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La Salle's Grave

MORE than one historian declares that Robert Cavalier Sieur de la Salle, was murdered and buried at the "crossing about fifty miles up the Neches river", supposedly where the Beaumont Country Club stands today.

The exact spot where Father Anastase scooped out a shallow grave for his friend and benefactor, with no greater mark to place above him than the grassy turf pressed upon his breast, will probably never be known, but on account of the excellent camping grounds, high banks affording safe landing and the fact that the Beaumont Country Club marks an ancient crossing of the Neches long known as Collier's Ferry, it is agreed that the "Adventurer", as French courtiers called him, lies buried where now hundreds of automobiles whisk by daily and where youth and age meet to revel.

Save the moss-covered trees, the silent winding stream and high banks, little remains to remind one of the scenes upon which La Salle gazed when vainly trying to find the mouth of the Mississippi, his first great discovery in the wilds of America.

The modern club building, the green golf links, the paved highway and power ferry have taken the place of overhanging trees and deep forest which hid the treacherous assassin who, fearing the just wrath of the explorer, fired the shot that made Texas the burial ground of its discoverer.

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He Rests Here
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The discovery of Texas by La Salle was accidental. He had discovered the mouth of the Mississippi, raised the French flag, and in 1694, received permission from Louis XIV to return to America and plant a colony at that point, But the dream was never realized by him. It was his destiny to become the discoverer of Texas.

Sailing from France with four ships and three hundred souls, the explorer headed for the mouth of the Mississippi. Efficient in tracking the savage in the wilderness he was full of confidence, but his instinct served to no purpose in navigating the seas. Missing the mouth of the Mississippi, the hardy pioneers landed in Matagorda Bay on January 1, 1685. After many hardships La Salle on January 12, 1687, decided to make another search for the Mississippi or get into communication with his friend, de Tonti of the Iron Hand, called so on account of his having lost one of his hands in battle and his substitute of an iron one. He had left de Tonti in the Mississippi territory on the previous trip.

Streams were swollen and progress was difficult, but La Salle finally reached the villages of the friendly Nassonite and Cennis Indians on the Trinity and Neches rivers. While camped on the latter stream, according to Rev. Homer S. Thrall, author of "A Pictorial History of Texas", La Salle and his nephew were prostrated by fever.

Four months later at the Neches river crossing, Moragnet, La Salle's nephew, who for some time had been on bad terms with L'Archeveque and Duhuat, two other members of the party, was murdered by them while sleeping. Nika, also of the company, sent in search of game, was killed at the same time. They knew that the stern soldier would demand justice, and, fearing his vengeance, determined to take his life also.

L'Archeveque, a lad of only eighteen years, was selected to lead his trusting chief into ambush. When La Salle appeared in search of his nephew, a bullet from an assassin's rifle ended the earthly career of the gallant courtier, the stout-hearted soldier, the intrepid adventurer and dreamer, whose body is supposed to be buried at the "crossing about fifty miles up the Neches river."

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