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completed it would carry only two men and a small portion of the baggage, so we had to make four trips, and paddle with sorry paddles against a strong current to a landing from which we could get out of the swamp.  While engaged in building our raft, a large alligator, some twelve or fifteen feet long, was discovered cautiously approaching us.  One of the party fired a rifle at him.  It struck but did not hurt him.  He slowly moved off, and remained in sight, as if watching our proceedings, for some time.  As our provisions were short, Fleury took his rifle and shot a fine calf which was with a herd of cattle, at the ferry.  I took it on my horse and carried it to our raft.

All these operations took us until 8 o'clock at night, when our last raft load reached the landing.  We had our veal cleaned and some of it cooked, which we ate with good appetite, without bread, salt or pepper.  We also had coffee, but no sugar nor milk.  Having finished our supper and spread our clothes to dry as well as we could, we lay down on wet ground and amidst briars, and I slept well.  My coat and pants were nigh getting burnt up in the night by the fire spreading through the grass, which became dry from the heat.

I this morning, on leaving Beaumont, lent old Kuykendall $10.

Saturday, April 23, 1836

After breakfasting on veal without bread or salt, and coffee without sugar or milk, we started at half past 7 o'clock.  Came to a house where a family named Hatton had lived.  The family had fled.  Father and son here this morning taking off some corn.  Got a feed for our horses, 25 cents.  Hatton advised us to go to Pattillo's, where we could get something to eat.  Arrived at Pattillo's at 12 o'clock.  No one at home.  Got corn and fed horses, ground corn and made bread, shot three fowls and cooked them, opened a bee hive and got some honey, and made a very comfortable meal.  While here young Hatton also came with a bucket, which he filled with honey from one of the hives.  We remonstrated with him, but he said his father wanted it, and it was free for anybody.  Green, who knew Pattillo, took a memo. of what we used.  We afterwards met Pattillo on the road and paid him $1.50.

We crossed today Cow Bayou, Adams' Bayou, Cypress Bayou, and arrived at Ballou's ferry after dark, passing for several miles through the worst road I have encountered in Texas.  In one place we came upon a poor ox, bogged in the middle of the road.  His head and a small part of his body was above the mud.  His yoke had been removed and he left there to die.  A horrible death.

At the ferry we found Colonel Wm. G. Hill, late of the San Bernard, who had been to take his family and that of E. Waller to the United States.  He is now on his return.  Waller, whom I saw at Beaumont, has charge of the Negroes


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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