A POSSIBLE CAMPSITE of GEN. JOSE URREA on
 CLARK'S BRANCH of the WEST BERNARD CREEK.
             

 Gen. Jose Urrea and the forces under his command swept the coastal prairie of Texas during the 1836 War for Texas independence.  It is rumored, but not yet confirmed, that he and his forces camped near present day Spanish Camp, Texas which is near this site. The site of Post West Bernard which was established after the Battle of San Jacinto, is also nearby.  A farmer had recently found an iron cannonball there.  The artifacts pictured below were found on Clark's Branch and they could be cast-offs of the Mexican Army as they passed on their way to Madam Powell's on Turkey Creek.  The numerous gun parts found there were from the Brown Bess musket.  Many ceramic fragments, brass buttons, a period  knife blade, a wax stamp and 1836 U.S. quarter were found at the site but there were surprisingly very few musket balls found.

    

 

This knife blade was found by Gregg Dimmick while investigating the site. It has been identified as an early James Black coffin-handled knife.  James Black was born on May 1, 1800 and migrated westward at the age of 18..  Black made a knife for James Bowie in 1830 that became the famous Bowie Knife. Knives made by Black were known to be very strong yet flexible. It is believed that he rediscovered the process of making damascus steel.  Some say he incorporated metals extracted from a meteorite to strenghten his knives. Black never passed on his secret of making knives.  He attempted in his later years to teach the method to his good friend Daniel Webster Jones but could not remember the process. He died on June 22, 1872 in Washington, Arkansas.  Knives made by James Black are extremely rare. Below is a photo of one of these rare examples of his skills.  Compare the rivet hole pattern and the coffin-shaped handle to the blade found on Clark's Branch.

 

i                   

 Example of a James Black Knife   


Brass Pommel from a knife or sword Brass Pommel from a knife or sword

                                          





1836 U S Quarter (photo by Chris Hirsch)



              

              17 mm Brass Button                                   21 mm Brass Button                              22 mm Brass Button    

                 21 mm Brass Button                                17 mm Brass Button                        15 mm Ceramic Button 




                                                      Ceramics  Fragments from the Site

Below are some of the ceramic fragments found at the Campsite on Clark's Branch. I have very little knowledge of ceramic but I did copy some information from the Texas Parks and Wildlife report titled History and Archeology of Lipantitlan State Historical Site Nueces County,Texas. The report gives some clues to the identification of ceramics. Most of these ceramics appear to be transfer printed which was not in common use until after the 1790s. The first color used for transfer printing was blue. Peak production for blue transfer ware was 1820 to 1840. Green was introduced after 1828 and black was popular from 1830 to 1860. Any help in identifcation of these ceramics would be greatly appreciated.


  

Ceramics Group 1


Ceramics Group 2

Ceramics Group 3


Ceramics Group 4

Trigger Guard and Butt Plate Fragments from the Site

 
Photo of a Brown Bess Trigger Guard for reference

                      

        Trigger Guard Fragment  Ref.-1              Trigger Guard Fragment Ref.-1              Trigger Guard Fragment Ref.-1 

      Trigger Guard Fragment  Ref.-1                Trigger Guard Fragment Ref.-2              Trigger Guard Fragment Ref.-2 

       

Trigger Guard Fragment Ref.-2                                             Trigger Guard Fragment Ref.-2 

         Trigger Guard Fragment  Ref.-2                     Trigger Guard Fragment Ref.-2                Trigger Guard Fragment Ref.-2 

Trigger Guard Fragment Ref.-3                                          Trigger Guard Fragment Ref.-3 

         

             Trigger Guard Fragment  Ref.-3                   Trigger Guard Fragment Ref.-3             Trigger Guard Fragment Ref.-3             

         

Trigger Guard Fragment  Ref.-4                 Trigger Guard Fragment Ref.-4            Trigger Guard Fragment Ref.-4         


                Trigger Guard Fragment  Ref.-4                                                          Trigger Guard Fragment Ref.-5    

            

               Trigger Guard Fragment  Ref.-5                                                          Trigger Guard Fragment Ref.-5    

             

Trigger Guard Fragment  Ref.-5Trigger Guard Fragment Ref.-6Trigger Guard Fragment Ref.-6
                                                                  






        Drawing of a Brown Bess Butt Plate for reference 

        Butt Plate Fragment  Ref.-A     

                 

        

                                Butt Plate Fragment  Ref.-A                                                             Butt Plate Fragment Ref.-B                  

 


                            Butt Plate Fragment  Ref.-B                                                                 Butt Plate Fragment Ref.-C  

               

                            Butt Plate Fragment  Ref.-C                                                        Butt Plate Fragment Ref.-D


Butt Plate Fragment Ref.-E Heel plate from a Boot