1824 – 1906

Contributed by Robert D. Walton, Great-Great-Great-Grandson


The following is an autobiography written by Josephine Cavasas Barnard about 1904 as dictated to her granddaughter, Mrs. Verdie Barnard Allison.  A copy was sent to Josephine’s daughter, Mrs. Marie Tomassa Bernard Page.  Marie’s grandson, Robert D. Walton, typed this accounting when he was ten years old in 1957.
Charles E. Barnard and Josephine Cavasas Barnard

Charles E. Barnard and Josephine Cavasas Barnard

I will write a small sketch of my grandmother’s life with the Indians.  This is what she says:

I was born in Mexico and lived there until I was 18 years old.  I went to visit a friend across the Rio Grande River and stayed several days.  I got uneasy and told the woman that I felt like something was going to happen and I wanted to go home, but I didn’t get to go.  So on Aug. 15 at 11 a.m. o’clock in the year 1844 the Indians surrounded the house before we knew it.  There were six of us women at the house, two were washing, the rest were cooking dinner.  One woman was combing her hair.  The Indians cut her hair off and left her.  I ran for my life and hid in some weeds.  Another girl was captured.  She saw me and told them where I was, so they took me.  Another girl ran out into a pond of water and they went out and got her.  They killed the husband of the woman whose hair they cut off.  He was n the woods burning coal.

The Indians started with us and went about five miles down the river, where they made a raid on a house.  Then they took a six year old girl.  Her mother had a baby in her arms about a year old and they gave it a sling into the river.  Oh, they were such mean things!  They tied the mother to a horse’s tail and dragged her some distance then sent her home.  They tore up everything in the house they could not take with them.

We traveled for four days.  On Sunday morning, Aug. 19, we came to where a boy about 14 years old and a man were herding sheep.  They scalped the boy and he bled to death.  They stabbed the man and left him for dead.  They went to a nearby creek to water the ponies and came back by.  The man was gone and they followed him and found him about half a mile from where they first stabbed him.  He was dying, but they stabbed him several times more.

We started on the trail from the Rio Grande River into Texas.  That evening about three o’clock they killed one of the girls they had taken with me.  They killed her with the same knife they had killed the man with.  She begged dearly for her life but it did no good.  They stabbed her in the breast and after killing her they got clubs and beat her like beating a cow.  The old chief came up to me with a knife and asked me if I wanted him to kill me.  I told him yes, I wanted to die, and he made like he was going to kill me.  But I never moved for I wanted to die and I wanted to die with her, so when my folks came to him for us they would find us together.  He never hit me with the knife.  He put his hand to my heart to see if I was scared, but I was not.  Then he said, “Brave, brave, you go with us.”

So we started from there and met another man herding sheep.  I did not see them kill him but I know they did for they had his clothes and mule.  They took knives and just stabbed the sheep and left them.  They told me they were not going to kill me.  They said they were going to take me to San Antonio and trade me for bread and sugar, but they didn’t.  They went on to an Indian village.  We were nineteen days going.  We did without water for two days.  The old chief got mad because he couldn’t find water and whipped me.  My mule gave out and I had to walk for one day.  That night we camped and I had to hunt for water.  I found the water and wished the Lord would drop me a bottle of poison.  I would poison the last one of them.  That evening the chief whipped me and his squaw said something to him about whipping me for nothing and he whipped her too.  The next day we got to the Indian village.  I was tied nearly all the time with my hands behind me till we got there, then they turned me loose.  There my squaw died and they cut off my hair for mourning.

They took me to the old trading house ten miles below Waco, where they sold me to George Barnard for three hundred dollars in horses and merchandise.  Then his brother, Charles E. Barnard came from the north and we got married.

My husband and myself then moved to Hood Co. Texas, where we lived till now.  He has been dead four years the twenty-third day of June, 1900.  He was 77 years old when he died.  I am 78, will be the twenty-fourth of June.

I am the mother of 14 children, 10 dead, 4 living.  Those living are:

John Barnard, the girl’s father who is writing this for me.
Henry Barnard, who lives in Okla.
Eliza Thomas, she and John live close to me.
Mrs. Tomassa Page, she lives in Okla.

I have 24 grandchildren and 13 great-grand children.  I am living most of the time by myself.  I raise chickens, hogs and cattle.  I raise a big garden every year.

After Mr. Barnard and I married we kept a trading house here where I now live.  We were the first settlers in Hood Co., Texas.  For months and months I never saw a white woman.  We had plenty of Negro slaves.  We kept the trading house for the Indians for fifteen or twenty years.  My maiden name was Josephine Cavasas.  Well, that is enough.  I could tell enough to print a newspaper.

I am the wife of Charles E. Barnard.  Grandmother says she has said enough so I will close.

Mrs. Verdie Barnard Allison
Georges Creek, Texas

Josephine Cavasas Barnard was born June 24, 1824 and died February 1, 1906.  She was buried in the Barnard Cemetery in Hood County, Texas.