Firsthand account of the Runaway Scrape

Dilue Harris shares her memories of the Texas Revolution

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In 1899, after living in Texas for over 60 years, Dilue Rose Harris (1825–1914) recorded her childhood memories of the Texas Revolution. Her handwritten account of the Runaway Scrape speaks to the hardship civilian families endured while trying to flee from Texas in 1836.

Dilue was 10 years old when her family hurriedly moved east to escape the approaching Mexican Army in March 1836. As rumors circulated that the Mexican Army was approaching, the Rose family began preparing to leave. Dr. Rose finished planting his corn and hid some of the family’s nicer furnishings and clothing while Mrs. Rose packed provisions for the journey. When news arrived of the Alamo's fall, the family joined the exodus known as the Runaway Scrape.

The Rose family journeyed 60 miles from their home in Stafford's Point, just west of present day Houston, to Liberty, crossing the San Jacinto and Trinity rivers along the way. One of Dilue's little sisters became ill during the trip and died, prompting the Roses to remain in Liberty for several weeks to rest and bury their daughter. While there, Dilue celebrated her 11th birthday. The family had barely left Liberty to continue east when news came of the victory at San Jacinto. Jubilant, the family turned around and went home. When they arrived  on May 1, 1836, they found their community pillaged and their house in shambles. Thankfully the corn crop was ready for harvest and the supplies Dr. Rose had hidden were safe. While Stafford's Point recovered, the Rose family moved east to the area of Bray's Bayou where Rose and her siblings could attend school. In 1839 Dilue married Ira A. Harris. The couple raised their nine children in Columbus.

Transcript of the Runaway Scrape portion of Harris's recollections:

Camped the first night near Harrisburg, about where the railroad depot now stands. Next day crossed Vince's Bridge. Arrived at the San Jacinto river in the night. There were fully 5000 people at the ferry. The planters from Brazoria and Columbia with their slaves were crossing. We waited three day [sic] before we crossed. Our party consisted [of] five white families. My father, Dr. P.W. Rose, Mr. Dyer, Mr. Bell's, Neal and Bundick's families. Father and Mr. Bundick were the only white men, the others were in the army. There were 25 or 30 negroes from Stafford's plantation. They had a large wagon with five yoke of oxen, horses, and mules were under an old negro man called Uncle Ned. All together, black and white, made a party of 50 people. It was almost a riot to see who should cross first. We got over the third day, travelled a few miles, came to a big prairie. It was 12 miles to the next timber and water. Some of our party wanted to camp. Others said that the Trinity river was rising, and if we delayed any time we might not get across. We hurried on. Got about half across the prairie when Uncle Ned's wagon boged. [sic] The negro men driving the carts tried to go around the big wagon one at [a] time till the four carts were fast in the mud. Mother was the only white woman that rode in a cart, the others travelled on horseback. Mrs. Bell's four children, Mrs. Dyer's three children, and mother's four rode in the carts. All that travelled on horseback had gone on to the timber to let their horses feed and get water. They supposed their families would get there by dark. The negros men put all the oxen to the wagon, but could not move. It had to stay there till morning without wood or water. Mother gathered the white children in our cart. They behaved very well and went to sleep. One little boy Eli Dyer kicked and cried for Uncle Ned and Aunt Dilue till Uncle Ned came and carried him to the wagon. The child slept that night in Uncle Ned's arms. Mother with all the negro women and children walked six miles to the timber. Found our friends in trouble. Father and Mr. Bundick had gone to the river. Helped with the ferry boat. Late in the evening the boat grounded on the east bank of the Trinity river. Didn't get back till morning. While they were gone the horses had strayed off as they had to find them before they could go to the wagons. Those that travelled on horse were supplied with provisions by other campers. We that staid [sic] in the prairie had to eat cold corn bread and cold boild [sic] beef. The wagons and carts didn't get to the timber till night. Had to be unloaded and puld [sic] out.

Note. Writing in the year 1898 of those people, men women and children, I don't know that there is living at this time any of them but my brother, Granvill Rose. He is seventy five old and I seventy three. My brother was not with us when we cross the Trinity. He was helping Mr. Stafford [with] the cattle.

See this and other artifacts on the Interactive Texas Map

Firsthand account of the Runaway Scrape Artifact from San Jacinto
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