Nov 18 2014

GREELY NO. 2 — He Visits Eagle Pass — The Local Boom — Talk with a Mexican Official — Colonization of Mexican Government Lands — Tom Ochiltree

EAGLE PASS, September 27, 1882, San Antonio Express — I have wandered around this town considerably and see many improvements.  Several stores and residences are now going up. Louis Dolch, Mr. Hochstetter, Mrs. A. Burke who was recently burned out, Jones, Thomas and others are improving.  Called on Max Oppenheimer who is doing a good business.  He says that at times he is unable to wait on his customers. Riddle and others are in the same fix.

Also called on the Rev. Father, and accompanied him through the school taught by the sisters.  Visited his new church, which is a good building, and his parsonage, a two-story rook, not yet completed.  The Father deserves much credit for working up these buildings.  Visited the ladies’ fine schoolhouse, a rock structure, probably 50 X 100, and well finished.  

Today, I crossed over into Mexico to see Mr. James W. Riddle, who has been very unwell.  What interest these people take in his welfare.  I am glad to say I found him much better.  After leaving Mr. Riddle, I called on Col. Frutoso Garcia.  Found him a pleasant gentleman?  He says Mexico is well pleased to have good people of the United States settle among his people.  

Protection is guaranteed them by his government, and they will be treated with civility and respect, and every advantage given in passing their property through the customhouse free of duty.  They will allow the passage of stock, tools &c.  Guides will be furnished immigrants to enable them to find suitable lands.  If one hundred families should go to Mexico, they can obtain papers of Dr. Ornelas consul at San Antonio, or himself at Piedras Negras.  

Lands will be set apart for them by the government.  He says there will be no more revolutions in Mexico.  They will be squelched in their incipiency.  Gov. Madero is a great favorite with the American people who know him, as he is with his own countrymen.  It is estimated that P. Milmo is the owner of 1000 leagues of land in the states of Coahuila, Tamaulipas and Nuevo Leon.  

This shows which way the wind blows.  I called the attention of landowners on this side to this fact some time ago.  Exorbitant prices for land in Texas will drive people to Mexico, where government lands are worth eight cents per acre.  

Following is something I find in the local paper regarding the Welch colonization scheme:

“John G. Welch, Esq., from the Nueces canyon, Edwards County, was in town last week.

Mr. W. is the organizer of the American colony projected in Mexico, and has conducted eight families, numbering forty persons, to the other side.  They have taken over nine wagons, thirty-five horses, a number of inspected cattle, agricultural implements and abundance of supplies, all admitted free of duty.

T(illegible) government of Mexico (illegible) of land as a head-right to each family (illegible)  colonists.  Mr. Welch has the privilege of locating them on the Rio Grande, (illegible)  choice of lands at any point from opposite the mouth of the Pecos to Chihuahua.

The colonists will have equal rights with Mexican citizens; the only conditions imposed are that only industrious people, of good character, will be admitted.  Ten additional families are making preparations to go over.   Mr. Welch has received applications from over one hundred families, and is making a careful selection of the applicants.  

He expresses himself as being under great obligations to Col. Garcia, who has placed a large tract of valuable land at the service of the colonists, and who has rendered Mr. Welch much valuable aid, and given the colonists the protection of his powerful influence.”  

Major Ochiltree when he spoke here had a good crowd out to hear him.  He said he was too smart to make war on newspapers.  His main effort seemed to be to get his audience to believe that he could and would do Texas a power of good if permitted to go to congress.  The best thing he said was whether he was elected or not he would go to Washington and do all in his power for his native state, Texas.  After the speaking, I talked to him, and he said he was a friend of Judge Ireland, but he ranked the democracy for going back on Upson.  He also gave Arthur and his administration great credit for the appropriation $6,000,000 for river and harbor improvements, forgetting that he vetoed this bill and that it was passed over his veto.  Tom is a good fellow, but very vulnerable.    

GREELY NO. 2.