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I found here Pyle and Ikin; they had arrived only a short time before us, and had got their suppers; but finding a crowd coming in they re-crossed the bayou and lodged on the other side.

Weather lowering.

Wednesday, March 23, 1836

The President and Vice President being now about fifteen miles from their homes, both went home today to see their families.  Being invited by Zavala to go with him, I resolved to do so, but being detained, let him start first, expecting to overtake him.  Started in company with Pyle and a young man named Lyon, from Georgia, on his return to the United States.  Overtook Ikin at the ----- Bayou.  As he was on foot and I in a hurry, we soon parted company.  Lyon and I rode on together.  At Earle's met with Dr. Neblett and Mr. Nat. J. Dobie of Harrisburg, on their return from the bay.[ 6]  Detained some time in conversation.  (Memo. -- Earl wishes to sell his land.  He has a salt spring on it.)  A few miles further on passed a vacant house, which by enquiry I learn belongs to a widow who has left the country and resides in Cincinnati or Boston -- name Wilson.  There are three labors attached to it.  She gave $350 for it.  Pretty place, good spring; keep it in view.  Stopt at the house of ----- Atkins, an English farmer; wife a spruce and kindly woman.  Asked her for a drink of water and she gave me a bowl of fine milk.  He rents the place of Dr. Patrick for $100 per annum.  Says Patrick has no deed to it, but expects to get one of Austin.[ 7]  A pretty place.  The lands all along the Buffalo Bayou are beautiful and fertile.

Arrived at Zavala's before 2 o'clock.  Was ferried over by an old Frenchman; horse swam the bayou, which is here as wide as the Rappahannock at Fredericksburg.  Received a cordial and kind reception.  They had dined, but the table was still in the floor.  Young Zavala came down to the shore to meet me and conduct me to the house.  Zavala only owns one labor of land here, which he bought for the sake of the situation and the buildings.  It is beautifully situated on a point at the junction of Buffalo Bayou and Old San Jacinto, the present San Jacinto running some distance off.  The house is small, one large room, three small bed closets and a porch, kitchen, etc.  Mrs. Zavala is a fine, beautiful woman, of tall, dignified person and ladylike manners, black eyes, twenty-seven years old, a native of the State of New York; maiden name West.  She is the second wife of the Vice-President; the first was a lady of Yucatan, and the mother of young Lorenzo, who is now ----- years of age.  The Vice-President is forty-seven.  They have three little children, Augustin, Emalie and Ricardo, the youngest just beginning to crawl.  Sweet children, mild, gentle, well bred.  Oh! how they made me think of my own dear ones.  Mrs. Zavala spent one year in the City of Mexico after her marriage, and speaks the Spanish language fluently.

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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