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Cattle Raids and Frontier Marauders

Gray, "Big" (J? B?) Brown[76]  and others numbering not less than three or four hundred. The parties led by Brown and Gray were regarded as murderers and cutthroats, and other parties had very little to do with them because of their atrocities.[77] 

Not all of the men whose names have been mentioned participated in murder or stole from their fellow citizens. It has been said that Cameron's party "committed no murders nor robbed any of the traders -- they only drove off cattle," and, in that respect, only those between the Nueces and the Río Grande.[78]  On the other hand, there was a man named Cox, from Bastrop, who in July 1838, declared his intention of raising an armed company to capture, plunder, and burn Laredo, and to drive off all cattle, horses, and mules that could be found. Cox's company[79]  assembled and marched from Bastrop on July 17 for Béxar without the sanction of government to join with another company of Americans accompanied by seven Choctaw Indians who were on their way to the Río Grande. Being disappointed in the failure of the arrival of the Indians and the other company at the designated

John Hefferon left his wife and children to go West. He has been described by James Wilkinson, who knew him, as "a regular old Toper, but a brave old cock," and of "uncommon good nature," who was "generally kept in the rear, whilst driving [cattle or horses] that being the post of danger." He was usually taken care of by Ewen Cameron. "James Wilkinson's Account of the Cow-Boys," in Lamar Papers, VI, 116-117. Hefferon's hatred of the Mexican may have dated from the days of the revolution. It was reported in New Orleans in the summer of 1836 by passengers arriving from Matamoros that "previous to hearing of the defeat of Santana, some Rancheros, had murdered James Heferin, his wife and 5 children, John Heferin, his brother & John Ryan all of Sanpatrucio." Edward Hall to D. G. Burnet, New Orleans, June 20, 1836, in Binkley (ed.), Official Correspondence of the Texan Revolution, II, 807-808; Madray, A History of Bee County, p. 1. We may conclude from this report, that although John Hefferon escaped death in 1836 at the hands of the Mexicans, some of his relatives were not so fortunate.
76. "Big" Brown, as he was known, came to Texas from Missouri. He was finally killed by Agatón Quinoñes' men, having been betrayed by a Mexican in his service. Lamar Papers, VI, 117.

77. Ibid.; Linn, Reminiscences of Fifty Years in Texas, p. 322.

78. Lamar Papers, VI, 117.

79. The following individuals were reported comprising Cox's company: Capt. Cox; Turner Spaulding; Hay; Gray; Hill; Burney; Edmunson; Thompson; Crockett; Hicks; Purchett; Harris; Ribingston; Herald; Alexander; Goran; William Gammel [Gamble]; Jacob Zengerle; and Louis Marble. Erasmo Seguin, J[ustice of the] P[eace] to R. A. Irion, Béxar, Aug. 7, 1838, State Department Letterbook, no. 2, ms., p. 183.

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AFTER SAN JACINTO: The Texas-Mexican Frontier, 1836-1841
Joseph Milton Nance, 1963