“No soy culpable” I am not guilty” These were the only words spoken by Josefa Rodriquez during her 1863 trial for the murder of John Savage
Josefa , an orphan from an early age, ran an inn in her tumble-down home in San Patricio County, Texas.
John Savage, a trader who had stayed overnight in her establishment, was found bludgeoned by an ax at the side of a river near her home.
Josefa and her son are arrested for his murder and held for a trial overseen by Judge Benjamin Neal. Judge Neal had a diversified history as a newspaper editor, teacher, politician and boarder raider.
The head of the grand jury was the sheriff who arrested her. Jury members included men who were facing trial for their own crimes.
Josefa did not testify at her trial, only stating she was not guilty. It was thought that she may have been protecting her son, who possibly did the deed. Evidence was weak, and circumstantial. Another theory was floated about that perhaps she was gathering information on reasons to enter the civil war for Texan legislatures, and her death was a political measure.
The jury found her guilty and suggested clemency. She was 63 years old. Judge Neal sentenced her to hang from a tree on November 13, 1863. Some say she is the first woman executed in Texas. She was pardoned inn 1985 by Texas Governor White.
It is also said, that Josefa wanders the river bottoms of Texas when a woman is sentenced to die… Josefa mourning her false conviction and death.
Contractor Henry Warren was hired to haul supplies to the forts in West Texas. On May 18, 1871 Warren’s wagon train, heavily laden with corn, was traveling the Jackson Belknap Road towards Salt Creek Crossing. Along the trail they briefly encountered the famous General William Tecumseh Sherman. Within an hour of this brief encounter a large group of riders was spotted in the distance ahead, appearing to be Kiowa warriors. Warren quickly placed the wagons in a circle, mules in the center.
The Warriors efficiently attacked the circled wagons, killing then mutilating seven of the wagoners. The leaders of the Kiowa warriors were Satana, Satank, and Eagle Heart. They had watched the Sherman party pass by from their hidden post, but had not attacked. The previous evening a Shaman predicted that the relatively small party would be shortly followed by a larger party with more reward.
The raiders lost 3 men but in the end of the raid captured 41 mules’ carrying many supplies as the Shaman had prophesied.
Only five men escaped, including one Thomas Brazeale who managed to reach Fort Richardson, 20 long walking miles away where he told the story of the brutal attack to Colonel Ronald Mackenzie. Sherman was informed and the two army officers took a party out to search for the raiders. The 3 chiefs were captured and sent by train to Fort Richardson. Satank was killed on the train while trying to escape, and the other two were tried and convicted of murder in Jack County, Texas on July 6 in the first Native American trial in history,
Today in history…
Today in 1885; Montana Territory- the legislature banned “pernicious hurdy-gurdy” houses. Well then…
For all the romance, for all the movie representations about Spoiled Doves. we can name more stories of the pain of prostitution. Often a needed way to make money for women of the old west, prostitution was a dangerous and life sapping activity. Women were subject to beatings, disease, overwork and early death. Many women imported from other countries, were held as slaves dependent on their “owners” to survive. Their lives were sad and rough, Women from an early age entered into this system, starting in youth as a featured member of the house and often ending; older and worn out, in back alley cribs.
Widows, daughters, poor destitute women were forced due to circumstances to turn to prostitution to survive. There were few ways for a woman to make money, teaching, store keeping, millinery and prostitution were primary income sources, and the “good” jobs where few.
Upon the shoulders of these outcast ladies; great parts of our country were built.
Our JT has an annual hunting expedition down to Windom with his old buddy Wally. Every year he gears up, sorts through his blaze orange clothing, prepares his weapon, oils his boots, and sets off.
He always gets a deer, usually early Saturday morning. I think for him, the hunting is a combination of putting food on the table and being with like minds. Men who can get down and grubby, take naps, drink beer, talk about manly things. They have a week of fried potatoes and bacon, steaks, smoked meats, and bad movies on Wally’s ancient VCR. A week of bonding and becoming hunters, ancient providers.
Our Lost Creek wagon was originally built in the 1900’s; about the time Webber was being recreated as International Harvester. It spent many years as a hearty farm wagon in Iowa, hauling grain, and proving it’s sturdy worth until it was purchased by a collector and relegated to sitting quietly in a barn, collecting dust and a minimum amount of dry rot, until that day that John “JT” Hallson sighted it at an auction in Waverly Iowa. At that time, he went into partnership with Robert “Boomer” Beck, a gentleman who had previously cooked with John on the original Lost Creek Mandt wagon. The two of them immediately set to work, tearing the new wagon down to its basic framing. Over the winter and summer they worked, hammering, sawing, measuring, analyzing and painstakingly rebuilding it to the wonderful work of wagon art sitting in front of you today. Boomer has recreated much of the iron work in his Robbinsdale blacksmith shop; JT has done much of the woodworking. They completed this massive and exacting job at John’s barn in rural Minnesota. The work on the Webber continues to this day, always tweaking, always improving. The Webber, (Mountain Man) has given our team the opportunity to garner a number of first places on the wagon trail.
JT hails out of Dassel Minnesota, and has competed in chuck wagon events around the country for many years. Our new Webber Wagon, “Mountain Man “is JT’s second wagon, Our first is a Mandt, (Pretty Little Lady) rebuilt by JT with the same dedication given to the Webber. JT, a member of long standing in the Old West Society of Minnesota, spends time when not on the chuck wagon cook off trail working in his leather workshop creating pristine cowboy leather, (www.lostcreekbags.com) serving as technical advisor and supplying period correct Old West clothing and accouterments to various independent films, working with his partner, Tilly with the Mountain Man teaching school children at educational events about the history of trail drives, and totally enjoying his country life in Dassel, Minnesota.
Boomer is from Robbinsdale, Minnesota and has worked with JT for many years. He is also an old timer in the Old West Society of Minnesota. When not creating fabulous apple pies at the cook-offs, Boomer hammers out works of art in his blacksmithing shop, builds musical instruments, and enjoys his summer months zooming about the country on his Harley. Boomer is a true Renaissance man, always creating, always learning.
The crew is rounded out with JT’s partner, Tilly Evan Jones, who wishes in her heart they would always cook on her favorite wagon the Pretty Little Lady, but still loves the Mountain Man. When not cooking Tilly indulges in her love of nature and growing things, working in not only her gardens, but as a professional gardener for others, indulging her hippy side with palm readings at expo’s private parties, and business events, performing happy marriage ceremonies, and writing for her on- line journal (www.tillyevanjones.com). The team is completed by Hanna Rose, who has brought her particular kindness and gentle spirit to the rascally group. Rose, along with her husband, Just Dave, fire monkey and raconteur extraordinaire; have traveled with Lost Creek for a good while. Rose is a fantastic cook; helping herself to a number of first places since she began, a seamstress of divine clothing and quilted wonders, and just plain nice. We love having her on our team!!