Barnards of the Brazos- Somervell
Back in 2006, the statue that sits downtown on the Somervell County courthouse lawn was dedicated. Robert Summers created the statue, which commemorates the story of George and Charles Barnard and Juana Cavasos. I went down there, video recorded the goings on and made a compilation video of it. I like to show crowd shots rather than just the dignitaries at the gazebo; first part is more atmospheric, second part includes Walter Maynard, then Somervell County Judge and Bob Summers, James Barnard, and others. 15 Sept 2007 was designed Robert T Summers Day.
The Plaque reads: The Barnards of the Brazos: First Family of Glen Rose - Bronze By Robert Summers - The Legend - Author John Graves.
“Charles Barnard, who founded Glen Rose on the Paluxy River, was an educated New Englander who came to the Republic of Texas in 1843. There he joined his older brother George in the operation of Indian trading posts beyond the advancing white frontier. Well liked by the tribesmen for their fairness, they prospered, bartering civilized goods for things like fur pelts and deer and buffalo hides. One very special item for which they bartered successfully was a spirited, intelligent young captive of the Comanches - Juana Cavasos, the daughter of a wealthy land-owning family of south Texas and northern Mexico. Charles and the ransomed girl fell in love, were married in 1848, and spent the following decade at a trading post on the Brazos River in present Hood County, a few miles north of the Paluxy. Juana proved to be not only a competent trader herself but an outstanding mother, horsewoman, herbal doctor, and neighborhood midwife.
After their trading was ended in the late 1850s by the official removal of most Texas Indians to reservations. Charles bought land on the Paluxy and built a home and a stone gristmill, the nucleus for a community called Barnard’s Mill, later renamed Glen Rose. The Mill, still standing today, ground settlers corn and wheat and served as a refuge and fortress for them during frequent raids by untamed Comanches and Kiowas. Many tales have come down from that era.
But Juana and Charles grew homesick, and in 1870 moved back to the old trading post on the Brazos, where they were ultimately joined by Juana’s twin brother Juan, who happened upon her while driving a herd up the Chisholm Trail and later returned to farm and ranch and raise his own family nearby. In that setting the Barnards spent their remaining years, legendary in their time and place, surrounded and honored by family and friends.”
Interesting article about what happened (Port Isabel South Padre)
It is written that, “She was born in Mexico and the daughter of Maria Josefina Cavazos with Spanish and Italian lineage and descendent of the Canary Islanders.”
Her capture could have been part of any cowboy and Indian movie – it happened like a typical scene in a Hollywood film. She was picked up by a raiding band of Comanche, absent the sound of the Cavalry’s bugle in pursued; they quickly vanished with her toward the north. The Comanche now had a valuable commodity they could later use for trade purposes.
An interesting twist to the story is the fact that Juana’s half-brother, Juan Cortina, was outraged by her capture and which later figures in this story.
A newspaper report wrote then, “That this was the same Cortina, whose exploits later on would include the capture of Brownsville and rise to a generalship in the Mexican Army and governor’s chair of Tamaulipas.”
Josefina’s story did not end up like Cynthia Ann Parker of North Texas, who was captured and adopted the Indian ways and married a Comanche chief…
Instead, her romantic tale starts within weeks of her capture, a young American trader and U.S. agent of the Brazos Indian Reservation, George Barnard, used sweetness to secure her rescue. It was a done deal; Barnard lassoed the Spanish beauty for 25 pounds of sugar. The purchased girl became George’s wife. You could say that it was love at first sight or was it?
Account of their romance which followed was first published in 1910. Her story, which read like a “Mexican Novela,” later reveals that George traded her off for $300 worth of horses and merchandise.
But later somehow, another exchange occurred and Juana was once again engaged in a romantic love triangle leading to the marriage of George’s brother, Charles. But this trade, unlike the ones before, was everlasting, as Charles and Juana, who settled in Central Texas, had 14 children, 25 grandchildren and 13 great grandchildren.
Juana Cavazos was born in 1822 and died in February 1, 1906. You can read the rest of her story in “Juana, A Spanish Girl in Central Texas,” by Pearl Andrus.
The Brownsville Herald reported that, “the Identity of Josefina as a member of the Brownsville Cavazos family was established in suits that the Cavazos family brought against the U.S. Government for occupying Cavazos property and building Fort Brown on it.”
Gen. Juan Cortina, who never forgave the Indians for the kidnapping of his beautiful half-sister – executed a successful campaign against them. And the last time they were seen, was in retreat. Historians credit Cortina with wiping out near Boca Chica the last band of wild Indians seen in the area.
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