Kerr and Merlin Genealogy Pages

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The Kerr Family in the Texas Frontier - A Daughter's Prespective

Written in her own hand, Mrs. Jane Hallowell Kerr Hill, daughter Of Hugh and Lucy, relates her early experiences in moving and living in Texas. She was about 6 1/2 years old vhen the family left Tennessee.

"My parents, Hugh and Lucy Kerr, came to Texas in 1831 with Alexander Thomson, my mother's only brother. We traveled by steamboat to New Orleans, then took passage on a schooner and (as well as I remember) were 14 days crossing the Gulf. We landed at Harrisburg, Texas where we remained a few weeks. We then went to a place where the town of Millican now is, and afterwards located in Washington County; having only one neighbor nearer than twelve miles of us.

 In the year 1836 we vere in the "Runaway Scrape" as it was then called, fleeing from Santa Ana's army. It was thought that they would overrun the whole country, sparing none. We had a terrible time travelling through mud and water, as it rained most of the time. Some of the rivers were more than three miles wide, vhich we had to cross in small ferryboats all through the bottoms, or valleys. We kept on until within twenty-five miles of the Sabine river, stopping at San Augustine.

We remained there until the next fall, for we were afraid to return to our home sooner on account of Indians. Our first year spent in the new home, before we had had time to raise corn, we often were deprived of having bread; at one time for three veeks.

The Indians were friendly then, and a party of them camped by a spring near our house. They used to hunt and would share their game with us; and, knowing that we were without bread at this time, they went off some distance to buy cornmeal. On their return they divided the small quantity they had with my mother, who at once had the cook to make some bread, and with tears in her eyes she divided among the children, both white and black, not tasting herself .

Not long after our return from San Augustine the Indians stole two horses from us, (the men being absent at the time) and my small brother (Alfred Fontaine) and I kept watch throughout the next night. The negroes had to work in the daytime preparing for the support of the family, for we had been robbed of nearly everything we had left when fled the Mexicans. My mother had to sell a half-lague of land to buy a team and wagon before we could move back, as we had to leave ours, and the cattle we had started with, on account of the high waters. 

Mother was so distressed when she heard of the fall of the Alamo that she only took one trunk, some bedding and provisions, leaving a good supply of everything at home. On our return we only found most of the books. The Mexican army had camped within five miles of our house and burned the fence rails to make their fires. Whole families had been captured and killed not far from where we had lived. 

Both Crockett and Travis spent one night at my mother's home when on their way to San Antonio. I remember well how they looked. What a pleasure it was to entertain those who came to defend us.

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