Pease to the Texas Legislature, November 30, 1857

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During the 1850s, many Mexicans and Tejanos made a successful living hauling freight from the Texas port of Indianola to San Antonio and other towns in the interior of Texas. These oxcart drivers became the target of anger from their Anglo competitors, some of whom destroyed the Mexican's oxcarts, stole their freight, and in some cases even wounded or killed Mexican carters. In 1857, violence erupted on a large scale and became known as the "Cart War." The Mexican government protested the hostilities to Secretary of State Lewis Cass, who urged Pease to take action to protect the Mexican carters. In this message to the Legislature, Pease asked for a special appropriation for the militia, and the legislators approved the expenditure with little opposition. With the arrival of armed escorts, the "war" subsided in December of 1857.

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Pease to Legislature, Page 1

Executive Office

30th Nov 1857

Gentlemen of the Senate

and House of Representatives

Information has been received at this

office, that a train of carts, from San Antonio to the

Coast, driven by Mexicans, and under the charge of

Mr. Wm. Pyron, an American, encamped on the night

of the 20th inst, on Yates Creek, the next morning while

the Mexicans were getting up their oxen. They were

assaulted and fired upon by a party of armed men, and

two of them were killed.

No blame whatever attaches to Capt. Nelson or the

company under his command, as Mr. Pyron did not

apply to them for an escort. It is understood that he pre-

ferred to go without an escort, in consequence of assurances

of safety that had been given him by parties in Karnes

and Goliad Counties, he having previously made a

trip without molestation.

After this misfortune Mr. Pyron returned to the

Cibolo, where Capt. Nelson's Company were encamped,

and applied for and received an escort for his train.

It is painful to have to record such acts of violence,

and a subject of deep mortification that the law places

no means in my power to prevent them. Such outrages

cannot occur and pass unpunished in a country where

the Officers and the mass of the people entertain a pro-

per respect for the laws. And it becomes a matter for

your consideration, whether the citizens of a country that

permits such acts to be done with impunity, should

not be compelled to pay a heavy pecuniary penalty.

This would, without doubt arouse them to the necessity

of preserving the public peace.

It is now very evident that there is no security for

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Pease to the Texas Legislature, November 30, 1857, Records of Elisha M. Pease, Texas Office of the Governor, Archives and Information Services Division, Texas State Library and Archives Commission.

Page last modified: March 30, 2011