Native Texan Relations

Foreign Influences

Old Stone Fort in NacogdochesOn December 14, 1837, the Texas legislature passed a new land law that reorganized the General Land Office and established land commissioners for each county. Only white people could participate in the surveying that would take place under the new law. Understandably, the Indians viewed the new law as a hostile move that would result in the loss of their land claims.

Several Mexican agents hoped to turn the Indian hostility with white Texans into an advantage for Mexico. Vincente Córdova, formerly a Mexican official in Nacogdoches, led a large uprising of Mexicans and Indians in August 1838. It was quickly defeated, and Córdova was forced to flee to Mexico.

Manuel Flores was a trader and agent who had been trying for several years to convince the East Texas Indians to overthrow the Republic of Texas. In the spring of 1839 he led an expedition from Matamoros to carry war supplies to the Indians. Flores's group killed four surveyors between Seguin and San Antonio on May 14, 1839. They were pursued by Texas Rangers to the San Gabriel River and routed; Flores was among the dead.

Texas Congressional Report on Indian Affairs, 1837

Report on Indian Aggression on the Frontier, 1837

By 1837, East Texas was filling up with both white settlers and Indian refugees from the United States. The two cultures clashed violently and repeatedly.


House Journal. First Congress of the Republic of Texas, Second Session.

Secretary of State Robert Irion to Sam Houston, 1838

The Texas Congress refused to make the one concession to the Comanches that they required for peace: a clear boundary line between Texas and the open range called Comanchería. As a result, relations between Texans and Comanches reached new levels of brutality on both sides. This letter discusses some of the frontier activities of Colonel Henry W. Karnes, later to command at Arroyo Seco, a key battle with the Comanches.

Texas Indian Papers Volume 1, #19. R.A. Irion to Sam Houston, March 14, 1838.

Robert Irion to Sam Houston, 1838
Vincente Córdova to Manuel Flores, 1838

Vincente Córdova to Manuel Flores, 1838

This document is the English translation of a letter found by Texas Rangers on the body of Manuel Flores. It seems to link the Cherokees to a Mexican plot to conquer Texas. The Córdova letter was among the pieces of evidence that convinced President Mirabeau B. Lamar that the Cherokees should be expelled from Texas.


Texas Indian Papers Volume 1, #2. Vincente Córdova to Manuel Flores, July 19, 1838.

Anson Jones to the U.S. Secretary of State, 1838

More evidence for an Indian-Mexican conspiracy was found on the body of Julián Pedro Miracle, a Mexican army officer. Miracle seems to have entered Texas in May 1838 with the intention of joining forces with all Indians hostile to Texas. In July he reached an agreement with several chiefs to wage war on Texas, but was killed the following month in a fight on the Red River. A diary and other papers were found on his body, as Texas Minister to the U.S. Anson Jones details in this letter.

Texas Secretary of State. Diplomatic correspondence - Letter books, 1836-1846. Anson Jones to John Forsyth, December 31, 1838.

Anson Jones to John Forsyth, 1838

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