The Ride of Katie Jennings Posted in: Lifestyle The Little Colony’s Tannehill family first lived in a tent formed by stretching buffalo hides overpine poles.This was while other colonists, such as Jared Groce, developed huge sugar, cotton and riceplantations. When Groce moved to Texas in 1822, it was with 50 wagons and 90 slaves. JaredGroce built Bernardo Plantation near Hempstead at Groce’s Landing, a place that was to play arole in the 1836 Runaway Scrape.The Runaway Scrape was a mass evacuation of frightened Texans, primarily women andchildren. They were fleeing toward the Louisiana border ahead of Santa Anna's troops after thedisaster at the Alamo, Feb. 23 to March 6, 1836, and before the victory at San Jacinto on April21. It was cold and rainy that year. A bone-chilling norther blew in on March 2. There had beenlittle time to prepare. Although some were escorted by Houston’s troops, most were on theirown. The unpaved muddy roads were like bogs, literal quagmires. The streams wereoverflowing. Many succumbed to illness or drowned. Native Americans were a constant threat.The Mexican general, Santa Anna, was known to give no quarter. Anyone in the path of theadvancing Mexican troops would die.Houston and his troops were at Gonzales when the news came of the massacre at the Alamo. Heordered the town burned and the residents to leave, to follow his troops.The Groce plantation was where Houston’s troops were located before their advance on SanJacinto. On April 12, 1836, the two-decked, wood-burning side-wheeler riverboat Yellow Stonewas docked at Groce’s landing and would save the Texan Army by ferrying seven hundredsoldiers and two hundred horses across the swollen Brazos.According to HISTORYNET, the battle was won at San Jacinto on April 21 when Santa Annasurrendered, but the peace treaty was signed on the Yellow Stone on May 3 with Sam Houston,Santa Anna, 80 Mexican prisoners, interim Texas President David G. Burnet and his cabinetonboard.Many women and children died during the trek. Others returned from the Runaway Scrape in1836 to find their homes destroyed and their animals lost. It has been estimated that Texas lost upto 20% of its population, civilians as well as soldiers, in the Spring of 1836.Mary Christian Burleson is known to have been part of that exodus, as was Sarah StandiferLitton. Sarah was pregnant and lost the baby underway. Catherine Jennings from Bastrop hadwaited to leave until the Mexican army under General Gaona was fast approaching. Gaona wason his way to occupy Bastrop. Catherine’s third husband, Gordon Jennings, had fallen in theAlamo. She had no choice except to evacuate. She sent her 10-year-old daughter, Katie, to warnthe settlers upriver along the Colorado. Anyone who was still there was urged to leaveimmediately. Katie rode bareback for 40 miles to spread the word that the Mexican forces werenearing. This was referred to as “the ride of Katie Jennings.”Future articles will illustrate the tangled web of family relationships and their communities inearly Texas. For example, Katie’s mother, Catherine Overton, had first married Vinson WillisAvery, a seaman who died and was buried at sea off Indonesia. Their son, Willis Avery, marriedElzina Weeks, the sister of Malinda Weeks who married Jessie Barker. Jessie was a brother ofLeman Barker, who had married Elizabeth Standifer. Catherine was divorced from her secondhusband, William McCutchen, with whom she had one son named William, who lived at Rice’sCrossing.Charlene Hanson Jordan wrote the above narrative as the sixth of a weekly column. Her newestbook, “Notes and Recollections, Post Oak Island & Elgin, Texas,” is available at the Elgin DepotMuseum where exhibits, photographs and books on local history are also available. The museumis open on Fridays and Saturdays from noon to 4 p.m. Watch for notices. Every Thursday from 4to 7 p.m, “Notes & Recollections” may be purchased from the Niswanders at the Elgin FarmersMarket in Veterans Memorial Park. The book is also available at the Elgin Courier office, 105 N. Main St. in Elgin or 512-285-3333 during business hours all week, or from Charlene directly at email@example.com or 512-856-2562.PLEASE LOG IN FOR PREMIUM CONTENT. Our website requires visitors to log in to view the best local news. Not yet a subscriber? Subscribe today!