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Spanish priest and chronicler of Texas enters Franciscan order
March 19, 1697

On this day in 1697, future Texas chronicler Isidro Félix de Espinosa was professed as a novice at the College of Santa Cruz de Querétaro, a Franciscan missionary institution in Mexico. He probably arrived in Texas in 1703. Espinosa's missionary activities in Texas included his participation in several expeditions. Dubbed the "Julius Caesar of the Faith in New Spain" because he worked by day and wrote all night, Espinosa left behind several works on early Texas, including a biography of his friend Antonio Margil de Jesús. Espinosa's Crónica de los colegios de propaganda fide de la Nueva España has been called the "most important contemporary account of the Franciscans in Texas."

Council House Fight irreparably damages Comanche-white relations
March 19, 1840

On this day in 1840, Republic of Texas soldiers killed some thirty Penateka Comanche leaders and warriors and five women and children in the Council House Fight in San Antonio. The Comanches had come to San Antonio seeking to make peace. Texas officials had demanded that the Comanches return all captives, but the Penatekas brought only a few prisoners, including the severely abused Matilda Lockhart. After a dispute about the other captives, Texas soldiers entered the Council House, where the peace talks were being held, and informed the assembled chiefs that they were to be held as hostages until the remaining captives were released. The Comanche chiefs attempted to escape and called to their fellow tribesmen outside the house for help. In the ensuing melee, the soldiers killed most of the Comanches who remained in the Council House courtyard. Six whites were killed and twenty wounded as well. Texas authorities freed a single Comanche woman with orders to secure the release of the remaining white captives in exchange for twenty-seven Comanches captured in the fight. The Penateka leaders refused to respond to Texas demands, and most of the Texans' captives escaped. The Council House Fight outraged Comanche sensibilities, for they considered ambassadors immune from acts of war. Led by Buffalo Hump, the Penatekas retaliated by raiding deep into Texas. Comanche hatred of Texans deepened and contributed much to the violence of the frontier.

Cherokee leader arrives in Mexico City seeking tribal land grant
March 19, 1826

On this day in 1826, Cherokee leader John Dunn Hunter arrived in Mexico City to renew negotiations with the Mexican government for land for a Cherokee settlement in Texas. Hunter was promised land to be granted to individual Indian settlers but was unsuccessful in getting a tribal grant with the right of self-government. He returned to East Texas and, with Cherokee diplomatic chief Richard Fields, began negotiations with Martin Parmer and his associates for the so-called Fredonian Republic, which would have divided Texas between the Indians and the Anglo-Americans. The Mexican government moved quickly to quash the uprising, however, and the Cherokee council refused to take part in the Fredonian Rebellion. Hunter, an American born about 1796, claimed to have been captured by the Cherokees as a child. Although he lived with the Indians until about 1816, he received a fairly good education and traveled considerably through the United States and England. While in England Hunter wrote an account which was published in London in 1824 under the title of Memoirs of a Captivity among the Indians of North America. Dr. Hunter, as he was often called, returned to the Cherokees at one of their East Texas villages in 1825. After the Cherokee council repudiated their agreement with Parmer and his allies, Hunter and Fields were tried by the council and executed in 1827.