Westward emigration, Texas and the Self Family
This story will focus on David’s lecture in Texas. David was gracious enough to share some of his notes with me. I am sure the information shared here is only a minor portion of what David had to share at the reunion in Texas. I hope you enjoy what he shared as much as I did.
Here are a few notes from David’s lecture at the Self Gathering in Plano, Texas.
The Self family is the link to our past.
Many of our Self ancestors had emigrated from Virginia (1600’s) to North Carolina (1790’s), Georgia (1800’s), Alabama (1800’s) and Texas (1850).
Early emigration was North to South, then West.
The Selfs left Virginia for land in North Carolina, Tennessee, Georgia and Alabama.
The Selfs started moving into Texas during the 1850’s.
There was a flood of Texas emigrants after the Civil War.
Many settlers went west on waterways and by railroad.
The Selfs were Indian fighters in Texas.
In 1871, times were very rough. Indians, outlaws and wild animals troubled the settlers.
Early settlers came out of the Civil War.
East Texas became an extension of the deep South, settled by old stock Americans from Alabama, Mississippi, Georgia and Louisiana. Central and northern Texas by contrast, were peopled mainly by upper southerners, especially Tennesseans, Missourians, and Arkansans. West Texas was apparently settled by largely by migrants from the eastern half of the state, but census materials are not adequate to permit a detailed analysis of population origins there.
The Indians would steal horses. One Self family had a dog that would bark at the Indians.
The Selfs and other settlers took part in a fight with seven Indians for stealing horses. All seven were killed.
Mr. N.B. Self of Lipan, Texas, a native of Hood County, TX was the source of the following information.
“The initials of Mr. Self’s father were D.S. Mr. Self’s uncle, Jackson Holt, with to other white men, William and John Clark, trailed and routed the Indians who had stolen a horse belonging to Mr. Self’s father as well as horses belonging to other settlers. The first fight was at Elm Crossing on the Brazos River. Some of the settlers who took part in the fight with seven Indians on Robertson Creek in which all the Indians were killed were: Mr. Self’s father, and his uncle S.M. Self, and Jackson Holt…”
“When it was necessary for these men to band together and ride after Indians, horseflesh was not considered. When one horse gave out, they got another one. They rode in a lope nearly all the time and carried their pistols almost all the time. They expected to have to fight the Indians most any time. The seven Indians killed were Comanches.”
“I can’t see,” said Mr. Self, “what inducement there was for the early settlers to come here. All risked their lives. I was so young then it did not bother me much, but I can’t see how it was that the Indians let me get by. I have stood in the door of our cabin and heard the Indians hollering so they could get together; Comanche Peak was the lookout place for them.”
“Mother and myself and my little brother, four years younger than I, stayed by ourselves many a night when father would be out on the cattle range. We lived in a little log house about sixteen feet square, with one door and no windows; there were small holes, one on each side. I have seen mother stand up at these holes nearly all night watching and expecting Indians. We had a watchdog, and the way the dog was barking would be the side mother would watch on. She was well armed with two pistols and a Sharp’s rifle, and she was a good shot. We had a fireplace in the house. When we were expecting an attack by the Indians we would cover the fire and blow out the lamp, and use little tallow candles for light. “
“This country was full of all kinds of wild animals. It was hard for us to tell the difference between a panther hollering and the Indians. We were always glad when we could hear panthers plain enough to tell it was not Indians.”
“We never opened the door until it was daylight enough for us to see all around the place, and see that there were not any Indians about. Mother was a brave woman. She seemed not to be afraid in the daylight.”
The Selfs were early pioneer families in Texas. Melchezedec Self settled northern Texas in the 1850’s.
There is a Selfs Texas today.
Comments about this information will be forwarded to David Self. Please feel free to comment.