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Notes on Jane Gotcher

A Chronology of the life of Jane Spaulding
[Jane Gotcher Crawford]
By David Emison

"Aida" Jane Gotcher was born in 1812, Franklin County, Alabama. [According to my mother Lora Gotcher, grand daughter of William Riley Gotcher]

She came to Texas with her family in 1833 in the company of her father, James Gotcher, Sr., her mother Nancy, brothers Samuel, Nathaniel, One whose name is unknown, James, Jr. and William Riley.

Traveling to Texas in 1833 with them was their friend, Aaron Burleson, who was a brother to Edward Burleson.

In the year 1834, Aida Jane Gotcher married Lemuel Crawford. Their daughter, Margaret Elizabeth Crawford was born Dec. 5, 1834. Lemuel Crawford died Mar. 6, 1836 in the Battle of the Alamo in San Antonio Texas.

Early February 1837, Jane and her daughter, Margaret, had previously moved from their cabin on Rabb's Creek into a nearby cabin and home of her father and family. There, Caddo [or Kiowas?] Indians massacred both of her parents [Mar. 1837]. Also massacred were her brothers Samuel, Nathaniel, and the one whose name was unknown.

The Indians took Jane, her baby Margaret, and two brothers, James Jr. and William Riley as their captives. All were forced to walk and were tied at night to prevent escape. Shameful and cruel treatment was meted out to them.

As they approached the Red River, it was there that the Caddos lost the Gotchers to the Choctaw of Oklahoma, ether by trade, escape or battle. The Choctaw were not cruel, however, they required work.

Late Nov. 1837, the Choctaw Indians brought the little band of Gotchers to a trading post on the Red River at Preston Bend. The post was owned and operated by Holland Coffee, whose wife was named Sophia. Sophia saw the pitiful group of Gotchers and begged her husband to barter for their release. In the post was Charles Spaulding who assisted Coffee in obtaining the four Gotchers from the Choctaws.

Note: A document in the Texas Land Office Library indicates that the Republic of Texas Congress allotted Holland Coffee $960 for the reparation of prisoners from Indians.

Charles Spaulding accompanied the Gotchers back to Bastrop and married Jane on Feb. 1, 1838.

The Spaulding children were John, George, Charles, James, William and Sara. They had obtained their land out of the Edwards Survey and their home was located just south of Sprawling Creek on present County Road 298, halfway between FM 2104 and Pin Oak Creek.

Jane's brother, James Gotcher, Jr. died March 15, 1851 and Jane died 12 days later, March 27, 1851. In 1852, Jane's daughter, Margaret Elizabeth (Crawford) Timoney fell into a fire and died. The three are buried in the old cemetery east of their home, just across Pin Oak Creek. Also buried there is Amanda Rogers, who was married to James Spaulding, son of Jane and Charles. After James' death, Amanda married a Rogers. [Christian Braun also buried there, also buried Charles Spaulding].

Jane was obviously a special person to have survived the tragedies and hardships imposed upon her. It is the writer's opinion that it was she who kept the other captives encouraged and ultimately alive during their shameful and cruel treatment by the Indians. Words do not come easy to describe such a noble and stalwart person that she must have been. My grandfather was Riley Gotcher, a son of the captive William Riley, and it was he who told me that Jane was a very pretty woman whose character was above reproach.

Please do not hesitate to call upon me for any documentation that I have in my files on the remarkable Jane Gotcher-Crawford-Spaulding.

David O. Emison

[Tracy, The above ref. grave sites are on privately owned ranch. If you are interested in a visit there let me know and I will meet you and take you there. It is not the "easiest" place to find. The site is in horrible condition. At this time I am working with the proper bureau in Austin (State of Texas Graves Registration) to improve the area and place a proper marker there. I found the graves many years ago.]

NOTE: Brackets are hand written notes by Mr. Emison.