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BEN-ASH

BEN-ASH (?–1844). Ben-Ash was chief of Battise Village of the Coushatta Indians during the first half of the nineteenth century. This village was on the west bank of the Trinity River at the Coushatta Trace crossing of the Trinity, near the site of present Point Blank in San Jacinto County. Land in this area proved to be desirable for agricultural activities, and George T. Wood, who was elected governor of Texas in 1847, established a plantation bordering the Trinity a half mile downriver from Battise Village. Ben-Ash lived on a hill two miles from the Trinity, and this location in San Jacinto County is still called Ben-Ash Hill.

Records of the Republic of Texas indicate that Ben-Ash participated in various types of this nation's activities relating to Indian affairs. The ledger sheet of the republic's Indian commissioners for 1843 includes a list of gifts for Ben-Ash. On May 13, 1844, the Indian commissioners called a meeting with Texas tribes on the council ground at Tehuacana Creek (see TEHUACANA CREEK COUNCILS) for the purpose of establishing a boundary, regaining horses stolen from the white settlements, and distributing presents to the groups assembled. The minutes for this meeting show that Ben-Ash was present for the conference.

Ben-Ash died sometime in 1844. A passport written by Republic of Texas President Sam Houston on October 17, 1844, states: "Know Ye that the bearer hereof, the widow of Ben-Ash who died lately at this place (Washington-on-the-Brazos), is on her way home to the Coshattee tribe of Indians...near Smithfield on the Trinity river; and they are hereby recommended to the hospitality and kind treatment of the good people of the Republic on the road."

BIBLIOGRAPHY: 

Louella Styles Vincent, "Governor George Thomas Wood," Southwestern Historical Quarterly 20 (January 1917). Amelia W. Williams and Eugene C. Barker, eds., The Writings of Sam Houston, 1813–1863 (8 vols., Austin: University of Texas Press, 1938–43; rpt., Austin and New York: Pemberton Press, 1970). Dorman H. Winfrey and James M. Day, eds., Texas Indian Papers (4 vols., Austin: Texas State Library, 1959–61; rpt., 5 vols., Austin: Pemberton Press, 1966).

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, "BEN-ASH," Handbook of Texas Online (http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/fbeju), accessed September 15, 2014. Uploaded on June 12, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.