How the caravan got to America

Caravana migrante en la Ciudad de México. The migrant caravan in Mexico City.

Bosman’s childhood has not been easy. His grandfather was an orphan and had been bonded to a farmer. When Bosman was only four his father took their family to a new land.

Bosman’s father worked to make a living there. But it was a hard life. There was political turmoil and a harsh government. Rebellions cropped up; government soldiers stamped them out. By the time Bosman was ten his father had joined the revolutionaries and got involved in violent skirmishes against government forces. The government sent more firepower, and they killed his father. Little Bosman was 12 years old.

Bosman’s mother grabbed her nine children and fled. Hundreds of families joined them. They were refugees, widows and orphans of war, fleeing together in a caravan headed towards the safety of America.

In their distress, Bosman and his siblings were forced to make due on foot, even though the littlest ones could barely walk. Difficult terrain made it impossible to keep the whole family together. At one river crossing, 12-year-old Bosman, his 8-year-old sister, and his 3-year-old brother became separated from the others. The family eventually found Bosman and his sister, but they couldn’t find the toddler. Lost in the forest, he was never seen again.

The family pushed on towards safety and shelter, but the walk was brutal and would not end, dragging into the fifth week and then the sixth. Bosman’s 10-year-old sister died of exposure. Then his little 16-month-old sister died as well.

In the end they found sanctuary, as Bosman’s mother had no doubt they would. It did not matter that they were Spanish-speaking citizens of Mexico, they knew that America would protect them.

Bosman Kent, son of Alamo Defender Andrew Kent

Because the despot they fled from was General Santa Ana, the battle Bosman’s father died in was The Alamo, the caravan they fled in was the famous Runaway Scrape. Bosman’s full name was Bosman Kent and he was my great-great-great-great grandfather. And though they were Mexican by nationality, they were White persons of English descent, and the border was open to them.

These flights are what this country was built on. We are a nation of caravans, a nation of refugees. And from the Mayflower to the Runaway Scrape to the Amistad to the Oregon Trail to Ellis Island, America has loved depicting such caravan families as heroes.

We wouldn’t dream of blaming the children of the defenders of the Alamo for fleeing. We’d be angry at anyone who referred to their families as vermin and pests. We’d never make up conspiracy theories claiming globalist Jews were behind their caravan. People flee violence, seek better lives in desperate times, and in our best moments we lend assistance to the least of our brothers and sisters.

We will especially lend assistance if we wish to call ourselves a nation of Christians, followers of the God of the widow, the orphan, and the alien. “For if you amend your ways and your doings, if you act justly one with another, if you do not oppress the alien, the orphan, and the widow, or shed innocent blood in this place, and if you do not go after other gods [like money] to your own hurt, THEN I will dwell with you in this place.”1

An essay could be written about whether Bosman’s father, Andrew Kent of the Immortal 32, did the right thing by fighting. But that would mean nothing to a young widow in flight. It would do nothing to help a little boy orphaned by war.

Dutch child refugees arrive in Britain in 1945 World War IIIf feels silly, 180 years later, to shed tears over the widow Elizabeth, the orphan Bosman, and their little alien Mexican family desperately seeking American protection. And yet here I am. Because today in 2018 there is certainly a Lizbeth somewhere in that caravan as we speak, and she may well have an 8-year-old daughter named Mary. And a month from now their caravan may meet the American military within shouting distance of the very place that Bosman’s caravan started.

But unlike my Elizabeth and Bosman, who saw safety in the American military, these new migrants will find danger. Instead of being welcomed, they will be looking down the barrel of a gun. Instead of a president offering them sanctuary, our president has threatened to shoot them.

And if they are turned away, and forced to walk another 1000+ miles back to their homes, that little Mary might die of exposure just like Bosman’s little Mary did.

You can make that decision, but don’t plead ignorance. Turn them away knowing full well what the consequences could be. They won’t all die, of course. Just some of them.


I’ve heard men preach that America is in trouble, that we have lost touch with God, even that we have fallen outside of His protection. This may be true. But God has a program for bringing us back. And the homeless stranger is at the very center.

Is not this the fast that I choose:
to loose the bonds of injustice,
to undo the thongs of the yoke,
to let the oppressed go free, and to break every yoke?

Is it not to share your bread with the hungry,
and bring the homeless poor into your house;
when you see the naked, to cover them,
and not to hide yourself from your own kin?

Then your light shall break forth like the dawn,
and your healing shall spring up quickly;
your vindicator shall go before you,
the glory of the Lord shall be your rear guard.

Then you shall call, and the Lord will answer;
you shall cry for help, and He will say, Here I am.2


Will your light break forth?

 

Footnotes:

[1] Jeremiah 7:5-7
[2] Isaiah 58:6-11

There are dozens of passages in the Bible which both describe the journeys of migrants and detail our absolute duty to help migrants in need. Some prominent statements of our particular duty to such people include Exodus 22:21, Leviticus 23:22, Leviticus 24:22, Deuteronomy 10:17-19, Deuteronomy 27:19, Isaiah 16:2-4, Isaiah 58:6-11, Jeremiah 7:5-7, Zechariah 7:8-10, Malachi 3:5, Matthew 25:31-46, Romans 12:13, and Hebrews 13:1-2.

Biblical characters who were themselves forced to become refugees and in many cases join large caravans include Noah in Genesis 7 (flood), Abram in Genesis 12 (famine), Lot in Genesis 19 (God’s judgment on a city), Jacob in Genesis 46 (famine), Moses in Exodus 1 (murderous ruler), Moses in Exodus 2 (enemy of the state), Israelites in Exodus 12 (racism/oppression), Naomi’s family in Ruth 1 (famine), David and his men in 1 Samuel 21 (enemy of the state), Elijah in 1 Kings 17 (enemy of the state), the people of Moab in Isaiah 16 (war), Jesus and his parents in Matthew 2 (murderous ruler), the disciples in Acts 8 (religious persecution), and Paul in Acts 28 (shipwreck).

 

The details of the Runaway Scrape and Bosman Kent’s life come from Stan Delk’s account in Andrew Jackson Kent, Hero of the Alamo, Wallace McKeehan’s account in Sons of DeWitt Colony, the Wikipedia account of the Runaway Scrape, and other internet sources.

Family legends state that as a teenager Bosman Kent was one of the survivors of the fated Mier Expedition, though official records do not back this up. Bosman’s mother Elizabeth remarried in 1839 but died in 1844, and Bosman’s oldest brother David became the legal guardian of Bosman and the other younger children. Bosman developed a ferocious reputation and joined the Texas Rangers at the age of 18, later fighting in both the Mexican-American War and the Civil War. Some believe that the character Oscar McNabb in James Michener’s book “Texas” was developed from a composite of Bosman and his brother David, as they match in numerous biographical details. 

Later in life Bosman’s son John would be murdered by a gang of bandits, who then fled into Mexico. Bosman, who was only 5’2″, dark in complexion, and still spoke fluent unaccented Spanish, posed as a Mexican peasant and used his Texas Ranger experience to hunt down the bandits, gaining assistance from both the Mexican police forces and the citizenry. All but two of the gang were caught and killed by the Mexican police, the remaining two were chased back across to the USA by Bosman, where they were killed as they got off a train either by Bosman himself or by the other Texas Rangers Bosman had telegraphed their whereabouts to. Bosman is said to have never recovered from the death of his son.

Bosman’s daughter Susan married the son of English immigrants and set off to New Mexico, eventually bringing the now-aged Bosman to join them in a long caravan west. Susan and her husband had a son, Clifton, who is on the far right in this 1905 photo of him and his brothers and friends. Clifton is my great-great-grandfather. 

The Caffall brothers and friends in Dexter, New Mexico in 1905

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