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Boone Society

A Research Report:
Benjamin Zachary Boone & His Mier Expedition Experiences

by Dell Boone Ariola
(As it appeared in Compass, April 2001, Vol. 5, Issue 2, The Boone Society, Inc.)



Benjamin Zachary Boone, one of the few survivors of the famous Mier Expedition, was born in St. Charles County, Missouri, on the 15th day of September, 1816. John Wilson Boone, father of Benjamin, was born in North Carolina and moved to Missouri when a young man. John was married to Miss Cenar Moore. Young Benjamin, being also of a roving disposition, came to Texas in 1837. He came in the company with two of his uncles and two Zumwalt brothers, Gabriel and Noah, and first settled in Wharton County.

In September, 1842, when the Mexicans under General Adrian Woll, captured San Antonio (this was after the Battle of the Alamo), the news spread rapidly east and soon all the roads leading west were full of armed men going to repel the invasion. Among these were Benjamin Boone and his immediate companions, Pat and Dick Darst and Joe Smith. When they arrived at San Antonio the Mexicans had been defeated by a force under Gen. Caldwell and had gone back to Mexico.

An expedition was organized, however, with the sanction of the President of the Republic of Texas for an armed invasion of Mexico in retaliation, and the Texans soon set out for the Rio Grande under the command of General Sommervell. After crossing the river, the town of Mier was attacked and the Texans succeeded in entrenching themselves in houses and barricaded streets and alleys. The Texans were outnumbered by an army in the thousands, and finally, the Texans surrendered.

Soon after their surrender, the prisoners were started to the interior of Mexico in chains. Their suffering can hardly be described as they marched along the dusty road, foot sore, half starved and many of them sick. They were marched from place to place, finally they saw an opportunity to escape. Benjamin Z. Boone, although weak and sick, secured a horse and went with his companions, about 190 in number. Their intention was to retreat as rapidly as possible towards the Rio Grande River, more than 200 miles distant, and in order to avoid or foil pursuit as much as possible, left the main road and took to the mountains. In this, they made a fatal mistake, for they became lost in a desolate country where there was neither food not water.

A strong force of Mexicans with mules carrying provisions and water were on their trail and from time to time picked up those who had been left behind, until the main body was reached and they surrendered after making terms to be treated as prisoners of war. They were put in chains and marched back to the scene of the late battle and confined in the same old prison with double guards around them.

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Here an order was received from General Santa Anna for every tenth man of them to be shot, which order was soon carried into effect. In decimating the prisoners it was decided among the Mexican officers to let them draw lots so that each man might have a chance for life. The lots were to be determined by drawing white and black beans, the white meaning life, the black meaning death. A pitcher or jar was procured and the beans put in there corresponding to the number of prisoners, and when all was ready, the drawing commenced.
There were 17 black beans and 159 white ones. When all were drawn out, the 17 men who held black beans were taken away a short distance and executed. Benjamin Zachariah Boone drew a white bean. After the execution, the remaining prisoners, heavily ironed, were started on foot for the city of Mexico.Benjamin Z. Boone said the most horrible place he ever saw was the dungeon of Perote Castle (prison), where they were held for 20 months of captivity. They were captured in December, 1842 and liberated in August, 1844.At the death of General Santa Anna’s noble wife, who almost with her dying breath extracted a promise from the tyrant that he would let them go. He was
devotedly attached to her and kept his word. The prisoners were shipped from Vera Cruz to New Orleans and from there they scattered to their various homes. Benjamin Z. Boone went in the company of Willis Clark and Peter Maxwell to St. Louis. In 1846, he came back to Texas.
(1) On 29 November 1850, he received “Public Debt of the Republic of Texas” Certificate #945 in the amount of $605.00 for “A claim for services as a private and injuries sustained in the Mier Expedition”. (2) On 23 June 1871, his Pension Claim #616 was approved for $250.00, for “Services in the Army of the Republic” and was a “Mier Prisoner”, 54 years of age, and on the “Mier List”. (3) He traveled back to Missouri three more time, finally settling in Blanco, Texas, in 1876 for the remainder of his life. He died 9 February 1902 and is buried in Blanco. (4)

Benjamin Zachariah Boone was descended from Benjamin Boone, (brother of Squire Boone, Sr.) and Ann Farmer. (5)

Benjamin Zachariah Boone married Sarah __?__ and they had a son John, born about 1858 and died Jan 25, 1930. (6)

NOTES: (1)…”Of The Mier Expedition”; LaGrange Journal, July, 1937 issue, obtained from Texas State Archives. (2) & (3)…Copy of original from Texas State Archives in possession of Dell Boone Ariola. (4)…”Of the Mier Expedition”; LaGrange Journal, July, 1937, Texas State Archives. (5) & (6)…Our Boone Families-Daniel Boone’s Kinfolks, by: Sarah Ridge Rockenfield pp 533- 534-535.

Lineage:  George Boone III Benjamin & Ann Farmer Boone (Benjamin Boone, born in England, brother of Squire & son of George III) John & Rebecca Bryan Boone (this John was raised by Squire and Sarah Morgan Boone) Benjamin & Mary Wilson Boone >John Wilson & Cenar Moore Boone Benjamin Zachary Boone m. Sarah ?