a man named W. J. Cairns, whom "they treated in a very cruel manner." "When last seen they were dragging him along upon a cannon to which he had been tied." Another captive was a spy belonging to Colonel Lysander Wells' company who was taken about twenty-five miles from San Patricio by a party of a hundred Mexicans. They sent him to San Patricio to another unit of their force, and there he was severely flogged. At night he made his escape.
During the week of March 3, 1838, a band of eight Mexican marauders believed to have been led by a renegade Mexican from San Antonio, named Antonio Viña, being apprised of the defenseless state of Copano House and of a considerable quantity of tobacco stored there decided to rob the place. On the road toward Goliad, six miles from Copano Landing, they met Reuben H. Roberts on his way to attend to business concerning land surveys. They arrested Roberts and forced him to proceed to Copano to help pack their horses with the contents of the warehouse. The robbers carried off most of the tobacco, and ripped open those bales that they could not take away, strewing tobacco all over the house with the object of wasting and spoiling it. Roberts was carried as far as the Nueces and released.
Disasters of this nature, however, did not discourage the hardy pioneer and enterprising trader who sought to do business with the Mexicans below the Nueces. By midsummer, Willis Roberts, brother to Reuben H. Roberts, had nearly completed his house at Aransas; and Colonel James Power, a former empresario, was engaged in an active mercantile business at Live Oak Point. Three schooners had recently been to Aransas. The Alexander from New Orleans had returned some of the families who had formerly resided at the Mission of Refugio, and the Empress from Mobile was on July 12 preparing to cross the bar into the bay." Although commercial activities showed considerable optimism, the business continued to be hazardous.
A party of Mexican marauders entered Goliad in June, and drove off a number of horses and mules. The party then proceeded in the direction of Copano. En route it captured near Refugio two American traders with loaded pack animals. Continuing northward from Refugio, the Mexicans ambushed on the rising ground near the San Nicolás
16. Telegraph and Texas Register, Jan. 13, 1838.
17. [Willis] Roberts to Genl. Mirabeau B. Lamar, Live Oak Point, March 3, 1838, in Lamar Papers, II, 41-43.
18. W. Roberts to Mirabeau B. Lamar, Aransas, July 12, 1838, in ibid., II, 183-184.