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his little party of about ten or twelve as a kind of bodyguard, under the pretense of being an express corps.  What a government!  What an army!  "Sing Ditton and Whitton," etc.

A flying report was received at Roberts' that Fannin had left Goliad and blown up the fort; that Houston did not know where the enemy was.  Etc., etc.

Tuesday, March 22, 1836

I this morning recovered my blankets from the camp of the valiant soldiers, who have thus shown the materials of which they are composed.

Left McEarly's at 7 o'clock -- bill, $1.50.  Overtook the government at Roberts' and all proceeded together.  Stopt at Mrs. Burnett's, a widow woman, who keeps the only house on the road between Roberts' and Harrisburg, a distance of forty miles, at 11 o'clock.  Got a feed of corn for our horses, and an excellent snack of broiled beef, butter, milk and good cornbread for ourselves.  She is a poor widow, with several young children, yet she would receive nothing for what we ate.[ 3]  She charged twenty-five cents only for the feed for each horse, and for that she made the apology that corn was scarce, and when what she had was gone she would have to buy more.  She had a plenty of meat and milk, and we were welcome to it.  What a contrast between the kindheartedness of this poor widow and the fleecing disposition of the rich Mr. Groce.  This is the second instance of the kind that I have met with in Texas.  Mrs. Whiteside was the first.  She would have nothing, not even for horse feed.  Such instances should be recorded as redeeming circumstances.

Had a long and tiresome ride over uninteresting prairie.  The Brazos bottom lay far away to the west, sometimes out of sight, when the horizon over the prairie had all the appearance of a water view.  The beautiful woods of the San Jacinto lay eastward to our left, and near enough to distinguish the deep green of the cedar and pine which abound there.  Zavala pointed out to me some of his possessions there.  He has five leagues on the San Jacinto, three of which he designs for his oldest son.

Arrived at Harrisburg after dark.  Approached the town by crossing Buffalo Bayou, on which it is situated, in a flat, which would only admit of the passage of four horses at a time.[ 4]  Zavala crossed in the first boat with me, and I was struck with the cordial and affectionate manner in which he was greeted wherever recognized.  Stopt at the house of Mrs. Harris, widow of the founder of the town.[ 5]  No corn or other food to be got for our horses.  Had to turn them loose to graze.  The house is crowded and lodging indifferent.  I slept on the floor under the same blanket with the Secretary of War.  The Secretary of the Navy and Attorney-General also slept on the floor.  The President, Vice-President and Secretary of State were accommodated with beds.

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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