Texans appeal to San Antonio merchants as "Cart War" nears its end
On this day in 1857, a public meeting was held in Helena, county seat of Karnes County, in which the citizens called Mexican teamsters an "intolerable nuisance" and called on the citizens of San Antonio to hire only Texans. Karnes County had been the site of several incidents in the so-called "Cart War." By the mid-1850s, Mexicans and Tejanos had built a successful business of hauling food and merchandise from the port of Indianola to San Antonio and other towns in the interior of Texas. Using oxcarts, they moved freight more rapidly and cheaply than their Anglo competitors. Beginning in July of 1857, some Anglos retaliated by destroying the Mexicans' oxcarts, stealing their freight, and reportedly killing and wounding a number of Mexican carters. Responding to pressure from Mexico and Washington, Governor Pease provided the carters with armed escorts. The Cart War subsided by the end of 1857.