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The Southwestern Frontier

they seek to take possession of his trading post.[3]  If this be true, then it might be asked why did Kinney, who was apprehensive of the intentions of the Mexicans, proceed nine miles to their camp? Was he convinced that their protestations of friendship were sincere? Why did not Kinney have Villareal himself with a limited number of his men come to the ranch for the interview?

The facts are that Kinney and Aubrey were carrying on a clandestine trade in violation of the laws of both countries, and since the Texas government could not afford them protection, it was up to them to get along with the Mexicans. Upon meeting Kinney, Villareal informed him that he had come with no hostile intentions, but merely for the purpose of procuring the cannons, arms, and powder left at Corpus Christi by the Federalist forces of the defunct Republic of the Río Grande.[4]  The Mexican officers, reported Philip Dimitt (one of Kinney's rivals in the frontier trade) brought two letters to Kinney, one from General Arista and the other from General Canales, offering protection to Kinney during the attack Arista expected to make on Texas with four thousand men. This information was supplied by Captain Sewell. The points of attack, wrote Dimitt, were to be Live Oak Point, Victoria, and La Villa de los Jacales, where Dimitt resided. Arista intended to subject these places to repeated attacks until "he could provoke the Texians to pass west of the Nueces," where the Mexicans would concentrate all of their forces against them. Villareal wanted to know if Kinney claimed the land he occupied under title from the Texan government, or "with the expectation of purchasing it from him -- being a tract granted him (V.) by the Mexican Government. Mr. Kinney," it was said , "assured Col. V[illareal] that he intended to procure title from him, and accordingly made the purchase."[5]  The Rincon del Oso grant was made to Enríque Villareal in 1810 by the

3. "Information from Col. Kinney, Corpus Christi, 184_?" Lamar Papers, IV, pt. I, 213-214.

4. Ibid.; Villareal's statement is substantiated by a report made in the Colorado Gazette and Advertiser (Matagorda), Feb. 6, 1841. The Gazette wryly poked fun at the Austin Sentinel's "oft threatened invasion" from Mexico which had more the ring of politics than realism.

5. P. Dimitt to [Secretary of War], 10 o'clock, Jan. 9, 1841, Army Papers (Texas), ms., copy. Dimitt's letter is endorsed: "Executive Dept., Jan. 13, 1841," and was carried to Austin by Captain Wells. See also, Coleman McCampbell, Saga of a Frontier Seaport, pp. 6-7; Corpus Christi: A History and Guide, p. 55; "Information from Col. Kinney, Corpus Christi, 184_?" Lamar Papers, IV, pt. I, 213-214; Colorado Gazette and Advertiser, Feb. 6, 1841.

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