“Matilda Lockhart Comes Home,” by artist Lee Herring
President Sam Houston of the Republic of Texas attempted to settle the Comanche issue through diplomacy. In May 1838, Texas officials and Comanches signed a treaty of “Peace and Amity” that promised peace between these entities. The Indians, for their part, also wanted a permanent boundary between them and the Republic, roughly following the course of the Balcones Escarpment, but nothing came of that proposal.
All the while, Comanches expanded the range of their raids into Mexico. In the fall of 1838, small parties of Comanche raiders pushed once again into northern Mexico raiding ranches and settlements, then, on the way home, prowled along the banks of the Guadalupe River in Texas, capturing thirteen-year-old Matilda Lockhart and four other children. Texan forces under John Henry Moore pursued the raiders and engaged a Comanche force on the San Saba River in January 1839 but failed to recover any captives.
President Mirabeau B. Lamar, determined that the Republic of Texas would be an empire on its own, moved the capital of the republic to the small village of Waterloo on the southeastern edge of Comancheria, renaming the settlement Austin, declaring it the future crossroads of a great trading nation that would control commerce from New Mexico to Louisiana, and from Missouri to Mexico. Despite his big ambitions, all Texan attempts to create or control trade routes across Comancheria failed.