The Wild Man of the Navidad (or the Wild Woman of the Navidad) is believed to be one of the first sightings of Bigfoot in Texas. It was first widely reported in 1837 throughout the early settlements along the bottoms, circa the modern-day town of Sublime, Texas, in Lavaca County. Slaves along the Navidad called it "The Thing that Comes," for, though no one saw it, there was always evidence that Something had come. On moonlit nights from as early as 1836, people would find food missing from their cabins, even though an intruder would have had to step over sleeping dogs to reach it. Families stopped fattening hogs, because a fat hog would inevitably be replaced by a scrawny one. Though valuables such as watches or money were never taken, sometimes tools would disappear only to reappear later, beautifully polished. Occasionally searchers would find a camp, but "The Thing" never returned while they waited.
The creature was most often described as covered in short brown hair and very nimble, which allowed for it to elude capture for many years. The Rev. Samuel C.A. Rogers, a circuit-riding minister in the area, first saw a total of three footprints in the spring of 1845 and continued to spot them for several years before all but the largest disappeared. Although some believe the creatures survived for many years, Rogers wrote that in 1850, the largest hunt for the wild man was organized, and the hunters did trap a man in a tree, surrounded by baying dogs, horses and men with guns.
This is where the legend diverges into varying versions - the most common being that the captured man was actually a solitary African who wore no clothes and spoke no English. In 1851, a sailor who spoke the man's African dialect reportedly came traveling through the area. It turned out that the "wild man" was a prince who'd been sold into slavery as a child. After reaching Texas, he and a companion had escaped, but the companion had died from exposure after a few years. It's said that the Wild Man of the Navidad was eventually sold into slavery in and lived in Refugio and Victoria Counties until his death in 1884.