|Addressed to: Mr. Christian Wuthrich
Canton de Berne
Texas, Austin Citi, Febr.
Now I take pen in hand because I would gladly hear from you, and I do hope that you will
not let as many years slip by as I did without writing but will instead let me have a
You will say: "Why haven't you let us hear from you sooner?" The answer
is: "First, because my mode of living up to now has been flighty and uncertain, and
so I could not receive a reply from you; secondly, I am a very poor writer, and besides my
story is not very interesting.
Even at that, I will give you a brief description of my life. First, the journey
from New York to Texas took almost two months because the wind and the weather were
unfavorable. We landed at Copano (Copano Bay, Texas) there was only one house there
and it had no doors nor windows, and if a person wanted drinking water he had to go five
hours to get it. The place had a kind of stinging gnat which are torturous because
they have a poisonous sting, which is like that of a red ant. (Possibly
Mosquitoes) From there I went to Baladia, a small village.
The inhabitants were all Mexicans who spoke Spanish. I made a deal (agreement) to work there for six months at
one dollar per day and keep (board). After that I worked here until the Revolution, when I became a
I find that the connection between Texas and Mexico should be given here. Texas was
a Mexican state. There was a governor. Several colonies were here, but they
were all newly founded. Austin's colony was the oldest, it began in 1826. The
colonists were promised that their necessities could be brought into the country duty-free
for ten years; that there would be freedom of religion; that no church fees were to be
paid and that there would be no compulsory military life. As the colonies began to
flourish, the Mexicans wanted everybody to be a Catholic; taxes and church fees were to be
paid and military training became a must. This brought on a revolution which started
in 1835 and I took part in it. The colonists were the volunteers, which they
received from the United States, could raise an army of about 2,000 men, these were all
placed into small detachments, therefore the beginning in itself was bad enough. I
received my assignment in Baladai (this was possibly La Bahia
in Goliad) under Colonel Fannin and Capt. Duvall. This
post was composed of 500 men. Now the Mexicans came with an army of 10,000 men.
St. Antonio (the Alamo in San Antonio) was lost after a ten day siege, and all who fought there were dead.
Our spy company was taken prisoners. Captain King was sent out into the
country to bring the families in for protection (probably a
fort) but he was attacked by the Mexicans, the Colonel went
to him with a battalion but he was cut off, he could not return to us. We wanted to
retreat to Victoria but we were attacked by the Mexicans at 3pm on the prairie. The
battle lasted until night. Half of us were dead and half wounded. The Mexicans
surrounded us and on the morning of March 20, 1836 their cannons began to fire upon us.
We made a capitulation that we should be mustered out at New Orleans but we were
brought back to Baladia and after 8 days they began to shoot us. Only a few, among
whom I was one, were lucky enough to escape with their life. But I was taken to
Matamoros as a prisoner. The Texas army under General Sam Houston, with about 1,500
men withdrew now (this is known as the RUNAWAY SCRAPE) but the Mexican army followed them on foot, they destroyed and burned
everything, until they reached San Jacinto. The Texans now realized that they had to
give battle, which favored the Texans, who completely destroyed the Mexican army. (This was the Battle of San Jacinto.) Now
Texas is free.
In the end I got away from the Mexicans and went to New Orleans and then back to Texas.
All of this happened with grievous obstacles. At present my worth is 2,400
acres of land, 4 lots in the city of Austin and a little house on them in which are my
cabinet makers tools and supplies.
Above all Texas is a healthy, open country and at present has about 30,000 inhabitants,
but is still growing mightily. If you or others in your vicinity desire to leave the
homeland, I would advise you to come directly to Texas, rather than spend your money first
going to the United States for people are swarming here from the United States just as
they are coming from Europe to the United States.
Our borders are: the Sabine River in the east; the Rio Grande in the west; the Gulf of
Mexico in the south and the Red River and the Rocky Mountains in the North. (The Republic of Texas extended as far north as present day Colorado at
the time this letter was written.)
I am well and hope that this letter will find you in like condition. I beg you to
write me soon and let me also hear from my brothers and sisters and other relatives; too,
I would very much like to hear about your political life.
Note: Texas is a free Republic, the government consists of a big and a little
council and a president, who is elected by all the people. When you write address
the letter to the following address:
Austin Citi, Texas
|This letter will go to Europe through the
help of the French Ministry. I wish you good health and a long life, and remain,
|Your son and brother,