This is primarily a travel blog in which I write about traveling in our motorhome. Our travels have

Nacogdoches, TX, United States
I began this blog as a vehicle for reporting on a 47-day trip made by my wife and me in our motorhome down to the Yucatan Peninsula and back. I continued writing about our post-Yucatan travels and gradually began including non-travel related topics. I often rant about things that piss me off, such as gun violence, fracking, healthcare, education, and anything else that pushes my button. I have a photography gallery on my Smugmug site (

Monday, August 20, 2012

Coincidences? I Don't Think So!

We left the Oasis RV Resort at 9:55 AM and filled up with diesel prior to heading west on I-40.  Once we had settled in for the day’s drive a revelation hit me.  If I couldn’t get air into the tire, then air shouldn’t be able to escape from it either.  In other words, the inner dual tire had never been low on air.  The pressure gauge had not read the pressure in the tire because of the bad valve extension!

It wasn’t long before we entered the last Texas county, Deaf Smith County, before crossing into New Mexico.  Yes, the county’s name is really “Deaf Smith.“   I’ll have to Google this tonight!

We stopped for lunch in Santa Rosa, NM and Carol Ann made ham and cheese sandwiches.  I bit down on the sandwich and had to pull hard to bite off a piece.  Before I took another bite and opened the sandwich and discovered that Carol Ann had not removed the paper used to divide the cheese slices!  Her only comment was that it was good fiber.

It was an uphill drive all the way from Amarillo (3,684 feet ASL) to Santa Fe (6,340 feet ASL), resulting in a depressing 6.3 mpg over the 274 miles.  We arrived at Trailer Ranch RV Park in Santa Fe at 2 PM (3 PM “Texas time”), beating the rush hour.

I Googled Deaf Smith and found out that the county was named after Erastus Smith.  Now you must pay close attention to what I am going to tell you.  The reason why should become evident by the end of this posting.  Pay attention!

Deaf Smith was born in New York on April 19, 1787.  When he was 11years old, he moved with his family to Mississippi.  They settled near Natchez, where a nuclear generating station would come to be located. 

In his early 30’s he moved to Texas “for his health”, which apparently improved except for a partial hearing loss.  As a result he became known as “Deaf” (pronounced “Deef”) Smith.  He settled near San Antonio and in 1822 married a Mexican widow with whom he had 4 children, all daughters.  But why name a county after him?  Well, he imported a fine stock of Muley cattle from Louisiana to the San Antonio area, but that isn’t why a county was named after him.  Keep going.

Being married to a Mexican, Deaf Smith learned Mexican customs and culture and easily made friends with both Americans and Mexicans.  When the Texas Revolution began he attempted to remain neutral, but was soon persuaded to be among the first to join the Texas Republican Army in Gonzalez.  His knowledge of the Mexicans and of the territory led to his being one of Sam Houston’s most reliable and trusted scouts.  He was also said to be the best spy in the army and has been called the “eyes and ears” of the Texas Army, even though he was going blind and deaf.

These disabilities sometimes hampered his reports.  Once Deaf Smith was sent by Sam Houston to try and find the Mexican Army.  When Smith returned he reported a large number of Mexicans marching in their direction.  When the “Mexican Army” finally got close to the Texan’s position the large army turned out to be a large herd of Santa Anna’s cattle.

On December 8, 1835, Deaf Smith, acting as scout, led the Texas Army to San Antonio.  He was severely wounded in a skirmish with the Mexicans but remained with the army.  History tells us that Deaf Smith had a coolness in the presence of danger and was “well known to the army for his vigilance and meritorious acts.” 

Once Deaf Smith recovered from his wounds he became a messenger for William B. Travis at the Alamo (doesn’t sound real good for Erastus now, does it?).  Travis said that Smith was “the bravest of the brave in the cause of Texas.”  Luckily for Smith, he was delivering a letter from Travis to Sam Houston and missed the Mexican Army’s final assault on the Alamo.

He did return to the Alamo under orders from Houston to learn the status of the Alamo’s garrison.  While Smith was gone, Houston wrote to Thomas Jefferson Rusk and said “if living, [Smith] will return with the truth and all important news.”  Smith did indeed return to tell Houston the tragic news and he brought with him a few of the Alamo survivors, namely Susanna Dickinson and her baby daughter, Angelina.

It is said that Deaf Smith was a man of few words and rarely complained.  However, after one of his missions he came to Houston greatly fatigued and asked to have a word with him. Deaf Smith stated "General, you are very kind to these Mexicans; I like kindness, but you are too kind—you won't allow me to kill any of them. If a man meets two of the enemy, and is not allowed to kill either, by the time he takes one and ties him, the other gets off so far, that it is very fatiguing on a horse to catch him; and I wish you would let me manage things in my own way."  Houston politely told him to avoid cruelness, but in the future, to do what he believed necessary.

The next I read of Deaf Smith was when he was at the battle of San Jacinto and captured a Mexican courier who was carrying orders for Gen. Santa Anna.  This gave Houston the strength of the Mexican Army and details on when Santa Anna was to be reinforced.  Houston ordered Smith to gather some men together and go quickly and destroy Vince’s Bridge to prevent the reinforcements from reaching Santa Anna but also to block any attempted retreat by Santa Anna.  Deaf Smith accomplished his mission and cut off the Mexican Army, a significant contribution to Texas winning their revolution with Mexico.  Deaf Smith was a true Hero of the Texas Revolution.  That is why a county was named after him!

For a short time after the revolution, Smith commanded a company of rangers to protect Texas' frontier settlements from Mexican and Indian raids.   Deaf Smith retired briefly with his family to Richmond, Texas, before he died on November 30, 1837.  Deaf Smith was buried in the Episcopal Churchyard were a grave marker reads “Deaf Smith, the Texas Spy.”

Deaf Smith County was named by the Texas legislature in 1876.  However, it was not established until 1890 when the town of LaPlata became its first county seat.  The current county seat is Hereford.  At first I thought that Hereford must be where the Hereford breed of cow originated.  But, no, the breed was developed in Herefordshire, England over 300 years ago and the breed was not established in the states until William H. Sotham and Erastus Corning of Albany, NY began the first Hereford breeding herd in 1840. 

Now, let’s get back to Deaf Smith County.  The Deaf Smith County website was last updated in December of 2005 so I was forced to find other sources of information.  The county population is 18,561 and all but about 3,000 live in the county seat of Hereford.  The county’s population density averages only 12 people per square mile. I didn’t see a single one of them while we were driving through the county.  I-40 does not go through Hereford so all I saw was open range.  At one time the county was selected as an alternate site for a possible nuclear waste disposal repository but was later dropped from consideration. 

Let’s review.  Deaf Smith County was named after
Erastus Smith who was from
New York and
imported cattle into Texas from Louisiana.  The county seat is named after the
Hereford breed of cow.  Deaf Smith once lived on a future
nuclear power generating site.

Erastus Corning from
New York once
imported cattle from England and established the
Hereford breed of cow.   Deaf Smith County was once considered as a
nuclear waste dump!

Coincidence?  I don’t think so.  It’s just too weird and bizarre!

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