of a Family of Emigrants" with notes and commentary by historian Frank Wagner (indicated in green).


Chapter 22


We took two cannon to Galveston Island. It was then a sand bar uninhabited by the human race, and I have heard mother say that when the island was inhabited one person was found buried eighteen ft. in the sand.

We embarked on one of the schooners for New Orleans, a hotel keeper's family on the same vessel. One day, I took her little baby to play with it, and while walking on deck I approached the cabin, the child began struggling and at the same time the schooner careened to one side and the baby fell into the cabin, but fortunately it was not hurt. It seemed a miracle that the little darling was not killed. The child's mother was keeping hotel at Powerhorn in 1849 when I came to Texas on a visit to my mother, and recognized me instantly by the scar I have over my left eye. The first word she said was, "Are you not Mrs. Hart's daughter?, and "Do you not remember me?"

I told her I had forgotten her. She then reminded me of our voyage from Texas to Mobile during the runaway scrape and how I had let her baby fall into the cabin.

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The hotelkeeper from Powderhorn cannot be identified. No hotelkeeper is listed in the 1850 Census Schedules.

"Runaway scrape" was a current expression for the retreat of the Texas Army before General Sam Houston's defeat of Santa Anna's army at San Jacinto. Various fanciful accounts of its origin have been current the past 150 years.

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This explanation caused me to remember her, and I was very glad to meet one of our old Texians. It always appeared like meeting one of my own family.

When people go through so many hardships and suffering together, it seems to cement their love and esteem they have for each other in such a way that nothing in afterlife can change it. As I said before my digression, we started for New Orleans, but had only been out on the Gulf three days when we were chased by a Mexican privateer. As it happened, the night was dark, and the Capt. extinguished the lights on board of the vessel, and changed our course. Instead of going to New Orleans as intended, we went to Mobile.

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According to Niles Register, April 30, 1836:

Mobile, April 11

From Matagorda. The brig Tensaw, capt. Averill, arrived last evening from Matagorda in 8 days. Capt. Averill mainly confirms the melancholy intelligence copied from the Register of last evening. She brings fifty passengers, mostly women and children, who have fled. It was reported that but four men were left in Matagorda, who were provided with boats to quit the place (after having blown it up). The Tensaw saw a Mexican cruiser twelve hours after she left Matagorda.

New Orleans, April 11

We have the following reports by the gen. De Kalb, from Brazoria, that sailed on the 3d instant. General Houston had retreated twenty miles from the Colorado on the 26th of March, the enemy having advanced to the opposite shore. San Felippe had been burnt by the inhabitants. Intelligence had been received at the mouth of the river, that col. Fanning had capitulated on condition not again to serve against the Mexicans, but that the next morning the whole garrison was put to the sword. No official information, however, had been received, and it was not generally believed. The Mexicans were advancing in two columns, one upon Houston, the other upon the mouth of the Brazos. The De Kalb is full of women and children, and also many other vessels. The inhabitants are destroying everything and laying waste the country, lest it should fall into Mexican hands.

Mrs. Hart and her two children were thus on the Tensaw. The Tensaw had been the first steamship built in Alabama, having been constructed at Blakely on Mobile Bay in 1817.


Chapter 21 - Chapter 23

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