Rebellion October - November 1851     
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John S. "Rip" Ford, Texas Ranger
John S. "Rip" Ford, famous captain in the Texas Rangers, soldier, politician, newspaper editor, and pro-South expansionist. Photos, origins unknown. Published online at Texas Beyond History.
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Filibusters slide ticker

The first filibustering operation to threaten the Black Seminoles in Mexico was led by a Virginia-educated Mexican revolutionary named José María Jesús Carvajal. Carvajal, who was well known to Texas planters, wanted to create the independent state of Sierra Madre in the northern region of Mexico. To win slaveholders’ support, he promised to prevent runaway slaves from escaping south into the new republic—exactly what the slaveholders wanted to hear. Texans organized armed support under the celebrated Texas Ranger John S. “Rip” Ford. A devout pro-slavery expansionist, Ford believed that creating a slaveholding republic on the border was “a political necessity—a duty we owe to Texas and the South.”*

By October, about 300 Texans, including discharged Rangers and some army deserters, had joined Carvajal’s 100 Mexican recruits in an invasion and siege of Matamoros. The insurgents held the town for nine days but were ultimately repelled by Mexican government forces, including 60 Seminoles and Black Seminoles fighting under Coacoochee, who drove them north of the Rio Grande in mid-November. Carvajal attempted two subsequent invasions in 1852 and 1853, but they also failed.

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Sources: Hughes 100-105, Ford's memoirs 4: 639, Tyler 5, May 36-38. ©
*In his memoirs, Ford defended his actions in the 1851 raid on the grounds that he was “endeavoring to give additional support to an institution of the South.”
Part 4, Freedom: Outline  l Images
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 Trail Narrative
 + Prologue
 + Background: 1693-1812
 + Early Years: 1812-1832
 + War: 1832-1838
 + Exile: 1838-1850
 - Freedom: 1850-1882
+ Cost of Freedom
spacer spacer Arrival
Second Exodus
Border Etiquette
Duval's Desserts
Indian Killers
End of an Era
+ Liberty Foretold
+ Liberty Found
 + Legacy & Conclusion