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COLITA'S VILLAGE

COLITA'S VILLAGE. Colita's Village was the lower village of the three principal communities established by the Coushatta Indians on the Trinity River in the area of present Polk and San Jacinto counties. This major Coushatta village is mentioned in surveyors' field notes for thirteen original land surveys in this area. Coushatta chief Colita lived in this village, which was located on a great bend of the Trinity River at a site in present San Jacinto County. In 1840 the Republic of Texas Congress granted two leagues of land-one league included the Battise Village and the other included Colita's Village-to the Coushattas for permanent reservations. The land was surveyed and the field notes were filed, but the grants never became effective because white settlers had already claimed the land. Colita's Village was included in an earlier grant of land to William G. Logan, a merchant in Nacogdoches. Alexander Hamilton Washington purchased this land in 1840, and he permitted the Coushattas to continue living on his plantation. The men who operated steamboats on the Trinity River began calling the Logan league "Shirt-tail Bend" because they observed the Coushattas there wearing long, deerskin blouses that "looked like shirt-tails flapping in the breeze."

John R. Swanton quoted William Bollaert's estimate that in 1850 there were 500 warriors in the Battise Village and Colita's Village. The location of Colita's Village is shown on several maps produced by the General Land Office, including a map of the Polk County area dated 1856 and certified by the GLO on August 2, 1991.

During the early years of the Civil War, Colita's Village served temporarily as a Confederate naval station after the capture of Galveston by Union forces in October 1862. On December 18, 1862, Commander W. W. Hunter, Confederate States Navy, the superintendent of Texas coastal defenses, established his headquarters on the Logan league. His objective was to use the Indians in the vicinity to obstruct the Trinity River and prevent an invasion of East Texas. Five wagonloads of Confederate naval equipment and supplies were stored on A. H. Washington's plantation. Commander Hunter cooperated with Washington in preparing an active defense. Gen. John B. Magruder recaptured Galveston on New Year's Day, 1863 (see GALVESTON, BATTLE OF), and the naval station on the Logan league was abandoned in April 1863.

In 1855 the Texas legislature granted the Coushattas 640 acres of land for a permanent home. Because suitable land was no longer available in Polk County, however, the grant remained only a scrap of paper. The Alabama Indians had received a grant of Polk County land in 1854, and with the permission of the Alabamas, many of the Coushattas settled on this reservation in 1859. A few remained on the site of Colita's Village in San Jacinto County until 1906, when they joined the others on the Alabama-Coushatta Indian Reservation.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: 

Howard N. Martin, "Polk County Indians: Alabamas, Coushattas, Pakana Muskogees," East Texas Historical Journal 17 (1979). Howard N. Martin, "Texas Redskins in Confederate Gray," Southwestern Historical Quarterly 70 (April 1967). Texas General Land Office, An Abstract of the Original Titles of Record in the General Land Office (Houston: Niles, 1838; rpt., Austin: Pemberton Press, 1964). Gifford E. White, 1840 Citizens of Texas (2 vols., Austin, 1983–84).

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, "COLITA'S VILLAGE," Handbook of Texas Online (http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/bpc08), accessed December 18, 2014. Uploaded on June 12, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.