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social party at Lt. Macrae's, where they played cards and backgammon.  Lt. Macrae is from P. Wm. Co., Virginia, and brother of the late Capt. Jno. Macrae.  Introduced to Lt. Bonnell and wife, Lt. Alexander of P. Wm., and Capt. Lewis.  The regiment has an excellent band of music, which gives much life to the parades.  Lt. McLeod has sent up his resignation, and only waits its acknowledgment so that he may join the Texian army.[20]

The lands in this part of the State are generally poor, but some of the officers are about to make investments and go to farming.  Capt. Harrison and Lt. Smith are about to buy a piece in partnership.  Clear and cold; thermometer 28.

Thursday, January 28, 1836

The weather this morning clear and cold; a fine white frost; ice on the puddles.  Thermometer 14.  Left the garrison at 10 o'clock, in company with Capt. [Sidney] Sherman, of the Newport, Ky., Volunteers, on his way to Texas.[21]  He has been sick at Nachitoches two weeks, and his company have gone on before him.  We missed our way and lost nearly an hour in regaining it.  While endeavoring to do so, encountered a family in the woods who had removed from the Brazos, on account of the unhealthiness of that country, and were taking up a residence here on Uncle Sam's waste land.  After a pleasant ride (bating muddy roads), arrived at dusk on the banks of the Sabine, at Gaines' Ferry.  Found two gents. waiting to get across the ferry, Dr. Leon Jones and Mr. ----- of Nachitoches.  There was a swell of water in the river from recent rains, and the ferry was consequently half a mile across, through swamp and woods; the river, not 100 yards wide.  The gentlemen had been waiting and hallooing some time for the boat, which was on the Texas side, and out of sight.  There was a horn suspended to a bush, to be blown as a signal, but neither of them could blow it.  I gave a few blasts on it, and in a little while the boat was brought over.  We were now joined by Col. Horton and Mr. Bullard, with two others of their party, making, in all, eight horses and their riders.  The boat, fortunately, was a large flat, and took us all over at once.  The ferry and tavern are owned and kept by Capt. Jas. Gaines,[22]  who emigrated nearly thirty years ago from Culpeper, Va.  He has seen much of Texas, and appears to be well versed in its history; is much of a politician, and a candidate for the new convention, the election for which takes place next Monday.  Gaines says he fixed himself at this place in [1819], believing that Texas belonged to the United States.  Mr. Adams having proved that it did, and he still hopes that it will.  He goes for the Independence of Texas, and then, to unite with Uncle Sam, if he will.

Found at the tavern a number of travelers, among them Col. Frost Thorn, of Nacogdoches, to whom I had letters, which I delivered.  He, too, is a candidate for the Convention, and for Independence.


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The Diary of William Fairfax Gray, from Virginia to Texas, 1835-1837
Copyright 1997 William P. Clements Center for Southwest Studies
Southern Methodist University, Dallas, Texas