Pease to the Texas Legislature, November 30, 1857

Page 1

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