Word Origins & the Biography of Sam Maverick Part 2

About the history and biography of Sam Maverick the man whose name came to mean a rebel or outlaw.

PEOPLE WHO BECAME WORDS

SAM MAVERICK (1803-1870)

The Mavericks moved into their own house in San Antonio just before the birth of their second child, Lewis, whom his mother believed to be "the first child of pure American stock born in San Antonio." Meanwhile, Samuel Maverick was buying thousands of acres of land and was away much of the time locating and surveying his purchases. He was apparently undeterred by the many rumors that the Mexicans were about to invade Texas, but when scouts advised that a force had actually crossed the Rio Grande and was moving toward San Antonio, he decided to move his family (there were now three children) up to the Colorado River near La Grange. In the autumn he returned on business to San Antonio, where on Sunday morning, Sept. 11, 1842, he and 52 other Americans were captured by Gen. Adrian Woll and a large force of Mexicans.

Maverick was held prisoner, mostly in Fort Perote, Mexico, for a total of seven months. He was chained, even while at hard labor, and was fed very poorly. Gen. Waddy Thompson, U.S. minister to Mexico and a distant cousin of Maverick's, eventually managed to secure his release from Santa Anna. He later described Maverick as "a man of fiery and impatient temper, who chafed, under his confinement, like a chained tiger." Mary Ann wrote: "March 30th, 1843, on Thursday morning our second daughter was born-child of a captive father and for him named Augusta. On the day of her birth, her father was finally released by Santa Anna in the City of Mexico."

The Mavericks' fifth child, George, was born in the year Texas was annexed to the U.S. Sam had temporarily moved his family down to the Matagorda Peninsula on the Gulf of Mexico; it was there that he bought 400 head of cattle at $3 per head, the original herd from which were to come the "mavericks." Later that year the family returned to its old San Antonio home with its dirt floors, where Mary Ann recorded: "On Friday, December 24th, our sixth child, Willie H., was born. The joyous bells of Christmas eve were ringing when he was born."

When Col. Jack Hays was ordered to open a shorter and better trade route through the wilderness to Chihuahua, Mexico, Maverick, always attracted by hardship, joined the party. Sixty-five persons, including 15 Delaware Indians, set out, lost their way, and existed on roots, berries, mule meat, and polecats so as not to starve. When no water could be found, they chewed the tops of their boots to keep their mouths moist. One man lost his reason, but the rest reached their destination and returned three months later, having surveyed a comparatively good road of some 700 mi.

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