Frank McMullan's Story
The Hugh McMullans arrived in Navarro County early in 1853. Soon after their arrival, they purchased Martha Wyman's land about one mile south of old Brandon on Pecan Creek. In their new home, but McMullan's farmed, raised cattle, and, to supplement their income, Hugh began a practice of law. The McMullen's were suc-cessful from the start; they found the climate mild and the black land on which they settled immensely fertile. Navarro County fulfilled their expectations in nearly every respect.
Markets for crops and beef, however, were not satisfactory. More populated areas to the east and south provided only a limited and poorly accessible outlet for some foodstuffs, and the faraway ports of Galveston and Powderhorn (Indianola) were almost too distant for some crops, such as cotton. For cattle, the solution was even more difficult. Although these could be sold in San Antonio, Powderhorn, and Galveston, as well as in several small packing plants within the state, the prices were only a fraction as high in Texas as in many large Eastern cities. Cattle was sometimes shipped to New Orleans or to St. Louis, usually by Morgan Steamers, but the high shipping costs often negated the higher prices received. Consequently, by the early 1850s, the overland cattle drive was becoming an increasingly popular way of getting cattle to market. In 1853, drives to Missouri and beyond were no longer novel. During this period, James H. Dyer drove the first herd of cattle from Texas to Chicago. Since this was before the days of packing houses there, he butchered the cattle and sold them to the public. There were eighteen hundred head, and the job took a year and a half.
Obviously, Texas cattlemen, likewise were anxious for a closer market. Consequently, a new cattle trail to New Orleans was pioneered. Hugh McMullan was one of those who helped to establish this new trade route. In 1855, two years after his arrival in Texas, the size of his herd had grown to the point that he needed a large market. Although South Texas cattle had trailed to Louisiana since the days of the Republic, McMullan was among the first in the north-central Texas to make the attempt successfully.
On his early drives to New Orleans, McMullan's chief drover with Jasper "Jap" McMullan, a highly respected and trusted young slave who had come to Texas with the family. In 1855 "Jap" owned his own cattle and brand. He trailed his cattle to market with those of his master and was in full charge of the herd..
During the 1850s, settlers in increasing numbers came to the fertile black soil area near the "Cross Timbers" in the western part of the Navarro County. The new County which had seemed to be ".... a broad expanse, almost the wilderness, with only an occasional hut near some stream inhabited by rugged pioneers," was soon trans-formed into a relatively well populated and civilized community. Yet because of the fifty mile trip to Corsicana, the seat of government, people experienced considerable inconvenience in conducting their official business, particularly judicial matters. Consequently, as soon as the population seemed adequate, a petition was circulated calling for the creation of Hill County from the western part of Navarro County. It was then submitted to the legislature of Texas during a special session that convened on January 10, 1853. That bill, introduced on January 14, 1853, passed both houses without controversy. It was signed by the governor on February 7, 1853.
Subsequently, James H. Dyer announced his candidacy for the office of Chief Justice of the new County. He was opposed by Thomas Bell, Sr., but was elected on may 14, 1853. On the eve of the election a supporter of Dyer named John McCoy and Bell's brother-in-law, John Beaty, became involved in a fight. A Mr. Romaines, in sympathy with Beaty, struck at McCoy with a butcher knife, but the blow was def-lected by an onlooker. Judge Dyer, enraged by aassault, ran up with a bull dog pistol and shot Romaines across the stomach. It was thought that Romaines was mortally wounded and a runner was sent to Fort Graham for Dr. J. M. Steiner, the post surgeon. Friends of Bell and the wounded man "would have killed" Judge Dyer had he not escaped on a friend's black horse with about eight men in hot pursuit. Luckily, Romaines's wound was only superficial. The new judge, although unharmed, missed the. first session of the new court and did not pre-side into a special session on June 3.
On August 25, a special session of the Commissioner's Court met to determine what site to submit to the voters for approval as the new county seat. Several men, hoping for the windfall profits which ordinarily accrued in such cases, offered tracks of land. G. B. Fancher and H. P. Ford offered 185 acres, and Samuel Morrison offered to give a sufficient, although unspecified amount. Thomas Steiner, a member of the Commissioner's Court, offered a large tract, and Hugh McMullan offered to donate seventeen acres to square the Steiner donation should it be selected. The court decreed that all three offerings should be submitted to a vote. In the election of August 26, the land belong-ing to Steiner and McMullan was chosen.
Some sources erroneously claimed that the McMullan land was given to the County by Judge Carothers, the original grantee. This error obviously was made because the deed from Carothers to Mc-Mullan was not signed until December 8, 1855. However, not until the next day, December 9, did the District Court, presided over by Judge Henry C. Jewett, issue Mercer colony certification number 41 giving John A. Carothers title to the land. In essence, Carothers did not have sufficient title to the land until this date and could not deed it to Mc-Mullan. No existing evidence has been found that reveals the exact date that McMullan bought property, but obviously a trust transaction had been completed prior to August 25. Furthermore, George L. Clark, later said that Hugh McMullan, his father-in-law, ".... owned half the land on which the town is located, and donated half the land on which the courthouse now stands. (He and his brother-in-law, Judge Dyer, owned all the land on which the new town now stands)."
On September 23, 1853, the court ordered Arvin Wright, assisted by Hugh McMullan and Haywood Weatherby, to survey the new town site. By January 23, 1854, the measurement was finished, and a cer-tificate certifying its completion was given to the County. On the same day, the court ordered that Hugh McMullan be paid $45 for "....buil-ding of a house for a clerk's office and a courthouse." The building was soon completed. Thus, Hugh McMullan constructed the first house in the city of Hillsboro.
Hugh McMullan died in 1855 from eating a frozen turnip.
Events were beginning to occur that would ultimately affect the lives of the inhabitants of Hillsboro. Hill County, Texas. On October 15, 1853, William Walker, a member of the bar of in New Orleans and formally the editor of the New Orleans Crescent, sailed from California on a filibustering expedition to take over Sonora and Lower California from the Republic of Mexico. The idea of "Manifest Destiny," coupled with his profound belief that the citizens of those northwest Mexican territories would welcome another govern-ment, inspired Walker's actions.
This idea of a takeover of neighboring nations was not unique in the United States in the 1850s. A twen-tieth century scholar of the period said that the North American people
..... Possessed superabundant energy. They had conquered a continent, and they sighed for other lands to conquer. The splendid isolation in which they had been reared had failed to produce that sense of inter-national obligations which undoubtedly would have developed as they had been near neighbors of other strong peoples and for half a century they had been taking the lands next to theirs in whatever way seemed most convenient. Louisiana they bought. West Florida and Texas they got mainly by filibustering in Califor-nia they got by conquest. The moral distinction between public and private pillage of the territory of a weaker nation was vaguely drawn. All that was required of the filibuster was success. If he; succeeded, he was a hero and a patriot if he failed, he was a reprobate.
For several reasons, particularly the lack of supplies, Walker was unable to accomplish his coup in Mexico. After having gone so far as to declare himself to be the President of Sonora on January 16, Walker and his men voluntarily surrendered to United States authorities at the post of San Diego on May 8, 1854
One year later, on May 4, 1855, Walker was on his way to another foreign nation. In Nicaragua, one faction seeking control of government invited Walker to come to its aid. Seizing the opportunity, Walker sailed for Nicaragua was fifty-eight men. His plans, however, were not to aid the natives but to take over the country for the benefit of the Anglo-Americans. Among those who were with Walker in this ill-fated adven-turers were two men from Hill County, Texas -- Frank McMullan and Thomas Steiner.
Records do not reveal why Frank McMullan and Thomas Steiner decided to cast their lot with Walker's filibusters;. Perhaps the lust for adventure and a hope for wealth were two of the lures; it is possible, too, that the two shared the ideas of a group of Southerners who viewed the ultimate takeover of Mexico, Cent-ral America, and Cuba as the necessary expedient for keeping the balance of power between the South and the North.
Propaganda by other would-be filibusters from Texas could have been at least partially responsible for McMullan said Steiner's decisions to cast their lots with Walker. Henry Lawrence Kinney, of Corpus Christi, Texas, received a grant of land in Nicaragua which he hoped to use as a base for his overthrow the govern-ment. Writing in the Brownsville (Texas) Flag, Kinney said that it would require "....but a few hundred Americans, particularly if Texans, to take control of the country. I have grants of land, and enough to make a start upon safely and legally. I intend to make a suitable government, and the rest will follow."
Fierce fighting swept the little Central American nation during the last half of 1855 the first half of 1856, and by May, one year after his landing, Walker was elected as President of Nicaragua and hailed in many quarters as a hero. The "Grey-Eyed Man of Destiny" had accomplished almost complete victory. President Franklin Pierce accorded recognition in the name of the United States. But the American adventurer made a fatal mistake. He failed to get the support of Cornelius Vanderbilt, the wealthy magnet of United States shipping who has interest in Nicaragua. Walker had received much-needed aid from Vanderbilt's rivals, and, at their request, seized property belonging to the Commodore in Nicaragua. The angry Vanderbilt thereupon aided and abetted a coalition of Central American nations, led by Costar Rica, which attacked Walker's army on several fronts. Besieged on all sides, the American surrendered to Commander Charles Henry Davis of the United States Navy, whose ships were anchored in Nicaraguan waters, and were transported back to United States.
In November, 1857, Frank McMullan was again with Walker in another attempt to take over Nicaragua. When approaching the little spit of Punta Arenas in the harbor of San Juan del Norte, his ship, the Fashion, sailed past the Saratoga, a United States ships sent there to prevent Walker from landing. On board the Fashion were one hundred and fifty men and a large cargo of war material. One report said that "the offic-ers and most of the men were old veterans of Nicaragua, including the tired soldiers, Hornsby, Von Nat-zmer, Swingle, Tucker, Henry, Hoof, Fayssoux, Cook, McMullan (Frank McMullan), Haskins, Buttrick and others.
After a series of petty annoyances by Captain Frederick K. Chetard of the Saratoga, the Flag Officer of the Home Squadron of United States Navy, Commodore Hiram Paulding, demanded Walker's surrender. Pauling landed a force of "three hundred and fifty men in howitzer barges" and "formed soon in order of battle." Walker reluctantly surrendered to the superior force. Included among the list of prisoners was one Lt.. McMullan.
At this time, Frank McMullan must have fitted well into the filibusters. Only twenty-two years old, he was six feet, one inch in height and a man of powerful physique who became the champion wrestler of Walker's Army. It was not long before he attracted the attention of Walker himself who made him an officer in the elite corps. By the time of his capture by Paulding, McMullan was an experienced fighting man, having participated in several pitched battles with some of the best professional soldiers of the time. Charles Frederick Henningsen, who had fought in wars in Spain, Russia, and Hungary before joining Walker, had particular praise for the troops who fought in Nicaragua. Such men said Henningsen,
... Do not turn up in everyday life. I was on the Confederate side in many of the bloodiest battles of late (Civil) war, but I aver that if at the end of that war I had been allowed to pick 5000 of the greatest Confederate or Federal soldiers I ever saw, and could resurrect and pit them against 1000 of such men as life beneath the orange trees of Nicaragua, I feel certain that the thousand would have scattered and utterly routed the 5000 within an hour.
But for Frank McMullan, as for most of the tired soldiers, the second expedition to Nicaragua was en-ough. He decided to return to Texas and complete his college education.
Early in 1858, Frank McMullen rejoined his family at the house on Pecan Creek. He met a new brother, Charlie, who had been born in 1856 while he was in Nicaragua. He was acquainted with the little Ney, who was now four years old. It is likely that he marveled at how much his other brothers and sisters had grown in the three years that he had been gone. But the joys of reunions were saddened by the fact that Hugh McMullan was no longer there. On December 27, 1855, while on a trip to Austin to look after some of his landed interests, he died after eating a frozen turnip. Nancy McMullen soon sold the property on Pecan Creek and moved to the area of Greenswade's Mill on the Brazos River south of Towash, perhaps to be nearer her brothers.
Before 1860, Frank McMullan was able to resume his plans to return to school. He chose the largest college in Texas, Mackenzie college in Clarksville, a Methodist school operated by John Witherspoon Pettigrew Mackenzie that offered both a B. A. And an M.. A.. Degree. What a change it must've been for the former filibuster! In this institution, Chapel at 4 AM was compulsory for every student. The school "....af-forded varied social contacts and stimulation from the personality of Mackenzie, and students were said to return home reluctantly at the end of the 10 months session."
During his first year of Mackenzie College Frank McMullan developed respiratory problems that were to plague him for the remaining years of his life. The bacilli of tuberculosis, probably picked up in the damp jungles of Nicaragua, struck him savagely while he was suffering from a stubborn cold. Realizing that he was in serious condition, McMullan left school and headed for the high, dry climate of Mexico where he hoped to gain some relief. While there, he was treated by a celebrated American physician named Dr. Knapp.
Back in the United States, forces were at work which were severely disrupting the nation. The issues over rights of states versus the union, over slavery in the territories, and even the existence of slavery itself, were tearing the nation apart. These irreconcilable problems surfaced in 1860, and when an Ordinance of Secession was presented to the voters of Texas on February 23, 1861, it was adopted by the overwhelming vote of 41,129 to 14,697. In Hill County, the tally was proportionate, with 376 voting for and 63 voting ag-ainst secession. Only in a few counties on the western and northern borders did the ordinance fail to pass. On March 2, 1861, twenty-five years to the day since she had first become a republic, Texas left the union. On March 4, the secession convention, which had earlier set the statewide election, reconvened in Austin and united Texas with the newly established Confederate States of America. Governor. Sam Houston dec-lared that in enacting the measure the Convention had exceeded its authority and refuse to take the oath to the new government; but his opposition was to no avail, as Texas was irretrievably committed to a "lost cause."
Texas was quick to rally to the Confederate banner, and Hill County was no exception. Judge James H. Dyer, John T. Eubank, and Jackson Puckett petitioned Governor. Houston on December 8, 1860, to call the legislature into session "....for the purpose of taking into.... deliberate consideration the best mode of action for the safety of our property, lives, and honor." Although they received no direct reply, the legis-lature was set to convene on January 21, 1861. After Texas left the union, Joseph Wier, the editor of the Hillsboro Express, in July, 1861 melted down his type for bullets and organized what became company A, Twelfth Texas Cavalry. John B. Williams, Frank McMullen's brother-in-law and early merchant in Hills-boro, organized Company D, Nineteenth Texas Cavalry. Jackson Puckett and J. R. Goodwin organize units composed partially of Hill County men. All of these commands served with distinction during the Civil War.
After five years of devastating war, Hill County veterans returned home to cope with the political situation that was distasteful and revolutionary. Radical Republicans were supported by Federal troops. Many prominent men and former officers of the Confederacy feared that they might be tried for so-called war crimes and treason. Charles William Ramsdell described the situation in this way:
Meanwhile, conditions in the state grew worse. Wild rumors were afloat of dire punishment to be inflicted on prominent rebels by the victorious Yankees. Trials for treason before military commissions and wholesale confiscation of property were fully expected and a sort of panic seized upon many of those who had held office under the Confederacy. Some declared that they would not live under the odious rule of their enemies and prepared to immigrate.
For many former Confederates, President Andrew Jackson's amnesty proclamation of May 29, 1865, was a major blow. The decree, among other things, provided that "All persons who have voluntarily participated in said rebellion and the estimated value of whose taxable properties over $20,000.... are exempted from the benefits of this proclamation." But, anyone who fell within this category would make special application to the President for amnesty.;. Also included in the excepted classes were "pretended civil or diplomatic officers.... of the pretended Confederate government," which could be interpreted to include state and local offices. Judge James H. Dyer had served as County Judge under the Confederate government, and Frank McMullan's estate was probably worth more than $20,000.
Frank McMullan and Judge Dyer were among those who found the new situation intolerable and began to make plans for immigration. Many ex-Confederates were making plans to go to Mexico, but McMullan, who had lived there was aware of its instability, thought that some other place might be more rewarding. But where else might the prospective immigrants go that would offer stability, potential wealth, freedom from Yankee interference, and the opportunity to maintain at least some of the graces of antebellum life?
Brazil seemed to be the answer. Already promoting colonization from the United States, Brazil offered the Texans ingredients they sought. Good land was available on long terms at low prices, and, for those who were interested, slavery was still legal. Brazil, McMullan concluded, could be a haven free from the problems they faced in Texas." Defunct Rab," in the following verses, expressed rather well, no doubt, the feelings of McMullan and his compatriots::
O, give me a ship with sail and with wheel,
And let me be off to happy Brazil!
Home of the sunbeam -- great kingdom of heat ,
With woods evergreen, and snakes forty feet!
Land of the diamond -- bright nation of pearls,
With monkeys aplenty, and Portuguese girls!
O, give me a ship with sail and with wheel,
And let me be off to happy Brazil!
I long to rest 'neath the broad spreading palm,
To gaze at her rivers so delicious and sweet,
And try a taste of her guanaco meat!
O, give me a ship with sail and with wheel,
And let me be off to happy Brazil!
I yearn to feel her "perpetual spring,"A
and shake- by the hand Don Pedro, her king,
Kneel at his feet -- call him, "My Royal Boss"!
And receive in return, "Welcome old Hoss"
As published in the New Orleans Daily Picayune -
March 18, 1866
After the Civil War, the government of Dom Pedro II, the Emperor of Brazil, actively sought American colonists. Although the search was not confined to the southern states of North America where potential immigrants included men and women of education, this area was a prime target. As a result of the conflict, hundreds of engineers, doctors, dentists, farmers, and teachers, as well as scores of other trade and professional men, were looking for new homes. Many were anxious, for various reasons, to immigrate to other countries. By 1865, notices telling of Brazilian immigration terms began to appear in many newspapers within the United States. An advertisement in the New Orleans Daily Picayune proclaimed that "the Imperial Government looks with sympathy and interest on American immigration to Brazil and his resolve to give the most favorable welcome". Within a year, Brazil had opened immigration offices in New York, Richmond, Savannah, Mobile, and New Orleans. To attract the highest quality immigrants, Brazil offered very liberal terms to colonizers who might bring in large quantities of settlers to establish new communities and open new areas of the country. The land was offered for under twenty-two cents per acre, including the cost of the surveys,, and no limit was set on the amount that any immigrant could buy. The promoter of the colony was held responsible for the payments of each individual purchaser. The government promised a clear title as soon as payment had been made in full. No import duties were to be imposed on equipment or machinery brought in by the colonists for his own use. Temporary housing was to be provided for land grants upon their arrival.
Brazil also made arrangements to help with the cost of the passage. If the promoter of the colony was able to recruit as many as twenty shiploads of immigrants, Brazil agreed to pay the entire expense of one of the ships. For individual immigrants, it agreed to advance the cost of commercial ship passage, the amount to be repaid over a period of four years. As an added inducement, American colonists were to be allowed to go directly to the site where they plan to settle without going through customs at Rio de Janeiro.
explorations. Buhlaw, an ex-Confederate already living in Brazil, had persuaded the Emperor to commission him to supervise the surveying and mapping of public lands in São Paulo province.
After several days in Cananeia, McMullan, Bowen, and Van Der Hoff secured horses and set out for the interior. Four miles from the city they reached the Itapetininga River, “where the whole facing character of the country is changed to a rich mulatto, sticky soil, and a fine, thrifty growth of timber.” Crossing the Itapetininga, a “beautiful, clear, bold running creek,” the party went about two and one-half miles up the valley to the home of their host, Van Der Hoff, who put them up for the night.”Mr. Van der Hoff,” said McMullen, “is a Dutchman, and lives in the good old ‘milk and butter style,’ his being the only place in Brazil where we found those excellent (not to say luxurious) articles of food, notwithstanding the peculiar adaptation of the country for them in plenty and to spare in all seasons.” McMullen and Brown spent the following day looking at Van Der Hoof’s crops of coffee trees, pineapples, and potatoes.
On the morning of January 20, the three men reached the colony of Cananeia, an English settlement about twelve miles from the port which was established in the late 1850s on the headwaters of the Itapetininga and Pandavina rivers. The hospitable director, a Mr. Smith, traveled with the Americans for the next few days. At the colony of Cananeia, McMullan and Bowen first became acquainted with Captains A. M. Hanson and Major S. E. Totten, both former Confederates who are later involved with Alfonzo Buhlaw in various enterprises. Both Hansen and Totten accompanied McMullan and Bowen beyond the colony of Canaeia. The following morning the party crossed the dividing ridge between the two small rivers into the Pandavina Valley and followed the narrow, little-used trail to the home of the next settler, Señor Francisco Xavier, where they received a kind reception and the “civilities of his house.” The Pandavina, which flowed past Xavier’s house, emptied into a larger River named the Garahu. It was toward this latter waterway that the little expedition headed the following morning. After traveling about four miles, the men arrived at the falls of the Garahu. Major Totten, seeing the possibility of the falls for water power, immediately took steps to buy the adjoining land and made plans with Captain Hansen to build a sawmill.
On January 22, the travelers set forth to do further exploration. They descended the Garahu to a tributary named the Jacupiranga. Going up this branch, they soon reached a newly built village called Botujuru, which McMullan predicted would be the head of steamboat navigation. They were then about twelve miles from Senior Xavier's home and about six miles from the mouth of the Garahu. From this point, they ascended the Jacuparinga by canoe, reaching the falls two days later. Here, once again, Frank McMullan noted the possibilities of harnessing the power of the fast-moving waters. Although the Jacuparinga offered many desirable features, McMullan Bowen decided that it was unsuitable because of the height of the hills and the limited size of the valleys.
and Bowe decided to descend the Jacupiranga about seven miles to the Valley of the Turvo, another small, swift-running creek which wound through a “rich and beautiful valley of a quarter of a mile in width, and bounded by ranges of hills often Logan undulating.” They would have settled for the Turvo Valley but found that it was already occupied.
hospitality for the travelers, the delgado and sub-delgado of Xiririca gave letters of recommendation to McMullan and Bowen that they might show to others as they proceeded up the Ribeira.
One of those to whom they carried letters of introduction was a man named Senior Franco who lived at the falls of the Batatal, a tributary of the Ribeira.. To get there, the group found it necessary to ascend the Ribeira about twenty miles, then go up the Batatal about another twelve. Going by canoe, the men soon arrived at Franco's house where they received the usual courteous reception. Senior Franco made the necessary arrangements for the McMullan party to continue into the interior. After a short distance up the Batatal, the good horse trail followed by the party left the river and led the travelers up the slope of a large mountain and into a valley, “surrounded on all sides by steep mountains from 1,500 to 2,000 feet high,” that was the home of Senior Franco’s son.
Beyond these mountains lay another tributary of the Batatal, the Ariado, that McMullan and Bowen wanted to see. To get there, it was necessary to climb a precipice that towered two-thousand feet over the valley floor. With the younger Senior Franco as a guide, the Americans found it necessary to cut thick underbrush along their way up the forty-five degree slope. On reaching the summit, they were amazed at what they saw. The top was flat, much like the maces of western Texas, and was covered with tall, matted cane similar to that in the bayous of Louisiana. Here, too. Was the beginning of a tributary of the Ariado which wound into the valley beyond.
After descending the flat-top mountain, McMullan and his surveyors soon arrived at the main Ariado. Going downstream about two miles, they reached the home of Senior Antonio the Prado, who, with his brother, was the most remote settler in this direction. Detailing their search to him, McMullan and Bowen were told that less than three miles distance there was “a magnificent valley” which must contain twenty-five thousand acres of excellent level land, through the midst of which flow many small streams.
McMullan and Bowen elected not to look at this valley, giving as reasons that they were “a little unwell,” there being no road, and desirous of finding a place a "little nearer navigation.” They then returned to the home of the elder Senior Franco on the Batatal, and then down the river to its junction with the Ribaira where they stopped at the farm of a Senior Guimaraes. Guimaraes, a model of kindness and hospitality, accompanied the group up the Tarquari, another tributary of the Ribeira, for about twenty miles to its falls. Senior Guwmaraes told McMullan that beyond the falls the valley spread out and that there were thousands of acres of good farmland which would be suitable for colonization. But, once again, McMullan decided that it would be unwise to continue farther. The men turned back to Xiririca where they arrived on March 9, 1866.
During their second stay in Xiriricaa, McMullan and Bowen had their first taste of family life in Brazil. They visited with Senior Guerra, his wife, and two daughters in the parlor of the home. Questions about life in the United States were numerous, as this was the first opportunity that the Brazilians had had to talk to North Americans. Before the evening ended, the Guerras expressed the desire to have American neighbors. McMullan said that they had a “pleasant evening, and had it not been for the difference in language, might easily have imagined ourselves in an American family.” This was the only time on their trip that McMullan and Bowen talked socially with any of the ladies of Brazil.
After spending some time in Xiririca, the Texans follow the Ribeira downstream about ten miles to the fedenza (plantation) of Senior Miguel Antonio Jorge, the largest planter on the Ribeira. Jorge owned ” large quantities of slaves, and probably several hundred thousand acres of land. He had a spacious dwelling, and iron sugar mill, a saw-mill, grist-mill, distillery, etc. and is quite fixed after the Brazilian style.” McMullan noted that Jorge exported rice and Aguardiente, a native liquor made from cane.
Armed with a letter of introduction to Senior Manuel Alves, the exploring party continue to his home at the junction of the Ribeira and the Juquia. Not finding Senior Alves at home, McMullan and Bowen, undecided were next to go, followed River to the little town of Iguape. It was here that they met the Reverend Ballard S. Done, formerly a rector of St. Phillips Church of New Orleans and a chaplain in the Confederate Army. Dunn was to promoter of a colony from the United States, called Lizzieland after one of Dunn’s daughters, soon to be located on Juquia, a branch of the Ribeira that McMullen and Bowen had passed during the previous day. Since Dunn was highly pleased with the land he had selected, McMullan and Bowen, determined to see it as soon as possible, made arrangements to meet the American colonizer on the on the Ponta Grossa, another tributary of the Ribeira, in about four days.
During the interim, the party except for Major Totten who here left for Cananeiaa, went to Botujuru to take care of some business matters. Upon their arrival at Botujuru, Van der Hoff, the guide and host, received notice from the government that he was to withdraw from the McMullan-Bowen group.
Upon the conclusion of their business in Botujuru, the small party returned down stream to the Ribeira and thence to the Ponta Grossa, where they had agreed to meet Ballard S. Dunn. Dunn accompanied McMullan and Bowen up the Ribeira to the Juquia, the future site of his Lizzieland. The country was the most impressive they had seen. At the mouth of the Juquia, McMullan noted that the river was 150 yards wide and deep enough for large steamers. On the upper reaches of the river, McMullan Bowen found the largest tributary of the Juquiar, the Sao Lourenco. Here the search ended.” On the upper Juquia and Sao Lourenco,” wrote McMullan “we found a country that did our hearts good, and made us feel that we had at long last found the place we had been looking for for so long. There, in this delightful region, we determined to locate.”
Since the lands available for colonization were not directly on the river, McMullan and Bowen immediately began talks with the government representatives for access river fronts. After receiving a verbal assurance, they set out for Rio de Janeiro to ask the Emperor to appoint a competent person to make the grants in writing. “We were not suspicious,” said McMullan, “of any intentional fraud on the part of the people, but were only desirous of seeing our way clear, and guarding against future contingencies.” McMullan worried that his caution would be misinterpreted by his “Brazilian friends,” but the request was granted.
After receiving provisional title from the Inspector General, Mc-Mullan and Bowen returned to the Juquia-Sao Lourenco area to “make a more thorough examination of the government Lands included in the survey which we had selected.” The men went up the Sao Lourenco “a half a day's run” to the home of Senior Joachim Padroso, where there were invited to spend the night. With Padroso as guide, they took canoes and went about eight more miles where they left the water and proceeded on foot. On arrival, they found the site of the future: colony to be of very superior quality, well situated, and above all overflow. The land they felt could easily support twenty families, and, just as important, they could unhesitatingly recom-mend it to their friends. The Biqua, “ a beautiful creek” that ran through the lands, flowed over “a bed of clean, white sand, with a delightful valley spreading out on each side a distance of from three hundred yards to more than a mile, and this skirted by high hills covered with fine, large timber.” Returning to their canoe after a tiring and strenuous walk, McMullan and Bowen stopped for the night. The next morning by 10 A.M. they were descending the river and within a short and uneventful time were back in the home of Señor Pedrosoa.
After refreshments and rest, the Texans, that same morning, again headed their canoes up the Sao Lourenco to look at the remainder of their lands. Throughout the day, they passed farm's and coffee fad-enzas on the river's edge and marveled at the beauty of the area. By early evening they were snugly resting under the friendly roof of Señor Captain. Lui Leite. "This gentleman, being well acquainted with the country above, volunteered to accompany us," said McMullan, "and on the morning of the 30th of April we were off up the river again."
Within two hours after leaving Leite's home they found themselves at the head of the steamboat navigation on the Sao Lourenco and at the mouth of the tributary called the Itare. After a stop for the night they proceeded up the smaller stream where they saw several falls and passed the mouth of the Peixe (Fish) River. By noon they were at the mouth of the Rio de Azeite (River of oil), "decidedly the clearest, most transparent, and purest water we have ever seen in any country. As small a thing as a pin is as clearly perceivable at a depth of ten feet and though it were on the surface."
Going up the Azeite one and a half miles, the prospective colonizers found an extensive level plain of from four to ten miles wide and twelve to fifteen in length, "covered with large straight timber, and a hundred rivulets dancing over their beds of yellow gold- like sand. The Land," said McMullan, "will be easier to clearer than any others we had seen in the country, being of a loose, yellow loam, and with plenty of sand to make them pleasant to cultivate.". It was also noted that the lands at this point were dry and always above the river during overflow. This day, May 1, 1866, was:
...... The happiest day we had spent in the Empire, we felt that our hopes were realized, that the great giver of all good had blessed our honest endeavors to find and secure homes for a brave but unfortunate people. Here the homeless may find a home, and the outcast a "resting place, with none to molest or make them afraid." Here are lands equal to any in the world and within three or four day's run from the great Capital of the nation, a climate unsurpassed, neither hot nor cold, and where frost is never known, water as cold as the mountain spring, and as equally distributed as to allow almost every man to run his plantation machinery from it. Here almost everything grows, and grows well, too, that is calculated to minister to the health and comfort, not to say luxury, of man.
After spending several days in what they both considered to be their new home, Frank McMullan and William Bowen descended the river to the town of Iguape. Here, they said good-bye. Bowen was to stay in Brazil to make any final arrangements with the government, as well as to begin the preparation for the arrival of the colonists from Texas on their new land. McMullen boarded a packet steamer bound for Rio de Janeiro, where he made his final report to the Minister of Agriculture. Near the end of this document, McMullan expresses faith in the Brazilian government and expressed hope for the future.
.... We have the best system of government known to man while it combines all the elements of strength requisite to ensure its stability against every emergency, it guarantees PRACTICAL EQUALITY to ALL its citizens, and administers justice with the firm and a willing hand. We have a monarchy (Thank God!) in name, and a TRUE Republican in practice and under the wise admin-istration of our good Emperor, our destiny must be onward and upward to a degree of prosperity unknown to other countries.
Thus the stage was set. The site for the colony had been found and tentative title had been obtained. Frank McMullan could now return to Texas for this colonists.
(Frank McMullen went to Texas and got the colonists....... Their stories are related elsewhere on this site. After the arrival and the initial set up of the colony, Franks illness finally caught up with him.)
Frank McMullan was seriously ill. The exposure during the five-month trip from Texas to Brazil was too great for his constitution, already weak from the ravages of tuberculosis. In his efforts to make McMullan more comfortable, William Bowen constructed for him a rude shelter. Two months later, McMullan was moved to Iguape. Here, too late, he received some medical treatment. On November 23, 1867, the Anglo-Brazilian Times editorially reported his death;” We regret to hear that Major Frank McMullen (McMullan) is dead. He and Colonel Bowen were the founders of the San Lourenco (Sao Lourenco)) settlement in the Ribeira de Iguape district, and he had, after struggling with shipwreck and disaster, just succeeded in bringing the first installment of settlers to their new Brazilian homes."
In a flowery but sincere eulogy written about 1915, George Barnsley praised McMullan as being "gifted by talents of no inferior order, of a warm and generous nature, enthusiastic as a poet, and as usual in such character (,) a shadow of melancholy pervades his whole life. In-capable of swerving from the path of honor and rectitude, he knew no guile and was as far removed from….all that came with him to this country as is selfishness is from virtue and grandeur of the soul. He deceived no one but himself; he worked with unceasing energy for the benefit of those who surrounded him."
During McMullan’s illness and following his death, conditions on the Juquia worsened. Neither Bowen nor Judge Dyer provided the leadership or exerted the influence that was needed. Before the first crop was harvested, the government stopped its commissary operation, and food supplies became critical. A delegation of colonists went to Iguape for help. There, they implored George Barnsley, who had stayed on the coast in an effort to start a medical practice, to aid them.
Deciding to return to Botujuru, the Americans, led by Van der Hoff, re-traced their steps down the Jacup-iranga. After a short and fruitless search up a tributary called the Bana-nal, they arrived four or five days later, at Botujuru. Describing the countryside in the vicinity, McMullan said that it was of “excellent quality resembling somewhat to Red River lands of Texas and Louisiana of the United States, and well situated up to the falls; but the margins of the rivers are all private property.
Before leaving the area of Botujuru, the explorers decided to make one more trip, a “short run up the Canho, a large creek which empties into the Jacupiranga a few hundred yards below the village.” Finding this country unusable for colonization because of his rugged terrain, the searchers then shifted their quest to the Ribeira de Iguape River in the vicinity of the town of Xiririca. To get to Xiririca, McMullan
The final leg of the trip to Xiririca was sixteen miles and over some of the most rugged country they had tra-versed. The route followed a dim trailway, often barely perceivable for the first eight miles. The group of six men (including, “cameradas” to carry baggage) had only two horses, and these, said McMullan, “without bridal or saddle --our blankets answering for the latter, while thongs of bark, tied to the under jaw of the animals, made substitutes for the former.” One and a half days after leaving Botujuru, the party reached the lovely and inviting village of Xiririca. Here, they were met by Senior Fernando Jose Cabral, who, in the same gracious manner that seems to be common to all Brazilians, offered the hospitalities of his house. The others whom they met in the town were equally friendly and expressed a desire that the pros-pective colonists would find a muni-cipio in their area. To ensure future
Rio Sao Lourenco
After one month's stay in Rio de Janeiro, McMullan and Bowen boarded a packet steamer, the Dom Alfonzo, for a trip of four hundred miles down the coast. After what another passenger des-cribed as "a most un-poetical voyage in a slow, and com-fortless steamer," they reached their first destin-ation, the little town of Cana-neia. Here, McMullan and Bowen met Maj. Ernesto D. Street, the Inspector Gen-eral of public lands for the province of São Paulo. Major Street promptly made plans for taking a trip into the interior. At the suggestion of a man described by Mc-Mullan as "our friend, Cap-tain (Alfonzo) Buhlaw," Street appointed Louis Don-ker Van der Hoff to accom-pany the Americans in their
Because he was not a Roman Cath-olic, Frank McMullan could not be buried in an established cemetery. Hearing of the predic-ament, a German immigrant who lived in Igua-pe offered the use of a corner of his orchard. Since no Protestant min-ister was available, George Barnsley read an Episcopal service over his grave. "We all felt," said Barnsley in his later writings, "that for us, eternity had come. Over his tomb II read the service of the Episcopal Church, and as I said "Dust to dust", we heaped the fresh earth over him. The light of a noble soul faded into night." There, said Barn-sley, the rank grass would rise "as if any hurry to hide his grades from the on hallowed eyes of a nation’s fanaticism…."
The terms offered by the Brazilian government appealed to Frank McMullan. Although his health had improved, McMullan believed, according to a later account by his brother, Ney, that by returning to the tropics he might be completely cured. Too, he had yearned, since his days with Walker in Nicaragua, to return to Latin America. His Southern sympathies and dislike for reconstruction were, of course, added incentives. Furthermore, McMullan was a businessman. The possibility of being able to make a large amount of money by buying good land at a low price appealed to him. Another Texan who was interested in colonization to Brazil with William Bowen of Milam County. Finding their plans to be similar, McMullan and Bowen joined forces. Both recognized that they first needed to go to Brazil to inspect the country and to determine firsthand the feasibility of settling a colony there. Too, provisional title to lands would have to be assured before the two men spent the large amounts of money that would be necessary for such a venture. They journeyed from Texas to New York where direct steamer connections could be made to Rio de Janeiro and there on October 21, 1865, boarded the North America. On December 9, 1865 they were in Brazil. Upon notifying the authorities of their arrival, they were "honored as guests of the Imperial government, and given free transportation over all public thoroughfares." They also were given letters of introduction to the heads of all the municipal governments through which they might pass, with instructions to the Brazilians to furnish information and facilitate their movement as much as possible.
COLONEL WILLIAM BOWEN
GENERAL LOCATION OF
SITE OF NEW TEXAS -
THE MCMULLAN COLONY