~ A Hoosier Farmer Becomes a Texas Muleskinner ~
“Some of These Mexican Mules
Can Kick the Hat Off a Mans Head”
~ Mexican-American War, 1846 ~

Cameron County, Texas
Copyright © 1998, Frederick Smoot. All Rights Reserved.
Note: Three Letters On This Page
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Black Circular postmark: New Orleans La Sep 1, and black handstamp: 10
        David Wiles Esqr.
        Johnson Cty
New Orleans
August 15th 1846

Dear Uncle
        You will perhaps be surprise at the date of this letter. I have engaged myself to drive team for the Government in Mexico at $12 pr month and found untill I get there, & $25 after I arrive to Metamoros. If you wish me to farm with you next summer I will do it as I have mind but for six months you must hire some one to help put in wheat this fall and I will pay for it when I come back. If I have an opportunity to send you some money when I make a draw I will do it,
Respectfully your Nephew
Soloman Wiles

Black Circular postmark: New Orleans La Sep 22, and black handstamp: 10
        Mr. David Wiles
        Johnson County
Brozas Saintiago Texas
Sept 10th
Dear uncle, i ___ so long a time I take to let you know That i am verry well and hope this short letter May find yew enjoying the same blessing. I hired in cincinatti to drive a team for Government and came out to this place in Texas At to above employ give my love to my friends. You can depend upon my coming home the next Spring time enough to attend your farm. Give my best respect to my friends at Pourtsmouth please to aks Thomas beach To settel the 20$ on the do account - James Wiles wil get 25$ per mounth when we get Our discharge to carry us home give my best Respects to Miss Eliza Elexandra [Alexandra] and her friends I have no more to say at present but remain your nephew.
Soloman Wiles

P.S. When you write to my father I am well at present and hope to see him soon.
Signed: S Wiles

Black Circular postmark: New Orleans La Oct 6, and black handstamp: 10

        Mr. David Wiles
        Johnson Cty
Brasses St. Iago September the 18. 1846
Dear Uncle David Wiles Sir
        After an absence of some 2 or three months imbrace this opportunity of sending a few lines to you. Letting you know the situation of this damn Sand bank Island. For such it is. But first let me give you a scetch of the Voyage to this place which may be interesting to you. When I left Cincnnati Ohio I got on board of the steamboat Pontiack here we Ware used like dogs but arrive safe in ‘Orleans here we got on Board of the Steem Ship McKemand and when we got out of sight of Land they used us worse that did the Pontiack. After a Voyage of about 4 days We arrived at the above named place {{ Brasses St Iago }} Now sir I will give you a faint description of Texas as far as I have had an opportunity of Seeing this above - named place is an Island formed by the Sea and the waters of the Rio Grande. The land on this Island is about a foot deep and no Shade trees to go under in fact I have allmost forgot what a tree Looks like for I have not seen one since I left Gods Country. As to the heat Let me tell you that it is the next place to Hell. The Sand and Sun adhereing So closely together. Then the water is so bad it is unfit to me.
        The mouth of the Rio Grand is about ten miles from this place and when we got our Mules Broak for such animals we drive five miles in a teem. We started for Rio Grand here we got fresh water to drink and it liked to Kill some of us We takeing such a Large quanite this Water is much like the Waters of the Missipia it is mudy this place is Much like the place We now are in Point Isabell is in sight of this place Just across a small streem We expect to Live [leave] here soon for Mattimoris they say that thair is plenty of everything thair this I am please to here for we have had but mighty poor Living since we arrived in this place it is about 3 Hundred miles to Mattimoris then about 2 Hundred miles to Carmargo whare General Taylor is encamped thar will be the place of our destination as soon as we draw our arms for all teemsters an armed with a Musket and a brace of Pistoles to defend themselves and their Baggage thair is to be in addition about five or Six Hundred Soilders to accompy us for feer of the Mexico Rangers and soon as we get one Hundred teems Broak We live for Maragador then to Carmargo we have well nigh that Many Now
        Now Sir I have given you faint scetch of this country, and as regards My Health I have had Very good considering all things at present I am well and I hope that these few Line will find you and all the family enjoying the Same Blessing.
N. B.
        We are about ten miles from whare the Indiana Vollunteers are encamped these are the Ridgerment that is to accompany us through. Jacob Merriman and all the others are thair I have not seen them but I have herd from them.
        I have enlisted for a space of six months as Teemster at 25 Dollars Per Mounth I have well nigh 2 Month out and I wish to God that the other 4 was as near out --- I expect to return home and thair to abide. this forhaps will be all the Letters that you receive from Me until I arrive at home Give My best respects to Uncle Jacob Wiles and all enquiring Friends.

To David Wiles -
Soloman Wiles

        Here let me tel you that Some of these Mexican Mules Can Kick the hat off a Mans head then wheel around and kick it on.

Note. These three letters sent back home all bear the usual New Orleans postmark. The latter two are headed “Brozas Saint iago and Brasses St Iago” which is really Brazos Santiago, now part of Cameron County Texas. This was located on South Padre Island in the southern most county in the then new state of Texas and is located on the Gulf of Mexico. Texas Republic and early Texas state letters commonly carry the New Orleans postmark. The last two letters were undoubtedly carried via ship where they were deposited in the U. S. Mail.

Collection of Les Royal
1. Fred Smoot , 1998
2. America’s Pride, 1998

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