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carries by turns.  I took pleasure in carrying it a short distance to relieve the old man.

At Beaumont we found that all the boats had been taken away by the press gang, as they are called.  Found several persons engaged in building boats, with which to transport their families across.  We united with Tally, Brook and Haynes, got timber from Rogers, who lives at the place, and sent into the country and bought cotton to calk with.  My portion of cost, $1.50.  Commenced the work at 4 o'clock p.m.  Here we met with Reason Green, of Liberty, who agreed to pilot us through the swamp.

The town of Beaumont consists at present of only three or four houses.  It is thirty miles from the head of the bay, and sixty miles from the gulf, thirty miles to Ballou's ferry on the Sabine, 170 miles to Zavala by water, and seventy-five miles by land; to Liberty fifty miles, Nacogdoches 155 miles, by the way of San Augustine.

Here is a custom house, and Captain Rogers is the collector.  He is also principal proprietor of the town.  He is anxious to get a section of the Pine Island league.  He sets up a claim to the league, but says if we will let him have a section of it, which he has set his heart on, he will compromise it, and give us one of the best sections on Trinity in exchange.

Friday, April 22, 1836

Slept in the woods last night on my blankets.  Our boat being finished, they put us across this morning, about 10 o'clock, swimming our horses, and we commenced our journey through the swamp, our guide, Green, leading the way.  We had to swim a number of little bayous, running out from the Naches, which is now so full as to overflow its banks, and run out towards Sabine Bay.  This is the first instance of this kind of overflow I have seen in Texas.  Arrived at Ashworth's ferry, we expected to find a boat, but there was none.  The family had left the place.  Here we started three runaway Negroes, who fled and plunged through a bayou at our approach.  One of them had a gun, which he discharged in the woods, in our hearing, probably because he had got it wet.[13]

We went on, and at a wide and deep bayou Green and Catlett swam over with their horses, expecting to find a boat at a landing above, in which our baggage could be ferried.  But here again we were disappointed; the boat was gone.  Both parties now set to building rafts.  We failed for want of tools and loose timber.  Green succeeded in making one on which he returned to us, but it was too frail.  We now determined to go back to Ashworth's, and take the rails and planks there and build a raft.  In this we ultimately succeeded, having to tote the timber two or three hundred yards, to a place where it would float.  When it was


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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