Part 3, Note 4

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James L. Haley, ed., Most Excellent Sir (Austin: Duncan & Gladstone, 1987), pp. 46-51; Dewees, Letters from an Early Settler of Texas, pp. 205-206. Dewees, who provides all of the details regarding the Fordtran incident, does not give the name of the family which was attacked. However, Washington H. Secrest, writing to Sam Houston on March 1, 1837, states that "the Indians have committed severel depredation on the Setelers of Millcreak and Colorado they killed a dutchman by the name of Fotran and two children . . ." (see Dorman H. Winfrey and James M. Day, eds., Texas Indian Papers, 1825-1843 (Austin: Pemberton Press, 1966. Reprint. Austin: Texas State Historical Society, 1995), vol. 1, pp. 20-21). The Dutchman, that is German, in question must have been Charles Fordtran, though he certainly was not killed in 1837. Fordtran was quite an important player in bringing German immigrants to Texas. He initially lived near Industry, and in fact came to Texas with the man who established Industry, the man known as Friedrich Ernst (see "Die erste deutsche Frau in Texas," Der Deutsche Pionier, December 1884, or the much more convenient, though edited and altered, translation in Crystal Sasse Ragsdale, ed., The Golden Free Land (Austin: Landmark Press, 1976), p. 3). Ernst took title to a league of land on Mill Creek in present Austin County on April 16, 1831; Fordtran, as a single man, to a quarter league on the east side of the Colorado River in present Colorado County on May 18, 1831. Just when Fordtran began living on his survey, and perhaps even if he did at all, is open to question. Most accounts of his life, including one published while he was still alive, imply that he lived near Ernst in Austin County his entire life (see for example, John Henry Brown, Indian Wars and Pioneers of Texas (Austin: L. E. Daniell, 1880), pp. 524-527). It may be reasonable to suppose that Fordtran did indeed live on his Colorado County tract for a brief time after the war, or at least that he intended to, but that he moved back to his old digs in Austin County after the visit by the Indians.
    According to Andrew Jackson Sowell’s Early Settlers and Indian Fighters of Southwest Texas ((Austin: Ben C. Jones Co., 1900. Reprint. Austin: State House Press, 1986), p. 54) at about the same time and in about the same area, William Alexander Anderson "Big Foot" Wallace engaged in his first conflict with Indians. Wallace and four men, two of whom are identified as "Gorman Woods" [perhaps Norman] and "a man named Black," pursued a band of Indians who had raided the settlements around La Grange. They caught the Indians, and engaged in a running battle with them across "several miles," killing two and wounding one. Despite the similarities of the stories, it is unlikely that the Dewees posse and that of Wallace were the same, for Dewees’ came from near Columbus and killed no Indians.