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proceed to New Orleans with all practicable dispatch, as vessels would be there in a short time that would make his presence necessary.

Friday, April 15, 1836

At Lynch's.  This morning Neblett rode out to meet the President and get him to sign the grant for two sections of land on Galveston Island and one on Point Bolivar. 

While waiting for these gentlemen and my horse, I wrote to Mrs. Gray and also to W. M. B. an account of Galveston Bay and Island, to this date.

A great number of fugitives from the enemy still continue to pass, and many instances of individual distress hourly present themselves.

The Earl family are here.

The Aikins are ditto, Mrs. Aikins with an infant only ten days old.  One lady from the west was delivered in a canebrake on her flight.

At night the steamboat came down, Neblett in her.  Also the President, Hardiman, Thomas, and all the inhabitants of Harrisburg.  The schooner William and four open boats in tow.  There has been a complete evacuation of Harrisburg, and all the people of the neighborhood have fled.  A party of Mexicans are said to have appeared in Harrisburg as the steamboat put off.[47]  Zavala stopt at his house.  Triplett went on board, and Hardiman came off with him, and slept in the bed with me.  There has been much difficulty in getting the Executive to sign the grant for land on Galveston, agreeably to their contract.  The President at first refused, then assented, but said he must consult his Cabinet.  He then signed; but Hardiman, acting Secretary of State, positively refused.  Finally, after coming on shore, he consented to sign for one section, on condition that no more should be asked at this time.  They are afraid that the grants will be unpopular, and that they will also share in the unpopularity.  They acknowledge it is our right, according to the contract, but they are afraid to do right, afraid to be just.  (This is not the right stuff to make a republican government of.)

Dr. Harrison also came in the steamboat; the son of general William H. Harrison, who was reported to have been massacred at Victoria.  He was taken prisoner, but General Urrea having been Minister from Mexico to Colombia at the time that General Harrison was also Minister there from the United States, out of respect and regard for the father, he protected the son.  He was entertained in the General's tent, and was permitted to return to the United States on his parole.  The General, on his departure, gave him a fine riding horse, $100, a cloak, and also permission to bring off an American prisoner as a servant.[48]  He brought off Ben Mordicai,[49]  of Richmond, Virginia, who was thereby saved from the general massacre that took place of Fannin's men.  Colonel Garay conducted him away from the Mexican camp, and at parting presented him with his sword.


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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