John P. Coles to Stephen F. Austin, 01-31-1824

Summary: Judicial procedure. Jury. Character of settlers.

Sir I send you a Transcript of the proceedings in the case of Peter Whitaker on the 24th day of January now past James Alexander came before me and made oath that William F. Gibbon Peter Whitaker and William Whitaker had stolen Hogs from John Mitchel John Milican and Mr. Roberts sometime in the summer of 1822 and that they also had stolen three Horses from a Spaniard about the last of August 1823 upon which Information I found a warrant against the said W. F. Gibbon Peter Whitaker and William Whitaker Peter Whitaker was taken on the 26th day of January and brought to a Trial on the last day of said month W. F. Gibbons and William Whitaker not to be found said to have ran of to the United States

On the day above mentioned the last day of January the above named Peter Whitaker was Tried for the above offences he being first ask[ed] whether he was guilty or not declared that he was not guilty and was Ready for Trial Mrs Alexander was introduced as an Evidence against Sd Whitaker who first being sworn to make true statements as the Law directs—stated as follows that sometime in the summer of eighteen hundred and twenty-two she saw Peter Whitaker the defendant in company with W. F Gibbons and William Whitaker at one time kill 2 Hogs the property of John Mitchel and at different times Killed one other Hog belonging to John Mitchel and one belonging to John Milican and further states that she lived at the House of William F. Gibbons at the time and place where those Hogs were Killed and has an Entire Knowledge of the whole of the sircumstances

the Evidence being herd the case were submitted to a Jury of six men who were duly qualified to Try the case the Jury found the defendant Guilty and returned a verdict as you will see accompanying this

Given under my hand this 31st day of January 1824

Jno P. Coles

January 31st 1824


as Respects this affair of Peter Whitaker the Evidence against him is very positive and I am fearfull that they are altogether a bad set my oppinion of the Matter is that Gibbons is very much of a thief and has perhaps been the cause of those young men getting into these bad habits he is their Step Father and has partly Raised them this young man Peter Whitaker has the appearance of an Innocent young man and appears much mortified—for my own part I feel much disposed to pity the young man tho I believe he has done Rong an order for the whole of them to leave the country Immediately perhaps would be the shortest way of Ending the Trouble he the sd Whitaker first paying all cost and charges before he should be Released

Jno. P. Coles

There is also three Spanish Horses left in my possession the Horses that were said to have been stolen tho the theft of the Horses were not proven I have not found out the Spaniard name that owns the Horses nor neither do I Know where he lives as also there is an old Rifle Gun left Here that was taken from a duchman by Gibbons the duchmans name not Known you will direct me what to do with this property the Horses and Gun

as also State to me wheather Gibbons property can be taken to pay for three Hogs that were stolen.

Jno. P. Coles


Verdict of the Jury

District of Brasos Austins Colony Province of Texes Vs. William F Gibbon Peter Whitaker William Whitaker

the charges exhibited against the above Named Persons were steeling of Hogs som time in the summer of 1822 as also steeling of three Horses about the first of August 1823 we find the Defendants Peter Whitaker to be Guilty of Steeling fore Hogs supposed to be worth 10$ Dollars a peace and agreeable to Law in that Case we assess three times the value which is One Hundred and Twenty dollars

The theft of the Horses were not proven the defendant paying all cost and Expence for Guarding at the rates of $2.00 for each thirty fore Hours allowing Two men to be sufficient Guard Cost as Respects his on Trial.

James Whiteside

James Lynch

Micajah Byrd

R. C. Millican.

Orlando Hopkins

Simon Miller


January 31st 1824