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BATTISE VILLAGE

BATTISE VILLAGE. Battise (Baptiste, Battiste) Village was the upper village of the three principal communities established by the Coushatta Indians on the Trinity River in what is now Polk and San Jacinto counties. In western Polk County, near the site of present Onalaska, the Coushatta Trace crossed the Trinity River. Battise Village was at this strategic point on the west bank of the Trinity. Specifically, the location was opposite the mouth of Kickapoo Creek, and the site was included at least partly in land granted subsequently to James H. Duncan in the area that became San Jacinto County. This major Coushatta village is mentioned in surveyors' field notes for eleven original land grants in this area, including a survey for Isham T. Patrick, which was described as being immediately above the upper Coushatta village.

Battise Village was a reference point in defining the boundaries of Liberty County, which during the years of the Republic of Texas included the present counties of Polk and San Jacinto. On April 25, 1837, Daniel P. Coit, chief justice of Liberty County, wrote a letter to James P. Henderson, Republic of Texas secretary of state, in which he described the boundaries of Liberty County and said that the northern boundary should extend northward to the "Battiste" village. George T. Wood, the second governor of the State of Texas, moved to Texas in 1839 and established a plantation on the Trinity River near Battise Village.

In 1840 the Republic of Texas Congress granted two leagues of land to the Coushatta Indians for permanent reservations; one league included Colita's Village and the other league included Battise Village. The land was surveyed and the field notes were filed, but the grants never became effective because white settlers had already claimed the land.

Near the end of the 1830–40 decade ferry service was established at the Coushatta Trace crossing of the Trinity. The ferry was referred to first as Duncan's Ferry, and by 1844 it was known as Patrick's Ferry, which continued in use until the development of automobiles and a state system of roads and bridges.

The pressure of white settlement nearby resulted in a gradual decline of Battise Village population during the 1840s, but John R. Swanton quoted William Bollaert's estimate that in 1850 there were 500 warriors in Battise Village and Colita's Village. A General Land Office map of Polk County dated 1856 does not show Battise Village, and it is assumed that the residents had left their homes in the Patrick's Ferry area and joined their Coushatta kinsmen in either Long King's Village or Colita's Village.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: 

A Pictorial History of Polk County, Texas, 1846–1910 (Livingston, Texas: Polk County Bicentennial Commission, 1976; rev. ed. 1978). Harriet Smither, ed., Journals of the Fourth Congress of the Republic of Texas, 1839–1840, to Which Are Added the Relief Laws (3 vols., Austin: Von Boeckmann-Jones, n.d.).

Howard N. Martin

Citation

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this article.

Howard N. Martin, "BATTISE VILLAGE," Handbook of Texas Online (http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/bpb01), accessed July 24, 2014. Uploaded on June 12, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.