sculpted by Michael Boyett
The date was February 23, 1836, and the situation for Texas was desperate. Santa Anna with about 6,000 troops
was on the march towards the Alamo with the intent of smashing the small, poorly organized, and ill equipped army of Texans
along with their fledgling government. Fearing an alliance between Mexico and the Indian tribes, the Texas government sent its
envoys to meet with the East Texas tribes, hoping to negotiate a treaty designed to keep them from fighting on the side
of Mexico and remain neutral.
Nacogdoches residents, Sam Houston, Adolphus Sterne, and William Goyens, represented Texas in the negotiations,
with Chief Bowles representing the Indian tribes. When the time came to sign the treaty, General Houston and John Forbes
represented Texas, and Bowles, Cherokee Chief, spoke for the Indian tribes. Houston and Bowles were longtime friends and
highly respected by one another and their peoples as leaders and men of integrity. Houston had become a member of the
Cherokee nation, and many years before was given the title "The Raven", meaning "good luck". These men were warrior leaders
who had proved their courage on the battlefield. Houston was the newly-commissioned commander of the Army of Texas and
Bowles, though over 80 years of age, was war chief of not only the Cherokees, but also the other 12 tribes represented.
During the negotiations, Houston presented gifts to Bowles, including a sash, sword, red silk vest, and long dress-shirt,
which the chief wore proudly at the signing. The document, which was signed on the back page, was decorated with
bright ribbons, and each chief made his "X" in its appropriate place.
Though not to endure, the treaty proved a valuable and timely article to Texas' struggle for independence,
since it assured the neutrality of the Indians and allowed the Texans to concentrate their efforts against Santa Anna.
(Text from the Plaque at the historical site erected by Historic Nacogdoches, Inc. June 7, 2003.)
(Next Picture: Parade of Nations)