Nov 18 2014

Erastus “Deaf” Smith is closely associated with the Cibolo ford on the Gonzales Road. The east side of the ford was located on land granted to Smith by the Mexican Government in 1833. In October 1835, Mexican Colonel Ugartachea sent troops from San Antonio to retrieve a canon from the Dewitt Colony at Gonzales. As the troops approached Gonzales and camped at the Cibolo ford, Erastus “Deaf” Smith climbed an oak tree to study their force and report that information to the forces of Stephen F. Austin. Designated the “Deaf Smith Oak” the tree stands within view of the ford. 9 

Deaf Smith Oak

The Deaf Smith Oak Tree
 

Juan Nepomuceno Altmonte, aide-de-camp, and confidential secretary to General Santa Anna noted the following in his journal of the events of the Texas Revolution:

“Friday, 18th, - At 10 A.M. we started from Bejar; at three leagues from Cibelo [Cibolo], we met a soldier of the company of Bejar, with dispatches from the President; he said that General Sesma left yesterday (17th) for San Filipe. General Tolsa started this afternoon from Cibelo; it was supposed he will not reach the Carrizo; one and a half leagues before reaching the Cibelo, we saw a drove of horses; at half past 5 P.M., we arrived at Cibelo; encamped on the side toward Bexar about 100 yards from the river; on the other side the grass was burnt, and the track of two persons on foot, who had been down to the river...” 10

La Vernia Heritage Museum

William Physick Zuber, historian and soldier of the Texas Revolution, in a letter to General William Steele, dated September 14, 1877 wrote about Susanna Wilkerson Dickinson, a survivor of the Alamo: “On that night, about nine oclock, Colonel J. C. Neil rode into camp,&, in a conversation with Captain Bennett, confirmed the rumor which we had heard, that the Alamo had fallen. He had borne an express from Colonel Travis to San Felepe [sic] or Washington, & was returning; when, on the 7th of March, I believe, at the ford on the Cibolo, between Gunzales [sic] & San Antonio, he met Mrs. Dickerson & her infant, & Colonel Travis’s servant, Joe. They, then & there, informed him of the slaughter of his brave companion in arms.” 11

Conclusion

With the annexation of Texas by the United States in 1845, and the signing of the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo in 1848, the strategic purpose of the San Antonio/Gonzales Road was redirected. In 1848, Bexar County Commissioners formally integrated the portion of the Gonzales Road, west of the Cibolo, into a route through Yorktown 12 to the port of Indianola on the Texas coast. This route became part of a network of roads that supplied a military depot created by the United States Army in San Antonio. This depot supported forts along the cross-continental route to San Diego, California and the markets in Chihuahua, Mexico. 13 The portion of the Gonzales Road east of the Cibolo was eventually abandoned and is now enclosed within private property.

By 1855 the village of Post Oak (now La Vernia) was settled two miles below the Gonzales Road crossing of the Cibolo. A new crossing was created on land owned by W. R. Wiseman,14 and the original crossing was abandoned.