Thursday, July 16, 2009

Erastus "Deaf" Smith

Some called him Johnny-on-the-Spot.

Eratus “Deaf” Smith, ace scout, soldier, spy and hero of the Texas Revolution, commanded Sam Houston’s scouts at the Battle of San Jacinto. As scout, he set up the Battle of Concepcion and the Grass Fight, and he brought the Widow Dickenson and her baby back to safety from the fallen Alamo. When Sam Houston wanted Vince’s Bridge destroyed, so that neither his Texians nor Santa Anna’s troops could escape the field of San Jacinto, he called on Deaf Smith. Smith also briefly captained a company of Texas Rangers after the War.

Born in Duchess County, New York, on April19, 1787, Erastus Smith settled in San Antonio de Bexar, raising livestock and working as a scout, spy, soldier, and surveyor. Accepted as a member of the Tejano (Latino-Texan) community, he was known as “el Sordo” (the deaf man). He died in November of 1837, when the Republic was barely a year old. Sadly, he lost his eyesight, too, before he died. Smith became a folk hero in Texas.

Deaf Smith County borders New Mexico in the far-flung Panhandle of Texas. The county is one of about fifty descendant counties from Bexar County in South Texas (San Antonio.)

In a saucepan, combine: ¾ cup vinegar, ¾ cup corn oil, ¾ cup sugar, 1 teaspoon salt, ½ teaspoon pepper. Bring to a boil—set aside to cool.
Chop: 1 cup chopped green pepper, 1 cup chopped celery, ½ cup chopped green onions and tops. Place in a mixing bowl.
Drain: one 16-ounce can shoepeg corn, one 8-ounce can LaSeur peas, one 2-ounce diced pimentos.
Lightly mix the chopped and the drained vegetables. Pour the vinegar and oil mixture over vegetables and mix. Refrigerate several hours. The salad stays crisp for days.
(Disclaimer: Recipe from “Tastes and Tales of Texas,” but the same recipe can be found in numerous other cookbooks, and written on 3x5 recipes cards in many kitchens.


Mary Ricksen said...

Gosh I love these kinds of posts!

Cheryl said...


That is so interesting! I love this kind of post about the history of the west. How did Deaf get by? Read lips? Could he hear anything at all? I'm going to have to look him up now--you've whetted my curiosity! And the recipe looks wonderful! But now I'm off to bed--worn out, what a day! Thanks for a wonderful post (as usual!)

Tanya Hanson said...

Hi Celia, what a lovely blog. Do you the ailment that caused his disabilities?

I can't wait to try the recipe! Sounds so summery.


Celia Yeary said...

Thanks for reading, Mary!

Cheryl--hey, girl--gee, I wonder why you're so tired??? I think he could hear a little, because he could talk--I found a short speech he gave to some superior about "you want us to respect the others, but they want to kill us, so, I believe we must kill them before they kill us." His superior said--"Okay!" (Something like that.)He did made mistakes because of his deafness sometimes.

Tanya--I was interested in the reason for his disability, too, but couldn't find one. But it was a degenerative thing, I think, from childhood, and something that also took his eyesight. He died at age 50, I think.