men from the Colorado, on reception of the news, drove over post haste to Gonzales in pursuit of the enemy, but were met with the unwelcome intelligence that the reported Indians were merely mustangs . . . quietly feeding in the prairie."
In the Cross Timbers near the source of the west branch of the Trinity, in Fannin, Red River, and several other eastern counties there had been adopted with considerable degree of success a system of defense with settlements based on stations similar to "Coffee's Station" and the old station of Kentucky pushed directly into the Indian country fifty or sixty miles from the main settlements. The system worked somewhat like this. Each station consisted of several families protected by a strong stockade and blockhouses, which formed an impregnable fortress against the Indians. At the station would be placed a garrison of fifty to sixty men, who cultivated a large cornfield in common. The settlers from the adjoining districts clubbed together and furnished, by private subscription, corn, beef, pork, and other provisions which were conveyed regularly every two or three months to the families at the station.
Arista's proclamation and preparations, plus the fact that the first authentic information of the capture of the Santa Fé Expedition reached Austin on January 18, spurred the Texas Congress to pass a bill providing for the establishment of a chain of seventeen military colonies along the western and northern frontier, some forty to one hundred miles from the established settlements to serve as bulwarks against Mexican and Indian raids. The posts were to be located as follows: one post at some convenient point in the Upper Cross Timbers near Red River, to be called the Military Colony of Red River; one post at or near the Hackbury Fork on Elm Creek of the Trinity to be called the Military Colony of East Trinity; one post on the main prong of the Trinity in the Cross Timbers to be called the Military Colony of Trinity; one post at or near the head of Burnett's prong of the Trinity in the Cross Timbers to be called the Military Colony of West Trinity; one post at or near the head of Chambers Creek, sometimes known as Pecan Creek, to be called the Military Colony of Cross Timbers; one post at or near the Toweash Village on the Brazos to be called the Military Colony of the Brazos; one post on the Little River at or near where a line from the Toweash Village to the mouth
94. Telegraph and Texas Register, June 2, 1841.
95. Ibid., Dec. 15, 1841.