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Some Records on Capt. John J. Grumbles (1803-25 Feb 1858)


                                                   John C. Lyon, 11093 Wineglass Court, Columbia, MD 21044

                                                                                              26 Feb 1995



A Captain of the legendary Texas Rangers in their days of glory.  By what we see, he must have been arrogant, romantic, visionary, heroic and flawed.  Gunned down in what may or may not have been a fair contest on the dusty streets of a frontier village, he lived a classic life and died a classic death in the Republic and State of Texas in the turbulent days before the Civil War.  He was a close business colleague of A.J. (Jack) and Morgan Hamilton, and evidently well-acquainted with Sam Houston, P.H. Bell and Elisha Marshall Pease. Four of these men were Governors of Texas.  He was a prominent citizen of early Austin.


Oldest son of Benjamin and Keziah (Pierce) Grumbles, John J. was the first of the line to migrate to Texas.  He moved from Dallas County, Alabama in 1838, settling for a few years at Wilbarger's settlement near present-day Utley in Bastrop County, but had relocated by 1842 to nearby Austin.


His father Benjamin and younger brother William M. joined him in Austin in January, 1846.  Both John J. and William sired large families, whose descendants are the most numerous and widespread of the Grumbles in many Texas counties.  John J.'s son Sam Houston continued to move west until he reached the Pacific.






1830 Dallas Co AL


88            John GRUMBLES                11001                      10001                      000


1840 Bastrop Co TX                          


John J. GRUMBLE                               1 poll, 1 claim of 640 acres, one silver watch, two town lots


1846 Travis Co TX             John J. GRUMBLES


1850 Travis County TX (Austin)


p 158       John J. GRUMBLES             47            SC  farmer              700

r 387        Caroline                 43            SC                                           nee YOUNGBLOOD

                Perry                       19            AL

                Martha                   17            AL

                John                       16            AL

                Joseph                   13            AL

                Jane                        11            TX

                Samuel                     8            TX

                Mary                        8            TX

                Manerva                  6            TX

                Randoff   [sic]                         5            TX                                                          = T.A. [Rafe]




                                                  DALLAS COUNTY, ALABAMA




D: 99       10 Nov 1834. John GRUMBLES et ux. Caroline to William WADE. For $200 EH of SWQ S33, and EH of NEQ S32, both T15R12.  He /s/, she /x/.  Wit: James GRUMBLES, Jarvis LANGFORD, both J.P. 

E:151       20 May 1836.  James D. CRAIG et ux. Elvira S. to John GRUMBLES, Jr. For $175: WH SWQ                S32T17R8.  Recorded 22 Jun 1836.

E:151       20 May 1836.  James D. CRAIG et ux. Elvira S. to John GRUMBLES, Jr. For $175: WH SWQ                S32T17R8.  Rec 22 Jun 1836.

G:238      John GRUMBLES, Jr. et ux. Caroline, 11 Feb 1839.  To John B. JONES, WH SWQ S32T17R8, and SWQ NWQ S32T17R8. 120 ac.  Both /s/.


 ACCOUNTS, INVENTORIES, etc.  (LDS FHL Tape 1531940)


D:166      Buyers in estate sale of David ADAMS, 7 Dec 1835, include John GRUMBLES and John GRUMBLES, JR.   Several items.  




1: 75        01 Aug 1822          John Grumbles                      Nancy Grumbles   John Hardy, J.P




Minutes of the Orphans' Court of Dallas Co, AL (Vol B: 1827-1832), LDS Film 1531772, item 4.


p 112:      April term, 1829.   Napoleon, George and Alexander MACHANT, minors, by their next friend John GRUMBLES, Jr. v. George B. WALKER


These minor boys (ages not specified) had been placed in the care of said WALKER after the death of their father Peter MACHANT.  Their mother was poor and unable to provide.  GRUMBLES specified "they are part of the poor of the county".  WALKER claimed "a pretended indenture and agreement" existed between himself and Peter MACHANT from before the latter's death.  GRUMBLES asserted that WALKER "treats them in a cruel and inhuman manner and does not provide them with suitable meat, drink, washing and lodging".  The boys "pray to be taken from under the control and direction of said WALKER and to be bound to some fit and proper person". The defendant denied the charges.  A jury trial ensued and WALKER was found guilty as charged. Any supposed indenture was dissolved and WALKER charged court costs.  The boys were to return on 2 May for the purpose of determining a suitable custodian (master).  [Minutes of 2 May and later do not mention them again.]





Col. TRAVIS' Record Book, displayed in the Alamo: Capt. GRUMBLES' cures for blind or weak eyed horses:


Apply a cold wet cloth over the eyes, then from the spout of a coffee pot or the neck of a gourd pour water from a well or spring or any other water of that temperature over & upon the eye so as to bathe it well.  Put a large tea spoon full of calomel in about one half pint or less of sweet oil. If this cannot be had, beans or foot oil or other thin oil; with this preparation grease the eye lid & with the soft end of a feather insert a little in the eye & this should be done at least once if not twice a day.  Care should be taken that the horse is not fed upon corn, his legs well rubbed so as to reduce any fever there may be in him & kept in a dark stable.


Traditionally attributed to John J.  But this looks to be an anachronism, in that Travis died in the Alamo before John J. came to Texas (to stay) ca 1838.  How do we make sense of it?  In fact, its survival implies the book was not with Travis at the siege, and it is known that it was used for some time thereafter by one of Travis’ colleagues.  It is surely from this later period that the “recipe” above comes.






From one source, labeled "Bess Whitehead Smith, Austin" (source document unknown):


"An authentic pioneer cabin sits on the grounds of the Austin Area Garden Center near downtown Austin.  In 1838, J.J. GRUMBLES, a Scotsman who operated a ferry across the Colorado River, a few miles downstream from Austin, built the cabin from cedar logs and lived in it until he bought William Barton's Mill and moved upstream to Barton's Creek.


"In 1859, S.M. Swenson, the first Swedish immigrant to Texas and a founder of the Texas Swedish Pioneers Association, bought land that included the cabin.   The Palm family, relatives of the Swensons, lived in it until after the Civil War.  When the family built a new home in town, the cabin went with them.  In the early 1940s, the family home fell to progress, but the Swedish Pioneer Association recognized the cabin's historical importance and saved it from destruction.  Association members dismantled the structure after numbering the logs and reassembled it in Nelson Park in Round Rock.  In the mid-1960s, the cabin was moved to its present location and presented to the City of Austin.  The Texas Historical Commission awarded it a medallion in 1966.


"The original materials of the one-room structure have been preserved, including the oak shakes that make up the roof.   Antique furnishings include a spinning wheel, an organ, and a cradle.  Visitors can view the interior any time through the windows, or through the front door daily from 10 to 3."





In the spring of 1842, Santa Anna, then President of Mexico, sent an expeditionary force into the Republic of Texas for bluster and terrorism, not invasion.  This army easily captured San Antonio, Goliad and Refugio, alarming the populace. Texas President Sam Houston had opposed the location of the capital in Austin in the dangerous western frontier of then-settled Texas. He acted to move the government Archives, including the important General Land Office records, to his namesake city, Houston, ostensibly for safety.  His motives were questioned and actions opposed by the citizens of Austin, who intercepted the removal convoy and returned the documents to their Austin repositories.  This comic dispute was known as the Archive War.  One probably apocryphal version of John J. Grumbles' 1858 death postulates that his killer was employed by Sam Houston, in retribution for an old slight, perhaps his role in this affair from 15 years before. John J.'s letter here shows that he attempted to force the Land Office Commissioner to execute his responsibilities in the legitimate capital city, and that he was, indeed, involved directly in the return of the documents, and perhaps in commandeering them from the group who had removed them. This letter follows one from Joshua Holden, "Chairman of the Archive Committee", criticizing Houston, and several others on the subject.


Clarksville "Northern Standard", 4 May 1843, p 1 col 5:  A  open letter: 


"Austin, March 28th, 1843.


To the Citizens of Travis County: -


Your committee appointed to wait upon Thomas William Ward, Esq., Commissioner of the General Land Office, with a communication, tendering the papers and documents belonging to the General Land Office, beg leave to report duty performed, and that Col. Ward returned no answer to your committee - that he did not correspond with ruffians, and had no written reply to the aforesaid communication, and should have nothing to do with them.





                                                                       MILITARY AND MILITIA SERVICE


Recollections of Early Texas, edited by John Holmes Jenkins III:


pp 57-58:  Re Bushy Creek and Plum Creek, Texas:  Capt. John J. GRUMBLES commanded a small Company engaged in a fight with Indians near Webberville on the Colorado, 18 Feb 1839.


p 202:  Capt. John J. GRUMBLES was a Ranger Captain in the 1840s and 1850s...


SELMA: Her Institutions and her Men, John Hardy, p 17:  "The People of Texas having on the 2nd day of March 1836, at the town of Washington, declared their independence as a separate Republic from Mexico, which act was at once followed up by the invasion of Gen. Coss, the commander of a large Mexican force, perpetrating all kinds of cruelties upon the American inhabitants of the country, aroused much feeling throughout the United States. Col. M. A. Lea, of Marion, raised a company, among whom, from Selma, were W.D.C. Hall, who afterwards became Adjutant and Inspector General, James Kelly, JOHN GRUMBLES, Sam Fletcher, Louis Day and Andrew Jones, who rallied to the standard of Austin, and distinguished themselves in Texas independence."  [Hardy's assertion that John J. served in TX in the early Republic period is not supported by Texas State Archives holdings, even if true … which it might be… - JCL ]


CREEK WAR (1836)


John Grumbles      AL          Lieut.      NEED NARA DATA.


Served Creek War 1836-38 from Ala.  He was in Rainer's Co. Batt'n. Ala. Militia Infantry as a Lt. # 619280-0226.  -  Billye Scattergood




NARA Record Group 94, "Office of the Adjutant General, Volunteer Organizations, Mexican War and Indian Wars 1854-1855", boxes 4714, 4715, 4716, consists of muster rolls and various correspondence relating to Texas units across the period.  This includes both the Mexican War and the Indian campaigns following.  A few newspaper accounts also mention John J., but we have no complete picture of his Company's overall movements and campaigns.  His 1850 letter to Gov. P.H. Bell is the only direct discussion we have on a specific action involving him.


John J. Grumbles is supposedly listed as a private in Company K, 3rd Texas Mounted Volunteers. His muster-out date is 22 Sep 1846, as Pvt.   NEED NARA DATA; did not locate.  But, inconsistent with this is:


Muster roll 24 Jul 1846-23 Sep 1846, including:


John J. Grumbles, Captain, enrolled near Austin

John Woolridge, 1st Lt.

Minos C. Burditt, 2nd Lt.


and a list of the unit, valuation of their horses and equipment, dates of muster, etc.


Also, the following:


"Remark:  Col. Harvey's order being for fifty privates, I had that number ready for muster into service of the United States when Capt. Merrill, the mustering officer, refused to muster in.  I consequently only retained forty-one (41) who have been on 'active' service for some time and who are here reported.  - /s/ John J. Grumbles."


Muster roll 24 Sep 1846:


John J. Grumbles, Captain, and his son Henry Grumbles, a private, in Grumbles' Company, Col. Bell's Regiment of Texas Mounted Volunteers. On 24 Sep 1846, both were mustered in at Austin for one year service.  John J. was 43 and Henry was 21.  Both supplied their own horse and equipment. John J.'s horse was valued at $90; his equipment at $10.  Henry's horse was valued at $65 and his equipment at $20.


Muster roll 17 Mar 1847 - 23 Sep 1847:


Both John J. and Henry appear on a muster roll of 17 March 1847, at San Marcos, listed as "second service" for the unit (either Bell's Regiment or the Company, not clear).  They were mustered out on 23 Sep 1847.


Clarksville "Northern Standard", 27 Mar 1847, p 2 col 1: A Mexican war dispatch with an odd flight of excited editorial patriotism.  It is the only such direct citation I have seen regarding John J.'s war service.   There is another major article on the same page relating to events at Comargo, not mentioning him.


I guess that "Mier" is Mier y Noriega, a wide place in the road about 60 miles west southwest of Ciudad Victoria, in southernmost Nuevo Leon.  I haven't located "Comargo" under any spelling variant, but it is often mentioned in muster rolls of several other related Texas Volunteer companies, but not John J.'s.


                                                                          IMPORTANT FROM THE ARMY


An express arrived here last evening bringing news of importance from the army.


Gen. Santa Anna has sent a Message to Gen. [Zachary] Taylor at Saltillo ordering him to surrender. Gen. Taylor returned the following answer:  "Come and take me."  Upon the reception of this reply,              Santa Anna sent another message to Gen. Taylor, informing him that he was on his way with 20,000 men, in the intention to cut him to Comargo pieces.


The Mexicans are in possession of the country to Mier, and have taken a train of 100 wagons.


Col. Cortus, commanding at Comargo, has sent an order to Captains McCulloch, Grumbles and Ross, to take up the line of march for that place forthwith.  They are expecting great news every day at Comargo.  Since the reception of this information, the movement of the troops will be expedited.  The "Old Rangers" are Sanguine - they confidently expect a fight on the Rio Grande. Will the citizen soldiers of the "Lone Star" State stand idle spectators where glory is to be won? Will they suffer a ruthless foe to turn back the tide of invasion upon their own borders, and to re-enact the bloody deeds of by-gone days?  The fact that the sons of Texas rested in ignoble ease when hostile feet were directed towards her shores is certainly not one of those to be praised by the pen of the historian  - her soldiers will rise like one and fly to the rescue!


Post-Mexican War - Indian Wars (1849-1850)


Muster roll 20 Aug 1849-26 Feb 1850:


John J. enlisted 20 Aug 1849 and was mustered in at Austin by Brevet Lt. Thomas S. Wood. [Ultimate muster-out date was 2 Sep 1850, after a re-enlistment shown in a following muster roll. These cover the period embracing all the following.]   His horse was appraised at $150 and his equipment at $20.   A complete list of the Company, ranks and ages follow from the August-February list.   Each soldier also had a valuation of equipment not repeated here:

John J. Grumbles                  44            Captain


James D. Bagby                    28            1st Lt.

Ben Gooch                            26            2nd Lt.


Greenbury J. Wilson            23            1st Sgt.

John McKinney                   20            2nd Sgt.

Manoah Willis                      36            3rd Sgt.

Sylvester P. Kirk                   21            4th Sgt.

Thomas Millsap                   38            1st Cpl

William Brown                      19            2nd Cpl

Elisha Goodnight                 19            3rd Cpl

Jackson Morrow                  19            4th Cpl

James Smith                          38            1 Bugler

Francis Green                        24            2 Bugler

Henry Mardoff                     26            1 R&F

Thomas J. White                  22            2 R&F





John Badsley                        20

John Barton                          25

William Barton                      23

Giles C. Birmingham             23

Harrison Blankenship          21

John Blevins                         30

Richard Blevins                    21

Thomas J. Call                      23

John M. Cathey                    24

Wiley Cathey                        20

Samuel Compton                  21

Oscar Cullins                        20

John S. Cullins                      23

Alexander E. Davis              33

Joseph Davenport                               26

David Donaldson                 28

Jarvis Donaldson                 24

James W. Donaldson          21

Calway Droddy                    25

William Duggins                  20

D.C. Edmonston                   26

Martin Ellison                       20

William Flemming 21

Thomas Gooch                     21

Martin Harrison                    24

Charles Hohms                     23

Graham Jackson                   26

William Jackson                   23

G.C. Johnson                        32

James A. Jones                     23

J.M. Kennedy                       25

John Lawrence                     36

Milton Lester                        23

Josiah Lester                         22

John Meek                            37

Lewis Meek                           30

William Meek                        23 *

Ira Middleton                        24

George H. Montgomery      23

Lewellen Moore                   21

Jonathan McFadden           25

Wesley Phillip                      33

Harrison L. Raven                20

James N. Reese                     24

George W. Ricks                  32

Henry S. Roberts                  26

John W. Roberts                  28

Asa Roberts                          21

William Roberts                    23

H. Henry Ron                        23

Nicholas J. Ryan                  26

Jackson Shafer                     22

Samuel Shelton                     23

Jacob Shipman                     30

Edward A. Stevens              20

James E. Tisdale                   21

Zachariah M. Thompson    23

James Treadwell                   21

J.H. Turner                            26

William Wallace                   28

Samuel H. Walker 22

James Williams                     23

William Willson                    21



* discharged for disobedience, 8 Feb 1850

Texas State Gazette (Austin) 1 Sep 1849 p 2 col 3:  Capt. Grumbles' Company of Rangers was organized on Saturday last by the election of Jno. J. Grumbles Capt., James D. Bagby First Lieutenant, and Ben Gooch Second Lieutenant.  They were mustered into service on the same day by General Harney.


The Texas Rangers, W.P. Webb, p 143, quoting from John J.'s letter to Governor Bell, 30 Jan 1850:


"On January 14, 1850, Captain John J. Grumbles started in pursuit of a party of Indians that had ambushed and murdered Major Bryant near Goliad.  The Rangers followed the Indians to the Woll Road, fifteen miles from Fort Inge, but were forced to come into Fort Inge for provisions.  Grumbles reported that with a fair start he could have diminished the number of ruthless murderers.  'As it was', wrote the Captain in the grand manner of the day, 'I was doomed to disappointment, and the war path we followed with all the fury of revenge burning in our bosoms, we were compelled to retrace, sad, weary and dejected.' "


This letter in its entirety is in the Texas State Archives in Austin:


Nueces Station

Jany 30th 1850


My dear Sir:


I have just returned from a long and unsuccessful jaunt that I have had after a small party of Indians that murdered Major Bryant of Corpus Christi on the morning of the 12th.  He had reached the Chickolet [?] journeying toward Goliad when the ambushers [---] rushed upon and instantly killed him. They had taken some 60 or 80 head of Horses from Wood's Ranch which they succeeded in carrying off.  Intelligence of these depredations did not reach me until the night of the 13th.  On the morning of the 14th I, with a detachment of 28 men, gave pursuit, and followed them for six days with the most untiring energy, but all my efforts to overtake them proved to no avail.   I followed them over three hundred miles, frequently coming upon horses that had been abandoned and lamed, evident to [---] of the rapidity with which their retreat was effected. They passed out near the Leona Station through Canion's Pass into the Mountains, when I was satisfied that further pursuit would be entirely useless ---


I am satisfied that if I could have gotten a fair start with these ruthless murderers, that the number of our foe would have been somewhat diminished; as it was I was doomed to disappointment, and the war path we followed with all the fury of revenge burning in our bosoms, we were compelled to retrace, sad, weary and dejected ---


Upon my return I saw sufficient Sign to induce and believe that a large party of Indians [---] down, probably upon the Rio Grande.


With great respect, I have the honor to be

Your Ob't Svt.

J.J. Grumbles

Capt. Co. Texas M. Vols.


His Excellency,

P. Hansbrough Bell



Muster roll 2 Mar 1850 - 2 Sep 1850:




John J. Grumbles  45            Captain  enrolled at Ft. Merrill by Gen. Garland

(75 mi to place of rendezvous)

James D. Bagby                    1st Lt.

Ben Gooch                            2nd Lt.


William Barton                      private                    23 June, died [also on earlier muster roll]

Carter Harrison                     private                    13 May, died [Martin Harrison on earlier muster roll]


James Smith                          private                    17 Aug, discharged for disobedience of orders [new]

G.C. Johnson                        private                    20 Mar, discharged for disobedience [on earlier]


Most other members of the company were the same as in the preceding Sep 1849 list, with a few new faces.


Texas State Gazette (Austin) 6 Nov 1852 p 6 col 3:  TEXAS RANGERS / ATTENTION!  // All Rangers who have served under the United States on the Texas frontier since the Mexican War in the Companies commanded by H.M. McCullough, Ford, Bagby, McCown, Johnson, Price, Grumbles, Blackwell, Sutton and others who were engaged in similar services, are invited to call on the undersigned to have their claims on the General Government for Bounty Lands, Pay, Back Pay, Extra Pay, Arrears, Forage, Rations, &c. collected.


All those who served in any war in the United States armies, and who have not received their dues as well in lands as in money, or the heirs of the same - all those entitled to pensions for wounds received, or diseases contracted in said service, may have their pensions and other claims adjusted.


The undersigned has in Washington the most active and faithful agents, and is prepared to receive all discharges and other proofs to enforce said claims.


Warrants bought at the highest market price.


J. CASTANIE, General Agent

Houston, Oct 9, 1852



History of Travis County, Texas, by Mary Starr Barkley:


p 66:  It was in 1855 that John J. GRUMBLES, a pioneer, who at settled at Webber's Prairie (Travis Co) in 1838, and whose name would become well known bought the William Barton place (home and mill) out at the Springs, on Colorado River, in Bastrop Co, Texas.


p 74: In May 18x5 Barton Springs, the historic spot where Capt. GRUMBLES had been living, sold with the springs and 177 acres of land around it for $28.50 an acre.  A.B. McGill was the purchaser.


p 223: In Jan 1847 the Court appointed Thomas William Ward, James G. Swisher, John J. GRUMBLES and Abner Cook, to plan the new jail and to purchase timber land for it with $1800.00 being appropriated.


p 231: In 1854 there was a cedar brake fire west of Austin between Bull and Barton Creeks, damaging fence rails of A.J. Hamilton, the stable at houses of Sam Stone's and cattle and cord wood of Capt. GRUMBLES at Barton's.


p 257: In 1850 times were better.  Travis Co had many resourceful men like ferryman GRUMBLES, who also had a cornfield across the river where he harvested about 65 bushels of corn per acre, and sold it for $1.00 per bushel.


p 295: There are log cabins still standing at Moore's Crossing near the City Park, but the one built in Govelle [sic: Govalle] by Capt. John J. GRUMBLES, ferryman,  and later moved to 1401 San Jacinto St. in the palm yard, is gone.





Travis Co District Court Files: Record of the arraignment and trial of John J. Grumbles, et al. for the murder of a  Mexican.   The events leading to the trial were chronicled in the press:


Texas State Gazette (Austin) 20 Aug 1853 p 2 col 1.  One of the greatest outrages ever perpetrated in a civilized community, if we have been correctly informed, took place near this city on Saturday last. A Mexican was taken up, whipped most barbarously, hung until he was nearly dead, and then after being let down, was shot.  He died of the wounds about twenty-four hours afterwards.  The officers of justice have made one arrest and are on the track of others, supposed to be the perpetrators of the horrid and fiendish deed.  It is indeed high time the law was asserting its sway in this community, unless we as a people wish to return to a state of barbarism and become the reproach of our neighbors.  Not a long time ago a man was taken [from] prison, and hung in the same neighborhood - or at least ___________ and hanging to a tree on the other side of the river some days afterwards.  Every good citizen should now arouse himself and aid in the bringing the authors of this last outrage to justice; - let us sustain the officers of the law in the fearless discharge of their duties, that bad men may be made to respect the laws of their country and the rights and lives of their fellow-men.  When we make punishment certainly follow the commission of crime, then, and not till then, will any citizen be secure in his life or property.


Texas State Gazette (Austin) 27 Aug 1853 p 2 col 1:  We alluded last week to the violent death of a Mexican in the vicinity of this City the week previous, and that one arrest had been made. That arrest was of Henry Vines; and since that time three others: Capt. J.J. Grumbles, Augustus Fore and Gray Clements have been arrested.  On Tuesday last the trial of the first two named was commenced before John T. Allen, Esq. and continued until Thursday evening, when the evidence closed and the case submitted to the Court without argument.  On yesterday morning the Court decided that the evidence justified the sending of the parties before the District Court for trial, and that the case was not a bailable one.  Whereupon a writ of habeas corpus was sued out, and the case taken before Chief Justice Hemphill.  We forbear any allusion to the evidence in this painful affair.  P.S. Judge Hemphill has admitted the above parties to bail.


Texas State Gazette (Austin) 1 Oct 1853 p 2 col 1: The case of the State v. Grumbles, Vines and others was continued for the want of certain witnesses on the part of the defense.




State of Texas, Travis County

The State of Texas v. John J. GRUMBLES & Henry VINES


Be it remembered that on this the 26th day of August AD 1853 John J. Grumbles and J. W. Robertson, J. M. W. Hall and J. C. Hampton personally appeared before John Hemphill, Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, of said State (the said John J. Grumbles having been brought up on a writ of Habeas Corpus) and acknowledged themselves to owe to the State of Texas, jointly and severally, the sum of $5,000.00 to be made and levied on them and each of their goods and chattle lands and tenements respectively to the use of the said State, if the said John J. Grumbles shall make a default in the condition under our terms.  The condition of this recognizance is such that the above bound personally appear at the next term of the District Court of Travis to beholden in and for the County of Travis on the 1st Monday of September AD, 1853, then and there to answer take charges or the state against him, the said John J. Grumbles for the murder of Francisco, a Mexican, and then and there remain from day to day and from term to term and not to depart - without leave of the Court - then this recognizance to be void, otherwise to remain in full force and virtue.


Acknowledged before me this 26th day of August, 1853: John Hemphill, Chief Justice of the Supreme Court.

/s/ J.J. Grumbles, J.W. Robertson, J.M.W. Hall,  J.C. Hampton


Depositions of defendants


State of Texas                                                                                                       Fall Term 1853

County of Travis                                                                                                  District Court, Travis County


John J. Grumbles, Perry Grumbles, Augustus Fore, Grey Clements, Henry Vines, John (a Mexican)


And now on this day comes the defendants John J. Grumbles [et al.] in the above case in their own proper hearing who severally state that they cannot go safely to trial at this term of the court for the want of testimony material to their defense:


That they have caused subpoenas to be issued and placed in the hands of the Sheriff of Travis County (which have been returned not served) for Cynthia, a Mexican, and Ignatio Lorado, and by whom they expected and still expect to be able to prove that on the night of the 11th of August AD 1853 they, the said Cynthia, Ignatio and others were at their residence in the city of Austin near the Ferry of John J. Grumbles;


That the deceased (Francisco) and Antonio Calderon were at the witness Cynthia's house about dark on said evening when four other Mexicans came there and proposed to play Monte; that John, her husband, objected - - they then proposed to cross the River and play on the opposite side - - that they, the said four Mexicans, accordingly crossed the River - - that shortly after they crossed, the deceased Francisco and the said Calderon also proposed to go over and join them;


That the said Cynthia and her said husband, John, tried to dissuade them and told them that some difficulty would originate between the parties if they should go to which they, this said deceased and Calderon replied that they had already had a difficulty with the other Mexicans a few evenings before while playing cards on Waller Creek, but that they would go over at any rate.


That they did go, and soon after they crossed, witnesses Cynthia and Ignatio heard loud and angry words from the parties across the River, that they heard the noise of strikes with a quirt - or whip - that the parties seemed from the noise, to be moving up the River - that after getting some distance up the river they heard two pistols or gun shots and all was still after this.


That next morning about daylight the deceased halloaed from across the River to her husband, John, and asked him to bring him (deceased) across the River - that he brought him across and deceased then told John that he was shot and wanted him, John, to go for a doctor for him which John did, that while John was gone witness (Cynthia) asked what was the matter, the deceased said that one of the four Mexicans who had crossed the Ferry the evening before had accused him (Deceased) of stealing his money - that the four Mexicans had whipped him to make him tell what he had done with the money that he finally told them that he would go and get it if they would not whip him any more - that when they let him loose for the purpose of going to where the money was the deceased started to run away from them and they shot him.


They also expect to prove by said witness, the Defendant, John J. Grumbles, crossed the river on the 11th of August in the night two or three hours after the said whipping and shooting took place and that the said deceased and the said Calderon crossed the river on the said night of the 11th by themselves - that at the time they crossed neither of the defendants were there nor did the said witness see them or either of them except the said John J. Grumbles there that night.


Defendants further states that Travis County is the place of the residence of said witnesses; that their wearing apparel, bedding and household furniture are still in Travis Co. and that the said witnesses are as these affiants are informed and believed only temporarily absent from fear that they would be in some way troubled or inferred on account of their knowledge of the facts above stated to be within their knowledge.


That said affiants heard from one of the said witnesses that the said Cynthia who was there at San Antonio, that she would be back home before the present session of the court - that the affiants have also lately learned that one Victorano Torres and his wife will testify to the same facts stated above as being within the knowledge of the said Cynthia and Ignatio Lorado and that it is only by letter from said Torres to the defendant, John J. Grumbles, within the last five or six days that affiants knew where he the said Torres and wife were.  That these affiants have made every effort to ascertain the whereabouts of the said Cynthia and Ignatio Lorado since the issue of said subpoena and to convey word for them to be present at the term of the court, but have been unable to find where they are.  That at the time of obtaining from the said Cynthia the information above stated - she stated that she would be at home in Travis Co. in a few days - that this was before the present term of court and that affiants have no knowledge of her present whereabouts other then that above stated.


Affiants believe that by the next term of the court they can procure the testimony of the above mentioned parties - that they are advised and believe that it is material to the defence - that they have used diligence to procure said testimony by trying to find out the whereabouts of said witnesses - that said witnesses are not absent by their procurement or consent and that the application which they now make for continuance is not for delay but that justice may be done. They further state that they know of no other person by whom they can prove the facts above stated.  


/s/ J. J. Grumbles, et al.                               September 26, 1853    






Texas State Gazette (Austin) 24 Apr 1852 p 6 col 2: CITY FERRY / The undersigned has now in the River at the City Ferry, a large and new Boat of superior construction and finish, sixty-seven feet long by twelve feet wide, and capable of crossing in entire safety a wagon and team of six yoke of oxen.  The banks are in good order, and no detention in crossing need be apprehended in day-time or at night.  The rates of Ferriage are as follows:


Wagon, loaded, and six yoke of oxen               $              1.00

                "       "     mule team                                                              1.00

                "       "     three horses                                                          0.75

Four-wheeled carriages with two horses                         0.40

Carriage and one horse                                                       0.20

Man and horse, and footman, each                                 0.10


April 24th, 1852                                                                    JOHN J. GRUMBLES


Texas State Gazette (Austin) 22 May 1852 p 7 col 1:  same ad as above.






The following gives a clear picture of well-established and deeply-rooted viewpoints prevailing a full decade before the Civil War, which is even named as a looming threat.  It also shows the intimate tie of the philosophical "states' rights" with the practical issue - slavery.   One imagines that many of these men really believed that the argument could be settled by debate of constitutional points, and that tweaking northern  noses with threats was an avenue to such a debate.   Yet, in 1861, many of those named here found themselves signing a petition opposing secession; most of them by then had resigned themselves to the mathematical truth that Southern victory in war was impossible, and that to prove this the terrible, hard way was unthinkable.


Texas State Gazette (Austin) 5 Nov 1851, p 5, from columns 1 and 2 (under a general heading of "Democratic Meetings" from various counties in the state):


                                                                                           Travis County


A public meeting of the democratic party was held at the Courthouse in Austin on Saturday, the 25th October, 1851, when: On motion of William S. Oldham, Esq., the Hon. William R. Duval was called to the Chair, and John B. Costa, Esq. requested to act as Secretary.


Upon a call from the Chair, Col. A.J. Hamilton, in a few pertinent remarks, explained the objects of the meeting, and concluded by offering for its consideration the following preamble and resolutions:


Whereas, it has been proposed that a convention of the democratic party of the State of Texas be holden in this City, some time in the month of January next, to nominate Presidential electors for the State at large, and for effecting a more perfect organization of the party than exists at this time, therefore


Resolved, That we concur most cordially with our fellow citizens of other counties who have expressed their opinions on this subject, that such a Convention is both expedient and proper; and would respectfully name for  the consideration of our democratic brethren in other portions of the State, the second Monday in January next, be the most suitable time for the assembling of said Convention.


Resolved, That the Chairman of this meeting appoint ten delegates to represent Travis County in said Convention.


Resolved, That we believe a rigid adherence to the ancient faith of the democratic party, as expounded by Jefferson, Madison, Jackson and other sages of the party, is the surest and only means of preserving the peace, prosperity and perpetuity of this confederacy of sovereign states, and of averting the dangers of disruption and the horror of civil war.  This faith declares our Government to be one of limited powers, derived through the States from the people, that Congress and other branches of the Government, can exercise such powers, and such only, as are specifically delegated in the Constitution of the United States, and that the exercise of any power not so delegated, is a ___________ dangerous to public liberty, and demanding ______ measures of correction by the people of the States, the sovereign _____ to the ________, may deem suitable and expedient.


Resolved, That we regard the dark cloud which has been gathering ____,  --------  [much missing, my copy poor] --- A continuance of this course of legislation can only end in a dissolution of the Union, or the enslavement of the minority.


Resolved, That we cheerfully acquiesce in the compromise measures adopted at the late session of Congress  - not because we approve of them as a whole, but as another peace offering of southern men upon the altar of their country - to preserve the Union of the States; and at the same time, we warn our brethren of the northern States, that a faithful and prompt enforcement of the fugitive slave law, can alone make that settlement of a vexed question binding upon us of the South.


Resolved, That the President and Congress of the United States, should not attempt the exercise of any powers that are doubtful under the Constitution; and that by abstaining from all attempts to assume and exercise such doubtful powers,  they adopt the surest means of securing the peace, harmony and prosperity of the Union.


Resolved, That we pledge ourselves to support and carry out the organization of the democratic party of Texas  to be made at the January convention, and to support the nominees of the democratic National Convention, for President and Vice President of the United States, if they be sound in the faith and fairly nominated, of which we now entertain no doubt.


Resolved, That the proceedings of this meeting, signed by the proper officers, be published in the papers of this City, and that other papers in the State, favorable to our views, be respectfully requested to copy them.


These resolutions were advocated in spirited and eloquent speeches by Judge Oldham and Col. Hamilton, after which they were unanimously adopted by the meeting.


In pursuance of the second resolution, the Chair appointed the following delegates to the State Convention: W.S. Oldham, A.J. Hamilton, S.G. Sneed, Joseph Lee, James G. Swisher, John J. Grumbles, Thomas P. Washington, Joseph Daty, Walker Wilson and J. Hamilton; and on motion, the Chairman and Mr. James S. Gillett were added to the list of delegates.


Upon a call from the meeting, the Chairman delivered a very eloquent and forcible speech on the politics of the day, when the meeting adjourned, sine die.


John B. Costa, Sec'y.


Texas State Gazette (Austin) 11 Sep 1852 p 3 col 3:  John J. Grumbles appointed to provisional Railroad Commission, along with Jack Hamilton, etc.


Texas State Gazette (Austin) 23 Oct 1852 p 2 col 1:  Another list of the Provisional Railroad Association of Travis Co.   John J. Grumbles on list.





Texas State Gazette (Austin) 26 Jun 1852 p 3 col 1:  Re 4th of July celebration.  John J. Grumbles on Committee of Arrangements with other familiar names.  Judge John Hancock presided, etc.  [Others have this]


Texas State Gazette (Austin) 2 Jul 1853 p 2 col 1:  There is to be a grand barbacue at Barton's Springs, the residence of Capt. John J. Grumbles, on Monday next, to celebrate the anniversary of National Independence.  Charles S. West will deliver an oration on the occasion, and in it we can promise those who may be present a rich feast of intellect and patriotism.  ...


Texas State Gazette (Austin) 9 Jul 1853 p 2 col 3:  The Glorious Fourth of July was celebrated with great spirit and eclat at Barton Springs near this City…. Charles S. West, Esq. delivered a very able and interesting oration to a large audience at Barton's Springs, the Declaration of Independence having previously been read by T.S. Anderson, Esq. The barbacue, prepared chiefly by our indefatigable fellow-citizen, Capt. Grumbles, is said to have been a superb thing in its way - delicious and abundant, and the entire festivities of the occasion passed off agreeably and quietly.






E:244       15 Apr 1851.  Power of attorney, D.C. PACE to John J. GRUMBLES.  "To perform lawful things for me to do in [obtaining] an entry made by me on the west bank of the Colorado River about [1.5] miles from Austin and beginning at the mouth of Spring Creek and runs up said River for front and back S 30 deg W for quantity."  Recorded 7 May.


E:258       26 May 1851.  John J. GRUMBLES to Jenny M. TARBOX.  For $150, Lots 8 and 9 in Block 54.


F: 41        20 May 1852.    Henry ADAMS to John J. GRUMBLES.   For $4000.  A tract on the south side of the Colorado River opposite Austin:  the easternmost, or lower, half of a tract of 2000 acres, sold by Isaac DECKER as his headright to David BROWNING 11 Jul 1839, being part of land decreed to ADAMS by the District Court of Travis Co, fall term 1848, in action for title [ Henry ADAMS v. heirs of Daniel BROWNING, dec'd].  Said lower half of said 2000 ac to have over half the river front, the dividing line to run parallel and in same manner as upper, or westernmost, line of original DECKER League.


F:179       21 Dec 1851.  John J. GRUMBLES to James E. BOULDIN.  For $3000, the property from F: 41 is conveyed.


F:180  28 Dec 1851.  James E. BOULDIN to John J. GRUMBLES.  For $5.00, a tract commencing about 100 or 150 yards above the present landing of the ferry known as GRUMBLES' FERRY, situated on [the land from F: 41 and F:180 above], at the second bunch of cottonwoods standing near the Colorado River.  Line to commence at river on line with said cottonwoods, "thence 30 yards south xxx [sic] degrees 30 W"; thence a straight line down the river between the above tract and Matthew CARTWRIGHT's tract at 30 yards from the river, thence on said line to river, thence to beginning, 4 acres more or less.   But, if John J. GRUMBLES should fail to keep up the ferrying business on said land for the span of two months at any time, then the land to revert to BOULDIN, who reserved the right to establish a ferry on the land for his own private use.


G:367      1 Nov 1853.  Sheriff (A.P. HILL) by Sheriff to Morgan C. HAMILTON and John J. GRUMBLES.  In the Texas Supreme Court on 13 Sep 1852, a judgment v. H.P. HICO and Moses V. POTTER, who were plaintiffs v. Thomas Jefferson CHAMBERS, defendant in error for $25.40, was evidently resolved by a bid at sheriff's auction by HAMILTON and GRUMBLES on a tract [either in or the whole] south of the Colorado River, League No. 21 on Spring Creek on the west margin of the Colorado 1.25 miles west of Austin.


H:148      28 Nov 1854.  John J. GRUMBLES to Washington D. MILLER.  $3500 for a mill below Austin's Block No. 4, including a mill house, furnace, engine, boiler and all other machinery, etc. Wit: A.J. HAMILTON and M.B. HAMILTON.

H:498      6 Oct 1855.  Agreement between A.J. HAMILTON and F.W. CHANDLER, first part, and John J. GRUMBLES, second part.  Morgan C. HAMILTON and John J. GRUMBLES had purchased land at sheriff's auction on 1 Nov 1853, under execution issued from the office of the Clerk of the Supreme Court of Texas dated 19 Jul 1853, for $20.42 in favor of Thomas Jefferson CHAMBERS and against Henry P. HILL and Moses L. PATTEN.  HAMILTON and GRUMBLES had thereby obtained for $130 the interest of HILL in League No. 21 granted by the State of Coahuila and Texas to HILL as a Colonist of Benjamin R. MILAM as per title issued on 14 Jul 1835 by Talbot CHAMBERS.  League on the southwest bank of the Colorado River immediately above mouth of Spring (now Barton's) Creek, adjoining League No 20 of Isaac DECKER, beginning at NW angle of DECKER League, 500 varas from mouth of the creek [reference is made to survey field notes].  Morgan C. had since sold his half to the others, the present deed records a split:  Partition line to run from center of frontage on river straight to the center of the back line, with GRUMBLES taking the eastern moiety.  The deed goes on to say that this is without "reference" to any part of portion sold by HILL or that may have been recovered [by law].  This would suggest the later legal issues.


K:151      11 Jan 1856.  Robert D. McANELLY of Travis Co to A. J. HAMILTON, F.W. CHANDLER and John J. GRUMBLES.  For $300, 4428 acres on the west bank of the Colorado River granted by the government to  H. P. HILL and known as the HILL League.  Half to HAMILTON and CHANDLER, half to GRUMBLES [exactly as specified in H:498 above].  Recorded 12 Jan 1856.   This was clearly intended to support any later title dispute.


K:394      19 Mar 1856.  John J. GRUMBLES to Ed FINNIN, both of Travis Co, power of attorney to sell a slave, Paul, age 34 or 35, black complexion.


K:394      8 Apr 1856.  John J. GRUMBLES, by attorney Ed FINNIN, et ux. Caroline, to Charles KLEIN. For $900, slave Paul.  Caroline /x/.


K:526      4 Jun 1856.  John J. GRUMBLES to Quiler J. NICHOLS.  For $5000, "the Ferry Boat by me owned and used for ferrying purposes upon the Colorado River" and all privileges; also "all my interest in the new Ferry Boat now by me being built"; also the 4 acre tract defined in F:180 above.   NICHOLS to pay for all expenses associated with the completion of the new boat, including lumber, other supplies and labor, and "all expenses attending the law suit brought by James J. SWISHER".  GRUMBLES, his family, slaves, horses, cattle, oxen, etc. to have free ferry privileges.  Recorded 11 Jun 1856.


K:595      20 Jun 1856.  John J. GRUMBLES to Andrew J. HAMILTON.  For $2000, his half of the HILL League [from H:498 above], less 200 acres to be laid in a strip 500 varas in width on the line between the DECKER League and the HILL League.   The upper end of said strip to be defined by a line at right angles to the afd. boundary, so as to include the present residence of GRUMBLES and the spring back of the same, and down said DECKER boundary for quantity to maintain a 500 vara width.   Also, a tract in Leon co. on Buffalo Creek, 640 ac granted to me by patent of 17 Jun 1856, certificate in Travis County, No. 867, dated 21 Feb 1848.  Patent No. 1621, Vol. 12, 20 Jun 1856.


R:354      29 Jul 1868.  John D. GRUMBLES to J.L. and G.A. BAKER.


S:162       8 May 1869.  Caroline GRUMBLES to Mary A. PLUMLEY and Medorah BROWN, all of Travis County.  Bill of sale for "my stock of horses and cattle, and brand JJ, conveyed as they run in the Range".  Signed /x/.


28:392     6 Apr 1872.  Mrs. A. HAMILTON to J.D. GRUMBLES, for $25 coin, a tract on the divide between Barton and Williamson Creeks, being part of Theodore BISSEL headright.  Begins at northwest corner of League; S30W, 75 varas; S60E, 75 v; N30E, 75 v (to corner of a pond); N60W, 75 v.  1 acre.


Those following not researched.  Critical will be 70:338, possibly explaining John J.'s title difficulties with the Hill League:


37:548     23 Sep 1876.  Thomas A. GRUMBLES, et al. [Heirs of John J. GRUMBLES] to T.L. WREN.

57:635     15 Nov 1883.  Elizabeth GRUMBLES to Tom MURRAH.

59:549     7 Mar 1884.  J.J. DAVIS to John D. GRUMBLES.

70:338     5 Oct 1886.  T.A., S.H., G.W., T.D. GRUMBLES et al., by sheriff, to James P. CRANE.






p 13 "DC 882" [I interpret as "District Court"]  Henry P. Hill, of Muscogee Co GA v. John J. Grumbles [deceased] and Morgan C. Hamilton [this was the Senator, brother of A.J.], of Travis County.  Complaint names John J.'s widow Caroline and several children


p 43 "[Deeds] K:595. Special Warranty Deed, 20 Jun 1856.  John J. Grumbles to Andrew J. Hamilton, land in H.P. Hill Survey in Travis Co and in Leon Co on Buffalo Creek, issued to me 21 Feb 1848.  Wit. John B. Costa and Stephen Davis".


p 43 "[Deeds] G:367. Sheriff Deed, 1 Nov 1853.  H.P. Hill, Moses L. Patton, ptf. in error Thomas Jefferson Chambers deft in error; Thomas Green, Clerk, Supreme Court, 19 Jul 1853 to Morgan C. Hamilton, John J. Grumbles, Geo. W. Scott, sheriff nearest corner about 1.25 mi west of new capital, Austin.  Wit: Geo. H. Gray, T.S. Anderson.  Mar 1861, published Southern Intelligencer, Austin. "


p 67  "1/173 [?; cf. Bastrop Co Deeds C:648]; transcript, title bond 17 Jul 1839; Daniel Browning, Bastrop Co to Henry Adams.  Wit: John J. Grumbles, William Pinckney Hill.




Clarksville "Northern Standard", 14 Aug 1852, p 2 col 3:  "We have been shown a letter from Mr. Howell, a manufacturer of Lancaster, Pennsylvania, to Capt. John J. Grumbles of this City, relative to a sample of marble sent by a gentleman to Lancaster some months since.  Mr. Howell has dressed and polished the sample sent, and writes to Capt. Grumbles that it is the 'finest marble he has ever seen, as it is susceptible of a finer and more beautiful polish than any of the famed Italian marble', and desires that a block be sent to him immediately to be used in a piece of ornamental marble-work he now has on hand.  This is certainly very gratifying news, as we are informed that the quarry from which this specimen was taken, in Hamilton's Valley, about 50 miles above this place, is of boundless extent, from which blocks of any desired size, even to thirty feet square, may be taken with ease.  Indeed, this marble may be found in almost any part of that extensive region known as Hamilton's Valley.  This discovery forms another important demand for a railroad to the coast.  -  Austin Gazette".


Texas State Gazette (Austin) 3 Apr 1852 p 7 col 1:  ESTRAYS. Taken up by John J. Grumbles, living on the south side of the Colorado River, opposite the City of Austin, and estrayed before the John B. Costa, Esq. on the 21st January, 1852, one bay horse, 3 years old, about 14 1/2 hands high, left hind-foot white, star in the forehead and snip in the face, a small white spot on his breast, and appraised at $30.  A.B. McGill, Clerk.


Texas State Gazette (Austin) 21 May 1853 p 3 col 1:  The following gratifying news which we clip from the last Houston "Telegraph" is confirmed by one of our citizens, Capt J.J. Grumbles, who has just returned from New Orleans, where he saw the Company on their way to Texas...  [The article describes a proposed road from some point on the Red River to San Diego, and some other ambitious road-building projects].





[NOTE INSERTED by Judy Morris November 1998:  A very fine gray granite memorial marker for Capt. John J. Grumbles, Texas Ranger, has been placed on the far western edge of the State Cemetery in Austin, TX by relatives.  It is on Republic Hill, Section 1, Row V, Space 12, backed by the western fence of the cemetery.]


Billy D. Patterson's letter says that John J. Grumbles was killed Feb 1858 in the Hotel Lowe in San Saba, Texas by Stinnett Mussett who was later tried and freed in Georgetown, TX.


"The Southern Intelligencer" (Austin) 3 Mar 1858 p 2, col 1:  ANOTHER HOMICIDE - News has reached this city that Captain John J. Grumbles of this city has been killed in San Saba County by Mr. Sinnet Mussett.  There had been an old quarrel between them.  Verily, we live in murderous times.


The following was sent by Fran Pendleton, referencing pp. 17-18 of OLD TIMERS OF WALLACE CREEK, by Jym A. Sloan, San Saba, TX:


The State of Texas

County of San Saba


On the verbal information of several citizens of said county an inquest was held on the body of J.J. Grumbles on the 25th day of February, A.D. 1858 at which the following proceedings were had, viz.:


A jury consisting of John H. Brown, F.M. Ellis, William B. Wear, David Matslear, W.T. Murray, and G.B. Cook, good an lawful men of San Saba County, were sworn and empaneled.


After hearing the testimony and examining the body of the deceased, the jury rendered the following verdict, to wit:


"That the said J.J. Grumbles came to his death by pistol ball or balls propelled from a sixshooter held in the hands of Sannett Munsett in the town of San Saba on the 25th day of February, A.D. 1858, between the hours of 3 and 4 o'clock P.M.  In testimony whereof as well, of said coroner as the said jury have hereto set their hands, this of the year, just written above."


Signed: (list above) and H. Taylor, Coroner,  San Saba County


The said Sennet Munsett not being in custody, a warrant was issued to Constable of Precinct No. 3, or other lawful officer in said county, returnable to John McNeil, J.P. Precinct No. 3, for the apprehension of said Munsett.


"The Southern Intelligencer" (Austin)  Wed., 3 Mar 1858 p 3, col 7:





                                                               We, the undersigned, hereby offer a reward of


                                                     FIVE HUNDRED DOLLARS


for the apprehension and delivery of Sinnit Musset to the Sheriff of San Saba county, Texas, to be dealt with according to law, for the murder of Captain John J. Grumbles, who was killed in the town of San Saba, by the said Mussett, on the 25th day of February, 1858.


The said Mussett is a tall, spare-made man, of florid complexion, dark sandy hair, and is about forty years of age.  The above reward will be paid to any person who may present to the undersigned, satisfactory evidence that the said Mussett has been placed in the custody of the law, in the proper county, to answer the charge above specified.

Joseph Grumbles, Perry Grumbles, John Grumbles


The Texas Sentinel copy it [the above] and the Fort Smith, (Ark) Herald three weeks, and forward their accounts to this office.


Sinnet Musset


1850 Travis Co TX census. Residence 370, find: Sennet Musset, age 30, born OH; daughter Mary, 6, b. AR; son John, 2, b. TX.   $200.   Enumerated two residences from Gov. P.H. BELL and near Ashford McGILL.  No occupation listed.


1860 Lampasas Co TX census (P.O. Lampasas), 17 July, p 173, residence 34.  S. Mussett, age 38, stockraising, b. KY, $0 real estate, $1000 personal estate; [daughter] Mary, 15, b. AR, in school; [son] John, 12, b. TX, in school.





This version is someone's quick transcription from the original.  There are many tales (and books) treating the legendary San Saba silver mines.  This one evidently weaves together the killing of John J. with some other early story.  Whether John J. was "a gambler and race horse man" is otherwise unsupported.   His killing was, of course, in 1858.


LOST BOWIE MINE:  One time in the early fifties a Comanchero (a Mexican trader with the Comanches), while out in the hills north of San Antonio, brought a Mexican from a band of Comanches, with whom she had been for several years.  He took her to San Antonio and released her.


Naturally, many people questioned her as to her experience with Las Indios Broncos, among other things.  She told of how she had helped them gather silver ore on the San Saba and beat it into ornaments.


Now about this time a bachelor named Grumble was ranching on the San Saba below the mouth of Brady Creek a good seventy five [miles?] east of the old fort.  He had fought Comanches a plenty, he had seen silver on their buckskin trappings, he had even picked up spent bullets from their guns.


When echoes of the Mexican woman's story reached his ears, he was determined to visit her in San Antonio and find out more concerning the source of the Comanche silver.  This was a year or two after the captive's liberation.  She having married in the meantime, she talked to Grumbles without reservation.


"The Comanches often camped", she said, "at the old presidio, and right there they made bracelets and conchas and other ornaments out of silver.  I have helped to bring the ore into camp, but I will not deceive you by telling you that I saw where it was taken out of the ground. I was a slave and had to obey others.  I tell you only what I myself have seen.


"The Indians would leave their camp at the fort and cross the San Saba River.  Then they would go south for about two miles, following up Las Moros Creek.  Then the men would leave the squaws and captives at a regular stopping place.  Sometimes they would be gone a long time, some time not over an hour.  I do not think the mine was over half a mile away.  When the men got back to where we were waiting, they always gave us their ore to carry on in.  It was well understood that the mine was kept hidden so that no stranger could find it."


After hearing this account, Grumbles asked the woman if she wold go with him to the San Saba and guide him as far as she could toward the Comanche mine.


"All I could do", she answered", would be to lead you to our waiting ground on Los Moros Creek. At this place I could [point] out the brush into which I saw the warriors enter empty handed and from which I saw them return carrying silver."


All that Grumbles asked was to be put on the right track.  The woman and her husband were willing to undertake the trip under his protection.  Arrangements were made for immediate [departure].


Grumbles was a race horse man and gambler.  He had formerly lived in New Braunfels and he now chose to pass through that place and several other towns that offered chances for profitable games and races.  Riding at his own convenience, he was sometimes ahead of the Mexicans and sometimes behind them.


The arrangement with them was kept secret.  Late one night all three arrived in the village of San Saba, where Grumbles went to the hotel while the Mexicans made camp outside of town.


As soon as he arose the next morning the American entered a saloon to get a drink.  At the bar he saw another gambler and racer with whom he had recently had a difficulty.  His name was Sinnet Musset.  Each man drew; Musset drew a fraction the quicker and Grumbles was a dead man.  This was in 1857.


The Mexicans were naturally frightened.  The woman had no desire to fall again into the hands of the Comanches.  They went back to Lampasas, through which they had passed on their way up, got work there and for five years did not tell a soul of their secret engagement with Grumbles. When finally they did tell, [no] man was enterprising enough to take up the trail that Grumbles had so precipitate[ly] quitted.



 "Legends gotten by Billy Dean Patterson" [sent me by Fran Pendleton]


A Grumbles heard about a silver mine whose location was known by an old Mexican woman living in San Antonio.  She had been a captive of the Indians who worked the mine.  Grumbles went to San Antonio to get the woman, who had married.  He brought the couple as far as San Saba when he came across a man with whom he had argued about a "pot-licking" dog.  They drew on each other in a saloon and Grumbles lost and was killed.  That ended the search for the mine.


Told by Will Grumbles on Mar 11, 1962.  Confirmed by Edward Davis Grumbles Mar 30, 1962.  An abbreviated variant of Dobie's tale, from which it may have derived directly.