Presidio San Sabá and My Texas Rangers Kin

This site was the northern-most, largest and most advanced presidio in Spanish Texas. It was called Presidio de San Sabá to protect Mission Santa Cruz de San Sabá, located 4 miles downstream. Known as Presidio San Luis de las Amarillas, Presidio San Sabá was constructed in April of 1757 by a Spanish force led by Captain Don Diego Ortiz Parilla. San Saba was the principal settlement in McCulloch County until Brady became the county seat in 1876. My Mulkey family were some of the earliest settlers in McCulloch County, Texas.

Presidio San Sabá, is on the National Register of Historic Places and is located one mile west of Menard, Texas on US 190 at 191 Presidio Road. A group of Texas Rangers were stationed at Camp San Saba, about 40 minutes away via Hwy. 190E to Farm Road 1955 and the San Saba River ten miles southeast of Brady in southeastern McCulloch County, in the mid-1850s to protect settlers from Indian attacks. Although we may be new residents of Texas, my relatives trace back to Texas for five generations. My Cherokee GG-Grandfather, Lewis Andrew Mulkey was one of those Texas Rangers in Capt. O’Brien’s Company. But wait. There’s more.

My Cherokee Great-Great Uncle, James Daniel Mulkey, who was Lewis’ older brother, also served with the Texas Rangers as a scout. Lieutenant James D. Mulkey served with Captain Fossett’s battalion of Texas Frontier Regiment in 1864-1865 and is even mentioned in a book called Early Settlers and Indian Fighters of Southwest Texas by A.J. Sowell, published in 1900. The chapter recalls the famous Indian Fight at Dove Creek in 1865. Both men and their brother, a medical doctor named William, were the sons of Colonel Jonathan Mulkey and his Cherokee wife, Mariah Ross. She was the youngest sister of Principal Chief John Ross. Mariah died on the Trail of Tears in Arkansas during the forced removal of Indians from their eastern homelands to Indian Territory, now Oklahoma. Chief Ross had won his case defending Cherokee rights in the Supreme Court but President Andrew Jackson refused to abide by it. Lewis walked the Trail of Tears in 1838 when he was just five years old. Chief Ross’ wife also died during the harsh winter walk. After Maria passed on, her oldest sister, Elizabeth Ross and her husband Jonathan Ross (no blood relation) raised the Mulkey children along with their five children at the “Murrell Home” in Park Hill, Oklahoma, near Tahlequah. Present day, the Murrell Home is a historical museum and offers tours of the mansion. The three Mulkey boys had only one sister, Mary Anna “Mollie” Mulkey, but she died in a fire at age 12 in 1845.

Their widower father, Jonathan Mulkey, a Cherokee Nation Councilor in 1842 with the Cherokee name of “Unurti”, traveled with his three sons to Texas in 1855. The August 1934 edition of Frontier Times Magazine said, “The earliest settler in this section is believed to have been Jonathan Mulkey, who came front Austin with his three sons, James (Dan), Lewis and W. R. (Bill). Jim Mulkey, who was quarter Cherokee Indian, acted as guide for the soldiers and others dealing with the Indians. The Mulkeys first settled on Deep Creek, near where Milburn is now located. Shortly afterwards, Bill Mulkey built a house on the Colorado river a short distance above the old No. 10 Highway bridge.” Jonathan died a decade later near the Texas Trail in Oklahoma and was originally buried in Indian Cemetery #27 at the Verdigris River. He was later reburied in an unmarked mass grave with 16 others at Three Rivers Cemetery southeast of Okay when the dam was built in Okay, Oklahoma. His son, Lewis Andrew Mulkey, was the last original Cherokee to survive The Trail of Tears from Georgia to Oklahoma when he died in 1929 at age 96 years, 7 months and 10 days. Records show his Cherokee name was “Ta Woti ga nage,” which by loose translation means Black Hawk.

Lewis and Adeline Mulkey with some of their grandchildren. William M. Carr and wife Vida are in the top row. Photo enhanced by John Earl.

Lewis Andrew Mulkey and his brother James Daniel Mulkey were Texas Rangers under the command of Captain William Tom, in a company on the Sabinal River. Captain John Tom, William’s father, was the executor for the Will of my Choctaw GX3Grandfather, Jeremiah “Jerry” Moses Goins, who came to Texas while it was a Republic in 1834. He is listed on the first census of Texas. After a rigorous genealogical examination of records, I have recently been accepted by The Daughters of the Republic of Texas to pay his legacy forward. Jeremiah married Sarafina Charity Drake. In Texas census taken, Jeremiah Goins and his family were listed at various times as Negro, Mulatto, and Yellow. Both he and his wife’s ancestors had been referenced as “Free People of Color,” although all the Goins kin always claimed to be Choctaw originating from Mississippi. Jerry’s daughter, Adeline Goins, married Lewis A. Mulkey. Lewis and she had ten children together. His brother Jim married Elizabeth Cleveland Joy. They had eight children.


More about James (Dan) Mulkey: James Daniel was the first child of Jonathan and Maria Ross Mulkey. James “Dan” was married to Elizabeth Cleveland Joy on January 31, 1867 in San Saba, Texas. Sallie was the daughter of Wylie (Wiley) and Elizabeth Joy. Sallie had previously been married to James W. Vann and had a daughter, Daisy, just 3 years old. In the above photo, “Babe” is Sallie Frazier Mulkey. Her husband, known as “Dan”, died of a heart attack while visiting their daughter Aileen in Oxnard, California. Seven years later, Sallie died at home in Stroud, Oklahoma, also of a heart attack. Dan and Sallie were both mixed blood Cherokees.
Dan married Sallie Frazier on November 7, 1904 in Warner, Indian Territory, now Oklahoma. The Mulkeys were recipients of land allotments to the Cherokees, by virtue of an Act of Congress, approved July 1, 1902. Two deeds were found for 80 acres allotted to Jonathan Daniel Mulkey on November 14, 1905. For some reason, Sallie was allotted 120 acres, possibly because her degree of Cherokee blood was higher than her husband’s. My notes: The name Vann is also a Cherokee surname; it is is not known what happened to Sallie’s first husband; perhaps she was a widow therefore allowed an additional claim.
Sallie Frazier and Jonathan”Dan” Mulkey had six children; Dennis, Elizabeth, Roy, Geneva, Ruth and Aileen. Roy died at birth, Geneva and Ruth in their early 40’s, while Elizabeth died at age 76 years and 4 months. In 1996, daughter Aileen was still living as was daughter Daisy Vann Davis.
Documents were found indicating the Mulkeys did not retain their land for very long. A General Warranty Deed Record, dated the 5th of November 1906, transferred one parcel of 40 acres to M. P. Johnson of Marysville, Kansas, for the sum of $600.00. On the 30th of April, 19090, a parcel of 120 acres was sold to Phillip Mayers of Mound Valley, Kansas, for the sum of $1,200.00. On the 7th of August 1908, the state of Oklahoma purchased a parcel identified as NE 1/4 of NE 1/4 Sec. 30 T 12 P 19 E from the Mulkeys, presumed to be 40 acres, for the sum of $1,000.00. We believe this parcel is the present day site of Connors College, just east of Warner, Oklahoma. Many allottees donated or sold land so Connor College could be built. Lewis Andrew Mulkey was one of those who participated. See accompanying group photo, Connors College, cousin Beulah Mulkey Morse collection. Above Photo Courtesy of cousin, Chris Yeargan. Alonzo Mulkey is Chris’ grandfather. Additional Information, courtesy of cousin Sue Foote.
Note Mulkey researchers: Per cousin Sue Foote, Cousin Tom Pierson (wife, Audrey) in Texas, is the son of Isaac Frank Pierson and Lettie Viola Mulkey. Lettie Viola was the daughter of Wiley Ross Mulkey and Martha Mahala Paul Mulkey. Wiley Ross was Tom’s grandfather and brother to Jonathan Daniel Mulkey. Lettie Viola and Elizabeth Mulkey Evans were first cousins. Lettie was 9 years older than Elizabeth, and both were born in Warner, Oklahoma. Another cousin is Don Clay (wife, Rosemarie), of Los Angeles. He is the son of Frankie Farmer, another cousin of Elizabeth’s. The Farmers are from my line, Isabelle Mulkey and Ferdinand Farmer. Their daughter, Georgia Farmer, is my grandmother. Frankie is Georgia’s sister .
Information about Wylie JOY can be found in ‘The West Texas Frontier or a Descriptive History of Early Times in Early Texas’ by Joseph Carroll McConnell. Mrs. Wylie Joy and her daughter, Mrs. Lafe McDonald, of Spring Creek, Texas, were both killed one mile east of Harper, Texas. Wylie Joy was away on a trip to old Mexico, during the Civil War. The crime scene appeared to be staged to blame Indians for their demise, but many locals doubted it. These ladies would be mother and sister to Elizabeth Cleveland Joy Mulkey. Later, Aileen Mulkey Legat and Elizabeth Mulkey Evans had vague recollections of hearing someone had been scalped but couldn’t recall specifics. Further details; 12, Hunter’s Magazine, February 1912 and 1, Frontier Times, June 1927.

In McConnell’s account, “Mrs. Lafe McDonald lived in Kimble County, Texas, who was staying with her parents, Mr. and Mrs. Wylie Joy, while her husband was away in Old Mexico, during the Civil War. Someone had recently returned and brought some letters from Lafe McDonald to his wife, and these letters were left at the home of Tom McDonald, who lived in Spring Creek, about 8 miles east of Harper. Mrs. McDonald was exceedingly anxious to hear from her husband, so she insisted that someone go horseback with her to Tom McDonald’s home. They made the trip on horseback and started home early the next morning…Mrs. Wylie Joy and her daughter, Mrs. Lafe McDonald were both killed one mile east of Harper. Many have surmised that this deed was not done by Indians. Nevertheless, moccasin tracks and other savage signs were discovered shortly afterwards.”(nothing further was written).

GG-Grandma Adeline Mulkey nee Goins and GG-Grandpa Lewis A. Mulkey. ~Photo courtesy of Charles Olzawski.

Jeremiah’s son, Ransom Goins, also served under Captain John Tom in 1864. This photo is my G-Uncle Ransom Goins, colorized by my husband John Earl. Ransom’s brother, Reuben, was later involved in the famous Shootout at the ’97’ Ranch in the Chickasaw Nation in Grady County, Oklahoma. Two alleged rustlers were shot by hired men protecting cattle. Seven men, including Rueben, were tried before “Hanging Judge” Parker in Fort Smith, Arkansas. They claimed self defense. The trial began February of 1886 and dragged on to October 1887. On November 1885, the men were released on bail for the sum of $7,000 each. In October 1886 a hung jury was declared. A new trial ensued and the men were found guilty of manslaughter and imprisoned. They were all sentenced to be hanged. The Fort Smith jail was a dungeon under horrible conditions. In September 1887, it was determined the jury’s decision was not unanimous. On September 28, 1887, President Grover Cleveland signed a Presidential Pardon that exonerated all the men, including Rueben Goins. Judge Parker released the men on October 3, 1887. In 1892, Ransom married Emily Hardy.

Ransom and Rueben’s brother, Seaborn “Cebe” Goins, was killed by Indians in May 1861 in San Saba, Texas. He would become known as “the first white man killed in McColloch County.” This account was first published in “Handbook of McCulloch County, Texas.” Cebe and two other men were tracking wild horses when night fell. The men pitched camp at Salt Gap. During the night Indians crept in the darkness and stole the men’s horses then shot a volley of arrows at the sleeping cowboys. An arrow fatally struck Cebe, who slept nearest the attackers. One man was wounded but the other was uninjured. He tried to shoot but his pistol jammed. They escaped into the brush and walked to Cebe’s home which took them three whole days. There was at that time in San Saba County a company of 25 men under the command of Capt. W. R. Woods known as “Minute Men.” They were men who were obligated to rush at a minute’s notice to rendezvous in case of an Indian attack. When it was reported that Cebe Goins had been killed, 10 of these rangers were immediately into the saddle. The distance to be traveled was about 50 miles, through the wilderness and without a road to travel when they discovered Cebe’s body with an arrow piercing his blanket to his body. They buried him on the spot. Forty-eight years later, in 1909, Cal Montgomery made an appeal to the citizens of McCulloch County to place a marker over the grave of Cebe Goins. Several search parties went to the location, but the landmarks could not be located after a half century.

Captain John Tom, my GX3Grandfather Jeremiah Goins’ close friend and executor of Jeremiah’s will and father of Captain William Tom.
Photo colorized by John Earl.

According to “The Texas Indian Papers of Texas and the Southwest 1825-1916,” my family appeared under the misspelled name of “Goeings” on No. 195 Petition from the Citizens of San Saba County dated September 29, 1858. The letter was addressed to H. R. Runnels, the governor for the state of Texas stating, “The peace and the prosperity of their County is greatly disturbed by depredating bands of indians prowling among us, as we suppose for the purpose of stealing horses. That many families have left the county on account of the insecurity here for life and property & many others are talking seriously account of the indians. That we doubt many erroneous reports have reached the ears of your excellency in relation to indians in this County, but notwithstanding we are satisfied we are placed here in a critical situation and need additional protection. The promises considered your petitioners earnestly request that you will send us a force of mounted men sufficient for our immediate protection (say one full company) and as in duty bound we will ever pray & c.” Among the fifty citizens listed were “T. Goeings, Leban Goeings, Ransom Goeings, James Goeings, Ruben Goeings, Robart Goeings, Henry Goeings and Raben Goeings.”

Violent strife began when settlers arrived over a hundred years earlier. Lipan Apache, Comanche and Wichita tribes lived in the area so skirmishes and raids ensued. On March 16, 1758, two thousand natives attacked the mission far from Presidio Sabá, killing two priests and several others. Twenty seven survived and escaped to the presidio. Conditions continued to deteriorate as hardship and strife proliferated. By 1768 the presidio was abandoned. In the early part of the Civil War companies of state troops known variously as rangers, mounted volunteers, etc., were organized all over the state. The ones in this particular part of the state were a part of Col. J. E. McCord’s regiment. One or more of these companies had a camp on the San Saba River about a mile or a mile and a half south and east of the Hardee crossing near another crossing known as the “Flat Rock” crossing. They were quartered in log cabins and a few tents. It was from this camp of rangers that the town of Camp San Saba took its name. It is said that the first soldiers to occupy the camp were members of Capt. McMillan’s company of San Saba. A Masonic lodge was organized at or near Camp San Saba in 1864 thought to have been principally among the members of the “ranger” camp. This lodge later became McCulloch Lodge No. 273 A. F. & A. M., and was moved to Mason, Texas, and the Masonic Lodge at that place still retains the same name and number. 

My G-Great Uncle Jim Goins served under Col. J. E. McCord’s regiment. He was my GX2GreatGrandmother, Adeline Mulkey nee Goins’ brother. According to a county census, he and his wife, Harriet Adaline Goins nee Dykes, were neighbors. She became a widow and received a Confederate pension. The first census record for the State of Texas was the enumeration of 1850, the republic having been accepted as a State in 1845, at which time its total population was 212,592, or more than one square mile for each person enumerated. The city of New York that year had a few more than 50,000. When Texas was admitted as a State in 1845 it claimed considerable territory not now within its confines. In 1850 it sold to the Federal Government for $10,000,000 all claimed outlying area which reduced it to the size as shown by present-day maps. The 1850 Limestone County Texas census recorded Jeremiah Goins had 50 horses, 80 milk cows, 20 oxen, 160 cattle and 300 pigs. According to official records, Jeremiah also served as a Choctaw interpreter. In their lifetime, Jeremiah and his wife Charity had a total of 14 children together. Eight of them were born in Texas. They are both buried at Oakley Cemetery in Pleasanton, Texas. Jeremiah’s father was Phillip Goins, born in Mississippi, was a resident of the Choctaw Nation according to the United States Citizenship Court records as transcribed in “The Journal of American Family Research.”

Lewis’ and James’ brother, William Ross “Bill” Mulkey appears on the Confederate Rolls as “WR Mulkey, Private, C.O. Barton, Decator, 1st Lt., Org Co. No. 1, 31st Brigade, 2nd Prec. #1, McCulloch Co. Roll dated March 2, 1864, Page 26. Front Dist. TST. Remarks: R. & F 41; rifle and six shooter, –absent–not sworn in.; counties of Ellis, Freestone, Limestone, Navarro comprise 19th Brigade. Elec. certif. with roll; Co. S.18-61.” Also listed are other family members, Henry Goins, “enlisted March 23, 1864, Atascosa Co., 3rd Frontier District, age 38, Enl. Offcr. E.O. Brian; Rans Goins, Atascosa Co. 3rd Frontier Dist., age 38; Ranson [sic] Goins C.O. Tom, John, F. Capt., Enl. 1864, age 37, owns rifle and pistol, CO. organized under Act of Dec 15, 1863 (author’s note: This is the same person, registered in sequential years). This list included all men in Atascosa County liable to military duty except two persons under age, 3 others exempt by law and a few who could not be seen by En. Off. because of their absence from the county; this means men appearing on list are liable for duty but does not appear on the muster roll nor on payroll. No service is shown to him.” Dr. Bill Mulkey was married to Margaret Rebecca Hudson. They had six children together. Like his brother’s colorful lives, W.R. Mulkey’s stories were printed in Oklahoma’s “Indian Pioneer Papers” (OK Gen Web Vol 64, 65-10 Microfiche #6016929-30, available through the Oklahoma Historical Society, NARA and LDS) and “Frontier Times” magazine, VOL 1 No. 1 OCT 1923, VOL 10 No. 6 March 1933, and VOL 2 No 2, August 1934. 

The original presidio was made of wood but later replaced with stones in 1761. The Presidio’s walls were re-purposed to hold cattle on the Great Western Trail Drives in the 1870s-80s because of water available from the San Saba River. What you see here onsite is mostly a reproduction but accurate. Only the arched gateway is original to the camp.

Pvt. Rayborn Goins as “Raibon Goin” was mustered into service at San Antonio on May 14, 1862 with Captain Angel Navarro’s Company of Texas Mounted Volunteers. The Texas Mounted Volunteers were commonly referred to as “Texas Rangers” at the time. He was also the brother of Ransom, Rueben, Henry, and Seaborn “Cebe” Goins.

Lewis A. Mulkey later received a Texas Ranger pension under the Indian Wars Special Act of 1892. He never participated in the Civil War. Here is a historical snippet of his life from “Pioneer Interview of Vida Mulkey Carr, Eufala, Oklahoma; by Field Worker, Carl R. Sherwood, June 23, 1937. “My father was Louis (sic) Mulkey, a Cherokee, from Georgia. My mother, before her marriage, was Miss Adeline Goins, three-quarters Choctaw Indian. After their marriage, they moved to Texas, and to this union were born six children. In 1887 my father and family left Texas on foot and drove fifteen hundred sheep and goats to the Indian Territory [now Oklahoma], locating in the Cherokee Nation about eighteen miles northeast of Checotah. The family of eight took their allotments in this vicinity. My father sold sheep and goats, and bought cattle and farmed several hundred acres of land. Our nearest church was Texanna, a distance of about twelve miles. Our transportation to and from church was a wagon drawn by a yoke of oxen. On December 5, 1900, I was united in marriage to William M. Carr, who was a son of Albert and Susan E. Carr, a prominent [Creek] family of the Indian Territory. After our marriage we located in what is now McIntosh County on Carr Creek, about four miles south [east] of Checotah. My husband was educated in Eufala schools which were kept by a Creek fund. In 1907 Mr. Carr was elected constable of Checotah township in the Carr Creek district, and in connection with this office he was appointed deputy sheriff. Mr. Carr took the first prisoners from McIntosh County to the state penitentiary at McAlester in 1909, the charges against these men being grand larceny and robbery. Frank Jones, United States Deputy Marshal, Bill Carr , a Deputy Sheriff, and Ed Baum all of Checotah were the first called to the Snake Uprising near the old hickory stomp grounds east of Henryetta, Oklahoma. They arrived on the scene just before sundown, and all at once the bullets from the Snake Indians began buzzing all around them. Frank Jones and Bill Carr dismounted from their horses and got behind trees and started firing. Ed Baum was a crippled cowboy and would not leave his horse and was soon shot down. Ed Baum was the first man killed in the Snake Rebellion.” [End of Interview.] Available at OK Gen Web Pioneer Papers, OK Historical Society, 2100 N. Lincoln Blvd, Oklahoma City, OK and at Cherokee Heritage Center, Park Hill, OK and Northeastern State University, Tahlequah OK.

On September 9, 1896, my Goins family took their case to the Supreme Court after being denied their Choctaw rights by the Dawes Rolls Commission. It was filed under “Robert Goins et al, Commission No. 55, US Court No. 127, Citizenship Court No. 31-T.” After proving their case with documentation and witnesses, nearly 100 Goins individuals were legally recognized as Choctaw. However, on December 1, 1897, the Goins were suddenly denied again, without explanation. In December 1902, the court vacated and labeled it a “test case.” Goins appealed and on June 29, 1904, their case was again denied without explanation. The case was closed on September 15, 1904. The Goins’ persisted. On April 22, 1909, the Indian Office requested a report as to the right of enrollment by claimants. On June 3, 1909, the Department determined the case was not analogous to the “Goldsby” case [U.S. Reports: Garfield v. Goldsby, 211 U.S. 249 (1908)] as the names of claimants herein were never on any schedule approved by the Secretary and subsequently stricken without notice to claimants, and declined to enroll the applicants, because the Secretary was without authority of law to do so. By then, all my Mulkey family members were enrolled as Cherokee-by-Blood on the Dawes Roll.

Just to put it into perspective, during his Cherokee Nation Anniversary speech in 2006, Cherokee Chief Chad Corntassel Smith said, “In the olden days there were three kinds of despised people. Indians. Dogs. And Mississippi Choctaws. In that order.” Some Goins married into the Chickasaw tribe. Some Mulkeys, like Lewis’ daughter Vida, as aforementioned, married into the Creek tribe via famous lawman, William Carr, but remained on the Cherokee Rolls. For a factual look at the Creek rebellion and shoot out involving U.S. Marshal Bill Carr of Checotah in McIntosh County, beginning page 43; http://digital.library.okstate.edu/Chro…/v031/v031p037.pdf

It is interesting to walk next to the immense stone walls and imagine the turmoil of history when the presidio was built. I like to contemplate my ancestor’s struggle and successes as early settlers in Texas and ponder the incongruities of racism and culture. It is sobering yet inspiring when one realizes the same ground you stand on is where so much history took place centuries ago. The park offers a picnic area, walking path and numerous signage depicting the history of the presidio. Admission is free. The nearby tiny town of San Saba, Texas, is known as the “Pecan Capital of the World.”

Citations and Recommended Resources

Early Settlers and Indian Fighters of Southwest Texas by Sowell, Andrew Jackson, published 1900

Cherokee Mixed-Bloods by Hampton, David Keith, published 2005

The San Saba Papers by Howell, John; published 1959

The Texas Indian Papers of Texas and the Southwest 1825-1916 Vol 1-5, Edited by Winfrey, Dorman and Day, James M., published 1995

Free African Americans of North Carolina, Virginia and South Carolina by Heinegg, Paul, First Ed. 2007

Handbook of McCulloch County History Volume I by Wayne Spiller Pioneer Book Company, Seagraves, Texas, published 1976

1842 Cherokee Claims – Saline District by Chase, Marybelle W., published January 1, 1988

Jonathan Mulkey and the Ross Family 1827, Cherokee Blood Newsletter, Chattanooga, TN published 1991, Vol, Issue 18

Frontier Times Magazine, Vol. 10, No. 6, March 1933

Frontier Times Magazine, Vol. 11, No. 10, Aug 1934 by Snider, Clarence, Early Settlers on the Colorado in McCulloch County.

Frontier Times Magazine Vol. 1, No. 1, Oct 1923

Frontier Times Magazine, Nov 1924, 1928, and 1936

https://www.frontiertimesmagazine.com/ecomm/product/vol-11-no-08-may-1934

https://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/entries/camp-san-saba-tx

https://www.frontiertimesmagazine.com/blog/early-history-camp-san-saba

http://www.cemeteries-of-tx.com/Wtx/McCulloch/cemetery/Camp%20San%20Saba.htm

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Free_people_of_color

https://supreme.justia.com/cases/federal/us/211/249/

https://www.nps.gov/trte/learn/historyculture/upload/Alabama-Collections-Camps-Forts-Depots-and-Routes-508.pdf

https://www.loc.gov/item/usrep211249/

https://www.hmdb.org/m.asp?m=90987

https://www.accuweather.com/en/us/camp-san-saba/76825/current-weather/2107132

Jaylyn

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comments
  • I would be most interested to talk with any living descendants
    Of the Mulkey family particularly those who have knowledge of Lt James D. Mulkey who served with Capt Fossett’s battalion of Texas Frontier Regiment in 1864-1865.

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