“NORTH” ~California…1849 26-27p

Georges did not consider New York the promised land. He found the city offensive to his country sensibilities and after working four months in a city stable, Georges made his way west to the territory of Iowa, the frontier as it were.

In Iowa, he began to feel more at home. He worked on family farms that grew corn and beans. He was comfortable working with the dairy and beef cows, feeding pigs and killing chickens. It wasn’t much different than working on his father’s farm in France. The people were friendly, the girls pretty. Sometimes there were dances in the summer and there were times when Georges held more than a hand and snatched a kiss, which made frontier life more tolerable and enjoyable. And Georges did enjoy himself at least for awhile. He began to realize that his life wasn’t much different than the one he left in France he was just working for other people instead of his father. He developed a habit of never staying in one place for any lengthy period of time, never getting too serious about one girl anywhere. When his work was finished he just moved on, he became just another drifter in the west, a nameless face that blended in with others, no different than anyone else.

In 1843, after just over two years in Iowa, Georges felt the urge to move on and for him the Republic of Texas seemed the place to go. Riding south George (he dropped the “s” from his name to make it more American) cut an impressive figure on his horse. Strong and tanned from his work outdoors, he was a confident young man, sometimes maybe even cocky. He was fluent in English, but still retained his French accent. On his right hip he wore a pistol, a knife on his belt and a rifle on his saddle.

Texas was good for George. He signed on with the Mullen Ranch, where he learned to drive cattle and work with Texas Longhorns. Of the livestock George had worked with before, The Longhorns were unique. They were strong and could thrive in country where few animals could live. They could range days from water and eat damn near anything, weeds, cactus and brush. The environment was something they gave little thought to if at all. They could live anywhere from the subzero winters of the American west to tropics infested with dangerous parasites. Their resistance to disease was well known.

The market at that time was limited to hooves, hides, horns and tallow of which there wasn’t much. Longhorns were a lean animal. Most of the processing was done on the ranches. The drives, themselves were not long compared to the ones in later years, a week or two, three at the most. The Mullen Ranch was a small one, so in general when they did move cattle it was no more then two or three hundred head.

In 1845, Texas became the twenty-eighth state admitted to the Union, much to the dismay of Mexico, which refused to even ack nowledge the secession of Texas back in 1836.

On May 3, 1846, Mexican artillery at Matamoros laid siege to Fort Texas. The Mexican War had begun. The bombardment lasted 160 hours, the Mexican army gradually surrounding the fort. Militias were called up and George, captivated by speeches of patriotism and looking for adventure, joined up with General Zachary Taylor, known as “Old rough and ready”, an experienced veteran of the 1812, Black Hawk and Second Seminole wars.

On May 8, General Taylor, leading a force of 2,400 was attempting to relieve the men at Fort Texas. General Mariano Arista of the Mexican army hurried to intercept him with a force of 3,400. They met at Palo Alto. The battle they fought was fierce and turned for the better in favor of the Americans, who employ ed their light artillery and when the U.S. dragoons were able to capture the enemy artillery the demoralized Mexicans were forced to retreat. The Americans had won the field, however there was little time to celebrate. The next day, the Armies under the commands of Taylor and Arista clashed again at the Battle of Resaca de la Palma. It proved to be a long day.