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Community leader foresees her own death


On this day in 1874 Susanna O'Docharty, pioneer woman and community leader, asked a priest to prepare her for death. Although she was ill, the padre saw no signs of death. "This is why I sent for you, I die tonight," she told him curtly, which she did. The Indiana native, born in 1804, moved with her husband to Texas sometime before 1831 to join the McMullen-McGloin colony, where they helped establish the town of San Patricio. Susanna helped establish a meeting between the people of Matamoros and the San Patricio colonists in 1832 at Banquete Creek. This grew into an annual festive occasion called El Lugar del Banquete. Mrs. O'Docharty became a leader of a group of San Patricio residents loyal to the Centralist Mexican government and influenced several other families to move with her family to Matamoros, where they lived until 1845, when Gen. Zachary Taylor's army brought a semblance of law and order back to the old city of San Patricio. Upon her family's return, she returned to her role of community leader and began teaching in her home when the community school closed. She gave her two sons a basic law background that enabled them to become respected lawyers and judges in San Patricio and Nueces counties. Tales of her strong character still exist, including that of how she retrieved her infant daughter's remains from Mexico. About a year after returning to Texas, she enlisted the aid of twelve-year-old Hubert Timon, and the two disappeared early one morning riding south. Two weeks later they reappeared with Susanna balancing a small coffin on her saddle horn.

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