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Capture and Death of Dimitt

The men were released, but their property, already distributed among their captors, was not returned to them. In the end, Lamar recommended to Congress that it "consider making some reparation for the forcible seizure of property which the Government had pledged itself to protect."[51]

The only part of the Secretary of War's order of July 14, 1841, rescinded by Lamar was that relating to the capture of peaceful and unoffending traders. Those portions designed to give protection to the west against marauding parties continued in effect, and the troops that had been collected under it were permitted to remain in the field, until they refused to obey orders of the government. For this disobedience they were dismissed from the service, but not until the necessary steps had been taken to supply their place by other troops, for which purpose Colonel Bell, adjutant general of the Republic, was sent to the frontier.

On July 30 Kinney, voluntarily, and Aubrey, under arrest in custody of James Wright, special deputy of the sheriff of Victoria County, appeared in Austin before Judge Anderson Hutchinson, of the Fourth Judicial District, to answer the charges preferred against them, according to S. L. Jones, "by unprincipled and interested individuals."[52]  The case was heard on August 2, and in their defense were presented a number of letters and affidavits.

J. E. L. Solomon, who was at Kinney's ranch at the time of Dimitt's capture, reported under oath late in July that the first news of the capture was brought to the ranch by the salt workers from the rancho, who had been captured along with a man from Dimitt's station. The salt workers had been taken and held about twelve hours until the Mexicans were ready to withdraw. Solomon disclaimed seeing Sánchez or any of his men or hearing at the time of their coming to the rancho, and said he believed that Kinney's conduct was entirely exemplary, that Kinney and Aubrey were "the most enterprising and liberal Mexican traders" he had seen, and that by such means were concentrating a large amount of the frontier trade at their ranch. It was commonly said that they refused to purchase "stolen cattle."[53]  William H. Chester of Matagorda, who had visited the rancho at least thirty times, and

51. Ibid.

52. S. L. Jones to Gen. M. B. Lamar, Corpus Christi, Aug. 18, 1841, in Lamar Papers, III, 563-565.

53. J. E. L. Solomon to Editor of the Colorado Gazette, Matagorda, July 26, 1841, in Telegraph and Texas Register, Aug. 11, 1841.

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