The Council House Fight

Especially with the Texas capital's move to Austin, now Lipan Apache and Penateka Comanche had wandered into the picture. Raids along the Brazos and Colorado Rivers caused a frontier officer to write the War Department that he was "convinced that speedy relief must be had, or depopulation will necessarily soon ensue. The whole country is literally swarming with redskins." Of main concern were the Comanche raids in and around San Antonio and as far east as Gonzales, where in 1838 four children had been kidnapped, two from the Putnam family and the two Lockhart children, John and Matilda. Despite the best efforts of posses and Rangers, the marauders snuck back to their Comanche territory with plunder and the children.

Distracted by the Cherokee campaign through the summer months and the chase by General Burleson that led to the Christmas Day attack on the last of the Texas Cherokees on the San Saba River, Hugh McLeod, adjutant general, and Mirabeau B. Lamar's 
administration left the western frontier to the militia. Col. Henry Karnes, commander of the forces at Bexar, organized his meager, poorly provisioned troops into roaming companies with only minimal effect. A chase up the San Saba in 1839 led to a confrontation with a band of Comanches at their winter camp. Ranger John H. Moore and a hundred volunteers took the village by surprise but did not succeed in recapturing any of the kidnapped children spotted during the battle. In the midst of the fight the Texans lost their mounts and were forced to walk back to Austin in the February cold.

Despite repeated forays into the settlements and inadequate response by the outposts, a Comanche council decided in January, 1840, to negotiate a peace treaty with the Texans. Karnes reported in a message to Albert Sidney Johnston that the Comanches "refused to treat with the Cherokees, who, along with Mexican agents, solicited them with large presents to enter with them in a war against the Republic." The representatives of the Penateka assured Karnes that they would sit with his people to talk whenever he suggested. Karnes agreed to contact his government but stipulated that no negotiations would take place "without the release of the American Captives, and the restoration of all stolen property; besides giving guarantees that future depredators on our property should be delivered up for punishment." The Comanches agreed to his terms and promised to return within thirty days.

Secretary of War Johnston appointed McLeod and William G. Cooke as special commissioners for the negotiations and sent additional companies of soldiers to Bexar under the general command of Lt. Col. William S. Fisher and his First Regiment. McLeod wrote President Lamar on March 17 from San Antonio that the army was preparing for the negotiations, but no word had yet come from the Comanches. "The troops are in fine condition," he wrote, "well satisfied, and both men & officers delighted with the Country, and their quarters."

Colonel Fisher designated the old stone Council House in San Antponio as the meeting ground. Situated on the corner of Main Plaza and Market Street, it adjoined the city jail and provided a strategic location for controlling the situation. The council room was large enough to accommodate both parties, but there was only one entrance. With soldiers stationed all around the square, an outbreak of violence could be managed.

Mary Maverick, Capt. George T. Howard, and Hugh McLeod were eyewitnesses to the events that day. On March 19 two Comanche scouts arrived in the city and informed McLeod and Cooke that the peace party was on its way. Soon the citizens and soldiers saw sixty-five men, women, and children riding and walking casually toward the plaza. Twelve of the Penateka principal chiefs, led by Muk-wah-ruh, greeted the commissioners stoically and were led into the Council House. Several women accompanied them inside and stood against a back wall while the rest of the party waited outside.

A handful of Comanche boys began to play on the street while Bexar citizens watched, fascinated. Lt. Edward Thompson's brother, a judge from South Carolina residing in Houston and visiting his kin, soon engaged the boys in a game. Seeing their small bows and arrows, he challenged them to shoot at coins and paper money that he leaned against a nearby fence. From across the street, Mrs. Mary Maverick and her neighbor, Mrs. Higginbotham, watched the boys shoot the targets with remarkable accuracy. Cordoning the Council House as soon as the chiefs went inside, Capt. Howard's company waited near the entrance while Capt. William Redd's men stood at ease around the back. Bexar Sheriff Joseph Hood visited with Capt. Redd from the front porch of the jailhouse.

Inside their home, Samuel Maverick sat at the dining table with his brother-in-law Andrew Adams and their guest, Capt. Mathew "Old Paint" Caldwell, in from Gonzales. George W. Cayce, a young man in his late teens who had delivered some papers to Maverick from his father in Matagorda County, was also there. When the Comanches appeared at the plaza, Cayce and Caldwell wandered into the yard to watch. Jinny Anderson, the Maverick's black cook, worked in the kitchen house out back and kept an eye on the four children in her care. Dozens of Anglos and Mexicans wandered around the plaza.

Inside the large council room, McLeod and Cooke stood facing Muk-wah-ruh, with Colonel Fisher at the doorway. A handful of soldiers stood at wary attention with their rifles resting in their arms. Lt. William M. Dunnington stared at Muk-wah-ruh throughout the proceedings. One of the women threw back the long blanket around her to reveal the tiny shape of a young white girl, weakened by starvation and physical abuse. Her nose had been cut and burned to the bone, and she had scars on her shoulders and legs. Fifteen-year-old Matilda Lockhart looked half her age and was in a pitiful state. She had been a captive and slave for two years.

Colonel Fisher, barely able to contain himself, stepped forward and demanded to know where the other captives were. "We have brought in the only one we had," replied Muk-wah-ruh through an interpreter. "The others are with other tribes." Colonel Fisher knelt and spoke quietly for a moment to Matilda. In a shaky voice she told him that many other captives were in the camp where she lived; she had seen some of them that morning.

Colonel Fisher stood up and silence filled the room, interrupted by the flippant voice of the principal chief: "How do you like answer?" he asked. Colonel Fisher responded: "I do not like your answer. I told you not to come here without bringing in your prisoners. You have come against my orders." At this moment McLeod turned toward the door and motioned for a company of soldiers to come inside. Captain Howard led his men in, and they arranged themselves in a line facing the chiefs. Colonel Fisher continued, " Your women and children may depart in peace, and your braves may go and tell your people to send in the prisoners. When those prisoners are returned, your chiefs here present may likewise go free. Until then we will hold you as hostages." The interpreter refused to translate Colonel Fisher's words. Colonel Fisher demanded that he do so, his eyes never leaving Muk-wah-ruh. Haltingly, the interpreter mumbled the Penateka translation.

Instantly and as one, the eleven chiefs behind Muk-wah-ruh strung their bows. Colonel Fisher ordered the soldiers inside the Council House to "Fire if they do not desist." Most of the rifles had already been raised into position as he spoke. The Comanches made the first move. One of the chiefs lunged for the only door out of the room. Captain Howard grabbed the man by his shirt collar. The chief stabbed him in the side but was shot down at the entrance. The first shot brought a firing of arrows and rifles at nearly point-blank range. Smoke filled the room, and the officers shouted orders as the firing continued. Lt. Dunnington was shot through by an arrow, but he turned before he fell and fired his pistol into the face of the closest Comanche. "His brains bespattered the wall; he turned around and exclaimed, 'I have killed him, but I believe he has killed me, too.'" The twelve chiefs and three women lay dead inside in a matter of seconds. Lt. Dunnington died twenty minutes later.

On the plaza, the sounds of gunfire and shouting from inside the building spurred others to action. Two Indian boys strung their bows and shot Judge Thompson through. Another turned and killed young George Cayce where he stood. Capt. Caldwell ran across the plaza unarmed, grabbed a rifle from a warrior, shot him, and beat another to death with the gun until it splintered into pieces. He fell when a rifle ball pierced his leg, but he propped himself against the Council House wall and threw rocks at the enemy as they ran by.

The warriors outside made a break around the back of the building and ran right into Captain Redd's company. The fighting was hand to hand for several minutes, and four Comanches were killed. Pvt. Frederick Kaminski died in the pitched battle. Sheriff Hood started down from the jailhouse porch and was shot in a hail of arrows. Some of the warriors broke through Captain Redd's line and made for the river several blocks away.

Back in the plaza Pvt. Robert J. Whitney lay dead near the entryway of the Council House. Across the street Thomas Higginbotham ran from his house and was severely wounded before he could get to the street. His wife knelt in shock nearby. Next door, Mary Maverick stood transfixed as bullets and arrows passed her. Two Indian boys lay dead in the street; one was the son of Muk-wah-ruh. Gunfire sounded as the Comanches rushed inside buildings around the square. When two warriors headed toward the Maverick house, Mary turned and raced them to the door, pulling down the heavy bar lock just ahead of them.

Sam Maverick and Andrew Adams sat serenely at the dining room table, oblivious to the noise. Mary yelled, "Here are Indians!" Sam grabbed his rifle and headed for the front door as Andrew joined his sister in a race to the backyard. At the rear exit they saw Jinny standing in the backyard with the four children crouched behind her wide apron. She held a large rock overhead and screamed at the Comanche a few feet away, "If you don't go 'way from here I'll mash your head with this rock!" The Indian disappeared behind the kitchen house before Andrew could get off a shot with his pistol, but he chased the Indian and killed him before he reached the riverbank.

Mary hurried to the front of the house just in time to see Col. Lysander Wells riding into the plaza. Unaware of the action, he had stumbled into the middle of the battle. As he pulled up his mount, an Indian leapt onto Wells from the shadows of a building, and the two struggled on horseback. Colonel Wells managed to pull his pistol from its holster and shot the Indian point blank. Then he rode toward the river, firing his pistol at straggling Indians and shouting orders to passersby and soldiers.

Mary saw three Indians lying at the edge of her lawn, two not moving. Higginbotham's journeyman walked over to the wounded Comanche and pointed his pistol at the Indian's head. Mary cried out, "Oh don't, he is dying!" The man laughed and said, "To please you, ma'am, I won't, but it would put him out of his misery," and walked away. From across the plaza, McLeod hollered at her, "Are you crazy? Go in or you will be killed." But Mary went looking for her children.

At the river, the Texans fired into the water as the Comanches retreated. Only one, later identified as a "Mexican renegade," managed to escape. On the square McLeod, Colonel Fisher, and Capt. James C. Allen coordinated the fight that continued. A number of Comanches had hidden in buildings, and a house-to-house search resulted in the deaths of another half-dozen warriors and the capture of twenty-nine, including two old men. One survivor hid in a stone kitchen house off Soledad Street and refused all attempts to be captured. Hours later, as night fell, two Texans crawled into the structure and dropped a burning candlewick ball soaked in turpentine down the chimney. The fiery weapon struck the warrior on his head. He threw open the door and was killed instantly by gunfire.

The Council House Fight ended with thirty-five Comanches dead, including the twelve principal chiefs who had entered the meeting room. Seven soldiers and citizens had died, and eight were seriously wounded. It was thought that Higginbotham and Judge Thompson, the latter shot through the lungs, would not live, but both survived. Medical care was extended through the night by several volunteers under the direction of Dr. Eduard Weidemann, a Russian-born physician who lived in San Antonio.

McLeod wrote his official report the following day and sent it to President Lamar. The report appeared on April 4 in the Richmond Telescope and Texas Register. In San Antonio, McLeod declared a twelve-day truce against the Comanches in the area. He sent one of the captured squaws to take the news to their camp and prepare for an exchange of prisoners. Chief Piava came to San Antonio on April 3, and the next day seven children were exchanged for some of the Comanche prisoners. The children told of the horrors at the camp when word of the fight came and how the Indians "howled and cut themselves with knives, and killed horses for several days. And they took the American captives, thirteen in number, and roasted and butchered them to death with horrible cruelties." The rest of the jailed Comanches were moved to Mission San José. By the end of April nearly all had managed to escape.

In retaliation for the Council House Fight, a large band of Comanche warriors drove down through the Texas settlements in July, almost to the coast, where they burned the town of Linville before turning around. With captives and a mile-long caravan of plunder, the Indians headed for the safety of their Comancheria, but they were surprised at Plum Creek on August 12 by two hundred Texans. The decimation of the war party effectively brought an end to the hostile presence of the Penateka inside the Texas frontier.

On August 19, 1840, McLeod wrote Johnston from Austin, "I got here a few days just in time to be too late for the skirmish with the Linnville plunderers." He noted that several adjustments would be made to the frontier defenses as a result of the fighting, and that "the military will make a campaign from San Antonio against the Comanches."

Paul N. Spellman, Forgotten Texas Leader: Hugh McLeod and the Texan Santa Fe Expedition, 1999

Man and Legend


Maverick spent three bitter months marching toward captivity in a Mexican prison; he was a soldier and explorer, a lawyer, and a legislator—but he is remembered by the public for the most trivial aspect of his amazing career.

The Texans moved slowly into the heart of San Antonio, and as they battered, hacked, and pried holes through thick adobe and stone walls with logs, knives and crowbars, Mexican snipers fired from the tops of the houses and kept up a cannonade from the Alamo Plaza.

The young lawyer from South Carolina who was guiding the three hundred Volunteers may have wondered how he got involved in this. He had arrived here just three months ago.

If Samuel Augustus Maverick was amazed to find himself so soon in the midst of the quarrel between Texas and Mexico, he would have been absolutely astonished to know that his name would become a widely-used word in the English language, and that legendary overtones would color his true story.

When Maverick arrived in San Antonio in September, 1835, he rented a room from John W. Smith and began to get acquainted with the small town. As he looked and listened, he became aware of increasing tensions between American colonists and the Mexican government.

This same month the new President of Mexico, General Santa Anna, had sent his brother-in-law General Cos with one-thousand well-trained troops to take control of San Antonio. They entered the town with little opposition and immediately made preparations for military rule. General Cos became suspicious of the activities of both Maverick and Smith, and put them under guard in the Smith house.

In the meantime, seven-hundred American colonists gathered under Stephen Austin and marched toward San Antonio, winning several skirmishes with the Mexicans on the way. Late in October they camped north of town on the San Antonio River to wait for more men and heavier weapons before making the final attack. Austin went to the United States for help, leaving Colonel Burleson to train the men.

Although Maverick and Smith chafed at their confinement, they used the time well by observing the preparations being made by the Mexicans. They noted which streets were barricaded, and which houses were fortified; they found where the cannon had been set up and where trees and underbrush had been cut down to eliminate potential hiding places. They kept in touch with the Americans at the edge of town through notes carried by a Mexican lad whom they trusted, and late in November, General Cos released them, after securing their promise that they would return to the United States.

On the way, Maverick and Smith stopped at the American colonists' camp; there they found dissension and discouragement. The men were impatient at the delay. Many had signed up for only two months; their farms and families needed them and they began to drift away until only about four hundred were left. Colonel Burleson was ready to give up the siege but many of the men protested. Smith and Maverick encouraged them to attack, promising to act as guides.

While the arguments continued, an experienced frontier fighter, Colonel Benjamin Milam, stepped forward and shouted, "Who will go with Old Ben Milam?" Three hundred men volunteered to follow the forty-four year old fighter.

Guided by Maverick and Smith they slipped into town in the early dawn of December 5, 1835, and captured several houses before the Mexicans were aware of what was happening.

From then on, progress was slow and tiring for the liberating force. They avoided the snipers by making a passageway through the houses by the laborious process of knocking holes in the walls, some of which were four feet thick, so they could crawl from house to house.

On the third day, just one block from the Main Plaza, brave Colonel Milam was hit by a sniper located in a cypress tree along the river. He is said to have died in Samuel Maverick's arms. When the Texans reached the Plaza the next day, the Mexicans surrendered, having had enough of this enemy who progressed, seemingly, like a mole through the earth. On December 9, Maverick had the satisfaction of watching General Cos sign the articles of capitulation. He was allowed to withdraw across the Rio Grande on the promise that he would not attack Texas again.

For the young South Carolinian, the battle was his baptism of fire which burned the love of Texas right into his heart from then on, Maverick never ceased being a Texan.

Although Samuel Augustus Maverick was a South Carolina gentleman, he was destined to lead a life of action and adventure in the West. His father, Samuel, a wealthy business man and land owner, was said to have been the first American to ship cotton from Charleston to England.

Samuel Augustus was born in 1803 at Montpelier, the family plantation just outside Pendleton. In 1825 he graduated from Yale University, studied law in Virginia and, upon his return home, set up a law practice. He had a strong inclination toward politics, a motivating force throughout his life.

There was dissatisfaction in South Carolina. In order to help pay for the War of 1812, the Federal government passed laws assessing high tariffs on goods from England. As the rates continued to be increased, some South Carolinians talked of nullifying the Federal laws; others suggested withdrawing from the Union. However there were leading men, including the Mavericks, who were against such drastic measures, and engaged in heated debates to disseminate their more moderate views.

One time while the elder Mr. Maverick was making a speech, someone called out a disparaging remark. The fearless Samuel Augustus challenged the heckler to a duel; the challenge was accepted and Samuel wounded him, then showed his compassionate nature by caring for him in the Maverick home.

After this experience the relentless young lawyer became convinced that his political beliefs were too divergent from those predominating in the state. He decided to travel.

After visiting a sister in Alabama, he traveled to New Orleans on business. As he strolled the streets and wharves of the interesting old town he heard much talk about Texas, in the Republic of Mexico. Mexico had gained her independence from Spain in 1821 and at once opened her northern provinces to Americans. Everyone, it seemed, was going to Texas—or at least, they talked of it.

To young Maverick the appeal of the new country was strong. Not only was he seeking adventure, but he was an intelligent man looking for business investment opportunities. He made up his mind to try Texas, returned home and disposed of his law practice. Selling most of his possessions, he was ready to set out for Texas.

He arrived in San Antonio de Bexar on September 8, 1835, with $36,000 in gold and a determination to follow the advice of his father: "Buy as much land as you can—it will inevitably increase in value."

He came as a man of wealth, contrary to later stories, humorous but untrue, that he landed with no assets other than a branding iron and an ability to see unbranded cattle at a far distance.

There was a charm about San Antonio, then as now. The San Antonio River wound like a twisted ribbon through the small town adobe houses and massive Spanish missions. Cypress and cottonwood trees lined its banks; tropical figs and pomegranates flourished; wild grape vines hanging profusively from the trees were to provide jelly for Maverick's table in later years. It was all vastly different from the plantations of South Carolina but it must have appealed irresistibly to Maverick, for it was the place he called home for the rest of his life.

Although Americans had been eager to come to Texas, they soon became disenchanted. They expected the same civil rights they had enjoyed in the United States. They resented being denied such basic civil liberties as religious freedom, and trial by jury. They wanted greater control of their own affairs. Soon meetings were held, rebellion brewed and the slogan, "Liberty and Texas," spread across the land. It was to put down this burgeoning rebellion that Mexico's president, General Santa Anna, dispatched General Cos to San Antonio.

Santa Anna was furious when he learned of the defeat of Cos and vowed to march through Texas and even on to Washington, leading the army himself.

The Texas Volunteers, feeling certain that Mexican troops would return to San Antonio, prepared to fight. Headed by William Travis, another lawyer from South Carolina, and James Bowie, a famous frontiersman and fighter, they prepared to make a stand at the Alamo. This structure had been built to serve as a mission, and its great flaw as a defensive buttress lay in that it was poorly suited to being a fortress, since its thick walls were low enough to be scaled. Samuel Maverick probably would have joined the historically doomed group in the Alamo had not fate intervened.

A convention was called for March 1, 1836, to decide what course Texans were to take. Maverick, having proved his courage under fire, was one of the three delegates elected to represent San Antonio. This was the beginning of his many years of public service to Texas. As they were about to leave for Washington-on-the-Brazos, the rains came. And how it rained—it simply poured!

Maverick and companions left immediately on horseback and they had a merry time of it. The horses slipped, strained and struggled in the mud. Often they had to wait for flooded streams to subside, and frequently they were cold and wet. It was a slow exhausting trip. And as they pushed along, through the storm events were taking place in San Antonio that Texans—and the world—would never forget!

Early in the morning of February 23, a lookout spotted Mexican troops outside the town. The Texas Volunteers converged on the Alamo from wherever they were billeted in town, rounding up thirty cattle and one-hundred bushels of corn on the way. In the mission were about two hundred men, armed with rifles, pistols, hunting knives and tomahawks. They refused Santa Anna's demand for unconditional surrender—and the eternally memorable struggle began.

The Alamo was bombarded for thirteen days, and the world knows what ensued. Travis sent out appeals for help which mostly went unheeded. His last letter was written on March 3, to the delegates at Washington-on-the-Brazos who were too far away to assist. On the morning of March 6, the Mexicans, armed with scaling ladders, axes, crow-bars and guns, swarmed through and over the walls. The command "No quarter given!" was taken with seriousness. In thirty minutes of actual fighting it was over. The memory of the defenders' gallantry in the face of death will forever continue to engender both grief and pride wherever in the world men yearn for independence and admire courage.

It was a raw day at Washington-on-the-Brazos. A norther blew in and the half-finished blacksmith shop where the convention was held was not adequate to keep out the cold. The delegates declared the independence of Texas from Mexico on March 2; Maverick signed "from Bexar," which is the name he used at that time when designating San Antonio. They went to work at once to write a constitution for the new republic.

As they were hard at work on March 6, a letter from Travis was delivered by John W. Smith, Maverick's good friend from whom he had rented a room six months before What fateful events had come to pass in that half-year! Travis, in his letter, appealed urgently for aid and closed it with the words "God and Texas—Victory or Death!"

The brave men at the Alamo died without knowing that Texas had declared her independence and the delegates, continuing their work, did not know the Alamo had fallen, its interior strewn with the mutilated bodies of its heroic defenders.

Maverick's legal training was of great value in the chore of drawing up the constitution. His ability to think clearly, his resolute conviction that Texas should be free from the bonds of Mexican rule, made him an invaluable delegate. By March 17 the Republic of Texas had both a constitution and governing officers.

Samuel Augustus Maverick always felt that had he not been elected to the consitutional convention, he too, would have perished with the heroes of the Alamo. He seemed to have an obsession about this, and in 1850, at great effort, he acquired a portion of the Alamo mission land as a site for his new home.

In joining with the Texans in their fight for greater civil liberties, Samuel was continuing the pattern set by his ancestors. In 1624 a Samuel Maverick, with his bride [sic], sailed from England to America as a representative of the Plymouth Company [sic], to explore the country for a suitable location, and start an Episcopal settlement. He settled at the mouth of the Mystic River near present-day Boston, where he built a fortified house to be safer from the Indians. He was impressed with the new country, writing to England that the "land also is exceedinge good." He acquired land in both Massachusetts and Maine.

From his fortified house Maverick watched the ships of the Puritans sail by on their way to Salem. He dispensed hospitality to any who came and was said to live like a king. Although he was helpful to the Puritans on their arrival there was trouble between them later on because of differences in religious beliefs.

The straight-laced Puritans, determined to make Congregationalists of everyone, disapproved of Maverick's free and easy way of living. He, in turn, called them "Saints" and moved to nearby Noddle's Island to get away from all that sanctity.

In 1646 he was one of the signers of a petition to the General Court of Massachusetts asking for full civil rights, and permission to maintain an Episcopalian church and a minister of their own. Other Samuel Mavericks of succeeding generations were to follow him in the fight for individual rights and liberty.

The young Samuel A. Maverick who was a descendant of his illustrious forebears, had been away from home a year when he returned to visit relatives. No doubt he had much to relate concerning his adventures in the fabulous Texas. While visiting in Alabama with his sister, he met eighteen-year old Mary Ann Adams. After a four-month courtship, they married in August, 1836.

The pull was irresistible, so in December 1837, he started for Texas again, this time with a menage: a young wife and infant son, Samuel; his fifteen-year-old brother-in-law, Robert Adams; six negro servants with four small children.

For three years the Mavericks lived in a three-room house situated on land sloping down to the beautiful San Antonio River just off the Main Plaza, where Maverick had once held the dying Milam in his arms.

Samuel opened a law office and was shortly elected mayor, a mark of recognition he was to receive more than once. He had taken seriously his father's admonition to buy land, and spent considerable time on this business. Mary was absorbed with homemaking and caring for their growing family, but never too busy to write in her diary, which has proved an invaluable source of information to historians.

It was during these years that Maverick met Jack Hays, and association which was to lead later on to an exciting and near-disastrous adventure.

Hays was a young Tennessean who, after serving in the Texas Volunteers, came to San Antonio in 1838 with a letter of recommendation as a surveyor. Maverick employed him and went with him on numerous surveying trips.

San Antonio was one of the last outposts of civilization in Texas. Since it was in territory claimed by the Indians, there was constant trouble, and surveying was dangerous business. Hays had many such encounters and word got around that he was quite an Indian fighter which didn't hurt his popularity.

In 1840 Jack Hays was selected to command a company of mounted volunteers called Texas Rangers, who were to defend the lonely frontier settlements from Indian and Mexican attacks. Maverick became one of the Rangers and as such, frequently went on skirmishes against the Comanches.

1842 was a bad year for San Antonio and for the Maverick family. Even though Texas had declared herself a Republic independent of Mexico, the Mexicans did not give up. In March, General Vasquez captured the town but was driven back; that summer there were rumors of another invasion. Samuel Maverick and most of the other men took their families to adjacent towns in what was called "The Runaway of '42" until conditions were more settled. The Mavericks, with their slaves, settled in a temporary home at La Grange on the Colorado River, about one hundred miles east of San Antonio.

The regular fall session of the District Court at San Antonio was called in September. Maverick had a case to try: a Dr. Booker was suing the city for a small amount of money. Had the doctor known what fate held in store for him, he would have been glad to concede the case. Maverick journeyed to San Antonio from La Grange in early September; he was not to see his family until eight months later.

Early that month, Jack Hays found that he was unable to get any gunpowder for his men in town, which was unusual, so he sent two men, one of whom was Big Foot Wallace, to Austin, seventy-five miles away, for more powder. Also, he was uneasy because he had observed the Mexican residents acting strangely; he concluded something was afoot and ordered some of his Ranger to reconnoiter toward the Mexican border. At the Medina River, about twenty miles out, the men spied General Woll and his Mexican troops.

When this report was received in town a mass meeting was held. A company of 175 men was organized and told that if trouble came, they were to gather at the Maverick house on Main Plaza.

Before dawn of the next day, September 11, 1842, the Mexican forces entered San Antonio for the second time in six months. In a heavy fog they were inside the Military Plaza almost before the Texans were aware of them, with Mexican flags flying and their buglers playing the stirring Andalusian dance song, "Las Cachucha." The Texans gathered at the Maverick house, which became the major target for the Mexican guns.

Soon an emissary from the Mexican forces approached with a white flag. He informed the Texans that General Woll had two thousand troops, which was only a forerunner of a much larger army which was on the way. The town, the emissary told them, was surrounded with Mexicans and Indians, and he suggested they surrender in thirty minutes.

The Texans, feeling there was no choice, elected Samuel Maverick and three others to act as commissioners to treat with the Mexicans. They agreed to surrender as prisoners of war with the provision that their lives were to be spared and their property kept safe.

Included among the fifty-five prisoners was the entire District Court: judge, jury, lawyers and clients, including Dr. Booker.

In September 21, General Woll and his army left with the fifty-five prisoners and as much plunder as was practical. He commandeered all the carts and wagons he could find and filled them with wounded Mexicans and Texans. He pushed so hard to reach the border before the Texas forces caught up, that for eight days there was no time to stop and treat their wounds. Some died.

Perote Prison was their destination. For three months they marched, making twenty to thirty miles a day through hot, dry barren land—and over freezing mountain passes. At times the supply of water ran low and there never seemed to be enough food. Shoes wore out and the clothing worn on a hot September afternoon in San Antonio was inadequate for the cold in the mountains. The many acts of cruelty by Mexican officers and soldiers were hardly balanced by the occasional kindnesses shown by Mexican citizens in small villages, who supplied clothing for a few.

Between Puebla and Jalapa on the eastern slope of the Sierra Madres, in an area of extinct volcanoes, is the town of Perote. Its eighteenth-century fortress, built by the Spaniards, has sixty-foot high walls of dark lava rock, which gives it a forbidding appearance. The fortress is surrounded by a very wide moat enclosing a total area of 26 acres.

The view from the prison across the valley and beyond to the perpetually snowcapped Orizabe delights visitors today, but the suffering prisoners hardly enjoyed the scenery.

The Christmas season was approaching when Maverick and his fellow prisoners marched through the fortress gate in the midst of a fierce norther, but there was no warmth, no comfort, no celebrating at Perote Prison.

From six at night until nine the next morning they were herded like cattle into a long, narrow corridor, with no light except that which entered through a loop-hole measuring four inches by twelve.

It was cold in Perote, at an elevation of 7,800 feet. One prisoner wrote in June, 1843, that it was "colder at this time than in Texas in December" and men suffered from the lack of warm clothes. They slept on icy floors with inadequate blankets, fought with lice which infested the place, and devised means of passing away the time. In March, 1843, they were joined by other Texans who were given adjacent cells; the two groups suffered and joked together.

The Mexican government allowed twenty-five cents a day for food for each prisoner, most of which went into the pocket of the comisario who furnished the rations. The meals, which generally consisted of poor bread, scorched cornmeal coffee and a stew of stringy beef seasoned with onion and chile, were badly cooked and far from adequate to sustain the prisoners for the hard work they were forced to do.

After carrying out the filth of the prison in handbarrows each morning, they were sent one and one-half miles away, under guard, to carry stone to repair prison fortifications. Maverick refused to work unless the rations were increased and he was placed, for a while, in a dungeon on an even more meager diet.

Throughout their imprisonment some of the prisoners showed their ingenuity and a sense of humor. Although the high, thick walls seemed impregnable, some Texans escaped through a hole they made. After this, the remaining victims were chained in pairs with heavy log chains, the weight of which made an added burden on their weakened physiques.

Finding a stone and six-pound cannon ball in the prison, they covered the stone with a blanket, placed a chain link between the stone and another layer of blanket to deaden the sound and hammered away with the cannon ball, turning the link frequently until it was broken. This freed them of their "jewelry" during the night; in the daytime they so carried the chains that the guards never suspected they were broken. When this trick was eventually discovered, the guards were more cruel and watchful.

In March Mr. Maverick's client Dr. Booker, was killed when a Mexican soldier, too drunk to take good aim, shot him instead of the uniformed fellow Mexican he was trying to kill.

When Maverick's father in South Carolina learned of his son's imprisonment, he started working for his release. The Maverick family was related by marriage to the United States Minister to Mexico, General Waddy Thompson, also from South Carolina. He was able to secure Maverick's release if he would swear that he was for the re-annexation of Texas by Mexico. Maverick's grandson, Maury, later wrote that Maverick refused, saying, "However galling are the claims of slavery, I regard a lie as dishonorable. To say that I would lay down the arms of my country would be a lie."

There was certainly great excitement among the San Antonio prisoners when, in late March, Maverick, Judge Hutchinson and Will Jones had their chains removed and were sent to Mexico City. One of them wrote, "We wate there (sic) return with great anxiety—expect to be liberated on their return which will be some 11 days," but they were to be disappointed.

In Mexico City, Maverick and two companions, dirty and ragged, were paraded for fifteen minutes before the Palace before they were released. After General Thompson took them to his house, they cleaned up and did several days of sightseeing before they left for Vera Cruz where they were to return to Texas by boat. They stopped at Perote on the way to say goodbye to fellow prisoners and to take letters to mail after they reached Texas. Maverick felt guilty at leaving the others in Perote; they were finally released in June, 1843, due to the diligent efforts of General Thompson.

It was May when Maverick reached La Grange again, carrying his "jewelry" with him as a souvenir. To add to his delight at being home was the two-month old baby girl, Augusta, their second daughter, born during his absence, and the knowledge that the citizens of San Antonio had elected him to be a Senator of the Republic of Texas. So, in December of that year, he was again in Washington-on-the-Brazos, attending to Texas affairs.

That summer Maverick acquired a 385,000-acre ranch [sic] on Matagorda Peninsula, a long finger of land laying parallel to the mainland of Texas, which led to the event which made his name a commonly used word in the English language.

Various stories have been told as to the origin of the word: that Mr. Maverick was too tender-hearted to wield the hot branding iron; that he used his iron indiscriminately and thus built up a cattle empire dishonestly; that since all the other ranchers branded cattle, he wouldn't use a brand and everyone would know the unbranded ones were Maverick's. Even today, many are surprised at the true story.

Mr. Maverick had a client on the neighboring Matagorda Island who owed him $1,200. Being unable to raise the cash, he offered Maverick 400 head of longhorn cattle instead. Maverick accepted them, probably without enthusiasm. Legends that he owned more cattle than anyone else in Texas are not true; he was more interested in land than cattle and this was his only experience in cattle ownership.

He sent his slave, Jack Armstrong [Jinny Anderson's son, as I understand], across to the Island to care for the cattle and Jack's mother, Jinny, to care for Jack—he needed looking after. Maverick secured a branding iron with the initials MK and told Jack to mark all the increase in the herd. Maverick himself was too busy with personal and governmental affairs to give further thought to the cattle.

In those days Texas was an open range. Cattle were free to wander and any unbranded calves caught away from their mothers were fair game for whoever found them. Jack Armstrong neglected his duties and didn't use the branding iron, and storms which came in from the Gulf of Mexico washed up sand bars so that the cattle could walk across to the mainland.

When cowboys found unbranded cattle they said, "They must be Maverick's" and so the word found its way into the English language as meaning "an unbranded animal."

The word seemed to catch on, and it spread rapidly. In 1848 gold was discovered in California and the rush began. Men from the East came to Texas by ship and cut across the land to the Pacific. As they passed through the state they became acquainted with the word "maverick" and carried it along. In San Francisco, some of these Gold Rushers sailed on fast clipper ships to another gold rush—in Australia—and the word went with them. In time it came to mean a non-conformist, and individualist.

To go back a bit, shortly after Maverick received the cattle, in lieu of $1,200 from his neighbor, the family left Matagorda Peninsula to return to their old home in San Antonio. The battle of the day of General Woll's invasion and the plundering which followed had made a shambles of it, but they were happy to be back on the Main Plaza and the San Antonio River.

It was seven years before Maverick decided to move the cattle to the land he owned in Conquista, nearer San Antonio. Jack Armstrong was still in charge and the cattle continued to roam unbranded until their owner sold them, in 1856, to a nearby rancher for six dollars a head. The herd still numbered 400, since the unbranded calves had been appropriated, according to western custom, by other ranchers throughout the nine years of his ownership, due to Jack's disinclination to brand the new-born calves.

This is the truth of cattle ownership—vastly different from the legend which grew taller and taller each time it was told around the campfires.

For ten years the Republic of Texas proudly flew the flag with a single star, but there was continuous discussion as to the advantages of uniting with the United States. Maverick was a member of the convention which met in Austin in July, 1845, to approve the annexation of Texas and again he helped write a constitution for Texas as the 28th state in the Union, thereafter known as the Lone Star State.

During these years he was buying more and more land. He hired surveyors and went along whenever possible. One surveyor declared that Maverick checked on every step. While on one such trip in 1848, his daughter Agatha, seven years old, took sick suddenly and died. Since there was no way to reach Maverick, he did not know of her death until his return three weeks later. The shock was considerable and he brooded over it, feeling guilty that he had not been home at such a critical time.

That summer a group of business men in San Antonio raised $800 to establish a wagon road to El Paso. They knew that the American traders who came from Missouri to Santa Fe continued down the Rio Grande to El Paso, and from there south to the town of Chihuahua, were doing very well financially. A good wagon route between the coast of Texas—through San Antonio—and on to Chihuahua via El Paso should be an economically profitable venture since it would be a shorter land route.

These San Antonians were aware that this would be no tea party. They would travel over unexplored country for six-hundred miles, across an area frequented by Apache and Comanche Indians who took unkindly to invasion of their hunting grounds. An outstanding man was called for to lead this expedition and Jack Hays was chosen. Hays was aware of Maverick's depression and, knowing how he loved the outdoor life, urged him to join the group. So much happened on this trip that Maverick had no time to brood on his sorrow for long.

Late in August, 1848, the explorers set out, thirty-five citizens of San Antonio, an equal number of Texas Rangers, with a Delaware Indian and a Mexican to act as guides and interpreters.

Following a westerly direction, they crossed the Pecos River near present-day Del Rio. All went well up to this point. There was ample game and the Indians gave no trouble, but they were finding water difficult to obtain. Maverick wrote in his diary that on September 26, they reached the Pecos "in great thirst."

West of the Pecos the story was different. It was a wild and rugged country, a wilderness where none of them had ever been. The guide, Lorenzo, became confused and led them southwest toward the Big Bend of the Rio Grande. There followed twenty days of severe privation.

Maverick made succinct entries in his diary. When no water was available they chewed on leather to stimulate the salivary glands enough to moisten their mouths. The food supply had run out when they encountered four old buffalo bulls; they evidently were lost also, since the great herds of buffalo were always seen east of the Pecos. The bulls furnished tough but welcome chewing for a few days, but by the first of October the explorers were reduced to "eating mustang meat" (wild horse).

A few days later they dined on panther, then bear grass from which they made a soup. They rejoiced when they came to a canyon where there were "fine tunas," the edible fruit of a prickly pear cactus. Finally, two months later, on October 10, they had to kill one of their mules for breakfast which was "very poor and tough."

Not all could stand the pressures of that trip. Maverick wrote "Dr. Wham crazy," and a few days later related that the Doctor had ridden off in a fury into the night. They sent back men to search for him but were unable to find him in the wild country.

They now were in the high Chisos mountains in the heart of the Big Bend of the Rio Grande, noted for their ruggedness and vivid colors. Some friendly Indians took them to a branch of the Great Comanche War Trail, whitened with the bones of many animals. It was used by Indians on their annual raids on farmers and ranchers who lived in an area four-hundred miles wide in the states of Durango and Chihuahua, Mexico, and as far north as the Llano Estacado (Staked Plains) in Texas.

They followed this trail across the Rio Grande into Mexico. On October 17, they killed another mule for food, and leaving the trail, continued along the river to the northwest. Two days later the thin and weary men straggled into the Mexican village of San Carlos. They hurriedly apologized for trespassing on Mexican territory, before feasting on bread and milk. Here they rested a few days.

Although relations between Texas and Mexico had been touchy for years, Americans usually found the Mexican people compassionate and helpful.

Continuing up the river, they reached Presidio del Norte, (present-day Ojinaga), which must have looked familiar to Maverick, for it was here he had crossed the Rio Grande in a canoe as a prisoner of the Mexicans only six years before. The explorers crossed back into the United States and camped at Fort Leaton for sixteen days. While feasting on barbecue, tortillas, and coffee, they debated their next step.

Colonel Hays hated to give up on any mission, but he knew that too many members of this party were not equal to the task of continuing, so the decision was made to return to San Antonio—mission unaccomplished!

It was now November and getting cold; the men had only summer clothes. With a supply of pinole (parched, ground corn) and thirty days rations of meat, they followed the northern branch of the Comanche War Trail toward settlements in Texas. They were back in San Antonio in time for Christmas, after more than three months wandering and hardship. Not a man was lost; even "Dr. Wham" was found later and returned home!

Although they had not reached El Paso, they had learned that the country of the lower Pecos was to be avoided and a more northerly route preferred. Their records and experiences were used by the United States War Department, which sent explorers the following spring to find a route between San Antonio and El Paso. They were just in time, too: already hordes of impatient men were arriving in Texas, hunting a short cut to California and gold by way of El Paso. Within the next several years, thousands of Forty-niners were to travel the wagon road for which Maverick helped make the initial exploration. He came this way himself, a few years later to buy land in the El Paso area.

Mr. Maverick lived for twenty-two years after the Chihuahua expedition, seemingly with a finger in every Texas "pie." The legend that he was the largest landowner in the world probably was not true (so his grandson, Maury, wrote) but he owned land all the way from El Paso to the Gulf of Mexico and some of the Gulf islands. Also, as far west as the Mexican border. He had interests in mining, salt lakes, railroads, ranches and city property. In fact, so vast and varied were his holdings that General William Tecumseh Sherman wrote in later years that he "seems to have been the owner of everything not actively in the possession of somebody else."

Maverick did not permit his business interests to interfere with his love of public affairs. For thirty years he participated in public life at city, country, state and national levels.

He was a quiet, scholarly man, yet fearless and tough physically so that he could endure a lot of physical privation. He died in 1870 at the age of 67.

Although Texas had given him much, he had reciprocated with time and energy as well as possessions for the town and state he loved. He lived under four flags of Texas: Mexico, Republic of Texas, United States and the Confederacy. For all his achievements, it is ironic that he is best known as the man whose cattle roamed unbranded—"mavericks."

Who can deny, in truth, that the real story of his life is more exciting than the legends!

Opal Waymire Beaty, True West

Frederick C. Chabot


The Mavericks

In America where the ball keeps rolling, there are few families, who, from generation to generation, keep at the top of our civilization. One of these families, certainly, are the Mavericks, who after generations of solid position in Old England, became leaders in New England. "The Godly Mr. John Maverick" died in Boston. He was succeeded by his son Samuel, who received a grant of Noddles Island, now East Boston. His "Brief Description of New England" is in the British Museum today. Samuel's son Nathaniel, who died in the Barbadoes in 1673, left other children, and from this branch of the family are descended the Mavericks of South Carolina and of Texas.

It is a notable fact that the first blood shed in the Revolutionary War was that of Samuel Maverick, Samuel Gray, James Caldwell and Crispus Attucks.

Samuel Maverick, of South Carolina, married Elizabeth Anderson, daughter of the General of Revolutionary note. Their son Samuel Augustus Maverick was born at Pendleton, South Carolina, in 1803. Samuel Maverick is said to have sent ventures to the Celestial Empire and to have shipped the first bale of cotton from America to Europe. He was a prominent merchant of Charleston, and lived at "Montpelier." He was one of the largest land proprietors in the State of South Carolina.

Samuel Augustus Maverick was a man of education, culture and refinement, and left the impress of his splendid character and personality upon the State of Texas. A graduate of Yale, having studied law under Henry St. George Tucker of Virginia, and with experience in having attended to his father's properties in Alabama, Tennessee, and Georgia, he left his home in March of 1835, and arrived at Brazoria, Texas, at the end of April. He arrived at San Antonio on September 8, 1835. From the very beginning his policy was to concentrate all of his belongings in Texas. Valuable properties in New York and Tuscaloosa, Ala., were sold, together with lands in various parts of the country given him by his father, and all the proceeds invested in Texas lands. Indeed, he is reputed to have owned at one time, a territory extending from San Antonio to the Mexican border; and whole islands in the Gulf of Mexico. Upon his arrival in San Antonio he witnessed Ugartechea's and Cos' barracks in Military Plaza; and Cos' turning the Alamo into a fort in November of '35. Within several weeks, however, Mr. Maverick was arrested by order of the Mexican Commander, Col. Domingo Ugartachea, and guarded in the John W. Smith house, where he had been boarding. He was released by order of General Cos on December 3d.

Through the battle of Concepcion, and the Grass Fight, Maverick and Smith carried on a smuggled correspondence with their friends through the aid of a bright and trustworthy boy, and, after General Cos had superseded Ugartachea, they managed to escape and joined the besiegers under General Edward Burleson, and encouraged an immediate attack on San Antonio. When Ben R. Milam led a division of the Texas troops into San Antonio, December 5th, he (Maverick) acted as guide to the troops, moving down Soledad Street; being familiar with the streets and alleys he was able and did render great service to the troops. It was he who caught the body of Milam, shot by a sharpshooter, in the court of the Veramendi House.

Mr. Maverick's was almost a solitary escape from the Alamo massacre. He was sent by those unfortunate men, only four days before the Mexican advance, as their representative in the convention which declared Independence. The Alamo was already invested when the convention assembled at Washington on the Brazos, on the 2nd day of March, and the declaration signed that day by the members present, received on the day following the signature of the Bexar delegates who had been delayed by high waters. The other delegates from Bexar were Jose Antonio Navarro, and Francisco Ruiz. The patriot, Antonio Menchaca, had been sent, by the council in San Antonio, to guide his family into safety, to avoid the personal wrath of Santa Ana.

William Menefee, another of the signers of the Texas Declaration of Independence, the first judge of jurisdiction of Colorado, said of Mr. Maverick:

"He was one of the most polished members of the Washington Convention. He had been educated in the best schools of the country and his manners and general deportment indicated a refined nature. Mr. Maverick made no effort to display his polite learning, but it so dominated his nature that one could not help feeling it in his presence. Not only was he a man of superior mental training, but he was a man of tact and ability. His course at Old Washington was that of a diplomat and statesman. He watched the proceedings closely and gave his assent to every proposition looking to the establishment of our independent Government. He was a cautious man and counseled prudence to speech and act. He recognized that whatever the convention did would but make Santa Anna more determined to crush opposition to his programme of subjugation. He was familiar with the prevailing sentiment in the United States, regarding the Revolution and he emphasized the necessity of cultivating that sentiment. 'Let our acts prove to the world that we are sincere patriots,' he said in a brief address before the Convention, 'and we need not fear the result. The people of the United States fought for the same character of freedom and independence for which we are battling and they will sustain us as long as our fight is just. Let us not deviate from the programme mapped out by our leaders and the God of War will give us the Victory.'"

Another signer of the Declaration of Independence, Colonel Stephen W. Blount, a San Augustine settler, prominently identified with the development of Eastern Texas, said that he was convinced by Mr. Maverick's several short, crisp talks before the Convention, that he was "a man of determined will, unyielding when advocating what he believed to be right, and uncompromising in favor of a definite programme of separation from Mexico."

After the battle of San Jacinto, Mr. Maverick returned to Alabama. While there he married Miss Mary Ann Adams, a Virginian by birth, a daughter of William Lewis and Agatha (Strother) Adams. This marriage took place August 4, 1836. The marriage ceremony was performed by Rev. Dr. Mathers of Christ's Episcopal Church, at her widowed mother's home on her plantation three miles north of Tuscaloosa, Alabama. Their first child, a son, Samuel Maverick, was born May 14, 1837, while on a visit to Mr. Maverick's father at 'Montpelier,' in South Carolina. From there Mr. Maverick returned to Texas bringing his wife and infant child with him.

Their first home in San Antonio was the Cassiano house between the Plazas. From there they moved to the property just north of the Veramendi House, which they rented from the Huizar family. Early in 1839 they moved into their own home at the northeast corner of Commerce and Soledad Streets, at Main Plaza (at site of the present Kampmann Building).

In 1835 Mr. Maverick took out his law license in San Antonio and until 1842 was one of Jack Hays' Minute Men, who often followed the trail of the marauding Indians. On January 8, 1839, Mr. Maverick took office as Mayor of San Antonio. From '41 to '42, he was City Treasurer; he was elected Alderman from '42 to '44, and was on the Board when Seguin advised of General Vasquez' raid on San Antonio. At this time Mr. Maverick took his family to the Brazos where they remained for several years, but he returned to San Antonio, and was there when General Woll captured it in September, and took the court and American citizens as prisoners to the Castle of Perote, in Mexico. A Perote Prisoner, with ball and chain, Mr. Maverick was made to labor on the streets and on the public works. When he refused to work, he was confined in the castle dungeon. With W. E. Jones, he represented the Bexar prisoners, in their Memorial to Santa Anna. While they were here many attempts were made to bribe them with promises of offices and favor, and Mr. Maverick particularly, was approached on account of his influence in Bexar; but he, like his companions in captivity, had naught but scorn for their offers, which utterly failed to seduce them from their faith and allegiance to Texas.

On March 30, 1843, Mr. Maverick, W. E. Jones and Judge Anderson Hutchinson were finally released in the City of Mexico by Santa Anna, through the intercession of General Waddy Thompson, then United States Minister to Mexico, a native of South Carolina, and a connection by marriage of Mr. Maverick's.

While in Perote Prison, Mr. Maverick was elected to the Senate of the Seventh Congress of the Republic of Texas. He was re-elected a member of the Eighth Congress, the last session of the last Congress of the Republic. Mr. Maverick then attended the March term of the District Court in San Antonio; returned to his family in April; and shortly after, started off on a visit to South Carolina.

Mr. Maverick was a member of the Convention of 1845, which framed the Constitution for the State, preparatory to its entrance into the Union. He afterwards served as a member of the State Legislature.

Mr. Maverick was one of the Commissioners who accompanied Captain Jack Hays, in August, 1845, in opening up an overland route from San Antonio to El Paso. They left with 50 men and 15 Delaware Indian guides, on Sunday, August 27, to run out the new route to Chihuahua. Of this expedition Captain Hays said: "It was an experience that tested our nerves and power of endurance. One who has never passed through such an experience cannot imagine how depressed one feels when he realizes that he is lost and far from those things necessary to sustain life. The bleak mountain ridges seemed to unite in one vast vista of desolation, and sky and floating clouds appeared to frown upon us. But with brave hearts and determined wills we trudged along, hoping that every hour would bring relief. Discouraged, worn and fatigued, we came upon some friendly Indians, whom we employed to guide us out of the desert fastness. We were kindly received at San Alazario and after replenishing our almost exhausted supplies, we completed our journey without any further delay."

After the cholera epidemic in '49, the Mavericks moved their home to an old house on Alamo Plaza; by the end of 1850, a new house of stone was built, considerably larger and more comfortable than the old quarters. This was at the site of the present Gibbs Building.

After attending Legislature in Austin, 1853, Mr. Maverick accompanied several surveying parties.

Mr. Maverick's connection with the cattle industry began after his return from the Mexican captivity. He found his family in poor health upon his return, and carried them to the coast, at Decros Point, where he purchased property, built, and lived for over 4 years. He and his family returned from the peninsula to San Antonio in October of 1847.

He bought a stock of cattle from a Mr. Tilton, on Matagorda Peninsula, and in 1854 brought them, with the aid of his two sons and several herders, to his place at Conquista, on the San Antonio river, 50 miles south of San Antonio. Jacals, enclosures and pens were erected here and a negro man placed in charge, with several Mexican helpers. Great results were expected, but the venture proved a steady loss, through the negligence and general bad habits of the negro manager, who did not brand the cattle and allowed them to stray away, and in 1855 Mr. Maverick sold out his entire holding, brands and rights to Mr. Toutant de Beauregard, who lived near his ranch. Many of the cattle were on the range, unbranded, and it was in the contract that Mr. Beauregard was to hunt them himself, only a specified number having been turned over on the ranch. Beauregard's men hunted and branded cattle in many counties, and when an unbranded animal was found, it was spoken of as "Maverick's" or "a Maverick." Thus the name Maverick as applied to unmarked stock originated.

The Mavericks were not Puritans; nor were they Pilgrim Fathers. The first Samuel of Massachusetts was a loyal royalist; his opinions did not satisfy the Puritans. He was one of the four commissioners to settle the affairs of New England and to reduce the Dutch, in what is now New York. With no success among the Puritans, he settled in New York, where he was granted a house on Broad Way, 1669. The Mavericks in San Antonio were among the first to build the Episcopal Church. Samuel Augustus Maverick donated four city lots for the purpose, August 24, 1858. He also presented a cannon found on the homestead, in the grounds of the Alamo. It was cast into a bell weighing 526 pounds, by Messrs. Mencely & Co., of Troy, New York. This vestry bell at St. Mark's Church bears the inscription, "Ye must be born again... I also have been born again from works of death to words of life, through Christ's eternal merit." On the opposite side is a five pointed or Texas star enclosing the dates 1813-1836, the first having reference to the year during the revolution of Mexico against Spain when the first cannon was dismounted and buried and the later date having reference only to its being found in the grounds of the Alamo rendered famous in history that year.

In industry and progress of another nature, Mr. Maverick was also active. In 1858 he was elected a director of the S. A. & M. G. Railroad.

The following year he lead the celebration for Texas Independence.

Mr. Maverick loved the Union, and ever thought it sacred. The Secession Convention of 1861 compelled him to take his choice for or against his kith and kin. He did a simple, straightforward, unselfish act, an act which nevertheless gave him deep pain: he cast his vote for secession. In February, with the Honorable Thomas J. Devine and Dr. (afterwards Colonel) Philip N. Luckett, he was appointed a commissioner to demand the surrender of the army and garrison at San Antonio and other points. That he performed this delicate duty of procuring the removal of the United States troops from the State of Texas, without bloodshed and with little inconvenience or humiliation to the officers and men who had so long been friends among us, is one of his highest titles to respect and gratitude.

With this closed the public functions of Mr. Maverick, which he had exercised in various capacities from the memorable day when he affixed his signature to the Declaration of Independence, and always with credit to himself and advantage to his constituents; his public services in either House, in conventions, or in any capacity whatever, being rendered with disinterestedness and freedom from all personal and party consideration. Mr. Maverick retired to private life and to the conduct of a successful business he had built up in San Antonio.

Not strong or well, Mr. Maverick wrote his will in the fall of 1869. In the spring of the following year, he became feeble. He died September 2, 1870, leaving to the inheritors of his name, a heritage richer than broad lands, more precious than fine gold—the name of a just, an upright and a conscientious man, of one who never compromised with his convictions, who never bowed the knee to expediency; a name that had long been a synonym for honor, integrity and truth. When Mr. Maverick died, he was said by some, to have been one of the largest landowners in the United States.

To the Alamo Literary Society he left the signal honor of having inscribed his name on the roll of its founders, and the task of rearing on the site, a lot on Houston Street, which the society owed to his munificence, an edifice which might do honor to the donor and credit to the young Association, which had held its first meeting January 6, 1860.

Few men left a greater impress on the State than Samuel Augustus Maverick, and few men who took part in establishing the Republic of Texas contributed more to its achievement.

When a new County was created from Kinney County in the year 1856, it was named in honor of Samuel Augustus Maverick, a signer of the Declaration of Independence of Texas.

Of the sons of Samuel A. Maverick, the oldest, Sam, was educated at Edinburgh, Scotland. In 1871 he married Sallie Frost, daughter of Thomas Frost, of Tennessee. In 1861 he enlisted in the First Texas Cavalry, under Colonel Henry McCulloch. He served on the Indian frontier. With Mr. Kroeger he succeeded Brackenridge and Stapp in the lumber business (1872-78). He was President of the Debating Society, San Antonio; and organizer of a new dramatic club, 1879. He was the donor of $5,000 to build bath houses in San Antonio. His residence, facing Maverick Park, near the old Sunset Freight Depot, was built in 1881. The Maverick Building on Houston Street housed the Aransas Pass offices in days of railroad infancy here. It was a skyscraper in its day, dominating the business district in that section of the city. The Maverick Bank Building, at the Southwest corner of Alamo Plaza and Houston Street, was begun in May, 1884. Sam Maverick's portrait was painted in oil, by San Antonio's pioneer portrait painter, Iwonski, as an active Terry Ranger. His oldest son, Samuel, was born in 1872.

Lewis Antonio Maverick, 2nd son of Samuel Augustus Maverick, was born in San Antonio, March 23, 1839, and thus claimed distinction as being the first American boy born in this city to permanent American settlers. He was educated at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. He organized Company "E" for the 32nd Texas Cavalry, commanded by Colonel Woods, and served as Major in the Confederate Army. He married his cousin, Ada Bradley, daughter of John Bradley and his wife Anne Lewis Bradley, aunt of Mrs. Maverick, Lewis Antonio's mother. They settled near Austin. Lewis Antonio Maverick died June 16, 1866, leaving no issue. His widow married, 1870, Jacob Frederick Waelder, his second wife. St. Matthew's window, in St. Mark's Episcopal church, is a memorial to Lewis Antonio Maverick.

George Madison Maverick, son of Samuel Augustus Maverick, was born September 7, 1845. He was educated at the Universities of North Carolina and Virginia. He served in his brother Lewis' Company "E" of the 32nd Cavalry. He was active in the Irving Club (1870), organized for scientific purposes. In May of 1873, he made the first really definite proposition regarding the water question, which had been in constant agitation from the date of the Cholera, 1866; though it fell through. He married, 1872, Mary Elizabeth, daughter of John Vance and his wife Rowena Badwin Vance, of Castroville. He was active in building up San Antonio in 1877, at which time he erected Military Headquarters here. Four years later he erected a store, the "George Block" on Houston Street, adjoining the Vance House; and at that time arranged to build the Opera House. He was also active in promoting a Rockport-Fredricksburg Railroad. He was a 32nd degree Mason of the Scottish Rite. He practiced law in St. Louis, Mo. His daughter, Rowena, Mrs. Green, widow of Robert B. Green, one of the most loved of all of Bexar County's public men, is prominent in San Antonio life today. His son George Vance Maverick, died in 1926, aged 46 years. Another son, Lewis, is in California, absorbed in constructive educational work.

William Houston Maverick, son of Samuel Augustus Maverick, was born December 24, 1847. He, also, was educated at the Universities of North Carolina and Virginia. He mustered in the Confederate Army in January, 1865, aged 17 years. He married, 1873, Emilie Virginia, daughter of General Robert H. Chilton, of Virginia. He acquired the "Ledger," San Antonio's first daily newspaper (1856), soon after Michael Burke had seceded Vanderlip and Hewitt; and left its management to John A. Logan, with headquarters in the historic old Vermanendi House. He served as Alderman in San Antonio, 1878. During this year his residence was completed. In 1882 he contributed to San Antonio's progress, with four new stores in the Crockett Block. He died in 1923. His son William Chilton Maverick was an active citizen, and resided in Philadelphia in recent years; he died in 1932, aged 57 years. His son, Dr. Augustus, practiced medicine in Vienna, Austria, and in Philadelphia. His son Lewis, one of Roosevelt's Rough Riders and guide to Pershing's expedition, is well known in San Antonio. His son Robert, one of San Antonio's most distinguished citizens, was a member of the Diplomatic Service of the United States.

Mary Brown Maverick, daughter of Samuel Augustus Maverick, was born June 17, 1851. She was educated at Staunton, Virginia, which place was founded by one of her ancestors, in the Lewis line; and also at Mrs. Ogden Hoffman's School for Young Ladies in New York City. She was the wife of the Honorable Edwin H. Terrell, United States Minister to Belgium.

Albert Maverick, the youngest of the happy family of Samuel Augustus Maverick, was born May 7, 1854. He too was educated at the University of Virginia. After a trip to Europe, he married, 1877, Jane L. Maury, daughter of Jesse L. Maury of Charlottesville, Virginia, and sister of the late Mrs. James L. Slayden, of distinction in Washington, D. C. He, too, is a progressive citizen of San Antonio, and was instrumental in the early 80's in building activities in the business center. He is a pioneer for the conservation of the natural beauty of our city, having publicly objected to the destruction of cypress trees as early as 1882. Among his numerous family, who live in union at Sunshine Ranch, are Albert Maverick, Jr., our present Bexar County Tax Collector.

Maury Maverick was admitted to the practice of law at the age of 20. He entered the United States Army, Training Camp, May 8, 1917, and was commissioned Second Lieutenant twelve days later. He served in the 157th Infantry, Camp Kearny, California. In France he served in the 1st Division of the 28th Infantry, entering the battle of St. Mihiel, 1917, as First Lieutenant. He was commander of Co. G, 28th Infantry, in the Argonne Forest; was wounded October 4, 1918, gassed October 3, 1918 and was not discharged from the hospital (Fort Sam Houston) until September 7, 1919. Maury Maverick was cited for "gallantry in action and extremely meritorious service." He was decorated with the Purple Heart, Silver Star for gallantry in action, and has a war service medal with three clasps. After the World War he returned to San Antonio and was elected President of the San Antonio Bar Association. He became a part owner of Hillyer-Deutsch-Jarratt Co., and later organized the Kelly-Maverick Co. He was elected Tax Collector in 1930, in which office he has instituted many reforms. He has reorganized the automobile department, eliminating fees amounting to approximately $25,000 a year. He has conducted the office at a net saving of some $10,000 to $15,000 a year. He fought the Stoner system, which would have raised both urban and farm taxes. He has obtained a special ruling whereby citizens can get homestead exemption, even though not originally claimed. He has brought the new deal to San Antonio by securing the Labor Board for us. He has done more for the highways of Bexar County than any other citizen. It is principally through his efforts the large expenditures have been made in Bexar County. Maury Maverick is well-known to the Bureau of Public Roads, Washington, D. C., which is the high unit of highways. With his actual military experience, he has high standing and will undoubtedly become a member of the Military Affairs Committee immediately upon being elected. Through the relations of his uncle, James L. Slayden, who was in Congress for about 20 years, Maury Maverick will have immediate entree in Washington, D. C., which will prove of definite advantage to his constituents. A man with his background, and with his own personality, and direct way of dealing, is a candidate who should receive the unanimous support of all true Texans. San Antonio should give its wholehearted support to Maury Maverick, a real San Antonian, and one who will get things done for Texas.

Texas Homes


Historians of early Anglo settlement in Texas often face a key question regarding life on the frontier: to what extent did immigrants adapt to their new environments, and to what extent did they alter the new environment to resemble the old? The look of early Texas dwellings was certainly affected by the availability of various materials, leading to houses made of adobe, wood, brick, or stone. But the way in which those materials were used says volumes not only about the cultural backgrounds of those settlers but also about the rich variety that could be found in any one family's cultural baggage.

In thirty-two years of married life Samuel Augustus Maverick and his wife Mary Adams Maverick lived in seven houses. This strikingly high number is due in part to the fact that the Mavericks rented two houses early in their San Antonio residence, purchased a third, built two houses elsewhere in Texas, and rented one more house in San Antonio while building their final residence.

In their early years in San Antonio they adapted their houses to the local architectural vernacular (which was, of course, Hispanic), but later built a log cabin, then a raised cottage before building a house that recalled Sam's native South Carolina, a house situated in the very shadow of the former Spanish mission known as the Alamo.

And while the house types in which they lived were either Hispanic or Anglo, the hands that built some of those houses belonged to African Texans and German Texans. Although none of the Mavericks' houses survive, the memoirs of Mary Adams Maverick, combined with documentation of the structures, gives us unusually good data as to how one Texas family adopted and modified several Texas vernacular traditions before building a house form that was deeply rooted in Sam's youth.

To understand the cultural environment of San Antonio in the 1830s and 1840s, it is necessary to delineate the roots of Sam and Mary Maverick in the American South and Sam's role in the Texas Revolution. Samuel Augustus Maverick was born in 1803 in the Pendleton District of South Carolina, in the far western part of the state. Though Pendleton was a raw, recently settled area, the elder Maverick was a Charleston merchant. Young Maverick lived both in urban Charleston and in the country at Pendleton until 1810, when the family permanently located to the latter location. Young Sam attended Yale, graduating in 1825, and subsequently studied law in Winchester, Virginia. Returning to South Carolina, he became involved in politics, but, as an opponent of John C. Calhoun's view that the states had the right to nullify any national law, Maverick realized that his chances of political advancement in his native state were remote. After briefly settling in southern Alabama, he decided to explore the possibility of moving to Texas. He entered Texas for the first time in April 1835, and arrived in San Antonio that September.

When Sam Maverick arrived in San Antonio in the fall of 1835, he found a town that was the most populous in Spanish Texas. It was defined by the mission of San Antonio de Valero on the east side of the San Antonio River and the Presidio of San Antonio de Bexar on the west side. The presidio created what became known as the Military Plaza, which by 1749 included the house of the commander of the presidio.

After an influx of settlers from the Canary Islands in 1731, the Main Plaza was laid out just to the east of the Military Plaza; with the construction of a parish church, San Fernando, the area on the west side of the river was often called the villa of San Fernando de Bexar.

Though four other missions were founded downriver, San Antonio remained centered on its three plazas.

In the fall of 1835 Anglo American colonizers were concluding that the repressive measures of Mexican President Antonio López de Santa Anna could be opposed only through armed conflict. One month later Mexican Gen. Martín Perfecto de Cós arrived with troops, determined that Bexar should remain a part of Mexico. Both the presidio and the Alamo mission were quickly fortified by Mexican troops. Maverick found himself placed under house arrest, but was freed in time to fight in the house-to-house combat that was the culmination of the siege of Bexar. Maverick was present when Ben Milam, the commander of the Texian forces, was shot and killed at the Veramendi house, just north of the Main Plaza.

The revolutionaries, who included both Anglos and Mexicans, forced Cós to surrender and retreat to the south.

The Texians secured the now-abandoned Alamo, and the talk of the town turned to the election of delegates to the convention to declare independence and draw up a constitution, which was to be held at Washington-on-the-Brazos. The residents of San Antonio—almost entirely Mexican—refused to allow the Alamo defenders to vote, considering these transients rather than residents. The Texians at the Alamo responded by holding their own election on February 1, 1836, and chose Sam Maverick as one of two delegates to represent them. Later that month Gen. Santa Anna arrived with his own forces and those of General Cós, and laid siege to the Alamo. Maverick remained at the Alamo until March 1, and did not arrive at Washington until after the vote for independence had been taken. He was in Washington, however, when word arrived that Santa Anna's troops had overrun the garrison on March 6, killing all 187 defenders. Maverick remained there until the independence convention had finished its business, then returned to Alabama to take care of his own affairs.

In Tuscaloosa Sam Maverick met Mary Ann Adams. Mary must have had a refined air about her, as Tuscaloosa was then the capital of Alabama, as well as home of the University of Alabama, which opened in 1831. The town was graced by a number of neoclassical buildings designed by the state architect, English-born William Nichols, including the capitol, the university, and Christ Episcopal Church, of which Mary was a member. Sam and Mary quickly fell in love, and they were married in the summer of 1836. After visiting with family in Alabama and South Carolina, the Mavericks returned to Texas at the beginning of 1838.

The Mavericks moved to Texas with an entourage of enslaved servants. From the Maverick side came Wiley, who drove the wagon; Jinny Anderson, a cook and Maverick's former nurse; and Jinny's four children. Mary's mother, Agatha Adams, gave her daughter three slaves: Rachel, a nurse, and Griffin and Granville, adult males. In 1845 Samuel would purchase four more African Americans for use as slaves. Frances and her son Simon, Nora, a seamstress; and William, a carpenter. The Mavericks owned more slaves than the typical Bejareño slaveholder: in 1850, when there were only 389 enslaved African Americans in Bexar County, they owned two adult males and eight females; by 1860, when the number of slaves in the county had increased to 1,395, they owned two males and sixteen females. Most slaveholders in the county owned five or fewer slaves. The Maverick family's ownership of nearly twenty slaves was one of the clearest indications that they represented the values—and vices—of the American South.

The first San Antonio house of Sam and Mary Maverick was rented from Don Jose Cassiano, who owned a house on the west side of the Main Plaza, with the Church of San Fernando to the north and Dolorosa Street to the south.

The house ran halfway back to the Military Plaza. Don Jose was renting the front room of this house to Mary's brother William Adams, for use as a store, and he offered to let the Mavericks live in the back while getting settled. The Mavericks spent about two and a half months in the house, from their arrival on June 15, 1838, until the first of September. At that point they rented a house on Soledad Street from the Huizar family.

Mary noted in her memoirs that these Huizars were descended from Pedro Huizar, who had crafted the portals of the San José Mission. The house was just north of the Veramendi house, which had been the scene of Maverick's service in the siege of Bexar. Though the Mavericks made no notable changes to either house, their choice of two dwellings either on or near the Main Plaza is evidence that they preferred their residence to be in the center of a bustling town rather than to be secluded in a suburb.

In January 1839 Sam Maverick was elected to a one-year term as mayor of San Antonio, beginning a political career that would also include service as an alderman and as a representative in the Texas legislature. In that same month he purchased the old Barrera place at Soledad and Commerce streets, at the northwest corner of Main Plaza.




This was the first house in San Antonio that the family owned, and here they began to make improvements.

Mary Maverick recalled that the main house was of stone and had three rooms, plus a shed attached on the east side of the northernmost room. The room at the corner of Houston and San Antonio, closest to the Main Plaza, had doors opening onto both streets. This Mary referred to as "the store-room," but Sam probably used this as his land office, the home base for his far-flung real estate empire. North of this was a "long room," in Mary's phrase, a longer, rectangular space. North of this was what Mary called the north room, which was most likely a dining room. The shed was east of this room, toward the river. The house backed up to a bend in the San Antonio River, shaded by "a grand old cypress" growing at the De la Zerda place next door.

Sam and Mary made significant changes to their new old house. They reinforced the shed with new adobe walls and divided it into a kitchen and a servant's room. They built an additional servant's room fronting on Soledad Street, separated from the main house by a gateway, or "zaguan." This echoed the zaguan of the Veramendi house just up the street, and like the Veramendi zaguan it probably had a smaller door for pedestrians set within the frame of the larger door for horses and wagons.

The presence of a long room marked the Barrera house as an elite residence. As Mary noted, "all considerable houses had a long-room for receptions." Theodore Gentilz's painting Fandango: Spanish Dance documents such a space. Though it has been claimed that the painting depicts the long room in the house of the presidio captain, now known as the Spanish Governor's Palace, the scene could have been in any number of elite houses in town, including the nearby Veramendi house. (The long room in the "Governor's Palace" is the only long room still extant.) The Mavericks divided their long room into two rooms, probably a parlor and a bedchamber. The partition was a brick wall with a fireplace, decorated with a mantelpiece.

In their remodeling, the Mavericks created an amalgam of Spanish and Anglo tendencies. Their use of adobe as a building material and their use of a zaguan gateway as the principal work entry showed considerable willingness to adapt to the local vernacular. Of course, their choice was the vernacular of the Mexican upper class: they did not purchase a rude jacal consisting of stakes driven into the ground, but a solid stone house with a long room. While the Mavericks could subdivide old rooms and add new ones, they could not change the linear nature of the rooms; there was no central passage to act as a receiving area, as had been the case in Anglo American houses for nearly a century. The rooms were invariably open to friends, family, and slaves.

The domain of the family's enslaved servants stretched from the north end of the property on Soledad Street to the kitchen, the yard, and the river. The zaguan led from Soledad Street into the yard, near which the Mavericks built a stable. One servant's room fronted Soledad Street on the north side of the zaguan, the other was deeper in the complex, beyond the kitchen. The two rooms housing enslaved servants may have reflected gender distinctions. The room off the kitchen was probably reserved for the female slaves: Jinny, the Maverick cook, her four children, and Rachel, the Maverick nursemaid. It seems most likely that Jinny asserted her authority over this room, the kitchen, and the adjacent yard. The room north of the zaguan was probably occupied by the male slaves Griffin and Granville. The arrangement seems unusual compared to arrangements in other urban slaveholding establishments in that the Mavericks did not block their slaves' access to the street; indeed, the male slaves' room may have served as something of a guard house.

The yard was entirely reserved for the slaves and their work: while such activities took place in the northern part of the yard, the southern part—with gardens and the bath house—was reserved for the family. These two parts of the yard were separated by "a strong but homely picket fence." This separation must have broken down on a weekly basis, however, as the bath house was also the place where the laundry was done. As more businesses opened up on the north side of Commerce Street, however, privacy for bathing diminished, and the Mavericks and other Anglo families took to bathing in more secluded stretches of the river.

The perception of space in the Barrera-Maverick house is nowhere better appreciated than in Mary's description of what she latter termed "A Day of Horrors." This was March 19, 1840, when sixty-five Comanches were in San Antonio to negotiate the release of hostages, a parley that went terribly wrong. Mary watched the proceedings from the yard of her friend, Mrs. Thomas Higginbotham, who lived across Commerce Street from the Mavericks and just north of the courthouse. Suddenly a "deafening war-whoop sounded in the Court room," and the Comanches drew their arrows and fired, killing both the county judge and the sheriff; San Antonians returned fire with their rifles. Mary and Mrs. Higginbotham ran into the latter's house. Mary did not stop but headed straight through the house and across Commerce to her own door. "Two Indians ran past me on the street and one reached my door as I got in. He turned to raise his hand to push it just as I beat down the heavy bar; then he ran on." Mary rushed on to the north room only to find Sam and her brother Andrew sitting at a table studying some survey plats. They had not heard a thing. She quickly informed them and dashed into the yard looking for her children, shouting, "Here are Indians! Here are Indians!" This was quite accurate, as three Comanches had entered through the zaguan and were making for the river. Jinny, the Maverick's enslaved cook, "stood bravely in front of the children, mine and hers, and I heard her cry out to the Indian, 'If you don't go 'way from here I'll mash your head with this rock!'" Mary recalled that "the Indian seemed regretful that he hadn't time to dispatch Jinny and her brood, but his time was short, and . . . he dash down the bank into the river." With her children safely inside, Mary watched from the Soledad Street door, and even wandered out into the street, even though the fight was far from over, and five Comanches lay dead in Commerce Street. "I was just twenty-two then," she recalled, "and was endowed with a fair share of curiosity."

Away from San Antonio the family built in a very different manner. In 1842, the reinstated General Santa Anna once again invaded Texas, causing many Texans to flee San Antonio. In March, Sam, Mary, their three children, and their slaves removed to Fayette County, just across the Colorado River from the county seat, La Grange. Sam almost immediately returned to San Antonio. He was taken captive by Mexican troops and marched to Mexico, where he was imprisoned until April 1843. Two of the family's enslaved servants, Granville and Wiley, built the Maverick's new house with assistance from a local man, Griffith Jones. Mary Maverick remembered the dwelling as "a log cabin of one room sixteen by eighteen feet, one smaller for a kitchen, and a shed room for Jinny and the children." The next year the Maverick's enslaved craftsmen enlarged the house with help from Mary's brother William, who was visiting from Alabama. This was "another log cabin, adjacent to the one previously built, leaving a passage or a hall between them. In this hall we usually sat when the weather was fair." Such log houses were the predominant housing form for pioneering Texans in the 1830s and 1840s.

That enslaved African Americans Granville and Wiley built the Mavericks' log cabin was not unusual for antebellum Texas, for enslaved artisans were employed on many building projects. In Austin the master builder, Abner Cook, used enslaved artisans to help construct the new State Capitol and the Governor's Mansion. Indeed, Frederick Law Olmsted noted that some slaveholders in Austin rented out their servants to work on the Capitol building. The brick walls of Ashton Villa in Galveston were laid by Aleck, a trained mason who was owned by the merchant James Moreau Brown. And African American slave craftsmen were responsible for many log houses and cabins.

Mary's recollection that the initial log house measured sixteen by eighteen feet corresponds exactly with what Terry Jordan characterized as a square or roughly square floor plan (as opposed to rectangular or elongated). The roughly square plan was the predominant type in that state. Mary's use of the term log cabin rather than log house suggests that the logs were left round and that they were, in Jordan's phrase, "crudely notched and projecting beyond the corners." Such cabins were widely viewed as impermanent houses, to be replaced by hewn log houses. If such cabins survived, they were used to house slaves.

Mary Maverick clearly indicated that the construction of the house was incremental. Even though the main house was just one room, the kitchen and living quarters for servants were separate. In this the Mavericks and their enslaved craftsmen followed long-standing Southern tradition. She also made clear that the development of the double pen with a central passage was a response to the Texas heat. Such an open passage or dog trot, growing out of a standard eighteenth-century Georgian-era plan, could be found across the lower South from Georgia to East Texas. Mary did not use the term dog-trot, but she did emphasize its use as a space for living in warm weather.

Mary also noted that her brother built in the passage "a settee or lounge with curtain frame around it; and this was intended for gentleman visitors who should remain all night." This may well reflect a desire to provide accommodation to travelers, though Mary seems to be saying that it would be occupied by those who were already visiting, and not simply strangers in need of a bed. The provision of a bed for gentlemen also speaks to the important issue of safety: Mary, her children, and the slaves lived most of the time there without Sam Maverick. A curtained settee for male visitors encouraged them to stay overnight, yet it was a space separate from the family's own space. The settee thus neatly balanced the safety of the family with concerns for propriety.

In 1845, the year in which the Republic of Texas agreed to join the United States, the Maverick family moved to Decrow's Point, near Matagorda, on the Gulf of Mexico. Maverick had made substantial investments in land there and apparently hoped to build a number of houses. While on a business trip to Charleston in December 1845 he bought four additional African Americans to use as slaves, including William, a twenty-four-year-old carpenter. Sam seems to have purchased William with the idea that he might provide much of the skilled labor needed to build houses at Decrow's. William proved to be unruly and uncooperative, however, and he was sent to New Orleans to be sold.

In the first four months of 1847, as the United States Army fought Santa Anna in the Mexican-American War, the Mavericks built a new house on the Gulf of Mexico at Decrow's Point. Mary noted that they built the kitchen and other outbuildings first and lived in those while the main house was under construction. Presumably William, the Maverick's enslaved carpenter, did much of the work on this house before he was sold. Sam Maverick also worked on the house, to his detriment: on March 19 he tripped on a loose step, fell twelve feet, and landed on his shoulder. He was incapacitated for close to three weeks. Their house was built of wood, three stories tall, with eight rooms. Mary wrote that "it was very roomy and commanded a fine view of both the bay and the gulf . . . so we all enjoyed greatly the new, clean cool, roomy house."

That the house was three stories tall suggested that it was a raised cottage with utility rooms below and the principal rooms above. It was most likely similar to the early houses of elites in Galveston, Texas, such as the Samuel May Williams House, which were adaptations of Creole house forms common along the Gulf Coast.

Originally the Williams House rested on ten-foot-high brick piers; the principal floor had a parlor, sitting room, and dining room, and five bedrooms were fitted under the steeply pitched hipped roof. Mary recalled that their house was "very substantially built, and calculated to resist a very considerable storm." Indeed, the Texas coast had been struck by a hurricane in October 1837. Mary recalled that they "were aware great storms might come and destructive cyclones at equinoxal times, and we often talked of going back to San Antonio." Though Mary loved the house on the coast, Sam's land dealings tied him ever more closely to San Antonio and West Texas, and the family left for Bexar in October of 1847.

The Mavericks still owned their house at the northeast corner of the Main Plaza, but Mary noted that the town did not seem as healthy as it had in the early forties. She wrote that "I felt that I could not live any longer at the old place, and Mr. Maverick, too did not want to live there. We concluded that the high ground on the Alamo Plaza would be a more healthful location." San Antonio had suffered through a cholera epidemic in 1849, which took the life of Sam and Mary's six-year-old daughter Augusta. This came just a year after the death of seven-year-old Agatha, so the old house was not only in the most crowded part of town but also held painful memories of the deaths of two of their children.

The Mavericks may also have been motivated to move because of the run-down appearance of their old house, in spite of an ever-increasing fortune that would have allowed them to build a new one. Mary's sister Lizzie teased her, "I understand that you are having a new house built. I am very glad to hear it for I am tired of being so often told of the old ruins in which you live." She reminded her sister that people remarked, "I wonder why Mr. Maverick doesn't live in a better house." Sam had gained a reputation not only for great wealth but also for frugality to the point of eccentricity; a new house would be more appropriate for a family of their wealth and stature.

Perhaps another issue was that while Sam and Mary had cordial relations with the Mexican elite of San Antonio, they were not close friends. Mary noted that while they exchanged calls with leading families such as the Navarros, Seguins, Veramindis, and Yturris, she "never felt like being at all intimate." She did not want the children to spend much time with the children of the Mexican elites "because they let theirs go almost naked." Mary thus sketched out the gulf between the mores of Victorian-era Anglos and Mexicans. And given that these families all lived on or near the Main Plaza, the Mavericks were apparently not disturbed at the thought of moving farther away.

The family moved in July 1849 from the Main Plaza to the Alamo Plaza. Sam had acquired land near the old mission church and convento, at the northwestern edge of the plaza in 1841. Between 1844 and 1849 he bought four large parcels of land between the Alamo Plaza and the San Antonio River. At first the family occupied "an old Mexican house" on the west side of the plaza and on the south side of what would become Houston Street, across from the site where they would build their new house.

Indeed, this house probably incorporated a room (or rooms) from the west wall of the mission enclosure, which had served one hundred years before as apartments for Indian converts. It was bounded on the north and west by the Alamo acequia, which was by then abandoned. The Mavericks would spend nearly a year and a half in this house, as work did not begin on the new house until June 1850, and they did not move in until the first of December. Mary did not note any changes the family made to the house; perhaps all their energy went into planning the new structure. Indeed, her only comment about their latest temporary abode was made in connection with the new house, which they found "very nice, after the old Mexican quarters we had occupied for over a year."

The neighborhood into which they moved was not only predominantly Mexican but also predominantly poor. When Frederick Law Olmsted visited town in 1854, he found the Alamo "a mere wreck of its former grandeur," and in use as an arsenal by the U.S. Quartermaster. He described the Alamo Plaza as "all Mexican. Windowless cabins of stakes, plastered with mud and roofed with river-grass, or 'tula'; or low, windowless, but better thatched, houses of adobes (gray, unburnt bricks), with groups of brown idlers lounging at their doors." Interestingly, Olmsted chose not to mention the Maverick House, sitting prominently at the northwest corner of the plaza.

Sam and Mary Maverick moved with an awareness that things were changing on the Alamo Plaza, however. In 1849 the U.S. Department of War named San Antonio headquarters for all army operations in Texas, and on January 1, 1850, Jean Marie Odin, the Catholic Bishop of Texas, agreed to rent the entire Alamo compound to the army for $150 per month. Maj. Edwin Burr Babbitt, the chief quartermaster for San Antonio, recommended to Gen. Thomas S. Jessup that the Alamo buildings be demolished and new ones erected, but Jessup overruled this suggestion. In the spring of 1850 Babbitt reroofed the mission church, adding a second floor and a curvilinear parapet. Maverick also rented an adjacent lot to the army for $20 per month. The mission church was used for the rather mundane purpose of storing foodstuffs, but the army's occupancy meant that the building would not deteriorate any further. Others also saw the eastern side of town as ripe for redevelopment: in 1859 John Fries and J.H. Kampmann began to build a large new hotel, to be known as the Menger Hotel, just south of the Alamo. In that same year, Sam Maverick acquired another large parcel of land northwest of Alamo Plaza; from this land the Mavericks would eventually donate Travis Park to the city, and, on the north side of the park, the site for St. Mark's Episcopal Church.

Ultimately, though, the selection of Alamo Plaza as the site for the Maverick House was a very personal one for Sam Maverick. In an 1846 letter to Mary, Sam referred to the Alamo as "the old Golgotha." This Aramaic word for skull denotes the hill where Jesus Christ was crucified, known in its Latin form as Calvary. In more modern times Golgotha had taken on the connotations of a graveyard or charnel house. Maverick thus remained intensely aware of the human sacrifice that had taken place on that spot little more than a decade earlier and may have been using the term not only in its generic sense, but also to draw an analogy between the sacrifice of the Alamo defenders and Christ himself. The next year he wrote to S.M. Howe, a U.S. Army officer in San Antonio, "I have a desire to reside on this particular spot, a foolish prejudice no doubt as I was almost a solitary escape[e] from the Alamo massacre having been sent by those unfortunate men [to the independence convention]." If Sam and Mary had their bedchamber in the south room upstairs, they may well have had a remarkable view of the old mission that had played such a memorable role in their own lives and in the history of their state.




An 1877 photograph shows that the Maverick House was a two-story block with the gables at the north and south end and a two-story gallery on the west side. The south wall had one window on each floor, and the longer west side had three per floor. The roof began several feet above the lintels of the second floor window, suggesting that the attic contained usable space. No dormers were visible, but the gable end has what appears to be a ventilator. The narrowness of the chimney suggests that it served cast-iron stoves rather than traditional fireplaces. Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps of 1885 and 1888, when the property had become a boardinghouse, make sense of the outbuildings visible in the photograph and document features not visible in the photograph.

The two-story gallery was actually L-shaped, attaching the main block of the house to a two-story kitchen. Connecting the main house and kitchen with a gallery was fairly typical in larger houses in Texas and, indeed, elsewhere in the South, but less typical was the fact that the kitchen was not situated behind the main house, but to the north and west of the main block. The longer south façade of the kitchen looked toward Houston Street, so that the main block and kitchen formed a courtyard.

The second floor of the kitchen may have housed some of the Mavericks' enslaved servants, but it could also have been separate living quarters for the older Maverick boys. Samuel was thirteen in 1850 and Lewis was eleven, though at five and three George and William were rather young to be apart from their parents. Whatever the function of the upper room of the kitchen block, the Sanborn Maps also indicate the presence of a one-story building north of the main house, with a south-facing front porch and a connector to the main house. This northernmost building may have housed the male slaves, just as room north of the zaguan had housed them in the old house on Main Plaza. Even in the 1880s, when the property was a boardinghouse, this building was labeled as a "servant's room." The Sanborn Maps cannot tell us whether either the kitchen or the servant's room date to 1850, but both are visible in an 1873 bird's-eye view of the city.

By this time, Sam had passed away but Mary was living there; clearly these outbuildings had been there for some time.

A final outbuilding is known through both the photograph and the Sanborn Maps: the Maverick Land Office. This was a low-roofed one-story building with front and back rooms, both lit by eastern windows. The door opened directly onto Houston Street, meaning that visitors to the land office did not have to enter the yard of the house. At the old house on the Main Plaza, the office was in the main block of the house nearest the plaza, but here the commercial aspects of the complex were strictly separated from the residential.

The Sanborn Maps also reveal that most of the buildings in the Maverick compound were made of stone: the main house, kitchen, servant's room, and land office. The only frame structures were two small outbuildings, one west of the kitchen and another west of the servant's room. The use of stone was traditional in important San Antonio buildings, such as the eighteenth-century missions and the residence of the presidio commander, though poorer folk lived in one-room jacales, with walls of wooden posts driven into the ground.

The form of the Maverick House was highly unusual for an Anglo family in San Antonio. The house of John James, a business partner of Maverick's, was a far more typical Anglo Texan house. James's main house was a squarish block set back from the street, with galleries on both the front and rear elevations; the kitchen, a separate building behind the main house, had only a front gallery. Both the first floor of the main house and the kitchen were built of stone; later Sanborn Maps show a frame second floor to the main house, which may have been a later addition. Both the way in which the James House related to the street and the relation between house and kitchen marked it as being more conventionally Anglo Texan.

An even more imposing Anglo Texan house was that of James Vance, a New York-born merchant and banker. This house, built south of the Main Plaza, was two stories high and had a partially submerged basement. Both the principal front, facing in the direction of the plaza, and the rear elevation had colonnades with Greek Revival box columns. A central passage with a staircase ran through the house on the ground floor and the upper two floors. The entire house was built of stone, and family tradition claims that the architect builder was John Fries, a German stonemason. Olmsted observed that "the American dwellings stand back, with galleries and jalousies and a garden picket fence against the walk," which could describe the James, Vance, or Maverick houses.

The Maverick house in San Antonio was also different from that designed by relatives back in South Carolina. Montpelier, Sam's father's house in Pendleton, in the western part of the state, burned early in 1850. The senior Maverick had recently suffered a stroke, and so the task of rebuilding fell to his son-in-law William Van Wyck. The new house, built a short distance from the old one, featured a central passage and four rooms downstairs and up, a plan characteristic of many Greek Revival, Federal, and Georgian houses. Four square piers create a two-story central portico; more unusual was the cast-iron balcony to the right of the entrance portico, which opened into the drawing room. Although the Maverick-Van Wyck house was some 245 miles inland from Charleston, it featured a typical central passage plan and fashionable neoclassical ornament.

The Maverick house was unlike other Anglo Texan houses in San Antonio or the house of Sam's brother-in-law in South Carolina; however, the house possessed a number of characteristics associated with the house form known as the Charleston single house.

This form developed in Charleston, South Carolina, in the mid-eighteenth century. The simplest definition is a house with only one room fronting the street. By the latter eighteenth century, single houses would have a two-story gallery, preferably facing south. Any garden would be in front of this gallery, and the main entrance would be on the center of this façade. In plan the house would have a central passage with a room on each side, and it would have two or three stories. Often the long wall opposite the gallery would have the fireplaces and no windows, almost as if it were expected that another house was to be built adjoining that wall. Usually the kitchen, laundry, and slave quarters would be placed to the rear of the property.

The Maverick house showed a single room to Houston Street, with a gallery on the side. A letter from Mary to her son Lewis in 1863 provides evidence that there were in fact three rooms downstairs, a fact supported by the three equal-sized windows in the surviving photograph. She specifies that these rooms were the north room, the dining room, and the sitting room. The absence of an entrance hall or stair hall is significant. Central passages were common in eighteenth-century houses in the eastern states; a design that scholars refer to as the Georgian plan. Even Charleston single houses had central passages, albeit opening onto the garden rather than the street. The Maverick family's arrangement of three downstairs rooms is actually much closer to Creole floor plans of Louisiana. And indeed houses like the Major James Pitot House in New Orleans (built 1799-1805) feature a dining room as the central room on the ground floor. The lack of a stair hall suggests that the main access to the upstairs was from a stair on the gallery, as was the case in such major Louisiana houses of the 1830s as the David Weeks Home, now known as Shadows-on-the-Teche. The Weeks house, having six rooms on each floor is not a single house, but single houses in New Orleans have a gallery on the side and two or three rooms on each floor.

The Maverick house had gardens and a majestic pecan tree—under which Sam Maverick was said to have camped on his first night in San Antonio—just west of the gallery. The kitchen faced the gardens on the north; the slave house was less visible, being directly north of the big house. The house also relates more specifically to the antebellum-era single house, in that the roof was gabled rather than hipped, and two stories rather than three. The principal difference from the typical single house were that the house was set back from the street on the south and east sides, and the fireplaces were most likely not on the long wall opposite the gallery. The wall opposite the gallery had three windows per floor, but this could also be the case in Charleston single houses on corner lots. The Mavericks' lot was in fact a corner lot and would have no near neighbors. Indeed, it might be seen as a suburbanized single house.

The single house was a form with which Sam Maverick was familiar from his youth, and, indeed, he had spent a great deal of time in Charleston as recently as 1845. A few single houses could also be found in Alabama, but these were all in Mobile, on the Gulf Coast, rather than in Mary Maverick's Tuscaloosa. She would have been far more familiar with houses with a central passage, either in their one- or two-story versions. Between Sam and Mary, Sam seems the more likely source for such a plan.

If the plan for a Charleston single house did not come from Sam Maverick, it may have come from Francois Pierre Giraud, who was born in Charleston of French parents. He attended St. Mary's College prep school in Maryland then traveled to France to study at the Ecole Centrale des Arts et Manufactures. He was back in the United States by 1842 and came to the new state of Texas in 1847. He became the first city surveyor of San Antonio in 1848 and determined the boundaries of the city and of the mission properties. In fact, Sam Maverick conferred with Giraud about the precise bounds of the mission land at the northwest corner to make sure of his title to the property. During the Civil War, Giraud was chief engineer of defenses at Galveston and served as San Antonio's mayor from 1872 to 1875. His architectural work included the Ursuline Academy, built in phases from 1849 to 1868, and the new San Fernando Cathedral, built between 1868 and 1873 in an austere Gothic style. Although no other houses by Giraud are known, he was certainly capable of obliging his fellow South Carolinian with such a design.

It is less likely that the form of the house was determined by the contractors who built it. The stonework was done by Joseph Schmidt, a German-born mason, and the woodwork by Otto Bombach, a German-born carpenter. Mary noted that Schmidt "pushed the work rapidly" on the Maverick house. Thus both the stonework and woodwork of the Maverick House were thus erected by a group of recent immigrants from Germany, who would have had little familiarity with the single house form.

The single house has been interpreted as an environmental response to heat and humidity and as a response to limited land on which to build in Charleston. Both of these interpretations leave much to be desired. Although the galleries shaded the house from the direct glare of the sun and provided a place where one could catch a cool breeze, the windowless walls abutting the next property were hardly conducive to the circulation of air. And though land may have been a scarce commodity in Charleston, many of the single houses were in fact showy in setting aside space for gardens and other amenities. More recently, Bernard Herman has argued that the single house form was essentially an urban plantation and a tool for social control. Genteel social functions were grouped at the front, while work functions and slave housing were grouped at the rear.

The galleries of the Maverick house can certainly be seen as providing cool and shady spaces in an attempt to cope with the Texas heat, but at the same time other Texas houses had galleries front and back; environment does not explain why the Mavericks chose this arrangement of galleries over more typical Texas arrangements. Nor was lack of land on which to build an issue for the Mavericks: they had sufficient space on their lot to set the house back from Houston Street and D Street. But the arrangement of the Maverick complex does suggest its effectiveness in defining types of space: they made a clear distinction between the rear yard and the front and side yard. The rear yard was defined by the north wall of the big house, the east wall of the kitchen, the south front of the slave house, and the fence separating the yard from D Street. At the same time the placement of the servant house at the north end of the property along D Street made it easy for Maverick slaves to have access to the outside world. Nearer the main house the continuation of the gallery along the front of the kitchen created a shady and more genteel space that also screened the view of the kitchen from the garden and from Houston Street. Although the complex was bounded by a picket fence, it is likely that the daily duties of the Maverick slaves made this a very porous barrier.

The Mavericks continued to live on the Alamo Plaza until Sam's death in 1870. Over time the once-new house began to take on a ramshackle appearance. A somewhat acerbic newspaper article of 1868, reporting his purchase of some 1,650 acres of land, noted that "Maverick lives in the most simple style—fences decaying and buildings crumbling to pieces; yet he is eternally buying land." The house was not yet twenty years old, but its maintenance did not seem to be a high priority for Sam.




Mary continued to live in the house for nearly a decade after Sam's death, but the neighborhood was beginning to change. By the time Augustus Koch did his bird's-eye view of San Antonio in 1873, a two-story grocery store had been built north of the Maverick house, although the block to the west of the Maverick complex was still vacant. In 1877 the U.S. Army moved out of the Alamo complex for the new quarters at Post San Antonio (now known as Fort Sam Houston). The Catholic Church then sold the convento to the merchants Hugo and Schmeltzer, who converted the building into a wholesale liquor and grocery store. The merchants added a false parapet and wooden cannons in an attempt to capitalize on the Alamo's image.

By the time the 1879-1880 city directory appeared, Mary was living with her daughter Mary and her second husband, Edwin Terrell. Their house was on the south side of Travis Park, land that had been donated to the city by the Mavericks. The elder Mary would have found it convenient to stroll to the north side of the park to St. Mark's Episcopal Church, which she and Sam had helped fund. The church was designed by Richard Upjohn of New York in 1859, but it was not completed and consecrated until 1881. Mary noted that "a feeling of local pride has been aroused, even among those who are not of us, that Old San Antonio, in wilderness as she is and almost out of the world as she is thought to be, should possess such a fine church."

She also served for many years as the president of the Alamo Monument Association, which advocated demolishing the liquor and grocery store next to the Alamo and constructing a large monument designed by the English-born Alfred Giles, the first professional architect in San Antonio. Mary's sons Albert and William also had Giles design a commercial building for the west side of Alamo Plaza. This was the Italianate Crockett Block (1882-1883), named for the hero of the battle of the Alamo. After the death of her daughter, Mary lived with her son William in a limestone Romanesque house (1893) designed by Giles. There she lived until her death in 1898.

The 1879-1880 city directory also indicated that James Moore was running a boardinghouse at the northwest corner of Houston and Avenue D, that is, the old Maverick House. The neighborhood had never been particularly residential, in spite of the Mavericks' example, but it was becoming less so all the time. In 1885 Sam and Mary's oldest son, also named Sam, founded the Maverick Bank and built a five-story building across Houston Street from the old house, on the site of the old Mexican house where they had lived for a year and a half. Unfortunately for Sam, the bank did not do well and was out of business by 1892. Across the street to the east the building that housed the U.S. courthouse, customhouse, and post office was completed in 1890—a large Victorian structure that also would have dwarfed the Mavericks' old house. The Maverick House was demolished sometime between 1890 and early 1892. It was replaced by a row of six offices on Houston Street—incorporating the old land office—and five on Avenue D. The Maverick House stood for less than fifty years, succumbing to the tremendous growth of late nineteenth-century San Antonio.

* * *

The Maverick family was fairly typical of nineteenth-century Texas elites: white, Protestant, land wealthy, and slave holding. Sam was less typical in being from South Carolina, while Mary was more typical as a native of Alabama, from which, along with Mississippi and Tennessee, a great many Texans originated. Sam was also atypical in having a college degree from Yale; while Mary, like almost all women of her generation, did not attend college, she did grow up in Tuscaloosa, a town that had recently become a seat of government and higher education. Perhaps Sam, as the partner more enamored of San Antonio, was more adaptable to Hispanic ways, and Mary more concerned with creating a beautiful and refined home. The Barrera-Maverick house on the Main Plaza reflects this tendency to adopt local building customs but also to adapt them with what they saw as Anglo refinements.

On the run from Santa Anna's army, Mary and the children found themselves in a two-pen dog-trot log cabin, which replicated strategies for living in a sultry southern climate and for creating hierarchies between family, visitors, and slaves. This house also replicated a Germanic building technique that had proven useful in a variety of pioneering contexts but, in this case, was used in a collaboration of white and black hands. In her memoirs Mary acknowledged the contribution of both the free gentleman and the enslaved workers.

The three-story house on the Gulf of Mexico demonstrates that the family was willing to embrace yet another vernacular building tradition, Creole cottages of the Gulf Coast. The more general southern tradition of separate kitchens and other outbuildings was maintained, but the extensive use of galleries made the climate and the picturesque views of the gulf most appealing, especially to Mary. This seems to have been the house that was hardest for her to abandon.

Back in San Antonio Sam and Mary's decision to build a Charleston single house on the Alamo Plaza resulted in a house that was quite unusual for Texas, but their house nevertheless maintained the order and symmetry characteristic of Georgian and neoclassical buildings. At the same time, the corner lot and the prominent siting of the kitchen would have made the everyday work of the Mavericks' enslaved servants all the more visible from the street.

Sam Maverick seems to have valued solid construction and ample land over elegant ornamentation, and the description of the Barrera-Maverick house and the one photograph of the house on the Alamo Plaza seem to confirm this preference. The stone walls of the Barrera place were not conducive to dramatic remodeling; the Mavericks contented themselves with subdividing one long room and adding other rooms and structures. The German stonemasons who constructed the single house on the Alamo Plaza also did so with limestone that might be expected to stand for the ages. In both cases, however, the domestic scale of these structures made them less adaptable to other purposes, and, ironically, encouraged their demolition.

The story of the Maverick family and their houses reveals the cultural complexities of life in Texas in the years after independence from Mexico. The Mavericks entered a Hispanic community as the vanguard of Anglo immigration, bringing with them enslaved African Americans and thus the Southern institution of slavery. Within a decade the Tejanos, Anglos, and African Americans were joined by German immigrants, who were to play an increasingly important role in later nineteenth-century San Antonio. The Mavericks almost certainly thought of themselves as part of an Anglo cultural elite, but their Texas homes reveal an open-minded, even experimental attitude that suggests that they valued the contributions of other cultures as well.

Kenneth Hafertepe, Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Vol. CIX, No. 1