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Pioneers of Texas 


Eari.v Settlements. Hardships. Massacres. 
Battles, and Wars. 


Texas was Rescued from the Rule of the Savage 


OF Civilizatiox. 



JHEPAKD Bros. & Co., Pres-ter* and Publishers. 


Entered, according to the Act of Congress, July 12, 1SS4, 

By a. J. SOWELL, 

In the Office of the Post Master, San Antonio, Texas. 






A Concise Account of the Settlement of the Greater Part 
of the State. 

Personal Adventures Incident to the Settlement of a New 

An Account of Nearly One Hundred of the Mexican and Indian 

Battles of Burleson, liavs, Ford, Caldwell, the Mc- 

Cullochs, Moore, Bowie, Van Dorn, Mustang 

Grey, Big Foot Wallace, and Other 

Noted Texas Rangers. 

With Incidents in the Battles of San Jacinto, Goliad, 

Salado, Dawson's Massacre, Plum Creek, Mill Creek, 

Storming of the Alamo, Etc,, Etc., Giving the 

Nam'^s of 500 Rangers and Pioneers. 

Campaign of the Texas Rangers to the Wichita Mountains in 

1871: Burning of a Government Wagon Train by 

Indians: Capture of " Big Tree," Sittanke, 

Satante, and "Kicking Bird," Noted 

Kiowa and Comanche Chiefs. 

Slaughter of United States Troops and Rangers in the " Lost 
Valley" Fight. 

Fight Between Rangers and Indians on " Paradise Praii 
Terrible Fight at Ball's Ranch, in which "Red Cap," 
War Chief of the Comanches, was Killed. 

Perilous Journey of the Lost Scouts, Etc., Etc. 

[The Writer was connected with the Wichita Campaign, and wrile 
from his own personal knowledge.] 

Shepard Bros. & Co., Printers and Binders. 



In the following- pages the Author has attempted to 
recite a part of what is as yet the unwritten history of 
the country. Many brave and heroic men have lived 
and died, and did their country glorious service upon 
the frontiers of Texas, whose names have as yet found 
no place in history. They were the men who cut the 
brush and blazed the way for immigration, and drove 
the wild beast and the red man from the path of civili- 
zation. They bore the heat and burden of the day, and 
their deeds should live, like monuments, in the hearts of 
their countrymen. Where commerce now holds its 
prosperous marts was then the camping ground and 
rendezvous of these rangers and pioneers. The inci- 
dents of history herein contained have been gathered 
from sources most reliable, and he that peruses this vol- 
ume may feel assured that he is not reading fiction, but 
facts which form part of the history of Texas. If this 
volume serves the purpose for which it is written, i. e.^ 
that the names and deeds of these good and brave men 
may not be forgotten, and the writer occupy one fresh 
green spot in the folds of their memory, he will not 

think his labor has been in vain. 



** I HEAR the tread of pioneers, 
Of nations jet to be; 
The first low wash of waves, where soon 
Shall roll a human sea." 

— Whittier. 






When the white settlers of Texas, composing Aus- 
tin's and De Witt's colonies, first began to erect their 
cabin in this wild and beautiful country, all the Indian 
tribes were friendh'. The Comanches were the most 
numerous numbering several thousand warriors. Hos- 
tilities commenced by thieving parties of Indians steal- 
ing horses from the whites ; and, when caught by the 
exasperated settlers, were roughly handled: in fact, 
there was not much law in the country in those days 
regulating the punishment for such offenses, and the 
unfortunate red man caught under such circumstances 
was generally shot on the spot. White horse thieves 
were served the same way, or strung up to the limb of a 

The consequence of these severe measures was that 
all the tribes (then numbering twenty or more) sooner 
or later became hostile, with the exception, perhaps, of 

6 Rangers and Pioneers of Texas. 

the Tankaways, who always lived on good terms with 
the whites, and were very useful in scouting and trailing 
hostile bands when they made incursions into the settle- 
ments, and some of them went with Taylor's army to 

From the time the Indians became hostile, almost up 
to the present time (1883), every settler who pitched 
his cabin in the West, from the coast to the Staked 
Plains, had to contend with hostile Indians, and if all 
the incidents were related, connected with these settle- 
ments, of Indian battles, adventures of the settlers, mas- 
sacres, etc. which occurred while these settlements 
gradually extended out towards the Rio Grande (Big 
River), which was the boundary line between Texas 
and Mexico in the West, it would fill a volume ten times 
the size of the one I contemplate writing. My object is 
to give as many of such incidents as the size of this w^ork 
will admit, and try to convey a correct idea of what the 
brave men and women of that period had to contend 
with in settling this fair land of Texas and paving the 
way for capital, railroads and more immigrants. Being 
myself raised in Texas, and spending some time on the 
frontier, I have, from time to time, collected such inci- 
dents as I thought worth relating and which would be 
interesting to the reading public, as Indian battles, mas- 
sacres, and scalp dances are now a thing of the past in 

In commencing this little work, I will relate a few in- 
cidents which occurred as the settlers gradually pushed 
out into the unsettled wilds of the West ; then, under 
the head of Incidents in the Life of an Old Texan, I 
will bring in other scraps of unwritten history which 
I wish to relate in memory of those veterans, who 
have now nearly all passed away, and who did deeds, 

Rangers and Pioneers of Texas. 7 

worthy the pen of our best historians. I will close 
with an account of the campaign of the Texas rangers 
to the Wichita mountains in 1S71. In that I will give 
some account of the settling of that part of the state ; 
that is, the Indian troubles mostly. One thing w^hich 
greatly bothers me in collecting these incidents, is being 
deficient in dates, which is very necessary, but which 
sometimes have to be omitted ; but I will try to give the 
facts as near as I can, as they were related to me by the 
old pioneers. For instance, one will be relating some 
incident, with which he was connected or was acquaint- 
ed, and you will ask, "' When did that occur? " 
" Well," he will say, '' I do not recollect exactly, but I 
think it was in the fall or winter or spring of so and 
so;" and, of course, there are likely to be some errors 
of this kind. 

I will commence this part of the work by relating an 
incident which occurred in Nacogdoches County, which 
I learned from an old Texan, named Baily, who was 
well acquainted with the parties concerned in this horri- 
ble deed of savage cruelty. In the early settlement of 
this county, in the eastern part of the State, a family, 
named Hutchinson, settled between the Neches and 
Trinity rivers, near Fort Houston. The family consisted 
of the old man, his wife, ^^nd daughter, Anna. They 
lived in peace and quiet for some time, with plenty 
around them to live on comfortably, but in 1S38 the 
Indians, then being hostile, began committing depreda- 
tions between the two rivers, and armed bands of men 
began scouring the country in order to ran them out. 
Late one evening nine armed settlers came to the house 
of old man Hutchinson stating that they were out after 
Indians and would like to spend the night with him. and 
go on up the country nexc morning, wliere they were to 


Rangkks and Pioneers oe- Texas. 

meet another party who were also scouting-. The old 
man cordially invited them to dismount and come in ; 
their horses were attended to, and the old ladv and her 
daughter prepared supper. 

When supper was announced, the men went back 
into the shed room, on the north side of the cabin, 
where the meal was spread, and took their seats at the 
table leavin > their guns standing in the corner near an 
open door which fronted to the south. The meal was 

(Scttleri, driMiif; tlic Indian^ troin Nacogdoches Count}.) 

not more than half over, when, hearing a slight noise in 
the direction of the south door, they looked and saw 
three hideously painted Indians between them and their 
guns. Not knowing how man}- more there were close 
at hand, they all sprang from the table and escaped 
through an east door in the shed loom, the old man 
Hutchinson among the balance, thinking, of course, I 
suppose, that the women would follow, but such was 
not the case. 

Rangers and Pioneers of Texas. q 

The brave old lady seized a heavy iron shovel, and 
dashing into the house, commenced a most furious at- 
tack upon the Indians, and succeeded in beating one of 
them to the floor before she was tomahawked. Anna 
also procured a weapon of some kind, and came to the 
assistance of her mother, but she was also struck on the 
head and fell to the floor, apparently lifeless. The sav- 
ages not satisfied with this, then cut out her left breast, 
and left her lying on the floor in this horrible condition. 
They then brought some lard out of the kitchen, and 
emptying it in one corner of the house, set fire to it and 
then left, carrying some of the guns with them. Before 
the fire spread much, Anna returned to consciousness, 
and barely made her escape from the burning building. 
Her mother's body was consumed. 

The girl wandered about in a dazed sort of way un- 
til morning, and succeeded in getting about two miles 
from the house, and being overcome with fatigue and 
pain, could go no further, and sank almost fainting to 
the ground. In this condition she was found by three 
rangers and carried to the nearest house, and by close 
and careful attention, finally recovered. It is likely the 
men, had they known there were but three Indians to 
deal with, would have rushed in and overpowered them ; 
but be this as it may, the women were the bravest, for 
they remained and fought them. The Indians succeeded 
in eluding the search, which was made for them, and 
escaped out of the country. 

In 1840-42 the Indians were very troublesome along 
the Trinity and Brazos rivers. Captain Denton raised 
a company of forty men, and set out in pursuit of a 
large band, which had been depredating and were going 
back. They struck the trail on the Sulphur Fork of 
the Brazos, and followed it for several days, and finally 

lo Rangers and Pioneers of Texas. 

came up with them in a bend of the Trinity river, about 
sixty miles below where Fort Worth now stands. Here 
the Indians had a village with growing- corn, pumpkins 
and water melons. The settlers furiously charged in 
among them, and a short, but bloody fight ensued. 
The Indians soon gave way and fied through the bot- 
toms, leaving fourteen of their number dead on the 
ground. ' But the settlers did not come out unscathed ; 
the brave and fearless Denton was killed at the first on- 
set, and Lieutenant Stout w^as wounded. The village 
was set on fire, the dead Captain 'buried, and the pio- 
neers returned to their homes, having broken up one of 
the strongholds of the hostiles. 

John D. Pickens, a resident of Guadalupe County, 
was in this fight, and furnished me the items in regard 
to it. He was then but fourteen years old. He saw- 
Captain Denton when he fell from his horse. 

About this time the Indians were committing depre- 
dations among the settlers of Gonzales County. Horses 
were stolen, cattle killed, and children carried into cap- 

In July, 1841, Hardin Turner, Callahan, and 

another man, whose name I cannot learn, went out horse 
hunting near Peach Creek, about twelve miles east of 
Gonzales. They camped out, and were up early next 
morning hunting for their horses, while it was cool, and 
ascended a ridge for the purpose of looking over into 
the valley to see if they could discover any horses, but 
instead saw a band of about fifteen Indians. The odds 
were too much against them to think of making a stand, 
unless compelled to, and they instantly turned their 
horses and fied, closely pursued by the Indians, who 
were on good horses. Turner and Callahan made for a 
dense thicket, some distance off, keeping close together 

Rangers and Pioneers of Texas. i i 

in this race for life. The other man, being mounted on 
a splendid horse, left his companions, and was soon out 
of sight, carrying off a double-barreled shot gun belong- 
ing to Callahan, who had handed it to him a few minutes 
before to shoot a turkey. 

The Indians, being well mounted, gained on them at 
every jump, at the same time uttering loud and exultant 
yells, as they felt confident of their victims; and when 
the two white men neared the thicket, were close upon 
their heels. Turner shouted to Callahan to leave his 
horse and run into the thicket, when he saw him about 
to pass around it, at the same time leaping from his 
horse and plunging in himself. The Indians were so 
near one of them threw his lance at Turner, striking 
him between the shoulders, near the left shoulder blade, 
but he still continued to tear his way through the brush, 
dragging the lance after him, until it pulled out. Be- 
ing weak from loss of blood and exertion, he lay down 
at the base of a large pecan tree, with his rifle beside 
him, ready to shoot the first Indian who found him. 

Callahan was overtaken and killed near the thicket, 
having failed to heed the warning cry of Turner. After 
stripping and mutilating his body, and taking off his 
scalp, they hung him up in a tree, and danced and sang 
around it, one of them every now and then saying: 
"Yankee Doodle," "Yankee Doodle." Turner could 
see most of this performance from where he lay, think- 
ing it would be his time next, but determined to sell his 
life dearly as possible, and get one Indian at least.' After 
getting through with their pow-vvow around the dead 
body of his companion, the Indians prowled around the 
thicket, in search of Turner, but were afraid to enter, 
as they knew the white man carried his rifle with him, 
and it would be certain death to the foremost Indian, 

12 Rangers and Pionkers of Texas. 

and none were vvilling^ to sacrifice himself. Once a lot 
of them charged through on their horses, ahinost run- 
ning over him, but went in such a hurry they did not 
look much. 

The Indians finally all left but one, a hideous, old, 
crooked-mouth fellow, who still continued the search 
for some time longer. Turner was sorely tempted to 
shoot this old demon, but fearing the report of his gun 
would bring the others back, he refrained from doing so 
until the old Indian should discover him, and then he 
calculated to kill him. The Indian would stoop down 
and peer into the thicket, and sometimes Turner was 
almost certain the Indian saw him, and once started to 
raise his gun to fire, but the Indian saved his handsome 
face from being spoiled bv a bullet, bv turning off and 
looking somewhere else. 

Turner's shirt was stained with green fodder, which 
he had been pulling, and so nearly resembled the green 
foliage beneath which he lay was one reason, I suppose, 
whv the Indians failed to see him. 

The old Indian finallv gave up the search and left, to 
overtake his companions. Turner lay where he was 
until late in the evening and then crawled out from his 
hiding-place and looked around. His horse, of course, 
was gone. The bodv of Callahan was still dangling in 
the tree, and presented a horrible sight as it swayed to 
and fro in the breeze. Faint and weary, he then made 
his way to a small pool of water near by, and pulling 
off one of his shoes, washed the blood out of it, which 
had run down from his wound, and drank out of it. He 
was so weak from loss of blood he was afraid to lie 
down and drink from the pool, fearing he would not be 
able to rise again. He drank several times before at- 
tempting to leave the place, but after his burning thirst 

Rangers and Pioneers of Texas. 13 

was quenched, he felt stronger, and set out for the near- 
est house, which was three miles nearer than his own, 
and arrived there before midnight. The family were 
still up, for they had heard the news from the man who 
escaped. He said that Turner and Callahan were both 
killed, and when Turner stepped in with his white hag- 
gard face and bloody garments, the lady of the house 
fell fainting to the floor. A runner was then sent to in- 
form his parents that he was there, for he was an un- 
married man and lived with them. They soon came, 
and he was carried home, but it was sometime before he 
recovered from that terrible lance thrust. The body of 
Callahan was brought in the next morning after he was 

At this time the settlements had extended a consider- 
able distance up the Colorado, Brazos, Guadalupe, San 
Marcos and other streams, the more adventurous pio- 
neers still pushing further west, trailing and fighting 
Indians as they went, and being killed and scalped by 
them in return. Hundreds of miles of beautiful country 
still lay ahead of them, and only inhabited by the buffalo, 
deer, antelope, etc., and the red man. 

After the annexation of Texas to the United vStates, in 
1845, counties were rapidly laid off and organized: 
several counties, however, were organized and named 
prior to that period, for judicial and other purposes. 
Among the number was Fannin, named in honor of 
the brave Col. Fannin, who was, with his command, 
brutally murdered by the Mexicans after he had surren- 
dered, at Goliad, in 1836. 

The county was organized in 1838, but owing to the 
hostilities of the Indians, few settlers came into it until 
about 1842. As I am not attempting to write a history 
of Texas, but the battles and adventures of pioneers, I 


will have to make extracts from other works to make it 
complete, as I was unable to obtain all the information 
I wanted other\vise. Therefore. I take the following 
sketches from the American Sketch Book, published at 
Austin, in iSSo. by Mrs. Bella French Swisher. 

"Among those who emigrated in 1S4J. was Phillip Smith and 
family, a brother-in-law to Judge Inglish, first settled at the 
place where Fort Ingli>hwas afterwards built. Smith did not 
fear the danger incident to -settling, and living on the frontier: 
but came fixed up with all the regalia of high life, fine wagons 
and carriages^ and ten or twelve extra fine horses. He did not 
look at the possibility of his fine stock being taken from him in 
a few months of time: he did not know that an Indian would 
risk his life, lose his reputation and character as an honest man 
for the value of a horse. In 1S41 Smith had his confidence shaken 
by the loss of nearly all his horses. Indians captured them 
during the night. His loss was discovered early in the morning, 
and eight or ten men started in pursuit. The watchword was, 
quick step and sharp lookout tor Indians. The Indians must be 
captured and horses retaken at all hazards. 

••The south boundary line of the county, not having aL> yet 
been run. Col. Montague, the county surveyor, had sent his 
deputy surveyor, John B. Black, with a guard of eight or ten 
men, regular soldiers, to do the work. 

"Those in pursuit discovered, a short distance ahead, on Pilot 
Knob, a smoke arising from camp fires on the Indian trail. 
Now, the Indians must be killed and scalped and horses rescued 
in quick time for fear of being discovered. The company dis- 
mounted, tied their horses and the priming of guns exam- 
ined. Everv- man being his own commander, it was not neces- 
sary- to give orders. All, from the color of the face, would pass 
for white men : no stiil joints, but trembling with eagerness for 
battle or something else. The pursuers arose, and fired: with 
a shout and a yell, the camp was charged upon. Thre^ Indians 
were seen to fall at the first fire, and the others ran for life. 
When the camp was reached, there lay two dead white men and 
three badly wounded, they being the men sent out A*-ith John B. 
Black to guard when running the county line, who unfortunately 
had camped a few hour- before upon the trail oi the pursued 

Rangers and Pioneers of Texas. 15 

Indians. The dead were buried as best they could : the wounded 
brought back and cared for, and the search for the culprits 

In 1S38 the land system was oi\2^anizerl in the Republic 
of Texas. Land certificates were issued to citizens, also 
immigrants under the donation laws. When individ- 
uals having obtained certificates, went to locating their 
claims, litigation resulted, which was settled by a jus- 
tice of the peace and twelve jurymen. A case of this 
kind came up in what was then called Washita Bend, 
but now Preston, between Col. Holland Coffee and 
Capt. John Hart, both parties contending for preference 
of location. A jury was summoned from the Bois 
d'Arc neighborhood, where Bonham now stands, who 
went to the Bend to try the case at issue. As they were 
returning home, they met a Mexican, whose name was 
Andrew Penaro. He said he had been trading with the 
wild Indians. He was riding on an extra fine Mexican 
mule, with superior Mexican saddle, equipped fantasti- 
cally, a fine brace of holster pistols attached to the sad- 
dle, a fine double-barreled shot gun in his hand. He 
was dressed like a prince, from head to foot; a fine gold 
watch and plenty of cash in his pockets. Suspecting 
he had been guiltv of a foul deed, he was questioned 
closely. He stated, that ten days before, he had met 
with a Mexican officer with the Indians, making presents 
and inducing them to war with the whites, and that he 
decoyed him from camp and killed him. Suspecting 
this statement to be false, he was questioned closely, and 
promises made if he would tell the truth he should go 
unpunished, whereupon he confessed that he had en- 
gaged as pilot to a Mexican Colonel and decoyed him 
in a wrong direction and shot him in the back, when he 
had dismounted to arrange his saddle girths. He then 

i6 Rangers and Pioneers of Texas. 

led them to the spot where the deed had been done. 
There hiy the body of the Mexican Colonel, dead, be- 
reft of clothing-, robbed by his Mexican brother. In 
hunting around, Mr. Simpson found his hat with a bul- 
let hole through the band. It had three rows of gold 
braid around it. He carried the hat home ; his wife 
mended it, and he had the honor of wearing the oflicer's 
hat. Had not promises been sacred things with them, 
Andrew Penaro would have pulled hemp tb pay for his 







In 1838 the first volunteer companies for the defense 
of Fannin County were raised and organized by Cap- 
tain Robert Sloan and N. L. Journey. These two 
companies consisted of forty men each. The first night 
at camp the captain's charger and two other horses were 
stolen. The next night the two companies met and 
camped ready for an early start for the Indian village 
on the west fork of the Trinity river. Guards were 
stationed around the encampment for the night, and 
each mess went to spinning yarns. In the midst of this 
amusement one of the guards fired his gun. In an in- 
stant the pickets fled for camp ; men ran for their guns. 
Some guns were misplaced : shot pouches and ammuni- 
tion missing. All was hurry and tonfusion. The cap- 
tain dispatched to learn the cause of alarm — no guard at 
his post. One of the guards dashed into camp, s; 'ing 
he had seen and shot an Indian trying to steal horses. 
His heart beat so hard he declared it was the sound of 
Indians' feet flying from the fire of his gun. 

The officer returned and made his report, and stated 
that he had found no dead or wounded Indian, but sup- 
posed he had found an Indian's blanket, but upon ex- 
amination it proved to be the paunch of the beef 

i8 Rangers and Pioneers of Texas. 

slaughtered that day for rations. No more yarns that 
night. Next morning march was taken for the Indian 
village. They marched three days and camped for the 
last night until the Indian village should be desolated 
by the heroes of Fannin County. Next morning a 
council of war w^as held. Scouts were sent out to re- 
connoiter the village. Scouts returned, reporting the 
village close at hand. Now, their bravery must be 
tried, or they must run. 

Three hundred Indian warriors, fortified in their huts 
to defend themselves, squaws and children, and only 
ninetv-nine to attack and enter into deadly conflict with 
them. Many a pale face was to be seen in the ranks. 

But, lo ! when they got to the scene of action only a 
small camp of Indians were there. The Indians were 
soon dispatched, and their scalps taken by Captain John 
Hart. One white man was wounded, and one horse 
killed. After the battle, one wounded Indian lay con- 
cealed in the grass, with his tomahawk in hand. A 
man by the name of Pangborn, usually called ^'Brandy," 
from his long and intimate acquaintance with that bev- 
erage, was in search of the Indian, and came upon him 
so closely that he could not shoot. The Indian arose, 
with tomahawk in hand, striking at Pangborn' s head. 
The latter wheeled and ran, shouting for help at every 
jump. One gun was fired from our ranks ; the Indian 
fell, and Captain Hart was on him in an instant, taking 
his scalp. This fight took place at Bird's Fort, in Tar- 
rant County. Thus ended the scouting till a more formi- 
dable force was raised, which was done that winter, 
under the command of General John H. Dyer, of Red 
River County. 

Mr. Johii F. Hunter, of Rosston, Cook County, says 
that he settled in Fannin County in 1S38 ; that he has 

Rangers and Pioneers of Texas. 19 

been ranging in northwest Texas for forty-one years. 

In 1S43 the Indians made a raid in Fannin County, 
murdered his mother, captured his sister, killed his 
cousin, seven years old, a negro woman, and robbed the 
house of its contents. The prisoner, Lovicia, was car- 
ried to the Keechi mountains, in western Texas, and kept 
forty-six days. She was purchased by Delaware Frank, 
who paid the ransom sum of $750. He brought her 
safely to the settlements. 

Mr. Hunter then, clad in leather pants and hunting 
shirt, buckled on his moccasins, shouldered his old flint- 
lock rifle, and took the war path, which he tramped for 
thirteen years. He formed one of the seventy-two, un- 
der Tarrant's command, that drove the thousand war- 
riors from their village on Village creek. Mr. Hunter 
had many a hard chase after Indians. He passed 
through where Pilot Point is now situated in 1841, and 
says that the summit of the great hill, which then loomed 
up and stood out in bold relief against the western hori- 
zon, piloting the pioneer fathers in their exploits against 
the red men, was covered with buffalo trails. Now it is 
graced w^ith the beautiful little city of Pilot Point, and 
he is here to-day to behold the change of thirty-eight 

In the winter and spring of 1839-40 the citizens of 
Fort Inglish, Warren and Preston moved home from 
the forts, with the determination to defend themselves 
and property against the ravages of the Indians, the 
efforts of the government having proved ineffectual in giv- 
ing protection to its subjects on accotint of a lack of men 
and resources adequate for the purpose. The president 
was opposed to a war policy, thus favoring pacific and 
treaty measures instructed the officers and requested 
the citizens to use their influence in collecting the de- 

20 Rangers and Pioneers of Texas. 

tached tribes of Indians then over the republic, in order 
that treaties might be made with them, and reservations 
of land gr-anted them for settlements. 

Dr. D. Rowlett, congressman for this district, had 
collected a small tribe of Coushattas at his place on 
Red river, and had the care of them, until they could 
be provided for by the government. The depredations 
of this tribe became frequent in the neighborhood, and 
res .Ited in the terrible conflict with the Duggan family, 
(the particulars of which the writer has not been able 
to get). After this battle, the Indians left Dr. Row- 
lett' s and fled to the Indian Territory, north of Red 
river. The Texans (pronounced Texian), being greatly 
incensed at the course practiced by them while living in 
Texas, determined they should not remain so near them. 
Captain Joseph Sowell, with ten or twelve men, crossed 
the river at night, ascertained where they were camped, 
stole upon them, and fired into their wigwams, killing 
ten or twelve of their number. This matter was kept 
secret for some time, the act being a violation of the 
international law with the United States Government. 

The Indians retaliated by charging on Captain Sow- 
ell's posse shortly after. The District Court of Fannin 
County was to commence in 1S41, at Warren, then the 
county seat, on a Monday morning. Owing to the 
sparse and scattered settlements of the citizens, and the 
long distances those summoned to witness and jurymen 
had to travel, many went on Sunday evening to be in 
readiness Monday morning. 

Their stopping place was at the tavern kept by Cap- 
tain Sowell and J. S. Scott. During the night, when 
the men were busily engaged in spinning yarns, and 
drinking whisky, the Coushattas made their raid upon 
th*^ stable of the tavern, wherein were placed the horses 

Rangers and Pioneers of Texas. 21 

of the guests, and a fine charger, owned by Captain 
Sowell. They secured the stallion, one of them sad- 
dled and mounted him, preparatory to driving the other 
horses from the stable, while others laid down in the 
corner of the fence or secreted themselves near the 
bars. The neighing of the horses alarmed the men, 
who rushed from the house in the wildest excitement, 
most of them without their guns or pistols. Sowell and 
Scott ran to the gap, laid down by the Indians. Sow- 
ell, being in front, discharged his pistol without effect, 
when they retorted with a volley of arrows. One 
passed through his stomach, another through his back. 
He fell at the Indians' feet, called to Scott to shoot the 
Indian, and expired without a groan. Scott killed one 
Indian ; the rest fled precipitately in every direction. 
They collected again, and arranged a trap for those 
whites who should pursue them, but no other encounter 
took place. 

After the murder of Captain vSowell, the citizens were 
greatly excited on account of the attack. District Court 
met at Warren, and was organized for business, and 
had not proceeded far with the cases on docket, when a 
scout came dashing into town with the intelligence that 
a large trail of Indians was discovered, going in the 
direction of Fort Inglish. The judge immediately ad- 
journed the court, and all started for their homes except 
two or three, Mr. Simpson and Major Bird, after whom 
the fort was named, among the number, who waited 
until night fall, this being the safest mode of travel to 
avoid Indians. They traveled in the most profound 
silence for some time, till Major Bird, who was under 
the influence of liquor, lost his hat. While stopping to 
look for it, the Major, very much trammeled by his 
befuddled condition, a squad of Indians ran upon them. 

22 Rangp:rs and Pioxeers of Texas. 

and came within fifteen or twenty paces of them, when 
Mr. Simpson fired his shot gun at them and at the same 
time shouted "charge, charge!" This gave the im- 
pression that a large company was under his command, 
and the effect was magical among the Indians ; they 
scattered in every direction. 

At this time depredations became so numerous that 
houses were attacked in daylight, and many murders 
committed. Captain John Youree and Daniel Davis 
were attacked, the latter killed. 

The County of Fannin is located in the north central 
portion of the State, the Red river, forming its northern 
boundary, being the dividing line between the Indian 
Territory and the State of Texas. 






The County of Fayette was organized in 1837. but 
settlements were commenced some time before. 

In 183 1, the Buckners, A. C. and Oliver, settled on 
the creek that bears their name. In 1823, the Castle- 
mans settled on the western bank of the river (Colo- 
rado), and Stephen F. Austin for a time made Fayette 
County his home. Among other settlers of the county, 
were Col. John Moore, Jesse Burnham, Andrew Rabb, 
J. J. Ross, James Tombleson. John Cryer, S. A. An- 
derson, C. Cummings. James Lester, Redden Andrews, 
and John Rabb. i^- ^ - . ■--':'- ' "^ ^ n^J^^-^^l^ Cn^^-i^-t^ 

In 1833-34 came John E. Lewis, Breedings, Joel 
Robinson, J. G. Robinson, Walter Robinson, John W. 
Dancy. Ed Manton, Henry Manton, M. Hill and I. H. 
Hill. The Indians, as usual, commenced depredating 
on the whites as soon as they began to form a settlement. 
John Duff, or Waco Brown, was captured by the Waco 
Indians in August, 1825, and by them kept for fifteen 
months, in their favorite region, of which the present 
town-site of Waco was one of the chief villages. 
He. by his stay among the Indians, acquired a vast 
amount of information about the Waco and other tribes 
which proved to be of great value to General Austin 

24 Rangers and Pioneers of Texas. 

and the early settlers. It was thought by his wife and 
Captain Henry S. Brown (his brother) that he had 
been killed by the Indians. But in 1826 he made his 
escape from a war party of seventeen Wacos on Cum- 
mings' creek, in this county, the party having come 
down to kill and rob the settlers. They brought him 
with them, as he had promised to assist them in stealing 
horses. He made his escape at night, while they were 
all asleep, and hastened to San Felipe, on the Brazos, 
where he found his brother, H. vS. Brown, who had just 
returned from Mexico, having a well-armed party with 

With these and some volunteer citizens. Captain 
Brown hastened in search of the Indians, completely 
surprised them at daylight on the following morning, 
and killed all but one. J. D. Brown was afterwards 
known as Waco Brown. 

In February, 1837, as J. G. Robinson and his brother 
Walter were on their way to see a gentleman on busi- 
ness, they were both killed by Indians, on Cummings' 
creek. The same day Mr. and Mrs. Gocher were 
killed by Indians, on Rabb's creek, and three of their 
children carried into captivity, one girl and two boys. 
They were afterwards redeemed by Mr. Spalding, who 
married the young lady. 

During the "Runaway" in 1836, the Indians captured 
a young German girl. At this time the Indians kept 
their captives for trade ; they could be purchased by 
relatives or friends. A German purchased this young 
lady, and made her his wife. 

In 1828 or '29, says Mr. James. T. Ross, a party of 
Indians were camped on Ross's creek. They made their 
camp in the bed of the creek, that they might be pro- 
tected by the cliffs from the chilling winds. It was 

Rangers and Pioneers of Texas. 35 

thoug-ht by the old settlers that they were there on a steal- 
ing expedition until they killed a Mexican and scalped 
him. Mr. James J. Ross, J. Tombleson, John Cryer, 
S. A. Anderson and several others, whose names are 
forgotton, got together and attacked their camp. When 
they reached the camp some were lying down and 
others were dancing around with their scalps, and some 
were parching corn. The number of Indians were six- 
teen ; eight of them were killed, and an attempt was 
made to burn them, but only the skin was burned off, 
and the bones were left to bleach in the bed of the 
creek. Seven were wounded, but succeeded in making 
their escape, and were never heard from afterwards. It 
was thought they died ere they reached their tribe. 
Mr. Pennington was allowed to trade with this tribe 
of Indians, and while there on one of his trading expe- 
ditions, one of these Indians returned to the tribe, and it 
was always supposed that he was the only one left to 
tell the story. 

In 1833 the Indians were very bad about killing and 
stealing. About this time Tom Alley was out hunting 
horses, and unexpectedly came on a camp of these In- 
dians. As soon as he was discovered by them, they 
immediately commenced shooting at him, and he was 
badly wounded. He put spurs to his horse and made 
his escape, and was fortunate enough to reach home. 

The next day several of his friends trailed them 
towards the head of Cummings' creek, and there the 
Indians burned the grass, and the pursuers lost the trail. 

Those of my readers who have never seen a new 
country can hardlv conceive of its wild beauty and 
grandeur as it appeared to the first settlers of this 

The following is an extract from a sketch of Fort 

26 Rangers and Pioneers of Texas. 

Bend County, which is as near as pen can describe it: 

"Texas, and its native loveliness, we have been told, had 
impressed other discoverers and pioneers long ere Austin visited 
the country. Yet their footprints in the vast wilderness were 
effaced as fast as made, and the legendary relations we have 
heard, and the slight vis^ible remains made impressions on the 
early settlers, as dim traditions, like the poetry of the Scottish 
Border, which relates incidents verified by latter chronicles. 

"The first settlers found this portion of Texas a new country, 
rich in primeval beauty, and so many of the old Texans speak of 
the emotion of wonder aroused on their first view of this strange 
wild beauty of the land; how the undulating formation impressed 
them; how the exuberance of verdure, and the Vide flower- 
germed prairies, and clear running streams, fringed with trees to 
the water's edge, excited their love of the beautiful, and this por- 
tion of Texas was thought by them to be a land of plenty and 
a paradise of beauty." 

In 183 1, (says J. J. Sullivan), William Little with 
others of the "old three hundred," had reached the city 
of New Orleans on their way to Texas as colonists. At 
this point William Little received orders from Stephen 
F. Austin to take with him as many families as would 
be sufficient to establish a small settlement, and sail 
with them to the mouth of the Brazos river ; from there 
to proceed up that stream, until he should find a de- 
sirable situation, and then land there and make a settle- 
ment. In obedience to this order. Little and his party 
ascended the river until they had reached the spot where 
Richmond now stands. From the tide to this point, on 
each side of the river nothing but low banks, dense forests, 
cane-brakes and the richest body of land, perhaps in 
the world, was to be seen. But here the eyes and the 
hearts of the whole party were gladdened by finding 
the banks much higher than anywhere below, whilst on 
the west the prairie came full up to the river, spreading 
out as far as the eye could reach, westward, one vast 

Rangers and Pioneers of Texas. 37 

and unbroken sea of rich waving grass, interspersed 
with an endless variety of most beautiful and fragrant 

With what alacrity and gladness did this little party 
of pioneers go ashore, just at the foot of the large bend 
in the river, which circles for some ten or twelve miles 
around, just above the present town of Richmond. 

Soon the work of preparation of their future homes 
commenced. Among the first and most important 
things to be done, was the building of a small fort for 
the protection of the pioneers against the savage tribes 
of Indians then numerous on the Brazos. This was 
soon accomplished, and before long this great bend in 
the river came to be called "Fort Bend," and hence the 
county of Fort Bend came by its name. 

The first settlements in what is now known as Denton 
County, was on Hickory and Prairie creeks, in 1842, up 
to 1845, by the Wagners, Prices, Clarys, Kings, and 
others. In June, 1S45, there were in all seventeen 
families. In the latter part of 1845 came Murphy, the 
Harmosons, Halfords, Weldors, Frenches and others, 
and in the early part of '46 the Carters, S. A. Venters 
and the Yochonis settled on Clear creek and the Strick- 
lins on Isle De Bois. 

Denton County was organized in July, 1846. The 
Indians were numerous and hostile, and often bloody 
encounters took place between them and the pioneers. 
In 1868 a party of Indians, supposed to be about twenty 
strong, made a raid into W^ise and Denton Counties. 
Crossing Denton creek near the overland road and meet- 
ing no opposition, the red skin marauders at twelve 
o'clock, one night, dashed into the town of Denton, 
unperceived, and drove out about thirty horses. The 
next morning horses were missed from lots and pastures. 

28 Rangers and Pioneers of Texas. 

Indian trails were discovered in the fields and every 
circumstance attested that their very doors had been 
visited by the savages. Scouts were sent out in several 
directions, when it was discoverd that the Indians had 
gone out by the Gainesville road to the crossing on 
Clear creek, gathering all the horses on the route. 

No attempt had been made by them to kill, scalp, or 
capture any of the citizens whose houses they had passed. 
When crossing Clear creek, they attempted to capture 
two of Mr. Rol's little boys who happened to be some 
distance from the house. Their main object seemed to 
be to get as many horses as possible. They gathered 
all the horses on the way, until the drove amounted to 
some fifty or sixty, then left the settlements beyond 
Clear creek, and started out in the direction of Cook 
County. Captain R. H. Hopkins, Stephenson Curley, 
and three other men, whose ranches on Clear creek 
were swept of a good deal of valuable stock, mounted 
fleet horses and went out in pursuit. Another force of 
ten men also joined in the chase farther in the rear, not 
being able to keep pace with the Indians, all of whom 
were now mounted upon fresh horses. The chase con- 
tinued for many miles over the prairie, the party keeping 
in sight ot the Indians all the time until Hopkins' squad 
made a flank movement, for the purpose of getting re-en- 
forcements from some ranches on the right. This move 
so confused the Indians, who thought this was some 
stratagem, that they turned into the brakes and briers 
on Clear creek, where they were charged upon by 
Hopkins and his men, and nearly all the stolen horses 
recaptured. The Indians escaped with the horses they 
were riding and went off in the direction of Montague 

Soon after this raid a runner hastened to town and 

Rangers and Pioneers of Texas. 29 

reported Indians in force, between the residence of 
Thomas Eagan and that of George McCormick, live 
miles from the town of Denton, gathering horses. Some 
twenty-five of the citizens immediately armed themselves 
as best they could, mounted horses and started out in 
pursuit. About ten miles from town the scouts obsei-ved 
a couple of Indians on Hickory creek, driving some fif- 
teen horses to the main herd, when they raised the yell 
and charged, recapturing the horses. Mr. Tarleton 
Bull was in the lead and fired first at close range, the 
ball taking effect near the spine, when the Indian turned 
and fired upon Mr. Bull but missed his aim. He then 
raised his bow, but was pierced with three more balls 
before he could use it. Mr. Bull secured his pony, and 
Mr. E. Allen returned with his gun, bow and quiver. 
The other Indian escaped. The scouts then pushed on 
closely after the main body of the savages up North 
Hickory, but did not come up with them until they halted 
at Chism ranch. Here at the sound of their bugle the 
Indians formed in line of battle. A dog, belonging to 
one of the scouting party, hearing the sound of the bugle, 
ran over to the Indians, and was instantly killed. The 
force of the scouting party by this time had increased to 
forty-three men ; the number of savages was estimated at 
one hundred and fifty. 

Firing commenced on both sides, when the Indians, 
seeing the comparative smallneSF of the squad, raised 
the war whoop, and charged. The men retreated in 
disorder and formed on the bank of a little prairie creek. 
In the retreat Mr. Severe Fortenberry was killed, scalped, 
stripped of his clothes, and disfigured in too barbarous 
a manner to relate. Mr William Eaves received a 
slight wound, and Mr. George McCormick's horse was 
shot and killed under him, but he succeeded in making 

30 Rangers and Pioneers of Texas. 

his escape across the creek. The Indians were successful 
in the fight, and succeeded in getting away with two or 
three hundred head of horses. 

Earlv in the fall of 1835, a • small colony of whites, 
known as Austin Colony (now Grimes County), an'ived 
and settled at a point about two and a half miles north 
of the present county seat. The following persons 
composed the colony : Silas M. Parker, John Parker, 
James Parker, L. T. M. Plummer, Benjamin Parker, 
Elisha Anglin and his son, Abraham, Samuel Frost and 
family, Seth H. Bates and son, Geo. E. Dwight, J. 
Nickson and the heroic Mrs. Plummer. The early out- 
look for this little band of brave and industrious people 
were first of the most pleasing and encouraging nature, 
indeed they were all happy upon the realization of long 
anticipated hopes for they were seeking, what appar- 
ently laid at their feet, rich and productive soil, broad 
and flourishing pasturage, good timber, excellent water, 
and abundant game ; but, alas ! these pleasing realizations 
were soon to be overclouded by the dark and frustrating 
clouds of adversity, warfare and death. 

The sad sequel of this little band has been verbally 
related to the author of this sketch (Maggie Abercrom- 
bie) by one of the old settlers, above mentioned, who is 
still alive, but too decrepid and and old to write. From 
his conversation is gathered the following data: The 
first evidence of trouble that appeared to the people was 
caused by a small party of settlers from Colorado, who, 
not being content to pursue their avocations peaceably 
and honestly, attempted to infringe upon the rights of a 
tribe of Tehaucano Indians, who hud a small village 
upon the hills of the same name (Tehaucano), situated 
in the northern part of thr county. These Colorado 
settlers repeatedly molested and annoyed the Indians by 

Rangers and Pioneers of Texas. 31 

attempting to steal their horses. The Indians had man- 
ifested a civil disposition until these annoyances pro- 
voked their resentment and revenge, and in the instances 
alluded to, they repulsed the w^hite Colorado settlers, 
killing Williams, the leader, and wounding Huldaman, 
a small boy. From this unfortunate event, the Indians 
exhibited no little degree of malice and revenge, and 
would frequently glide into the white settlements at 
midnight and steal their stock and cattle. They 
appeared perfectly defiant in their village, which stands 
on one of the highest hills in central Texas, and over- 
looks the broad green prairies for miles and miles 
around. They seemed to believe these hills, like Caesar, 
did the hills of Rome, a formidable fortification 
against any and all intrusion, and would often in day- 
time commit fearful crimes, and immediately repair to 
their quarters on the hills. 

No sooner had the settlers begun to take the preliminary 
steps for shelter and comfort, than did the alarming 
indications of molestation become more manifest, and 
the propriety of defense manifest itself. They therefor 
soon erected that rude fortification known to the darker 
pages of Texas histor}^ as "Fort Parker," and which 
shall ever live in the hearts of the countrymen, as does 
the recollections of San Jacinto and the Alamo. Of 
these trials, scenes and dangers one of the old survivors 
has written as follows : 

"After our log fort had been erected, we pursued our av^o- 
cations with better satisfaction than before, and not until May, 
the succeeding year, did we suffer any very great depredations 
from the Indians. During this month the fearful and cowardly 
massacre of Fort Parker was enacted. It was no day for the 
awful deeds committed, for nature had ushered into light a 
May-day as gentle and as serene as the soft light of the dawning 
sun that stole carelessly over our sleeping farms. At an early 

32 Rangers and Pioneers of Texas. 

hour, and while a few of our more delicate ones were still 
engaged in slumber, we noticed upon an eminent point on the 
the prairie, not exceeding four hundred yards from the fort, a 
body of restless Indians. 

" This unexpected spectacle created the usual result among the 
women and children, and while the men were naturally surprised 
they knew that discipline, composure and fortitude, were their 
imperative duty and safeguard. A white flag was conspiciously 
hoisted by the Indians as an indication of peace. Very soon 
afrerwards, a warrior from their camp approached the fort and in 
a civil manner offered to make a treaty. To this. Captain Ben- 
jamin Parker, commander of the fort, responded. After a 
short intei-view he returned and notified the inmates that he 
believed the Indians intended to fight. He, however, returned to 
the hostile camp, which was no sooner reached, than he was a 
mangled corpse, literally chopped into pieces by the bloodthirsty 
demons. They immediately began their hideous war-whoop, 
and with wild, infuriated yells, charged upon the fort. Fortu- 
nately, several of the inmates had left the stockade by this time, 
while others were endeavoring to escape. Mrs. Nixon, a brave 
little woman, heroically made her way through an exposed field, 
where she notified her father, husband and brother, of the 
imminent danger that threatened them. 

" Mr. John Parker and wife, with Mrs. Kellogg, had gotten a 
mile or more away when they were overtaken, the old man killed 
and scalped, his wife speared and left for dead, and Mrs Kellogg 
made captive. Samuel M. Frost and his son were brutall}' 
killed, also Silas M. Parker. Mrs. Plummer in trying to escape 
b}' flight, was knocked down by a huge Indian, and with her 
child, seventeen months old, made prisoners. Cynthia Aitn and 
John, two children of Silas Parker, were also captured. The 
sun'ivors met a few days afterwards, when it was discovered that 
only eighteen of the original number of their party were present. 

"The alarm spread through the settlements like wild fire, and a 
small body of men soon repaired to the fort, but seeing no line 
of defense against the great number of Indians which approxi- 
mated near eight hundred, they, after close concealment in 
ambush, retreated to their respective homes, and in a short time 
all moved away to Fort Houston, about three miles distant from 
the present city of -stine. 

Rangers and Pioneers of Texas. 33. 

"The wounded Avife of John Parker, covered with blood and 
scarcely able to walk, was found after night by a party of three 
or four, by whom she was conveyed to the Fort Houston settle- 
ment. She did not survive a great while. Soon afterwards a 
party repaired to Fort Parker and buried the remains of the 
dead. Mrs. Kellogg was, a few months afterwards, purchased 
by General Sam Houston from some friendly Delaware Indians, 
who held her at one hundred and fifty dollars ransom. Tvlrs. 
Plummer was also purchased from her captors by Colonel 
Donnahue, and after weeks of suffering and trial, reached Santa 
Fe. She was a captive over two years, and had many thrilling 

Mr. R. F. Mattison writes of Mrs. Plummer' s adven- 
tures and of "old Fort Parker," as follows. 

"Mrs. Plummer, whose captivity and sufferings among the 
Comanche Indians we are now about to relate, was the daughter 
of Rev. James W. Parker, the captain of a small company of 
rangers, and the commander of Fort Parker. When the fort fell 
into the hands of the Indians, by means of a ruse to which they 
resorted, she attempted to escape, carrying in her arms her little 
son, James Pratt, only eighteen months old. Nothing could 
give us a more exalted estimation of female courage and forti- 
tude, than the act of this frail, delicate little woman, who was 
willing to risk her life that she might save her infant child ; 
while with the heartrending screams of friends were mingled 
with the terrible yells of the brutal and savage foe, she ventured 
out alone, risking ail to save her dear one; with no shield, no 
protection, save the burning eye; of God and the feeble prayers 
that were ascending to Him. With the infant pressed close to 
her bosom, she rushes across the field in the direction of adjoin- 
ing timber. She strains every nerve and speeds onward, urged 
only by fear and affection. 

"It was not, however, in the providence of God, that Mrs. 
Plummer and her child should meet death heroically or escape. 
A huge, savage warrior, painted and begrimmed with dust and 
blood, discovers and pursues her with a savage yell of triumph. 
Though fear lent swiftness to her feet, she is not fleet enough 
to leave him behind. He overtakes her, clutches a hoe left in 
the field, fells her to the ground and seizing her by the hair of 


Rangers and Pioneers of Texas. 

the head, drags her, still clinging to her boy, though stunned 
and unconcious, past the fort and into presence of the main 
body of Indians. She awakes to consciousness only to see her 
child torn from her bosom and hear the groans and cries of her 
wounded and d\ ing friends. 

Her anxiety was increased and her suspense rendered almost 
intolerable by seeing the dead and mutilated body of her uncle, 
Benjamin Parker, the reeking scalp of the aged grandfather, 
Rev. John Parker, and many other signs of the butchery now 
going on in and near the fort, where all was hushed in the silence 
of death, except the fiendish yells of triumph from the treacherous 
Indians. It was not till then she was made aware of her captivity. 
Mrs. Plummer was not allowed to speak to her relations, not even 
to her own little boy, Pratt. She and the rest were beaten with 
clubs by the Indian braves and lashed with rawhide thongs by the 

*' After leaving the fort the two tribes, Comanches and Kiowas, 
remained and traveled together until midnight. They halted 
on an open prairie, staked out their horses, placed their 
pickets, and pitched their camp. Bringing all their prisoners 
together for the first time, they tied their hands behind them 
with rawhide thongs so tightly as to cut the flesh, tied their feet 
close together, and threw them upon their faces. Then the braves 
gathered around with their yet bloody dripping scalps, commenced 
their usual war dance. They danced, screamed, yelled, stamping 
upon their prisoners, beating them with bows until their own 
blood came near strangling them. 

"The remainder of the night these frail women suffered and 
had to listen to the cries and groans of three tender children. 
Add to this heart-sickening scene, one more heartless and cruel 
.•,till. The infant of Mrs. Plummer, born during her captivity, 
and while only six weeks old, was torn madly from her bosom by 
six giant Indians, one of them clutched the little prattling inno- 
cent by the throat, and like a hungry beast with defenseless prey, 
he held it out in his iron grasp until all evidence of life seemed 
extinct. Mrs. Plummer's feeble efforts to save her child were utterly 
fruitless. They tossed it high in the air and repeatedly let it fall 
on rocks and frozen earth. Supposing the child dead they re- 
turned it to its mother but discovering traces of lingering life they 
again, by force, tore it angrily from her, tied plaited ropes around 

Rangers and Pioneers of Texas. 


its neck, and threw its unprotected body into hedges of prickly 
pear. They would repeatedly pull it through these lacerating 
rushes with demoniac yells. Finally, they tied the rope attached 
to its neck to the pommel of a saddle and rode triumphantly 
around a circuit until it was not only dead but literally torn to 
shreds. All that remained of that once beautiful babe was then 
tossed into tlie lap of its poor distracted mother. This truly-drawn 
picture portrays some of the dark deeds of woe and strife that 
betel this little band." 

Mrs. Plummer also said that In one of her rambles, after 
she had been with the Indians some time, she discovered 
a cave in the mountains and, in company with an old 
squaw that guarded her, she explored it and found a large 
diamond, but when she was ransomed the Indians stole it 
from her and she was compelled to leave it. She said 
also here in these mountains she saw a bush which had 
thorns on it resembling fish hooks which the Indians used 
to catch fish with, and she herself has often caught trout 
with them in the little mountain streams. 

In the year 1S3S another colony arrived near Fort Parker, 
with a view of locating, etc., but in this purpose thevwere 
disappointed, for the Indians had lost none of then- 
troublesome and treacherous spirit, and in the year 1S39 
they were again compelled to flee the Indian annovances, 
not, however, without having improved considerable land, 
built several log houses, and selected their town site, 
which was donated to them in a five hundred acre tract 
of land, by Mr. Herrin, who lived near Nacogdoches. 

Limestone County was organized permanentlv two 
years afterwards, 1S46 ; that is two years after the return 
of some of the families, in 1S44. 





Settlements were commenced in Colorado County 
in 1832. The first was at the Atasca Sitta crossing of the 
Colorado, a little below the present town of Columbus. 
Among the early settlers were Leander Beeson, W. W. 
Dewees, Ross Alley, William Alley, Peter and John 
Tumbleson, Jesse Burnham, J. W. C. Wallace, Thomas 
Buens. In iS3i-'33 came F. Peters, Levi Bostick, Wil- 
liam Hunt, John Matthews, Major Montgomery, David 
Cole, the Cooper's, and others. The tribe of Indians which 
gave the most trouble to the early settlers were the Caran- 
kaways, a fierce and warlike tribe. They are spoken of 
as being strongly built, and of tall stature, and over six 
feet in height. 

It is said that each warrior carried a bow exactly his 
own length, so powerful that few Americans could bend 
them, and with these they could shoot their arrows with 
unerring accuracy. From what can be learned it is highly 
probable that this tribe were cannibals, indeed, they were 
always spoken of and regarded as such by the early set- 
tlers, and the facts certainly seem strongly to indicate that 
such was the case. 

Colonel Dewees says : 

" In 1823, three of our young men had been down the Colorado 

Rangers and Pioneers of Texas. 37 

river in a canoe to obtain corn. (This corn had been raised on 
the river. The manner in which the ground was prepared seems 
a little strange to the people of the present day. They first 
burned off the cane brakes, and then made holes in the ground 
with a hand-spike, where they planted the corn. The land being 
very rich, a large crop was raised in this manner.) 

"The Carankaway Indians had encamped at the mouth of 
Skull creek, in Colorado County. They saw the young men as 
they returned with their canoe-load of corn and lay in ambush 
for them. When they were sufficiently near, the Indians fired 
upon tnem and killed two, a Mr. Loy and Mr. Alley. Mr. Clark, 
the onlv one now remaining, leaped into the river and endeavored 
to save himself by swimming, but ere he reached the opposite 
bank he received some seven wounds from the arrows. He suc- 
ceeded in escaping by crawling into a very heavy cane-brake. 
Here he lay all night, being unable to crawl, from the loss of blood. 
A voung man by the name of Brotherton had left the settle- 
ment that same evening to go down the river to the mouth of 
Skull creek, on horseback. Not apprehending any danger from 
the Indians, he rode up the creek quite late in the evening, when 
he was surrounded by the savages. Thinking them to be friendly 
Indians living in the neighborhood he still feared not. He dis- 
mounted from his horse, when an Indian stepped up to him and 
took hold of his gun as though wishing to look at it. Just then 
he discovered them to be a tribe with whom he was not acquainted. 
He endeavored to retain possession of his gun, but the Indian 
succeeded in wresting it from him. The Indian attempted to 
shoot but the gun being double-triggered, he was unable to fire. 
He threw down the gun, and catching up his bow, shot Brotherton. 
The arrow entered his back, doing no material injury. Brother- 
ton made his escape into the timber, and in afew hours succeeded 
in reaching the settlements. Fourteen men started in pursuit of 
the Indians, and at midnight arrived at the place where Brother- 
ton had been wounded. Five of the number went to search out 
the encampment of the Indians. 

" After finding out the situation of their camp, says one of their 
number, we returned to our comrades. Here we remained until 
about half an hour before day, then proceeded to the Indian en- 
campment as silently as possible. We crawled into a thicket 
about ten steps behind the camp, placing ourselves about four or 

38 Raxgeks and Pioneers of Texas. 

five steps apart in a sort of half-circle, and completely cutting off 
their retreat from the swamp. The Indians were up and busily 
engaged apparently in getting breakfast. When the light was 
sufficient for us to see clearly we could not see anything of 
the Indians. We now commenced talking in order to draw them 
from their wigwams. In this we succeeded. They rushed out as 
if greatly alarmed. We fired upon them and killed nine. The 
rest attempted to escape but had no way to run except into the 
open prairie. We rushed upon them and killed all but two who 
had made their escape, though wounded, after the first fire. The 
number killed was nineteen. 

"The Indians were so greatly alarmed that they did not even 
attempt to fire on us. After the fatigue of the night and the toils 
of the morning, being quite hungry, we entered the Avigwams, 
where we found plenty of provision. We made a hearty breakfast, 
then loaded our horses with such things as we found in the wig- 
wams, and returned to the settlements." 

Parker County was created in 1S55. Among those who 
settled Parker County who were here in 1856 and still 
reside in the county, are Thomas Allen, William Allen, 
Charles Baker, Joseph Baker, Samuel R. Barbee. W. C. 
Brashear, George W. Brock, Thomas Caldwell, Dr. H. 
G. Cantwell, Calvin Carr, William Cair, Joseph Carroll, 
Loving Clifton, Jeremiah Cockburn, J. P. Cole, Wilson 
Copeland, Isam Cranfield, William Cuthbert, Solomon 
Deroche, W^illiam Dixon, Thomas Derrett, Rev. Reuben 
A. Eddleman, J. C. Edwards, Jesse Ellison, M. S. Em- 
berlin, and Mrs. Ensy. 

In December, 1859, two families named Brown and 
Sherman, lived respectively eleven and sixteen miles 
from the county seat at Weatherford. They were farmers, 
highly respected and industrious. John Brown was about 
half a mile from his dwelling attending to his horses 
when five of the national assassins surrounded, killed 
and scalped him, and took eighteen horses from his farm. 
They then rode to Mr. Thompson's farm, two miles dis- 

Rangers and Pioneers of Texas. 


tant. and stole seven horses from him, and thence to Mrs. 
Sherman's residence, near the Palo Pinto line. The 
family, comprising six persons, were at dinner. The 
demons numbered nearly fifty. Six of them galloped 
into the yard, alighted from their horses, entered the 
house, and cordially took each member by the hand as if 
all l?ad been on terms of intimacy. Without much cere- 
mony the Indians told them to •• vamose, vamose, no 
hurt, vamose." They did so, Mrs. Sherman, her husband 
and the four children, ^vithoutthe slightest resistance, as 
they had been assured that no danger should befall them. 
It was a very cold and rainy day and the exiles paced 
along the highway rapidly. They reached a point half 
a mile from the premises, joyful over their escape from a 
horrible death, when the brutes overtook them and cap- 
tured Mrs. Sherman. The family begged for life. The 
monsters said they wanted ''squaw," and suiting the 
action to the word, tore the frantic woman from those she 
loved best — the mother from the husband and children — 
carried her back to the house, where she was maltreated 
in a manner most outrageous and inhuman. Her screams 
and shrieks seemed to afford enjoyment to the merciless 
wretches. They deliberately applied all sorts of tortures, 
scalped her, stripped all the clothing froni her person, shot 
several arrows into her body, and compelled her to pass 
through an ordeal that few could endure. They left her 
for dead, but soon after their departure she managed to 
crawl into the house, where the husband managed to find 
her several hours afterwards. Mr. Sherman, as soon as 
he had placed the children out of danger, with others 
started in pursuit of those who had so fiendishly robbed 
him of his wife, and destroved the happy familv of a 
few hours previous. When discovered she was suf- 
fering from almost every conceivable indignity, and was 

4© Rangers and Pioneers of Texas. 

beyond the slightest hope of recovery. At sight of Mr. 
Sherman the poor woman rallied sufficiently to relate all 
she had so bitterly experienced at the hands of the mis- 
creants. Strange to say, she lived four days after the 
perpetration of the outrage. The children were brought 
back to the house the following day. and it is said the 
meeting with the dying woman was one of the most 
touching and heartrending ever witnessed in this or any 
other country. 

In June, of i860, General John.R. Baylor, who now 
resides in San Antonio, with his brother George W. 
Baylor, his two sons, Walker K. and John W. Baylor, 
and Wat. Reynolds, visited the Clear Fork of the Brazos, 
where the General formerly lived. While there hunting 
cattle these gentlemen were informed of the killing of 
Joseph Browning and the serious wounding of Frank 
Browning, by a large body of Comanches. They imme- 
diately went to the Browning ranch on the Clear Fork, 
near the mouth of Hubbard's creek, where they met other 
gentlemen who had been attracted to the spot by the 
murderous acts of the Indians. 

General Baylor, George W. Baylor, Elias Hale, Minn 
Wright, and John Dawson, started in pursuit of the 
demons, and on the fifth day, June zSth, overtook them 
on Paint creek, where a fierce contest ensued, during 
which Baylor and his friends killed thirteen of the Indians. 
On their return to Weatherford they brought the scalps 
of nine of them, a white woman the Indians had killed, 
several bows and arrows, darts, quivers, shields, toma- 
hawks, and other paraphernalia of savage warfare. 

General Baylor took his scalps and other spoils of the 
victors to various cities and towns and soon after the 
people of the southwestern portion of the State sent flour, 
jneal and all other kinds of provisions, clothing, boots 


.and shoes, blankets, pistols, guns, etc., to Weatherford, 
for the support and protection of the people of the 
frontier. There was a universal cry ; it seemed to be the 
heartfelt desire of every person: "Exterminate the 
Indians," was the watchword, and it is not to be wondered 
that such was the case when we fully realize the destruc- 
tion of property and human life. Up to the close of 1S75, 
it is estimated that the Indians captured and destroyed 
property within a cnxle of one hundred miles of Parker 
county, worth at least $6,000,000, and killed and took 
into captivity nearly 400 persons. 

In 1S37, the Indians were very numerous and hostile in 
Travis and adjoining counties, the Texas congress there- 
fore authorized several persons to raise companies of 
rangers, to scour the country, and drive them out. Among 
the most noted rangers and Indian fighters of Texas, were 
Jack Hays, Henry and Ben McCulloch, Colonel Edward 
Burleson, Mathew Caldwell, James and Resin Bowie, 
Kit x\ckland, Tom Green, Ad Gillespie, Mike Chevalier, 
W. W. Wallace, ( Bigfoot ), Jim Hudson, vSam Walker, 
Robert Neighbors, Colonel John S. Ford. Major Van 
Dorn, John H. Moore, and a great many other gallant 
men, too numerous to mention. The following account 
of an expedition of the Texas rangers against the Indians, 
I get from •' Morphis : " 

'* On the 7th ofOctober, 1S37, Captain L. Lynch and William 
Eastland, with sixty-eight men, started from Fort Prairie, five 
miles below where Austin now stands, on the look-out for In- 
dians. On arriving at the sources of Pecan Bayou and the Clear 
Fork of the Brazos, a jealousy sprang up between the officers as 
to right of command, when they partly divided, and Lieutenants 
Van Benthuyson and Miles, with sixteen men, continued their In- 
<lian hunt, while Captain Lynch and Eastland, with the remainder 
returned to the fort. Van Benthuysen, Miles, and company, 
soon fell in with a party of Keechis, attacked and defeated them, 
killing two of their warriors. 

43 Rangers and Pioneers of Texas. 

" Emboldened by success the little party pushed on to the- 
headwaters of the Trinity, near the " Knobs," called by the In- 
dians " the stone houses." On the loth of November they were 
surrounded and attacked by about iSo cw" 200 savage warriors. 
The little band of eighteen men took position at the head of 
a ravine near a forest of trees, but where the grass was abundant, 
and their horses could eat while the fight lasted. Thebattle was- 
desperate, and for hours the Texans kept off the Indians, killing 
their chief, among others, when they retired from the contest, 
elected another chief, and renewed the struggle. During the- 
fight the rangers would pull off their hats, place them on the end 
of their ramrods, raise them above the walls of the ravine, and 
the Indians, mistaking the empty hats for hats with heads in. 
them, would fire at them, sometimes putting as many as half 
a dozen balls through one hat, when immediatel}- the rangers 
would rise, take aim, and fire at the Indians. 

At last the wily savages resorted to the expedient of setting the 
prairie on fire, and almost in an instant vast volumes of flames 
and smoke forced the little band to leave their advantageous 
position and seek safety in the woodland neaa- by, to arrive at 
which point they must necessarily charge through the Indians- 
as well as the flames. Having lost three men already,, the remain- 
ing fifteen left their horses, baggage, provision and dead, and at 
the word of command, bounded off on their run for life. 

"In the charge through the Indians and run to the timber, a 
distance of about eighty yards, seven of the rangers were killed, 
including Lieutenant Miles, and three wounded. In the engage- 
ment ten of eighteen were killed and three of the survivors- 
wounded, while the Indians, as they reported at a trading house, 
lost sixty-three killed and wounded. Night coming on soon after,, 
the rangers gained the woods, under the friendly protection of its- 
dark mantle they retreated before the victorious savages, and after 
much suffering and many hardships, going for two or three days- 
without any thing to eat, they finally struck the settlements, and 
found rest for their weary limbs, nourishing food for their empty 
stomachs, no doubt esteeming themselves fortunate in the pos- 
session of their scalps, fully appreciating the language of the poet, 

For he who fights and runs away 
May live to fight another day, 
But he who is in battle slain 
Can never rise and fight again." 

Rangers and Pioneers of Texas. 4^- 

One of these eight rangers, J. O. Rice, verified the- 
truth of this poetry, for in 1S42, only five years afterwards^ 
he joined the ill-fated expedition under General Somer- 
ville, and was wounded and captured. The Somerville 
campaign wound up w^ith the unfortunate expedition to^ 
Mier, under Cameron, who, with a part of Somerville's- 
force', after it was dissolved, crossed the Rio Grande 
and captured the town of Mier, and fortified himself in. 
some of the buildings. Cameron was soon besieged by 
a large force of Mexicans, and after several days of hard 
fighthig, it was left to a vote whether they should surrender 
or not,\nd it resulted in a majority of the men favoring 
a surrender. The barricades w^ere removed from the 
doors, and the men marched out and gave up their guns 
in the street. Captain Cameron was opposed to a sur- 
render, and when they came out, grasped his rifle by the 
muzzle, and raising it aloft, dashed it to pieces against 
the stone sidewalk. After the Mexicans, had fully dis- 
armed the Texans, they sentenced every fifteenth man to 
be shot. The lots were cast by the men drawing' beans. 
To every fourteen white ones was placed one black one 
until they corresponded to the number of prisoners. The 
beans were then put in a hat and covered up, and the 
drawing commenced. Those drawing the black beans 
were placed off to one side by themselves and that even- 
ing led a short distance from the town and shot. The 
following are the names of those who drew the black 
beans: L. L. Cash, Pennsylvania; J. D. Cocke. Vir- 
ginia; Robert Durham, Tennessee; William N. East- 
land, Tennessee; Edward Este, New Jersey; Robert 
Harris, Mississippi; T. L. Jones, Kentucky; Patrick 
Mahan, Ireland ; James Ogden, Virginia; Charles Rob- 
erts, Tennessee ; William Rowan, Georgia ; J. L. Shep- 
herd. Alabama ; J. M. N. Thompson, Tennessee ; James 

44 Rangers and Pioneers of Texas. 

N. Torry, Connecticut; James Turnbull, Scotland; 
Henry Whaling, Indiana ; M. C. Wing, New York. 
Although Captain Cameron drew a white bean he was 
afterwards shot by his treacherous captors. When the 
imfortunate men were formed in line to be shot the Mexi- 
cans marched up with loaded carbines and halted, each 
one opposite his man, and almost instantly fired. Every 
man fell dead except J. L. Shepherd, of Alabama. He 
was only wounded in the shoulder, but fell and feigned 
-death. The Mexicans, after the discharge, wheeled and 
marched back to town. Shepherd lay with his dead 
comrades until after night set in, and then crept away, 
but becoming bewildered in the mountains, he wandered 
about until nearly starved, and was finally recaptured, 
carried back to Mier, and placed in the public square, 
where he served as a target for the Mexican soldiers to 
shoot at until he was literally riddled with bullets although 
his old v^'ound was festering and badly swollen. 

The Texas cow-boys had quite a remarkable chase 
once after Indians in northwest Texas, the particulars of 
which I learned from a frontiersman, who was familiar 
with the circumstance, and is as follows: 

'* It was in iS6S or 1869, near the brakes of the Brazos river, 
twenty-five of the boys were out hunting cattle, when they sud- 
denly came upon twenty Comanche Indians, all afoot. The 
-cow-boys had no guns, but each one had a revolver, and raising 
a yell, charged, and commenced firing. The Indians returned 
the fire with a volley of arrows and fled, closely pursued by the 
boys. The Indians being on foot, ran through the roughest 
places, while the boys being mounted, had to pick their way, but 
kept so close after them, and the Indians being so nearly run 
down, finally entered a cave. Nineteen were counted a<; they ran 
in, one being killed in the chase. 

"The boys soon arrived at the mouth of the cave and dis- 
mounted, examined the place closely, and held a council as to 
what was best to do. It was throwing their lives away to enter 

Rangers and Pioneers of Texas. 45 

the cave after them, as the Indians would have all the advantage, 
and it was agreed to starve them out, and accordingly sent one 
of their party back to bring up a wagon load of provision for 
themselves during the siege. In the meantime they built a wali 
of rock around the mouth of the cave, about four feet high, and 
guards were kept around it day and night, for they knew the In- 
dians were bound to make a break sooner or later. The provis- 
ion arrived with some more men with it, who were anxious to see 
the fun, and there, for five days and nights they eat, drank, sang 
and wondered when the Indians would come out, and finally, 
they came, on the sixth morning, just before day, screaming and 
yelling, and making the arrows fly, butthey were literally riddled 
with bullets, and none got outside the rock enclosure. Some of 
the whites were wounded, but none killed. That was one band 
of Comanche warriors who left their tribe on a horse stealing 
expedition, and was never heard of any more by them..'' 





In 1S33, occurred one of the most remarkable Indian 
battles on record in Texas history. Considering the 
number engaged it. it has no equal. It occurred on the 
San Saba river, and was fought by James Bowie and his 
brother Rezin P. Bowie, David Buchanan, Mr. Hamm, 
Mathew Doyle, Thomas ■NlcCaslin, Robert Armstrong, 
James Cornell, and three others. They were out pros- 
pecting for gold in the San Saba mountains, and were 
in camp, when they were suddenly confronted by a large 
bodv of Indians. The following account of the affair is 
from the pen of Rezin P. Bowie : 

" Their number," says he " being so far greater than ours, 164 
to ele\en, it was agreed that Rezin P. BoAvie should be sent out to 
talk with them, and endeavor to compromise rather than attempt 
to fight. He accordingly started, with David Buchanan in com- 
pany, and walked up to within fortyyardsof where they had halted, 
and requested them in their own tongue to send forward their 
chief, as they wanted to talk with him. Their answer was 'How 
do vou do! howdoyoudo!' in English, and a discharge of twelve 
shots at us, one of which broke Buchanan'sleg. Bowie returned 
their salutation with the contents of a double-barreled gun, and 
a pistol. He then took Buchanan on his shoulder, and started 
back to the encampment. They then opened a heavy fire upon 
us, which wounded Buchanan in two more places slightly, and 
piercing Bowie's hunting shirt in several places without doing 
him any injury. When they found their shot failed to bring 
down Bowie, eight Indians, on foot, took after him, with toma- 

Rangers and Pioneers of Texas. 47 

hawks, and when close upon him were discovered bv his partv, 
who rushed out with their rifles, and brought down four of them: 
the other four retreating back to the main body. We then 
returned to our position, and all was still for about five minutes. 

"We then discovered a hill to the northwest, at the distance of 
sixty yards, :red with Indians, who opened a heavy fire upon us, 
with loud yells, their chief on horseback, urging them, in a loud 

.audible voice, to the charge, walking his horse, perfectly composed. 
When we first discovered him, our guns were all empty, with the 

■ exception of Mr. Hamm's. James Bowie cried out, ' Who is 
loaded? ' Mr. Hamm answered, ' I am.' He was then told to 
shoot that Indian on horseback- He did so, and broke his leg 
and killed his horse. We now dis^covered him hopping around 
his horse on one leg with his shield on his arm to keep off 
the balls. By this time, four of our party being reloaded, fired 
at the same instant, and all the balls took effect through the 
shield. He fell and was immediately surrounded by six or eight 
of his tribe, who picked him up and bore him off. Several of 
these were shot by our partv. The whole body then retreated 
back of the hill out of sight, with the exception of a few Indians, 
who were running about from tree to tree out of gun shot. They 
now covered the hill the second time, bringing up their bowmen, 
who had not been" in action before, and commenced a heavy fire 
with balls and arrows, which we returned with a well directed aim 
with our rifies. At this instant another chief appeared on horse- 
back, near the spot where the last one fell. The same question 
of • Who is loaded.^ ' was asked. The answer was 'nobody,' 
when little Charles, the mulatto sei-\ant, came running up with 
Buchanan's rifle, which had not been discharged since he was 
wounded, and handed it to James Bowie, who instantly fired and 
brought him down from his horse. He was surrounded by six or 
eight of his tribe, as was the last, and was borne off under our fire. 
" During the time we were defending ourselves from the Indians 

• on the hill, some fifteen or twenty of the Caddo tribe had suc- 
ceeded in getting under the bank of the creek, in our rear, at 
about fort}- yards distant, and opened a heavy fire upon us, which 
wounded Mathew Doyle, the ball entering the left breast and 
coming out at the back. As soon as he cried out that he was 
wounded, Thomas McCaslin hastened to the spot, when he fell, 

.and obsened ' Where is the Indian that shot Dovle.- ' He was 

48 Rangers and Pioneers of Texas. 

told by a more experienced hand not to venture there, as from the- 
reports of their guns, they must be riflemen. At that instant he 
discovered an Indian, and, while in the act of raising his piece, 
was shot through the center of the body and expired. Robert 

Armstrong exclaimed, ' D n the Indian that shot McCaslin;; 

where is he.^' He was told not to venture there as they must be 
riflemen, but, on discovering an Indian, and, while bringing his 
gun up, was fired at, and part of the stock of his gun cut off, the 
ball lodging against the barrel. During this time our enemies had 
formed a complete circle around us, occupying the points of rocks, 
scattering trees and bushes. The firing then became general from 
all quarters. Finding our situation too much exposed among the 
trees, we were obliged to leave them, and take to the thickets.. 
The first thing necessary was to dislodge the riflemen from under 
the bank of the creek, who were within point-blank shot. This 
we soon succeeded in doing, by shooting the most of them in the 
head, as soon as we had the advantage of seeing them, when they 
could not see us. The road we had cut around the thicket the 
night previous, gave us now an advantageous situation over that 
of our enemy, as we had a fair view of them in the prairie, while 
we were completely hid. We baflled their shots by moving six or 
eight feet the moment we had fired, as their only mark was the 
smoke of our guns. They would put twenty balls within the size 
of a pocket handkerchief when they had seen the smoke. In this 
manner we fought them two hc^rs. and had one man wounded, 
James Corriell, who was shot through the arm, the ball lodging 
in the side, first cutting away a small bush w^hich prevented it 
from penetrating deeper than then size of it. They now discov- 
ered that we were not to be dislodged from the thicket, and the 
uncertainty of killing us at random, they suffering very much 
from the fire of our rifles, which brought half a dozen down at 
every round, they determined to resort to strategem, by putting 
fire to the dry grass in the prairie, for the double purpose of 
routing us from our position, and, under cover of the smoke, to- 
carry away their dead and wounded, which lay near us. The 
wind was now blowing from the west, and they placed the fire in; 
that quarter, where it burned down all the grass to the creek, 
and then bore off to the right and left, leaving around our posi- 
tion a space of about five acres untouched by the fire. Under- 
cover of their smoke they succeeded in carrying off a portion of: 

Rangers and Pioneers of Texas. 4^ 

their dead and wounded. In the meantime our party was engaged 
in scraping awaj the dry grass and leaves from our wounded men 
and baggage, to prevent the fire from passing over them; and 
likeAvise in piling up rocks and bushes to answer the place of 
breastwork. They now discovered that they had failed in rout- 
ing us, as they had anticipated. They then re-occupied the 
points of rocks and trees in the prairie, and commenced another 
attack. The firing continued for some time, when the wind sud- 
denly shifted to the north and blew very hard. We now discov- 
ered our dangerous situation, should the Indians succeed in 
putting fire to the small spot which we occupied, and kept a 
strict watch all around. The two servant boys were employed itL 
scraping away dry grass and leaves from around the wounded 
men. The point from which the wind now blew being favorable 
to fire our position, one of the Indians succeeded in crawling 
down the creek, and putting fire to the grass that had not been 
burnt, but, before he could retreat back to his party,, was killed 
by Robert Armstrong. 

" At this time we saw no hope of escape, as the fire was coming 
down rapidly before the wind, flaming ten feet high, and directly 
for the spot we occupied. What must be done.'' We must 
either be burnt up alive, or be driven into the prairie among the 
savages. This encouraged the Indians; and, to make it more; 
awful, their shouts and yells rent the air — they, at the same timei, 
firing about twenty shots a minutfe. As soon as the smoke hid 
us from their view we collected together and held a consultation 
as w^hat was best to be done. Our first impression was, that they 
might charge on us under cover of the smoke, as we could make 
but one effectual fire. The sparks were flving about so thickly 
that no man could open his powder horn without running the 
risk of being blown up. However, we finally came to a determi- 
nation ; had they charged us, to give them fire, place our backs 
together, draw our knives, and fight them as long as any of us 
were alive. The next question was, should they not charge on us 
and we retain our position, we must be burnt up. It was then 
decided that each man should take care of himself as well as he 
could until the fire arrived at the ring around our baggage and 
wounded men, and there it should be smothered with buffalo 
robes, bear skins, deer skins, and blankets; which, after a great 
deal of exertion, we succeeded in doing. Our thicket being so 

5o Rangers and Pioneers of Texas. 

much burnt and scorched that it afforded little or no shelter, we 
all got into the ring, that was made around our wounded nien and 
baggage, and commenced building our breastwork higher, with 
the loose rocks from the inside, and dirt dug up with our knives 
and sticks. During the last fire the Indians had succeeded in 
removing all theirkilled and wounded which lay near us. It was 
now sundown, and we had been warmly engaged with the Indians 
since sunrise, and they, seeing us still alive and ready for fight, 
drew off at a distance of a hundred yards and encamped for 
the night." 

No other attack was made upon the little party which 
remained upon the field of battle eight days, when the 
Indians, who were Caddos. and Tehuacanas. having 
retired, thev saddled up and returned to the settlements, 
with the loss of one man killed, and three wounded. 
Five horses were killed, and three wounded. While the 
Indians loss, as reported by the Comanches, were eighty- 
two killed and wounded. 

I will here state that Rezin P. Bowie was supposed 
by some to have been killed at the storming of Monterey, 
Alexico, as he was seen during, the hottest of the fire, 
when men were falling on every side, and the streets 
and sidewalks were being literally torn to pieces by grape 
and canister shot ; but after this, one writer says, Lieu- 
tenant Bowie was seen no more. 

In 1839, the Texans began to have trouble with the 
Cherokee tribe of Indians, who had, prior to this time, 
been peaceable. Morphissays: '• Although the Chero- 
kees, under their chief, Boiles, had settled on the 
Neches, a few miles north of Nacogdoches, in 1S23, 
witli the permission of the Mexicans and a promise of 
uninterrupted possession, which had been guaranteed to 
them by the co7is2(ltation and the treaty made by Houston 
and Forbes in 1S36. vet they were intruders and should 
be removed. De]:)redations and murders were frec]uent 

Rangers and Pioneers of Texas. 51 

on the frontier, and when accused of doing them, the 
Cherokees laid the blame upon ' the -wild Indians.' '' 

In order to guard the frontier as well as watch the 
Cherokees, Major Walters, with two companies of troops, 
was ordered to occupy the Neches Saline, which the 
Cherokees claimed as belonging to them. The chief, 
Bolles, notified Major Walters that the Cherokees would 
resist this occupation by force and arms. Major Walters 
reported the fact to the Secretary of War in November, 
1839, but did not enter the territory of the Cherokees. 
• Now. before this time, Manuel Flores, an agent of 
the Mexican government, with some twenty-five men, 
passed between Seguin and San Antonio, where they 
murdered and robbed the defenseless, but were after- 
wards pursued, and overtaken, and entirely defeated by 
Lieutenant James O. Rice, on the San Gabriel fork of 
Little river, about fifteen miles from Austin. Rice cap- 
tured 300 pounds of powder, a like quantity of shot, balls 
and bar lead, and more than a hundred mules and horses. 
Flores was killed, and on his person were found papers 
and letters showing the grand strategy of the Mexican 
policy of arousing and inciting all the border Indians to 
aid them with their war in Texas. Flores had messages 
from General Canalizo, the successor of Filisola, at 
Matamoras, to the chief of the Caddoes, Seminoles, 
Biloxies, Cherokees, Kickapoos, Brazas, Tehuacanas, 
and perhaps others, promising the lands on which they 
had settled, and assuring them that they need expect 
nothing from those greedy adventurers for land, who 
wish even to deprive the Indians of the sun that warms 
and vivifies them, and who would not cease to injure 
them while the grass grows and the water runs. By con- 
cert of action at the same time that the Mexican army 
marched into San Antonio, the Indians were to light up 

52 Rangers and Pioneers of Texas. 

the whole frontier with the flames of Texan dwellings 
and cause the very air to resound with the cries of their 
women and children. 

Whatever title the Cherokees had to their lands, and 
without doubt it was a good one, they forfeited it by en- 
tering into the war with Mexico against Texas. So upon 
receiving notification of Bolles, through Major Walters, 
the Secretary of War, General A, vS. Johnson, ordered 
General Ed Burleson, with 400 men, from Colorado, 
Colonel Landrum's regiment from eastern Texas, and 
the Nacadoches regiment, under General Rusk, to march 
into the Cherokee nation, and the entire force to act 
under the command of General K. H. Douglas. 

Commissioners proceeded the troops and met the In- 
dians in council, whom they promised to pay for their 
improvements, but required to surrender their gun-locks 
and retire to the Cherokee nation of their brethren north 
of the Red river, which the Indians refused to do, where- 
upon General Douglas and troops attacked the Indians, 
and after two engagements, on the 15th and i6th of July, 
1839, wherein the Indians were defeated with the loss of 
about 100 warriors, including their chief, Bolles, (or 
Bowles — like Texan, Texian, use justifies either), while 
the whites lost eight killed and thirty wounded, drove 
them out of the country, burned their villages, etc." 

This expulsion of the Indians from Texas was con- 
trary to the advice and wishes of General Houston. 






In 1S39, the Comanches were very hostile, and com- 
mitted many depredations all along the frontier. Rangers 
were ordered out. The settlers would often band together, 
and with the aid of the friendly Indians, who were good 
trailers and understood the Indian character, they would 
penetrate into the wilds of the west and attack them in 
their camps. Flacco and Castro were two noted chiefs 
of the friendly Lipan. Flacco delighted to go with Jack 
Hays' celebrated ranging company, hated the Comanche 
tribe, and was always glad of an opportunity to fight 
them. Although the Lipans were a branch of the 
Comanche tribe, a quarrel had arisen in time between 
two chiefs of this tribe, which terminated in Lipan, one 
of the rival chiefs, leaving his tribe, and, with a number 
who adhered to his cause, going into another part of the 
country and forming a new tribe, calling themselves 
Lipans, after their chief. The fate of Flacco is uncertain. 
Some say he perished, while trapping, with nearly all of 
his band, on the Staked Plains, for want of water. When 
but few of them were left, they scattered, each one going 
his own way and according to his own judgment. The 
last seen of the gallant Flacco, he was standing by his 
horse on this waterless waste of prairie. He had bled his 

54 Raxgers and Pioneers of Texas. 

horse and was drinking the blood. This is the report 
that some of his tribe brought to Gonzales after this ill- 
fated trapping expedition. 

The following incident of Indian warfare I get from 
Morphis: '*On the 32nd of February, 1S39, Colonel 
John H. Moore, W. P. Hardeman, Flacco, Castro, and 
others, aggregating sixty- five whites and forty-one 
Lipans, mostly from La Grange and Bastrop, attacked 
the Comanches in their camp on Wallace creek, seven 
miles from San Saba, and completely surprised them, 
but failing to push their advantage, they lost their horses, 
and marched home on foot, with the loss of one man 
accidently killed and seven wounded." 

The early history of Texas and a life on the frontier 
may be exemplified by the follow^ing incidents, the truth 
of which many living witnesses about Austin can prove : 
Early in the spring of 1839, when the trees were covered 
with green leaves, and the earth with grass, and varie- 
gated flowers which perfumed the air with their fragrance, 
when the forest resounded with the " native wood-note 
wild," of feathered songsters, and everything alive 
seemed to enjoy existence, a band of 500 Indians attacked 
the settlements near Austin, just located in the hunting 
grounds of, the Comanches. 

They first attacked, about 10 o'clock in the mornings 
the house of Mrs. Coleman, near the Colorado river, 
sixteen miles below Austin. She was in the garden at 
the time with her little son, Thomas, aged about seven 
years, and on the approach of the Indians, she called her 
little boy and ran into the house. Mrs. Coleman out- 
running her son, arrived at the house first, when looking 
around for him, an Indian pierced her through the 
neck wuth an arrow ; she then entered the house and 

Rangers and Pioxeers of Texas. 55 

assisted another son, thirteen years old in barring the 

There were also in the house her two daughters, about 
nine and eleven years old, and an infant son, who took 
refuge under the bed. After barring the door, Airs. 
Coleman, with the maternal instinct of defending her 
young ones, seized a rifle, and seating herself in a chair, 
with the weapon on her knees, drew the deadly arrcnv 
from her neck, and almost -instantly thereafter, fell from 
the chair and expired, covering the floor with her blood. 
The boy seized the gun. and as the Indians approached, 
fired and shot their chief, who fell dead/)n the door steps, 
and then reloading, fired twice more, killing another 
Indian and wounding a third, when one of the savages 
thrust his spear through a hole in the side of the house, 
and pierced the brave boy through the body. ^He fell 
near the bed where his sisters and brothers lay concealed, 
when the eldest took his head in her lap. While bleed- 
ing to death he said to the poor little ones: "I will 
not groan to let them know I am wounded " Then 
with his expiring breath he said to them: '' Father is 
dead, mother is dead, and I am dying, but something 
tells me God will protect you." The Indians then broke 
open the door, but hearing voices under the bed, and 
fearing more deadly bullets, after piercing the dead 
bodies with their spears, by thrusting them through the 
door, retired, taking with them little Thomas, but leaving 
the other three defenseless children terribly frightened,, 
but unharmed. 

A few hours after, when relief came, they crawled out 
from their place of concealment, and in giving their 
mother a farewell kiss, wet their clothes in her blood. 
The Indians next attacked Dr. Joe Robertson's residence, 
about 500 3'ards from Mrs. Coleman's, and captured all 

56 Rangers and Pioneers of Texas. 

but one of his negroes, but the doctor was fortunately on 
a visit with his family, and thus escaped. After robbing 
the place, they next went to what was afterwards known 
as Wells' fort, where three families, of Mrs. Wells, John 
Walters, and G. W. Davis, resided, but just before arriv- 
ing at the house, sixteen frontiersmen deployed in the 
front and stopped them, but returned before the Indians, 
taking the three families, mounted behind them, to Fort 
Wilbarger. The Indians were on foot, and turning off 
from the last place attacked, to Wilbarger's creek, camped 
for the night, and buried their dead, while the frontiers- 
men divided, a few remaining to watch the Indians, and 
the rest scattering as couriers over the country to raise 
men to fight them. By daylight, eighty men were 
assembled at Wilbarger's, and General Ed. Burleson 
assumins: command, marched to meet the Indians, leavins" 
a detail of five to protect the women and children. 

General Burleson came up with the Indians about one 
o'clock, in the open prairie, n.ear Brushv creek, twenty 
miles northeast of Austin, when, dividing his men into 
two parties, one of which Captain Jones Rogers led. and 
he the other, they charged the Indians, who took position 
in the bend of a ravine covered with scrubbv elm and 

The Indians at first retired before the galling fire of 
Burleson's men. but recovering, they charged, and forced 
Burleson and his party back upon the same ground. The 
contest lasted from i o'clock till night, when the Indians 
retired from the field of battle, beating their drums, rattling 
their shields, and singing their war songs, carrying with 
them their dead and wounded, supposed to be about 
eighty warriors. 

Burleson lost four killed, viz : Jacob, his brother, Rev. 
James Gilleland, John Walters, Edward Blakely, and 

Rangers and Pioneers of Texas. 57 

•several wounded. Jacob Burleson was killed in front and 
his body fell into the temporary possession of the Indians, 
who cut off his hands, scalped him, and cut out his heart, 
which they took off with them. Wearied and exhausted 
from marching, fasting and fighting, Burleson returned 
to Fort Wilbarger the next day after the battle, bearing 
the bodies of his dead, when a more painful scene was 
never witnessed : the bereaved wife wept for her husband, 
the mother for her only son, and brothers and sisters for 
their brothers. One incident occurred which equals or 
surpasses anything of the kind recorded in Grecian or 
Roman history. On arriving at the fort, the bodies of 
the dead were laid out, preparatory to their funeral 
obsequies, in a room by themselves. Mrs. Blakely, on 
startinsT into the room to take a last look at her son, was 
stopped and informed that he was shot in the f-.^ce, and 
so mangled and disfigured that the sight would be so 
horrid and painful that she must not go in. She claimed 
and demanded her right as mother to take a last look 
:at her son. It was granted ; and going into the room, she 
kneeled by his dead body, wiped the blood and brains 
oozing out from off his forehead, kissed him, and for a 
moment rested her head upon his manly breast, and then 
rising, pale and calm, she exclaimed, with tearless 
dignity : " His father and brother died in defense of their 
countrv- and now he is dead — my only living protector ! 
But if I had a thousand sons, and my country needed 
tthem, I would cheerfully give them up. " God grant this 
mother and son the ineffable joys of paradise, and inspire 
.all Texans with the same transcendent virtue and patriotic 

Sometime in 1S42, Captain Jack Hays, with fifteen 
men, including Ad. Gillespie, Sam Walker, Sam Luckie, 
^nd the famous story-teller, Kit Acklin, fought his cele- 

5S Raxgehs and Pioneers of Texas. 

brated and most desperate battle with Yellow Wolf, and 
eighty Comanche warriors, at the Pinta trail crossing of 
the Guadalupe, between San Antonio and Fredericks- 
burg, and, after a hand-to-hand contest and two charges, 
defeated them, killing and wounding about half their 
number, with a loss of one killed and three wounded, but 
without taking much spoils. Hays' report of the efficiency 
of the five-shooters used in these battles caused Mr. Colt 
to produce the six-shooter, and to engrave on the cylinder 
the ranger on horseback, charging Indians. 

Before or after this engagement, a ranger named James 
Dunn, whose hair was remarkably red. was captured by 
the Comanches and led away a hopeless prisoner, to their 
camp. Strange to say, the murderous, bloodthirsty 
savages neither tortured, killed, or ate him alive, which 
he thought they would do, but actually took a fancy 
to him, treated him with great kindness, and, as Jim 
afterwards related, came within an ace of killing him 
with kindness, or, rather, drowning him in Rio Frio 
while attempting to wash the red ( paint ) from his hair. 

On the evening of the ist of January, 1843, after 
attending a public meeting in Austin, Captain Alexander 
Coleman and William Bell started in their buggy for 
a ride, followed by Joseph Hornsby and James Edmond- 
son on horseback. Just as Hornsby and Edmondson 
mounted the spur of Robertson's hill, east of Austin, 
where George L. Robertson now resides, they saw Cole- 
man and Bell jump from their buggy, cross the fence, 
and run for dear life across the field southeast of them, 
pursued by about thirty Indians. They saw the Indians, 
capture them l^oth, kill Bell, and about to kill Coleman, 
when, after a moment's consultation thev resolved, though 
unarmed, save with a single-barreled pistol between the 
two, to stampede the Indians and rescue their friend 

Rangers and Pioneers of Texas. 59 

Coleman, or perish in the attempt. In their flight, Bell 
and Coleman had separated, and the pursuing Indians did 
the same, many of them leaving their horses at the fence 
when they entered the field, and it so happened that 
when Hornsby and Edmondson, charged them at full 
speed, yelling terribly, and discharging the single- 
barreled pistol in their midst, that they were frightened, 
left Coleman at liberty, but almost naked, and took to 
their heels, no doubt thinking that Hornsby and Edmond- 
son would immediately be followed by more Texans. 
Coleman did his best running back to town, and raised 
the alarm, while his liberators hung on the rear of the 
retreating Indians for two and a half miles-, yelling and 
hallooing, until assistance joined them, when a little 
battle took place, wherein three savages were killed and 
their horses and accoutrements captured. 

One night, John Wahrenberger, a Switzer, and gardener 
of Colonel Louis P. Cook, Secretary of the Navy, return- 
ing home with a bag of meal on his shoulder, fell in 
with a party of Indians at the head of the avenue, near 
the Alhambra. He fled, and gained the residence of 
Colonel Cook, who then lived where Colonel A. H. Cook 
now resides, but received three arrows in his meal sack 
and one in his arm. As the poor fellow reached the 
door, he fell exhausted, and fainted, while Colonel Cook 
fired on his pursuers, and wounded one so badly that 
their trail was easily traced the next day by the blood 
on the ground. 

One night, as Col. James S. Mayfield, Secretary of 
State, wal returning home from a party with a young 
lady, Indians shot at and wounded him. 

For some time after the capitol was removed to Austin. 
Indians were very troublesome, making frequent raids. 
on the settlements, and killing and robbing without 

6o Rangers and Pioneers of Texas. 

mercy. On one occasion Captain Billy Wilson, with a 
party of young men, including Colonel Jack Baylor, who 
relates the story, pursued them for three days without 
rest or food, and overtook them on the head of the Yegua, 
near Austin. Just before the Indians, who were retreat- 
ing at their utmost speed, reached the timber, one of 
them, to facilitate his speed and escape death, being 
left behind, cut loose a large piece of raw meat, and 
letting it fall to the ground, continued his flight. Col- 
onel Baylor and his companions saw this operation, and 
teing exceedingly hungry, stopped, lighted afire, cooked 
and commenced eating the captured meat, when Capt^iin 
Wilson, who rode a safe rather than a swift horse, and 
was behind, came up and saw them devouring the cap- 
tured property, and he being hungry himself, exclaimed : 
" Great God ! that meat is poisoned ! You'll all be dead 
in fifteen minutes ! Run down to the creek and drink 
as much water as you can to kill the poison!" Baylor 
and his young Indian hunters heard and obeyed their 
chief, but as they returned to the spot, they beheld their 
commander as he was swallowing the last particle of the 
captured meat, and who, wiping his mouth with his 
sleeve, exclaimed, with a cunning smile, '• Well, boys, 
we will all die together, I have /listed i?z what you left." 

In Mav, 1834, the Kiowa Indians made a descent 
on the settlements of northern Texas, on Glass creek, 
killed and wounded Judge Gabriel N. Martin, the 
brother-in-law of T. G. and G. W. Wright, and carried 
away to their stronghold in the Wichita mountains, his 
little son, Mat. W. Martin, then eight years old. iVfter 
burying the husband of his only sister, who was almost 
distracted by his death. Captain T. G. Wright, witli 
three voknteers. John Ragsdale, Thomas McCowin 
and Hardy, a negro, who had lived with the Kiowas. and 

Rangers and Pioneers of Texas. 6i 

spoke their language, bid good-bye to their friends and 
struck out over the boundless prairie to hunt the mur- 
derers of Judge Martin, rescue little Mat. and return him 
to his grief- stricken mother. It was arranged that when 
the little party should find the camp of the Indians, 
Captain Wright, with Ragsdale and McCowin, should 
conceal themselves in the thicket, while Hardy should 
enter alone the camp of his old associates, and, while 
pretending to rejoin them, find the little boy, and 
when opportunity afforded, with him leave the camp of 
the Kiowas, seek the hiding place of his friends, and 
with them and little Mat. return as best they could to the 
settlements. For days and weeks they traversed the 
prairie and cross-timbers, but before they neared the 
village of the Kiowas, these bold and death-daring 
frontiersmen most fortunately fell in with General 
Leavenworth, of the United States army, who, with a 
detachment of infantry and cavalry, was seeking the 
same Indians, by the order of the government, to treat 
with them for the delivery of other captives then held by 
them. Captain Wright and his party joined the com- 
mand of General Leavenworth, and all of them being 
good woodsmen, were of great service in finding lost, 
horses and killing game. The weather was hot, the 
prairie dry, and water very scarce, while the Indians 
fled before and hung around their rear, refusing to stop 
even for a white flag, or to hold any communications 
whatever with them. From bad water.* exposure, Sinxiety 
of mind, or some other cause. General Leavenworth 
sickened and died, when Captain Wright and his party, 
with twelve soldiers, were detailed to carry back his 
body to Fort Wichita, from whence it was afterwards. 
taken to Delhi, New York, for final interment. As a 
soldier and oflScer General Leaveaworth was admired 

'63 Rangers and Pioneers of Texas. 

for his many excellent qualities, and his untimely death 
was sincerely mourned by his whole command. Captain 
Wright and his party returned from Fort Wichita to the 
little army under the command of the next senior officer, 
Captain Dean, with which he and his party passed 
through the cross-timbers, suffering much, after pressing 
the juice from wild grapes to quench their thirst, which 
not only relieved them but had an exhilerating effect, 
similar to wine. After much suffering and hardships 
they came to a country abounding in water and game, 
when they luxuriated upon roast turkey, venison and 
buffalo steaks, besides a variety of fresh-water fish, and 
honey, found abundantly in the hollow trees. But it was 
some time before they found the village of the Kiowas ; 
in the course of time, however, after scouring the 
country all round where the trail disappeared, they dis- 
covered an Indian on the prairie, when two select men, 
on swift horses, were ordered to catch him. The race 
was short, for, when the Indian saw his pursuers gaining 
on him, and losing all hoj^e of escape, dismounted, and 
leveled his gun at them, whereupon they also dismounted 
and advanced upon him without presenting their ,^uns, 
but making signs to him not to shoot, which he did not 
do, and the two horsemen came up to him without harm 
and induced him to visit their camp. The Kiowas had 
been at war with the Osage Indians, and when this Kiowa 
entered the camp of the white men, to his great joy and 
astonishment, his o?ily sister (who had been captured by 
the Osages in one of their battles with the Kiowas, and 
had been ransomed or purchased by the United States, 
in order to present her as a token of friendship to her tribe) 
ran up to him, and falling on his neck, wept for joy. The 
objects of the expedition having been explained to this 
Indian, he piloted Dean's command to the place where 

Hangers and Pioneers of Texas. 63 

"the trail gave out on the bank of a creek, up that creek sev- 
eral hundred yards through the water, to a plain road on 
the opposite bank, which led to their village, where a treaty 
was soon concluded, and many liberated captives ran to 
the arms of their kindred and friends. Little Mat. again 
made glad the heart of a fond mother and other relations 
and friends, while Captain Travis G. Wright still lives 
and enjoys that sweetest and most exquisite pleasure 
which always comes home to the hearts of those who 
delight to make others happy. 

The Indians continued to molest the frontier settlers 
from the time they became hostile until they were finally 
subjugated and driven from the country, which was about 
the year 1S7S. Sometimes they were not so bad, but 
again they would scourge the frontier from the Rio 
Grande to Red river ; homes would be desolated, and 
sometimes whole settlements would be destroyed. Some 
settlers would give it up in despair and move east, never 
more to face the red man ; but others would remain and 
fio^ht it out until the rangers would come to their assist- 
ance, who were always ordered out by the governor 
under these circumstances, and when the frontier became 
quiet again, and the Indians driven out, the rangers 
would be disbanded, and return to their homes. 

In 1S5S, the following appeared in the SegmniMeraay , 
published by \\'illiam Dunn, who is the present sheriff 
of this county, (Guadalupe), at this date, 1SS3 : 

" The following gentlemen have been authorized by Governor 
Runnels to raise volunteer companies in their respective counties, 
under the Texas regiment bill, which provides for the raising of 
1,000 mounted men for the defense of the Texas frontier; and 
which- his excellency will receive and tender to the president in 
response to his contemplated requisition : Colonel John S. Ford, 
of Travis; Captain Henry McCulloch, of Guadalupe; Captain 
William Tobin, of Bexar; Captain E. A. Palmer, of Harris; Cap- 

64 Rangers and Pioneers of Texas. 

tain E. R. Hord, of Star; A. Nelson, of Bosque; Major A. M.. 
Truitt, of Shelby; Major E. A. Carroll, of Henderson; General 
J. H. Rogers, of Cass; Colonel Sam Bogart, of Collin. 

'* In the above list of names we find that of our fellow citizen, 
Captain H. E. McCulloch. We feel confident that should the 
Captain comply with the call made upon him and others, and. 
undertake the raising of a company, he will rally to his standard 
many brave hearts and willing arms, that have in former times 
served with him in defense of our then much exposed and unpro- 
tected frontier. This county need entertain no fears concern- 
ing the valor of her sons; for, at the battle of Escondido, they 
won laurels which time will not soon pluck from their brows, 
and far more worthy to be worn than the showy plume or gilded 
epaulet. Here is a capital chance afforded to those who wish. 
to display their martial courage on ' the tented field ' in sangui- 
nary combat with the ' redskins.' Captain McCulloch is well 
versed in Indian warfare, and to say that he is at the head of a 
company, is sufficient. He needs no passport to entitle him to 
command, but his universal acknowledged bravery, and consum- 
mate knowledge of border warfare, of which none that know himi 
can doubt. The post of colonel of the proposed regiment could 
not be bestowed upon one more deserving,' and one to whose 
qualifications so eminently fit him for that position," 

The most of these companies, I think, were raised. 
Colonel John S. Ford took the field, and penetrated 
far into the western wilds, and fought the Comanches in 
their stronghold. It was his company of rangers that 
fought such desperate battles with the noted chief, " Iron 
Jacket," in two engagements in the same day. Ford's 
men killed fifty-seven of Iron Jacket's warriors, but the 
famous chief escaped unhurt, although he engaged the 
rangers at close quarters, and led the charge in person. 
Some of the best riflemen in the command tried in vain to 
bring him down, and it was the general belief among the 
rangers that he must be encased in an iron jacket, as his 
name implied. One of the rangers offered to bet that 
if ever he came within range of this chief again, that he 

Rangers and Pioneers of Texas. 65 

would kill him. Not long after this Colonel Ford was 
again on the track of the celebrated chief. He trailed 
him far into the mountains, until one evening the scouts 
dashed back and reported Indians in force just ahead, on 
a little creek. Ford arranged his men in proper order 
and advanced. As they neared the creek, a small detach- 
ment w^as sent ahead to find them, and the main body 
moved slowly up in perfect order, for well they knew 
what desperate charges the Comanches w^ould make, led 
by Iron Jacket. They left the hills, entered the valley. 
and were nearing the timber on the creek, and still noth- 
ing could be seen of the enem^^ Everything was calm 
and still, the advance guard cautiously advanced, and 
was assured by the scouts that the Indians were near, 
and so they were. All at once they came bounding up 
the creek bank, hundreds of them, and with such yells as 
wonld almost make the stoutest hearts quail, and, bound- 
ing like a deer in front ,of this host of painted demons, 
was Iron Jacket, but he had to contend with Ford's 
invincibles who had often made him and his braves fly 
before them. The advance of the rangers delivered their 
fire with great coolness and precision, and fell back 
tow^ards the main body, who were hurrying to the front 
with loud cheers, but Iron Jacket was seen to fall at the 
first discharge from the advanced scouts. The battle 
soon became general, and the Comanches fought bravely 
around their fallen chief, and made desperate endeavors 
to carry him off, when thev saw the battle was going 
against them, but thev fell so fast that they finally 
abandoned the attempt, and gave away on all sides. 
The route was complete, and great numbers of the 
Indians were slain. When the combat was over, and 
they approached the great chief, they found he was not 
dead, only having both legs broken. The ranger who 

'66 Rangers and Pioneers of Texas. 

wanted to make the bet that he would kill the chief, 
was in front for that purpose. When the Indians made 
their appearance, he waited for -a good chance, and 
then fired both barrels of his shot-gun at once, loaded 
with buckshot. He aimed to strike about the knees, 
with the above result. On examining the body he was 
found to be encased from the throat nearly to the knees 
in a Spanish coat of mail, resembling the scales on a fish, 
but more pointed and lying close to his body. In rubbing 
downward with the hand it was smooth, but in passing 
the hand upward, the scales would turn up. It was 
carried to Austin and placed in the capitol, where I saw 
and examined it. I have often sat, when a boy, and 
listened to one of Ford's ransfers tell about these battles. 



Just previous to the time that Colonel Ford com- 
menced operations against the hostile Indians in the west, 
Major Earl Van Dom, with his command, were in the 
northwestern part of the State, vainly endeavoring to 
bring the Indians to battle, who were in large force, 
but the wily savages for some time avoided a general 
engagement, but finally, on the morning of the ist of 
October, 18=^8, a decisive battle was fought in the Wichita 
region. Van Dorn's official report of this battle was 
first published in the San Antonio Herald, and repub- 
lished in the Seguin Mercury, bearing date October 20th, 
1858, by William Dunn, publisher, which is as follows: 
''By the arrival, last night, of an express from the Wichita 
expedition, the department here received the following official 
report of a most brilliant engagement with the Comanches, m 
v^\i\c.\v fifty -six warriors xvere left dead on the field. The battle 
took place near the Wichita village, on the morning of the rst of 

" Havinc. been permitted, at a late hour last night, to copy the 
report of Uiis signal victory, we lay it before our readers at the 
earliest possible moment, in an extra, and, also in our regular 
weekl V edition, our daily having already been struck off. 

"That the news is most glorious, it is needless to announce, 
though accompanied with the sorrowful news of the loss of a 
gallant voung officer, and the wounding of several others, among 
whom is the intrepid leader of the expedition. Major Van Dorn. 
"The vital blow at the supposed invincible Comanche nation, 
in their mountain fastness, signally demonstrates the wisdom of 

6S Rangers and Pioneers of Texas. 

our department commander in organizing this expedition. But 
we cannot dilate now on the valuable results which we anticipate 
from this judicious measure in subduing the savages on our 
frontier. The report of Major Van Dorn is characterized by great 
good taste, and is as follows: 

" Headquarters Wichita Expeditiox, ^ 

" Camp ne."lr Wichita Village, I 

"October 5th, 1858. J 

" Captain: — I have the honor to make the following report of 
the operations of my command since the 25th ult., the date of 
my last report. The stockade work in progress of construction 
at that date,, was completed on the sqUi, and preparations were 
being made to move towards the Canadian river the following 
morning, when two of our Indian spies came in and reported 
a large Comanche camp near the Wichita village, about ninetv 
miles due east of the depot. Upon receipt of this information, I 
had all the stores, draught mules, and extra horses, moved 
at once into the defensive enclosure, and marched for this point 
with the four companies of cavalry and Indian allies. After 
making a forced march of ninety odd miles in thirty-eight hours, 
during the last part of which we were continually in the saddle 
for sixteen and a half hours, including the charge and pursuit, we 
arrived at this camp on the morning of the ist inst. 

" I had been in hopes of reaching a point in close proximity ta 
the enemy before daylight, and had made disposition for an 
attack, based on information received from the spies, but as day- 
break came upon us some three or four miles off, and I found 
them very inaccurate in their information, I moved the compa- 
nies up in columns with intervals of a hundred yards, and moved 
in the direction of which the camp was said to be, sending instruc- 
tions to the captains to deploy and charge whenever it was over 
the crest of the hills, in advance of us. After marching with this 
information about two miles, at an increased gait, the sound of 
the charge came from towards the left, and in a moment the 
whole command poured down into the enemy's camp, in the most 
gallant style, and we soon found ourselves engaged on a warmly 
defended battle field. Theix being many ravines in and about 
the camp that obstructed the easy operation of cavalry, and gave 
good shelter to the Indians, it was more than an hour before they 
were entirelv beaten out or destroved, during which time there 

Rangers and Pioneers of Texas. 69 

•were many bloody hand-to-hand engagements, both on the part 
,of the officers and men. 

''The friendly Indians, I ordered, in approaching the camp, to 
-stampede the animals, and get them out of the way. This order 
they effectually carried out. Delawares and Caddos also entered 
into the fight' with the troops, and did effective skirmishing, 
in the neighboring hills and ravines. 

" We have gained a complete and decisive victory over the 
enemy. Fifty-six warriors are left dead on the field, and it is pre- 
sumed that many are lying in the vicinity, as many were, doubt- 
less, mortally wounded, but enabled to escape on their horses from 
the battle field. How many were wounded is not known. Over 
300 animals were captured, and about 320 lodges burned. 
The supplv of ammunition, cooking utensils, clothing, dressed 
>skins, corn and subsistence stores, were all burned or appro- 
priated to the command. Those who escaped, did so with 
the scanty clothing they had on. and their arms, and noth- 
ing is left to mark the site of their camp but the ashes and 
the dead. I regret that I have to report that two Indian women 
wereaccidently killed, their dresses only concealed, not indicating 
their sex. Two Wichita Indians were accidently killed, being in 
the Comanche camp. T3ie number of Indians has been variously 
estimated from 300 to 500. I think there were over 400.^ The 
vict©rv lias not been achieved without loss on our side. Lieute- 
-jiant Cornelius Van Camp, one of the most promising and 
gallant voung officers of our regiment, or of the service at large, 
fell, pieVced through the heart by an arrow, whilst charging the 
enemy's camp, and died as the brave alone should die. In his loss 
we fe'el our victory to be a dear-bought one. The following is a 
list of the killed and wounded, as furnished me by the captams: 
"Accompany — Wounded: Brevet Major Earl Van Dorn, 
:severely ; Corporal Joseph P. Taylor, dangerously. " K " Com- 
pany—Wounded: Private Smith Hinkley, slightly. "H" Com- 
pany— Killed : Privates Peter Magar and Jacob Eckard ; missmg, 
supposed to be killed. Private Henry Howard ; wounded, Sergeant 
C. B. McLelland, slightly; Corporal Bishop Gordon, slightly, 
Bugler M, Abargast, slightly; Private C C. Alexander, severely. 
'' F" Company— Wounded: Sergeant J. E, Garrison, mortally; 
■since died; Private C. C. Emery and A. J. McNamara, severely, 
and Private W. Frank, slightly. 

70 Raxgers axd Pioneers of Texas^. 

*' Mr. J. T. Ward, sutlei- to the command, and Mr. S. Ross, ire 
charge of the friendly Indians, were also wounded, the former 
slightly, and the latter quite severely. 

" I am greatly indebted to ail the officers of the command collec- 
tively, for the energy, the zeal, the ability, and gallantry, which 
they gave me in achieving this success, that I feel it impossible 
to name one as being more distinguished above the others. I am 
equally indebted in the same manner to all the non-commissioned, 
officers and soldiers of my command, who, under all the circum- 
stances of the forced march, and the battle, proved themselves to 
be soldiers worthy of the name. Their gallantrj^, personal 
daring and fearless intrepidity, ai^e tike admiration of theirofficers, 
but they find themselves unable to discriminate where all were: 
brave. The officers present were. Captains Whiting, Evans, 
Johnson, Lieutenants Phifer, Harrison, Porter and Major, and 
Assistant Surgeon Carsvrell. Captain Evans killed, two. Lieu- 
tenant Harrison two. Lieutenant Phifer two, and Lieutenant 
Major three Indians, in lianKl<-to-hand encounters, during the 
battle. Mr. S. Ross and Mr. Ward charged with Captain Evans, 
and did good and efficieat sen'ice, and were highly spoken of by 
all the officers, for their bearing, during the engagement. In. 
fact, I am indebted to all the command. 

" I regret that my wounds have prevented my writing this report 
at an earlier date. I have requested Lieutenant Lowe, at Fort 
Belknap, to copy this, and send it to you in. proper form. 
*' I am, sir, very respectfully, your . obedient servant, 

[signed] "-Earl Van Dorx, 

" Brevet- Major- Captain Second Cavalry, Commanding.'" 


" There was a gallant Texan, 

They called him Mustang Grey, 
When quite a youth, he left his home, 
And went ranging far away." 

At an early dav, when the greater part of Texas wa.s 
one vast wilclerne'ss, with no human inhabitants excep 
roving bands of Indians, a great many,tt-d 
voung men, who were fond of adventure left the 
'old States, and turned their faces towards Texas, as 
place where they could gratify their longmg for a w. d 
life on the border. Among those who came at an early 
date was Mabry Grey, known throughout Western Texas 
as " Mustang Grey." He was a handsome young man, 
and was scarcely grown when he made h.s appear- 
ance in the west. He was of slight budd, a 
mild yet fiery blue eye. The way he got h.s appella- 
tion of "Mustang," was from a circumstance 
happened while he was hunting buffalo on the plains. 
In^a chase after a large herd of bttffalo. he became 
separated from his companions. His horse fell wnth 
him, and Grey was thrown to the ground. He qutck ly 
regained his feet, but his horse being frightened at the 
htfae buffalo that were charging around him, sprang to 
his feet, and, before Grey could secure him, dashed off 
across the prairie, and was seen by him no more. G.e> 
remained for some time on the spot, watching the buffa o 
as they faded from sight in the distance, and anxiously 
scanning the prairie for a sight of his companions: but 
the herd had become separated in the chas^, and the 

72 Rangers and Pioneers of Texas. 

balance of the hunters had followed the other portion, 
it being the largest. Grey finally went back the way 
he came in the pursuit, hoping that before night he 
would be able to rejoin his companions; but night 
came, and he was still on the boundless prairie with no 
one in sight. Tired, and almost exhausted, he threw 
himself on the ground and tried to sleep, but anxiety and 
thirst kept hnn awake most of the night. By dawn he 
was again on his way, and shortly came upon a wounded 
buffalo, which had taken refuge in a small thicket. As 
he still carried his gun and ammunition, he soon dis-- 
patched it, cut out as much as he wanted of it, and 
went in search of water. Seeing a small clump of trees 
not far off, he went to it, and found a pond of water, and, 
after quenching his thirst, raised a fire, and cooked and 
ate a portion of the buffalo meat. While here, he dis- 
covered that this pond was a watering place for Mustangs. 
His first thought was of trying to secure one of them, but 
then he had no rope, and abandoned that idea. When 
the Mustangs came to water, he secreted himself and 
watched. There was some beautiful ones among them, 
and he longed to be on one of their backs, even if it was 
wild. He had but little hope of crossing the dreary 
plains on foot. He had deviated from his course so 
much in the search for water that he had become com- 
pletely, as the saying is, turned around. The prairie is 
somewhat like the sea, nearly all places look alike along 
its even surface, except, occasionally, a small clump of 
trees, or a pond of water, at long intervals, breaks its 
sameness. Grey knew that hunters often perished for 
water on these vast plains, even when mounted, and 
what chance had he on foot, and not a very good hand 
to walk at that. Finally, he thought of a plan that he 
immediately set about carrying out, and that was to go 

Rangers axd Pioneers of Texas. 73 

and skin the buffalo which he had killed, plat him a 
lariat out of the hide, and try to secure one of the Mustangs 
when they came to water. After he had made him a 
good long and stout lariat, he mounted a tree under 
^lich the wild horses had to pass when they came to 
drink, .and patiently awaited their coming. He adjusted 
a noose in one end of the rope, and took the precaution 
to fasten the other to a strong limb, for fear the Mustang 
would jerk him out of the tree when caught. When the 
Mustangs came. Grey had no trouble in dropping the 
•noose over one's head. Then the fun commenced ; the 
frightened animal reared, kicked and plunged, but all to 
no purpose ; he had him fast. The others hastily stam- 
peded, and weve soon hid behind a cloud of dust on 
the prairie. After the Mustang became somewhat accus- 
tomed to the sight of him., and the pressure of the lariet 
-around his neck, h£ became more docile, and Grey finally 
mounted him with the rope still tied to the limb, but the 
Mustang set off at full speed, and when the rope tight- 
ened, it jerked him back so suddenly, that Grey was 
thrown. After this, he worked with him until he could 
^o up to his head and fasten a loop around his nose, so 
that he could hold him when he attempted to run. He 
then fastened his gun to his back, turned the horse in the 
•direction he wanted to go, and mounted. The Mustang 
;set off at full speed across the prairie, with his head 
down, and Grey could not hold him. As there was 
nothing for him to run against, or a bluff to run from. 
Grey remained on him until he was completely run down 
-and subdued. Ror several days Grey traversed the 
prairie. He often suffered for water and food, but was 
lucky enough, one day, to ride into the camp of his com- 
panions, who v^'ere greatly rejoiced to see him, for they 
Jiad. after a lon^ searcJi, ^iven him up as lost. 

74 Rangers and Pioneers of Texas. 

Not long after this Grey became commander of a com- 
pany of rangers, with no pay except the spoils taken from^ 
the enemy. They scoured the country between Sail 
Antonio and the Rio Grande, and fought many desperate 
battles with the Indians. Sometimes they would cross, 
over into Mexico, where horses were cheap, buy up a lot, 
and trade them off to sfood advantasj-e in Texas. la one 
of these trading expeditions Grey became the owner of a. 
splendid iron-grey horse, to which he became greatly 
attached, and would not sell him under any circum.- 
stances, although offered large sums for him. On one 
occasion, as Grey and his men were returning fromi 
Mexico on their way to vSan Antonio, they fought a 
bloody battle with the Comanches near the Nueces river. 
Grey had between thirty and forty men with him at the 
time. The main body were considerably in advance of 
Grey and two or three others, who were riding leisurely 
along some distance in the rear, when suddenly they 
heard sharp firing in front. Grey immediately put s^Durs 
to his horse, and exclaimed, " Come on, boys; there is« 
trouble ahead." He soon arrived upon the scene,, 
and found his men dismounted, and having aternV 
ble fight with a large band of Comanches. Some of 
them were about giving way under the furious charge of 
the Indians, who outnumbered them five to one, but 
seeing their commander dash up, raised a yell, and fought 
with redoubled fury. The fight was long and obstinate ; 
nearly one-third of the rangers were killed and wounded. 
Some of them were Grey's best men, who had been with 
him from the first. The Comanches lost many of their 
bravest warriors, and finally fled before the unerring rifles 
of their foes. In the last charge the Indians made, and 
while fighting at close quarters. Grey's horse was killed 
from under him, and he received an arrow in his right 

Rangers and Pioneers of Texas. 75,, 

arm, and, at the same time, Robinson, one of his best 
men, was killed by his side. After the fight was over Grey 
was found by the side of his dead horse. In his grief at 
the loss of his gallant steed, he seemed perfectly oblivious 
to his own wound, until reminded, by one of his men, 
that he had better have it attended to, as the arrow was 
still sticking through his arm near the shoulder. "All 
right, boys;" says he "some of you extract the arrow, 
and take poor Robinson's sash there, and bind up the 
wound. Poor fellow;" says he, looking at Robinson, 
who lay near, " he would willingly give it to me if he was 
alive." Grey was furious against the Comanches, and 
vowed vengeance on them at no remote period ; and, as 
he had lost so many men and horses in the fight, concluded 
to go into camp near the battle ground, where the 
wounded could be taken care of ; and sent some 
men on to San Antonio to get horses and recruits, and 
then, as soon as possible, follow the Comanches to their 
homes and fight them again. As soon as Grey's wound 
was dressed, a small party set off to carry out the orders 
of their chief. As they were about starting, and Grey 
was telling them w^hat kind of horses to get, he said : 
" Be very particular now, in getting me a horse. I want 
a strong, heavy-made one, as much like my Grey Eagle, 
here, as you can get it. I want one that has nostrils that 
you can ram your fist in." Grey gav^e the men that were 
a decent burial. All the rangers stood around the killed, 
graves w^ith uncovered heads, and fired a salute over each. 
After the return of the party with horses and men, 
and after the wounded had sufficiently recovered. Grey- 
set out in search of the Comanches. He had a splendid 
horse but said he was not equal to the other. The Indian 
village was found near the head of the Nueces river. It 
was a complete surprise, but the Indians fought well, and 

76 Rangers and Pioneers of Texas. 

.several more of Grey's faithful followers bit the dust ; hut 
thev were finally driven out, and the villages burned. 
Grey was satisfied now, and returned to the settlements 
to recruit up and rest. When not on the frontier, he 
spent most of his time in San Antonio, but sometimes 
going down to Seguin and and remaining for some time. 
Many old settlers can recollect seeing him there on 
^several occasions. To show what power some men have 
over the minds of others, I will relate an incident which 
• occurred in San iVntonio. There used to be a noted 
ofamblino- house there, called the " Bull's Head." One 
night, a terrible racket was heard at this place, and Grey, 
who was on the plaza, 'asked some one what that row 
was he heard. " They are having a big fight at the Bull's 
Head," remarked a man who had just come from there 
in somewhat of a hurry. Grey set out down there at 
once, saying, " he would go and stop it; " and, strange 
to say, that in a few moments after this man entered the 
furious and excited crowd, everything was calmed down. 
Mustang Grey died in Mexico. A few of his faithful 
followers remained with him to the last. These were his 
last commands to them : '' Boys, when I am dead, bury 
me in Texas soil, on the banks of the Rio Grande." 
When all was over, these sorrowing comrades set out 
with his remains to carry out his last wishes, to bury him 
in tbe soil he loved so well. His grave may still be seen 
"by the traveler, in a wild secluded spot, with lofty moun- 
tains around, and the turbid waters of the Rio Grande 
j-olling ceaselessly by it. 

*' And no more he'll go a ranging, 
ThS savage to affright, 
He has heard his last war-whoop, 
And fought his last fight," 


" The deeds of our fathers in times that are gone, 
Their virtues, their prowess, the fields they have won,. 
Their struggles for freedom, the toils they endured. 
The rights and the blessings for us they procured." 






As LATE as 1855, the Indians still continued to raid the- 
counties joining Guadalupe, especially west and north- 
west. About 1853, they made a raid into Guadalupe 
county, and killed Parson McGee's little son, on the 
Cibilo, while he was hunting horses in company with one 
of his uncles. I think it was his uncle, but am not certain. 
The poor little fellow was riding a mule, and had no 
chance to escape from the savages. He was the first one 
to discover them, and called out to his companion, who 
was in advance, to ''look there, what ugly men were 
coming." He was soon roped and dragged to the 
ground, fearfully toi'tured, and finally killed and scalped.. 
His companion, who was well mounted, made his escape. 
The writer of this was a small boy at the time, and can 
recollect what an excitement it created among the people. 
A company of young men were raised in and around 
vSeguin, and was called the Guadalupe Guards, but such 
was the rapid flight of these small bands of well- 

78 Rangers and Pioneers of Texas. 

mounted Indians, that it was almost impossible to come 
up with them. But this party were followed and over- 
taken by some settlers, and in the fight which ensued, 
Hal. Holland, a brave and gallant young man, was 

In 1855, they made a raid into Comal county, on Curry 
■creek, and killed Mr. Jesse Lawhon. We get the 
account of this affair from the Texan Mercury^ bearing 
date, July 21, 1855, and published by R. W. Rainey, 
Seguin, Guadalupe county, Texas. The particulars were 
given by the Hon. William E. Jones, and areas follows: 

"Mr. Editor: — It is the painful duty devolving on me to 
communicate to jou the particulars of an Indian outrage just 
committed in this neighborhood. On Saturday morning last, 
Mr. Jesse Lawhon, who has been living with me for nearly two 
years, in the capacity of overseer and manager of my farm and 
stock, went out, accompanied by one of my negro men, to drive 
up oxen. About 11 o'clock the boy ran home afoot, and bare- 
footed, and wet to the hips, and told me he feared that 
Mr. Lawhon had been killed by Indians. That Mr. Lawhon 
and himself were riding together in search of cattle, and while 
descending a hill into the valley of one of the branches of Curry 
creek, near the foot of the mountains, they were attacked by five 
Indians, who emerged from the bed of the creek, and rushed 
upon them at full speed. They did not discover the Indians 
until within forty or fifty yards of them. Mr. Lawhon wheeled 
and ran in the opposite direction, while the hoy dashed towards 
home. A large Indian, mounted on an American horse, pursued 
the boy. On arriving at the creek, his horse plunged into it and 
fell; he jumped off and ran up the bank, when an Indian fired at 
him, the ball striking the ground beyond him. He then saw 
the other four pursuing Mr. Lawhon very closely on the hill, 
and, jumping into the channel of the creek, made his escape and 
saw no more. 

" He stated from the beginning that one of the party was a 
white man, and the other four, Indians, naked, and armed with 
guns. The white man was dressed in dark clothes with a white 
hat. He saw most distinctly the one that pursued him. After he had 

IRaxgek? a:st) Pioneers of Texas. 79 

tshcrt alt 'him, and being not more than twenty feet from him; 
thinks he cannot be mistaken in saying that he was an Indian 
and not a Mexican. The boy has often seen Indians in Texas, 
and has mixed a good deal with Mexicans, and, as his statements 
are thus far the only evidence of the character of the party which 
we have, I have thought it proper to give them more fully than I 
should have done under other circumstances. 

" In the meantime the alarm had been given in the settlement, 
and a party of men repaired to the scene, taking the boy along 
with them. On arriving there, the Indians had left, and Mr, 
Lawhon could not be seen, but the statements of the boy being 
all substantially confirmed by the horse tracks and other signs on 
the ground, they proceeded to search for him. His hat was found 
near the starting point; his saddle, with the stirrups and skirts 
.cut off, was found on the retreating trail of the savages, about 
(one mile off. Then they found the trail of his horse from the 
;place 'where he was attacked, and followed it until they found his 
•dead body in a thicket. He had been shot through the heart 
with a large ball, and his body and face otherwise bruised and 
cut. ,\ blunt arrow was found by his side. He was wholly 
.unarmed and compelled to trust to his horse for safety; and the 
horse he rode, although large and strong, was not fleet. He had 
evidently made a desperate struggle to save his life. From the 
point at which he first discovered the Indians, he had turned 
westward in the direction opposite to that which they came, but 
soon being overtaken by his pursuers, he wheeled, by a short 
circuit, and leaping a large ravine, passed the place from which 
he had started, crossed the creek at the point from Avhich the 
Indians had first issued, and ran up the hill on that side in the 
•direction of home. Being overtaken again by his savage pursuers, 
he dashed back again into the creek valley lower down, and here 
among the small thickets and brush, he seems to have been sur- 
irounded and hemmed in an angle made by the creek, impassable 
here, it being a perpendicular bluff. Wheeling again, he burst 
rthrough the Indians and regained the elevated ground, followed 
by the whole pack, and once more faced home. After running 
four or five hundred yards across the heads of ravines, he appeared 
to have been again overtaken, when, in utter desperation, he 
plunged down a bluff thirty feet high, and nearly perpendicular, 
part of the distance his horse tearing up the rocks and crushing 

8o Rangers and Pioneers of Texas. 

the brushwood in his course down. At the foot of this bluff he- 
landed in one end of a long thicket, and, po&siblv, might have: 
escaped, if he had abandoned his horse. None of the Indians, 
followed him down the bluff, but the horse tracks indicated that 
aportion of them turned the point of the bluff and methimas he 
emerged from the point of the thicket, and shot him. Mr. Lawhon 
was an industrious and most worthy citizen — sober, moral and of 
unimpeachable integrity — universally esteemed by all, neighbors- 
and acquaintances. He was about twenty-five years of age, of 
manly person, and gave the highest promise of usefulness to his 
country and honor to his family. He left a wife and two small/ 
children, who were in his life-time, dependent on him for their 

From 1S50 to 1S60 the settlements extended rapidly 
west of San Antonio into the great stock region ; from; 
this place south to the gulf, west to the Rio Grande, 
north and northwest to Red river. The staked plains > 
were one vast grazing ground, comprising millions of 
acres of ground unoccupied except in a few localities by 
stock men. No crops could be raised that would pay a. 
farmer, and the settlers were all engaged in the stock, 
business, raising cattle, horses and sheep ; but they had 
to fight the red man at every step, and many a lonely 
grave can be seen, between San Antonio and the Rio' 
Grande, that marks the footsteps of the pioneer. Up to 
the breaking out of the war between the North and' 
vSouth, settlements had been made on the Medina, 
Atascoso, Hondo, Saco, Frio, Nueces, Sabinal, and other 
streams. The most of these were bold, running streams, 
and afforded one of the finest stock regions in the United. 
States. The climate was mild, the country healthy, 
game was in abundance on every side, and the streams- 
stocked with fish. The only time it was unhealthy was 
when the Comanches were on the. war path. Among the 
settlers on the Hondo, in 1863, were Rube Smith, Jerry 
Bailey, the McCombs'. Monroe Watkins. William Mul- 

Rangers and Pioneers of Texas. 8i 

lins, Manuel Wydick, John Brown, Nathan Davis^ 
Howard Bailey, Fountain Tinsley, Peter Ketchum,. 
Parson Newton, and others. About the middle of June,, 
1862, the Indians made a raid down the Hondo valley^ 
and killed Rube Smith, the particulars of which and the 
pursuit and fight with the Indians I learned from Mr. 
Jerry Bailey and Nathan Davis. 

The evening before the Indian raid, Smith and Bailey 
had agreed to ride in the woods together on the next 
day, and Bailey was to come to Smith's house early in 
the morning, and start from there. Accordingly, early 
the next morning, Bailey repaired to Smith's house, and 
was informed by his wife that Rube had gone after his 
horse, and would be in directly, as they had heard the 
bell at daylight, and he could not be far off. Bailey 
waited for some time, and, becoming somewhat uneasy 
at Smith's protracted absence, said he would walk over- 
that way, and see what was detaining him. He had' 
proceeded but a short distance from the house when he^ 
heard some one running near him, who seemed, from 
the noise he made, to be nearly out of breath. Stepping 
behind a tree, until the runner came in view, Bailey saw 
it was another one of his neighbors, named Manuel 
Wydick. He at once hailed him, and asked him what 
was the matter. Wydick came up and, in broken 
accents, for he was nearly out of breath, told him that 
he thought Rube Smith was killed by Indians ; that he 
heard them running him and heard Smith calling to him, 
for they had just separated. He said Smith was only 
armed with a small single-barreled pistol, which he 
heard him fire as he was calling to him. 

Bailey, being well-armed, the two then turned in the 
direction of the running, heard by Wydick, and soon 
came upon fresh horse-tracks, which cut up the earth in 


■§2 Rangeks and Pioneers of Texas. 

such a manner as to plainly show they had been running'^ 
and they were soon convinced they were on the right 
trail by seeing Smith's track in the loose soil among the 
-horse-tracks. After going a short distance further, 
Bailey found Smith's stock book (containing brands, 
accounts of sales, etc. ) which had fallen from his pocket in 
this desperate run for life. Shortly after, they found 
where the Indians had roped him, the prints of his hands 
being plainly seen in the soil where they pulled him 
down ; but he regained his feet and ran a short distance 
further, but was again thrown down and caught on his 
hands ; but then it seems they gave him no chance to 
rise, but dragged him on the ground for some distance, 
then stopped and lanced him, for here they found 
considerable blood ; but could nowhere see the body of 
Smith. They then separated and began the search for 
the body, for the ground had become rough, and the trail 
was hard to keep. But at length Bailey found him 
under some bushes, and announced the fact to his com- 
panion, who was not far off, and soon came to the spot. 
Bailey proposed then to stay and watch the body of 
Smith while Wydick should go and inform his family of 
his sad fate, and alarm the settlement. This was done, 
and assistance soon came and carried the bloody and 
mutilated settler's remains to his grief-stricken family. 

Nathan Davis and Lewis McCombs were also near 
by, and heard the firing. A dog, belonging to James 
McCombs, was lying by the body of Smith when found. 

It was then agreed that all the families should be 
brought to Smith's house, some of the men should 
remain for their protection, and the ]:)alance go in pur- 
suit of the Indians. 

This was soon accomplished, and nine men mounted 
their horses and airiounced thenisehes as readv to start 

Rangers and Pioneers of Texas. 83 

in pursuit. Jerry Bailey, being the oldest, was chosen 
commander, and the little band of settlers set out, and 
were soon upon the trail. We will here give the names 
of the party: Jerry Bailey, William Mullins, Manuel 
Wydick, Nathan Davis, West McCombs, Lewis Mc- 
Combs, Sam McCombs, Monroe Watkins, aud John 

The trailing was slow and tedious, for in their retreat 
the Indians generally ti-avel through the roughest ground 
so as to delay pursuit as much as possible. 

The first night out they encamped on the trail. The 
next day the Indians were overtaken, but they out- 
numbered the white men nearly four to one, and seemed 
so defiant that it was thought advisable to send a runner 
after some rangers, who were about twenty-five miles 
away, the balance of the party to keep the Indians 
in sight, and delay them as much as possible, until the 
re-enforcements could come up. Accordingly, Lewis 
McCombs and John Browni set off in quest of the 

The Indians remained some time in the position which 
they had chosen for the battle, and several shots were 
exchanged, without effect. The enemy, seeing they 
were not going to be attacked, again moved off, closely 
followed by their pursuers. The day passed off, and 
again the pioneers encamped on the trail of the red men. 
Early next morning the pursuit was renewed, and 
seeing that the Indians w^ould make their escape before 
the re-enforcements could come up, they determined, if 
they caught up with them again, to hazard a battle, each 
one vowing to stick together. With this ^resolution, they 
traveled on the trail as fast as possible, and again came 
up with the Indians, who. at sight of the settlers, com- 
menced veiling loudly and preparing for battle. 

84 Rangers and Pioneers of Texas. 

They took a position in. the thick timber, among the 
rocks and bush^, and awaited the charge from the 

Bailey advised the men to make a quick run, and gain 
a point of timber, near the position of the Indians. 
This was agreed to, and they all set off at once, greeted 
by loud yells from the Indians, who began running from 
tree to tree as they saw the w^hite men boldly advancing 
tipon them. But instead of keeping on to the timber, 
all except Bailey wheeled to the left and dismounted 
behind some large rocks. Bailey kept on into the tim- 
ber, dismounted, and tied his horse. 

The Indians commenced the fight by one of their 
number stepping out and, at the distance of sixty yards, 
leveling his Enfield rifle and firing at Bailey, but missed 
his mark. Firing then commenced rapidly on both 
sides, each party covering themselves as best they could. 
Bailey fired both barrels of his shot gun, and hastily 
commenced reloading, at the same time shouting to 
Wydick, who was the nearest to him, for all of them to 
come over there, as the Indians were closing in on him, 
and if he attempted to leave the spot, he would be 
killed. Bailey, therefore, still remained at his tree. 

It was a perilous undertaking for the men to attempt 
to gain the position of Bailey, for they would have to 
run through open ground exposed to the fire of the 
Indians at close range. It was equally as perilous for 
Bailey to go to them. The Indians (some of them were 
under cover near the spot where he stood), could rise 
up and be upon him before he could untie his horse. It 
was all he could do to keep from being hit behind his 
tree, as the arrows constantly zipped past him when he 
would expose any part of his body. But his neighbors 
and companions, who, like him, had became involved in 

Rangers and Pioneers of Texas. 85 

this unequal contest, were brave men, true and tried. 

Davis took command, and it was agreed to mount and 
run the gauntlet to Bailey. When they made the dash, 
they were greeted with a volley of bullets and arrows 
which wounded several horses and killed the one rode 
by Davis ; but they gained the point of timber in which 
Bailey was posted without losing a man. Here they 
fought a regular border battle, every man to his tree and 
every man look out for himself. The nearest Indians, 
who had so closely besieged Bailey, were driven back 
with the loss of some of their number. The chief of the 
band had taken his position about sixty yards from the 
whites, and when he wished to discharge an arrow 
stepped from behind a tree into a small opening a little 
larger than the size of his body where he could plainly 
see the white men behind their trees. He would then 
discharge his arrows at any one who was the most 
exposed, and step back in time to avoid the bullets that 
always greeted his appearance. This was kept up for 
some time, until he finally hit Nathan Davis, the arrow 
striking him in the right shoulder and the spike coming 
through on the opposite side, near the shoulder blade. 

Bill Mullins went to him at once and endeavored to 
extract it, but was compelled to cut the arrow below the 
spike-head and pull it through, the men at the same time 
loading and firing as fast as they could, to keep the 
Indians under cover while this was being performed. 
The poor horses suffered terribly, being hit very often. 
Davis becoming very sick after the arrow was extracted, 
lay down behind a tree, and turned deathly pale, and for 
some time it was feared that he had been shot with a 
poisoned arrow, but it was only the shock of the 
iron spike tearing through the flesh and sinews, and he 
soon recovered, and again took the front encouraging 

86 Rangers and Pioneers of Texas. 

the boys by word and example, to stand their ground 
and keep a bold front. In the meantime William 
Mullins told the men if they would stop firinjs^ at the 
chief when he made his appearance, he would kill him. 
Of course, this they all agreed to do, for this chief had 
already got one of their men down and wounded several 
horses. Mullins then took his gun, a Mississippi yauger, 
and squatting behind a small tree, rested his gun on it, 
and drew a close bead in the centre of the opening, 
about breast high to a man, where the chief stood in the 
act of discharging his arrows ; his eye was sure and his 
finger on the trigger, and the moment the body of the 
chief filled the opening, he fired, and the Indian fell 
dead in his tracks, shot through the heart. When the 
settlers saw this they gave a loud yell and charged, and 
never stopped until they came to the body of the fallen 
chief, the wounded Davis among the balance. 

The warriors vainly endeavored to carry off their dead 
chief, but were shot by the settlers before they could 
accomplish it. The Indians fell back and kept closely 
under cover about a hundred yards off, occasionally firing 
when opportunity offered. One of the settlers drew his 
knife, and cutting to the skull around the crown of the 
head of the dead chief, told the wounded Davis to pull 
off the scalp, which he did by twisting the long black 
hair round his left hand, placing his foot against the 
shoulder of the Indian, and thus braced, giving a strong 
pull, when the scalp came off with a loud pop. It was 
then placed on a stick and held up so the Indians could 
see it They replied by placing Rube Smith's hat on a 
stick and holding it up to view. This was the winding 
up of the fight. , The Indians moved off under cover 
and continued their retreat towards the mountains, secret- 
ing the most of their dead before starting. Several of 

Rangers and Pioneers of Texas. 8/ 

them were afterwards found in the rock water hole near 
by. The settlers returned to their homes without further 
incident. The most of the men engaged in this fight are 
still alive. Old man Baile}' lives near the Atascosa post- 
office, on the International road. The McComb boys 
still live on the Hondo, or near there. Nathan Davis 
lives in Guadalupe county, fifteen miles south of Seguin, 
near the county line. This fight took place on the Chicon, 
just above where it empties into the San Miguel. 

On one occasion, Pete Ketchum, one of the Hondo 
settlers, left home one morning to hunt cattle up the 
valley. Some time during the day his horse returned 
home covered with sweat and blood, and his breast, legs 
and shoulders terribly lacerated. Ketchum's family 
were alarmed, and the neighbors were soon notified and 
a party set out in the direction from which the horse 
came, to search for the missing man. After a long and 
tedious search, he was found in the hills near the Hondo 
river, killed and scalped. He was lying beneath a mes- 
quite tree, with a rock under his head. He had run his 
horse through a dense thicket of mesquite chaparral or 
pears, which accounted for the lacerated condition of 
his horse. Slowly and sadly his neighbors carried him 
home to his bereaved family and buried liim, one more 
victim to the savage hate. Nearly a year afterv/ards 
Mr. Bailey, in passing near the spot where Ketchum was 
killed, found his hat. 

About this time, the Indians made a raid in the Sabinal 
valley, and carried off a grey mule belonging to old man 
Tucker. A small band of settlers collected and pursued 
the Indians until the trail led into a dense brake of young 
cedar. Here the scout who was leading the party, cau- 
tioned the men to be verj^ quiet, and go slow, as signs 
indicated that the savasres were close at hand. He then 

88 Rangers and Pioneers of Texas. 

advanced, carrying his rifle in his right hand, ready for 
instant use, and keeping a sharp look out ahead. Sud- 
denly he raised his rifle and fired, at the same time dash- 
ing forward and telling the men to charge. They soon 
came upon the body of one Indian lying doubled up on 
the ground. It seems that he was somewhat behind the 
balance, for they scattered at the report of the gun, and 
could not be found. Only a glimpse of some could be 
seen as they dashed off through the brake. On the return 
of the party to the spot where the Indian lay, they found 
he was not dead, only having a broken back. He fastened 
his snake-like eyes on the white men as they gathered 
round him, and said. "Bob shela, bob shela," which 
means, " good friend, good friend." One of the young 
settlers drew his pistol, and w^ith the remark, "D — n 
such friends as you are," shot him dead. Near the spot 
where the Indian lay, stood old man Tucker's mule, the 
red skin having been shot off him. Years after this, 
Mr. Adam Wright, who was one of the party, passed this 
spot while hunting deer, and says the bones of the Indian 
which lay scattered around were red. 

Not long after this, in. the fall of '6i, the Indians came 
down in force and raided the Chicon valley, the home of 
*' Big Foot" Wallace, the famous scout and Indian 
fighter. The news soon spread, and about forty men 
were in arms in a short time. Wallace was chosen com- 
mander. Among the men from Hondo, were Lewis 
McCombs, Nathan Davis, Fountain Tinsley, John Retus, 
John Watkins, Roe Watkins, and others. The most of 
these men were hardy frontiersmen. The sharp crack 
of rifles, and the yelling of Comanches, had no terrors 
for Ihem ; those were things they had become long accus- 
tomed too. but they fought the savage in his own way, 
making no unnecessary exposure of their person. When 

Rangers and Pioneers of Texas. 89 

lighting with riflemen at close range, under the leader- 
ship of such a man as Wallace, they felt confident as to 
the final result against vastly superior numbers. At that 
late day the Indians had become almost as well armed as 
the white men, carrying both rifles and revolvers, in the 
use of which they had become very skillful. 

The trail of the Indians was large and rapidly followed. 
Wallace and his party overtook them in the mountains on 
the Dry Saco. Nathan Davis was spy and scout that day, 
and located the Indians. The Indians took a position 
on one of the high hills overlooking the Saco valley, and 
awaited the onset of the enemy. Their position was a 
strong one, the hill being covered with cedar and large 
Tocks. Their ♦force also greatly exceeded that of the 
white men. The fight commenced by the advance scouts 
being fired on as they entered the brake, near the foot of 
the hill. The Indians w^ere mostly concealed, and the 
scouts, after some firing, fell back to the main body, 
who were advancing as fast as the nature of the ground 
w^ould admit. 

Among the foremost scouts who received the first fire 
of the Indians, were Lewis McCombs and Nathan Davis. 

Wallace dismounted his men at the foot of the hill and 
commenced ascending on foot, deploying to the right and 
left through the rocks and trees, routing and driving the 
Indians who w^ere posted near the base of the hill. The 
Indians finally concentrated near the crest of the moun- 
tain, among the huge rocks and dwarf cedar, where they 
could pour down their shots upon the advancing settlers. 
Imagine this scene on the border, in this far western 
country. The settlers bounding from rock to rock, and 
from tree to tree, the ringing of rifles, the "whirr" of 
bullets as they glanced from huge boulders, mingled 
with the almost deafening yells of the Comanches, which 

90 Rangers and Pioneers of Texas. 

echoed far up these dark canons for miles around. 

Wallace, with a portion of his men succeeded in getting 
within thirty or forty yards of the Indians, and halted 
under the overhanging rocks, which greatly protected 
them from the bullets of the enemy, and here, for the 
space of an hour, they kept up the fight, firing as oppor- 
tunity offered. Each party kept closely under cover for 
it was rifles against rifles, at short range, and the com-^ 
mander knew that with his inferior force, he could not 
risk a hand-to-hand fight. The balance of the men were 
just below, keeping a sharp look-out, and often got good 
shots at the Indians who would expose themselves ini 
trying a shot at the men with Wallace, who were directly 
under them. One square inch of the swirthy body of a 
savage was enough for these trained riflemen. The 
Indians, seeing they could not dislodge the white men^ 
commenced silently to withdraw and scatter off through 
the dense brakes and canons. When Wallace discov- 
ered this he withdrew his men from the hill back to the 
horses, for he was unable with his force to pursue them 
any further. 

Several of his men were wounded ; Davenport severely. 
The casualties were small on both sides, owing to the 
manner in which they fought among the rocks ; but the 
body of several dusky warriors were seen among the 
rocks where they had fallen, and where they were left to 
decay. After the Indians left the mountains, the settlers 
took a circuitous route and ambushed them in a 
mountain pass ; but the premature discharge of a rifle 
prevented them from killing many of them, but captured 
140 head of horses which the Indians were driving off. 
It was supposed by some that renegade white men were 
with this band of Indians. Fountain Tinsley, who was 
in the fight, says during its progress he fired at a man 

Rangers and Pioneers of Texas. gi: 

wearing a white shirt, but as his face was hid he could; 
not tell whether he was a white man or an Indian. 

W. W. Wallace received his name of "Big Foot"" 
from the Mexicans, while a prisoner in their hands, after 
the disastrous battle of Mier, in Mexico. When they 
arrived at Perote, the Mexicans concluded to buy shoes- 
for their prisoners, but could find none in the place that 
were large enough for Wallace, and they called hi mi 
*' Big Foot," which has stuck to him ever since. This, 
old scout and Texan still lives on the San Miguel, in. 
Western Texas. 

About this time, or just previous, the Indians made a. 
raid into Kerr county, high up on the Guadalupe river,, 
and atfer committing some depredations retreated back, 
through the Guadalupe mountains. A young man named. 
Spencer Goss, collected seven or eight of his neigbbors^. 
and followed them. As the trail was through a roughi 
and broken country, they went on foot, trailing the: 
Indians as long as daylight lasted, then camping andl 
resuming it again as soon as it was light enough to see: 
it. They went on this way until near the head of the 
river, when, finding a bee tree, they stopped and cut it,, 
stacking their guns around a tree close by, while they~ 
were engaged in eating honey. The Indians in the mean- 
time had discovered that they were pursued, and had 
placed themselves in ambush near the spot where they 
had stopped to cut the bee tree, and seeing the unguarded 
situation of the settlers, crept up near them, and making 
a sudden dash, secured their guns. The young men 
sprang to their feet and rushed upon the Indians, but it 
was too late. They were shot down in. their tracks, 
without any chance of defending themselves, except 
Spencer Goss. This young man had a large revolver 
buckled around him, which he instantly drew and. com.- 

rg2 Rangers and Pioneers of Texas. 

menced firing upon the Indians, killing one at every 

•shot; but he soon fell, wounded in three places, and 
being able to raise up, grasped the butt of his revolver 
with both hands, discharged the balance of his shots, 

t taking deliberate aim, and dropping an Indian each fire. 
By this time his companions were either all killed or 
scattered, and taking advantage of the confusion occa- 

: sioned by the pursuit, by the Indians, of his two comrades 
who had got clear of them, Goss rolled off a steep 
bank into the gully unperceived, for he had killed all ot 
those who had assailed him. Although his wounds were 
very painful, he succeeded in crawling some distance 
from the bloody battle-ground, and then stopped to rest 

.and listen. Fmding that the Indians had not discovered 
his trail, he began to entertain hopes of making his 
escape, and redoubled his exertions to place as much 
distance between him and the savages, before night, as 
possible, for then he knew he could travel, and the 
Indians would be unable to trail him. Suffice it to say 
that Goss, after much suffering and many days alone and 

'badly wounded, in the mountains, he an'ived at his 
father's house, and finally recovered. His two com- 
panions, who escaped the Indians, were also badly 
wounded; one of them so badly in the thigh, that 
it was with great pain and difficulty that he could 
walk. He made him a crutch out of a forked stick, 

, and with this help, was able to hobble along, living 
on berries, black haws, etc., and after many days, 
was fortunate enough to reach home. In the meantime, 
a party had repaired to the scene of the conflict, and 
brought back the dead. The other wounded man, 
Adams, was never seen ; being wounded, the supposition 
was, he died in some lonely spot among the mountains^ 
with no one to soothe his last moments. Years after- 

Rangers and Pioneers of Texas. 93'. 

wards, some men, while hunting, found the skull and 
several bones of a man at no great distance from this 
battle-ground, and, also, near by, was found a leather 
purse with twenty-five cents in silver it, and it was< 
thought that these remains were those of the missing; 







During the years i860, '61 and '62, the Indians were 
mumerous on the western border towards the Rio Grande, 
♦committing many murders, carrying off stock, etc., but 
in a fight with the settlers on the Saco, the chief. Lone 
Wolf, was killed, which somewhat checked them in that 
•quarter; but along the San Miguel, Atascosa, and other 
-streams, they were almost constantly on the move. 
Among the settlers in and around the little village of 
Pleasanton, then just starting on the banks of the Atas- 
cosa, were O'Brien, Herndon, N. B. Tucker, Calvin 
S. Turner, Anderson, and others. 

On one occasion the Indians ran O'Brien into the 
village, shooting three arrows into his back. 

About the same time, Herndon and Napoleon Tucker 
went out on a cow hunt together. When they were fixing 
to start, Herndon took down his pistol, and drawing it 
from the scabbard, remarked, "that it had but three 
loads in it, but he had seen no Indians yet, and supposed 
he would not this time;" and, buckling it around him, 
mounted his horse, hi.s wife at the same time telling him 
.he had better stop and load his pistol. 

Rangers and Pioneers of Texas. 95 

They had proceeded about three miles from town and 
-were riding through an open black-jack country, when 
Tucker remarked that there was a crowd of cow hunters 
under the trees ahead of them. Tucker at this time had 
never seen any Indians, but as soon as Herndon saw them 
he checked his horse and said, " Them are Indians, and 
we have got to run for it," at the same time turning his 
horse around. The Indians, when they saw that the 
white men had discovered them, came out from among 
the trees and gave chase. Tucker was mounted on a 
splendid horse, and could easily make his escape, but 
Herndon was on a cow pony and soon saw that escape 
with him was impossible, and urged Tucker to abandon 
him, as the Indians were close upon them. " Go," says 
he, " carry the news to town ; it is no use for both of us 
to be killed ; " and, drawing his revolver, looked back 
over his shoulder at the pursuing Indians, who were 
close at hand and yelling furiously. Tucker, thus urged, 
let his horse out, and was soon beyond danger. He then 
held up and looked back. Herndon was completely sur- 
rounded, and he saw him fire his three shots at close 
quarters. The Indians seeing Tucker halt, some of 
them again pursued him. Seeing he could do his friend 
no good, Tucker set out like the wind towards Pleasan- 
ton, where he arrived in a short time and gave the alarm. 
A crowd was soon gathered, and under the guidance of 
Tucker, set out to search for the body of the unfortunate 
Herndon, and, if possible, to overtake and fight the 
Indians. They had proceeded about a mile from the 
village when they espied two men on the prairie running 
at full speed towards them. Not knowing whether they 
were white or red men, they drew back behind a small 
thicket until they should come up. As they neared the 
spot thev discovered that the foremost man was Ander- 

96 Rangers and Pioneers of Texas. 

son. He was leaning forward in his saddle and running 
at full speed, and seemed to be trying to escape fromi 
the one in the rear, for no others were in sight behind 
them. One man said the hindmost one was an Indian, 
and raised his gun to fire, but was prevented by some 
one who seized his gun barrel, and told him to hold, that 
they were both white men running from the Indians. 
About this time the Indian, for such it proved to be, dis- 
covered the party by their loud talking, and knowing 
that it would not be safe to pursue Anderson any further, 
adjusted an arrow, and leaning forward on his horse, sent 
it with terrible force, striking Anderson square between, 
the shoulders, and he about eighty yai'ds in advance, 
and both running at full speed on good horses. Andersoa 
was a brave man, but was entirely unarmed, and knew^ 
that his only chance of safety was inflight. The Indian, 
as soon as he discharged the arrow, wheeled his horse 
while still on the run, and dashed off across the prairie 
and made his escape. The reason he so completely 
fooled the settlers and passed them without being shot, 
was the fact that he had on Herndon's hat, coat, pants 
and boots. He had done it on purpose, to get near some 
cow hunter on the prairie. The Indians had not molested 
them for some time in this settlement and citizens 
became careless, and very often would not encumber 
themselves with arms while hunting stock. Anderson, 
after receiving the arrow, sank down m his saddle and 
remained on his horse until he arrived in Pleasanton. 
A surgeon being in town,, he was quickly called, and 
extracted the arrow as soon as possible ; but it had 
remained in there so long, the sinews, with which the 
spike was wrapped, relaxed, and left it in his body when 
the arrow was withdrawn. It had penetrated so deep 
the surgeon would not attempt to-cut it out. This sealed 

Rangers and Pioneers of Texas. 97 

the fate of Anderson, for it gradually wore his life away, 
and he died about twelve months afterwards. After the 
Indian had shot Anderson and turned off across the 
prairie, the settlers pursued him, but he was not over- 
taken. They then went to the spot where Tucker last 
saw Herndon, and after a short search, found his body 
about two hundred yards from there. It was lying at the 
root of a tree entirely naked, and black with powder which 
had been shot into it. The Indians were entirely success- 
ful in this raid, killing two white men, wounding a third, 
and getting away without losing a man, unless Herndon 
killed some, but none were found, and, likelv, his pistol 
balls were knocked off by shields. 

During these years the Indians raided the San Miguel 
country. On one occasion, James Winters, while going 
to some place with women and children in his charge, 
saw five Indians at no great distance off, and leaving his 
charges in the road, pursued the Indians for some distance, 
but could not come up with them. 

Shortly after this, a large force made a raid and com- 
mitted depredations in the neighborhood where Winters 
lived. A small band of settlers soon collected, 
including himself. West, Davidson, Kirg, Ward, and 
five or six others. Winters was impatient to get off, and 
without waiting for further re-enforcements, set out in 
pursuit of the redskin marauders. They soon struck 
the trail and followed hard upon it nearly all the day, 
and overtook the Indians in the evening on Black creek, 
who, numbering about forty, immediately stopped at 
sight of the whites and prepared for battle. Seeing their 
force numbered about four to one, Winters was eager 
for the combat, and dismounting, sw^apped for the fastest 
horse in the crowd, saying he intended to catch them 
this time, and mounting, urged the men to follow him. 

98 Rangers and Pioneers of Texas. 

and charge. They were all brave men, but still they 
hesitated to engage the savages against such fearful odds. 
They moved up nearer, however, and some of the Indians 
began to move off. Winters thinking probably they 
were going to run, told the boys to come on, and dashed 
towards them, drawing his six-shooter and carrying it in 
his hand. The men urged him to comeback, but he did 
not heed them, and never checked his horse until he ran 
in among them. They closed around him, and the men 
who had stayed back on the rising ground, could see 
him fighting desperately among them. In a short time 
they saw that he was unhorsed, but still fighting on foot. 
He carried a brace of revolvers, and they could see the 
Indians falling around him. At this juncture. Ward, who 
was a brother-in-laMof Winters, could stand it no longer, 
and, drawing his pistol, put sptlrs to his horse, and 
dashed up to within thirty paces of where they were 
fighting. A part of the Indians then commenced dis- 
charging arrows at him, but his shots were so rapid and 
deadly that their aim was uncertain in their attempts to 
shoot and dodge his bullets at the same time ; but he saw 
that Winters had fired his last shot, and was lying prone 
on the ground. As his revolver was now empty, he 
w^heeled his horse and attempted to save himself, but as 
soon as he turned his back to them he was shot between 
the shoulders with an arrow, but his horse being quick, 
he was soon out of range, and the Indians did not follow 
him. When he came to where his companions were, he 
told them to draw the arrow from his back as quickly as 
possible. They attempted to do so, but pulled and jerked 
at it for some time before it would come, and when it 
did, the spike which had penetrated a bone, remained 
behind. In this condition he had to ride a long distance 
back home. When he arrived there a doctor was sent 

Rangers and Pioneers of Texas. 99 

for, and when he came, Ward was placed upon his back, 
and the surgeon had to cut aw^ay some of the flesh before 
he could get a hold upon it with a pair of pincers, and 
when he did so, he told Ward to hold against him, and 
commenced pulling. Ward was a large stout man, but 
before the spike came loose, it raised him clear of the 
bed, but it was finally extracted, and the wound carefully 
and skillfully dressed, but it was a long time before 
Ward recovered. The party who went back to recover 
the body of Winters, say it was a bloody battle ground ; 
the blood pools around his body showing that not less 
than seven or eight Indians were killed by Ward and 

As we have now followed the pioneers from the coast 
almost to the Rio Grande, we will conclude this part of 
the work by relating an incident which occurred near the 
Rio Grande, which was then raided by the Apache 
Indians. We take it from the Daily San Antojiio Ex- 
press, bearing date, January 35, 1883: 

" Colonel Albert C, Pelton, whose beautiful twenty thousand 
acre ranch is out toward the Rio Grande, near Laredo, has been 
the ' 'Peter the Hermit "of the Texans for jears. He has believed 
thathe held a divine commission to kill Apache Indians, Colonel 
Pelton came to Texas in 1844, a common soldier. By talent and 
courage he rose to the rank of colonel, finally, in 1S67, he com- 
manded Fort Macrae. That jear he fell in love with a beautiful 
Spanish girl near Abequin, New Mexico, Her parents were 
wealthy and would not consent to their daughter going away 
from all her friends to live in a garrison. The admiration of the 
young couple was mutual, and parental objections only intensified 
the affection of the lovers. The nature of the Spanish girl is such 
that once in love she never changes. Finally, after two years of 
courtesy and devotion, Colonel Pelton won the consent of the 
beautiful Spanish girl, and they were married. 

" Then commenced a honeymoon such as only lovers shut up 
in a beautiful flower-environed fort can have. The lovely char- 


lOo Rangers and Pioneers of Texas. 

acter of the beautiful bride won the hearts of all the soldiers of 
the fort, and she reigned a queen among the rough frontiersmen . 
One day, when the love of the soldier and his lovely wife was at 
its severest, the two, accompanied by the young wife's mother 
and twenty soldiers, rode out to the hot springs, six miles from 
the fort, to take a bath. While in the bath, which is near the Rio 
Grande, an Indian arrow passed over their heads. Thenashower 
of arrows fell around them, and a band of wild Apache I1%<Jians 
rushed down upon them, whooping and j'elling like a band of 
demons. Several of the soldiers fell dead, pierced with poisoned 
arrows. This frightened the rest, who fled. Another shower of 
arrows, and the beautiful bride and her mother fell in the water, 
pi'^rced by the cruel weapons of the Apache. With his wife dying 
before his eyes. Colonel Pelton leaped up the bank, grasped his 
rifle, and killed the leader of the savage fiends. But the Apaches 
were too much for the Colonel. Pierced with two poisoned 
arrows, he swam into the river and hid under an overhanging 
rock. After the savages had left, the Colonel swam the riverand 
made his way to Fort Macrae. Here his wounds were dressed, 
and he finally recovered, but only to live a blasted life — without 
love, without hope — with a vision of his beautiful wife, pierced 
with poisoned arrows, dying perpetually before his eyes. 

" After the death of his wife a change came to Colonel Pelton. 
He seemed to think that he had a sacred mission from heaven to 
avenge his young wife's death. He secured the most unerring 
rifles, surrounded himself with brave companions, and con- 
secrated himself to the work of revenge. He was always anxious 
to lead any and all expeditions against the Apaches. Whenever 
any of the other Indians were at war with the Apaches, Colonel 
Pelton would soon be at the head of the former. One day he 
would be at the head of his soldiers, and the next day he would 
be at the head of a band of Mexicans. Nothing gave him more 
pleasure than the sight of dead x\paches. He defied the Indian 
arrows and courted death. Once, with a band of the wildest 
desperadoes, he penetrated a hundred miles into the Apache 
country. The Apaches never dreamed that anything but an entire 
regiment would dare to follow them into their camp in the 
mountains. So when Colonel Pelton swooped down into their 
camp with ten trusty followers, firing their Henry rifles at the rate 
of twenty times a minute, the Apaches fled in consternation, 

Rangers and Pioneers of Texas. ioi 

leaving their women and children behind. It was then 
that there darted out of a lodge a white woman. "Spare 
the women," she cried, and then fainted to the ground. 
When the Colonel jumped from his saddle to lift up the 
woman he found she was blind. '' How came you here, 

woman, with these d n Apaches.?" he asked. "I was 

wounded and captured," she said, ''ten years ago. Take, oh 
take Tfie back again." " Have you any relatives in Texas .'' " asked 
the Colonel. " No; my father lives in Abequin. My husband. 
Colonel Pelton, and my mother, were killed by the Indians." 
" Great God, Bella! is it you, my wife .'' " " Oh, Albert, I knew 
you would come .' " exclaimed the poor wife, blindly reaching her 
hands to grasp her husband. 

" Of course there was joy in the old ranch when Colonel 
Pelton got back with his wife. The Apaches had cai-ried the 
woman away with them . The poison caused inflammation, which 
finally destroyed her eyesight." 

When I saw the Colonel he was reading a newspaper 
to his blind wife, while in her hand she held aboquetof 
fragrant cape jessamines which he had gathered for her. 
It was a picture of absolute happiness. 



" And now for scenes where nature in her pride, 
Roared in rough floods, and waved in forests wide, 
Where men were taught the desert path to trace. 
And the rude pleasures of the mountain chase." 






When the Mexican government held out extraordinary 
inducements for immigrants to settle up the vast region 
of Texas, many came from the States, and each of those 
w^ho came with families, received a league of land for 
their headright. Among those who came at an early day, 
is the subject of this sketch, Andrew J. Sowell. For the 
benefit of the connection, who, in after years, may wish 
to know something of their people, I wnll state that the 
Sowells came from the Highlands of Scotland, into 
England, and from there, at an early day, to the colonies 
in America, and when the war of the revolution broke 
out, Jr)hn Sowell, then a young man, and great grand- 
father of the present generation in Texas, was living in 
North Carolina. H^had five sons, Newton, Shadrach, 
Lewis, fohn. and William. At one, time during the 
war he was caught and severely beaten by the Tories 
and left for deaden the public road, but was picked up 
by a market man and carried home, and restored. His 
sons removed from North Carolina and settled in Ten- 

io6 Rangeks and Pioneers of Texas. 

nessee ; and some of them soon after joined General 
Harrison's army, and were in the battle of Tippecanoe. 
They also served in the Blackhawk war, and were in the 
battle at Macanaw Island, in which Lewis was killed. 
They served under Jackson in the war with the Creek 
Indians, and were in the battle of Horseshoe Bend. 
They were all stout, athletic men except John, the father 
of Andrew, the subject of this sketch. During the charge 
at the Horseshoe battle upon the works of the Indians, 
which consisted of felled trees, brush and sand bags, 
Shadrach became entangled in a tree top, and the 
Indians seeing this, made an attempt to kill or capture 
him, but he succeeded in avoiding their blows, and in 
killing three of them with the butt of his gun. 

About this time, Sam Houston, then a young lieu- 
tenant, sprang upon the works and drew his sabre, but was 
instantly shot with an arrow which penetrated deep into 
his thigh. It was soon extracted by a soldier, and Hous- 
ton was ordered back to the rear by General Jackson, 
but remained but a short time. Binding up the wound 
with a silk handkerchief, he returned to the battle ground, 
and led a forlorn hope against the log fort near the river. 
In the charge he received two rifle balls in the shoulder, 
and was carried off by his men. He afterwards com- 
manded the Texas army and won the famous battle of 
San Jacinto, which gave independence to the young 

When the war of 1812 broke out, all four of the Sowell 
brothers joined Jackson's army, c-fnd were in the battle 
of New Orleans. Arms were hard to procure, especially 
rifles. One company was in need of thirty, and John 
Sowell being a gunsmith, was taken from the ranks to 
make them, which he did, and thev rendered good ser- 
vice at New Orleans. 

Rangers and Pioneers of Texas. 107 

Andrew Sowell was born in Davidson county, Ten- 
nessee, in sight of the Hermitage (General Jackson's 
residence), in 18 15, and emigrated to Texas with his 
parents in 1829, and settled at Gonzales, on the Guada- 
lupe river, about a mile below its confluence with the San 
Marcos. He was the elder of five brothers — the others 
being William, Lewis, John and Asa. His father, John 
Sowell, being a gunsmith and blacksmith by trade, on 
arriving at his new home, on the banks of the Guada- 
lupe, and after building a dwelling house, set up a shop 
and commenced to work at his trade, making and repair- 
ing guns, blacksmithing, etc. Andrew's mother was the 
fifth white woman to cross the San Marcos river. The 
boys were quite different in their tastes. Andrew and 
John loved the woods, and the other boys turned to 
books. Lewis brought a fine library with him from his 
old home in Tennessee. As there was not much to 
employ a young man about home in those days, Andrew 
was frequently absent, hunting, fishing, and exploring 
the country ; and he and his brother John soon became 
excellent scouts and hunters. 

After the Indians became hostile. Andrew would never 
miss a chance, if it was in his power, to follow them when 
they made a raid into the settlements. The Lidians were 
friendly at first, and often came to the shop and watched 
the old man at work, and looked upon him as a great man. 
They would pick up all the old scraps of iron they could 
find lying about the place, and bring them to him ; and, 
on one occasion, brought in their paint sacks and wanted 
to paint him, saying he was " Big Chief." 

When the Hodges moved into the settlement, they 
made a trip to San Antonio to buy land. Andrew and 
several other young men went with them as guards. 
They carried $4,000 in silver loaded on mules. At that 

loS Rangers and Pioneers op^ Texas. 

time the Indians were hostile, and the Mexicans were not 
to be trusted. 

It was about this time that two of the Moore children 
were lost. They went out in the evening to drive up the 
cows, and, not returning at night, the alarm was raised, 
and men scoured the woods all night, shouting, firing 
guns, etc., but morning came and still they had no tidings 
of the lost children. The search was continued for several 
days, but proving unsuccessful, they gradually gave it up, 
and all went home except Andrew, who still continued to 
search the woods far and near for sixteen days, when he 
too gave it up as hopeless. Whether they were carried 
off by Indians, or perished for want of food, or were slain 
by wild beasts, no one could tell. No tidings ever reached 
the bereaved parents of the fate of the lost ones. 

Very often during the settlement of this country, men 
would leave home to be gone only a short time, and 
never be he^rd of again. One man, living on the Gua- 
dalupe river, went out one morning to hunt, and when 
night came without his return, his family became alarmed ; 
neighbors came and remained through the night, firing 
guns at short intervals, thinking it likely he had lost his 
way, but their worst fears were confirmed next morning 
w^hen his dog returned horribly mangled and scarcely able 
to walk. As there were a great many wild beasts in the 
woods, such as bear, panther, Mexican lions, etc., they 
concluded he had been killed by some of these, or so 
badly hurt as to be unable to return home, and the con- 
dition of the dog verified this belief. Several parties set 
out and made diligent search for days, but could find no 
traces of the lost hunter. They would probably have 
been more successful if the dog had been able to accom- 
pany them. 

Amid such scenes as this, Andrew pissed his time 

Rangers and Pioneers of Texas. 109 

until he was about seventeen years of age, when, in the 
latter part of the spring of 1833, he had his first Indian 

About fifteen miles west from Gonzales, in the Guada- 
lupe valley, lived a settler named Castleman. One 
evening, just before sundown, there stopped at his house a 
French peddler, named Greser, accompanied by ten Mex- 
icans. He had a large lot of very costly goods which he 
was going East to sell. Not being acquainted with the 
country, he stopped to inquire of the settler where he could 
find a suitable camping place with good water and grass. 
Castleman informed him that there was a large pool 
of water not far from the house, and pointed towards it, 
but at the same time remarking: " You had better 
camp here by mj^ yard. I have plenty of wood and 
water, and you can get all you want. The Indians are 
very hostile now, and might attack you before morning ; 
there is no telling. You will be safe here, for my house 
is surrounded by strong palisades ; and, in case of danger, 
you can come inside, and I will help you to defend your- 
self and property." The Frenchman thanked him very 
politely for his proffered assistance, but declined it, 
saying they were well-armed and wo aid go down and 
camp by the pool of water. Castleman made everything 
secure for the night and retired. Just before daylight 
next morning, he was awakened by the firing of guns 
and the yelling of Indians in the direction of the French- 
man's camp. He instantly sprang out of bed, and 
hastily clothing himself, unbarred a small window, and 
looked out. Day was just beginning to dawn, and the 
fight by this time was raging at the peddler's camp. The 
Mexicans seemed to be inaking a stout defense. The 
loud reports of their escopetes, ( a short, large-bored 
Mexican gun), continuously linging out on the morning 

no Rangers and Pioneers of Texas. 

air, mingled with the loud yells of Indians. The oun 
arose, and still the Mexicans kept them at bay. Castle- 
man stood at the window with his long rifle, and several 
times thought of trying to get to them, but it was too 
hazardous, and he could only watch and wait to see how 
it would terminate. The Indians would make a charge 
and then draw off ; occasionally wait for some time 
before renewing the contest. The Mexicans were hid 
from view, but he could see the Indians nearly all the 
time moving from place to place, and they seemed to be 
very numerous. About a hundred and fifty yards from 
the house stood a large tree that Castleman had tacked a 
white piece of paper on, to serve as a target when he felt 
disposed to rifle practice. This paper caught the eye of 
an Indian as he was scouting around, and he came to the 
tree to see what it was. The settler instantly raised his 
rifle, as this was too good a chance to be lost. He had 
often hit a small bit of paper at that distance, and was 
certain he could bring down the Indian, but his prudent 
wife laid her hand on the rifle and told him to desist, 
that if he killed one of them the Indians would be almost 
certain to attack the house when the fight was over, but 
otherwise they might go off and not molest them. The 
Indian in question did not long remain as a mark for the 
pioneer, for as soon as he discovered several bullet holes 
in it, and around the paper on the tree, he turned and 
looked towards the house, and taking in the situation at 
a glance, ran behind the trees, and using it for a cover, 
beat a hasty retreat. The Mexicans now seemed to be 
reduced in numbers, as their shots were not so rapid, and 
about lo o'clock the Indians made a combined charg-e 
and closed in on them from all sides. Their guns were 
all empty, without time to reload ; a short hand-to-hand 
fight, and all was over. After securing all the goods 

Rangers and P'ioneers of Texas. hi 

that they could carry, the Indians rode in single file past 
Castleman's house and shook their lances at it. He 
counted eighty as they slowly filed past. But very 
few of them had fire-arms. They were armed with bows, 
lances, and tomahawks. 

As soon as Castleman was convinced they were gone, 
he went and examined the battle ground. It was a terrible 
scene. The Mexicans had built a breastwork out of 
bales of goods, saddles, etc., and inside of this little 
square they lay, horribly mutilated and drenched in 
blood. The Indians had thrown their dead in the large 
deep pool of water near by. Castleman then mounted 
his horse and set out for Gonzales, where he soon arrived 
and told the news. It spread rapidly, and, before morn- 
ing, twenty-seven men were in their saddles and on the 
w^ay to Castleman's ranch. Among this number were 
the following names, which I obtained from Mr. David 
Darst, who was a boy at that time and saw them start : 
J. C. Darst, Dan. McCoy, Mathew Caldwell, Ezekiel 
Williams, B. D. McClure, John Davis, Malone White, 
Jesse McCoy, Wash Cottle, Almon Dickinson, ( after- 
wards killed in the Alamo ), Dr. James, H. C. Miller, 
A. J. Sowell, and Castleman. The names of the rest I 
could not obtain. 

They selected McClure as commander, and pushed 
rapidly forward, and soon arrived at the scene of the 
fight. The trail of the Indians was plain, and the pursuit 
commenced up the valley of the Guadalupe. 

After crossing Darst creek, some twentj'-six miles from 
Gonzales, just below w^here the residence of the late 
Colonel French Smith now is, the Indians amused them- 
selves by unwinding thread across the level fiats on the 
west side of the creek. They would secure the end of the 
thread, and then throwing the spool down, let it unwind 

112 Rangers and Pioneers of Texas. 

after them as they traveled, very likely, tying- it to the tails 
of their horses. I expect they were greatly astonished at 
the length of it. This thread greatly aided the settlers in 
trailing them. They did nut seem to apprehend pursuit. 

After passing through this part of the country they 
gradually bore to the northwest, passing near the head 
of Mill creek, and then across the York's creek divide. 

The pursuing party would camp as soon as night came, 
put out guards, and be off again as soon as they could 
see the trail in the morning. 

The second night out, Andrew Sowell left the camp 
and remained some time alone on a ridge, listening, and 
while doing so, his' quick ear caught a far-off sound like 
Indians singing; and, after waiting some time longer, he 
was convinced that such was the case. Hastening to the 
camp, he informed the captain of the facts, and advised 
going on some distance further and sending scouts ahead, 
and if it proved to be the Indians, to attack them at day- 
light. But the commander seemed t > think it was coyotes 
that Andrew had heard; and he sent out a short distance 
from camp himself and listened, but could hear nothing, 
and coming back said : " Andrew, I guess you are mis- 
taken, I can not hear anything, and none of the scouts 
have heard it ; let's turn in and be after them in the morn- 
ing." " All right," said Andrew ; " but I think I heard 
Indians singing straight ahead of us, but a long way off." 

By daylight next morning they were again on the move, 
and after traveling about two miles, came to the Indian 
camp on a high ridge, which overlooks the place where 
San Marcos now stands ; at the head of the river of the 
same name. 

About the center of the camp, a pole was sticking in 
ground, and the grass tramped down around it, where the 
Indians had performed the scalp dance the night before. 

Rangers and Pioneers of Texas. 113 

As they always sing when engaged in this merry-making, 
it proved beyond a doubt that Andrew was right in his 
assertions the night before. Ahhough the distance was 
t\vo miles, the Indians being on a ridge, the sounds 
floated a long w^ays on the still night breeze. "You 
were right, Andrew," says the leader, " we would have 
caught them here, had we taken your advice ; but they 
cannot be far ahead, and we may get them yet before 
thev reach the mountains, unless they started as early as 
we did. In that case we can not do it, as the foot of the 
mountains are not more than two miles off. " They 
might have started three hours before day," remarked 
some one, "and in that case, they are nearly to the 

These conjectures only lasted a few minutes and they 
were off again, every one looking ahead anxiously, 
expecting a sight of the Indians ; for the country was 
tolerably open ahead for two or three miles ; but all 
in vain. 

That night the company camped in the brakes of the 
Blanco river, without sighting the red men. The next 
morning was very foggy, and they move'd with great 
caution. They knew from the signs they must be very 
near the Indians. 

As they were going down into the valley of the river 
the fog lifted, and presently they heard the yelling of an 
Indian on a mountain across the river. He had been 
placed there as a look-out, and was giving the alarm of 
the approach of the whites to his comrades in the valley 

The captain seeing that his party was discovered, 
ordered a rapid ad^•ance. But they soon entered a dense 
cedar brake bordering the river, and an order to dismount 

was given. The horses were turned loose in the brake, 


114 Rangers and Pioneers of Texas. 

two scouts were sent ahead, and the balance followed 
on foot. Finally they came to a narrow opening near 
the river, where three or four men could walk abreast. 

At this juncture the scouts wxre seen running back 
closely pursued by several Indians. The captain and 
others sprang into the opening and raised their rifles, 
but could not shoot without endangering the lives of the 
scouts, who were directly between them and the pursu- 
incr Indians, who now began to adjust their arrows. As 
thev ran, the hard-pressed men, taking in the situation at 
a <:>-lance, sprang to one side in the brush, when the cap- 
tain fired first, killing the foremost Indian. vSeveral more 
shots were fired in quick succession, and another Indian 
fell partly across the body of the first as he came running 
up. A third had his bow stick shot in tw^o while he was 
in the act of discharging an arrow. The remaining 
Indians fled back towards the river, yelling loudly. The 
whites charged and were met by a re-enforcement. The 
fight then became general, but the Indians soon gave 
way, and retreated back to the river and commenced 
crossing. While the first fight was going on some of the 
Indians were trying to convey the goods across the river, 
and they partly succeeded in so doing. Owing to the 
rough nature of the ground, the men scattered along the 
bank and fought from cover, as the Indians greatly out- 
numbered them. The Indian could not long stand the 
sure aim of the deadly rifles. They soop gave way and 
commenced rapidl}- to cross the river. Several were 
killed in the water ; and some, after they had crossed to 
the other side of the stream. 

As fast as they got clear of the rifles they disappeared 
in the dense brakes beyond the river, and were followed 
no further, as the men knew they scattered after a defeat, 
so as to prevent pursuit. 

Rangers and Pioneers of Texas. 115 

Three times during this short but bloody fight Andrew's 
gun missed fire at short range, when he was almost certain 
to get one, and not until the Indians had crossed the river 
did he get his gun to fire. He noticed an Indian who 
had just got out of the water, going up the bank on the 
opposite side, and once more he hastily primed his gun, 
and before the Indian could get to cover, " dumped his 
carcass " with a large rifle ball in the back. 

The fight now being over, they began to sum up the 
casualties, which stood thus : None killed, some wounded 
and one missing. They at once commenced a search for 
the missing man, thinking he was killed somewhere in 
the brush, but their hunt was of no avail, they could not 
find him, and fearing their horses would wander too far 
off, they went to secure them before searching any more 
for the missing man ; but while they were gathering up 
the horses, he came to them without hat or shoes, looking 
as wild as a buck. When asked what he had been doing, 
he said he had been running and darting about through 
the brush ever since the fight commenced ; that the yell- 
ing and firing was more than he could stand. He had no 
idea what he had done with his shoes. They were after- 
wards found on the bank of the river, near the edge of 
the water, as if he had an idea of crossing. The men 
forebore to tease him much, as they saw from his torn feet 
and tattered looks that he had suffered worse than any man 
in the company. 

They were fortunate enough to collect all of the horses, 
selecting as many costly goods as they could carry, left the 
balance on the banks of the river, and returned without 
further incident to Gonzales. 

A party was afterwards made up and returned to the 
scene of battle, and carried off the balance of the goods, 
which, however, were somewhat damag-ed bv the rains. 

ii6 Rangers and Pioneers of Texas. 

One morning, not long after this, Andrew's brother, 
William, had a difficulty with a man named Morrison. 
Andrew stepped between them to stop it, and turned his 
face towards his brother, entreating him to desist. Mor- 
rison, who had drawn a pocket knife, and was holding it 
in his hand, open, reached over Andrew's shoulder and 
stabbed William in the neck; and then, mounting his 
horse, rode off towards the West. Andrew assisted his 
brother to get home, but he soon bled to death. 

I will state here an incident of the fidelity of an Indian 
for a friend. A portion of the Shawnee tribe of Indians 
had come to Gonzales from Arkansas, on a hunting 
expedition after beaver, which they heard abounded 
in the streams of Texas. They camped near the town 
for some time. William had employed one of them to 
help him do some work about the place. He treated 
him very kindly, and often gave him nice presents of 
such things as an Indians delights in. The Indian there- 
fore formed quite an attachment for him, and said he 
would never leave him, not even to go back to his tribe. 
When William died the Indian mingled his tears freely 
with those of the bereaved family, and in broken English 
cursed the man who killed his friend, often repeating the 
words, "He kill my friend; me kill him.'^ No one 
had taken particular notice of the poor Indian, or his 
threats ; but next morning they were somewhat sur- 
prised to see him rigged out, as if for a journey, with a 
well'filled quiver of arrows, knife and tomahawk in his 
belt, and the war-paint on his face. He went round 
to every member of the family, presenting his hand, and 
saying, " good bye." Some one asked him where he 
was going ; he pointed towards the West with the same 
words he used the night before, " He kill my friend ; me 
kill him ; " and turned and walked off, and that was the 

Rangers and Pioneers of Texas. 117 

last they ever saw of the Shawnee Indian. Some time 
after that some men coming in from Mexico, said the 
body of Morrison was found near the Rio Grande with 
an arrow stuck deep in his breast. 

While the Shawnees were camped here, they often 
made long trips to the unexplored West, and came back 
with beaver skins. They hated the Comanches, and 
often fought with them, while on their trips. 

On one occasion they were attacked by a large body of 
Comanches, near the head of the San Antonio river. 
There were but twenty-seven of the Shawnee warriors, 
yet they were armed with rifles and were splendid shots. 
One of their number, a boy about sixteen years old, stood 
behind a tree and killed twenty-one Comanches, and was 
just raising his rifle to get the twenty-second w4ien he was 
shot in both legs, and fell. The Comanches charged, 
and the Shawnees came in a body to his rescue ; and 
here, around the fallen young brave, the hardest battle 
was fought — fighting hand-to-hand with war clubs and 
tomahawks ; but the Comanches were beaten off, and 
the Shawnees made a hasty retreat to Gonzales, carrying 
all of their wounded with them. They made a great 
pet of the wounded young warrior, who had so dis- 
tinguished himself in the battle, telling the white men 
they would make a big chief out of him when they got 
back to their tribe. 

On one occasion, one of them came in to old man 
Sowell's shop and asked him to fix his gun, which was 
out of repair. "Fix it good, too, Mr. Sowell," says he, 
"for we are going on a hunt, and if we meet the 
Comanches, we will fight them ; they killed one of my 
brothers, and Iwant to kill some of them." The Indian's 
name was John, and he could speak good English. The 
gun was fixed, and the Indians went on a hunt, and one 

ii8 Rangers and Pioneers of Texas. 

evening discovered a camp of Comanches. The chief 
concealed his warriors until night, and then advanced 
close to the hostile camp, and at daylight next morning 
made the attack. John was amongst the foremost as 
they rushed into the camp, when suddenly a squaw dashed 
out of a wigwam and drove a lance nearly through his 
body. He fell dead from his horse, without firing his 
gun ; killed by a squaw, when he was so sanguine of 
avenging his brother's death. The Comanches made 
but a poor fight, and soon scattered. Several of them, 
however, were killed. 

The Sowell league was located on the Guadalupe 
river, just below where the town of Seguin is now 
situated, in what is now called the Steward Bend ; but the 
old man did not immediately move on to it. However, 
in 1832, he moved from Gonzales, and settled six miles 
below the present town of Seguin, at the mouth of 
a small stream, now known as Sowell' s creek. The boys 
cleared up a small piece of land and raised some corn in 
1833. This place at that time was a paradise for the 
hunter, and Andrew was nearly always in the woods. 
He became a good bee hunter as well as a good game 
hunter, and kept the table supplied with honey, venison, 
turkey, bear, fish, etc., which were in abundance. They 
had brought some cows up with them, and with plenty of 
milk and butter, living was cheap. The house w^as built 
on the bluff of the Guadalupe river, overlooking a beauti- 
ful valley ; on the west, the creek emptied into the river 
just above the house, on the west side ; and often on 
bright moonlight nights, when the family were sitting in 
the yard, enjoying the cool gulf breeze blowing from the 
South, they could see bear crossing the open flat between 
the creek and river bottoms. 

One night, a panther came up near the house and 

Rangers and Pioneers of Texas. 119 

attempted to carry off a pig,' but the dogs and the boys 
ran it so close, that it was compelled to drop it, and take 
refuge in a tree, in the creek bottom, a short distance 
from the house. It was so dark that they could not see 
it in the thick bottoms, and a bright fire was made under 
the tree, when it could be plainly seen. Andrew raised 
his rifle and shot it dead ; but as it did not fall, he then 
concluded to climb the tree and shake him out. When 
he got on to the limb where he was, it bent, and the 
panther slid down towards Andrew ; in trying to avoid a 
cojlision, he lost his footing and fell, landing in the fire. 
He was not much hurt or burnt, and laughed it off. The 
panther was a large one, and fell with a heavy thud to 
the ground. 

On the river below them were Tumilson, Montgomery, 
Dickinson, Baker, and some others. 

One evening, Mrs. Baker was coming up to old man 
Sowell's place, accompanied by several dogs, when a 
large animal suddenly confronted her ; she was greatly 
frightened, and set the dogs on it, one of which was 
instantly torn to pieces. Out of breath, nearly, she ran 
on to the house, and told the circumstances. The boys 
repaired to the spot and found the slain dog, but could 
not find the animal. The next day, Jim Tumilson killed 
a tiger, near the spot, which, from her description of the 
animal, must have been the same. 

On one occasion, while the boys w^ere clearing a piece 
of land near the bluff of the river, one of them, in splitting 
a large elm log, while the sap was up, the bark slipped 
from one-half of the cut, making a shell nearly as large 
as a small canoe ; and for amusement, pushed it off the 
bluff ; it slid down until one end went into the water, and 
then hitching on something, remained in that position. 
Next morning, while they were again at work, the hunt- 

I20 Rangers and Pioneers of Texas. 

ing: doofs collected on the bluff and commenced barking^ 
furiously at something, apparently in the water. William 
Sowell, a boy about five years old, grandson of the old 
man, was sent to see what the dogs were barking at ; he 
ventured up, and looking over, came running back, saying 
it was an awful ugly thing. Lew^is grabbed his gun (for 
they always kept their arms near), and ran to the spot, 
and discovered it to be a large alligator, which had 
crawled up on the bark which they had pitched in the 
day before, and was sunning himself. Lewis raised his 
rifle, and aiming at its eye, fired. The alligator, with a 
terrible contortion, slid back, throwing up water in every 
direction ; blood was mixed with water as he sank. 

Andrew had many mishaps and adventures while 
hunting alone in the woods. One time, having shot 
a turkey-gobbler, and only breaking its wing, concluded 
he would run it down, being long-winded and fleet 
of foot. The chase led tow^ards the river bank, and 
Andrew bent all his nerve to catch it before it arrived at 
the water's edge, and when near it, was running at top 
speed, and so was the turkey ; and fearing he would lose 
the game, made a frantic effort to catch hold of it, but, 
unfortunately, just at that critical moment, his foot struck 
a root, and he was precipitated head-first into the river. 
The turkey at the same time wheeled around and made 
good its escape before the unlucky hunter could get out, 
who, with dripping garments and muttered curses, went 
back in search of his rifle. 

At another time, while hunting near the bank of the 
river, he saw a half-grown deer drinking in some tall 
coarse grass that grew on the water's edge, and, throw- 
ing up his rifle, was just in the act of firing, when, with 
a terrible splash, the deer was knocked into the river by 
an alligator, and was seen no more. 

Rangers and Pioneers of Texas. 121 

Again, while hunting in the thick timber, he saw a 
large buck standing behind a tree, with its head and 
shoulders only, exposed. He saw it would take a close 
shot to hit him in the right place, in fact, he would have 
to just graze the bark on the tree. Having taken a care- 
ful aim, he fired, but struck a little too far to the right, 
and the ball glancing, killed another deer about thirty 
steps to the left, one that he did not see when he fired. 

At one time, while living in the Blanco river, he con- 
cluded to go up the river, one night, to a turkey roost ; 
and arriving at the spot, saw a large cypress tree near the 
bank of the river, which was tolerably steep. Getting 
under the tree, he raised his gun to shoot a large one, but 
there was a limb in the way, and he stepped a little to the 
left, with his gun still in position ; but the limb was still 
in the way, and he kept stepping to the left until he 
stepped off the bank into the Blanco river. He went 
straight down, with his rifle pointing up ; the water was 
over his head, and he went to the bottom, and it was with 
great difficulty that he got out. The bank was steep 
and nothing but small bushes to hold to. He finally hung 
on with one hand until he could pitch his rifie out on the 
bank, and then succeeded in getting out himself, and 
picking up his gun, started for home, madder, he says, 
than he ever was before in his life. He also gained 
a great reputation as a bee hunter, and after he moved to 
Seguin, when that pjace was first settled, found a great 
many in the river bottom near town. Some of the settlers 
were not as expert at the business as he was, and got so 
they would look for Andrew's marks on the trees instead 
of looking for the bees, and very often, when he would 
take his wagon after a load of honey, his trees would be 
cut. But as they were so sly about it, he could not find 
out who the marauders were, so he concluded to play a 

122 Rangers and Pioneers of Texas. 

trick on them, and quit marking bee tree, which, instead 
of saving them, led to their loss. Accordingly he went 
into the bottom near the river, where the trees were 
extra large, and marked three or four of the largest 
he could find. In a short time these were cut ; but they 
had their labor for their pains ; for they found no honey. 
He often found bee trees under peculiar circumstances. 
On one occasion, he was running a bear at almost full 
speed, and ran under a stooping tree which bent over 
until the top was near the ground, which had a hollow in 
the end of it ; in stooping to dodge this, he noticed that 
bees were working in and out of it. He went on and 
got the bear, and then returned and secured the honev, 
having got a bear and a bee tree in the same run. At 
another time, while lying down, drinking water out of the 
Guadalupe river, he saw the shadow of bees in the water, 
and looking up, saw them working in and out of a knot- 
hole in a cypress tree, over his head. The largest number 
of bee trees he ever found in one day, was twenty-seven, 
on the Blanco river. One old settler said that Andy Sowell 
was the best bee hunter he ever saw. " I will tell you," 
said he, " what I will bet he can do. You may put him 
in a barrel and roll him through the woods, and he will 
find a bee tree by getting a glimpse occasionally through 
the bung hole." 

Such was the life he spent while living at this place. 
As yet, they had not been molested by Indians ; although 
there was no other white family living above them, on the 
Guadalupe river. 

One day, while the men were all away from the house, 
a large bear came out of the bottom and ran through the 
yard, doing no harm, but frightening the women and 

At one time, Indian tracks were seen in the vicinity. 

Rangers and Pioneers of Texas. 133 

and shortly after, a small band of Indians made their 
appearance, but professed friendship. The settlers had 
their doubts, and kept close watch upon them. They 
camped about, on the river, a few days, and then disap- 
peared, and at the same time two horses were missed 
from the neighborhood, and accordingly Andrew, Mont- 
gomery and three others went in quest of them. At the 
mouth of Mill creek they found the missing horses in 
possession of two Indians. They were surrounded, and 
they gave them up, making no show of resistance. Their 
arms were taken from them, and they were escorted to 
the house of Dickinson, for trial, it being the nearest. 
Dickinson was gone and they carried the Indians in the 
house until they could come to some agreement as 
to their disposal. It was finally decided to kill them, 
and picking up their guns, carried them out in the yard 
for that purpose, butMrs. Dickinson commenced scream- 
ing, and told them for " goodness sake " not to kill 
them in her yard. The men thought this would look a 
little too bad, and concluded to take them across the 
hollow and dispatch them in a little grove of timber on 
the ridge. As they walked along, Montgomery was on 
the right of the largest Indian. They knew their fate 
and commenced talking in a low tone in the Indian 
dialect. Andrew was narrowly watching them as they 
conversed, and, although not understanding any thing 
they said, he thought from their looks they were planning 
mischief, and warned Montgomery to keep a sharp look- 
out, and not to walk too near that large Indian. "All 
right;" said Montgomery, " I am watching him ; and if 
he makes a move, I will plug him." These words had 
scarcely left his lips, when the Indian, with a motion as 
quick as a flash, drew a long knife from some where 
about his person, and plunged it to the hilt in Mont- 

124 Rangers and Pioneers of Texas. 

gomery's breast ; who, without a groan, sank to the earth 
and expired in a few seconds. Both Indians then made 
a leap and ran. Three shots were fired almost simul- 
taneously, and the Indian that killed Montgomery fell 
dead before he had gone a dozen paces ; but the men in 
their hurry and confusion, shot one of their own number, 
wounding him severely in the leg. In the meantime the 
other Indian was running at top speed, and was about to 
make his escape ; one of the party snatching up Mont- 
gomery's gun, ran a few steps, and dropping on one 
knee, made a rest out of his elbow by placing it on his 
knee, took steady aim at the flying Indian, who was 
at least 150 yards off ; but at the report of the gun, he fell, 
and soon expired. The bodies of Montgomery and the 
wounded man were conveyed home, but the bodies of the 
Indians were left to decay where they fell. This took 
place in the live oaks just south of where the Patterson 
farm now is. 

This occurrence somewhat alarmed the settlers, for 
they were a long way from the settlements below, and 
fearing a general outbreak, as they still continued to 
skulk near by, there was some talk of breaking up the 
settlement and moving back. 

One evening, while some of the small boys were out 
hunting cows, they saw an Indian hide himself ahead of 
them, and they ran home and told the news, but no depre- 
dations were committed at that time. 

In 1834, the old man moved back to Gonzales, and 
resumed his trade, that of gun making, which was in 
demand in this frontier country, and commanded a good 
price. In the meantime emigrants still continued to come 
and settle in or near Gonzales. 

About this time, the Indians made a raid and stole 
several horses near town ; Andrew's among the number. 

Rangers and Pioneers of Texas. 135 

Those having horses, mounted, and started in pursuit. 
Andrew, and several others, who had lost their horses, 
concluded they would take it afoot, and go a nearer way 
to a point some twelve miles from town, where the 
Indians were in the habit of passing as they went out on 
a raid. They made good time, and getting near the 
place, on a hill, where they could look over in to 
a creek bottom, stopped, and resting a few moments, 
heard firing in the bottom ahead of them. The horsemen 
who were trailing the Indians, had caught up with them, 
and were engaging them. They started on a quick run 
and soon entered the bottom, but the fight kept receding 
from them, as the Indians were running and the mounted 
settlers pursuing. They used every exertion to overtake 
them and assist in the fight, but the firing, whooping and 
yelling, kept always just ahead. They finally came upon 
a dead man, named Davis, and being exhausted, the 
footmen stopped by his body until the return of the pur- 
suing party. Several Indians were killed. One lay near 
the body of Davis, who was killed by him after he had 
been shot. Davis was a brave and true pioneer, and it 
was with heavy hearts and sorrowful faces that his 
comrades picked him up and bore him back. It was late in 
the night when they arrived at Gonzales, bearing their 
bloody burden. The house in which they laid out Davis^ 
was still standing a short time ago. 








James Bowie, the noted Indian fighter and gold 
hunter, often came through Gonzales, on his w^ay East, 
after a prospecting tour in the mountains. He generally 
had twenty or thirty men with him, all good Indian 
fighters, and they often had fearful encounters with the 
Comanches and other hostile tribes, while exploring 
the country in the far West. 

In one of these fights Bowie made a thrust at an 
Indian when they were at close quarters, and his hand 
slipped over the blade of his butcher-knife, cutting him 
severely. This mishap suggested the idea of a guard 
between the blade and the handle, and he determined to 
have one made that way. Accordingly, selecting a soft 
piece of w^ood, he made a pattern of the kind of knife he 
wanted, and the next time he went to Gonzales, he went 
to Mr. So well's shop, and showing him the pattern, 
asked him if he could make one like it. The old man said 
he thought he could ; and selecting a good piece of steel, 
proceeded to shape one like the pattern, and after it was 
finished, presented it to Bowie for inspection. He was 
greatly pleased with it, and paid a handsome price for the 
work. The old man then asked Bowie if he mig-ht name 

Rangers and Pioneers of Texas. 127 

the knife. " Oh yes ; Mr. Sowell, certainly," said Bowie, 
*' give it a name." " Well then," said the old man, " I 
will name it in honor of you ; we will call it the ' Bowie 
Knife.' " It afterwards became a famous knife, and 
gained a world-wide reputation. The gunsmith made 
a great many of them aftei-wards, and a Texan did not 
think he was fully armed unless he had one of them. 

Bowie afterwards became a famous leader in the war 
for independence, and commanded the Texas forces at 
the battle of Mission Concepcion, below San Antonio. 
He was killed in the Alamo when that fortress was 
stormed by the Mexicans. 

In 1S36, the war-cloud began to rise in Texas, which 
was soon to spread over and darken this fair land. The 
Mexicans becoming jealous of the Americans, and 
alarmed at the numbers which continued to flock to this 
country, determined to drive them out before they became 
any stronger. General Cos landed at Capauo with 400 
men, and marched to San Antonio, and openly proclaimed 
the object of his mission ; which was to over-run Texas, 
establish custom houses, disarm the people, and drive out 
all Americans who had come into Texas since 1S30. 
And it was commenced by Captain Castanado being sent 
to Gonzales, with 300 men, to carry away a small cannon 
which the Government of Mexico had furnished the people 
of Gonzales to defend themselves against the Indians, if 
the town was attacked. The people of Gonzales refused 
to give it up, and sent to Bastrop, San Felipe and else- 
where for assistance. 

The people obeyed the call with alacrity, and soon 
a force of iSo men were assembled at Gonzales. The 
Mexicans had taken a position on the west side of 
the river, and on the evening of October i, 1S35, the 

128 Rangers and Pioneers of Texas. 

Texans moved out to eng-age them, under the command 
of Colonel John H. Moore. 

Andrew Sowell and all of his brothers who were able 
to bear arms, were in the ranks. The small cannon, 
which was the bone of contention, was carried along by 
the Texans, to help rout the Mexicans. Old man Sowell,, 
knowing that the ammunition for the cannon was scarce, 
picked up a lot of iron scraps, which were lying about his 
shop, such as pieces of horse-shoes, chain-links, etc., 
and put them in a sack, and told the boys that if it came to 
a fight, that when he heard a discharge from the cannon 
he would come with his scraps to load with, when the 
balls gave out. 

About 7 o'clock in the evening, the Texans crossed the 
Guadalupe river, made such disposition of their forces as 
they thought best, and sent out scouts to learn something 
of the enemy. A thick fog arose during the night, and 
about 4 o'clock in the morning, as one of the Texas scouts 
was riding about over the prairie, he saw a mounted man 
close by his side, and thinking it was one of their own 
scouts, leaned over towards him, and said in a whisper, 
" Have you made any discoveries yet ? " The reply was 
a stunning report of an escopete almost in his face ; the 
ball barely grazed him, and his face was burnt black with 
powder. His horse sprang suddenly to one side, and he 
was thrown heavily to the ground, where he lay for some 
time in an almost senseless condition, but was finally able 
to get up and rejoin the command. This shot, which was 
fired by one of the Mexican pickets, alarmed them, and 
they immediately formed in line of battle, on a high 
mound. The Texans then advanced until within 350 
yards of the enemy, the advance scouts came into collision 
with them, and, after a few rounds, retired to the main 
body, closely pursued by a small detachment of Mexicans. 

Rangers and Pioneers of Texas. 129 

The little cannon was then opened on them, and the 
entire force of the enemy fell back to another position, 
and the Texans advanced. Castafiedo then desired a 
conference, which was granted, and he inquired of them 
why the attack by the colonists. The Texans referred 
him to his orders, which commanded him to take, by 
force, the cannon which had been presented to the citizens 
of Gonzales for their defense, and told him he was an 
instrument of Santa Anna, who had overturned the rights 
of all the States, except Texas, and they were going to 
fight for their privileges to the last ; and thus terminated 
the conference without an adjustment. The Texans again 
opened fired on them with the cannon, and advanced 
rapidly towards the Mexicans, but they fled in disorder 
towards San Antonio, leaving quite a number of men 
killed and wounded. The Texans had none killed, and 
none fatally injured. 

Dr. John T. Tinsley, while riding near the bank of the 
river after the Mexicans crossed, saw one halted on the 
opposite bank. The doctor rode up to a tree, and laying' 
his rifle against it, fired at the Mexican, but did not bring 
him down, but must have hit him, for he beat a hasty 
retreat, and the doctor heard him say " carajo !" (a Mexi- 
can oath), as he disappeared in the timbered bottoms. 

The Texans remained masters of the field, and, having 
collected the spoils of the victory, returned in triumph to 

On the way back, some of them met old man Sowell 
coming as fast as he could with his iron scraps on his 
back, but the battle was over, and they were not needed. 
He was up very early that morning, probably not having 
slept any through the night, such was his anxiety about 
the result of this midnight march of his sons and neigh- 
bors. He had just taken his seat at the breakfast table, 

130 Rangers and Pioneers of Texas. 

although it was very early, when the boom of the little 
cannon was heard across the prairie. "There!" says 
he, "there it goes! " and jumping up from the table, 
gathered his sack and started for the scene of action. 

Mr. David Darst, who was there, says that Mr. Sowell 
afterwards made wrought-iron balls to fit the cannon. 

Morphis says : 

"Thus commenced the memorable contest for liberty and 
struggle for independence in Texas, which in the development 
will call forth a tear of sympathy from the generous, for the 
misfortunes and calamities of those who suffered and died in it, 
and a word of applause and admiration for its victorious sur\'i- 
vors, who in the end so wisely and heroically constructed upon 
the ruins of Mexican misrule and domination, the beautiful fabric 
of Anglo-American republicanism. The ball of revolution had 
been put in motion, and increased, by going." 

News of the battle at Gonzales spread like lightning 
through all the settlements. Houston and Rusk, Austin 
and Johnson, Bowie and Travis, hastened to the scene of 
conflict.' Goliad was taken by planters from old Caney, 
under the command of Captain George Hollinsworth. 
Stephen F. Austin was elected commander-in-chief of 
the Texas forces. Andrew Sowell joined Austin's com- 
mand and marched with him to San Antonio. 

On the 20th, Austin arrived at the Salado, five miles 
east of San Antonio, and sent in a flag of truce to Gen- 
eral Cos, who refused to receive it, and threatened to fire 
on a second one, if sent. Austin then removed to the San 
Antonio river, ten miles below the city, and remained 
some time waiting for re-enforcements. 

On the 27th, he sent Colonels Fannin and Bowie to 
hunt a suitable camping place near the enemy. They 
encamped near Mission Concepcion, in a bend of the 
river. Andrew was .with the party, under Bowie. 

Rangers and Pioneers of Texas. 131 

The Mexicans came from San Antonio during the 
night and surrounded them. Next day a bloody battle 
was fought, known in history as the battle of Mission 
Concepcion. The Mexicans sustained a heavy loss. The 
Texan loss was slight. Bowie and Fannin had but ninety 
two men in this fight, against a large portion of the Mex- 
ican army. The Texans had the advantage of the banks of 
the river, while the Mexicans had to advance partly 
through open ground. They succeeded in planting a 
brass six-pounder in eighty yards of the Texas force, fcut 
it was charged and captured by a portion of Bowie's men. 
Andrew was in the charge, and said the Mexicans worked 
the cannon until they were close upon them, and were 
shooting them down with their rifles, before they broke 
and fled. They left about 100 men killed and wounded 
on the battle-field, including many officers. 

In about an hour after this fight, the main army, under 
Austin, arrived. '* Had it been possible," said Bowie, 
" to have communicated with you, General Austin, and 
brought you up earlier, the victory would have been con- 
clusive, and San Antonio would have been ours before 
sundown. ' ' But the force under Fannin and Bowie were 
completely surrounded, and all communications with the 
main army cut off. 

After the battle, Austin camped with his army on the 
battle-field, until the 2nd of November. 

The next day, after the battle. General Cos sent in a 
flag of truce to General Austin, requesting permission to 
bury the dead, which was granted. An agreement was 
also entered into between the two commanders, whose 
forces were on the opposite sides of the river, that their 
men would not ambush one another when they came 
down to the river to water their horses. Both sides were 
bound to do this. As the river was narrow, it would be 

132 Rangers and Pioneers of Texas. 

very dangerous for either side to go to water unless an 
agreement of this kind was entered into. 

Everything was quiet for a while, but finally some of 
the men became restless and longed for a more active life, 
and a change of programme. 

One day, Jesse McCoy came to where Andrew Sowell 
was sitting somewhat alone, chafing under the monotony 
and inactivity of a camp life, and said: " Andy, don't 
you want to shoot at a Mexican ? " " Yes, ' ' said Andrew, 
jufnping up, " by Gonny, yes ; where is one?" "Follow 
me," said McCoy, " and I think you can have that exquis- 
ite pleasure." The two men then slowly walked off 
down the river with their rifles, as if squirrel hunting. 
After proceeding some distance, McCoy stopped, and 
pointing across the river, said: " Do you see that trail 
over there coming down to the water's edge? " Andrew 
said he did. " Well, I have been scouting about down 
the river here for three or four days, and I have noticed 
that two Mexicans come down there every day to water 
their horses. I know it is against orders to shoot them, 
but this is too good a chance to lose, and as it is now about 
their time of day to put in an appearance, we will secrete 
ourselves here behind these bushes, and try them a whack 
anyhow." They had not long to wait ; they heard voices 
across the river in the bottom, and presently two gay 
young Mexican soldiers come down the bank and rode 
their horses into the stream, still continuing their conver- 
sation. McCoy moved a little and raised his rifle, remark- 
ing in a whisper, "Now, Andy ; you take the one on the 
right." Both rifles cracked simultaneously. A cry of 
terror from the Mexicans, and both horses wheeled and 
dashed up the bank. One of the Mexicans came near 
falling from his horse, but hung on, and both were soon 
out of sight. ' ' That is what I call poor, shabby shooting, ' ' 

Rangers and Pioneers of Texas. 133 

remarked McCoy, as the Mexicans disappeared. " We 
ought to have dumped both of their carcasses right there 
in the water. But it was all one of them could do to 
carry off the lead he got. Let's go back to camp." 

Next morning a flag of truce was sent in by the Mexi- 
can commander, stating that two of his men were badly 
wounded by riflemen from the east side of the river, and 
at the same time demanding the culprits according to 
agreement. The Texan commander told the officer that 
brought the flag, that he had no way of finding out who 
the guilty parties were. The Mexican said he thought he 
could find them if the men were formed in line. This was 
accordingly done, and the keen-eyed Mexican officer went 
down the line closely watching the features and actions 
of every man as he passed them. Andrew and McCoy 
stood and looked the Mexican straight in the eye as he 
passed, never once glancing at each other, although 
standing close together. The officer finally gave it up 
and went back. It is doubtful whether it would have 
done him any good or not, even if he had succeeded in 
detecting them. There were too many brave men there 
with trusty rifles to see two of their comrades turned 
over to the tender mercies of the treacherous Mexicans, 
although they had done wrong. 

From this place, the Texans moved up north of the city, 
and camped near the head of the river. They were daily 
expecting troops from Mexico to re-enforce those in San 
Antonio. Scouts were kept out on the hills to watch 
through the day, as the Texan commander wanted to cut 
them off from the city on their approach. Men were also 
sent out at night, away from the noise of the camp, to 
listen alone on the prairie, so as to detect any signs of the 
approach of a body of troops. 

One night, Andrew was sent out on this kind of service, 

134 Rangers and Pioneers of Texas. 

and had remained an hour or so, when he heard the jingle 
of a large pair of Mexican spurs. He raised himself up 
and listened a few moments, and the horseman seemed to 
be coming near the spot where he stood. Satisfied that 
it was a Mexican, for he was going in the direction of 
San Antonio ; he cocked his rifle, and waited for a chance 
to shoot. It was pitch dark, and he had to guess where 
to aim by the sound of the spurs. When the Mexican got 
opposite him, about forty yards off, he leveled his gun and 
fired. A loud " Waugh " from the Mexican, and the 
clatter of horses feet, and the jingling of spurs, proved to 
him that his shot was ineffectual. 

A few days after this, Andrew participated in what is 
called the " Grass Fight." Deaf Smith, a noted scout, 
came in and reported that he thought he had discovered 
the long looked-for re-enforcements coming in on the 
west side of the city. The troops were immediately put 
in motion to intercept them ; but it proved to be a party 
sent out to cut grass with which to feed the cavalry 
horses. They had the grass put up in small bundles and 
carried on jacks. A detachment of Mexican soldiers were 
with them as guards. The Texans charged, and a running 
fight commenced ; but re-enforcement was sent out from 
the city, and a very lively battle was fought, in which 
about fifty Mexicans were killed, while the Texans had 
only two men wounded and one missing. Andrew says 
when the firing comVnenced, the jacks carrying the hay, 
set out in a gallop for San Antonio, braying at every jump. 

While the troops were encamped here, parties of them 
were continually riding around the city, watching every 
chance to shoot Mexicans ; and some times would go 
within rifle shot of the walls of the Alamo ; and all were 
anxious to storm the town. 

On one occasion, a small force secreted themselves 

Rangers and Pioneers of Texas. 135 

behind the powder house hill, and sent some of their best 
riders to annoy the Mexicans and endeavor to draw them 
out. This ruse was successful. They ventured so near 
the town they were charged by a company of cavalry. 
The Texans fled towards the powder house, hotly pur- 
sued by the enemy, but as they neared the crest of the 
ridge, were greeted by a shower of rifle balls, which 
turned them; and they, in turn, were chased back; 
Andrew being one of a small party that pursued them 
close to the walls of the fort. 

After this fight, Andrew with a great many others, left 
the army and returned home, as they were not prepared 
with suitable clothing for a winter campaign ; conse- 
quently he missed the chance of going into San Antonio 
with old Ben Milam ; for the city was stormed by Milam, 
Bowie, and others, and General Cos surrendered in his 
absence ; but the victory was dearly bought. Many were 
killed and wounded. Among the former was the brave 
and patriotic Milam himself. 

Pleasant McAnnelly, of Guadalupe county, was pres- 
ent when Colonel Milam was killed. He says Milam 
had just got to their position at the V^eramendi house, on 
Soledad street, and seeing a great many balls lying about, 
which had been shot through the doors by the Mexicans, 
made some remark about them, and stooped to pick one 
up. Some one said, " Look out, Colonel ; " and at the 
same moment a ball struck Milam in the head, and he fell 
forward. Several men sprang to him, and lifting him up, 
bore him into a room. As they passed through the door, 
Mr. McAnnelly says he saw his head drop to one side, 
and blood running from his temple ; he knew then Ben 
Milam was killed. 

A short time before, Franklin Harvey was killed near 
the same place where Milam fell. 

136 Rangers and Pioneers of Texas. 

" But where, O where's the hallowed sod, 

Beneath whose verd the heroe's ashes sleep. 
Is this the cold neglected mouldering clod 
Or that the grave at which I ought to weep? 

" Why rises not some inassy pillar high. 

To grace a name that fought for Freedom's prize; 
Or, why, at least, some rudely-etched stone, nigh, 
To show the spot where matchless valor lies." 

Colonel Travis then took command and entered the 
Alamo, with about 200 men. Among these were Colo- 
nels Bonham, James Bowie, and David Crockett, the 
famous hunter and humorist, and ex-congressman from 

At this time, Santa Anna was President of Mexico, 
and commander-in-chief of her armies. When the news 
of the capture of San Antonio reached the City of Mexico, 
Santa Anna took the field in person, with about 8,000 
men, and on the 23rd of February, arrived in San Antonio 
with a considerable part of this force under his immediate 
command, and demanded the surrender of the Alamo, 
which was refused. He then began to invest the place. 

On the 2nd of March, 1836, the Declaration of Inde- 
pendence was made and signed at Washington, on the 
Brazos, and on the 4th, the Convention made General 
Sam Houston Commander-in-Chief of the Texan Army. 

As soon as possible, Andrew equipped himself and 
joined Travis, at the Alamo ; but in a short time was 
sent back to Gonzales in company with another man, 
(Lockhart, I think), to secure some beeves, and drive 
them to San Antonio, for the use of the garrison during 
the siege. 


** It was on one Domingo morning, 
Just at the break of day, 
That holy Sabbath morning 
When Christians went to pray. 

"The tocsin bugle sounded 
The final overthow. 
Of Freedom's sons surrounded 
In the fatal Alamo, 

**The bugle sound, no quarter! 

Though countless numbers fall. 
Like famished dogs of slaughter. 
They swarmed upon the wall. 

**And across the lonely prairies 
There comes a wail of woe, 
From Guadalupe's azure tide 
To the fatal Alamo." 





While Andrew and his companion were engaged in 
gathering beef cattle to drive to San Antonio, the Alamo 
was stormed by Santa Anna's army, and its brave defend- 
ers massacred ; the wife of Lieutenant Dickinson, with 
her infant daughter, and the negro servant of Colonel 
Travis, alone escaping the terrible butchery. Andrew 
was just preparing to start when Mrs. Dickinson arrived 

138 Rangers and Pioneers of Texas. 

with the fearful news. Everything was thrown into the 
wildest disorder and confusion in Gonzales, for Mrs. 
Dickinson had reported that the exultant and victorious 
Mexican army was then marching on that place, and 
before morning, nearly all the families in and around 
Gonzales, had left, ( The Darst family remained until 
after daylight ), fleeing towards the coast in wagons, on 
foot, on horseback, and, in fact, just any way they could 
go. Andrew Sowell and his brother, Asa, then a boy of 
about thirteen years old, went out in the night and 
hunted up a yoke of oxen, and hitching them to a wagon, 
put in a few clothes, bedding, provision, etc., and the 
family rolled out. 

General Houston was there with about 300 men. He 
had got this far on his way to relieve Travis. He remained 
at Gonzales with his army until the people had proceeded 
some distance in their flight. He sent messengers to 
settlers that lived some distance from the town, warn- 
ing them to flee. 

It was truly a melancholy sight to behold the terror of 
the women and children wailing, in their dire bereave- 
ment ; for many of the gallant men and boys who fell at 
the Alamo were from Gonzales. 

Mrs. Dickinson relates one touching incident that she 
witnessed while the Mexicans were storming the walls. 
When the storming party advanced, she had retired to 
the inner room of the fort, and sat there, pale and trem- 
bling, with herbaby hugged close to her breast, while the 
conflict was raging, almost deafened by the cannon shots 
which shook the walls around her. While here, Albert 
Fuqua, of Gonzales, a boy about seventeen years of age» 
came where she was with both jaws broken by a bullet. 
He looked pale and haggard, with the blood flowing 
from his mouth. He made several attempts to tell her 

Rangers and Pioneers of Texas. 


something, but she was unable to understand him. He 
then held his jaws together with his hands and tried to 
communicate with her, but was unable to do so. He 
then shook his head and went back on the walls where 
the fight was still raging. 

The final assault was made on Sunday morning, March 
6, 1836. The Mexicans advanced in solid columns with 
bugles sounding " iVb quarter V and the black flag 
flying. The brave men under Travis who manned the 
walls, knew their doom was sealed, as they watched the 

(Storming- of the Alamo.) 

almost countless numbers of Mexicans advancing to the 
assault; but with a firm grip, each man grasped his 
rifle, and stood at his post, determined to sell his life as 
dearly as possible. 

There were 180 Texans in the fort. Captain G. C. 
Kimble, with thirty-two men from Gonzales, run the 
gauntlet and entered the Alamo a short time before the 
final struggle, but, alas ! only to die with those whom 
they came to rescue. Hundreds of the Mexicans were 
killed in attempting to scale the walls. As fast as the 

140 Rangers and Pioneers of Texas. 

ladders were placed and filled with Mexicans, strong 
men would throw them off, while the deadly crack of 
rifles kept them continually dropping from the ranks, 
while a line of officers was formed in the rear with Grawn 
sabres, urging them forward, and threatening to cut the 
first man down that attempted to come back. A great 
many of the Mexicans were shot square in the crown of 
the head, as they advanced close to the walls. 

After the massacre of Fannin's command, at Goliad, 
Doctors Shackleford and Barnard, who were spared on 
account of their profession, were sent to San Antonio, to 
take charge of the officers there who were wounded at 
the storming of the Alamo. Dr. Barnard says : 

" Yesterday and to-day, (April 21), we have been around with 
the surgeons of the place to visit the wounded ; and a pretty piece 
of work ' Travis and his faithful few ' have made of them. There 
are about 100 here now of the wounded. The surgeons inform 
us that there were 400 brought into the hospitals the morning 
they assaulted the Alamo; but I should think from appearances 
that there were more. I see many around the town who were 
crippled there ; apparently 200 or 300 such ; and citizens inform 
me that 300 or 400 have died of their wounds. We have two 
colonels, one major, and eight captains, under our charge, who 
were wounded in the assault." 

Mrs. Dickinson says in her account of the storming of 
the Alamo : 

** I knew Colonels Crockett, Bowie and Travis, well. Colonel 
Crockett was a performer on the violin, and often during the siege, 
took it up and plaved his favorite tunes. I heard him say several 
times during the eleven days siege, ' I think we had better march 
out of here and die in the open air; I don't like to be hemmed up.' 
A Mexican woman deserted us one night, and, going over to the 
enemy, informed them of our inferior numbers." 

In another place she says : 

" The struggle lasted more than two hours, when my husband 
rushed into the church where I was with mv child, and exclaimed : 

Rangeks and Pioneers of Texas. 141 

* Great God, Sue! the Mexicans are inside our walls! All is lost! 
If they spare you, save my child ! ' Then with a parting kiss, he 
drew his sword and plunged into the strife that was raging in 
different parts of the fortification. 

"Soon after he left me, three unarmed gunners, who had 
abandoned their useless guns, came into the church where I 
was, and were shot down by my side. One of them was from 
Nacogdoches, and was named Walker. He spoke to me several 
times during the siege about his wife and children with anxious 
tenderness. I saw four Mexicans toss him up in the air, as you 
would a bundle of fodder, with their bayonets, and then shoot 
him. At this moment a Mexican officer came into the room and 
addressed me in English, asking me if I was Mrs. Dickinson. I 
answered, yes. 'Then,' said he, 'if you wish to save yourself, 
follow me.' I followed him, and, although shot at and wounded, 
was spared. As we passed through the enclosed ground in front 
of the church, I saw heaps of dead and dying. 

"The Texans, on an average, killed between eight and nine 
Mexicans each. One hundred and eighty-two Texans and 1,600 
Mexicans were killed. I recognized Colonel Crockett lying dead 
and mutilated between the church and two-story barrack build- 
ing, and even remember seeing his peculiar cap lying by his side. 
Colonel Bowie was sick in bed, but as the victorious Mexicans 
entered his room, he killed two of them with his pistols before 
they pierced him through with their sabres. Colonels Travis 
and Bonham were killed while working the cannon. The body 
of the former lay on top of the church. In the evening the 
Mexicans brought wood from the neighboring forest and burned 
the bodies of the Texans, but buried their own dead in the city 
cemetery, across the San Pedro." 

And thus perished the heroes of the Alamo, of whom 
the poet says : 

" Gashed with honorable scars, 
Low in Glory's lap they lie. 
Though they fell — they fell like stars, 
Streaming splendor through the sky." 

But they were terribly avenged on the bloody field of 
San Jacinto, where 732 Texans made the prairies ring 

142 Rangers and Pioneers of Texas. 

with the battle cry of " Remember the Alamo! " and 
Goliad ! as they rushed like a whirlwind on the glittering 
ranks of vSanta Anna's army. They were avenged, but 
in the words of the poet : 

" The muffled drums sad roll has beat 
The soldier's last tattoo; 
No more on life's parade shall meet 
That brave and gallant few, 

*'Op. Fame's eternal camping ground 
Their silent tents are spread, 
And Glory guards with solemn round 
The bivouac of the dead." 

Colonel Travis wrote several appealing letters for aid, 
and sent them east, while being besieged. In one of them 
he says: 

" This call may be neglected, but I am determined to sustain 
myself as long as possible, and die like a soldier who never forgets 
what is due to his own honor and that of his country. Victory or 

" W. Barrett Travis, 
" Lieutenant-Colonel, Commanding." 

It was this appeal from Travis which brought the 
gallant Kimble to the Alamo with thirty-two men. 
In another letter, written on the 3rd of March, he says : 

*' From the 25th to the present date, the enemy have kept up a 
bombardment from two howitzers (one, a five-inch and a half, 
the other, an eight-inch), and a heavy cannonade from two long 
nine-pounders, mounted on a battery from the opposite side of 
the river, at the distance of 400 yards from our walls. During 
this period the enemy have been busily employed in encircling 
with entrenched encampments, at the following distances: In 
Bexar, 400 yards west; in Laveletta, 300 yards south; at the 
powder house, 1,000 yards east by south; on the ditch, 800 yards 
north. Notwithstanding this, a company of thirty-two men 
from Gonzales, made their way to us on the morning of the ist 

Rangers and Pioneers of Texas. 143 

instant, at 3 o'clock, and Colonel J. B. Bonham, a courier from 
the same place, got in this morning at 11 o'clock." 

And further on, he says : 

*' I sent an express to Colonel Fannin, which reached Goliad on 
the next day, urging him to send re-enforcements. None have 
yet arrived. I look to ih.&colonies alone, for aid. Unless it arrives 
soon, I will have to fight the enemy on his own terms. I will,* 
however, do the best I can under the circumstances. And I feel 
confident that the determined spirit and desperate courage here- 
tofore evinced by my men, will not fail them in their last struggle. 
A blood-red banner waves from the church of Bexar, and in the 
camp above us, in token that the war is one of vengeance against 
rebels. * * * "Yhe bearer of this will give your honor- 
able body a statement more in detail, should he escape through 
the enemy's line. God and Texas! Victory or Death!'''' 

As I am not writing a history of Texas, of course 
I can not go into all the details of the war of independ- 
ence, which has been so often given by much abler pens 
than mine. My pui-pose is to give enough of it so that 
the readers of this little book, who are not familiar with 
the history of Texas, may have a correct idea of the con- 
dition of the settlers at that time. 

And, although Andrew Sowell escaped the massacre 
at the Alamo, by being on detached service, yet he left 
such a short time before the fall, his name was engraved 
on the monument erected to the memory of those brave 
and gallant few who fell. I take the following in regard 
to this, from the " American Sketch Book," published at 
Austin, in 1881 by Mrs. Bella French Swisher: 

'*Mr. A. J. Sowell is perhaps the only man living that 
lived to see a monument erected to his memory, by his country 
for his self-sacrifice, and for his country's freedom. His name 
is said to appear among the fallen at the Alamo, Mr. Sowell 
was born in Tennessee, came to Texas in 1829, and soon 
after his arrival, entered the Texas army; was with Bowie in the 
battle at the Mission, near San Antonio. He was in the A.lamo, 

144 Rangers and Pioneers of Texas. 

but a short time before the fort was surrounded by the Mexican 
forces, Mr. Sowell, and one other, was detailed and sent out after 
beef to supply the fort, but before they had time to procure the 
beef, the fort had been surrounded; and no country has ever lost 
a grander, and nobler, and braver set of men, than Texas lost at 
the fall of the Alamo." 

The Alamo monument was made from stones taken 


from the floor of the Alamo fort. One of the inscriptions 
on it is: " The blood of heroes hath stained me." After 
its completion, it was offered to the State for sale ; and, 
strange to say, the passage of the bill was opposed by 
some members of the Legislature. In connection with 
this, we take the following from the Seguin Mercury^. 
bearing date, April 7, 1858 : 

" From an eloquent speech of our State Senator, Captain H. E. 
McCulloch, delivered in the Senate the 22nd of July last, ort 
the bill for the purchase of the Alamo monument, we make the 
following extract : 

" 'I will relate a circumstance which occurred in my presence, 
with one of these mothers of our country; and, sir, I shall never 
never. forget my feelings upon that occasion, and can scarcely 
control them now sufficiently to speak. She was the mother of 
one whose youthful blood was mingled with that of Travis, 
Crocket, Bowie, and others, to water the tree of liberty which 
sprang up on their graves; the blood that bought our country, 
(Texas), and made us free. 

'' ' In the fall of 1842, General Wall, a Mexican general, at the 
head of a band of Mexican robbers, (for I can call them by no 
milder name), some 1,200 or 1,500 strong, led, in part, by 
heartless traitors — and when I say that, I mean what I say, and 
will name Colonel Juan N. Seguin, who now lives on the San 
Antonio river, and Captain Antonio Perez, who is dead, as the 
leaders I refer to — made a descent upon San Antonio, when the 
district court was then in session, and overpowered and took 
the place, making prisoners of all the Americans that were there, 
robbing and plundering the town, and spreading alarm through 
a sparsely populated and defenseless country, causing the settlers 
to leave their homes and flee to places of safety. Women were 

Rangers and Pioneers of Texas. 145 

flying, and men whose hearts beat high for their 'country, were 
gathering together and hurrying to meet and drive back the 
dastard foe; I was sent forward by my captain, the noble and 
lamented Matthew Caldwell, to get every man on or near the 
road, to join us; and calling at the residence of one, who, when 
young and able to perform his part, had rendered good service to 
his country; to see if I could get some one at that place; I told 
him my business, and said: 'I know you are too old to go- 
now,' and asked him if there was any one who could be spared 
to go. He hung his head, evidently struggling between his 
feelings as a parent and love for his country. The only son he 
had old enough to bear arms and take the field in defense of his 
country, was standing impatient for the answer, when the mother 
spoke and said : ' John might be spared from home a few days 
very well.' * But,' said the old man, the tears filling his eyes, 
' we lost William at the Alamo; can we see John go, too? ' The 
mother looked him full in the face, and in a firm, mild voice, 
said : ' 'Tis true, that William died at the Alamo, and we have 
no son to spare, but we had better lose them than our country.' 
He went, and like a true son of a noble mother, who had volun- 
tarily offered him, if need be, upon the altar of her country, he 
stood amid the clangor of arms and din of battle, side by side 
with the descendants of the heroes of the Alamo, and other 
citizens of the country, numbering 202 men, till victory perched 
upon our standard — till the Lone Star waved in triumph over 
the battle-field of the Salado. Such, sir, are specimens of the 
widows and descendants of the men whose names are inscribed 
upon that monument, and it is with pride and pleasure I discharge 
my high duty to them and my country, by casting my vote for 
the bill, and I hope it will pass.' " 

A bill has also recently been passed by the Legislature 
appropriating a sum for the purchase of the Alamo, and 
also for the battle-field of San Jacinto. 

From the Houston Daily Post ^ bearing date, March i, 
1883, we get the winding-up scene at the Alamo after 
the battle. The sketch was written by W. P. Zuber, of 
lola, Grimes county. The facts were furnished him by a 
Mexican fifer, who was in the assault, and is as follows : 

146 Rangers and Pioneers of Texas. 

"This sketch is an account of the burning of the bodies of 
the heroes of the Alamo, after the storming of that fortress by 
the forces of Santa Anna, on the 6th of March, 1836, and includes 
the murder of Colonel James Bowie, The facts were related to 
me by the Mexican fifer, Apolinario Saldigua, who was then but 
sixteen years old, and who was an eye-witness of the scene. He 
was known in Texas by a contraction of the Christian name 
Polin, pronounced Poleeti, accentihg the second syllable. I 
knew him during several years, and feel that I can safely vouch 
for him as a truthful boy. 

"After the fort (the celebrated church of the Alamo at San. 
Antonio) had been stormed, and all of its defenders had been 
reported to have been slain, and when the Mexican assailants had 
been recalled from within the walls, Santa Anna and his staff 
entered the fortress. Polin being a fifer, and therefore a privileged 
person, and possibly more so on account of his tender age, by 
permission, entered with them. He desired to see all that was to 
be seen; and for this purpose, he kept himself near his general- 
in-chief . Santa Anna had ordered that no corpses should be dis- 
turbed till after he should have looked upon them all, and seen 
how every man had fallen. He had employed three or four 
citizens of San Antonio to enter with him, and to point out to 
him the bodies of several distinguished Texans. 

"The principal corpses that Santa Anna desired to see, were 
those of Colonel W. Barrett Travis, Colonel James Bowie, and 
another man, whose name Polin could not remember. I asked 
Polin if the other man's name was Crockett, to which he replied: 
'May be so; I can't remember.' 

"On entering the fort, the eyes of the conquerers were greeted 
by a scene which Polin could not well describe. The bodies of 
the Texans lay as they had fallen, and many of them were covered 
by those of Mexicans who had fallen upon them. The close of 
the struggle seemed to have been a hand-to-hand engagement, 
and the number of slain Mexicans exceeded that of the Texans. 
The ground was covered by the bodies of the slain. Santa Anna 
and his suite, for a time, wandered from one apartment of the 
fortress to another, stepping over and upon the dead, seemingly 
enjoying this scene of human butchery. 

"After a general reconnoitering of the premises, the Dictator 
was conducted to the body of Colonel Travis. After viewing his 

Rangers and Pioneers of Texas. 147 

form and features for a few minutes, Santa Anna thrust his sword 
through the dead man's body, and turned away. He was then 
conducted to the body of the man whose name Polin could not 
remember. This man lay with his face upward, and his body 
was covered by those of many Mexicans who had fallen upon him. 
His face was florid, like that of a living man, and looked like 
a healthy man asleep. Santa Anna also viewed him for a few 
moments, thrust his sword through him, and turned away. 

•*The one who had come to point out certain bodies, made a 
long but unsuccessful search for the body of Colonel Bowie, and 
reported to Santa Anna that it could not be found. 

"Then a detail of Mexican soldiers came into the fort. They 
were commanded by two officers, a captain and a junior officer, 
whose title Polin could not explain to me; but whom I shall for 
convenience call the lieutenant. They were both quite young 
men, very fair, and handsome, and so nearly alike in complexion, 
form, size and features, that Polin judged them to be brothers; 
the captain being apparently a little older than the other. Polin 
did not remember to have ever seen them before ; was confident 
that he never saw them afterwards ; and did not learn their names. 
''After the entry of this detail, Santa Anna and his suite retired ; 
but the two officers, with their detail, remained within. The 
two kept themselves close together, side by side. Polin was 
desirous to know what was to be done, and remained with the 
detail; and to enable himself to see all that was to be seen, he 
kept himself near the officers, never losing sight of them. 

"As soon as the Dictator and suite retired, the detail began to 
take up the Texans and to bring them together, and lay them in 
a pile. I had learned from other prisoners that the Mexicans, at 
the same time, performed the additional work of rifling the 
pockets of the slain Texans. 

" The two officers took a stand, about the center of the main 
area. Thefirstcorpse was brought and laid as the captain directed. 
This formed a nucleus for the pile. The bodies were brought 
successively, each by four men, and dropped near the captain's 
feet. In imitation of the general, the captain viewed the body 
of each Texan for a few moments, then thrust his sword through 
him, and then, by a motion of his sword, directed the four men 
who had brought him, to throw him upon the pile, which panto- 
mime was instantly obeyed. 

148 Rangers and Pioneers of Texas. 

"When the Texans had all been thrown upon the pile, four 
soldiers walked around it, each carrying a can of camphene from 
which he spurted the liquid upon the pile. This process was 
continued until the bodies were thoroughly wetted ; then a match 
was thrown upon the pile, and the combustible fluid instantly 
6<?nt up a flame to an immense height. 

*' While the fluid was being thrown upon the pile, four soldiers 
brought a cot, on which lay a sick man, and set it down by 
the captain; and one of them remarked, ' Here, captain, is a man 
who is not dead." 'Why is he not dead .^ ' said the captain. 
♦We found him in a room by himself,' said the soldier. 'He 
seems to be very sick, and, I suppose, he was not able to fight, and 
was placed there by his companions, to be in a safe place, and out 
of the way.' The captain gave the sick man a searching look, 
and said, ' I think I have seen this man before.' The lieutenant 
replied, ' I think I have, too,' and stooping down, he examined his 
features closely. Then, raising himself up, he addressed the 
captain : ' He is no other than the infamous Bowie.' The captain 
then also stooped, gazed intently on the sick man's face, assumed 
an erect position, and confirmed the conviction of the lieutenant. 

The captain then looked fiercely upon the sick man, and said: 
' How is it, Bowie, that you have been found hidden in a room by 
yourself, and have not died fighting, like your companions.? ' To 
which Bowie replied, in good Castilian : ' I should certainly have 
done so, but you see I am sick, and ran not get off this cot.' ' Ah, 
Bowie,' said the captain, 'you have come to o. fearful ettd — and 
well do you deserve it. As an immigrant to Mexico, you have 
taken an oath, before God, to support the Mexican government; 
but now you are violating that oath by fighting against the very 
government which you have sworn to support. But this perjury, 
common to all your countrymen, is not your only offense. You 
have married a respectable Mexican lady, and are fighting against 
her countrymen. Thus you have not only perjured yourself, but 
you have also betrayed your own family.' 

" ' I did,' said Bowie, ' take an oath to support the constitution 
of Mexico ; and in defense of that constitution am I now fighting. 
You took the same oath, when you accepted your commission in 
the army; and you are now violating that oath, and betraying the 
trust of your countrymen, by fighting under a faithless tyrant for 
the destruction of that constitution, and for the ruin of your 

Rangers and Pioneers of Texas. 149 

people's liberties. The perjury and treachery are not mine, but 

"The captain indignantly ordered Bowie to shut his mouth. 
* I shall never shut my mouth for your like,' said Bowie, ' while 
I have a tongue to speak.' 'I will soon relieve you of that,' said 
the captain. 

'' Then he caused four of his minions to hold the sick man, while 
a fifth, with a sharp knife, split his mouth, on each side, to the 
ramus of the jaw, then took hold of his tongue, drew out as much 
of it as he could between the teeth, out of his mouth, cut it off, 
and threw it upon the pile of dead men. T4ien, in obedience to 
a motion of the captain's sword, the four soldiers who held him, 
lifted the writhing body of the mutilated, bleeding, tortured 
invalid from his cot, and pitched him alive upon the funeral pile. 

"At that moment a match was thrown upon the funeral pile. 
The combustible fluid instantly sent up a flame to an amazing 
height. The sudden generation of a great heat drove all the 
soldiers back to the wall. The two officers, pale as corpses, stood 
gazing at the immense column of fire, and trembling from head 
to foot, as if they would break asunder at every joint. Polin 
stood between them, and heard the lieutenant whisper, in a fal- 
tering and broken articulation: ' It takes him — up — to God.' " 

" Polin believed the lieutenant alluded to the ascension, upon 
the wings of that flame, of Bowie's soul to that God, who would 
surely award due vengeance to his fiendish murderers. 

" Not being able to fully comprehend the great combustibility 
of the camphene, Polin also believed that the sudden elevation of 
that great pillar of fire was an indication of God's hot displeasure 
toward those torturing murderers. He further believed that the 
two officers were of the same opinion, and thus he accounted for 
their great agitation. And he thought the same idea pervaded 
the whole detail, as every man appeared to be greatly frightened. 

" For a time, Polin stood amazed, expecting that the earth 
would open a chasm through which every man in the fort would 
drop into perdition. Terrified by this conviction, he left the fort 
as speedily as possible. 

"On a subsequent day, Polin entered the fort again. It was 
then cleansed, and it seemed to be a comfortable place. But in a 
conspicuous place, in the main area, he saw the one relic of the 
great victory — a pile of charred fragments of human bones." 


150 Rangers and Pioneers of Texas. 

The writer, a short time ago, while going through the 
Alamo, looking at its dark and gloomy walls, came 
across two little boys looking for the grave of Crockett. 
The little boys were under the impression that the old 
hero was buried on the spot where he had fallen. 

" What solemn recollections throng, 

What touching visions rise, 
As wandering these old walls among, 

I backward turn mj eyes, 
And see the shadows of the dead flit round, 
Like spirits when the last dread trump shall sound." 







After the families had all left the vicinity of Gonzales, 
General Houston followed in their rear with his little 
army, leaving a few men in Gonzales with orders to burn 
the place on the approach of the Mexicans ; but the men 
became restless, and thinking the Mexican army would 
soon be there any way, fired the place, and left before 
they came in sight. When they did come, they passed 
down on the south side of the river, learning from the 
scouts, perhaps, that the place had been destroyed. 

While Santa Anna was pursuing Houston, a strong 
force under General Urrea, was marching against Fannin 
at Goliad. 

At the burning of Gonzales, the settlers lost all their 
possessions, except a few things they could carry with 
them in their flight. One man afterwards told old man 
Sowell : "I set fire to your house myself." Every thing 
was consumed, including a fine library belonging to his 
son, Lewis, who brought it with him from Tennessee. 

Andrew accompanied his parents to the coast, and saw 
them safely on board of a vessel, in company with a 
great many fugitives like themselves, the captain sailing 
out into the gulf with them. . Andrew then hastened 
back to join Houston's army, but arrived too late to par- 


Rangers and Pioneers of Texas. 

ticipate in the battle of San Jacinto, which had just been 
fought when he arrived, but had the satisfaction of learn- 
ing that the Mexican army had suffered a total defeat 
and that Santa Anna himself, was a prisoner. The battle 
was fought on the 2ist of April, 1836, near the San 
Jacinto river, something over 200 miles east of San 
Antonio. The Mexican army numbered upward of 
1,600 men, while that of Houston was only 783. 

The rout of the Mexican army commenced at 4:30 
o'clock, and from that time until night put an end to the 

(The Battle of San Jacinto.; 

pursuit. It resembled a slaughter more than a battle-. 
At the breastworks, before the rout commenced, the 
contest was fierce and bloody. The Texans fought with 
clubbed rifles, breaking a great many of them off at the 
breech. The best troops that Santa Anna had, was the 
famous Tampico regiment, that fought with great bravery. 
The most of them were either killed or captured. 

General Santa Anna was captured the next day after 
the battle. He had thrown off his uniform and was lying 
in the tall grass on the prairie when found by the scouts, 

Rangers and Pioneers of Texas. 153 

who were scouring the country, bringing in prisoners. 
Mr. Sylvester thus relates the manner of his capture, 
which was published in the Texas Almanac, in 1858 : 

*'Mr. Sylvester, in company with two others, were scouting 
near Vince's bayou, when, turning out from the road, some deer 
were seen at a distance. * Boys,' said one, ' stop here until I get 
a shot at those bucks.' Then riding cautiously through the skirts 
of the timber, at a proper distance from the deer, he dismounted 
and tied his horse, and keeping his eye on the deer, crept towards 
them. All at once, he observed their heads and tails up, as usual 
when about to start, and suddenly they leaped off. As their heads 
were turned from him, he knew that something else had caused 
their alarm. He returned, and mounting his horse, beckoned for 
his companions to come up, and told them something had fright- 
ened off the deer, and he would see what it was; and starting off, 
they came to the spot, and after looking about, discovered a man 
lying in the grass. They rode up to him and ordered him to get 
up. Manifesting fatigue, he appeared unwilling to rise. One of 
them then said, 'Boys, I'll make him move,' and leveling his gun 
at the same time. 'Don't shoot, don't shoot! ' said the others; 
and getting down from his horse, one of them gave him a kick, 
saying, ' Get up; get up!' The man then slowly arose. As none 
of them understood Spanish, they could not talk to him ; but they 
saw plainly he was a Mexican officer, though entirely unknown 
to them. One of them gave him his horse to allow him to rest, 
while the other two rode by his side, till they got within a half 
mile of the camp, when he was made to dismount; the one who 
walked on foot now resuming his saddle, proceeded alone with 
the prisoner to the camp, the other two returning to scout through 
the prairie." 

The reason why Santa Anna was not at once recog- 
nized, was the disguise of his dress. He had on a glazed 
leather cap, a striped jacket, (volunteer roundabouts), 
country-made, coarse cotton socks, soldier's coarse white 
linen pants, bespatted with mud. His fine linen bosom 
shirt, and sharp-pointed shoes, were all that did not cor- 
respond with a common soldier's dress. 

When the scout, with his prisoner, arrived at camp, the 

154 Rangers and Pioneers of Texas. 

latter requested to be conducted to General Houston^ 
who was then lying under a tree in the ishade, suffering 
from a wound which he received in the battle. When 
the prisoner was presented to him by the scout, he (the 
prisoner) advanced close to the Texan commander, and 
said, in Spanish: " General Houston, I surrender my- 
self to you, sir, Antonio Lopez De Santa Anna, Com- 
mander-in-Chief of the Mexican Army." 

This announcement created great excitement in the 
camp, and several attempts were made upon the life of 
the Mexican Dictator. Santa Anna's saddle was also 
brought into camp ; a very fine one, being richly silver- 
mounted. It was put up for sale, and was bid in by- 
Colonel Lamar for $300. 

The enemy's loss in the battle was 630 killed, among^ 
whom were one general, four colonels, two lieutenant- 
colonels, five captains, and twelve lieutenants. The 
wounded were 208 ; five colonels, three lieutenant-colo- 
nels, and seven captains. The prisoners were 730. Offi- 
cers captured besides Santa Anna, were one general and 
five colonels. There were picked up, 600 muskets, 300- 
sabres and 200 pistols, on the battle-ground. Our loss> 
was very small, only twenty-five killed and wounded. 
Several hundred mules and horses, and $12,000 in specie^ 
were also taken by our men. 

When Andrew arrived in the camp, the men were all 
in high spirits, and many tales were told of the battle. 
When the Texan army was advancing across the prairie 
to engage the Mexicans, who stood with a bold front in 
open view on the plain, with banners waving and bugles, 
sounding, while flashily-dressed officers galloped to and 
fro on gaily-caparisoned steeds, with their sabres glitter- 
ing in the sun, two brothers were riding close together 
in the line of the advancing Texans. When they drew 

Rangers and Pioneers of Texas. 155 

near this glittering array of flashing sabres and waving 
banners, Dick, the youngest, who was only about seven- 
teen years old, began to show the white feather, and told 
his brother he did not think he could stand it, and began 
to look to the right and left, as if he was about to dodge 
out. "Dick," said his brother, sternly, " if you run, I 
will shoot you ; " and the stripling thinking his brother 
was in earnest, said he had rather be killed by a Mexican 
than his brother, spurred up his horse, when the charge 
was sounded, and dashed into the fight. 

While the contest was raging around, Dick fired at a 
Mexican that was beginning to run, and brought him 
down, and, leaping from his horse, drew his knife and 
began stabbing the already dead Mexican ; for he had 
made a center shot. Some one asked him after the battle 
why he had stabbed the Mexican after he had killed him. 
*' By gosh," said Dick, " I was afraid he would get up." 

One old man was seen going into battlie carrying two 
rifles, and being asked why he did this, said the Mexicans- 
had killed two of his brothers at Goliad, and he was going 
to have two of them, and fearing he would not have time 
to reload after the first fire, he was going prepared for it* 

One man was seen to come out of the fight with his 
gun-stock broke off, and the bloody barrel grasped in hi& 
hand. He seemed to be perfectly furious, and rushed 
upon a gang of prisoners, and commenced braining them 
right and left, still shouting his battle cry of, " Remem- 
ber the Alamo." He was immediately disarmed and 
placed under guard. 

Andrew found his brother, John, here,^who had gone on 
with Houston's army from Gonzales, and had participated 
in the battle. 

One day, while Santa Anna was being kept in a small 
log cabin, a man came through the camp, and said if he 

156 Rangers and Pioneers of Texas. 

had a pistol he would go and kill Saitta Anna. " Say, 
-boys ; who will lend me a pistol," he called out, " to go 
and kill old Santa Anna with? '* John Sowell, who was 
sitting near, reached round and pulled out a large holster 
pistol and handed it to him. He grasped it without a 
word, and concealing it under his coat so that the guards 
•could not see it, set out on his bloody mission. The men 
waited and listened in anxious expectation. Some said 
he would not do it ; that he was only gassing. But these 
conjectures were suddenly brought to a close by the crack 
of a pistol, and the man came running back, exclaiming 
that he had killed Santa Anna, and leaving the camp, ran 
off towards the bottom. He was subsequently caught 
and brought back, and as he had failed to kill the Mexi- 
can general, he was only placed under guard. 

When he presented himself at the door of the log 
cabin, Santa Anna was sitting in a chair, leaning back 
against the back wall of the cabin, with his face towards 
the door. The guards, thinking he only wanted to look 
at the famous self-styled Napoleon of the West, did not 
pay much attention to him, and, in fact, they did not have 
much time, for he almost immediately drew the pistol, 
and fired. With the flash of the pistol Santa Anna 
ducked his head, and the chair slipping, he fell to 
the floor, and the man thinking he had made a dead shot, 
threw away the pistol, and fled. The ball struck a few 
inches above the tyrant's head. 

Washington Lonis, an infantry soldier, was shot in the 
treast early in the action, and fell in the tall grass, and 
lay there until after night, without being seen by his vic- 
torious comrades. He suffered terribly from his wound, 
and almost famished for water. He heard the battle 
receding from him ; heard the shouts of victory, and the 
voices of his comrades near him, returning from the pur- 

Rangers and Pioneers of Texas. 157^ 

suit ; but he was too weak to call for aid, and lay there 
wallowing about in his blood, and almost delirious from' 
the burning thirst that raged within. Some times he gave 
up all hope, and thought he must die for want of help- 
with so many of his brave comrades near ; but, then again, 
he would hear the sound of voices and hope would again 
revive, only to be disappointed as the sounds died away 
in the distance. It was now long after night, and he had 
been lying there since 4 o'clock, with a rifle ball in hiis> 
breast, with not even enough strength to raise his head,, 
but only to move it from side to side, and mutter low 
gurggling moans. At last he gave up all hope ; he knew^ 
he could not survive until morning in this condition ; his 
tongue was dry and thick, and he was almost choked 
with thirst; but, suddenly he heard a footstep near, 
which seemed to be passing the spot where he lay ; his 
articulation was almost gone, but he uttered a faint 
mean. A few quick steps and Howard Baily and Frank 
Sparks bent over him. "Wash Lonis ; " says Baily, 
"poor fellow, he is almost gone." With a canteen of 
water he soon relieved the thirst of the wounded man. 
Baily being a strong man, carried him to camp in his 
arms, and by careful nursing, Washington Lonis recov- 
ered and survived the battle of San Jacinto twenty-five 
years, and died in Guadalupe county. 

The vessel on which the parents of Andrew Sowell 
embarked, sailed out into the gulf and in a short time 
encountered a terrible gale ; the ship became unmanage- 
able, and for several days beat off before the wind toward 
the Mexican coast. The second day the captain became 
very uneasy, and paced his deck in gloomy silence, giving- 
no satisfactory answer to questions asked by the fright- 
ened, anxious passengers, who saw from his looks and 
actions that some thing was wrong besides the storm,. 

158 Rangers and Pioneers of Texas. 

for the vessel was weathering it all right, although her 
course could not be changed as long as the wind blew 
from that quarter. The captain ate but little, and slept 
none ; he was always up pacing the deck and looking 

On the third day, just at sun down, the boom of a 
cannon was heard across the water. The captain started, 
as if struck by a bullet, and looked anxiously in the direc- 
tion of the report, but said nothing, and when asked 
•what that cannon-shot meant, only told them to wait. 
That night the wind changed and the captain turned the 
course of the vessel, and crowding on all sail, steered 
for the coast of Texas. 

The next morning, the captain was cheerful and com- 
municative, telling his passengers and crew that on the 
evening before he di.d not wish to alarm them, as he 
knew it would do no good ; but, said he, " I can tell you 
now that we have made a very narrow escape. That 
cannon we heard yesterday evening at sunset, was fired 
in Tampico, on the coast of Mexico; and, if the wind 
had not changed before morning, we would have been in 
the hands of the Mexicans. I have been in Tampico 
and knew all the time where we were drifting. They 
always fire a gun, and lower the flag, in that place, just 
as the sun goes down. Heaven knows what our fate 
would have been, had we fallen into the hands of the 
treacherous Mexicans, since the war has assumed such a 
brutal aspect on their part; but we are all right now, 
and will soon touch the Texas coast again, and God grant 
that Houston and the brave boys with him, will defeat 
the tyrant, and drive him and his butchers from our soil.'* 

In a few days they were sailing along the coast of 
Texas. One evening, a smoke was seen curling up from 
a small island near the main land, and a boat was dis- 

Rangers and Pioneers of Texas. 159 

patched to see what it meant. On landing, they saw 
a pale, haggard, half-starved looking man, trying to 
cook a sea-gull, which he had killed, on a small fire 
which he had kindled out of a few dry sticks. On their 
approach, he hastened to them ; and, asked who he was, 
and how he came there, he informed them that he was a 
fugitive from the massacre at Goliad, and had traveled 
several days without any thing to eat, and that he was 
almost completely exhausted, and half-starved, and he 
had come across to this place to hide from the Mexicans, 
w^ho were scouring the country in every direction to 
recapture those who had escaped. He was taken on 
hoard, and, after being refreshed, he told them of the sad 
defeat, and subsequent massacre of Fannin and comrades. 
Fannin attempted to escape from Goliad after it was too 
late. He was overtaken on the prairie by a much superior 
force, and a desperate battle was fought which lasted 
far into the night. Being cut off from water, and his 
cannons becoming useless for want of water to cool them, 
Fannin surrendered under a promise of being liberated 
soon, and sent home. But the ever treacherous enemy, 
after they had disarmed this brave band, that numbered 
about 500, took them in a few days back to Goliad, and 
gave orders to shoot them. They scattered in various 
directions when the firing commenced, and some few 
made their escape. This wholesale slaughter was done 
by order of General Santa Anna. 

In the next chapter will be given an account of the 
escape of four of Fannin's men, as it was published in the 
^* American Sketch Book," in 1881. 



"On the morning of the 27th of March, 1836, about daylight, 
we were awakened bj the guards, and marched out in front of the 
fort, where we were counted and divided into three different 
detachments, We had been given to understand that we were to 
be marched to Capono, and from there shipped to New Orleans. 
The impression, however, had in some way been circulated among 
us, that we were to be sent out that morning to hunt cattle ; though 
I thought at the time that it could not be so, as it was but a poor 
way, to hunt cattle on foot. 

*' Ourdetachment was marched out in double file, each prisoner 
being guarded by two soldiers, until within about half a mile 
southwest of the fort, we arrived at a brush fence, built by the 
Mexicans. We were then placed in single file, and were half 
way between the guard and the fence, eight feet each way. We 
were then halted, when the commanding officer came up to the 
head of the line, and asked if there were any of us who under- 
stood Spanish. By this time, there began to dawn upon the 
minds of us, the truth, that we were to be butchered, and that, I 
suppose, was the reason that none answered. He then ordered 
us to turn our backs to the guards. When the order was given 
not one moved, and then the officer, stepping up to the man at 
the head of the column, took him by the shoulders and turned 
him around. 

*' By this time, despair had seized upon our poor boys, and 
several of them cried out for mercy. I remember one, a yoimg 
man, who had been noted for his piety, but who had afterwards 
become somewhat demoralized by bad company, falling on his 
knees, crying aloud to God for mercy, and forgiveness. Others 
attempted to plead with their inhuman captors, but their plead- 
ings were in vain, for on their faces no gleam of piety was seen 
for the defenseless men who stood before them. On my right 

Rangers and Pioneers of Texas, i6i 

hand, stood Wilson Simpson, and on my left, Robert Fenner. 
In the midst of the panic of terror which seized our men, and 
while some of them were rending the air with their cries of 
agonized despair, Fenner called out to them, saying: 'Don't 
take on so, boys; if we have to die, let's die like brave men.' 

"At that moment, I glanced over my shoulder and saw the 
flash of a musket; I instantly threw myself forward on the ground, 
resting on my hands. Robert Fenner must have been instantly 
killed, for he fell with such force upon me as almost to throw me 
over as I attempted to rise, which detained me a few moments in 
my flight, so that Simpson, my companion on the right, got the 
start of me. As we ran towards an opening in the brush fence, 
which was almost in front of us, Simpson got through first, and 
I was immediately after him. I wore, at that time, a small, round 
cloak, which was fastened with a clasp at the throat. As I ran 
through the opening, an officer charged upon me, and ran his 
sword through my cloak, which would have held me, but I caught 
the clasp with both hands, and tore it apart, and the cloak fell 
from me. There was an open prairie, about two miles wide, 
through which I would have to run before I could reach the nearest 
timber, which was a little southwest of the place from where we 

" I gained on my pursuers, but saw, between me and the 
timber, three others, who were after Simpson. As I neared the 
timber, I commenced walking, in order to recover my strength, 
before I came near them. 

*' When he first started, we were all near together, but as 
Simpson took a direct course across the prairie, I, in order to 
avoid his pursuers, took a circuitous course. 

" There were two points of timber projecting into the prairie, 
one of which was nearer to me than the other. I was making for 
the furthest point, but as Simpson entered the timber, his pur- 
suers halted, and then ran across and cut me off. I then started 
for the point into which Simpson had entered, but they tui-ned 
and cut me oft from that. I then stopped running and com- 
menced walking slowly between them and the other point. They, 
no doubt, thinking I was about to surrounder mj'self, stopped, 
and I continued to walk within about sixty yards of them, when I 
suddenly wheeled and ran into the point for which I had first 
started. They did not attempt to follow me, but just as I was 

l6i Rangers and Pioneers of Texas. 

about to enter the timber, they fired, the bullets whistling over 
my head caused me to draw my head down as I ran. 

"As soon as I entered the timber, I saw Simpson waiting and 
beckoning to me. I went towards him, and we ran together for 
about two miles, when we reached the river. We then stopped 
and consulted as to the best way of concealing ourselves. I pro- 
posed climbing a tree, but he objected, saying that should the 
Mexicans discover us, we would have no way of making our 
escape. Before we arrived at any conclusion, we heard some one 
coming, which frightened us so, that I jumped into the riyer, 
while Simpson ran a short distance up it, but seeing me, he also 
jumped in. The noise proceeded from the bank immediately 
above the spot where Simpson was, and I could see the place very 
plainly, and soon discovered that two of our companions had 
made their escape to this place. They were Zachariah Brooks, 
and Isaac Hamilton. In the fleshy part of both Hamilton's 
thighs were wounds, one made by a gun-shot and another by 
a bayonet. 

** We all swam the river, and traveling up it a short distance^ 
arrived at a bluff bank, near which was a thick screen of bushes, 
where we concealed ourselves. The place was about five miles 
above the fort. We did not dare proceed further that day, as the 
Mexicans were still searching for us, and Hamilton's wounds had 
become so painful as to prevent his walking, which obliged us to 
carry him. We remained there until about lo o'clock that night, 
when we started forth, Simpson and myself carrying Hamilton. 
Brooks, though severely wounded, was yet able to travel. We 
had to proceed very cautiously and rather slowly. 

'' Fort La Bahia being southeast of us, and the point we were 
making for, was about where Goliad now stands. We proceeded 
in a circuitous route in a northeasterly direction. We approached 
within a short distance of the fort, and could not at first account 
for the numerous fires we saw blazing. We were not long in 
doubt, for the sickening smell that was borne towards us by the 
south wind, informed us too well that they were burning the 
bodies of our companions. And, here, I will state what Mrs. 
Cash, who was kept a prisoner, stated afterwards; that some of 
our men were thrown into the flames and burned alive. We 
passed the fort safely, and reached a spring, where we rested 
from our journey and from whence we pro(:eeded on our travels.. 

Rangers and Pioneers of Texas. 163 

But the night was foggy, and becoming bewildered, it was not 
long before we found ourselves at the spring from which we 
started. We again started out, and again found ourselves at the 
same place; but we had too much at stake to sink into despond- 
ency. So once more took our wounded companion, thinking we 
could not miss the right direction this time; but, at last when day 
began to break, to ourgreat consternation, we found we had been 
traveling around the same spot, and were for the third time back 
at the identical spring from which we had at first set forth. It 
was now impossible to proceed further that day, as we dared not 
travel during the day, knowing we should be discovered by the 
Mexicans.' We therefore concealed ourselves by the side of a 
slight elevation, amidst a thick undergrowth of bushes. 

" By this time, we began to grow very hungry, and I remem- 
bered an elm bush that grew at the entrance of the timber where 
we were concealed, which formed an excellent commissary for 
us, and from the branches of which we partook, until nearly 
every limb was entirely stripped. 

"About 9 o'clock that morning, we heard the heavy tramp of 
the Mexican army on the march ; and they not long after that 
passed within a stone's throw of our place of concealment. 

" It seems indeed, that we were guided by an over-ruling provi- 
dence in not being able to proceed further that night, for as we 
were not expecting the Mexican army so soon, we would proba- 
bly have been overtaken and discovered by them, perhaps in 
some prairie, where we could not have escaped. 

" We remained in our hiding place the rest of the day, and 
resumed our journey after darls, still carrying our wounded com- 
panion. Whenever the enemy passed vis, we had to conceal our- 
selves; and we laid several days in ponds of mud and water, with 
nothing but our heads exposed to view. 

" When in the vicinity of Lavacca, we again got ahead of the 
Mexicans; and, after traveling all night, we discovered, very 
early in the morning of the ninth day, a house within a few 
hundred yards of the river. We approached it, and found the 
inhabitants had fled. When we entered the house, we discovered 
a quantity of corn, some chickens, and a good many eggs lying 
about in different places. Our stomachs were weak and revolted 
at the idea of eating them raw, so we looked about for some 
means of striking a fire, fii'st searching for a rock, but failing to 


Rangers and Pioneers of Texas. 

find one, we took an old chisel and ground it on a grindstone for 
about two hours, but could never succeed in getting the sparks 
to catch. We then concluded to return and try the eggs raw. 
We had taken one, and Simpson was putting on his shoes, 
which he had taken off to rest his feet, which were raw and 
bleeding, and had just got one on when he remarked: "Boys, 
we would be in a tight place if the Mexicans were to come upon 
us now." So saying, he walked to the window, when to his 
horror, there was the whole Mexican army not more than a mile 
and a half off, and fifteen or twenty horsemen coming at full 
speed within a hundred yards of us. We took up our wounded 
man and ran to the timber, which was not far off, Simpson 
leaving his shoe behind him. We got into the timber and 
concealed ourselves between the logs of two trees, the tops of 
which having fallen together, and being very thickly covered 
with leaves and moss, formed an almost impenetrable screen 
above and around us. We had scarcely hidden ourselves from 
view, when the Mexicans came swarming around us, shouting 
and hallooing through the woods, but did not find us. We heard 
them from time to time, all throughout the day and next night. 
The next morning, just before day, the noise of the Mexicans 
ceased, and we concluded they had left. Simpson then asked 
me to go with him to get his shoe, as it would be difficult for 
him to travel without it, and I consented to do so. We went out 
to the edge of the timber and stopped some time to take observa- 
tions before proceeding further. Seeing nothing of the Mexi- 
cans, we proceeded to the house, found the shoe, and possessing 
ourselves of a couple of ears of corn, and a bottle of water, we 
returned to our companions. We had no doubt that the Mexicans 
had gone, so we sat down and drank the water and ate an ear ot 
corn, when Brooks asked Simpson to go with him to the house, 
saying he would get a chicken, and we could eat it raw. They 
started, and had hardly got to the edge of the timber when I 
heard the sound of horses feet, and directly afterwards the Mexi- 
cans were to be seen in every direction. I was sure they had cap- 
tured Simpson and Brooks. Soon I heard something in the brush 
near us, but did not know whether it was the boys or Mexicans, 
but it turned out to be the boys, who crept undercover, and, in a 
few minutes, four Mexicans came riding by, passing within a few 
feet of where we were lying, with our faces to the ground. After 

Rangers and Pioneers of Texas. 165 

going into the woods a short distance they turned and passed out 
again, but it was not long after when six of them came riding 
quite close, three on each side of us, and leaning down and 
peering into our hiding place. It seemed to me they could have 
heard us, for my own heart seemed to raise me almost from the 
ground by its throbbings. I felt more frightened than I ever had 
been before; for at the time of the massacre, every thing had 
come on me so suddenly that my nei-ves had no time to become 
unstrung as they now were. The Mexicans passed and repassed 
us, through the day, so we dai"ed not move from our hiding place. 
A guard was placed around us the following night, the main 
body having, no doubt, gone on, and left a detachment to search 
for us. I think they must have had some idea of our being some 
of Fannin's men, or they would scarcely have gone to that trouble. 
About 10 o'clock that night we held a consultation, and I told my 
companions it would not do to remain there any longer, as the 
Mexicans were aware of our place of concealment, and would 
surely discover us the next day. We all decided then to leave, and 
they requested me to lead the way out. I told them we would 
have to crawl through the timber and a short piece of prairie, 
until we crossed the road near which the Mexicans were posted ; 
that they must be careful to remove every leaf and stick in theii 
path, and to hold their feet up, only crawling on their hands and 
knees, as the least noise would betray us to the enemy. I was 
somewhat acquainted with the locality; for we were now not far 
from Texana, and I had some times hunted along these woods. 
Thus I led the way. Hamilton's wounds were so painful that we 
could move only slowly, and we must have been two hours crawl- 
ing about 200 yards. When we at length passed the timber and 
reached the road, I stopped to make a careful survey of the situa- 
tion. I could see the Mexicans placed along the road, about a 
hundred yards on each side of us. The moon was shining, but 
had sunk towards the west, which threw the shadow of a point of 
timber across the road, and concealed us from view. It would 
have been hard to discover us from the color of our clothes, as 
the earthy element with which they were mixed had entirely 
hidden the original fabric. We continued to crawl, until we 
reached a sufficient distance not to be discovered, when we rose 
up and walked. Although Hamilton had, with a great deal of 
pain, managed to crawl, yet it was impossible for him to walk, 

l66 Rangers and Pioneers of Texas. 

and his wounds had by this time become so much irritated and 
inflamed that he could scarcely bear to be carried. We traveled 
that night only a short distance, and hid ourselves in a thicket 
near a pond of water. Brooks had been trying to persuade me to 
leave Hamilton; but, although our progress was impeded by 
having to carry him, I could not entertain the ideafor a moment. 
I indignantly refused, but still he would seize every opportunity 
to urge it upon me. He said it would be impossible for us to 
escape, burdened as we were with Hamilton. I could only 
acknowledge the truth of this, for it was a desperate case with us. 
The foe was around us in every direction. Brooks, finding that 
I was not to be persuaded, then attempted to influence Simpson. 
"On the tenth day out, they took the bottle and went to the 
pond near by, for water. As they were returning, (I suppose 
Brooks did not know he w^as so near the place they left us ), both 
Hamilton and myself heard Brooks urging Simpson to leave him. 
He told him if we remained with Hamilton, we would certainly 
lose our lives; but there was some slight chance of escaping, if 
w^e left him, and that Hamilton's wounds had become so much 
worse that he was bound to die, unless he could have rest; and, 
:as we were doing him no good, and ourselves a great deal of 
injury by carrying him, it was our duty to leave him. Now Brooks 
had never carried him a step; Simpson and myself having done 
that; yet Brooks was the first who had ever proposed leaving 
him; and, although there was a great deal of truth in what he 
was saying, yet I felt quite angry with him, as I heard him trying 
to persuade Simpson. Hamilton did not say a word to them 
when they came in, but sat with his face buried in his hands a 
long time. At length, he looked up, and said: * Boys, Brooks 
has told you the truth ; I can not travel any further, and if you 
stay with me, all will be killed. Go and leave me, boys; if I have 
rest I may recover, and if I ever should get off safe, you shall hear 
from me again.' He spoke so reasonably, and we were so 
thoroughly convinced of the truth of what he said, after a brief 
consultation, we decided to depart without him. Hamilton had 
known Brooks in Alabama; he called him to him, and gave him 
a gold watch and $40 in gold, telling him to give it to his mother. 
We then bade Hamilton farewell, all of us shedding tears as we 
parted, but when we turned to go, my resolution failed me, and 
I could not find it in my heart to leave him. I said : ' Boys, don't 

Rangers and Pioneers of Texas. 167 

let us leave him.' But Simpson and Brooks said that we could 
do neither him nor ourselves anv good bv remaining, and that 
they were determined to go. I told them I would remain with 
him, and do the best I could for him. So they started off with- 
out me; but Hamilton insisted so much that I should leave him, 
that I again bade him farewell, and followed and soon overtook 
the others. The reason that we started off in the da}^ was that 
it was raining quite hard, and we thought there would not be much 
danger in traveling, but we had not gone more than half way 
through the next prairie, when the weather cleared up, and we 
saw the whole Mexican army encamped at Texana, about two 
miles off; but they did not discover us, and we succeeded in 
reaching the timber on the Navidad. In the evening we walked 
out to a slight eminence which overlooked the prairie, to recon- 
noitre. While gazing across the prairie, we covild see three men 
on horseback, but so indistinct were they, that we could not at 
first tell whether they were Americans or Mexicans. As they 
approached, we hid in the undergrowth; and as they passed, we 
saw that they were Mexican couriers returning to the command. 

' ' At eight we again started forth, and coming out on the prairie, 
we discovered a road, which we concluded had been made by the 
refugees in their retreat from the enemy. During all this time 
we had nothing to eat but leaves and herbs, and the two ears of 
corn that we got at the house on Lavacca river. 

"On the twelfth day, we reached the Colorado, at Mercer's 
crossing. As we were very tired, we sat down on the bank to rest 
a little, before attempting to swim over. While sitting there, a 
dog on the opposite side of the river began to bark. When 
we heard that well-known sovind, our very souls thrilled with joy, 
and that was the first time since the awful day of the massacre 
that a smile had ever illuminated our faces. We looked at each 
other, and then burst into a great big laugh. We were all good 
swimmers, but I some times took the cratnp while swimming, so 
we concluded to cross on a log. We procured a dead mulberry 
pole, and hanging on to it, one at each end, and one in the 
middle, we crossed over to the land of freedom, and aland where 
we found plenty to eat. After recruiting a little, we procured 
horses, Avith the intention of joining Houston's army ; but before 
we reached there, San Jacinto had been fought and won. 

*'It was more than a year before I ever heard any thing of Hamil- 

i68 Rangers and Pioneers of Texas. 

ton. He remained in the same place where we left him nine days, 
some times lying in the pond of water, which assuaged the pain 
of his wounds. At the end of that time he was so much improved 
that he essayed to walk to Texana, and succeeded in doing so. 
He said the best eating he ever had in his life, was when he first 
entered Texana, and ate the meat from the rawhides the Mexicans 
had left. The next morning he took a skiff, and made his way 
down to Dimmitt's landing. He had scarcely reached there when 
he was taken prisoner by a Mexican soldier. Not long after, 
other soldiers came in, and tying Hamilton on a mule, started for 
camp. He suffered so much from his wounds that he fainted 
several times on the way. Whenever this occurred, they would 
untie him, lay him on the ground, and throw water into his face 
until he revived, when they would again mount him on the mule 
and proceed on their way. Hamilton remained in their hands 
for some time and gradually grew well of his wounds. There was 
a Mexican who waited on him, who seemed much attached to 
him, and Hamilton was led to place much confidence in him. One 
morning, this Mexican told him that if he wanted to live another 
day, he must make his escape that night, as he had learned that 
he and two other prisoners were to be shot before morning. 
Hamilton then arranged a plan for the escape of himself and two 
of his companions, which was a success, after many trials and 



The following sketch of the above named expedi- 
tion, I take from the Seguin Mercury, bearing date, 
October 37th, 1858, and written by R.. N. Brown, one of 
the survivors of this ill-fated expedition. It was written 
for the Texas Almanac, and is as follows : 

" Editors Texas Almanac : — In compliance with your request 
I proceed to give you the facts in relation to the expedition under 
Colonel Johnson and Grant, which set out from San Antonio in 
December, 1835, ^"^^ ^ ^° this more willingly because I have seen 
manj' erroneous statements in regard to this expedition. I arrived 
in San Antonio the second day after the capitulation of Cos, in 
company with Hugh and John H. Love, all of us Georgians, 
having come through from Nacogdoches. The Texans, who had 
aided in taking San Antonio, had all left for their homes, and we 
found there United States volunteers numbering some 460, who 
were then proposing an expedition to take Matamoras, and 
in three or four days after our arrival, the expedition Avas fully 
organized, and we joined it. Colonel Francis W. Johnson was 
elected to command, while Dr, James M. Grant was elected 
lieutenant-colonel, and Captain Robert Morris, of New Orleans 
Grej's, was elected major; and, in his place, Captain William G. 
Cook was elected to command the Greys, Another company was 
commanded by Captain Pearson, who had been connected with a 
theatre in New Orleans, and another by Captain Lewelyn. I do 
not remember the commanders of the other companies. The 
whole number of men was about 400. The expedition soon set 
out for Goliad, leaving Colonel Neill in command of the Alamo, 
with some sixty men. I believe Travis and Crockett had not yet 
arrived. Major Bonham, of South Carolina, proceeded with us 
to Goliad, but returned to the Alamo, as he had received some 

i^o Rangfrs and Pioneers of Texas. 

appointment from Travis. Having arrived at the Cibolo, we 
learned that a convention had been called to meet at San Felipe, 
and we elected two delegates to represent us — one of them a Mr. 
Conrad. Having reached Goliad after a march of six or seven 
days, we there found Captain Philip Dimmitt in command of a 
company; and, in a day or two after, he raised the flag of inde- 
pendence, the first, I believe, that was ever unfurled in Texas, 
There were not then probably a dozen in our expedition in favor of 
that measure. When we set out from San Antonio we expected 
to join Colonel Fannin, who, we heard, had arrived at Matagorda 
bay with about i ,000 men . It was arranged to join him at Copano, 
to which place he was to proceed by steamer from Matagorda 
bay. Three or four days after our arrival at Goliad, General 
Houston and Colonel Hockley, with some five or six others, came 
there. General Houston then strongly proclaiming himself in 
favor of the expedition to take Matamoras. 

After remaining in Goliad about a week, we proceeded to the 
Mission of Refugio, in order to be nearer to Fannin on his arrival 
at Copano, and General Houston and his half dozen companions' 
followed us there. But after reaching that place he made a 
strong speech against the proposed expedition to Matamoras, and 
some of us then attributed his change of opinion in regard to that 
measure, to the fact that Fannin would be chosen to command 
the expedition. However, as this may be, Houston succeeded in 
detaching a large portion of the men who had joined us, so that 
we found only sixty-four left who were willing to go. With this 
small number, we proceeded to San Patricio, most of the New 
Orleans Greys having left, jCaptains Pearson and Lewelyn having 
only a part of their companies. As there were not probably half 
a dozen of us who lived to get back, I will give the names of all 
that I remember, namely: Colonels Johnson and Grant, Major 
Robert Morris, Daniel J. Toler, Dr. Hoyt, of South Carolina; 
Dr. Hart, of New Orleans; John H. Love, James M. Miller, 
nephew of Governor Miller, of South Carolina; Cass, of Philadel- 
phia; Carpenter, of Tennessee; Francies, a Creole of Louisiana; 
Langanheim, a German; Scurlock, and Jones. 

"We received information from Fannin that he would be at 
Copano as soon as possible, but had been unavoidably detained 
in Matagorda bay, and he wished us to collect as many horses as 
possible, to enable him to mount his men. For this purpose, and 

Rangers and Pioneers of Texas. 171 

in order to scourthe country, we divided our men into two parties, 
one of wliich remained in San Patricio, under Colonel Johnson, 
while the other proceeded westward in search of horses, etc., 
under Colonel Grant. I went out with this party. 

'* Having reached Sal Colorado, about sixty miles from San 
Patricio, we fell in with some half a dozen Mexicans guarding 
some 300 or 400 head of horses that had been sent out there to 
be recruited for the sei-vice of Urrea's division of the invading 
army, then preparing to set out. We ascertained that Roderig- 
uez, their captain, was encamped near by with a small force, and 
we made the men guarding the horses, whom we took prisoners, 
guide us to the camp of Roderiguez, which we reached by going 
in single file by a narrow path through a dense thicket of chaparral, 
and finally found the encampment in a small open space, sur- 
rounded on all sides by this chaparral. The tents were enclosed 
around by brush thrown up, and guarded by a sentinel. The 
sentinel, on seeing us, fired his escopete at me, as I was in the 
lead, but missed me, and then I shot him. We jumped over the 
brush at once, and making for the tents, took them all prisoners 
v^rithout firing another gun. This was just at daybreal. . I took 
Roderiguez myself, though he surrendered only after much resist- 
ance. We then returned to San Patricio with our prisoners, 
sixty-seven in all, and several hundred horses. Colonel Johnson 
and Grant agreed to release the prisoners from close confinement 
upon parole, Roderiguez pledging his honor that they would not 
leave; but they all soon left, regardless of their parole. 

"Our party started out on another expedition immediately, 
going north of the road to Matamoras, On the second day, a 
Mexican fell in with us, pretending that he wished to join us, and 
that he could bring with him a small company of mounted men. 
We suspected him for a spy, and our suspicions were confirmed 
in the morning, when we found he had left us during the night. 
Our guide had informed us that there was a party of some fifty 
Mexicans a little ahead of us, with several hundred horses, and 
we therefore made an early start, but when we came in sight of 
them, we found them moving off and driving their horses before 
them. We pursued them to the Rio Grande, where we overtook 
them, and as they were attempting to cross pell-mell, some of 
them were drowned. Having taken a consiJerable number of 
their horses, we returned on our way back to San Patricio, visiting- 

172 Rangers and Pioneers of Texas. 

the different ranches, getting all the horses we could, and buying 
them at a dollar a head. We* had reached the Agua Dulce, 
(Sweetwater), within some twenty miles of San Patricio, and, in 
high spirits, we made an early start from that place one morning. 
Colonel Grant, Placido Buenevidas and myself, being about half 
a mile ahead, to lead the horses, and the rest of the company 
following. We were passing between two large motts, when, 
suddenly, there came out from each of these motts, several hundred 
Mexican dragoons, who quickly closed in, surrounding both the 
horses and our party. Grant, Placido and myself, might then 
have made our escape, as we were well mounted and some distance 
in advance, but our first impulse being to relieve our party, we 
returned without reflecting upon the impossibility of doing any 
good against so large a number, for there were at least a thousand 
dragoons under the immediate command of Urrea himself. We 
then at once understood that Un-ea had come in on the main road 
some distance below, or to the south of us; that he had been 
to San Patricio, and had probably slaughtered Johnson and 
his party. Placido wished to return with us, but Grant per- 
suaded him to start forthwith to Goliad, and give Fannin infor- 
mation of Urrea's arrival. We had been absent froin San 
Patricio some ten or twelve days. As Grant and myself ap- 
proached to join our party, the dragoons opened their line, 
and we passed in. We at once saw that most of our party 
had already been killed, and we decided to sell our lives as 
dearly as possible. My horse was quickly killed with a lance, but 
Grant told me to mount Major Morris' horse, as Morris had just 
been killed, I did so, but without seeing any object to accomplish 
by it. Just at that moment the horses took a stampede, and broke 
the line of the dragoons, and Grant and myself finding ourselves 
the only survivors of our party, followed in the wake of the horses, 
the dragoons shooting after us, and wounding our horses in several 
places, but not badly. As we were flying, a dragoon rushed upon 
me with his lance set, but I knocked it to one side and shot him, 
holding my pistol against his breast; and scarcely stopping, I fled 
with Grant, the Mexicans following, and some of them occasion- 
ally coming up with us, and crying out to us to surrender and our 
lives would be saved. But we knew better, and continued to fl}"^, 
but the number of those overtaking us became larger and larger, 
and after we had run six or seven miles, they surrounded us. 

Rangers and Pioneers of Texas. 173 

when, seeing no further chance of escape, we dismounted, and 
determined to make them pay dearly for our lives. As I reached 
the ground a Mexican lanced me in the arm, but Grant imme- 
diately shot him dead, when I seized his lance to defend myself. 
Just as he shot the Mexican I saw Grant fall, pierced with several 
lances, and in a moment after, I found myself fast in a lasso that 
had been thrown over me, and by which I was dragged to the 
ground. I could do no moi'e, and only regretted that I had not 
shared the fate of all the rest of my party. 

" After Grant fell, I saw some ten or a dozen officers go up and 
run their swords through his body. He was well known to them, 
having lived a long time in Mexico. They had a bitter grudge 
against him. 

" I was then lashed upon a horse and taken to the ground where 
the fight first commenced, where I saw most of our men lying 
dead. Among others whom I recognized, was one poor fellow 
named Carpenter, from Tennessee, who was fatally wounded 
but not quite dead. When it was discovered that he was alive, one 
of the dragoons was ordered to finish him. He dismounted and, 
while poor Carpenter asked to have life spared, he struck him on 
the head with his escopete, and thus ended his existence. I was 
then taken to San Patricio, and there confined in a small hut for 
seven or eight days, during which time I knew nothing of the fate 
of Colonel Johnson's command. 

"On the second day of my confinement, I was approached by 
General Urrea's interpreter, who proposed to me that I should 
give a flag of truce to Colonel Fannin, and propose to him it he 
would surrender, he and his men would be sent safely back to the 
United States. The reason for making me this proposition, was 
double the fact of their having found letters about me from Colonel 
Fannin, with whom I had been on intimate terms, we both having 
come from the same section of the State of Georgia. I refused 
to accede to this proposition, assigning as my reason, that he 
required me to state what was not true; that the Mexican 
force under him were very large, and such as would overpower 
him; but I would certainly not have been the bearer of any 
proposition that would have been dishonorable to our army, or 
have prejudiced our cause. Urrea then said that I would have 
to be executed according to Santa Anna's orders. It was probably 
my indifference and recklessness of life, under the circumstances, 

174 Rangers and PioneeIis of Texas. 

that saved my life. I was then taken out to be shot, but was 
spared through the interposition of a priest and a Mexican 
lady, named Alvarez. After having been kept in San Patricio 
some seven or eight days, I was taken out of my place of confine- 
ment to be sent to Matamoras, where I was surprised to see some 
five or six of the men belonging to Colonel Johnson's command, 
brought out for the .->ame purpose. They had been confined in 
another place, entirely unknown to me; and, as I then learned, 
were the only men of Johnson's command that had not been 
killed except Johnson himself, John H, Love, James M. Miller 
and Daniel J. Toler, who made their escape by a fortunate 
circumstance. An understanding had been had between the 
Mexicans and the few inhabitants of the town, that on the 
night when the attack on the town was to be made, the citi- 
zens should have lights burning in their houses, by which 
means they would be known and saved, while all the balance 
were to be slaughtered. It happened that on that night Johnson 
and Toler were engaged in writing to a very late hour, and their 
light, therefore, saved them till they had notice of the attack, and 
were thus enabled to make their escape. 

" I was then marched with the other prisoners to Matamoras, 
being five or six days on the road; and, on our arrival, we were 
imprisoned and kept several days without food or drink. Soon 
after our arrival, we were informed that orders had been received 
from Santa Anna for our execution; but General Fernandez, 
commanding at Matamoras, to whom these orders had been sent, 
delayed the execution for the purpose of going through a mock 
trial. We were all taken out and questioned separately, taking 
near two days with each of us. We were then formally conc|emned 
and sentenced to be shot on the 6th of April, 1836. We had been 
in Matamoras from about the ist of March. On the appointed 
day for our execution, we were all taken out, weak and greatly 
emaciated from the painful manner of our confinement and want 
of food. The sentence was read to us; but we were respited by 
the interposition of the priest and woman who had been residing 
in Matamoras. A large church had been commenced, but was 
left unfinished for the want of funds. It was by the promise of 
the money requisite to complete it, that the priest exerted their 
powerful influence in our behalf, but the money was promised 
merely for a respite for nine days, during which time, a messenger 

Rangers and Pioneers of Texas. 175 

was to be dispatched to the City of Mexico, to try and obtain a 
reprieve. The messenger returned, having (much to our astonish- 
ment) obtained a commutation of the sentence of death to per- 
petual confinement from that time till the latter part of December 
following, subjected to every privation, half-stan-ed, and only 
taken out of our close and filthy prison occasionally to sweep the 
streets, when we were always under a strong guard. We were bare- 
footed and nearly destitute of clothing, and death was prefer- 
able to such a condition of wretchedness. Finally, myself and 
McNeely, of Louisiana, having been dvised that our friends had 
horses prepared for our flight, provided we would once escape 
from our confinement, determined we would use every exertion 
to get out, or die in the attempt. During the year, we had often 
asked for a privilege of sleeping in the prison yard, which was 
enclosed by a wall fourteen feet high. It was not until the latter 
part of December, that McXeely and myself finally prevailed on 
the officers to grant this privilege for one night. The time was 
propitous, as it was dark and rainy. A guard of twelve men alter- 
nated in watching over us. Near 12 o'clock, while were apparently 
asleep, I observed the guards with their cloaks or blankets, on 
their bayonets, over their heads, .trying to protect themselves 
from the rain. We seized the opportunity, and glided unper- 
ceived to the wall of the quartelle, or enclosure. After exhaust- 
ing our ingenuity in devising means to reach the top of the wall, 
it was finally decided that McNeely, who was a tall man, should 
place himself against the wall, close to the back house, which 
was not quite so high; and having done so, I sprang from his 
shoulders so as to reach the top, when he was able, by getting 
hold of my feet, to climb up my side. We then immediately 
jumped down the other side, but were discovered by the sentinel 
on the wall, who gave the alarm, and we only succeeded in making 
our escape by the darkness of the night. After groping about 
the remainder of the night withoutbeing able to find our friends, 
we secreted ourselves the following day, and the next night suc- 
ceeded in procuring weapons, and then we proceeded up t^ e Rio 
Grande to find a favorable point for crossing, traveling in the 
night and laying concealed in the day-time, till we reached a 
crossing a little below Mier early one morning where, seeing a 
canoe on the opposite bank, I swam over for it, and with it, we 
both crossed, swimming our horses. Before we reached the bank, 

176 Rangers and Pioneers of Texas. 

we discovered a large number of Mexicans riding in pursuit of us, 
but fortunately we were unperceived by them, and made good 
our landing on the opposite bank. Having again mounted our 
horses, we pursued our way over the trackless prairie, as well as 
we could, but often lost our course, and it was not till after much 
exposure and several narrow escapes, tliatwe finally arrived among 
our friends in Texas. 

''We arrived at the Guadalupe, opposite Victoria, the latter 
part of December, or the first of January, during a fall of sleet, 
when the rivei was near an overflow, called to the opposite side of 
bank for somebody to bring the ferry-boat over for lis, but Col- 
onel Clark L. Owen, who was then in command of a company at 
that place, suspected a decoy by the enemy, and it was not till 
some time had passed, that he finally came over for us. 

" I have given you all the leading events of our disastrous expe- 
dition under Colonel Grant, of which I was the only survivor^ 
except Placido Buenvidas, who carried the first news of our 
slaughter to Fannin, I have omitted many events and details of 
suffering that would probably extend this communication too 
much for your use. It may be proper here to remark that Mr. 
McNeely is now a member of the legislature of Louisiana. The 
other prisoners who were with us, were finally released, by the 
influence of their friends, some four or five months after our 
escape. "Yours respectfully, 

" R. N. Brown." 



We will now return to the vessel containing the fugi- 
tive families, which we left on the coast of Texas, after 
having taken on board the half-starved soldier from the 
Fannin massacre. 

There were many sad and heavy hearts on board of that 
vessel when they again got under way and continued 
down the coast. Some had lost their loved ones at the 
Alamo, some at Goliad, and most all of them had sons, 
brothers, and friends, with Houston, and what might be 
their fate ere this, none could tell. The last news they 
had heard from them, they were being pursued by an 
overwhelming and victorious army under the dictator 
and blood-thirsty tyrant, Santa Anna, himself. 

As the captain could hear no news concerning the 
movements of the armies, he at length concluded to sail 
for Columbia, on the Brazos, as being the place most 
likely to hear news from the seat of war. n 

On nearing the place, he saw a large vessel at the land- 
ing, with her decks crowded with men. The captain's 
heart sank within him at this sight, and turning to e 
anxious passengers who crowded around him, he said: 
"Texas is gone; Houston's army is embarking; t' v 
have been driven from the soil of Texas." 

But what was their joyful surprise when, on coming 
up, they found out that the battle of San Jacinto had been 
fought, and the Mexican army had been totally defeated, 
and almost the entire army had been either killed or 

178 Rangers and Pioneers of Texas. 

captured, including Santa Anna himself, who was a 
prisoner. The men which they saw on board the vessel 
and taken for Houston's army, were Mexican prisoners. 

Andrew Sowell and John here rejoined their parents, 
and there was <^reat rejoicing at the meeting of friends 
and kindred after so many dangers and hardships. The 
Sowell family here went on board the vessel containing 
the prisoners, and remained several days. The old lady, 
who was somewhat hard of hearings and could not 
hear an ordinary conversation, one day, while at the 
dinner table, asked who Santa Anna was, who sat near 
the head of the table, and was having some attention 
paid to him. On being informed that it was the Mexican 
general, Santa Anna, she arose from the table, saying 
she would not eat another bite while that old scamp was 
at the table, and she did not, but took her meals else- 
where, until Santa Anna was sent back on shore. 

From this place, the Mexican president was sent to 
New Orleans, and from there to Washington City, and 
after peace was concluded, and the independence of 
Texas recognized, he was sent to Vera Cruz, and landed 
on the soil of Mexico, a somewhat humbled if not a better 

Several families remained here at Columbia for some 
time, until the times became more settled. Among the 
number was old man Sowell ; but finally they commenced 
moving back to their old homes on the Guadalupe and 
elsewhere, and, in i838-'39, a great man}^ had returned 
aqd again settled at Gonzales. 

I heard of one incident connected with the sudden flight 
of the settlers on the approach of the Mexicans, which I 
will here relate. A family who were living some distance 
from Gonzales, were just sitting down to breakfast when 
one of the mcssenofers which Houston had sent out arrived 

Rangers and Pioneers of Texas. 179 

and told them of the fall of the Alamo, and the advance 
of Santa Anna. Without stopping to finish breakfast 
they hastily collected a few things and fled, and on their 
return more than a year afterwards, found everything as 
they had left it. The table was still set, and chairs around 
it, and mouldy bread and meat in the dishes, nothing 
having molested a thing. 

Yoakum, in describing the flight of the settlers, says: 

*' On every road leading eastward into Texas, were found men, 
women and children, moving through the country over swollen 
streams and muddy roads, strewing the way with their property, 
crying for aid, and exposed to the fierce northers and rains of the 
spring. The scene was distressing indeed; and, being witnessed 
by the small but faithful army of Texas, whose families and wives 
they were, thus exposed and suffering, ner\'ed their arms and 
hearts for the contest then not distant." 

In connection with the return of the f amiles to Gonzales, 
I wmII insert the following, which was published in the 
Gonzales Inquirer^ in February, 1882, and is as follows : 

" GONZALES IN 1838 AND 1839." 

"Editor Gonzales Inquirer: — Please accept a few reminis- 
cences of ' Old Gonzales,' with a view of introducing other and 
abler pens to place upon record, before it be too late, similar 
sketches of 'Life and Times on the Guadalupe Frontier.' 

" The spring of 1838, witnessed the return to Gonzales of some 
of the familes who had built homes here in the first settling of 
this country, but who, with others of the colonists on the Guada- 
lupe river, had been constrained to a hasty flight in the memor- 
able running scrape of 1836. The Alamo had been garrisoned 
principally by men and boys from this vicinity, and when they 
were butchered, their families were left smitten and almost help- 
less, and the enemy advancing rapidly upon them, their homes 
were left to the flames while they escaped as best they could. 

"The defeat of the Mexicans at San Jacinto did not secure 
peace to the western settlements; on the contrary, rumors of 
intended invasions were rife every spring, and Indian depreda- 
tions were common. Thus the prospect of good times was remote 

i8o Rangers and Pioneers of Texas. 

to the surviving families who had buffeted about until they had 
mostly used up their personal property, but yet owning excellent 
lands in this region, they resolved to return, re-establish and 
rebuild their former homes. This spirit and indomitable energy 
of these people, was worthy of note, and was exemplified while 
they were moving from place to place, anxiously waitingfor some 
protection and security to be offered their frontier. One excellent 
matron declared to her associates in distress, ' I had rather return 
to the ' Warloope ' river, drink of its waters aud subsist on catfish 
and buttermilk, while risking all enemies, rather than settle down 
any where else.' The return was difficult, the country being 
waste and desolate for two or three years. There was nothing 
but wild game to subsist upon. They must bring their corn from 
the Colorado, or from Washington county, and grind it by hand 
upon steel mills. Groceries and store supplies could only be 
obtained at Houston or the Lower Brazos, Having no cattle to 
spare, they hunted deer, which were plenty ; while wild hogs, bears, 
and occasionally a buffalo, were found. By the last of June of 
this year, among others who had got back, were Judge McClure, 
ten miles east of town, occupying one of the most exposed places 
in the country; Mr. Havens, and the Lockharts, ten miles below 
on the west side; the DeWitts, and old Simon Bateman, beyond 
whom the wide extant of land reaching to the San Antonio, was 
uninhabited; over in the forks, were Mr. Duncan, and the Hodges, 
with Colonel King, nine miles above, and still more remote, was 
Colonel J. D. Clements. Nearer town, were the widow Rowe, 
Frazier, George W. Davis, Almon Cottle, the Berrys, Daniel 
Davis, John Clark, I. J, Good, and in the inner town, there were 
Eli Mitchell, Captain M. Caldwell, James Patrick, Esquire, Adam 
Zumwalt, Ezekiel Williams, E. Bellinger, M. G. Dikes, the 
Sowells, Nichols, and Darst. 

" In June, Mr. , while traveling home via. Big Hill and 

McClure's, was killed by the Indians. He lived near Berry's. 

" The Fourth of July, 1S3S, was observed with some festivities, 
including the wedding of Captain William A. Mathews and Mrs. 
Fuqua. The same day brought sorrow into Mr. Bellinger's 
family, whose son, William, was drowned at the watering place 
of the town, 

'* In June of 1S38, Major V. Bennett, who was also from Gon- 
zales, was instructed to visit the important points on the frontier, 

Rangers and Pioneers of Texas. i8i 

especially San Antonio, and report to military headquarters at 
Houston, and during the following winter, two companies of the 
army were brought out, one of which was stationed at Gonzales, 
Major Bennett furnishing transportation and subsistence for both 
companies. Among those previously mentioned, two were signers 
of the declaration of Texas' independence, and there were also a 
few of the eighteen men who, in 1835, comprised the first company 
mustered to prevent the Mexicans from removing the cannon from 

'' In the spring of 1839, Captain Ben McCulloch and H. E. 
McCulloch, had an efficient company of minute men, and kept 
their scouts in the fieid from time to time. Their encampment 
was up the Guadalupe, at Walnut Springs. 

'* The friendly Indians, the Lipans and Tonkaways, frequently 
encamped at Gonzales, and in one or two instances co-operated 
with the McCullochs in pursuing other hostiles. On one occa- 
sion, the Indians were encamped just below town, on the river, 
driving a pretty bris<^ trade in ponies, deer-skins and trinkets, 
during which time, John McCoy, of McCoy's creek, in the lower 
part of the county, who owed the red men a grugde, treated one of 
them pretty freely with whisky, and accepting in return his pro- 
posal to ride behind him from town to camp, deliberately scalped 
the Indian on the road, for which he was blamed by the citizens 

"In addition to the citizens already mentioned, there were 
others of more or less prominence, who may have been earlieror 
later identified with Gonzales and its surroundings, viz: Wilson 
and Barney Randall, A. Swift, the Smiths, Kings, Days, V. Hen- 
derson, Callahan, John S. Saump, an expert hunter; Baskes and 
Rhodes, successful bear hunters; Putnam, Kinkennon, William 
Morrison, Asley Miller, C. Acklin, Clem Hinds, E. Henkins, 
Nathan Burkitt, Cockrill, Wolfin, Cooksey, Hoskins, George 
Edwards, A. Gipson, John Archer, Arch Jones, Josh Thread- 
gill, W. B. Hargis, Grubbs, Baker, R. Miller, Joe Martin, Killin, 
C. C. CoWey, Frazier, Poney Hall, and Robert Hall. 

"Some of these men were in the humble walks of life, but all 
counted in times of alarm and distress, for the war with Mexicans 
and Indians continued to harrass Western Texas long after San 
Jacinto days. Witness the bold excursions into Mexico under 
such captains as Jordon, Ross, Switzer and King, in 1839; the 

i82 Rangers and Pioneers of Texas. 

burning of Linville, and the battle of Plum Creek, in the summer 
of 1840: the Santa Fe expedition, in i84i-'42 ; the Vasquez inroad 
in the spring of 1842; the battle of the Salado, and the Wall 
campaign, in the fall of 1842, followed in the winter by theSum- 
merville campaign, including the Mier expedition. 

" In all of these, our men participated pretty feely; some fell 
in actual battle; some endured long and harsh imprisonments; 
some were permanently disabled by honorable wounds, and a 
few of them lie in unknown graves in the public burying-ground 
in Gonzales. 






Not long after the return of the settlers to Gonzales, 
Andrew Sowell's father died, and his brother, Lewis, 
died a short time before the runaway scrape, as it was 
called. The rest of the boys spent a good portion of their 
time in the ranging service. Andrew served under Hays, 
McCulloch, Mason, Caldwell, Callahan, and others. He 
was well acquainted with nearly all the noted characters 
in Texas at that time, and on one occasion, swapped hats 
with ' Kit Carson,' the famous Santa Fe scout. 

Shortly after the death of their father, the Sowell boys 
left Gonzales, and moved up and settled on their league 
of land on the Guadalupe river, just below where the 
flourishing little city of Seguin is now situated ; and when 
that place was laid off, bought lots and settled there. 

Humphrey Branch was the first settler at this place. 
He went there in 1833, and built a house near the spot 
where the Andrew Neill house now stands, and called it 
the Elm Spring Hill. One morning, while living here, the 
family were startled by hearing a noise which resembled 
a hurricane approaching, and running out, saw an im- 
mense herd of buffalo crossing the prairie north of the 
house. At that time there was no brush to obstruct the 

184 Rangers and Pioneers of Texas. 

view. Branch first settled with his father-in-law, John 
Sowell, at the mouth of Sowell creek, six miles below. 

Among those who settled the place, were the Kings, 
McCullochs, Sowells, Nichols, Solomon Brill, Milford 
Day, Callahan, Turners, and others. 

Not long after the town was laid off and settlements 
commenced, the Lipan Indians, who were then friendly 
to the whites, followed a band of Comanches and had a 
terrible fight with them, and on their return had a war 
dance at the Walnut Springs. The white settlers of 
Seguin were invited to it, and several of them attended. 
During the dance, the Lipans held the scalps of the slain 
Comanches in their hands. 

On another occasion, the hostile Indians made a raid 
in the outskirts of the town, while a dance was in progress 
at the house of Milford Da}^ They were discovered by 
John R. King, who was on the lookout, and who fired at 
them. One of the Indians returned the fire, and they all 
retreated. The alarm was soon given and the dance came 
to an abrupt termination. In a few moments William 
King, Henry King, John R. King, Andrew Sowell, 
Anderson Smith, Paris Smith and Milford Day, were 
limed, mounted and after the hostiles. The night was 
dark, and the scouts, after searching for some time and 
seeing nothing of the Indians, repaired to the three-mile 
water hole and remained till morning. As soon as it was 
light enough they again set out, and struck the Indian 
trail near the Plum Ridge. The trail led in the direction 
of where NewBraunfels now stands. The men followed 
rapidly, and came up with the Indians in the prairie, near 
the Twelve-mile spring. One of them, who carried a 
rifle, dropped down in the grass, and attempted to fire at 
William King and Anderson Smith, who were riding 
close together, but was shot through the head and 

Rangers and Pioneers of Texas. 185 

instantly killed by King before he could do so. The 
Indians then ran, pursued by the settlers, who tried to 
fire on them, but could not do so, as their guns had 
become wet in the night from the drizzling rain. The 
Indians, however, were in the same predicament ; their 
bow-strings, which were made of sinews, had become 
wet, and relaxed so that they could not shoot their arrows 
w^ith any force. In this way the pursuit was kept up 
until they arrived at the river, the settlers snapping their 
pieces, and the Indians endeavoring to shoot their arrows. 
The Indians plunged into the water and soon disappeared 
on the opposite side. William King, who had reloaded 
his rifle, and was the only man who had a dry gun, fired 
and killed another one while in the water. 

As the Indians and Mexican horse thieves were bad, 
the Sowell boys joined Ctiptain Callahan's company of 
minute men, in 1839. Andrew was almost constantly 
on the scout. 

On one occasion, in company with another man, he left 
Seguin to take a scout up the San Geronimo, a creek two 
miles east of town, which ran in a southeast direction 
through the prairie towards the Guadalupe river. They 
struck the creek about six miles north of town, at some 
large springs, and after remaining a few minutes there 
to refresh themselves with cold draughts of water, 
crossed the creek and rode out beyond, so they could 
overlook the prairie to the York's creek divide. The 
country at that time was clear of brush, and the view 
unobstructed from the creek to the York's creek hills. 
It is now covered with a dense growth of mesquite. 
While standing on an elevation taking a view of the 
surrounding country, they discovered a lot of carrion 
crows sailing round in a circle to the east of them, and 
soon saw that they were slowly moving towards the south. 

i86 Rangers and Pioneers of Texas. 

"What does -those buzzards mean, Andy?" said his 
companion. " I will tell you what I think they mean," 
said Andrew, after looking at them a short time, " they 
are following a large body of Indians or men of some 
kind, to pick up what is left about the camps. I remem- 
ber when we were following the Indians the time they 
killed Greser, and his Mexicans, a raven kept ahead of 
us all the time, following in the wake of the Indians, and 
would fly up from their camps at our approach. The 
Indians kill game along the route of their march, which 
draws the carrion crows ; and they will some times follow 
the trail for days and weeks." "Well, then," said his 
companion, " if that is the case, let's go back to town 
and give the alarm ; likely they are on their way to attack 
the place." " No ; I am not satisfied yet, I want to see 
further," said Andrew, "you go back and tell them to be 
on their guard, and I will see if I can make any further 
discoveries." And accordingly they separated, Andrew 
going across to the head of Mill creek, and then turning 
south towards the Guadalupe river, calculating that in 
this round to cross the trail of the Indians, if seeing the 
buzzards had any thing to do with their presence in the 
country, but saw no signs of Indians for several miles, 
but when near the place where the Rev. F. Butler's farm 
is now situated, five mile east of Seguin, he discovered 
that the prairie was on fire ahead of bim, and rode on 
ver^ cautiously, keeping a sharp lookout, for this some 
times denoted the presence of Indians. Presently he 
heard shots fired in the direction of the burning prairie, 
and riding down into a deep gully, tied his horse and pro- 
ceeded on foot to reconnoitre. He could hear the crack- 
ing of the tall prairie grass as it was being rapidly con- 
sumed, mingled with the occasional discharge of fire- 
arms. This greatly puzzled him and he kept undercover, 

Rangers and Pioneers of Texas. 187 

with his trusty rifle grasped in his right hand, until he 
gained the edge-of the prairie, but could still see nothing 
of a human being although he had just heard the report 
of fire-arms a few minutes before near the spot where he 
stood. More perplexed than ever, he was just about to 
turn back to where he had left his horse, when he heard 
a call on the prairie, and some one answered, and presently 
two men came together a short distance from where he 
was concealed in a clump of live oaks. Seeing they were 
white men, Andrew advanced to where they were, and 
learned from them that a battle had just been fought 
there between Burleson's rangers and a motley crowd of 
Mexicans, runaway negroes and Bilouxie Indians, under 
General Cordova. The firing which Andrew heard was 
from loaded guns that had been dropped by Cordova's 
men in their flight, and were being discharged as the fire 
burnt over them. The grass was set on fire by paper wads 
from the shot-guns of Burleson's men. 

Cordova was on his way to Mexico from Nacogdoches, 
and had gathered followers as he went, stealing horses 
on the way, and committing other depredations. Most of 
the negroes were runaways from the plantations in Eastern 
Texas. When they arrived at the Colorado, a runner was 
sent to Austin to notify Colonel Edward Burleson, (who 
commanded the rangers), of their presence. On receipt 
of this intelligence, Burleson lost no time in repairing to 
the spot where Cordova had crossed the Colorado, and 
there took the trail with about eighty men. The force of 
the enemy was said to be about 300. Burleson overtook 
and fought them near Mill creek, five miles east of 
Seguin, in the Guadalupe valley. They only stood their 
ground for a short time, and then fled towards the heavy 
timbered bottoms of the river, closely pursued by the 
rangers, who overtook and killed a great many of them, 

i88 Rangers and Pioneers of Texas. 

without losing a man and only having three wounded. 

During the pursuit, a stout young negro man was shot 
down by some one of the foremost pursuers, but arose to 
his feet and was shot down a second time by another 
man who came galloping by ; thinking he had killed him, 
he went on, but the negro raised up in a sitting posture 
and received another shot from a ranger who was behind, 
but seeing that his shot did not kill him, the ranger dis- 
mounted, and drawing his bowie knife, gave him some 
ugly cuts as a finis he thought, and then remounting, 
dashed on in the chase, but when they returned after the 
pursuit was over, the negro was still alive, and they con- 
cluded not to kill him. A doctor who had accompanied 
the rangers, dressed his wounds, sewing up the knife 
cuts. He recovered and was afterwards sold for $800, 
and the money divided among the men that fought the 
battle. One old grey-headed negro was captured and 
taken to Seguin. On the way up there, he said he used 
to work in a silver mine in the Capota hills with the 
Mexicans. These hills lie on the south side of the river, 
about twelve miles southeast from Seguin. The negro 
was a vicious old rascal, and said he bad killed women 
and children enough to swim in their blood. If such 
was the case, it would have been better for him to have 
kept it to himself, for when they arrived at Seguin he 
was taken out and shot. 

Early the next morning, several of the citizens of 
■Seguin visited the battle-ground, that is, the portion of it 
where the fight first commenced, which was about a mile 
west of Mill creek, on the high ground between where 
Mr. Woods and Mr. Handly now reside. It was then 
an open prairie, but now covered with mesquite. In the 
deep hollow which runs up and heads near Mr. Handley's 
fence, they found two dead Mexicans, and further out in 

Rangers and Pioneers of Texas. 189 

the open ground, south of where the Seguin road now 
runs, were two dead negroes, lying close together ; their 
clothing had been burnt off by the fire which passed over 
them, and they could see the bullet holes in their bodies. 
They presented a horrible looking sight. Further up on 
the rising ground, near some lone mesquite trees, lay 
the body of a Bilouxie Indian with the head cut off. 
He had been decapitated by the aforesaid doctor that 
was with the rangers, and this man of science put the 
bloody trophy in his saddle-bags and carried it home 
with him. 

It was afterwards learned that Cordova intended to 
take and burn Seguin as he went through, but the Ijimely 
arrival of the gallant Burleson somewhat changed the 
programme, otherwise Captain Callahan would have had 
the honor of defending Seguin with his twenty-two men, 
but might have shared the fate of Fannin and Travis, and 
made a Thermopylae out of Seguin. 

Just before daylight, on the morning after the battle, 
the fugitives came upon James M. Day, Thomas Nichols 
and David Runnels, three of Caldwell's rangers who 
had been out on a scout up the country, and were camp- 
ing out on the river, five miles from town, intending to 
kill some turkeys next morning and bring in. At the 
first onset, the scouts sprang to their feet with their rifles, 
and Day seeing an Indian untying his horse, raised his 
rifle to shoot him, but received a ball in the hip before he 
could do so, and fell. His companions, although sorely 
pressed, seized their wounded companion and bore him 
off to the river bottom, where they succeeded in keeping 
their enemies at bay, who, being on the run themselves, 
did not tarry long, and taking the ranger's horses, con- 
tinued their flight. Tom Nichols swam the river and 
carried the news to Seguin. A party was then sent out 

190 Rangers and Pioneers of Texas. 

with a cart and brought in Day, who is still living, but a 
cripple for life. A force was then raised to pursue Cor- 
dova's band towards Mexico, and if possible, to overtake 
and fight him again, but in this they were disappointed, 
and they turned back from the pursuit at what is called the 
Prickly Pear Prairie, near the Nueces river. This prairie 
has no growth upon it scarcely, except the prickley pear, 
which is very thick, and is a perfect den for rattlesnakes. 
Andrew Sowell, who accompanied this expedition, says 
that from the time they commenced traversing this place 
until they were clear of it, they were not out of the sound 
of rattlesnakes, and the men had to pick their way care- 
fully to avoid being bitten, as many of the horses had 
given out and the men were leading them. The reason 
why they gave up the pursuit here was on account of the 
jaded condition of the horses. 

Some Mexicans, who were captured in a fight some 
time afterwards, and were with Cordova on this trip, say 
that if the Texans had followed them a short distance 
further, they would have overtaken them, for at the time 
they turned back, Cordova's band had stopped on the 
Nueces, and were burying those of their party who had 
died from rattlesnake bites received in their passage 
through the pears. 

Cordova, who led this party, was afterwards killed at 
the battle of Salado, when San Antonio was captured 
by General Wall. 

On one occasion, when Andrew was scouting with a 
squad of rangers near the pear prairie, and were hunting 
for water, they saw a bunch of mustangs run out from a 
mott of timber and dash off. Thinking probably they 
had been watering, they rode down to the place to see, 
but before arriving there, began to smell a terrible stench 
and heard they warning notes of a rattlesnake near. They 

Rangers and Pioneers of Texas. 191 

soon found him, and he proved to be an uncommon large 
one ; and being afraid to venture near him with a stick, 
Andrew shot him in the head with his rifle. He was 
about nine feet long, and as big around as the thigh of a 
common sized man. The mustangs had run over him, 
and he was mad, which caused such a stench to arise 
from him. 

Once, when Andrew was with the rangers, following 
a band of Indians, west of San Antonio, they came upon 
their camp, which they had just vacated, leaving nearly 
all of their camp equipage. As they always kept out 
spies on the back track, it was very hard to surprise them. 
The rangers being w^eary and hungry, concluded to stop 
at the Indian encampment and eat some of the fat venison 
which the redskins left in their retreat, before renewing 
the chase. While engaged in this, they discovered two 
Indians, the hunters for the band, approaching the camp, 
who were ignorant of the change which had taken place 
since they left. The captain told the men to be quiet and 
let them come as near as they would before they discov- 
ered that the camp had changed hands. Their horses 
were loaded with venison, and they were riding slowly 
along towards the camp, but before getting within rifle 
shot they discovered that something was wrong, stopped 
a few moments, and then threw off their meat and fled. 
" Catch them, boys, catch-them ! " shouted the captain, 
and several men were soon in their saddles, and in hot 
pursuit. Andrew, who was riding a good horse, soon 
came up with one of them, raised his rifle to fire, but his 
horse, which was going almost at full speed at that 
moment, jumped a mesquite bush and spoiled his chance, 
and by the time he could recover himself and rifle, which 
he came near dropping, the Indian got into the brush, 
and he lost him ; and, although several shots were fired 

192 Rangers and Pioneers of Texas. 

by others, both Indians, owing to the thick brush, made 
their escape. The rangers returned to the camp and took 
up the main trail, but did not succeed in overtaking the 

^ About this time Andrew's brother, John, killed an 
Indian on the San Geronimo, just above where it empties 
into the Guadalupe river, about three miles southeast of 
Seguin. He was returning from Gonzales, and as he 
neared the creek, discovered two Indians sitting on a 
rock, which projected out over the water. They seemed 
to be engaged in eating something. At sight of the red- 
skins, John reined his horse back under cover and dis- 
mounted, without being seen by the Indians. He then 
tied his horse and crept within gunshot of the unsus- 
pecting savages, and selecting the largest one, as if- 
shooting at a buck, laid his rifle against a sapling, took 
deliberate aim, and fired. At the crack of the gun, the 
one at which he aimed, fell over and commenced strug- 
gling, but soon rolled off into the creek and sunk. The 
other one bounded up the bank and disappeared in the 
thickets. John reloaded his rifle quickly, and went back 
to his horse, keeping a sharp lookout for the other Indian, 
but seeing nothing of him, mounted his horse, and con- 
tinued his journey to Seguin. 

On one occasion, a band of Indians were running buffalo 
on the prairie, north of Seguin, and chased one of them 
into town and shot it with such force with an arrow that the 
spike came through the hide on the opposite side. The 
Indians made no halt, but dashed on to the river bottom 
south of town. The dash was so sudden that before a man 
could get a gun and come out on the streets, the Indians 
were gone. The buffalo staggered about a while and then 
fell where the court house now stands, and was skinned 
and cut up by the citizens. One old broad-shouldered gen-- 

Rangers and Pioneers of ITexas. 


tleman, just from the States, had been making his brags, 
before this occiuTed, that he was not afraid of men who 
fought with bows and arrows. " Why," said he, leaning 
back and expanding his chest, "I would stand and let 
them shoot at my breast, ten steps, all day, with their 
splinters." But he changed his tune after inspecting the 
dead buffalo on the square. 

About this time, Mexican horse-thieves, as well as 
Indians, annoyed the settlers, and Captain James H. 
Callahan and his rangers, used every exertion to catch 
them, but were for some time unsuccessful ; but finally 
they were trailed to their hiding place by Milford Day, 
who was a splendid scout and trailer. Their location 
was in a large and very dense thicket, cut through by a 
deep and rugged gulley. This place was about eight 
miles northeast from Seguin, on York's creek. Callahan, 
with a portion of his men, penetrated this thicket, and 
surprised them in their camp, which was near the deep, 
gulley. A fight ensued, which resulted in the defeat of 
the Mexicans, with a loss of some three or four of their 
number. Owing to the density of the underbrush, where 
they fought the Mexicans, those who were not killed very 
easily made their escape after the defeat. 

Next morning Callahan, with some of his men, returned 

to the thicket to see if they could pick up any stragglers 

that might still be in the brush. After riding about some 

time without seeing any signs, and becoming thirsty, he 

and his party repaired to a spring, to get water, and on 

coming to it, found a wounded Mexican lying by it. 

Although wounded in the leg, he got up at the approach 

of the rangers, and made signs to them that he wanted to 

surrender. Callahan rode near and asked him if he 

wanted to go to Seguin. The Mexican replied in Spanish 

that he did. " Come, then,'^ said the captain, " and get 

194 Rangers and Pioxeers of Texas. 

behind me." The Mexican then took a large silk hand- 
kerchief, and binding it around his wounded leg, hopped 
to Callahan's horse to get up, but was instantly shot dead 
with a pistol by the ranger captain. 

In our day and time, this would look cruel and brutal, 
but those were desperate times, and it was death to all 
horse thieves when caught ; and we, too, must remember 
that the Texans had suffered terrible things at the hands 
of the Mexicans. And the Alamo and Goliad was still 
fresh in their minds, but they never shot Mexican soldiers 
taken in battle. 

Near the spring, where the wounded Mexican was 
killed, there was a round rocky hill, with a grove of live 
oaks growing on its top, and there the Mexican was 
buried ; and that place to this day goes by the name 
of the "Rogues' Grave;" and the place where they 
fought, is called the " Rogues' Hollow." 

On one occasion, some of Callahan's men captured 
two Mexican horse thieves, brought them to town, and 
turned them over to the captain, to make such disposition 
as he thought proper. The captain being convinced that 
the}- were regular horse thieves, condemned them to death 
without much ceremony, and ordered a portion of his 
men to follow liim with the Mexicans. They did so, 
and went a short distance west of the town, and halted 
under some live oak trees. Andrew Sowell and his 
brother, Asa, at this time, were both members of Calla- 
han's company, and were of this party. In a short time 
after halting, the captain gave orders for the Mexicans to 
be shot. They were furnished with picks and shovels 
and made to dig their own graves. One of them was an 
old man, and worked away at his grave as composedly 
as if he was working for wages, taking particular pains 
to do it good, and seemed perfectly resigned to his fate. 

Rangers and Pioneers of Texas. 195 

But not so with the younger one, he bewailed his fate in 
piteous accents, and often quit his work to beg for life, 
and fearing his captors could not understand all he said, 
asked if there was one there who could speak the Spanish 
language, as he wanted to converse with him. The cap- 
tain then told young Asa Sowell, who spoke the language 
fluently, to listen to what he had to say. The Mexican 
then quit his work, and in fervent and excited tones, 
bev^ailed his situation, and said he did not want to die ; 
that he was too young to die ; and that he was not a horse 
thief, and if ever he had stolen any thing the value of a 
pin, he did not know it, and begged his interpreter to help 
him to plead for his life. But all that he could say did 
not change Captain Callahan from his purpose. He was 
determined to break up these bands of horse thieves, and 
knew that this was the only way to do it. There was no 
place to confine men in those days ; the proof against 
him was too plain, and he must suffer the penalty of a 
horse thief, and the captain ordered him to resume his 
work, and with tears streaming from his eyes he complied. 
They then drew lots to see who would do the shoot- 
ing, Andrew Sowell proposing to take his brother's place 
if he drew to shoot, providing he himself drew a blank. 
The process was that they should cut up small bits of 
paper, corresponding with the number of men present, 
and write the word "shoot" on one-half of them, the 
balance to be left blank. They were then placed in a 
hat, and a handkerchief spread over it, and the drawing 
commenced. Both the vSowell boys drew blanks. There 
were about e:gh^ men, I think, in the party. The Mexi- 
cans were then made to kneel in front of their graves, 
and handkerchiefs bound over their eyes, the young one 
all the time proclaiming his innocence. The old one said 
nothing. Those that were to do the shooting, then took 

196 Rangers and Pioneers of Texas. 

their places. At the sic^nal, the guns all fired except 
one. Calvin Turner's missed fire. Both Mexicans fell 
over at the discharge. The old man was killed dead, but 
the young one was breathing freely when they came up 
to where the Mexicans lay. ''Turner," said Callahan, 
"being as your gun missed fire, you can finish this fellow." 
The ranger thus addressed, without a word, primed his 
rifle, and stepping back a few paces, took a quick aim, 
and fired, the ball striking in the head, and killing him 
instantly. The brains came out at the bullet hole, and 
the troubles of the young Mexican was over, in this world, 
at least. This took place near where the residence of 
General Jefferson now stands. 





About the time the incidents narrated in the latter part 
of the last chapter took place, Jack Hays, with his rangers, 
were scouting in the mountains seventy-five miles west of 
San Antonio, and meeting up with a large force of 
Comanches on the Saco, a desperate fight ensued between 
them. The rangers held their ground, although greatly 
outnumbered, and killed a great many of them. The 
Indians, confident in their numbers, made the moun- 
tains ring with their war-whoops, and made several 
desperate charges on Hays and his men. In one of 
the charges, where Hays had dismounted and formed 
his men under cover, sixteen Indians were killed. The 
Indians finally took a strong position among the rocks, 
and awaited the movements of Hays, who, knowing his 
force "was not sufficient to dislodge them, also moved 
back to a strong position, where he could better defend 
himself and take care of his wounded. He then sent a 
runner to Seguin for Callahan to come and help him, 
while he, in the meantime, would hold the Indians in 
check and watch their movements. 

On receipt of this information, the ever-active Callahan 

198 Rangers and Pioneers of Texas. 

at once set out with a portion of his company, Andrew 
Sowxll being one of the number, and by rapid traveling 
soon joined Hays, being guided by the runner to the 
scene of the battle. In the meantime the Comanches had 
left their position and commenced retreating towards the 
high and rugged mountains at the head of the Sabinal 
river. The combined force of Hays and Callahan now 
pursued them with alacrity, although the Indians still 
outnumbered them. The retreating Comanches were 
overtaken in the valley and a running fight commenced, 
which lasted until the Indians entered the mountains and 
scattered about among the big rocks that were piled up 
on every hand. A large squad of them then let them- 
selves be seen on the rocks near the top of the moun- 
tain, out of range of common rifles. Several shots were 
fired but were answered by loud defiant yells from the 
Comanches when the balls fell short of the mark. 

Ben McCulloch, who afterwards became a noted Con- 
federate general, and was killed at the battle of 
Elk Horn, was with Hays on this occasion, and was the 
owner of a very long-ranged gun, which he brought to 
bear on the Indians ; and, when he fired, they scattered, 
and were soon out of sight. He did this several times 
when they appeared in view, and they always moved 
when he fired, and it was thought he killed some of them. 
It was finally agreed that part of the men from each 
company should scale the mountain and attempt to drive 
them off, while others should be posted near the base to 
cut off their retreat, and also to take care of the horses of 
the dismounted men. Andrew was one of the scaling 
party from Callahan's company. They found the ascent 
very difficult, having to pull up from crag to crag, encum- 
bered with their rifles, which were long and heavy, and at 
the same time being fired on by the Indians, who had dis- 

Rangers and Pioneers of Texas. 199 

covered their approach. Occasionally the rangers would 
return the Hre, but without much effect, as the Indians 
were mostl}- concealed. At length one of Hays' men 
was wounded and beg-ged to be carried back down the 
mountain, as he was shot through, and it was all over with 
him. They agreed to do so, as it seemed almost impos- 
sible to dislodge the Indians under the difficulties which 
they had to surmount in the ascent, as they could scarcely 
find a foot hold to stand and shoot. 

They assisted their wounded comrade, who breathed 
heavily, down the mountain, and he said, " Boys, they 
have knocked the black out of me this time ; I am done 
for. ' ' When they rejoined the other party they proceeded 
to examine the wounded man, and when his coat "was 
removed the ball dropped out at his feet, not having pen- 
etrated at all, but probably hitting and glancing from a 
rock before it struck him, but it made a large black spot 
in his breast, and, no doubt, felt as though it went 
through him. 

In the meantime, the Indians commenced escaping 
from the mountain in small parties and could not again 
be brought to battle, and the rangers, after some further 
scouting, returned to Seguin. 

On one occasion, when Andrew was a member of Jack 
Hays' company, the Comanches in large force com- 
mitted fearful depredations upon the settlers west of San 
Antonio. Hays followed them with forty-two men, 
and came up with them on the Nueces. Just before 
sighting them. Hays knew by the signs that the Indians 
were near, and dismounting, told a Mexican guide who 
was with him to mount his (Hays') horse, and ride 
ahead and see if the Indians were near, and if so to make 
all haste and report to him. The Mexican mounted and 
set off, and Hays, with the rangers, followed slowly on. 

200 Rangers and Pioneers of Texas. 

and in a short time heard the yelling of Indians and the 
clatter of horses' feet, and presently saw the Mexican 
coming back at full speed closely pursued by a band of 
Comanches, who had secreted themselves in the rear of 
the main body and came near cutting him off before he 
discovered them. 

Hays ordered the men to advance, and quickly dis- 
mounting exchanged horses with the Mexican, and then 
galloped on in pursuit. The Indians seeing the rangers, 
ran back to the main body, making the woods ring with 
their yells, and commenced preparing for battle. 

Hays made no halt, but spurred his horse furiously 
on the Indians, who numbered several hundred, and a 
short but desperate fight ensued. 

The Lipan chief, Flacco, tied a red handkerchief 
around his head to prevent mistakes during the mixed-up 
fight, and remained near the person of Captain Hays, 
following him in several desperate charges among the 
Comanches. The rangers in the end were the victors, 
and pursued the flying Comanches some distance, who 
suffered heavy loss in the fight, while that of Hays was 

After this fight Andrew continued scouting for some 
time. Hays' headquarters bein^r nt San Antonio. One 
evening after coming in from a scout tlie rangers camped 
on the ditch east of town, near the old Mamo fort. The 
next morning several of the boys turned their horses loose 
with drag ropes on, so they could get a chance at the fine 
mesquite grass that was in abundance around the camp, 
while the men were getting through with breakfast. They 
had kept their horses tied up during the night. After 
breakfast was over, the men who had turned their horses 
loose set out to gather them up, most of them being 
out of sight in the mesquite bushes. Andrew and his 

Rangers and Pioneers of Texas. 


brother, John, who had also turned their horses loose, set 
out together, and finding them on the hill-side, near the 
Seguin and San Antonio road, concluded to play a joke 
on the boys by charging do.wn the road and shouting 
"Indians !" just to see a stir in camp, and as they did so, 
saw the men running here and there grabbing guns, and 
some coming towards them. 

Thinking they had carried the prank far enough, they 
had stopped their horses and commenced laughing, 
but hearing the clatter of horses'feet behind them, looked 
back, and what was their astonishment to find that they 
were closely pursued by two Indians, and what coni- 
menced in fun ended in reality, as they dashed into camp 
and secured their rifles. The Indians made no halt, but 
dashed on across a small bridge which spanned the ditch 
below the ranger camp and shot a Mexican woman in 
the suburbs of the town. They then wheeled and ran 
back to make their escape, as the rangers had saddled 
up and commenced mounting. French Smith ran down 
to the crossing of the ditch to intercept them, and was in 
fifteen or twenty steps of them when they crossed, and, 
leveling his double-barreled shotgun loaded with buck- 
shot, was almost certain of killing both of them, as they 
rode close together, but unfortunately his gun had got 
damp through the night, and both barrels misssd fire. 
The Indians were pursued and fired at by other mem- 
bers of the party, but without effect, and seeing a large 
body of Indians swarming across the hills. Captain 
Hays was notified, who came out from town and followed 
the Indians, but his force was entirely too small to eno-ao-e 
them, as the Indians numbered about 500, and he aban- 
doned the pursuit. 

In the meantime, the rangers had missed one of their 
men, James Campbell, and search was made for him in 

202 Rangers and Pioneers of Texas. 

the mesquite and chaparral bushes east of town, for he 
had gone that way in search of his horse, and fears were 
entertained that he had been killed by the Comanches. 
But for some time their search was in vain, and finally 
they came across two little Mexican boys who were 
making their way to town as fast as they could run, and 
seemed greatly frightened and nearly out of breath. 
They said they were hunting for some calves, and seeing 
some Indians, hid in the thick chaparral brush, and 
while there, the Indians ran a man down the hill and 
caught up with him near where they were hid. They 
said he has a big, tall man, with long arms, and having 
nothing to shoot with, stopped at a pile of rocks, and 
fought the Indians with them as long as he could stand 
up. but being shot full of arrows, he finally sunk down, 
and the Indians went to him and run their lances through 
his body. They said he hurt some of the Indians badly 
with the rocks. The rangers knew the man was Jim 
Campbell, and asked the little Mexicans to guide them 
to the place, which they did ; they found Campbell horri- 
bly mutilated and scalped, and with a curse on the bloody 
fiends, the rangers bore their dead comrade back to camp, 
and there lay his rifle and pistol which he thought- 
lessly left behind when he started after his horse, and the 
report of which would have brought assistance in this his 
dire extremity. 

Andrew was in San Antonio when a treaty was made 
with the Comanches. They had promised that on a 
certain day they would come to San Antonio, make a 
treaty with the whites, and give up some prisoners which 
they had in their possession. They came at the time 
appointed but failed to bring the prisoners. The council 
was held in a large buildmg, and as the Indians were in 
considerable force, a squad of rangers and citizens were 

Rangers and Pioneers of Texas. 303 

placed around the house to aid the peace commissioners 
if it should break up in a row, as some had conjectured 
it would. 

The council was long and tedious. The Comanches 
were very exacting in their demands on the whites, and 
when asked why they did not bring the captives according 
to promise, would give no satisfactory answer. Finally 
the whites told the interpreter to tell them that they would 
hold them in custody if the captives were not forthcoming. 
The interpreter did not like to tell them this, and said to 
the commissioners: "They are going to fight if I tell 
them this, and they are going to get out of here, and some 
one will get hurt." However, he was told to make known 
to them what they had said, and as soon as he did so the 
Indians drew their weapons and made for the door, yell- 
tng and striking down who ever opposed them, but the 
armed men outside were prepared for them, and com- 
menced firing as soon as they cleared the house. The 
Indians made no regular stand to fight, but scattered 
and attempted to make their escape from the town, but 
the most of them were killed. One citizen killed two 
with an ax as they were trying to crawl through the crack 
of a fence. Several of the whites were killed and wounded. 

One Indian, being hard-pressed, ran into a two-story 
house, and fixed himself in such a position that only one 
man could approach him at a time, and knowing that it 
would be death to the first one that entered, for the Indian 
was well-armed, they concluded that it was no use to give 
a white man's life for the Indian, and thought best to 
devise some plan to get him without so much risk, and 
finally the following means were adopted : Taking a 
large augur they went ilp stairs and bored a hole through 
the floor over his head. The Indian knowing he would 
be shot if he ran out, remained quiet while the work was 

204 Rangers and Pioneers of Texas. 

going on, and awaited the issue. After the hole was 
bored through, they could see his black bushy head directly 
under thetn. They procured some tar and turpentine 
and poured it through on his head, saturating it good. 
The Indian knew that if he changed his position he would 
expose himself to somebody's rifle, and concluded to 
stand the tar and turpentine. But he knew not w4iat was 
coming. Suddenly a lighted match was dropped on his 
head, and in a few seconds his hair was in a terrible blaze. 
This was more than he could stand, and with a loud yell, 
he bolted from his hiding place and ran into the street, 
but was soon shot down. Andrew says when he ran out 
his head was blazing like a bonfire, and presented a fear- 
ful looking sight. 

When not in the ranging service, Andrew spent most 
of his time in attending stock, farming a little and hunt- 
ing a great deal. He was ever ready to mount his horse 
at the first alarm of Indians or Mexicans, and with his long 
rifle before him, would ride day and night to a rendezvous 
where the pioneers would be concentrating to oppose the 
progress of Indians or Mexicans. 

In 1S40, the Comanche Indians made a raid through 
Texas with 500 warriors, and bui'ned the little town of 
Linnville, on the coast, killing a number of the inhabi- 
tants, and carrying others into captivity. Runners were 
sent up the Guadalupe, San Marcos and Colorado, call- 
ing on the settlers to concentrate at some point and tight 
them on their return. Andrew Sowell was among the 
Guadalupe boys who promptly obeyed the call and set 
out to the place of rendezvous, which was on Plum creek, 
in what is now Caldwell county. 

The "American Sketch Book" says: 

"The Indians passed through what is now Caldwell county, 
which was not organized until eight years afterward, and reached 

Rangers and Pioneers of Texas. 3o^ 

Victoria on the 6th of August, and after burning part of the town 
and committing other depredations, went on to Linnville, a trading 
point on the Lavacca hay, and reached that place on the 8th. Most 
of the men of the village were absent, and the savages proceeded 
to pillage and burn the place. Three families took refuge on 
a small sail vessel in the harbor. While Major Watts, collector of 
customs, was trying to reach the vessel, he was shot down and his 
wife was taken prisoner. From Linnville the Indians hastily with- 
drew with their valuable booty." 

As the news of this raid spread through the settlements, 
the people rallied under their favorite leaders to intercept 
them. Plum creek was the place of rendezvous, near 
where the town of Lockhart is now situated, in Caldwell 

Mr. Z. N. Morrell, in speaking of this fight, says: 

"We made our trip up the Colorado valley as rapidly as we could 
to Bastrop, notifying everybody as we went. Here Colonel Burle- 
son called a council, and it wiTs agreed that the Indians should be 
intercepted in their retreat at Goods, on Plum creek, twenty-seven 
miles below Austin. Colonel Burleson requested me to follow up 
the express man to Austin and urge the people to come forward 
promptly to the point designated. Here I rested at night, after 
a circuitous ride to Austin of about seventy miles. In the morn- 
ing, rising early, we rode to the point designated, and found Col- 
onel Burleson and his men had been gone about thirty minutes. 
Riding very rapidly, we came upon the Texas forces some two or 
three miles (as well as we could remember) southeast of the present 
locality of Lockhart, and at the forks of Plum creek. 

" Here was concentrated the companies of Captain Ben and 
Henry McCulloch, Clark L. Owen, Edward Burleson, Mathew 
Caldwell, Thomas W. Ward, W. B. Dewees, Jack Hays, John H. 
Moore, and others, who were on the ground. General Felix 
Houston was in command, and preparations were being made for 
the fight, when I, with the company from Austin, rode up. The 
Indians had just started their pack-mules and were preparing to 
follow, when they were attacked by the Texans. The Indians 
hastily retreated; as they could not carry off their prisoners they 
shot them. Mrs. Crosby, taken near Victoria, was killed. The 
fight opened with about 200 Texans, against what we thought 

2o6 Raxgers and Pioneers of Texas. 

to be 500 Indians. The enemy was disposed to keep at a distance 
and delay the fight in order that the pack mules might be driven 
ahead with the spoils. During this delay, some of their chiefs 
performed some daring feats. 

'' According to a previous understanding, our men watched for 
the Indians to retreat beyond the timber, before the general 
charge was made. One of these daring chiefs attracted my atten- 
tion specially. He was riding a very fine horse, held in by a fine 
American bit, Avith a red ribbon eight or ten feet long, tied to the 
tail of the horse. He was dressed in elegant style from the goods 
stolen at Linnville, with a high top silk hat, fine pair of boots and 
leather gloves, an elegant broadcloth coat hind part before, with 
brass buttons shining brightly right up and down his back. When 
first he made his appearance, he was carrying a large umbrella 
stretched. This Indian, and others, would charge towards us and 
shoot their arrows, then wheel and run away, doing no damage. 
This was done several times in range of our guns. Soon the dis- 
covery was made that he had on a shield, and although our men 
took good aim, the balls glanced. An old Texan living in Lavacca, 
asked me to hold his horse, and getting near the place where they 
wheeled as was safe, waited patiently until they came, and as the 
Indian checked his horse, the shield flew up, and he fired and 
brought him down. Several had fallen before, but without check- 
ing their demonstrations. Now, although several of them lost 
their lives in carrj'ing him away, yet they did not cease their 
efforts until he was carried in the rear. 

" Their policy was now discovered, and Colonel Burleson with 
his command on the right wing, was ordered around the woods, 
and Captain Caldwell, on the left, with his command, charged into 
the woods. Immediately they began howling like wolves, and 
there was a general stampede and a vigorous pursuit. The weather 
was very dry and the dust so thick that the parties could not see 
each other but a short distance. Some fourteen or fifteen Indians 
were killed before the retreat, and a great many more were killed 
afterwards. Our men followed them some fifteen or eighteen 

"Just as the retreat commenced, I heard a scream of a female 
voice, in a bunch of bushes close by. Approaching the spot, I 
discovered a lady endeavoring to pull an arrow that was lodged 
firmly in her breast. This proved to be Mrs. Watts, whose husband 

Rangers and Pioneers of Texas. 207 

was killed at Linnville. Dr. Brown, of Gonzales, was at once 
summoned to the spot. Nearby was discovered a white and negro 
woman, both dead. Thej were all shot with arrows when the 
howl was raised and the retreat commenced. As the doctor was 
approaching, I succeeded in loosening her hands from the arrow. 
The dress and flesh on each side of the arrow was cut, and an 
effort was made to extract it. The poor sufferer seized the doc- 
tor's hand, and screamed so violently, that he desisted. A. second 
effort was made with success. My blanket was spread upon the 
ground, and she rested on this with my saddle for a pillow. She 
was soon composed and rejoicing at the escape. Death would 
have been preferable to crossing the mountains with the savages. 
She had ridden a pack mule all the way from the coast, and 
when they stopped she was required to read the stolen books for 
their amusement. 

" When we went into the fight, there were present about 200 
Texans, but before night we suppose there were near 500. They 
continued to come in all evening, many of them from a great 
distance. Men and boys of every variety of character, composed 
that noisy crowd, that was busily engaged all night long talking 
of the transactions of the previous eventful days. Here were the 
Baptist preachers, R. E. B. Baylor, T. W. Cox, and Z. N. Morrell, 
all in the fight, with doctors, lawyers, merchants and farmers." 

Captain Ben McCulloch and Dr. Svvitzer were the 
greatest of enemies. During the Plum Creek fight, just 
as McCulloch was loading his gun, an Indian was seen 
by Dr. Switzer in the act of killing him. He rushed up 
and shot the Indian just in the act, but McCulloch never 
once turned to thank him for the savins^ of his life ; thoug'h 
in a few moments McCulloch found Dr. Switzer in a like 
perilous situation, and in like manner the Indian was 
killed by him. It this way he returned thanks for the 
kindness, but neither one spoke to the other. W. B. 
Dewees says that among the spoils taken from these 
Comanches were found large portions of human flesh, 
evidently prepared for cooking. And also were found 
in their bundles, young alligators that they were carrying 

3oS Rangers and Pioneers of Texas. 

back with them, some thought as a curiosity, and others 
thought it was to prove to the rest of the tribe that they 
had gone down as far as the coast. 

Dewees said that one woman, who was taken prisoner 
by these Indians, told him that two of her children had 
been taken with her. One of them being very small, 
hindered her progress. The Indians perceiving this, one 
of them snatched it from her and dashed its brains out 
against a tree. The wretched mother kept on her course 
grieving sadly, yet not daring to utter a word of complaint. 
Soon her other child, that had been placed on a horse, 
manifested evident signs of failing strength, and an ina- 
bility to keep up w^ith the savages. Then the mother's 
feelings were destined to undergo fresh trials. The cup 
was filled to the brim, and she was forced to drink the 
bitter draught ; her fortitude was put to another test, and 
wrought up to the highest pitch. The Indians perceiving 
the failing strength of the child, fell upon him with their 
spears, and having deprived him of the last flickering 
flame of life, cast his mangled corpse aside to be food 
for the hungry vultures. Who can paint the agonies of 
that mother's feelings, as she beheld both her little ones 
destroyed m this brutal manner by the hands of her savage 
masters? Her own safety required her to witness this 
horrid spectacle with composure ; one word of murmur 
or complaint from her would have caused them to put her 
to instant death. 

After this fight the Indians were never very bad in 
this country ; though they would occasionally come in 
and steal horses. 

In 1847, old Mr. Montgomery was killed by Indians 
while out hunting horses. 

Andrew Sowell said when they were fixing to go into 
the fight. General Felix Houston told the men to ram an 

Rangers and Pioneers of Texas. 209 

extra ball down their rifles without patching, and if they 
became thirsty during the fight to hold one in their mouths. 

In this fight, Andrew killed an Indian chief. He fired 
at him more than a hundred yards off, just as the Indian 
wheeled his horse and exposed his back. He fell forward, 
but was caught up by others and borne away. 

He says while they were pursuing them after the rout 
commenced, an Indian had his horse killed, and ran on 
foot about thirty yards, when suddenly turning around, 
threw up his shield, and came back in a quick run to his 
dead horse. Andrew, who was close upon him, fired, 
but heard the ball strike the shield. The Indian then 
snatched the bridle off his dead horse, and turning, ran 
like a streak with the bridle in his hand ; but another 
man dashing up with a loaded rifle, fired and brought 
him down. Andrew examined the shield of the dead 
Indian, and saw the slick mark on it made by his balL 
The Indian had risked and lost his life for a bridle not 
worth more than two dollars. 

While the men were scattered in small squads, pur- 
suing the flying Comanches, Andrew, with several others, 
saw a band of about fifteen Indians running up a slight 
elevation about a quarter of a mile off, and close behind 
them, going under whip, was a man, who, from his horse 
and hat, they took to be Ben McCulloch, and one of 
them shouted, "Look at Ben McCulloch, he is run- 
ning a whole gang of them ! hurrah for Ben ! " and then 
they all yelled, "Hurrah for Ben McCulloch!" as 
they saw the man close upon the heels of the flying Indians, 
but what was their surprise, when they saw him mix in 
with them and go on. It was an Indian riding a horse 
the color of Ben's, and wearing a broad-brimmed hat, 
which he had got at the sacking of Linnville. Andrew 
kept with the chase until his horse was run down, and 

2IO Rangers and Pioneers of Texas. 

then collecting a crowd of Guadalupe men, set out 
for their return home. One of the men from Seguin, 
James Nichols, was shot between the fore and middle 
finger, while in the act of shooting at an Indian. The 
ball was cut out at the wrist, and as the wound healed 
the two fingers grew together up to the first joint. He 
is still living and draws a pension. Among the noted 
men that participated in this battle was " Big Foot 
Wallace." In this battle Captain Mathew Caldwell was 
fighting Indians on the soil that was afterwards organized 
into a county and named after him. 

In the fall, after this battle with the Indians, Colonel 
John H. Moore collected about lOO men and followed 
the trail of the Comanches, which led up the Colorado 
river, and on the 34th of October, came upon their village, 
300 miles above Austin. A terrible slaughter of Indians 
took place. They fied in every direction, and suffered a 
more severe defeat than they did at Plum creek. One 
hundred and twenty-eight were kdled and drowned in the 
river together, and thirty-four captured, besides 500 head 
of horses. The loss of Colonel Moore was small, and he 
and his party returned safely to the settlements with their 
booty. The old veteran Pleasant McAnelly was in this 
fight, and now resides in Guadalupe county, and so do 
other worthy veterans. John F. McGuffin, E. V. Dale, 
Thomas D. James, Pendleton Rector, Gustav Elly, and 
John A. Wells, also reside in this county. McAnelly 
says when they drew near to the Indian village, the 
friendly Indians who were with them, were sent ahead 
to find them, and when they returned stating that the 
Comanches were just ahead. Colonel Moore gave orders 
for a quick, but silent advance, so as to surprise them, 
but the friendly Indians seeing the white men advancing 
to the charge, fell back in the rear and set up a terrible 

Rangers and Pioneers of Texas. 211 

yelling, which alarmed the hostiles, and when the rangers 
dashed into the village, they had left it, and were attempt- 
ing to cross the river. 


'♦ They came, impatient for the fight; 
Burning to rush into the slaughter; 
Ready to pour their blood like water, 
For what they deemed the right." 


On September, ii, 1842, the Mexicans under General 
Adrian Wall, very unexpectedly to the Texans, advanced 
and captured San Antonio. The district court was in 
session, and the members were taken prisoners. The 
news flew down the country, and spread from settlement 
to settlement, and, once more the call to arms was 
sounded along the border to repel Mexican invasion. 
This call was, as ever, promptly obeyed by the brave 
pioneers of the Guadalupe, San Marcos, and Colorado 
valleys. And once more the gallant Hays, Caldwell and 
others, rallied their chosen scouts and rangers around 
them. They rendezvoused at Seguin, and all nightlong 
before the start on the following day, men were up busy 
making preparations to meet once more the dusky sons 
of Mexico on the battle-field. There was a great scarcity 
of horses on account of the recent Indian raids, and men 
gave large sums for Spanish ponies that would carry 
them to San Antonio. All night men were coming in 
from the east, and but few slept that night. Rifles were 

Rangp:rs and Pioneers of Texas. 213 

cleaned, bullets moulded and provisions cooked. Those 
that had no horses were going here and there trying to 
make trades, offering land, and anything they pos- 
sessed for ponies, which could now be bought for $25. 
Two men fought over a stray horse which happened 
to be in town until neither one was able to go. Andrew 
Sowell was sick at this time, and told his brother, Asa, 
whose horse had been stolen by Indians, that he might 
have his horse as he w^as not able to go, but next 
morning when they were about to start, said he could not 
stand it, and, rising from his bed, dressed himself, got his 
rifle and pistols, and was soon on his way to the Salado. 

Mathew Caldwell was in command of the force, which 
amounted to about 200 men. Caldwell advanced to the 
Salado, and took up a strong position on this creek, about 
seven miles northeast of San Antonio. 

While encamped here, Creed Taylor went down to the 
creek, a short distance below the camp, for the purpose 
of washing out his shirt, and not having a change in, 
camp, had to wait for it to dry. While doing so, he 
ascended a pecan tree, for the purpose of filling his 
pockets with pecans, but as soon as he arose above the 
level of the prairie, was fired at from camp, the balls cut- 
ting the limbs around hiqi. He hastened down, donned 
his half dry shirt, and proceeding to camp, demanded an 
explanation, and was told that some Irish recruits from 
Goliad, who had just arrived, had taken him for a Mexi- 
can spying out the camp, and commenced the fusilade 
upon him. 

Captain Jack Hays then advanced with about fifty men 
to San Antonio, and drew the Mexicans out. In his 
(Captain J. C. Hay's) company, H. E. McCulloch was 
first lieutenant, and C. B. Acklin orderly sergeant. They 
were chased back from within half a mile of the Alamo, 

214 Rangers and Pioneers of Texas. 

by 400 cavalry, to the Salado. McCulloch covered the 
retreat with ten picked men, and they had a lively time. 
The names of the ten men are as follow^s : William Polk, 
Green McCoy, Stuart Foley, C. B. Acklin, Cloy Davis, 
Creed Taylor, Josiah Taylor, Pipkin Taylor, Rufus Tay- 
lor, and James Taylor. The Mexicans made a desper- 
ate effort to cut Hays off, by passing up on his right 
flank. McCulloch kept between him and the Mexicans, 
sending couriers every half mile or so urging him to put 
for the timber, and finally when the timber was reached, 
McCulloch had only one man with him, Creed Taylor. 
These two were targets for the Mexicans for the last half 
mile, and at from 150 to 200 paces, there must have been 
from 100 to 300 shots fired at them on the run, but fortu- 
nately not a ball struck man or horse ; but Creed Taylor 
was wounded in the battle which followed on the creek. 
The men in camp had killed some beef cattle and were 
engaged in cooking and eating when Hays and McCulloch 
dashed in, clo.sely pursued by the Mexican cavalry. 
Every man was soon at his post and ready for action. 
The whole Mexican army then advanced from San Anto- 
nio, and crossing the creek, took up a position on the 
hill-side, east of Caldwell's position. There they planted 
a battery and opened fire on jbhe Texans, but without 
effect ; for Caldwell's men were protected by the creek 
bank, behind which they were formed. The only danger 
they had to guard against was the falling limbs which 
the cannon shots tore off from the large pecan trees over 
their heads. Seeing he could not dislodge them with 
artillery, the Mexican commander ordered a charge. The 
Texans as yet had not fired a shot. The cannons ceased, 
bugles sounded, and the rush of tramping feet was heard 
in the flat, :is the Mexicans advanced to the charge. Cald- 
well gave orders for half the men to reserve their fire. 

Rangers and Pioneers of Texas, 215 

while those in front were to step back after a discharge 
and reload, while those with loaded rifles were to man 
the bank. The Mexicans had to advance very close 
before they could see the Texans ; and then firing their 
escopetes, they fell back before the deadly fire of the 
rifles. A loud, keen yell went up from the Texans as 
the Mexicans broke and dashed back in disordered 
squads out of range, leaving quite a number killed and 
wounded behind them. They rallied again on the crest 
of the ridge and formed, and the officers were seen riding 
to and fro among them. The Texans elated, with their 
success, had no fears of the final issue, although greatly 
outnumbered. They continued to whoop and yell at the 
Mexicans, and some resumed their repast of beef, bread 
and strong coffee, which had been interrupted by the 
advance of the Mexican army. The Mexican cavalry 
kept dashing about and prancing around, but kept out 
of range. Finally they stopped on the hill some distance 
up the creek. Green McCoy noticing this, came to 
Andrew vSowell and proposed to him that they would 
lead their horses up the creek a short distance, tie them 
so that they would be at hand in case of need, and then 
slip within rifle shot of the Mexican cavalry, get a good 
shot each, and then fall back to their horses, and 
make their escape in case they were pursued. Andrew 
agreed to this readily, and they left the camp, keeping 
out of sight of the Mexicans until they went far enough, 
and then tied their horses to a mesquite tree. They could 
see part of the cavalry through the bushes, not far off, 
and bending low, started to slip within range. They had 
taken but a few steps when they were started by a low, 
keen whistle near them, and hastily looking around, saw 
a company of Mexican infantry in fifty paces of them, 
where they had been concealed in the high grass, and 

3i6 Rangers and Pioneers of Texas. 

had just risen up and whistled to them like a hunter 
would to a deer, to make it stop until he could shoot it. 
They saw the Mexicans were fixing to fire, and sprang 
towards their horses, and bent low for a few seconds 
and received the first fire. The bark and mesquite beans 
fell on their hats which were cut off by the bullets, but 
neither one of them was touched, and drawing their 
knives, quick as lightning almost, cut their ropes and 
mounted the terrified horses, which had begun to rear 
and plunge about. They were young, active and good 
riders, or else they would never have been able to mount 
under the circumstances. They received the second fire 
from the Mexicans as they bent low in their saddles and 
dashed off. The balls cut the air around them, but still 
they were unhurt. Andrew ventured one look behind 
as they started, and some of the Mexicans were so near 
that he said he could see half-way down the barrels of 
the big-mouthed escopetes as the Mexicans presented 
them to fire. They dashed into camp just as the Mexi- 
cans were again advancing to charge ; but as before, they 
could not stand the unerring aim of the riflemen, and 
were again driven back with great loss. General Cor- 
dova, whom Burleson fought at Mill creek, was killed in 
the charge. He had taken refuge behind a small mes- 
(juite in the retreat, to avoid a discharge, and was killed 
when he attempted to lea\'e it. Cordova was a noted 
man in Mexico, and on receipt of the news of his death, 
the bells were rung in Monterey, and an ode was pub- 
lished to his memory at Saltillo. (Sal-tee-o). The 
Texans, as yet, had not lost a man, and had but few 
wounded. The Mexicans invariably overshot them, 
knocking over more coffee pots, which were in the rear, 
than Texans. Calvin Turner received a glancing shot in 
the head, and fell ; his brother, William, who was near, 

Rangp:rs and Pioneers of Texas. 317 

vainly endeavoring to force a tight ball down his rifle, 
dropped it, and ran to him, and assisted him to regain 
his feet, and he soon recovered. The Mexicans, w^ho 
had been freely supplied with mescal from San Antonio, 
and being now pretty much under the influence of it, 
somewhat lost their terror of the Texas rifles, and once 
more advanced to the charge, j-elling like Indians. They 
threw away their hats and came down the hill bare- 
headed, and with their dark skins and black hair, very 
much resembled a host of savages. They made no halt 
when fired on, but came on like demons, firing their 
escopetes in the very faces of Caldwell's men, at not 
more than fifteen paces, and for a few moments the 
cracking of rifles and the yells of the combatants were 
terrific. But drunk or sober, they could not stand such 
a deadly fire at short range, and again fled out of reach, 
followed by scattering shots and loud yells. 

It seems somewhat surprising that Caldwell's 200 men 
could defeat such a large force of Mexicans, numbering 
nearly a thousand men, but their superior marksmanship 
was one thing ; and they were all true and tried men ; 
had all seen service before, some having been with Bowie 
at Mission Concepcion and the storming of San Antonio ; 
some in the charge at San Jacinto and Plum Creek, and 
nearly all had fought Indians, and were splendid shots. 
And here were the gallant Caldwell, Hays, and the 
McCuUochs, whom none could surpass as commanders in 
such warfare. vSanta Anna, while a prisoner, and bit- 
terly lamenting the destruction of his army, said : " Why, 
a Texan would think he had made a bad shot if he did 
not hit a Mexican's eye a hundred yards." 

During the retreat, after this charge, one Mexican 
bemg considerably behind, some one called out, " Who 
has a loaded rifle ?" Andrew Sowell, who had just 

2iS Rangers and Pioneers of Texas. 

loaded, stepped forward and took a careful aim at the 
retreating Mexican, and fired. At the crack of the gun 
the Mexican jumped forward, clapped his hands to his 
back, and after running half bent for a short distance, 
fell forward on his face. Miles Dikes, w^ho was stand- 
ing just behind Andrew, watching the effect of the shot, 
clapped him on the shoulder, and said : •' There ; that's 
the way to do it Andrew; you got him." 

In this last charge a good many Mexicans were killed 
and wounded near the bank of the creek, behind which 
the Texans were posted. French Smith, who was walk- 
ing about among them, picked up a small wounded Mexi- 
can and brought him down the hill into the camp and 
laid him down. He was a small man, and had on a 
fancy jacket. He was shot in the breast, and was suffer- 
ing great pain. He jabbered Mexican all the time, and 
eyed the long rifles of the Texans, who stoo^l around 
him, and when some one lit a pipe and commenced 
smoking, he. with great pain, raised himself to a sitting 
position, and asked for a shuck and some tobacco, and 
this being given him, made a cigarette, and calmly sat 
there and smoked it, with a rifle ball through his body, 
occasionally making some remark in Spanish, and point- 
ing to the wound in his breast. 

Just before the fight commenced, one of Caldwell's 
scouts, named Jett, was cut off from the camp and killed 
by a small band of Indians, who were secreted in the 
brush down the creek. 

One man was shot in the stomach, who had that morn- 
ing eaten a large quantity of fresh beef, and after the 
doctor had examined him, said it was the most fortunate 
shots he ever saw. " For," said he, " if it had not been 
for the beef, the bullet would have killed him, and if it had 
not been for the bullet, the beef would have killed him." 

Rangers and Pioneers of Texas. 219 

During the progress of the fight, the Texans noticed 
that the Mexicans moved their artillery, also the cavalry, 
and a portion of the infantry, and presently they heard 
cannon shots in the prairie some distance to the east of 
them. Boom after boom came ringing across the prairie, 
and the Texans were satisfied that some brave band of 
men had encountered the Mexicans in trying to join them. 
But they dared not move from their position for here was 
the only place where they could successfully fight Wall's 
army, with his superior f(nxe, flanked by large bodies of 
cavalry, and supported with artillery, which w^as between 
them and the brave men who were at this time selling 
their lives so dearly. Swift scouts were kept out to watch 
the movements of the Mexicans, who disappeared from 
sight after the firing ceased on the prairie, and left Cald- 
well master of the situation on the creek. 

A scout came in and reported that the Mexican army 
had gone back to San Antonio. A small party was then 
sent out to see what discoveries they could make in the 
direction of the firing, which they heard on the prairie 
east of them. One fugitive, Woods, gained Caldwell's 
line, and reported that Captain Dawson and his company 
of fifty-two men from Fayette county, had been sur- 
rounded and cut to pieces by the Mexicans. The scouts 
sent out, returned, and reported that thirty-two of Daw- 
son's men were lying dead on the prairie. Z. N. Mor- 
rell, the Baptist preacher who was at the Plum Creek 
fight, was here, with Caldwell, and knowing that Daw- 
son's men were from his neighborhood, and fearing that 
his son, whom he had left at home, might have followed 
the ill-fated Dawson, mounted his horse, and in company 
with others, set out for the scene of the massacre to 
examine the slain, and to see if his boy was there. The 
Rev. Morrell was not at home when he heard of the 


Rangers and Pioneers of Texas. 

Mexican raid, and came with Caldwell, without acquaint- 
ing his family of his intentions, as they were some dis- 
tance off. 

vSome one told Andrew Sowell that they thought his 
father-in-law, old man Billy Turner, was among the 
slain. Andrew knowing the vim of the old man when 
stirred up, for he had been a soldier under Jackson, and 
was one of the dragoons who pursued the great chief 
Weatherford after his defeat, when he made his famous 
leap off the bluff into the river, and made his escape. 

(Massacre of Dawson's Men.) 

He saw vSam Houston wounded at the battle of the Horse 
Shoe, and was himself wounded at Talladega and Talla- 
hasse, and was with Jackson at New Orleans. Although 
Andrew could hardly believe it could be the old man, for 
he left him at Seguin, he hastily mounted his horse and 
set out, and on reaching the battle-ground and viewing 
the dead body of the gray-haired old man, it proved to be 
Zodack Woods, an old man eighty years of age, from 
La Grange. 

Z. N. Morrell searched among the dead for his son, 

Rangers and Pioneers of Texas. 221 

and, greatly to his relief, could not find him, but he looked 
into the faces of his neighbors whom, a few days before, 
he had left at their homes in good health, and with a 
prospect of long life before them, now stark and stiff in 
the battle-field. 

These gallant patriots from the Colorado valley, were 
evej ready to peril their lives for their country, and there 
was hardly a battle of any importance fought in Texas, 
but what their blood stained the soil. And when the 
fiery Dawson came among them, they seized their rifles, 
and told him to lead the way, and rushed day and night 
to their death. 

Yoakum says of this affair : 

"Just as the fight ceased between Captain Mathew Caldwell's 
command and the Mexicans, the fearful massacre occurred. 
Captain Dawson, with fifty-three men from La Grange, in 
attempting to join Caldwell, was discovered and surrounded by 
the enemy. Captain Dawson found a grove of mesquite bushes, 
in which he rallied his men and commenced his defense; but the 
Mexicans withdrew from the range of the rifles, and poured in 
upon his unprotected company, a shower of grape-shot. Dawson 
sent out a white flag but it was fired on. Thirty-two of his men 
were killed, two or three escaped, and fifteen were taken prisoners. 
Among those that escaped was Woods, who, in the act of deliver- 
ing up his arms, received a cut from a sword. He seized a lance 
in the hands of one of the enemy, killed the lancer, mounted his 
horse, and reached the position of Caldwell, in safety." 





The people of Seguin watched anxiously for messen- 
gers from the scene of action, after the departure of the 
200 brave boys under the gallant Caldwell. 

Only six years had elapsed since nearly that many had 
perished in the Alamo with the gallant Travis, and they 
had left as light-hearted and confident as those under 
Caldwell. And once more the wives and mothers of the 
Guadalupe valley had to watch and wait with aching 
hearts for news, every minute expecting the messenger of 
death to dash in upon them, bringing the sad news of 
defeat and slaughter like that which befell Travis and 
Fannin. And they thought their fears were realized 
when Aulcy Miller rode into town bareheaded and his 
horse covered with foam, a fugitive from Dawson's battle- 
ground, and bringing the news that Dawson's men were 
nearly all killed, and that he, himself, and one other, 
alone made their escape by hard and desperate riding. 
He knew nothing of the fate of Caldwell's men. They 
heard heavy firing in the direction of the creek, and were 
pushing rapidly to their assistance, when they were sur- 
rounded by the whole Mexican army and cut to pieces. 
Asa Sowell, father of the writer, gave Miller a fine Mexi- 
can hat. 

The following is taken from the American Sketch Book : 

" We are indebted to Major B. P. Diinn for the the names of 

Rangers and Pioneers of Texas. 333 

those that were killed from Fayette countvwith Captain Dawson, 
on the iSth of September, 1S42. They are as follows: Captain 
Dawson, First Lieutenant Dickerson, Zodack Woods, David 

Berrj', John Slack, John Cummins, Church, Han-ey Hall, 

Robert Barckley, Wesley Scallorn, Eliam Scallorn, Asa Jones, 
Robert Eastland, Frank Brookfield, George Hill, John W. Penel- 
ton, J. B. Alexander, Edmond Timble, Charles Field, Thomas 
Simms, Butler, John Dancer, and a colored man belong- 
ing to the Mavericks. He had been sent out by Mrs. Maverick to 
communicate with his master, who had been captured while 
attending court at San Antonio, a few days before, by the Mexi- 
cans. His famil}' were living on the Colorado, near Ed. Manton's. 
They had sent this trusty man out, hoping that he might be able 
to learn something of Maverick. Poor fellow! faithful to his 
trust to the last, he died with his brave leader, his face to the 
enemy at the breech of his gun. 

" Zodack Woods, eighty years old, had ridden in a gallop for 
several miles, keeping up with his company, before reaching the 
scene of action, eager to relieve Caldwell, bounding on over the 
prairie to find, too late, that they had mistaken the enemy for our 
forces. The old man fell while loading his gun." 

The bones of these brave men now rest on Monument 
Hill, opposite La Grange. We quote what the publisher 
of the American Sketch Book says in describing a trip 
to this place : 

"While on the bluff, what strange feelings of awe I had while 
standing at the tomb of that band of heroes (the remains of Cap- 
tain Dawson's company, and the decimated prisoners), who, 
when the first tocsin of war sounded, left their homes and loved 
ones, and, after deeds worthy of the ancient Romans, immolated 
themselves upon the altar of Freedom. It was with regret I stood 
by the pile of stone where * memory o'er their tomb no trophies 
raise,' to tell the stranger their glorious record of how they lived, 
dared and died. Certainly, the day is not far distant when Fayette 
county will erect a handsome monument to the memory of her 
brave sons." 

' General Wall did not halt long in San Antonio, but 
set out the next day after the battle, and soon put the Rio 

224 Rancjers and PioneeRvS of Texas. 

Grande between him and the infuriated Texans. T'he 
Mexican loss in the battle was 120 men killed and 
wounded. Caldwell entered San Antonio next day with 
his men. There was a Mexican woman in San Antonio 
at that time, who had once lived on the Guadalupe, near 
Seguin, and was acquainted with nearly all the settlers. 
When General Wall paraded his men on the plaza, just 
before starting to attack Caldwell on the Salado, she 
walked out where he was inspecting his troops, and asked 
him where he was going with all this fine array of soldiers : 
" Going out," said he, " to kill those Texans on the Sala- 
do." " You had better be very careful," said the 
woman, " I know those men from the Guadalupe ; they 
are very brave men, and shoot well." When Wall 
came back, she again accosted him with, "Well, Gen- 
eral, did you kill all of those Texans ? " "Well, yes ; " 
said he, '* that is, I killed all those out on the prairie, but 
those on the creek howled like wolves, and fought like 
devils. I did not kill quite all of them." This Mexi- 
can woman was a friend of the Texans, and was glad to 
see them when they came into town, going about among 
them, and calling a great many of them by name. When 
she saw the Baptist preacher, Z. N. Morrell, she said: 
"Oh, Mr. Morrell; I stood here on the sidewalk and 
looked at the prisoners as they marched them up the 
street, and your son was with them ; he had his coat off, 
and was all bloody." What sad news was this to an 
affectionate father, his son, a mere boy, wounded and 
being carried a prisoner to Mexico, away from home, 
and loved ones, to languish as a captive in a foreign land, 
in dark and dreary dungeons, and, perchance, in the end, 
to be led out and shot as others had been before him. 
Among those who stood by the gallant Caldwell at the 
Salado, were the following : Captain Jack Hays, Daniel 

Rangers and Pioneers of Texas. 225 

B. Prior, James H. Callahan, James Bird, Ewing Cam- 
meron. Lieutenant Henry McCulloch, Sergeant C. B. 
Acklin, C. C. Colley, John Henry Brown, Jesse Zumawlt, 
Clem C. Hines, Eli Hankins, Joe Powers, Solomon Sim- 
mons, Rev. Karl, Cattle Perry, Stokes, Judge Hemphill, 
Henry Bridger, Isaac Zumawlt, John H. Livergood, 
George Walton, Wilcox, John W. Smith, Ezekiel Smith, 
Solomon Brill, Archer Gibson, Creed Taylor, Josiah 
Taylor, Pipkin Taylor, Rufus Taylor, James Taylor, 
Green McCoy, James Clark, Miles Dikes, Calvin Tur- 
ner, Hardin Turner, William Turner, French Smith, Z. 
N. Morrell, A. J. Sowell, William King, John King, 
Milford Day, and many other gallant men whose names 
I could not learn. 

After the battle, Lieutenant McCulloch was left in 
charge of the wounded, some ten or twelve in number, 
and as he had no wagons, was sorely perplexed as to the 
means for transporting the wounded men from the bat- 
tle-ground, and while trying to devise some plan, Solo- 
mon Brill came along with a cart and team which he had 
captured, and which contained several pairs of blankets, 
and in this rude structure the lieutenant succeeded in 
carrying off the wounded men. 

The prisoners taken at Dawson's massacre were carried 
to Mexico and confined in the dungeon of Penjte, and it 
was two years before the Rev. Morrell saw his son again. 

As the Mexicans were once more driven from Texas 
soil, the men dispersed and returned to their homes. 
Andrew Sowell, after this, spent part of his time in the 
ranging service, under Captain Henry McCulloch, and 
was stationed for some time in Hamilton's valley, on the 
Colorado, about sixty miles above Austin, but was in no 
important engagement with the Indians. After this, he 
moved to San Marcos, a small place just starting at the 

226 Rangers and Pioneers of Texas. 

head of the river of the same name. He was living here 
when the Indians captured the Putnam children, while 
they were gathering pecans, below the town. Andrew 
and several others, trailed the Indians until they crossed 
the Guadalupe, at the mouth of the Comal, where the 
German city of New Braunfels is now situated, but here 
they lost the trail, as it entered a rough mountainous 
country, and they were obliged to abandon the pursuit. 

The children were two girls, and a boy, James. The 
latter was purchased by traders and sent back about eight 
years afterwards. The oldest girl in the meantime had 
become the wife of a chief, and would not come back. 
The other sister returned when she was a middle-aged 
woman, to Gonzales. James says the Indians carried 
him all over Texas, Arizona and California, and often 
when he was left with the squaws on some high moun- 
tain, he had seen them fighting with the immigrants and 
Santa Fe traders on the plains below. When James first 
came back, he would neither sit in a chair, sleep on a bed, 
or eat with a knife and fork, and it was impossible to slip 
up on him. 

In 1853, Andrew, in company with several other 
families, moved and settled in a beautiful valley on the 
Blanco river. They carried some stock with them, and, 
indeed, it was a country that flowed with milk and honey ; 
for it was while living here that he found twenty-seven 
bee trees in one day. Besides that, the country abounded 
in deer, turkey, bear, and antelope, and the streams were 
full of fish. This place still goes by the name of Sowell 
valley. From here, he moved back to his old place 
below Seguin, where he still owned some land, and 
commenced farming, but becoming dissatisfied, he sold 
out, and moved to Nash's creek, twelve miles east of 
Seguin. At the breaking out of the war between the 

Rangers and Pioneers of Texas. 227 

North and South, he joined the Confederate army, but 
was in no important battles. When the war closed he 
returned home, and turned his attention to stock-raising 
and farming. He belonged to the Veteran Association, 
and drew a pension. When the Veterans met at Waco, 
in 1882, he somewhat surprised some of the good people 
of Waco by telling them the last time he was there before 
this, a tribe of Indians lived there, and they called it the 
Waco village, after the name of the tribe. And also at 
Houston, when the Veterans met there, he made some 
of them stare by telling them that he helped to nail the 
boards on the first house that was ever built in Houston. 
He died in 1883, honored and respected by all who knew 
him. His wife survived him only a few days. 

It is strange, but nevertheless true, that nearly all the 
old Texans lived hard at times and died poor. They 
fought the battles, subdued the wilderness, and paved 
the way for others to come in and make fortunes, which 
thousands have done, since the hardy pioneers first pitched 
their cabins on the banks of the Guadalupe, Colorado, 
San Marcos and Brazos. And now, in winding up this 
brief sketch of life and times on the Texas frontier, I 
will say to my readers, that I trust they will not think it 
boasting or egotism in me to have penned a few lines in 
memory of an old Texan, for he justly deserves all I 
have said of him, and, had it been any one else, not a 
relative, I would have as cheerfully done the same, had 
I been as well acquainted with the incidents as I was in 
this case. They will all soon be gone, and their deeds 
and actions will be things of the past. Therefore, let us 
keep their memory green. We hear of the death of some 
one of these heroes every few days. Colonel Jack Hays 
died last year, 1883, at his home near Piedmont, Califor- 
nia. When we mention the counties of Bowie, Crockett, 

328 Rangers and Pioneers of Texas. 

Travis, Bonham, Hays, McCulloch, Burleson, Kimble, 
Caldwell, Lainar, Burnet, Fannin, Milam, Dewitt, and 
Karnes, including a host of others, it is like calling the 
roll of the old Veterans. 

In a recent visit to Gonzales, I called on the old Texan 
David Darst, and spent a pleasant hour conversing about 
early days. He gave me several items concerning the 
run-away scrape, as it was called, at Gonzales, after the 
fall of the Alamo. I left town in company with Mr. 
Jack Hodge, another old Texan. When we arrived at the 
outskirts of the town, he pointed out to me a tall post oak 
tree which must have had the marks of 500 rifle balls on 
it, where, in early days, Henry and Ben McCulloch, 
Wilson and Barney Randall, Pony Hall, and others, 
used to engage in rifle practice. 

In conclusion, I will insert the following taken from 
the Galveston News: 

"Texas has an individual history exclusively its own. The 
archives of its old autonomy contain a heritage of honor and 
renow^n in which we, of the rest of the United States, have no 
part. Our lineage of 1776 inheriting its own hard-won laurels, 
can most graciously accord to the white-haired survivors of the 
struggle for Texas independence, all the honors which belong to 
that successful achievement. Nobly has Texas perpetuated the 
fame of her heroes by ingrafting their names upon one-half of 
its 227 counties. Recognizing them as our kith and kin, we can- 
not but feel as we walk among them, as if we had somehow been 
moved back three-quarters of a century to our forefathers; as if 
our good ancesters of '76 had stepped forward, and up into the 
halo of the present time. Let old Texas rest on her laurels. 
Let the mantle of peace and charity fall indulgently over the old 
Texan. Both are of the past." 




IN 1871. 


•' Come nil you Texas Kntigem, 
Where ever you iriny be, 
Ami I will tell j'ou of romic Ii'miIiIcr 
That happened unto me. 

•' My name Is nothing extra, 
So that I will not tell; 
But here's to all the Kangers, 
I am sure I wish them well. 

•' Af fhc age of Rlxtrcn 
^ I joined that jolly hand, 

And marched from .San Antonio 
Out to the R)r) (;r;mdc. 

•' Our captain, he iiift^iincd uk. 
Perhaps he thought It right, 
Before you reach the station. 
Said he, you will have to fight. 

" I ^aw the smoke ascciidififcj,* 
It seemed to reach the F^ky, 
And the first thought that struck me, 
\^ (Ilk my thne to die? 

/ " I Hiruight of my mother. 

Who, In tears, to me did say. 
To yon they are all strangers. 
With me you had better stay. 

" I lol.j her fthc waft cbildi«h ; 
Tlic best she did not know; 
My mind was bent on roving, 
Atid I waw boiiMfl fo go. 
loJinn cHJfip /ircB. 

23- Rangers and Pioneers of Texas. 

** I ^a\v the Indians coming. 
I heard thein give the yell ; 
My feelings at that moment, 
No tongue can ever t<^l. 

•* Oh! then the bugle sounded, 
Our captain gave command : 
* To arms! to arms! ' he shouted. 
And by your hoises stand. 

'* I saw the Indians coming. 

Their arroxN^s round me hailed, 
And tor a moment, box^s, 
My courage almost tailed. 

** I saw the glittering lances 
The painted warriors bore: 
And \\-e fought them full two hours 
r.efore the strife was o'er. 

" Five oi the noblest Rangers 
That ever saw the West. 
Were buried by their comrades; 
I hope they are at rest." 

Ix iS7o-*7i. the Indians were vtry numerous and hos- 
tile on the Texas frontier, and a call was made by the 
Governor for several companies of volunteers to go on a 
campaign against them. There was an immense scope 
of countiv to protect, stretching from the Rio Grande to 
Red river. The Indian© were more numerous in the 
northwestern part of the State, and committed many 
depredations under the notorious leaders, Big Tree. 
Satanta, Sittanke. and others. 

In writing this sketch, my aim is to give as near as I 
can an account of the true condition of the Texas border 
at that time, especially in the n»^rthwest. and to relate 
such incidents of Indian warfare, as I think would be 
interesting, which I lean^ed from old settlers in that 
region. It was during the administration of Governor 

Rangers and Pioxkeks of Texas. 2t^ 

E. J. Davis, that these companies of which I speak 
were raised for frontier protection. Beini^ anxious to 
see sonie of the o^reat State of Texas, besides the vicinity 
where 1 was raised, Seguin, Guadahipe County, I 
enlisted in Captain David Halver's company, and at once 
set out for the rangers' camp on llie Salado, seven miles 
northeast of San Antonio, near tlie old battle ground. 
There were about sixty men in camp when we arrived, 
waiting to be mustered into the service. Tliev were 
mostly young, unmarried men, and anxious to be off and 
view the red man in his native wilds. 

We were mustered into the State service on the 5th 
day of November, 1S70, and were pronounced by our 
mustering ofHcer, to be one of the finest looking and 
best mounted companies which had been sent out. Our 
destination, as soon as mustered in, was the Wichita 
mountains, tlie hunting ground and camping ground of 
the Kiowa and Comanche Indians. The captain im- 
mediately started a detail to Austin for the purpose of 
procuring wagons, mules, carbines, amnumition, etc., 
which we needed for the trip. Our company was made 
up from the counties of Guadalupe, Gonzales, Caldwell, 
and IJcxar. Our officers were D. P. Baker, captain ; Asa 
Hill, lieutenant; William Thorn, orderly sergeant ; E. 
H. Cobb, first duty sergeant; Joel R. Payne, second 
sergeant; William Murphy, Charles Robinson, Charles 
Figurs, and Dan Woodruff, corporals; Dr. Fred. Gilles- 
pie, physician and surgeon. b)hn Fitzgerald was bugler. 
We numbered fifty-two men, rank and file. We had 
to furnish our own horses, clothing, six-shooters, etc. 
The State furnished us carbines, cartridges, provisions, 
etc., and we were to get fifty dollars per month. 

The detail under Sergeant Payne returned from Aus- 
tin on the i8th, with six wild mules, two large wagon 


horses and two wagons, one of them very small. And 
this was the outfit for a company of Texas rangers, 
to traverse nearly five hundred miles of frontier country, 
most of it an uninhabited wilderness, over mountains, 
and across rivers ; but the boys were in good spirits, and 
anxious to commence the march, and every man received 
a new Winchester carbine and plenty of cartridges, 
and everything being in readiness on the 19th, we 
broke camp and the long march commenced. The first 
day we went about ten miles, and encamped in a live 
oak grove. Our little mules were very contrary through 
the day, which somewhat retarded our progress. During 
the night it commenced raining and was very disagreeable, 
but that was only a foretaste of what was in store for us. 
On the morning of the 20th, it took nearly all hands 
to hitch up our team, but finally we got everything 
ready for a start, the driver mounted, and the wagons 
started, the lead mules in a gallop, and the balance 
trying to hold back, followed by the company in fine 
spirits, and on prancing horses. Our team, however, 
soon calmed down and went tolerably well. It blew 
up a norther in the evening, and shortly after we camped 
in the timber for the night. About sundown. Captain 
Baker arrived from San Antonio, having remained 
behind to attend to some business. It was very cold 
during the night, but we had plenty of wood, and the 
boys amused themselves singing, telling yarns, playing 
the violin, etc., until late in the night. Next morning we 
called our stopping place Camp Baker, and once more 
we turned our faces to the northwest. It continued cold 
during the day, and was very disagreeable, as we had to 
face it. 

There has been a great deal said about Texas and 
the rangers, and I will here give a description of the 

Rangers and Pioneers of Texas. 335 

Texas rangers, as they were at that time. In the first 
place he wants a good horse, strong saddle, double- 
girted, a good carbine, pistol, and plenty of ammunition. 
He generally wears rough clothing, either buckskin or 
strong, durable cloth, and generally a broad-brimmed 
hat, on the Mexican style, thick overshirt, top boots and 
spurs, and a jacket or short coat, so that he can use him- 
self with ease in the saddle. 

A genuine Texas ranger will endure cold, hunger 
and fatigue, almost without a murmur, and will stand 
by a friend and comrade in the hour of danger, and 
divide anything he has got, from a blanket to his last 
crumb of tobacco. This description will also suit the 
Texas "cow boy," who has abroad got a very bad repu- 
tation ; but he is not so bad, after all. He generally 
settles down into a quiet, sober citizen. 

When the Marquis of Lome was with a hunting party 
on the Staked Plains, in 1882, he took refuge at a camp 
of cow boys during a violent storm, and says he was 
treated with the greatest civility and hospitality. They 
were a fine looking set of men, he said, and moved 
about with that air of dignity, which stamps a man as being 
the sovereign of the soil. He left them with his mind 
considerably changed in regard to them, for, heretofore, 
he did not wish to encounter them, but necessity com- 
pelled him and his hunting party to go to their camp. 

It was the cow boys and rangers of Texas, that stood 
by Hood, Terry, McCulloch and Lee, in the hour of 
their greatest need, and bore the blood-stained banner of 
the South over a hundred battle fields during the late war. 

Of course our Indians fights will appear rather insig- 
nificant compared to great battle fields, for instance, 
Wellington at Waterloo, Lee at the Wilderness, or 
Napoleon on the Alps, "where cannon roared above the 

336 Rangers and Pioneers of Texas. 

clouds, and cavalry charged on fields of ice," but never- 
theless, there is sometimes more danger in an Indian 
fight w^here there are not more than two or three dozen 
men engaged, than where thousands fight; for when the 
ranger and red man meet in battle, quarter is neither asked 
nor g-iven. I will here relate an incident which occurred 
before the war, when McCulloch, Ford, and Van Dorn, 
w^ere on the Texns frontier with their rangers. They 
w^ere stationed at old Fort Belknap, on the Brazos. 

The report came to camp that a large body of Indians 
were some distance below them committing depredations. 
A scout of fifteen men, under a sergeant, were sent to 
ascertain the whereabouts of the hostiles and their num- 
ber ; but the unfortunate sergeant was led into a trap and 
himself and most of his men were killed. They had 
pursued five Indians for some distance, and saw that 
they were being led in between two deep gullies, and 
suspecting an ambush, the sergeant gave orders to 
wheel and take the back track, but too late. The Indians 
rose up, swarmed in behind them and cut off their retreat. 
The sergeant and his men fought desperately, but only 
two succeeded in cutting their way through and getting 
clear of the Indians*. One of them, looking back, saw 
his brother, a boy, of only seventeen years, fighting 
desperately among the Indians. For an instant he 
hesitated ; he had got clear, and it was almost certain 
death to' go back ; but he thought of the last words of his 
mother when they left home : " Jimmy take good care of 
Dick, now, and don't you come back without him." He 
saw that his brother's horse was killed ; saw him club his 
gun and beat a warrior from his horse, and make a 
frantic effort to secure the bridle, but failed ; the horse 
wheeled and galloped off. This was enough for James, 
and he determined to rescue his brother or die vt'ith him, 

Rangers and Pioneers of Texas. 337 

and setting his teeth hard, madly spurred his horse among 
the Indians, shouting to his brother as he did so, to spring 
up behind him as he wheeled his horse. 

In less time it takes to write it, his brother did so, and 
they were speeding away, lying low on the horse, with 
the bullets and arrows flying thick around them. The 
horse was wounded in three places, but they were 
untouched, and made good their escape to the fort, pre- 
ceeded only a short time by the other man, who made 
his escape. 

The gallant sergeant and twelve of his men were 
scalped by the savages. The Indians were pursued by 
the whole force of the rangers, and overtaken at the Flat 
Top mountain, and suffered a total defeat, with loss of a 
great many of their warriors. 





COLORADO — Swisher's men — pecan bayou — roping 



It remained cold Huring the day, after we left Camp 
Baker. The wind lulled about night, and we had a 
heavy frost. Nothing of interest occured at the camp, only 
one of those devilish little mules came near breaking one 
of Charley Brown's ribs, as he was trying to hopple him 
out for the night. 

Next morning, after we had saddled up, and were 
waiting for the wagons to move, one of the boys left his 
horse and went to fill up his canteen, and while he was 
gone, his horse became frightened at something and 
dashed off through the hills, carrying off the carbine, 
wallet, etc., of the ranger. Instantly, a dozen men started 
off in pursuit, and after a lively chase of about two miles, 
succeeded in capturing him, with everything intact, 
greatly to the satisfaction of the dismounted ranger. 
Everything being again in order, we resumed our march. 
In the course of a few days, we passed through the little 
German towns of Fredericksburg and Boerne. The 
latter place is beautifully situated near the head waters 
of the Cibolo river and has a thrifty and enterprising 
settlement around it. Shortly after passing Boerne we 
came to a place called Camp Hays, it derived its name 

Rangers axd Pioxeers of Texas. 239 

from Captain Jack Hays, who often camped here with his 
men, while he was guarding the Texas frontier. At this 
place we found plenty of wood and water and spent a 
very agreeable night. 

The next morning we had a little carbine practice in 
order to get our horses used to firing; one man only was 
dismounted during this fusilade. Our boys did well, 
firing rapidly and riding splendidly. 

We will now skip over the monotonous details of 
camps and only mention such things as would likely 
interest the reader. On our route we passed through Fort 
Mason. This place is situated on high ground, is healthy, 
and is a good farming and stock country. Gen. Robert 
E. Lee was at one time stationed at this place, before 
the war, when he was on duty in Texas, as a United 
States officer. 

About eighteen miles from Fort Mason we crossed 
the San Saba river, a clear, beautiful stream. Near the 
crossing lives an old Texan, William Turner, who 
came to this county some time before the war, for the 
purpose of raising stock. He has been very successful, 
and now has plenty. He was one of the first settlers in 
this part of the country and was troubled a great deal by 
Indians. We crossed the river and camped about one 
mile from his house, in a prairie dog town, the first we 
had seen since starting. I got permission from the cap- 
tain to go back and spend the night with Mr. Turner, 
for he was a relative of mine. I was on guard duty that 
night, but my friend and comrade Bud Seglar, volun- 
teered to stand in my place, and in company with Dan 
Woodruff I set out for the ranch. I was very much dis- 
appointed in not finding the old man at home. He was 
out on a hog hunt and was camping out up the river, in 
the mountains. We received a hearty welcome from 

240 Rangers and Pioneers of Texas. 

the members of the family and had a L^ood time. Mr. 
Turner is an old veteran ; he was with Caldwell at the 
battle of Salado. 

Well, back to camp next morning, and off again. 
Now the traveling becomes delightful ; we begin to strike 
the game — deer, turkey and antelope. We had a lively 
ehase to-day after a herd of antelope. They ran in 
such a dense mass it was no trouble to kill them with the 
carbine, while running at full speed. That night we 
feasted on antelope steak. I will state here that Doctor 
Gillespie killed the first deer on the trip ; it was a small 
one, not more than half-grown, and he killed it at a 
distance of three hundred yards with a Winchester 

We began now to have strict watch at night, for we 
were in the Indian country. Scouts were sent out dur- 
ing the day to look for Indian trails. Through this part 
of the country was the route they traveled over when 
they made a raid on the settlers down the Colorado or 
San Saba. 

One of the scouts under Private Jackson came in and 
reported that they came suddenly upon three Indians, as 
they rode around the foot of a mountain. The Indians 
were about four hundred yards off, on the prairie ; they 
were leading two horses by lariats. At sight of the 
rangers they left the lead horses and fled, going in the 
direction of some timber, about a mile off. The boys 
pursued them, firing every now and then as they ran, 
but they could not hit an Indian, and as they were well 
mounted, could not come up with them. As they were 
nearing the thickets, a ball from a carbine struck one of 
the horses rode by the Indians, and he fell, throwing his 
rider. The boys thought sure they had him, but he 
jumped to his feet and ran like a jack rabbit, his long 

Rangers and Pioneers of Texas. 241 

black hair waving in the wind, and made his escape 
despite the balls which were sent after him. The boys 
took the back track and secured the two horses and 
brought them to camp, leaving the Indian's wounded horse 
on the prairie. 

Plenty of game was now killed every day. The night 
we camped on the Colorado there were a great many 
deer brought into camp, in fact more than we could eat 
for supper and breakfast. Doctor Gillespie, sitting by a 
blazing camp fire watching the boys eat their supper, 
with abundance of fat venison and turkey on every side, 
with the lurid glare of the camp fires in the tree tops, and 
trusty scouts guarding the camp while we feasted, could 
contain himself no longer, but rubbing his hands in glee,^ 
exclaimed, "Boys, this is ranging; regular, genuine, 
Texas ranging. Won't we whoop things up, though, 
when we get to the Wichitas?" 

The next morning, after we left our camp on the Col- 
orado, I went with a scout that was detailed to make a 
detour from the main route for several miles, and then 
travel parallel with the route taken by the company, 
until time to close up at night. We traveled up the left 
bank of the river for some distance before we could find 
a crossing. The Colorado at this place is enclosed with 
high bluffs and is very narrow and swift. We finally 
found a place where it looked fordable and plunged in ; 
the bed of the river was thickly strewn with large rocks, 
and some of the boys came near being thrown into the 
water, on account of the plunging of the horses in cross- 
ing these boulders, but we made it across without acci- 
dent, and after going up through a deep cut in the bank, 
came on to a level flat several hundred yards wide. We 
then ascended a mountain and had a magnificent view 

of the surrounding country ; Santa Anna's peak was visi- 


242 Rangers and Pioneers of Texas. 

ble, although about thirty miles off. Our re^Lfular trailer, 
Swift, was with us to-day. and Sergeant Joel R. Payne, 
commanded the scout. 

We could find no trail of Indians, although we closely 
examined the country and rode hard most of the day, 
finally we turned to the right to intercept the command 
before night if we could, but we had miscalculated the dis- 
tance we had traveled west before the turn. We rode 
hard until nearh- night, but could still see nothing of the 
company. To-day I killed the first prairie dog that I got ; 
it was very fat and heavy. Some say they are good to 
eat, but as I did not feel very hungry at the time I post- 
poned eating any of it. I afterwards saw a ranger 
broil and eat a large slice of one, and he said it had a very 
good flavor. 

Towards sundown we rode through a belt of tim]:>er 
and came out on the edge of a steep bluff and saw one of 
the most beautiful sights I ever beheld in nature. The 
valley stretched for miles below and above us and bor- 
dered with a winding stream. x\bout half way between 
the bluff and the creek was a beautiful lake, its surface 
dotted -here and there with wild ducks and geese ; 
it looked wild and lonely, yet beautiful, in the raye 
of the setting sun. We had some ditBculty in find- 
ing a passage d<\vn this high table land, but finally suc- 
ceeded and entered the valley. After crossing the level 
flat and riding down the creek some distance, we struck 
the Fort Griflin trail and found our wagon tracks. We 
immediately turned towards the North, and followed the 
trail of our company, but we soon came to a recent camp, 
which plainly told us that the boys had stopped there for 
dinner The sun was now down and we knew not how 
far the company was ahead. We knew they traveled 
slowlv on account of the rough country, and we had some 

Rangers and Pioneers of Texas. 243 

hopes of overtaking them before the night was far 
advanced. There had been wagons passing through 
before, carrying supplies to theforts, but the trail was now 
almost obliterated and made it tedious for loaded wagons 
to travel. We crossed the creek, rode through the bot- 
tom, and reached the open glades before dark. About 
dusk we discovered four beautiful animals playing in an 
open glade to our right. They were about the size of 
half-grown dogs and thickly spotted. We at once opened 
fire on them and gave chase. Billy Sorrell killed one, 
and the balance made their escape. The trailer. Swift, 
behind when we commenced firing, dashed up at full 
speed, thinking we were fighting Indians. As soon as 
he saw what it was he reined up his horse, taking no 
interest in the sport, at the same time remarking, he 
believed us boys would shoot at anything. He w^as an old 
scout, and nothing less than a brush with Indians in the 
way of sport had any interest with him. It was aston- 
ishing to those who had no experience in woodcraft to 
see with what ease he could trail Indians, when there 
was hardly any perceptible sign. As a general thing, 
our boys were inexperienced in Indian warfare. We 
had one old California ^old digger with us, and on sev- 
eral occasions he found signs of gold and silver, but none 
of the precious metal. One of the places was near Fort 
Mason. As soon as Billy had secured his game 
to his saddle, we set out at a brisk trot. It was 
now d:irk and we had some difficulty in following the 
trail, and finally lost it altogether; but we knew our 
course lay towards the North, and we kept on for several 
hours in that direction, and had about concluded to camp 
for the night when, on ascending a small hill, discovered 
the camp fires of our men burning in the distance, and 
shortly afterward we were halted by our guard, who 

344 Rangers axd Pioneers of Texas. 

being satisfied that we were not Comanches, let us pass, 
and we were soon in the midst of the camp. The cap- 
tain came around and interviewed us, and said he had 
concluded to stop the company there the next day and 
send out another scout to took for us if we failed to come 
in during the night. 

The animal which Billy Sorrell killed, was pronounced 
by those who seemed to know, to be a Spanish cougar. 

The next morning we could plainly see Santa Anna's 
peak, although about twelve miles away. It stoo3 out 
in bold relief in the prairie and we passed near the base 
of it during the day. Some of the boys ascended this 
noted landmark and reported that it had once been a 
rendezvous and council ground for Indians, from the signs 
which they discovered on its crest, which was smooth 
and level, by the tramp of many feet. After crossing 
Jim Ned creek, we came to Camp Colorado. Here we 
found a company of rangers commanded by Captain 
Swisher. The captain was absent, but we found his 
lieutenant to be a gentlemanly fellow, who gave us such 
information as we wanted and furnished us some flour, 
which we much needed. He said there were plenty of 
Indians on the frontier, and predicted lively times for us 
when we arrived at our station, which would be in the 
Cross Timbers, near Red River. Some of Swisher's 
scouts, while out one day, came upon a solitary Indian, 
and immediately gave chase. The Indian made for the 
nearest brush, which was not far off. One of the 
rangers, who was splendidly mounted, dashed ahead of 
the other boys and ran directly between them and the 
Indian and thereby prevented them from firing, and he 
was making no attempt to kill the Indian himself. The 
savage, in the meantime, was nearing the brush. The 
ranger was bent on taking this one alive. He quickly, 

Rangers and Pioneers of Texas. 245 

and dexterously adjusted his rope, and making a quick 
run on the flying Indian threw the loop over his head, 
and, wheeling his horse, quickly jerked the hostile to the 
ground, his horse dashed on into the thicket, and was 
not followed. The Indian made no resistance, but 
regarded the rangers with a frightened look, as they gath- 
ered around him. The captive was carried to the fort, 
with the rope still around his neck. Swisher's men were 
active and did considerable hard scouting. On one 
occasion they struck a fresh trail of Indians, and b}^ hard 
riding came up with them about sundown. The Indians 
had stopped, and were playing some kind of a game on 
horse back, in an open prairie near a mountain, little 
thinking that a band of Texas rangers were on their track. 
The rangers charged and the Indians fled toward the 
mountains, leaving their horses, wdien they struck rough 
ground, and succeeded in getting into a cave before the 
rangers came up. They fired several shots in after them 
and then moved back, and camped, thinking they would 
get them in the morning, for by this time it was nearly 
dark. But the night being dark and stormy, the Indians 
made their escape. By daylight the rangers were again 
at the cave, but found the red men gone. When they 
fired into the cave, the evening before, they either killed 
or badly wounded some of them, from the amount of 
blood found inside. But if one was killed, the others 
carried him off, as they always do, if they have a chance. 
Fifteen miles out from Camp Colorado, we crossed 
Pecan Bayou. This is beautiful place ; the pecan trees 
stand very thick ; the soil looks as rich as it does in the 
Guadalupe valley, and will some day be thickly settled 
with thrifty farmers, if it is not already at this date, 
( 1SS3). It has been twelve years only since I was there, 
but immigration and settlements have made rapid strides 

246 Rangers and Pioneers of Texas. 

in the North and Northwest since that time. Twelve 
years ajijo, in 1S70 and 1S71, nearly all the country from 
Fort Mason to Red River was a howling wilderness. I 
will skip over the dry details of camp life and the dif- 
ferent camps we made until we get near Fort GrifHn. 
SuiVicc it U) say that the weather at times was fearfully 
cold ; for it was now in December, and sometimes wood 
was scarce. Indians prowled around us and the coyotes 
and the big lobos (w^olves) made the nights hideous, 
with their ceaseless bowlings. The ranger on guard, 
during these bitter cold nights, 300 or 400 yards from his 
companions, keeping the lonely vigils with such music 
around him, thinks of home, of father, mother, brothers 
and sisters ; the cheerful fire, and a warm bed, and he 
w'ill ask himself this question:. "Why did I forsake all 
these comforts, and start on this long winter campaign, 
to suffer all this and, perhaps, be finally scalped, and 
left on the prairie, the last object my eyes resting on 
being the painted face of a Comanche warrior. The love 
of adventure, characteristic of all Americans, and espe- 
cially Texans, is the cause. Just as we went into camp 
one evening, in a thick wood, we saw a body of mounted 
men through the timber, some distance off, and one of 
them was dressed in red. Knowing the peculiar taste of 
Indians for this color, we at once put him down for a big 
chief, and the balance for warriors, out on a raid. Our 
camp was alarmed in a second ; every man jumped for 
his carbine, and the cry of Indians ! Indians ! was heard 
through the camp. Officers gave command ; horses were 
closely corralled, and everything put in trim for a fight. 
In the meantime the other party had discovered us and 
halted. The red coat was moving about through the 
timber, and we imagined the " Big chief " giving com- 
mand to his braves. We presented a rather formadable 

Rangers and Pioneers of Texas. 247 

appearance ourselves — fifty-two men, well posted among 
trees, each with a Winchester carbine, a six-shooter, a 
bowie knife and a belt full of cartridges. The other 
party having satisfied themselves, advanced into open 
view, and we saw that they were white men. It proved 
to be a government hay contractor, named Ship. His con- 
tract having been completed, he was furnished with an 
escort to San Antonio, by the Colonel commanding the 
post at Fort Griffin. He wore a red -blanket coat. They 
had also taken us for Indians, until Ship scouted around 
a bit, and saw w^e were white. The soldiers had placed 
themselves in readiness for action. They were aiming 
for this place themselves to camp, on account of the con- 
venience of wood and water. The timber also afforded 
some protection from the cold wind, which was blowing 
from the North. It was also a stopping place at times 
for raiding bands of Indians ; for there was but little 
w^ater in this part of tlie country. 


again on the move very cold weather camp 

freezeout the sick trailer out of provisions 

suffering of the men indians about fort 

griffin tonkaway indians the chief, big nose 

Johnson — camping out in the sleet. 

We were distant now about sixty miles from Fort 
Griffin, and our supplies of flour, bacon and coffee were 
running short, and some of the men were out of tobacco. 
Our only chance to get supplies was Fort Griffin, and if 
the weather continued bad, we would make but slow 
progress. We traveled the next day, but the weather 
was so bitter cold we stopped before night, and went 
into camp. The weather had changed to a driving sleet 
from the North, and the ground was frozen hard, and 
we were in an unprotected situation, between some low 
hills, in a prairie country, and our only chance for wood 
was some scattering scrub mesquites, and they green at 
that. • But this was the best we could do ; for ahead of 
us the bleak, timberless prairie stretched for miles away 
towards Hubbard's creek. The boys went to work with 
a will, and soon cut and dragged into camp a good sup- 
ply of the dwarf niesquites, and made some tolerable 
good fires. \Vl had only two tents — one a very small 
one for the use of the captain, lieutenant and the doc- 
tor, the other one was for the sick, so that if a man got 
into that tent he must go on the sick list. We had 
plenty of blankets and good overcoats, and, when not 
on guard duty, faired tolerably well. As the sailor says, 

Rangers and Pioneers of Texas. 349 

it was my trick at the wheel to-night, or in other words, 
I had to stand guard three hours in the sleet, while it 
peppered down like shot all the time. Our trailer, 
Swift, was sick, but, as yet, had not been placed on the 
sick list, and it was his night to stand guard in the regu- 
lar turn. He was unequal to the task on such a night as 
this ; but, rather than be put on the sick list, he offered 
any man five dollars to go on duty in his place. Sev- 
eral of the boys offered to take his place for nothing, but 
the Captain hearing of it, immediately ordered him to 
be placed on the sick list and go into the tent. Dr. 
Gillespie examined him and pronounced it pneumonia. 
Swift suffered very much during the night, and his moan- 
ings w^ere piteous. I came on the second w^atch, and 
taking my gun, followed the sergeant of the guard to my 
post, on a bleak, cold hill-side, some distance from the 
camp. He bade me good night and hastened back. As 
I listened to his receding footsteps, over the frozen 
ground, I felt lonely indeed. It seemed as if all the 
coyotes and wolves that roamed these vast solitudes had 
collected, and taken their position on the hills around 
our camp, to serenade us with dismal howls and yelps. 
I could distinguish the different species, as they put in 
their notes from time to time. The keen, quick, yelp 
of the coyote, the smallest size, and the prolonged howl 
of the yellow wolf, with the coarse voice of the lobo, as 
bass, to this cold, midnight serenade. It was anything 
but pleasant, in a place like that. Several times they 
passed in close pistol shot of me, but it was against 
orders to shoot wolves while on dutv at night. Most of 
the boys w^ere asleep and the crack of a carbine would 
bring every man to his feet, and we wanted no false 
alarms on such a night as this. Minutes seemed almost 
like hours, as I kept the watch this fearful night. I had 


to keep continuously tramping with my feet, to keep 
from freezing. 1 thought it must be nearly day, and 
that the officer of the guard had gone to sleep, or 
forgotten me, but I was mistaken. The faithful fellow 
was at his post, and often looked at his watch when the 
time drew near to relieve a guard, for fear he would 
make him stand a few minutes over his time. At length 

1 saw dru"k objects approaching the spot where I stood. 
My gun was up in an instant: "Halt! Who comes 
there?" " Sergeant of the guard, third relief." "All 
right, sir ; you are welcome about this time of night. 
You are the man I have been looking for," and I stepped 
away, leaving one of my companions to shiver in my 
place. In a few moments, I was by the guard-fire, 
warming my almost frozen feet, and after getting 
thoroughly warm, hunted up my bed-fellow; pulled off 
my boots and got under four or five blankets and over- 
coats, on the south side of my companion, and soon fell 
asleep, but it did not seem to me that I had been asleep 
more than five minutes, but likely it had been an hour 
or more, when I was aroused by the report of a carbine, 
and the loud command of the lieutenant, to "Fall in, 
men, quick! Indians!" Blankets and overcoats were 
thrown about promiscuously ; guns were snatched up ; 
and about thirty-five men followed the officer in their 
sock feet, over the frozen ground, west of the Ciunp, 
towards post No. 2, where the shot was heard, but No. 

2 had only shot a wolf, and laughed at us, as we rushed 
up bootless and hatless, with presented carbines. Well, 
you may know whether we were mad or not. I think 
some of the boys felt like giving post No. 2 a Christmas 
salute. He was, however, put on double duty, and we 
went back to re-adjust our fcover, and try to get a few 
minutes of needed repose. It was well enough for us 

Rangers and Pioneers of Texas. 


to keep ever on the alert in this part of the country, for 
the Indians were numerous and daring. A few days 
before, they had been fighting the cow boys on Hub- 
bard's Creek, ahead of us. The next morning, it was 
still fearfully cold, and •Captain Baker concluded to 
remain where we were another night, as we could not 
better our condition by moving. Swift was worse, in 
spite of all the Doctor could do for him, and we spent 
another day and night in this uncomfortable place, on 
the bald prairie. By the second morning, wood had 
become scarce, provisions were running lov/, and we were 
put on half rations of bread. Tobacco was very scarce. 
Orderly Sergeant Billy Thorn, had one sack of smok- 
ing tobacco, which he freely divided with those that 
smoked. Our trailer was no better, "and fears were 
entertained that he would not recover. Alas, too soon 
to be verified ! But the weather was still so cold, that 
it was almost impossible to cross the prairie, and we 
concluded to remain another day and night, and then 
start, at all hazards, whether the weather moderated or 
not. Without wood ; our provisions nearly exhausted ; 
with no chance of getting any, unless we could eat 
coyotes, we were in a sad fix. Coyotes by the million. 
This is the place the wolf hunters, which we read about 
in " Texas Siftings," should have come. On the third 
morning, we made preparations for a start, when it was 
discovered that John Fitzgerald's mare was gone. She 
had gotten loose and had wandered off. Search was 
made, and she was found some distance from the camp, 
dead, with her ears cut off, which proved that the 
Indians were prowling near us, cold as it was, and not 
being strong enough to attack us, had done this in 
defiance and in the spirit of bravado. It was likely they 
were well mounted and did not need this one. Well, 

253 Rangers and Pioneers of. Texas. 

John had to mount the baggage wagon, and we started, 
making poor Swift as comfortable as possible, under the 
circumstances. We bid farewell to "Camp Freezeout," 
as we named this place, without casting one lingering 
look of regret behind. Wc suffered very much in cross- 
ing the prairie, for it was still very cold. That night we 
camped in a low^ flat, where we found some w^ood and 
plenty of water and grass. The w^eather had moderated 
somewhat, and wc would have fared very well, had w^e 
only been supplied with plenty of provisions. We had 
been on half rations for several days, and now we were 
out of bread entirely, and had killed no game for several 
days, and fat bacon was hard to eat w'ithout bread. 
Tobacco was a trouble, too, and those who had any, 
doled it out very sparingly. During the night Swift 
became delirious, and w^e took it turn about by the 
couch of our sick comrade, and spent a very uncomfort- 
able night. By this time we had begun to suffer with 
hunger, and being without tobacco, and seeing the sad 
condition of Swift, we did not feel disposed to be gay. 
Almost for the first time since. we started, the camp was 
silent, except the munching of the horses, the tramp of 
the camp sentinels, and the moaning of poor Swift. 
We made an early start next morning, intending to reach 
Fort Grifiin if possible that day, as there was no chance 
to get provisions short of that post. The game had left 
the prairies, and sought shelter on tlic hills, to avoid the 
cold wave, that, for several da} s, had been sweeping 
across those lonely prairies. We made a short halt at 
noon, without removing our saddles, and only remained 
long enough to make some coffee. We had nothing to 
eat. We then resumed our march, and at sundown, 
came in sight of the fort, which was about three miles 
off. A cheer went up from the boys at the welcome 

Rangers and Pioneers of Texas. 353 

sight. As there was some wood and water near at hand 
the company was ordered into camp, and a detail started 
to the fort with sacks, to bring out bread for the com- 
pany. The men by this time were suffering acute pangs 
of hunger, and it seemed a long time to wait. But they 
went to work, preparing the camp for the night, secur- 
ing our horses, placing guards, etc. After this was done, 
we gathered around the camp fires, and waited as 
patiently as we could the return of the boys from the 
fort. As I was on second relief that night, I was placed 
on guard just before the boys returned with the bread 
and had to stand about three hours before I would be 
relieved. I saw the boys return ; saw them hurrying to 
and fro around the fires, making coffee and eating. This 
increased my hunger, but I had more than two hours to 
stand yet, on the prairie, far out from camp, in the cold, 
cutting, north wind. But my mind was soon diverted 
from thoughts of feasting, to that of duty, as I heard 
footsteps hastily approaching the spot where I stood, at 
the same time, I could see the outlines of a man. I 
instantly brought my carbine to a level and commanded 
a " Halt ! Who comes there ? " '- Friend," and indeed 
it was. It was Billy Sorrell, and in his hand he carried 
a loaf of light bread. "Say, old pard, don't you begin 
to feel kinder lank," was his cheery greeting, as he came 
up. Amid the confusion of the feast, at the camp, he 
thought of his friend and messmate. Dear boy, how I 
loved him ! He was only sixteen years of age, with a 
face like a girl 's ; with rosy cheeks ; black, sparkling 
eyes, and raven locks. Only a few months after that, 
he was shot down by my side, in a wild fight, on the 
prairie, with Comanche and Kiowa Indians. For hours 
our little band fought against fearful odds around his 
body, and at night, when .the bloody fight was over, I 

254 Rangers and Pioneers of Texas. 

held him on his horse, for miles across the prairie, to a 
place of safety. After telling me he would have some 
hot coffee forme when I was relieved, Billy returned to 
camp and left me to enjoy my bread, the first that had 
passed mv lips for several days. Our sick 'comrade was 
unable to eat, and barely conscious of what was trans- 
piring around him. Early next morning, we were off 
for the fort, and was very anxious to get there, as the 
captain had informed us that we would go into camp on 
the river beyond, where there was plenty of wood, and 
and there we would wait a few days, for the weather to 
moderate, and rest ourselves and horses, for we had now 
traveled nearly 400 miles, in bad weather nearly the 
w^hole time. As we passed through the fort, near the 
parade ground, we saw a United States soldier chained 
to a post, exposed to the sleet and the cutting north 
wind. We learned that he was there under death sen- 
tence, for killing an officer. He was a fine looking 
young man, and held his head erect, walking with a 
proud step around the post to which he was chained. 
They say he was from Kentucky, and of good and 
wealthy family, and had moved in the highest circles. 
He enlisted in the army, while on a spree, and his com- 
mand was sent to Texas. We further learned that he 
was insulted by an officer, to whom he replied in hot 
words, and received a blow in the face with the flat part 
of a sabre, and in the heat of passion, drew his pistol 
and shot the ofHcer dead. We learned afterwards that 
he died chained to the post where we saw him. 

Fort GrifHn is situated on the Clear Fork of the 
Brazos, on a hill, overlooking the river and valley towards 
the North. It is a beautiful place, and commands a fine 
view of the surrounding country. At the time of which 
I write it consisted only of the soldiers' barracks, head- 

Rangers and Pioneers of Texas. 255 

quarters of the officers, a bakery, sutler's store, etc. 
There were about six hundred soldiers there at the time, 
commanded by Col. Wood. The Tonkaway tribe of 
Indians also had their village there. It was situated at 
the foot of the hill, between the fort and the river. They 
were employed by the United States Government to act 
as scouts and trailers, against the Comanches. For this 
the Comanches hated them, with all their revengeful, 
savage nature, and sought every opportunity to kill them. 
The Tonkaways were a weak tribe and not able to cope 
with them in the open field alone, but were more than a 
match for the Comanches in a fair fight, man to man. 
Through treachery, the Comanches came near exter- 
minating them years ago, near old Fort Cobb. The 
circumstance was this : The Comanches (which means 
snake in the grass), proposed to make a treaty with the 
Tonks, to live with them like brothers, and to kill buffalo 
in the same hunting grounds. For this purpose they 
were all to meet at Fort Cobb. The Tonks agreed to 
this very readily, as they were debarred from hunting in 
the best hunting grounds' on account of the hostility of 
the Comanches, and their superior numbers. Accord- 
ingly the whole tribe, about five hundred in number, 
packed up and set out for the place designated ; but as 
might have been expected, they were ambushed on a 
little creek, about nine miles from the fort, by a largely 
superior force of Comanches, and a desperate battle 
ensued, and in the end the Tonks were utterl}' defeated, 
leaving 400 of their number dead on the ground. Among 
the slain was their old chief, Placadore. The young 
chief, Casteel, succeeded in making his escape with the 
remainder, and was head chief of the tribe when we 
were there. "Big Nose Johnson " was the war chief 
of the tribe, and was a powerfully-made man, standing 

256 Rangers and Pioneers of Texas. 

nearly seven feet in his moccasins, with broad shoulders 
and deep chest. He was a terror to the Comanches, 
and a match for half a dozen common warriors. He 
wore a hunting shirt of buckskin, heavily fringed, w^ith 
broad belt around the waist. He would scalp his 
enemies slain in battle, and tuck the reeking trophies 
under his belt. On one occasion he went with the 
soldiers after the Comanches, and surprised them in 
their camp, and defeated them, although in considerable 
force, and outnumbering the soldiers and a few Tonks, 
which Johnson had with him. On this occasion he was 
fearful to behold ; running from place to place, shouting 
his war cry, and overcoming all opposition, killing and 
scalping his enemies, as he came to them ; sometimes 
tearing the scalp off before they were dead, and came 
out of the fight with seven scalps dangling at his belt. 
He was often wounded, and they said his broad breast 
bore many scars. 







When we arrived at the fort, the captain gave us per- 
mission to remain in the place some time, to look around 
and purchase such articles as we needed, and for some 
time the sutler had a lively trade in tobacco, and some 
in whiskey, although it cost four dollars per quart. A 
portion of the company soon moved across the river, 
with the wagons, and went into camp. 

We had an opportunity before we left, to interview 
Casteel, the Tonkaway chief. He was a low, heavy- 
set man, painted and dressed in the Indian garb, except 
that he wore a black hat, decorated with a plume. He 
could speak some English, and readily answered any 
questions which we asked him. He told us his name, 
and said he was fifty-seven years of age. When we asked 
him where the Comanches were, he pointed to the north- 
west. He wore a strap, fastened to the scalp-lock, which 
reached the ground, and was decorated with silver orna- 
ments, from the size of a five-cent piece to the size of 
a dollar. They were fastened to the strap about six 
inches apart, commencing with the largest and tapering 
down. When we asked him where he obtained the silver, 
he pointed to the northwest. Noticing Billy Sorrell, who 
was standing by him, with his carbine in his hand, he 

25S Rangers and Pioneers of Texas. 

patted him on the liead, and said : "Too leetle warrior ;" 
then, making- a flourish around Billy's head, as if using 
a scalping- knife, said: "Comanche scalp him." Billy 
laughed and said, " 1 reckon not." He little knew how 
near the words of the old chief would come of being 
realized. After telling us he hoped we would "kill 
heap Comanches," he drew his blanket around him and 
w^alked away. 

During the dav I was taken sick, with something like 
a chill, and in company with the captain and Dr. Gilles- 
pie, rode to the camp. I took two drinks of brandy 
from the captain's flask, but still felt a chilly sensation, 
which I could not shake off; and, during the night, the 
doctor said I had symptoms of pneumonia. I was not 
put on the sick list that night, but laid down in the open 
air, with Sergeant E. H. Cobb. During the night, it 
commenced sleeting very hard, and I suffered very much. 
Swift was raving all night, and it required several men 
to control him. By morning, my top blanket was frozen 
stiff, and I could hardly breathe, and had considerable 
fever. vSome of the boys informed the lieutenant of my 
condition, and he came down to where I was, with the 
frozen blanket pulled over my face, to ward off the driv- 
ins: sleet, which was still fallins^ fast. The lieutenant 
stooped down, and uncovering my face, looked at 
me a few moments, and I heard him remark: "My 
God, this is terrible!" and immediately gave orders for 
me to be removed to the tent. Room was made for me 
beside my sick comrade, and there I lay that day and 
next night almost unconscious. Dr. Gillespie was a 
good physician, but we could not have the comforts that 
we needed. As the weather had not moderated, the cap- 
tain concluded to send the sick back to Fort GrifHn, and 
continue the march to our post, which was still distant 

Rangers and Pioneers of Texas. 259 

about 150 miles. He was anxious to get there and go 
into permanent camp, until winter was over. Besides 
there was not much grass where we were, for our horses, 
and it was out of the question to get grain. I had a 
perfect horror of returning to Griffin, and going into the 
hospital, and asked some of the boys to induce the captain 
to let me go on with the company. Lee Lewis said I 
should go if I wanted to, or there would be a row in camp. 
The captain objected to it at first, as he thought it was 
for my good. Li a few moments the tent was full of men, 
telling the captain that they would take better care of me 
than anyone else, and that I should not suffer from cold, 
as they would give up their blankets to me, and arrange 
everything comfortable for me in the covered wagon. I 
felt very grateful to the boys for their zeal in my behalf, 
and waited anxiously for the captain's reply. I felt as if 
it would be the last of me if I went into the hospital 
among strangers, but the captain consented to this 
arrangement, and I felt greatly relieved. He said, how- 
ever, that Swift must go to Griffin, as he was then 
delirious, and in an almost dying condition. Poor fel- 
low ! he never knew when they carried him off ; that 
was the last time we ever saw him. He died in the hos- 
pital at Grifiin, and was buried by the soldiers, w^ith 
military honors, firing a salute over his grave. 

Everything being in readiness for a start, I was car- 
ried to the wagon, and well wrapped up. My horse 
was saddled and turned loose behind the wagon, 
which he followed ; with my carbine, belt and pistol 
hanging to the pommel of the saddle. Through 
the day it commenced snowing, and most of the boys 
dismounted and traveled on foot. At night, we camped 
in the timber, where the boys had good fires, and fared 
tolerably well. My fever had somewhat abated, but I 

26o Rangers and Pioneers of Texas. 

had no appetite to eat, and was very restless. The 
doctor continued to give me medicine. On the third 
day, after leaving Griffin, w^e camped in a thick wood ; 
the ground was covered with snow and frozen hard. It 
had now been nearly a week since I had taken sick, and 
eaten nothing, but still I had no appetite. As I lay in the 
wagon, listening to the roaring fires, which the boys had 
built near the wagons, I had a desire to get out and lie 
by them. It seemed that it would help me to lie with 
my feet to the fire. I called Ed. Cobb, and made known 
my wish. He asked the doctor's advice, and with his 
permission, I was taken out, and placed on a good, soft 
bed of blankets, with my feet to the fire, and in a few 
minutes felt better, and began to feel like eating some- 
thing. From that on, I recovered rapidly. The next 
morning, about two hours after we had resumed our 
march, as we were passing through a thick brushy 
country, a shot was fired to the left, in a dense thicket. 
We heard the whiz of the ball, which passed close to 
George Jackson's head. Search was instantly made for 
the hidden foe, but he could not be found. He either 
kept well hid, or else beat a hasty retreat. Men were 
deployed to the right and left, while we were passing 
through this country of dense undergrowth, to prevent 
an ambush. During the day, we passed over the ground 
where the stage from Fort Richardson had recently been 
captured, and overturned by the Indians, near Salt 
Creek. They ripped open the mail bags and scattered 
the letters and papers about over the prairie, and took 
the stage horses with them. The driver made his escape 
by leaping from the stage and running into the brush. 
When we passed the place, some of the newspapers 
were still blowing about on the prairie. Most of the 
letters had been picked up and carried to Fort Griffin. 

Rangers and Pioneers of Texas. 261 

Shortly after, the stage was again attacked near the same 
place. It contained no one but the driver, and was fol- 
lowed by a mounted sergeant, from Fort Griffin. But 
the soldier was equal to the occasion, telling the driver to 
whip the horses into a fast run and stay in the road. 
He followed behind, and kept up a running fight with 
the Indians, for several miles. He succeeded in killing 
one, and keeping the others off, until they gave up the 
chase and left, and the stage arrived safely at Fort 
Richardson, a little ahead of ti77ie. 

The country through here, was said to be the most 
dangerous on the route, and was about half way between 
the two forts. It was near this place, that a large gov- 
ernment train was captured and burned, after we passed 
through, and which I will give an account of in its regu- 
lar order. 

While we were crossing the Brazos, the sun shone out 
for the first time in about two or three weeks. It was 
greeted by a loud cheer from the boys. They had 
suffered much on this trip ; enduring cold, hunger and 
fatigue. Lying on the fozen ground at night, without 
shelter ;^ at times, on half rations, and at others, with 
nothing at all. Standing guard on the desolate, ice- 
covered prairie, with constant Indian alarms, at mid- 
night hours ; waiting on sick comrades, etc. All with- 
out a murmer; ever ready to rush to the front when 
danger threatened. This long, severe, cold spell had 
made several of our bo>s sick. Dave Smith had pneu- 
monia, and Thompson had his ears and heels frost bit. 
But our hopes of fair weather, was not of long duration. 
It was snowing again before we reached Jacksborough, 
(or Fort Richardson). Shortly after we crossed the 
river, we passed by old Fort Belknap. This place was 
a station for rangers and soldiers before the war, but was 

263 Rangers and Pioneers of Texas. 

not now occupied by troops of any kind. Shortly after 
we passed here, eighteen colored troops were sent to 
this post, under command of Brit Johnson, a negro 
sergeant, but theirs was a sad fate, the place was besieged 
by Indians in the dead of winter, and the entire com- 
mand killed, scalped and horribly mangled. There was 
none left to tell the tale, of how they fought, or how 
they died. The body of Johnson was found two hun- 
dred yards from the fort ; whether he was carried there, 
or was attempting to make his escape none could tell. 

On the 19th of December, we arrived at Jacksborough. 
It was very cold and snowing again. We made a short 
halt, and the captain gave orders for the company to 
move on to the timber, which was about three miles 
distant, and encamp for the night, were we could get 
wood, and have some protection from the blast, for the 
snow was coming in eddying whirls across the prairie. 
I was still weak, but could sit up and see what was going 
on. I think the boys got something stronger than water 
while in town, from the way they raced and yelled from 
there to the timber. I think, that evening, they would 
have fought the whole Comanche nation, with Big Tree 
and a hundred of his Kiowas'thrown in. That night we 
had good fires, plenty to eat, and some fisticuffs. 

Jacksborough is situated on Lost creek, in Jack county. 
It has a beautiful location, and is very healthy, except 
when the red man, like yellow jack in the East, pays 
them a visit. It was a military post at the time of which 
I write. The soldiers' quarters being on the east side 
of the creek, and was called Fort Richardson. Jack 
county has a bloody record, being constantly overrun 
by Indians, ever since the first settlements were made. 
About forty miles west of Jacksborough is Lost Valley. 
This place has been the scene of many deadly cncount- 

Rangers and Pioneers of Texas. 263 

ers, between the white and red man, and, in fact, this 
part of Jack county was seldom ever clear of Indians. 
Lost Valley is a wild, desolate looking place ; hid away 
among the mountains, rocks and brush ; and was the 
rendezvous of war parties, in their frequent raids through 
these sparsely settled counties. When pursued, they 
would often retreat to this place, and make a bold stand ; 
sometimes ambush and defeat their pursuers. On one 
occasion a large body of them, were hotly pursued, by a 
company of United States soldiers, and a small company 
of rangers. It seems, that the Indians, after entering the 
valley, were re-enforced, and Selecting a favorable place, 
awaited in ambush, the approach of the whites. On 
arriving at the place, the troops hastily entered the 
valley, without using as much caution as they should 
have done, and penetrated the ambush, before they were 
^ware ot the presence of the Indians, who then, showed 
themselves on every side, and with loud yells, com- 
menced pourifig in deadly volleys of bullets and arrows. 
The captain commanding the regulars, was a brave man, 
and cooly gave his orders, amid the dire confusion of 
yelling savages and falling men, he formed his troop in 
the open ground, in close line, and fired regular volleys 
into the bushes and rocks, where the Indians were mostly 
concealed. The ranger captain, seeing Indians rising 
up in the rear, and firing, knew that their command was 
surrounded, and made his way to the captain in com- 
mand of the regulars, and urged him to turn his men 
back and charge through the Indians in the rear, and get 
out of the valley, before it was too late, as the enemy 
were concentrating at that point, but the officer refused, 
in the same spirit that General Braddock replied to Wash- 
ington, at Monongahela, when the British troops were 
being cut to pieces by a concealed foe: "What!" 

264 Rangers and Pioneers of Texas. 

said he, " a beardless youth teach a British General?" 
But in the end, the brave, though misguided Braddock, 
was slain, and his army utterly routed. The youthful 
Washington covered the retreat with his Indian fighters, 
from Virginia ; and had the body of the British general 
buried in the road, and caused the army and the bag- 
gage wagons to pass over the grave, to prevent the 
Indians from finding and mutilating the body. And so 
it was in this case ; the United States officer refused to 
receive instructions from a ranger captain, who knew 
nothing about military tactics. The captain of the 
rangers then determined 1?o force his way back, if possi- 
ble, with his men. It was a fearful undertaking, for the 
Indians had collected in strong force, near the pass, but 
it was the last chance, and with an answering yell to the 
savages, they charged, firing rapidlv as they advanced. 
The Indians tried in vain to l)h)ck their way, but being 
well mounted, the rangers rode down every obstacle, 
giving and receiving death shots in their passage ; but 
finally, got clear, leaving twelve of their gallant com- 
rades dead on the ground. Of the troops they left behind 
them, none escaped. When the rangers carried the 
news to the fort, and re-enforcements were sent Inick, 
they found the most of them lying in the open glade, 
where they first formed ; the brave captain with them ; a 
victim to the mistaken idea of fighting Indians, in the 
brush, with military discipline enforced. 

Captain Baker and Lieutenant Hill remained in Jacks- 
borough until morning, and then came to camp, telling 
us we would remain where we were until next morning, 
as the weather was still very bad. We were well pleased, 
and went about making ourselves as comfortable as jdos- 
sible under the circumstances. 









On the morning, of the 3oth of December, we again 
commenced our inarch, having been one month on the 
road, but unfortunately for us, we were unable to pro- 
cure provisions at the fort, and had to depend mostly on 
game, which we found quite abundant, the balance of 
the way; for we had reached the "Cross Timbers," 
which abounds in game ; such as deer, turkey, and ante- 
lope. Arriving at Big Sandy Creek, near the old Gov- 
ernment saw mills, which had at one time been in oj^er- 
ation, but was now abandoned, we went into camp, 
intending to spend the balance of the winter there ; but 
ovn* provisions had become exhausted, and game scarce 
in our immediate neighborhood. Our Christmas dinner 
consisted of parched corn and salt ; and to add to our 
straightened circumstances, it commenced snowing again, 
and it was almost impossible to hunt. Our nearest point 
where provisions could be had, was some flour mills, 
below Decatur, in Wise county, and it required several 
days to reach them with wagons, and in going to that 
point, east of us, one would have to cross the prairie, 
and it was fearfully cold, and the s-nnuid covered with 

266 Rangers and Pioneers of Texas. 

snow ; but supplies must be had, and the captain called 
for volunteers, to make the trip with the wagons. Bud 
Seglar and Dave Smith came fonvard, and said they 
would go, and it was decided to make the start on the 
following morning. The lieutenant also said he would 
go, and take Harvey, the colored blacksmith along, to 
help. It was also a dangerous route, on account of 
Indians, as they generally came out this way, after raid- 
ing the settlers in the "Cross Timbers." Next morning 
we bid the boys farewell, and they were off through a 
blinding snow storm. We employed our time, while 
they were absent, in building a corral, for our horses to 
stay in at night. We had a hard time of it, and were 
often hungry, and having nothing to eat, we killed 
some wild ducks, and occasionally a deer or turkey. 
One evening, while Jim Schuler was out hunting, above 
our camp, near the creek, he stopped under a large tree, 
to listen for turkeys to fly up to roost, (for it was getting 
late), and heard a noise in the tree, over his head, and 
on looking up, discovered a large panther, with its eyes 
fastened on him, and in the act of springing down upon 
him. He instantly thre\v up his gun and fired. The 
ball striking the animal in the shoulder, brought him 
down ; but the ferocious beast, maddened by the pain, 
made a desperate effort to reach him, and it took a second 
shot from the carbine to lay him out. The next morn- 
ing, another one was killed, just opposite our camp, 
across the creek. One of our boys, John Fitzgerald, 
was an inveterate hunter ; the weather seldom ever get- 
ting too cold for him to try his luck in the woods, in 
search of game. He w^ould walk for hours, over frozen 
ground, through pathless woods, across mountains and 
deep canons, and would only come to camp, when 
fatigue, hunger, and exhaustion coinpelied him to. On 

Rangers and Pioneers of Texas. 367 

one occasion, when we had nothing to eat, and all the 
hunters had failed, John shouldered his gun and set out 
one moring, remarking, that he would have game before 
night, if there was any in the country. The ground was 
covered with snow, and it was very laborious traveling. 
Miles were traversed through the lonely, snow-covered 
forest ; and it was getting late in the afternoon before 
he sighted game, which proved to be a large buck, within 
close rifle shot. A quick report rang out, and John was 
soon standing over the fallen deer, almost exhausted 
with cold and fatigue. After a short rest, he set out for 
camp, where he arrived before night, in an almost help- 
less condition. Being unable to return, some of the 
boys, mounted on good horses, followed his track back 
through the snow, to where he had killed his game, 
which they secured and brought to camp after night. 
One deer did not last long in a company of fifty men, 
and, bad as the weather was, we were compelled to hunt 
the greater portion of our time, to secure something to 
eat, until the return of the wagons, sometimes with very 
good success and sometimes with none. But things took 
a sudden turn in our camp, when one evening the wagons 
came in, loaded with flour, meal, bacon, etc. The men 
had suffered very much on the trip, especially when 
returning across the prairies, being obliged to face the 
cold wind, which was blowing from the north. At one 
time. Lieutenant Hill was so near frozen, he could not 
speak. Things now put on a more cheerful aspect, and 
the men were anxious for winter to break so that they 
could commence scouting. While encamped here, some 
of our men came near losing their lives at the hands of 
their comrades, each party supposing the other, Indians. 
The circumstance was this : Two hunting parties had 
gone out on foot, neither party knowing which way the 

26S Rangers and Pioneers of Texas. 

others were hunting-. They sighted one another about 
twilight, in the thick woods, near Big Sandy creek, and, 
supposing each other to be Indians, every man on both 
sides sprang to cover, and the firing commenced. But 
fortunately, no one was hurt, and they soon recognized 
each other as friends, instead of enemies, by their voices ; 
but there were some narrow escapes. One ball struck 
a tree, behind which John Fitzgerald was standing. 
Dan Woodruff dropped down behind a log, just as a ball 
knocked dirt and leaves over it. Sergeant Payne, in 
making a quick movement, accidently stepped into a 
sink-hole, and sank down about seven feet, in the black- 
beny vines, and was making frantic efforts to extricate 
himself, while the firing was going on. Although, in a 
good position to stand fire, the gallant sergeant was more 
afraid of snakes than Indians, but was unable to get out 
until assisted by his comrades. After laughing over the 
adventure, the boys returned to camp, and found it in 
a state of alarm — the firing had been heard from the 
camp, although some distance away, and a scout was 
just ready to start when the boys arrived. 

As soon as the weather was favorable, we com- 
menced scouting, but at first, without any success, not 
finding an Indian track in the whole surrounding coun- 
try. ]3ut one night they interviewed our corral, and 
made an attempt to capture our horses. Jim Townsend 
was on guard that night, at the corral, and the wind 
blowing cold from the north, he sat down on the south 
side of the enclosure, and kept very still, with his face 
turned from the wind. The gate was fastened and every- 
thing quiet. I think Jim must have dozed a little. Any- 
w^ay, he said he was aroused by a movement among the 
horses; and, raising up to see what was the matter, dis- 
covered an Indian, inside the corral, attempting to drive 

Rangers and Pioneers of Texas. 369 

out the horses at the <?ate, which he had opened. The 
horses were very much frightened, and were running 
about the pen. The savage evidently thought there was 
no guard with the animals. The heart of the ranger 
beat quickly ; now was the time for him to kill an Indian ; 
and, slowly raising his carbine, covered the red skin, who 
was not more than ten paces off, and pulled the trigger, 
but his gun missed fire. The Indian heard the click of 
the hammer, as it went down, and knew what it meant; 
with a loud "ugh," and several quick bounds, he cleared 
the corral, and disappeared in the forest. His trail was 
followed some distance next morning, but was finally 
lost. We supposed there were more of them near by, 
to take charge of the horses, provided this daring war- 
rior succeeded in driving them out. Some of the boys 
in camp, heard the commotion at the corral, and the 
alarm was soon raised and the camp aroused. Jim said 
it was the first time his gun had ever missed fire. On 
an average you will not find more than one cartridge in 
a hundred that will fail. 

About the middle of January, the weather was clear, 
and considerably warmer. The most of the snow hav- 
ing melted away, we scoured the country far and near, 
in search of the hostiles. We learned, from settlers 
below, that the Indians were giving trouble north of us, 
near the line, on Red river, which separates Texas from 
the Indian Territory. For the information of those who 
are not aware of the fact, I will state here, that all that 
scope of country, lying between Texas and Kansas, 
and called the Indian Territory, is not the abode of the 
wild Indians, but it was set aside by the United States 
Government, for such of the Indian tribes as were 
friendly. Among them, are the Choctaws, Chickasaws, 
Cherokees, Caddoes, and others. These Indians are 

270 Rangers and Pioneers of Texas. 

considerably advanced in civilization, and some of them 
have line farms. The wild Indians, also, raid upon 
them, as well as upon the Texans, across the river. The 
Fort Sill reservation is in this Territory, and some por- 
tions of the wild tribes have been induced to come in ; 
but they are very treacherous, and give a great deal of 
trouble ; leaving nearly every light moon to invade 
Texas. / 

It was impossible for us to keep the Indians from com- 
ing into the settlements ; for they were constantly doing 
so, in spite of all we could do to prevent them. There 
was such a large scope of country for the rangers to pro- 
tect, that we could not w^atch all points at once. Capt. 
Cox, of the rangers, w^as on the Brazos, and Captain 
Sansom had come up after us, and was stationed at Fort 
Griffin. He w^as senior captain of the three companies, 
his own, and those of Cox and Baker. Cox had already 
engaged the Indians on the Brazos, killing eight of their 
number, and having three of his men wounded. These 
men were wounded by Indians after they were shot down ; 
the boys invariably running to one when he fell, and if 
not dead, the Indian would fight to the last. It was a 
running fight, the Indians firing as they ran. It was 
understood, between the rangers and settlers, that when- 
ever the Indians made a raid, a messenger was to be 
sent, post haste, to the ranger camp, with the news. One 
great drawback to the settlers, following and chastis- 
ing a marauding band, was their isolated condition. 
Sometimes the nearest neighbor being ten or twelve 
miles distant ; and as the Indians generally raided in 
bands, from ten to three hundred in number, it would 
take some time, and a great deal of rapid riding to col- 
lect men enough to make a successful fight, if the raid- 
ing band was large. And often, the brave and hardy 

Rangers and Pioneers of Texas. 371 

pioneers, would follow them, with an insufficient force, 
and suffer defeat, and sometimes massacre, then homes 
would become desolate along the border. 

While in camp, on Big Sandy, news was brought to 
us of a fearful massacre, of women and children, on a 
small creek, about thirty miles north of our camp, near 
the line of Montague and Wise counties. We lost no 
time in getting off, with eighteen men, well mounted 
and armed, to the scene of the slaughter; and by rapid 
riding, arrived at the place before night ; which was at 
Keenon's ranch ; but we soon discovered that it would be 
impossible for us to follow the trail, as it had been snow- 
ing since the Indians were there. As we rode up, we 
saw seven new-made graves, on the north side of the 
cabin, under some trees, the settlers from down the 
country, had buried the dead. There were only two 
ranches west of them ; Col. Bean's and O. T. Brown's. 
Bean was absent at the time. His ranch w^as about two 
miles from Keenon's. The Keenon house consisted of 
only one room, about twelve by fourteen feet, made out 
of logs. There was a small field south of the cabin, at 
the foot of the hill, near the creek. On the northwest 
side, about two hundred yards from the house, was a 
small lake of water, at the foot of some hills ; on the 
east, was a crib of corn. Keenon himself, was not at 
home, when the Indians made the attack on his ranch, 
and massacred the helpless inmates. We dismounted, 
entered the yard, and walked to the door and looked in. 
It was a horrible sight. The door was torn from its 
hinges, and lay in the yard, covered with blood ; blood 
on the door steps ; blood everywhere met our sight. 
The inside of the cabin was like a butcher pen. Quilts 
and pillows, were scattered about over the floor, stiff 
with clotted blood. The dress, which Mrs. Keenon 

273 Rangers and Pioneers of Texas. 

wore, was hanging across the girder, which extended 
from one wall to the other. It had been hung there by 
some of the party who buried the victims. The dead 
were as follows : Mrs. Keenon and two of her children, 
and the widow Paschal, who was living with the Keenon 
family, and her three children. We obtained the par- 
ticulars of the attack from one of the Keenon children ; 
a boy, about eight years old, who made his escape on 
that fearful night. He said it was about 10 o'clock at 
night ; the ground was covered with snow ; and it was 
very cold. The inmates had all gone to bed, except 
Mrs. Keenon, who was sitting up by the fire, smoking. 
On the north side of the cabin, was a small window, 
with a shutter, which fastened on the inside, with a 
wooden pin, entering a hole in one of the logs. The 
door was in the south side. Everything was still and 
quiet, on that cold, winter night. The children were 
all asleep, probably dreaming sweet dreams, which sel- 
dom visit the couch of any except innocent childhood, 
when suddenly, crash, came the end of a rail, through 
the frail shutter; bursting it wide open, and the hideous, 
painted face of an Indian looked in, and began to crawl 
through, into the cabin. One brave man, or resolute 
woman, armed with an axe or hatchet, could have held 
them at bay; but poor Mrs. Keenon was timid, and 
instantly sank on her knees, and began to pray and beg 
for her life. As fast as one Indian got through another 
followed, until nine hideous wretches stood inside. By 
this time, the balance of the inmates were aroused. The 
children began screaming, and the work of death com- 
menced. Pen cannot describe the scene ; the cold and 
lonely night, far out in the western wilds ; the painted 
faces of the Indians, lit up by the wood fire ; the frantic, 
and heart-rending cries, of the women and children ; the 

Rangers and Pioneers of Texas. 273 

sickeninof blows of the tomahawks, etc., make one 
shudder to think of it. Who can blame a Texas 
ranger for placing his six-shooter to the head of a 
wounded savage, and pulling the trigger, as they often 
do in battle, when they are the victors? 

It was during the confusion that the little boy made his 
escape, through the window, by which the Indians had 
entered. He received a severe cut in the hip, with a knife, 
as he went through, but succeeded in getting clear of 
the house, and was able to run off and hide himself until 
the Indians left. Crouched in some bushes near the corn 
crib, and bleeding profusely, he waited and listened, 
until all was still. The work was done ; the fiends had 
reveled in blood. This boy displayed a presence of 
mind that was truly astonishing, for one of his tender 
years, before he made his escape from the house. He 
noticed the number of Indians that entered, and when 
they came out to take their departure, counted them, to 
see if they ware all leaving. The Indians had left their 
horses at the lake, and came to the house on foot, and 
as the ground was covered with snow, he could plainly 
see each form, standing out in bold relief, against the 
white back ground. He then left his place of conceal- 
ment, and .watched them until they mounted their horses, 
and disappeared over the snow-clad hills, towards the 
west, and being satisfied that they would not return, 
came back to the house and entered. What a sight for 
a boy of his age to behold. His mother lay near the 
hearth, with three arrows in her breast, tomahawked, 
and scalped. Some of the children were killed in bed, 
others lay on the floor in pools of blood ; one of his sis- 
ters was crouched in a corner, with her throat cut. There 
was at least a quart of blood in that corner when we 
were there. The widow Paschal was lying on the door 

274 Rangers and Pioneers of Texas. 

shutter, in the yard. She had three broken arrows in 
her breast. She had broken them off in attempting to 
pull them out ; she was also scalped. The youngest 
child, about eighteen months old, was taken by the 
legs and its head dashed against the wall of the house, 
and then thrown out through the window, on the frozen 
ground, where they thought it would undoubtedly perish, 
if not already dead. But the boy brought his little sister 
back in the house, and laid her down before the fire and 
she recovered. While in the house, attending to his 
sister, he heard a noise in the yard, and on going to the 
door, saw Mrs. Paschal sitting up on the door shutter, 
upon which she had been lying. She looked horrible — 
covered with blood, and her scalp taken off. But the 
brave boy went to her, and she asked him for a drink of 
water, and there being none at the house, he got a gourd 
and went to the lake and brought the water. Mrs. 
Paschal drank it and then immediately expired. On 
looking around in the house, while we were there, I saw 
the old lady's pipe lying on the hearth, about half smoked 
out, where she dropped it, on that fatal night. We also 
saw a bent arrow spike in one of the logs, just above 
the bed. It had been shot at some of the children that 
were on the bed, and missed. The shaft had been 
removed. The next evening, after the massacre, a set- 
tler passed the house, and was hailed by the boy, who 
soon told his tale of woe. The man took a hasty view 
of the victims, and then galloped of to give the alarm. 
The next day, the dead were buried, and the news car- 
ried to the rangers' camp, and when we arrived the 
ranch was deserted, the children having been taken away 
and cared for, until their father arrived, who was off 
somewhere with a wagon, and had one of his children 
with him ; which circumstance saved its life, no doubt. 

Rangers and Pioneers of Texas. 275 

As we could accomplish nothing, the trail now being 
covered by a fresh fall of snow, after about an hour's 
stay, we mounted and set out for camp, vownig ven- 
geance, if we should ever meet the red man face to face. 
Some time after our first visit to the Keenon place, a 
small party of us returned after a load of corn. Keenon 
had returned, and was preparing to move away from the 
frontier. Our captain hearing of it, had purchased his 
corn crop, which amounted to about three hundred 
bushels. I was detailed on this trip as one of the guards, 
and saw the little girl, who was thrown out of the win- 
dow, and so nearly killed by the Indians. She was 
very lively, and when we asked her where the Indians 
hit her, would tuck down her head, so that we could see 
the back of it ; which still looked discolored and bruised. 
The boy looked pale and thin, his wound was not yet 






A short time after the Keenon massacree, the Indians 
made a raid northeast of us, about twenty miles distant, 
and succeeded in carrying off some horses, but without 
killing any one. A boy, twelve year.^ old, was sent with 
all speed to our camp, to notify us of the fact, so that 
we could cut across and intercept them. It is surprising, 
how these frontier boys of tender age, will undertake 
such perilous trips .alone, fraught with danger on every 
side, and with what judgment and coolness, they will 
accomplish them. This boy, arrived at our camp on a 
panting steed, and hurridly gave the captain the infor- 
mation, telling us, at the same time, about how far the 
Indians would pass north of our camp, and after resting 
his horse a short time, this gallant boy of the border, 
again set out to traverse the pathless woods, back to 
the settlements, it seemed, without one thought of fear 
or danger. 

In a few minutes, after receiving the news of the raid, 
sixteen of our boys were in the saddle, and ready to 
start. The plan was to gallop straight towards the 
north, until they intercepted the trail of the retreating 
Indians, and, following it as rapidly as possible, endeavor 
to come up withthem before night, and if not, camp on 

Rangers and Pioneers of Texas. 277 

the trail, and follow it as long as there was any chance 
to overtake them. Having to camp on an Indian trail, 
is a great drawback to a successful pursuit, as the 
Indians often travel all night, if they know they are pur- 
sued, in order to put as many miles between them and 
their pursuers, before daylight, as possible. Indians 
can travel at night, but rangers can not trail them, hence, 
the rapid movements of rangers and settlers, when after 
them ; the idea is to overtake them before the sun goes 
down, if possible. 

We had enlisted another trailer, in place of Swift, who 
died at Grifhn, his name was William Marlett. He 
was raised on the frontier ; was a splendid shot, good 
horseman, and an excellent trailer. Under his guidance 
the boys set out rapidly towards the north, through a 
sandy black jack and post oak country, and a trail could 
easily be seen when crossed, provided the Indians had 
passed, which the boys judged they would do, by the 
time they could arrive on a line with the course the Indians 
were traveling, and in this were correct, for about six 
miles out from camp, the trail was intercepted, coming 
from the east, and going west. The Indians had just 
passed, and were evidently traveling in a great hurry, 
thinking they were pursued. The rangers had no trouble 
in following the trail at a rapid gait. The snow had 
about all melted off and the sand was very wet. Some 
of the boys could hardly suppress a whoop, so anxious 
were they to sight the foe, and they had not long to 
wait, for the Indians were sighted before sundown. 
They had halted at a pond of water, and wxre watering 
the stock. There seemed to be about twenty Indians, 
and they had about eighteen head of horses, besides the 
ones they rode. The pond was in an opening, with 
dense thickets on the west, and open post oaks on the 

27S Rangers and Pioneers of Texas. 

east, north and south, so it was impossible for the 
rangers to advance on them without being discovered. 
They wanted to cut them off from the thickets, if possi - 
ble, but in attempting to make a flank movement, they 
were discovered. The Indians gave the alarm cry and 
began to scatter. The boys raised a yell and charged, 
but the distance was too great ; the Indians disappearing 
in the brush, before the boys came in range. They 
penetrated the thickets at different points, but without 
success. The red men had vanished, like a vision of 
the night, and nothing was left for the rangers to do but 
gather up the horses and return to camp, where they 
arrived without further incident. The next day, the 
horses were corraled, and a man sent to the settlements, 
to'notify the citizens of the capture, so that they could 
come and get their property, which they did in a short 

Captain Baker now deemed it necessary to divide the 
company, so that we could take a wider range in scout- 
ing, and more effectually protect the settlements, north 
of us, in Montague county, which was constantly over- 
run by Indians, from the Wichita mountains. Accord- 
ingly, eighteen men, under the command of Sergeant 
E. H. Cobb, was ordered to Bean's ranch, about twenty- 
five miles north of our camp on Big Sandy, and being 
furnished with one small wagon, to convey our blankets, 
provisions, etc., we set out about the middle of January. 
We had a very fatiguing and laborious trip ; the recent 
melting of the snow had left the ground very soft, and 
our wagon was constantly bogging down, in the low 
flats, which we were compelled to cross, but the boys 
put their shoulders to the wheel, and managed to keep 
moving, although it was slow and tedious work, and in 
fact, we had to abandon part of the road, and take a 

Rangers and Pioneers of Texas. 279 

straight course for Bean's ranch, thus avoiding the 
sloughs and marshes of the low bottoms, of a creek we 
had to cross, before reaching our destination. We 
were not familiar with the country, and supposed we 
could cross the creek most anywhere, but we found out 
our mistake when we came to it, for it was deep, with 
straight banks, and impossible to cross the wagon. 
Men were sent below and above, but could find no cross- 
ing near, and in order to get to the nearest crossing, 
would have to travel down the boggy flats, which to 
avoid, had brought us into this difficulty. There were 
but two points to be settled: either go through the bogs, 
miles out of the way, or build a bridge. It was only a 
short distance from where we reached the creek to the 
ranch. We finally decided to build a bridge and cross 
where we were. To compare great things to small ones, 
it reminded me of Napoleon, at Lodi, when some of 
the French commanders thought it advisable to fall 
back. Napolen straightening himself up In his saddle, 
and pointing with his sabre towards the Lodi bridge, 
which was strongly defended by the Austrians, said : 
''That it is the way to Rome, Milan and Italy;" and in 
this case, across this deep creek, was the way to Bean's 
ranch. We did not feel disposed to turn back, ..nd 
being provided with some tools, in case of an emergency, 
we set to work, to try and construct a bridge, of some 
description, that we xould cross a loaded wagon on. 
We first felled two large elm trees, and cut them off, 
about twenty feet long, which required hard labor; for 
the ground was boggy. We succeeded in getting them 
to the place, where we intended crossing, and shoved 
them into the water. Some of the boys then stripped, 
and carried the ends across, and placed them on the 
opposite bank. We then had the creek spanned, by two 

zSo Rangers and Pioneers of Texas. 

stout logs. * The width of the stream was not more than 
fifteen feet. The logs were placed about eight feet 
apart. We then cut poles nine feet long, and laid them 
cross w^ays on the logs. We then bored holes with a 
large auger, through each end of every pole, and cor- 
responding holes in the logs, and then pinned them 
down with strong, wooden pins. It took us till nearly 
night to complete the job, but we succeeded in getting 
everything across before .lark and then camped. We 
reached Bean's ranch early next day. Col. Bean was 
absent, but we moved into the enclosure and took pos- 
session. We found large cribs, full of good corn, and 
the sergeant issued out corn for our horses, carefully 
keeping account of every barrel that was used. Late 
one evening, after we had been there about a week, we 
saw a large, fine-looking man, mounted on a large horse, 
and carrying an immense, double-barrelled shot gun, 
open the gate, and ride up to our camp. He saluted 
us very pleasantly, as he came up, and said: -'You 
have taken possession have you." We told him it 
seemed so from the looks of things. He laughed and 
said: '' Rangers are you not?" We told him we were. 
" Well," said he, " My name is Bean ; this ranch belongs 
to me, l)ut that is all right; I am glad to find you here. 
We have needed some help in this country for a long 
time. Make yourselves perfectly at ease, and use any- 
thing on my ranch that you need." By this time, Ser- 
geant Cobb had walked up, and we told Colonel Bean, 
that there was our commander, Sergeant E. H. Cobb. 
H(; shook Cobb warmly l)y the hand, and told him, he 
was glad to make his acquaintance. The Sergeant then 
pulled out his account book, and showed the colonel the 
amount of corn we had used, up to that time, and the 
captain of our company was responsible for the amount, 

Rangers and Pioneers of Texas. 281 

whatever it was. Bean said he could get three dollars 
a bushel for his corn, at the forts, but he would let us 
have it for one dollar per bushel, and we could have as 
much of it as we wanted. 

Colonel Bean's farm was surrounded by small lakes 
and marshes, and the soil was very rich. He spent 
a part of his time in the east, and would come up to his 
ranch in planting time, and stay there until his corn 
crop was laid by ; then take a trip back, and come again 
at gathering time. He made splendid corn, which 
always commanded a good price. It was generally 
bought by the Government, to feed cavalry horses with. 
Colonel Bean had a great many adventurers with the 
Indians, and they soon learned to dread him. He sel- 
dom ever failed to kill some, when he came in contact 
with them. He would fearlessly charge, without count- 
ing numbers, and fire heavy loads of buckshot, from his 
enormous shot-gun, and seldom failed to put them to 
flight, with the loss of some of their number. I do not 
think Bean had any family at that time. He was a fine 
type of the frontiersman ; almost a giant in size, brave 
and generous. The colonel only stayed one night at his 
ranch, as he merely come up to see how things were 
getting along, and was glad, he said, to leave it in such 
good hands. He feared that if the Indians found out 
he was gone, they would come down and burn up his 

We did not remain long at Bean's station, as our ser- 
vices were needed further up the country, near the line 
of Texas and Indian Territory. Our horses were now 
in good condition, and we soon received orders from 
Captain Baker, to move up near Red river, and go into 
camp, in the lower edge of the Cross Timbers, and then 
scout between Bean's station and Red river. While 

2S3 Rangers and Pioneers of Texas. 

the balance of the company, on Big Sandy, would scout 
north to Bean's and then circle west towards Jacks- 

This year, (1871), w^as a year of Indian raids, mur- 
ders, plunder, etc., by the Kiowa and Comanche tribes 
of Indians. Regular troops, rangers, and citizens were 
almost constantly engaged, either in pursuing or fight- 
ing them. All along the border, from the Rio Grande 
(Big river) to Red river, a distance of 600 miles, the 
war whoop was heard, and the scalping knife reeked 
with the blood of the pioneers. The men of Kelso, 
Swisher, Cox, Sansom, and Baker and others were 
almost constantly in the saddle. They killed numbers 
of the Indians, besides recovering a large amount of 
stolen property — principally horses and mules, which 
they returned to the owners ; besides they opened the 
way for settlements, in the finest country in the United 
States. The Cross Timbers, in which we were now 
stationed, extended from Red River to the Brazos, a 
distance of more than a hundred miles. The timber is 
chiefly post oak, but having a mixture of various other 
kinds. The soil is rich, and tolerably well watered, and 
when we were there, abundant in game. This belt of 
timber, is about twenty miles wide, with beautiful prai- 
ries on the east, where roamed the buffalo, deer, and 
antelope. On the west, it is somewhat mountainous, 
but interspersed with beautiful valleys and prairies, until 
you reach the great plains, which stretch away towards 
Arizona and Santa Fe — the hunting ground and home 
of the Apaches, Navahoes, Arapahoes, and various other 
tri])es of hostile Indians, who depredate mostly on the 
settlers of New Mexic(^. 

Our camp was beautifully located, in the edge of the 
timber, overlooking the vast prairies on the east. Red 

Rangers and Pioneers of Texas. 283 

river was about twenty miles north of us. Fort Sill, in 
the Indian Territory, was about forty miles. Here, at 
this fort, was the reservation ; where all of the hostile 
Indians, who could be induced to come in, were under 
the eye of the military. They drew rations, blankets, 
ammunition, etc. Every effort was made to civilize them, 
but with only partial success. The Comanches and 
Kiowas that came in, were very hard to manage, and it 
was impossible to keep them all the time, inside the 
reservation. Small bands would slip out, keep up the 
river, through the Wichita mountains for some distance, 
and then cross over into Texas, and commence depre- 
dating ; running off stock, killing settlers, and carrying 
off women and children into captivity ; and if they were 
ever recovered, large ransoms had to be paid. 

It was on one of these forays, that a large band of 
Comanches carried of the children of Vance and Free- 
man, two settlers living in Wise county. I think it was 
in 1S68 : A number of men were hastily collected, who 
pursued them, led by the almost frantic fathers of the 
captives. The trail was easily followed, and they came 
up with them in the hills, near the Cross Timbers. The 
Indians outnumbered the whites, about four to one, and 
were well posted, and awaiting the white men, when 
the latter came upon them. The brave, and gallant 
Freeman, instantly ordered a charge, without counting 
the odds, which were against them, in point of numbers, 
and locality of battle ground. The men fought well, 
and sustained the unequal fight for some time. Vance 
and Freeman were furious, at the sight of their captured 
children, surrounded by scores of painted savages, and 
repeatedly charged among them, until both were almost 
exhausted, with wounds and loss of blood, and would 
have fallen a prey, to their rash, but commendable 

2S4 Rangers and Pioneers of Texas. 

bravery, if it had not been for their friends and neigh- 
bors, who stood by them, in this, their hour of greatest 
need. Numbers of the Indians were slain by the uner- 
ring rifles and revolvers of the settlers, but being over- 
powered, on every side, and some of their comrades 
killed and wounded, they began to give way, fighting as 
they went, and carrying their wounded men with them. 
The Indians did not pursue them far, and the white men 
halted, for a few minutes rest, and to give aid to their 
wounded companions, who were suffering very much, 
from deep arrow wounds. Vance had fainted and fallen 
from his horse. The Indians jelled triumphantly, at 
the defeat of the whites, and even brought the captives 
to view, on a hill, to tantalize them. Suddenly Free- 
man wheeled his horse, and galloped back towards the 
Indians, yelling and brandishing his revolver. William 
Marlett, being mounted on a good horse, followed, 
thinking he could overtake and fetch him back, before 
he ran into the Indians, but he could not ; and drawing 
his revolver, dashed on, determined to save the frantic 
man, or perish at his side. The Indians were closing 
around Freeman, when young Marlet dashed up, firing 
with deadly precision at the nearest ones, causing them 
to fall back, leaving three of their number dead on the 
ground. Marlett then drew his other pistol, and hold- 
ing it in his right hand, seized Freeman's bridle with 
the left, and started back, followed by the yelling 
Comanches. Freeman made no resistance, as he had 
received another wound and was in a fainting condition. 
The balance of the men were not idle, although dread- 
ing another close encounter, with the savages, they came 
back, firing at the Indians as they galloped up, and suc- 
ceed in keeping them off, until Freeman was carried 
away. The Indians did not follow, and they slowly 

Rangers and Pioneers of Texas. 285 

returned to the settlements, with heavy hearts. They 
had done all that men could do, but had failed. The 
captives and the dead bodies of some of their comrades, 
vsrere in the hands of the savages. How could they go 
home to expectant wives and mothers, with this sad tale 
of defeat, instead of bringing back the captive children, 
to almost agonized mothers ? • They returned with their 
wounded and almost dying husbands ; pierced with 
sharp arrows, pale and haggard, with hope gone. And 
the news had to be carried to some,- that their husbands 
or sons, had fallen by the side of Freeman, in the des- 
perate fight. 

Such is a true sketch, of the horrors of the Texas 
border, at the time of which I write. Vance and Free- 
man both recovered, after many days of anguish and 
suffering. Freeman spent twelve months, after his 
recovery, in searching for his children. He joined all 
expeditions to the Indian country, and sometimes pene- 
trated the wilds alone. Hanging on the trails and around 
the camps of the hostile savages, in the vain hope of 
seeing and rescuing his children, but all was of no avail, 
and finally gave it up, and returned home, never expect- 
ing to see his loved ones again on earth, but such was 
not to be the case. Some traders found them, high up 
on the Canadian river, and bought them from the Indians, 
and also the children of Vance, and returned them to 
their parents. The three children of Freeman cost him 

> William Marlett, the young man who displayed such 
courage, in the Vance and Freeman fight, was the 
trailer we enlisted in place of Swift. He was a hand- 
some young man, and the best shot in the company. 
Several of the parties, who participated in this desper- 
ate fight, still lived in Wise county, when we were on 

286 Rangers and Pioneers of Texas. 

that part of the frontier. As I kept no account of these 
things at the time, I cannot give dates and places as well 
as I would like to, and after a lapse of twelve years, 
have to trust to memory, and can only give the main 
incidents of pioneer battles, as they were told to me by 
settlers. In the next chapter, I will give an account of 
the killing of Red Cap, a Comanche chief, in a fight at 
Ball's ranch. 




hand encounter with the great chief death 

of bailey the false alarm in the settlement 

shira's ranch. 

In 1S71, there lived near the western boundary, of 
Wise county, a ranchman, named Ball; the incident 
which I will now relate, occurred about two years after 
he settled in that part of the country, which I believe 
was in 1S67. The Indians were very troublesome, and 
the old man being one of the outside settlers, was con- 
stantly harrassed by hostile bands. He was compelled 
to keep his horses locked up at night, and on one occa- 
sion, they killed two good horses through the cracks of 
the stable, out of spite, because they could not get at 
them ; but the old man was a true-grit frontiersman, and 
toughed it out. He had a beautiful place ; good land ; 
plenty of cattle and hogs, and made a good living. Mr. 
Ball was a kind and hospitable gentleman ; often had 
Baker's scouts rested and feasted beneath his roof. But 
the blow fell heavily one day, when a raiding band car- 
ried off one of his boys, a lad about twelve years old. 
The boy was only a short distance from the house, when 
he was surrounded and captured, before his father's 
eyes, and him powerless to render any assistance. He 
knew, from the waving red plume, in the chief's head 
dress, that it was the notorious "Red Cap," the terror 
of the Northwest. Mr. Ball had several neighbors, and 

2SS Rangers and Pioneers of Texas. 

after the Indians left, mounted his horse and gave the 
alarm. Clark, Bailey, Shira, and others responded to 
the call, and, mounting good horses, were soon on the 
trail of the now retreating Indians, who had taken a 
northwest course, in the direction of the Wichita moun- 
tains. There was not enough men, in those sparsely 
settled counties, to successfully fight Red Cap and his 
band. All that they could do was to follow them, and 
see that they had left the country, in order to quiet the 
fears of the people. For twelve long months nothing 
was heard of the captive boy, by his parents, and they 
had about given him up as lost, when one day, he sud- 
denly walked into his father's yard, greatly to the joy 
of the family. He was considerably sunburned, and his 
hair had grown long, so they hardly recognized him at 
first sight. He had a sad experience to relate, of hard- 
ships that had befallen him since his capture. He said 
the Indians traveled rapidly at first, expecting pursuit, 
but after crossing Red River, traveled slowly, and took a 
northwest course, over a rough, mountainous country, 
and across beautiful prairies, killing game by the way, 
in abundance, until they reached a large Indian village, 
at the head of the Canadian river, where they spent the 
winter. He belonged to the chief. Red Cap, who 
treated him kindly, but the other Indians abused him 
very much, especially when the chief was absent, which 
was often the case. He seemed restless, and longed to 
be on the warpath, either against the whites, or other 
Indians, hostile to his tribe. It was while he was oji one 
of these raids, that some white traders entered the Indian 
camp. They offered to buy the white boy, and the 
Indians readily consented; gladly exchanging him for 
such articles as suited their fancy, among the goods of 
the traders. When the chief returned, the traders and 

Rangers and Pioneers of Texas. 


the boy were far on their way towards the settlements. 
The chief was furious when he found out what they had 
done, and raved like a madman ; threatening vengeance 
on those who had sold the boy, and finally determined 
to make up an expedition to Texas, for the purpose of 
recapturing him. Early in the fall, he set out, with two 
hundred and eighty warriors ; and one evening about 
3 o'clock, arrived at Ball's ranch. So rapid and secret 
had been their movements, after they had crossed the 

(The Fight at I'.ull'y Kanch.) 

Texas line, they had not been discovered, until they 
arrived at the ranch. Bailey, the son-in-law of old man 
Bali, and the boy the Indians came in search of, were 
in the field, about three hundred yards from the house, 
on the east side, pulling corn ; when Red Cap made his 
appearance, at the head of his blood-thirsty band. They 
came in behind some hills, south of the house, and were 
not discovered, until they were ver}' close. A consider- 
able number of the Indians, headed by their chief, had 

290 Rangers and Pioneers of Texas. 

crossed the fence, and were advancing towards them, 
before being discovered by Bailey and the lad. Bailey 
was a brave man, and took in the situation at a glance. 
He saw tliat they were nearly cut off from the house, 
and told the boy to run, climb the fence, as quick as pos- 
sible, and make his escape, and he would fight the 
Indians. The lad had a mortal terror of again being 
captured by the Indians, and started off on a quick run, 
towards the house. Bailey drew his pistol, and followed 
him, firing at the nearest Indians, who were now close 
upon him. The Indians returned the fire, yelling furi- 
ously. The firing and yelling was the first intimation 
the inmates of the house had of whac was transpiring in 
the field. 

It happened that two of the neighbors, Clark and 
Shira, were at the house, conversing with Mr. Ball, 
when the first shot was fired ; they immediately ran out 
into the yard, and were almost struck dumb with amaze- 
ment, to see the whole valle}^ and field literally swarm- 
ing with Indians. They saw Bailey fighting in their 
midst, and the boy running towards the fence, pursued 
by the dreaded chief, Red Cap, who. they at once recog- 
nized by his plume ; and they saw too, that it was almost 
out of their power to render any assistance, against such 
fearful odds. But these three men were true and tried, 
and seizing their rifles advanced towards the Indians, 
coming as near as they dared, in the face of such a horde 
of yelling demons, and opened fire on them with effect. 
Bailey, after firing all his shots but one, retreated 
towards the fence, nearest the house; but saw the chief 
seize his little brother-in-law, while attempting to scale 
the fence, and drag him back towards the other Indians. 
Bailey was wounded, but would likely have made his 
escape, if he had kept on and left the boy to h'n, fate. 

Rangers and Pioneers of Texas. 391 

but he turned and charged the chief; aiming his pistol 
at Red Cap's head as he came up, who was then com- 
pelled to let go his captive and defend himself, against 
this fearless and dangerous foe. He quickly placed an 
arrow and drew it to the head, discharging it full in 
Bailey's breast, as he came up, only a few paces inter- 
vening between them. But at the same time, there was 
the flash of a pistol, and the chief fell dead in his tracks, 
shot through the brain. Bailey was determined that 
his last shot should find a victim, and at the same time 
rid the border of a terrible scourge. That shot, was 
indeed his last ; his empty weapon dropped from his 
relaxing hand ; he staggered forward a few steps and 
fell, near the body of the chief. The boy, finding him- 
self again free, once more, turned and fled ; closely pur- 
sued by the Indians, but succeeded in reaching the spot 
where his father and the other men were loading and 
firing upon his pursuers. The Indians closed around 
the body of Bailey, and took off his scalp ; while others 
removed the dead chief from the field. The party near 
the house continued to fire on them, w^hich they returned, 
but without effect. The wife of Bailey was standing 
in the yard, watching him. When she saw him fall, 
being a delicate woman, it was more than she could 
bear, and fell fainting, where she stood, and was carried 
into the house. The Indians took up their dead and 
hastily left, it is not known how many were killed. 
None but the chief was found ; they stopped and buried 
him, in the head of a ravine, about half a mile from 
Ball's ranch. His arms, ammunition, blanket, etc., 
were buried with him, and his horse turned loose at the 
grave. The Indians believed that he will have need of 
all these things, when he arrives at the happy hunting 
gi'ound. But after they left, the white men found him ; 

292 Rangers and Pioneers of Texas. 

dug him up, and divided out his accoutrements among 

One day, while stopping at Ball's ranch, I saw the 
blanket and pipe, of Red Cap. His blood was still upon 
the blanket; it being red, the blood spots were black. 
His pipe was of stone, and would weigh nearly two 
pounds. I also saw the spike, which was cut out of 
Bailey's breast ; it was about three inches long, keen and 
sharp. In attempting to extract an arrow, the spike 
generally pulls out. It is wrapped with fine sinew, 
and when it becomes- saturated with blood, relaxes, and 
the spike is easily drawn from the arrow. This is one 
reason why the arrow is so dangerous. 

Bailey was brought to the house, and temporarily laid 
on the floor, until a place could be prepared to lay out 
his body ; his wife still being unconscious, and when she 
revived, the first sight which greeted her, was the muti- 
lated body of her husband. She again swooned, and 
for a long time, life itself seemed extinct, but she finally 
recovered. It seems that this would be enough to drive 
the stoutest hearts from the Texas frontier, but these 
brave men still remained at their homes, determined to 
fight it out to the bitter end. In passing through this 
settlement, we sometimes stopped at the ranch of old 
man Shira, who lived two or three miles north of Mr. 
Ball. We always found him and his excellent wife, kind 
and hospitable ; never charging us a cent for a night's 
lodging, but always telling us to call again, when passing 
that way, and if this should ever meet his eye, he will 
remember the man he made the buckskin jacket for. It 
is seldom we rangers slept under a roof, and only then 
when some of us were on detached sei*vice, down in the 
settlements, buying horses. Some of our men were 
constantly losing horses, either dying or getting killed. 

Rangers and Pioneers of Texas. 293 

We sometimes had to go a considerable distance into the 
settlements, before we could find good horses for sale. 
To give a correct idea of the rapid movements, of the 
settlers of this remote frontier, in case of an Indian alarm, 
I w^ill relate an incident, which occurred in the Ball set- 
tlement, while on that part of the frontier. George 
McPhail and I, were returning to camp, from a trip 
below ; where we had been to see about buying a few 
saddle horses, and intended staying over night in the 
Ball settlement, as it would take us all of the next day to 
reach camp, and preferred spending a night with the 
ranchmen to sleeping out. We took a straight course 
for the settlement, as there were but few roads in that 
country ; and towards night, after having ridden hard all 
day, began to think it was time to sight a ranch, if we 
were on the right course, and for this purpose, left our 
horses, and ascended a hill, in order to take a sun^ey of 
the country ; and we were right, in our conjectures, for 
there was a ranch, straight ahead, not more than half a 
mile off. After waiting a few minutes, we went back, 
and mounting, soon came to a field fence, and went 
round it towards the house. I forget this man's name; 
but think it was Davis. Anyway, as we rode up, the man 
of the house was in the yard, near the fence, with his 
gun, watching us very closely. McPhail and myself 
were both sunburned ; wore long, black hair, and might 
easily be taken for Indians, at a distance, especially on 
the frontier, where every man is on the lookout. The 
settler soon became satisfied, and came out from the 
fence towards us, and in answer to our salutation of 
"Good evening, sir;" said: "How are you. Was 
that you fellows on the hill yonder, a few minutes ago?" 
We told him it was, and asked what of it. " Why, the 
great geminy," said he, " the whole country is alarmed 

294 Rangers and Pioneers of Texas. 

by this time, or will be shortly. I spied you, as soon as 
you topped the hill, yonder, and thout^ht certain it was 
Indians, spying out the ranch, and started my boy, like 
thunder and blazes, on a good horse, to give the alarm. 
Some will begin to drop in directly, to learn the particu- 
lars ; but get down and come in, and rest yourselves, and 
stay all night. I see from your looks and shooting-irons 
that you are rangers, and they are always welcome." 
We thanked him, and said we would get some water; 
but if it was not too far, we would go on to old man 
Shira's. When we entered the house, we saw a double 
barreled shotgun, six-shooter, and loose buckshot and 
caps lying on the bed, ready for instant use. Noticing 
my observations, he said: "See, boys, I was fixed for 
'em. I calculated, if it was Indians, and they attacked the 
ranch, to open the ball with the old rifle, and then dodge 
in and give them buckshot, thick and fast." His wife 
and children, were in the back room, but came out when 
we entered. The small children looking a little wild at 
us, with a tendency to hide behind their mother. We 
drank some water, and about that time heard a " hello," 
at the fence. We went out, and saw a man on a pant- 
ing horse, with a long rifle before him. It was Clark; 
he had met the young courier on the road^and hastened 
up. The mistake was soon explained to him, and he 
turned and galloped off, to notify others that it was a 
false alarm. Bidding the settler good bye, we mounted, 
and rode on to Shira's. About dark, a man passed us 
to the left ; tearing at a fearful rate through the woods ; 
going in the direction of Ball's ranch. The alarm was 
not yet checked. When we arrived at Shira's we greatly 
relieved him ; for he too, had been notified, that Indians 
were in the settlement. We expressed our regrets that 
we had caused the country to be alarmed ; but he said 

Rangers and Pioneers of Texas. 295. 

that was nothing, that they were used to it, and were 
only too glad that it was not so, but this would help to 
keep them in practice. We had a good supper and a 
good night's rest, after our long ride, and the next day 
made it to camp. On arrival, we learned of an Indian 
raid near Victoria Peak, and the boys were preparing 
to make a scout in that direction. 






Winter had now broke, and we could scout to bet- 
ter advantage. The Indians were very active, and gave 
considerable trouble all along the frontier. They gen- 
erally did their mischief, during the light moons, so they 
could see how to travel at night, to a greater advantage. 
During the dark moons, were the only times the settlers 
could consider themselves and stock safe ; when that was 
passed, horses were kept close, and every man was on 
the alert, until the return of dark nights again. After 
one of their raids, if the Indians succeeded in putting 
one night's travel between them and the settlers, who 
were pursuing, they generally got off safe, with their 
booty ; unless some daring spirit, like John H. Moore, 
raised a sufficient force to follow them to their homes, 
in the mountains ; then the west was lit up by the burn- 
ing wigwams of the Comanches. 

While here, at this camp, in the edge of the Cross 
Timbers, Sergeant Cobb, returning from Red River 
Station, was chased by Indians, at Lookout mountain. 
It was nearly sunset, when he encountered them, and as 
they were between him and camp, the gallant sergeant 
was compelled to turn, and run the other way. The 
Indians were left l^ehind in the race, and soon gave it 

Rangers and Pioneers of Texas. 297 

up. The sergeant then made a detour, so as not to 
come in contact with them again, and arrived in camp 
about midnight. He gave orders for sixteen men to be 
in readiness an hour before daylight, on the following 
morning to go in pursuit. The men were all aroused, 
and the names called off, of those who were to go. At 
the appointed time, next morning, sixteen well mounted 
men were on their way to Lookout mountain ; where 
we arrived about an hour after sunrise, by rapid riding, 
and soon struck the trail, where they pursued Sergeant 
Cobb, and followed it easily, until we came to where 
they gave up the chase, but from that point, we could 
never strike it again. Our regular trailer, Marlett, was 
with the other portion of the company, on Big Sandy, 
which was about thirty or forty miles south of us. We 
had a citizen with us, from Montague, who was familiar 
with Indian ruses and strategems, and said the Indians 
had covered their trail, knowing that they would be fol- 
lowed, after they failed to get the white man. They 
did this, by incasing their horses feet in pieces of buffalo 
skin, with the woolly side out, which left no impression 
on the ground, that could be followed. We therefore 
gave up the chase, and returned to camp. We kept out 
scouts, but the savages were very cunning, and avoided 
a collision with the rangers. They had located our 
camp and generally gave it wide birth, when going down 
the country on raids. Of course they feared the settlers 
as much as they did the rangers, but they knew that it 
would take some time for the farmers to collect force 
enough to cope with them ; while the rangers were 
ready at a moment's notice, to mount and be off. Another 
advantage which we had was our improved fire arms, 
while the citizen still had to use the muzzle loaders. 
Our boys while in camp, passed off the time in reading. 

29S Rangers and Pioneers of Texas. 

writing, carbine practice, trading horses, etc. One of 
our men accidentally killed his horse with a carbine. 
One day, while Henry Lewis and George McPhail were 
running and firing, at a large turkey gobbler, in a small 
prairie, Lewis shot McPhail's horse through the head. 
McPhail ran in ahead of Lewis, just as he was in the 
act of shooting ; the ball struck low enough to miss the 
brain and the horse recovered. 

It was now February, and as the saying is, our men 
were almost spoiling for a fight. It seemed as if we 
could not bring the Indians to a stand, and the boys were 
afraid the campaign would end, before they could have 
a chance to match their prowess with that of the red man, 
but such was not to be the case, for a portion of this 
camp, at least. On the 6th of February, a band of 
Kiowas and Comanches, crossed Panther creek, below 
our camp, and at daylight, on the 7th, attacked Riddle's 
ranch, on Clear creek, ten miles from our camp. Rid- 
dle forted up, and kept them at bay, but they carried off 
some of his saddle horses, and shot one with an arrow, 
it being hard to manage. Riddle watched them, until 
they crossed the creek, and disappeared on the other 
side. He then came out and gave the alarm to his 
nearest neighbors. George Henson immediately mount- 
ing a fine, black race horse, set out for the ranger camp. 
We saw him on the prairie some time before he arrived, 
and knew from his speed that he brought important 
news. As soon as he dashed up, he hallooed out: 
" Indians, boys, Indians!" then there was mounting in 
hot haste. Sergeant Cobb gave quick orders, for those 
who had the best horses to saddle up. The balance 
would be left for camp guard. Two of our men, who 
had good horses, John Garner and Frank Sorrell, 
were out turkey hunting. All of them were very 

Rangers and Pioneers of Texas. 


anxious to go. John Fitzgerald, not being well mounted, 
offered five dollars to any one, who would let him have 
their place, but could not get his offer taken. G. W. 
H. Breaker, having to remain in camp, loaned Citizen 
Henson his Winchester. In a short time, eleven of the 
rangers were in the saddle, ready to start, I being one 
of the number. Henson, on his fiery, black steed, rode 
by the sergeant, in the lead, to guide us by the nearest 
route to the ranch. As we went at a brisk gallop, Hen- 
son gave the particulars of the attack. Riddle thought 
there was about twenty Indians, and some of them not 
mounted, the last he saw of them. We then had strong 
hopes of overtaking them, before night, if they remained 
together, and provided the Indians who were afoot did 
not succeed m getting mounted, and this was not likely, 
before we could overtake them ; it being twenty-five or 
thirty miles to the settlement on Hickory creek, the 
direction the Indians seemed to be sfoino:, when last seen 
by Riddle, and no loose horses could be found on the 
prairie, along the route they had taken. In a short time 
we arrived at the ranch, and struck the trail. The horse, 
shot by the Indians, was still bleeding ; the arrow had 
been extracted, having stuck between the ribs. The 
Indians crossed the creek below the ranch, and ascended 
a steep bluff on the south side ; the water still being 
muddy, where they crossed. We were joined here by 
John Harvell, another settler; this increased o ur num- 
ber to thirteen. The trail led through some thickets, 
until we got clear of the creek, and then a beautiful 
rolling prairie, stretched off for miles, towards the south, 
the direction the trail was leading, it being easily fol- 
lowed, a shower of rain, that morning, wet the tall grass, 
causing it to remain in a leaning position, when struck 
down by the hoofs of the horses, we could see which 

300 Rangers and Pioneers of Texas. 

way the trail led two hundred yards ahead, and for some 
time we followed it at a gallop. 

Every thing was in our favor, so far, and occasionally 
seeing a moccasin track, told us the foot Indians were 
still with them. We now had every hope of overtaking 
them ; and traveling over a rolling country, kept us in 
constant expectation of sighting them, when we reached 
the crest of the next swell, just ahead. But mile after 
mile was put behind us, and still no Indians were visible. 

(Kaiif^ers I'lirsuiu^Lr the Imliiins.) 

Thus far we had traveled so rapidly, some of our horses 
began to show signs of fatigue, and we had to slacken 
our speed, but Kelly's horse, finally broke down, and 
he was compelled to stop and take the back track. We 
had galloped our horses almost incessantly for twenty 
miles. The sergeant told Kelly to take his time for it, 
on his return, and if any Indians run on to him, to do 
the best he could, but he thouoht there was no dang-er 
back that way, and now being reduced to twelve men, 

Rangers and Pioneers of Texas. 301 

we again continued the pursuit. We regreted to part 
with our comrade, for he was a brave boy, and we had 
none to spare. The absence of one Winchester, and 
forty rounds of ammunition we knew would be missed 
in a close fight. 

Shortly after Kelly left us, we came upon the carcass 
of a stray yearling, which the Indians had killed and 
partly eaten. This was also in our favor, for they must 
have delayed some time at this. It was near a small 
branch that ran through the prairie, and the moccasin 
tracks were thick in the mud, where they had been get- 
ting water. After leaving this place, the Indians resorted 
to one of their old dodges, to evade and delay pursuit; 
that is, by scattering ; and here for sometime, we were 
sorely perplexed and bothered. It was now passed noon 
and time was precious to us. They would scatter off 
across the prairie, for some distance, and then all get 
together again, and then, again scatter ; but as they were 
traveling nearly a south course, we kept men ahead on 
the best horses, when the trail was scattered, to find it 
again, where they came together, and they w ould notify 
us of the fact by signals. We would then gallop up 
to them ; thus saving considerable time. We passed one 
horse the Indians had left, he seemed completely worn 
out, and stood panting on the trail, never moving out of 
his tracks, as we galloped passed him. It is likely they 
had rode him the night before, or else he had been car- 
rying a double burden. The Indians thinking they had 
now baffled pursuit quit scattering, and traveled together 
in a body, and we followed with renewed energy, although 
some of our horses were failing. The sergeant's horse 
and the black race horse, still kept the lead, and seemed 
fresh. After a while, we came to where the grass had 
been burned off recently, and near a lone hackberry 

302 Rangers and Pioneers of Texas. 

tree, discovered something, which made the boys scan 
the prairie a little uneasily. This was another Indian 
trail, leading in from the west, and much larger than the 
one we had been following. Here they had consolidated, 
and led off together from this place ; evidently number- 
ing between forty and fifty ; and only tw^elve of us, and 
most of our horses badly jaded. We were now^ nearly 
thirty miles from our camp. Sergeant Cobb carefully 
examined the trail, and pronounced them four to one of 
us. We then dismounted, to let our horses blow a little, 
and held a short council. The sergeant said he would 
leave it to the men whether we continued the pursuit or 
not. He was willing to go on himself, if the men were, 
but would not influence any one to go against his will. 
He was satisfied, he said, that the Indians were not far 
ahead, and that we could easily overtake them before 
night ; but if we were going to turn back, this was the 
place to do it ; for if we once came on the Indians, we 
would have to fight. For they seeing our small number, 
would pursue us, whether we wanted to fight the7n or 
not ; and, in the present condition of our horses, would 
undoubtedly overtake us ; and if we fought them at all, 
it must be to win ; if some turned back, all must turn 
back. He would leave that for the men to decide. 
After the talk of the sergeant, the men soon settled the 
question. They all agreed that it would never do to 
go back to camp, without seeing the Indians, after get- 
ting this near to them ; that they would take their chances, 
let come what might, and continue their pursuit. The 
sergeant smiled, with a merry twinkle in his blue eyes, 
and vaulting into the saddle, put spurs to his horse, and 
dashed off on the trail, followed by the balance of the 
boys. It was now about three o'clock in the evening, 
and in the next hour, we traveled six miles. The trail 

Rangers and Pioneers of Texas. 303 

was plain, as the Indians stayed together, and double 
its former size. Some of our horses were failing fast, 
and the boys became considerably scattered ; the best 
Horses being in the lead. The sergeant and the two 
citizens, Hai-\'ell and Henson, were about a quarter of a 
mile ahead ; they being mounted on the best horses. 
George Howell and myself brought up the extreme rear. 
Howell's horse was somewhat windbroken, and blowed 
fearfully. I was riding a large, good looking horse, but 
he was failing fast, and was thinking my part of the 
chase would soon have to terminate, when I saw Ser- 
geant Cobb, and those with him, suddenly rein up their 
horses, on the crest of the ridge ahead of us, and after 
looking a few moments, turned and waved his hand 
towards us. Said I, George, there they are ; we are in 
for it now. We urged our horses into a weary gallop. 
One by one, the hoys stopped, around our commander, 
as they rode up and looked towards the southeast. The 
sergeant looked at me and smiled, as I came up, stretch- 
ing my neck to see ; and said: " Here they are Jack, 
novsrwe will have it." When I first came up, I thought 
the sergeant was going to give up the chase, and was 
fooling the boys, as I could see nothing; but I was look- 
ing beyond them. The Indians were in the low ground, 
between the two swells of prairie, and about six hundred 
yards off. They had discovered us, and were moving 
about, and all looking towards us. We could distinctly 
hear their yelling at that distance, on the prairie. It 
seemed that about half of them were afoot, and as near 
as we could count at that distance, numbered forty-one. 
Our squad looked rather slim, in comparison. Our 
men looked serious, but you could still see fight in their 
eyes. We noticed one Indian leave the balance, and 
gallop to elevated ground, so that he could see beyond 

304 Rangers and Pioneers of Texas. 

us, to ascertain whether that was all our force, and being 
convinced of this fact, returned, and I suppose commu- 
nicated the same to the balance of the band ; for they 
instantly set up a terrible yelling, and some advanced 
towards us, shaking their shields. They were a pictur- 
esque looking set, with long, black hair, gaudy trappings, 
feathers, etc. Sergeant Cobb gave the boys a short 
talk ; telling them if there was any one present, that felt 
as if he could not face the music, to turn and ride back, 
as he would force no man into a fight against his will. 
But as none responded to this invitation, we began to 
prepare for action. 









The boys all dismounted, and tightened the girths of 
their saddles, examined pistols, etc. The sergeant then 
issued some extra cartridges, which he had brought in his 
saddle pockets, in case of emergency, and it is well that 
he did, for we needed them that day, before the sun 
went down. Sergeant Cobb said, rather than risk the 
lives of his men against such odds, that if he thought he 
could get any re-enforcements of citizens, that he would 
hold the Indians in check, or follow them, until a suffi- 
cient force could collect, to warrant a close fight, and 
asked Harvell how far it was to the nearest settlement. 
He said there were settlers on Clear creek, the timbers 
of which could be seen in the distance. He pointed out 
the Keep ranch, two miles off on the prairie, nearly east 
of us. A stock man, named Keep, built this house for 
his hands to live in, that attended his stock, but it was 
now occupied by Doctor Jay, and his family, lately from 
Illinois, and he thought we might get three men there. 
It was then agreed that Harvell should go and alarm the 
settlers ; and we would fight the Indians, or hold them 
in check, the best we could, until help arrived. There 

3o6 Rangers and Pioneers of Texas. 

were two things greatly against us : the jaded con- 
dition of our horses, and the declining sun. We were 
neither in a condition to pursue or retreat. We told 
Harvell that if the Indians pursued him, we would charge 
them. He started off at full speed towards the Keep 
ranch, and had to run a little nearer the Indians than we 
then were. They watched him closely, but did not 
offer to pursue him. At the same time, we moved nearer 
the Indians, some of the boys shouting at them. The 
sergeant gave orders not to fire at long range, as it 
would only be useless waste of cartridges, and we needed 
all we had. Harvell was soon a mere speck on the 
prairie, and the sun was only about two hours and a 
half high, and we had but little hopes of getting help 
before night. The country was so sparsely settled, it 
would take some time, to go from place to place. While 
we were watching them, and revolving these things in 
our minds, the chief galloped out from the band, and 
came straight towards us, without checking up, till not 
more than three hundred yards intervened, between us. 
He then suddenly checked his horse, and turning him 
half around, sat, and looked at us for a few moments. 
He then commenced running his horse around in a cir- 
cle, flourishing his shield, and yelling; but as soon as a 
carbine was raised, dropped almost out of sight, on the 
opposite side of his horse, and galloped back. He was a 
large Indian, and had a Mexican serape thrown over his 
shoulders. His leggins were of yellow buckskin, heavily 
fringed. We saw something glitter on his breast, 
like gold or silver. He also had an eagle plume in his 
cap. This chief was named Sittanke, a prominent man 
among the Kiowas, and nephew of the notorious Sittanke, 
one of the war chiefs of the nation. After the return of 
the chief, the Indians cut many capers, especially those 

Rangers and Pioneers of Texas. 307 

that were mounted : coming towards us at times, in full 
gallop, as if they were going to charge us; and several 
times we put ourselves in position to receive them ; but 
just before they got in range, would wheel off through 
the prairie, rattling their shields and yelling. Finding 
they were not going to charge, we changed our position, 
sTnd moved to the left. This brought us near to them. 
We were close enough now to have a good view of them, 
and discovered that there were tw^o bands, each com- 
manded by its own chief. We afterwards learned that 
it was young Oska Horseback, who led the Comanches. 
He made several dashes towards us, and was the best 
rider I ever saw. He was a slim, trim-made Indian, 
about twenty-two years old. He 'was mounted on a 
beautiful blood-bay horse, with black mane and tail, and 
star in the face. This chief rode no saddle, but had a red 
blanket strapped around his horse. He could dismount 
and mount again, with his horse in a gallop ; displaying 
an agility that was surprising. He could drop down on 
the opposite side of his horse, as quick as a flash, and 
expose nothing but his hand and foot, his horse going at 
full speed. He wore red leggins, and fine beaded moc- 
casins. He also wore a beautiful beaded ornament on 
his breast, which entirely covered it. He had his scalp- 
lock platted, and a prairie chicken's head tied to the end 
of it, w^hich hung down to the middle of his back. The 
chicken's head was painted a deep red. 

Hickory creek headed in this prairie, near where we 
were, but resembled a ditch or washed-out road, more 
than a creek. Sergeant Cobb told the boys if we could 
take a position on this creek, it would be a protection for 
us and our horses. The Indians had formed in range of 
it, and we could there sustain a regular siege, until 
re-enforcements could arrive. Although the men were 

3oS Rangers and Pioneers of Texas. 

willing to fight, our leader hesitated to charge close upon 
the Indians, knowing there was enough of them to imme- 
diately surround and crush our small band in a few 
minutes. The time was, when these odds would not 
have seemed so great ; when Indians fought almost 
exclusively with bow and lance. But these were a 
picked band of warriors, well armed ; most of them 
having revolvers and short carbines, besides the bow 
and lance. Taking all these things into consideration, 
we moved further to the left, and bore in towards the 
ditch. The Indians watching our maneuvers, until they 
ascertained what our intentions were, and then quickly 
moved off, out of range of cover, which we were seek- 
ing, and formed in a rainbow line, on the side of the 
ridge, about five hundred yards off, in open ground, 
without bush or tree near them. Indians dread a con- 
cealed foe, and unless they can take cover themselves, 
prefer open ground, when they intend to fight ; seldom 
following one man into a thicket, if they know he is 
armed. We halted on the brink of the ditch, and sur- 
veyed this motley crowd. The Comanches were on the 
right, the Kiowas on the left. The latter, were tall, 
fine-looking Indians. The Comanches were low, heavy- 
set, broad-shouldered fellows. Some of them were 
naked to the waist, except the quiver, on the back, and 
the strap across the breast. As they stood in line, there 
was a footman between every two horsemen. They all 
carried shields on the left arm, made of thick, buffalo 
hide ; with dressed deerskin stretched tigiitly over them ; 
painted in the center with black, red, or green spots. 
They stood quiet, and almost motionless, with every 
painted face turned towards us. They looked quite 
imposing, owing to the scattered line, which extended 
about three hundred yards, on the side of the ridge. 

Rangers and Pioneers of Texas. 309 

Some of the boys raised the sights on their carbines, to 
commence firing at long range, but the sergeant opposed 
it, telling the boys they would only waste their cartridges 
at that distance, and we had none to throw away. It is 
true, our guns would hold up that far, but then an 
Indian, with a shield, is hard to hit, even at short range, 
and at that distance, it would be almost impossible to 
hit him. The men then commenced yelling, and daring 
the Indians, to see if they could draw them upon us. 
George Henson hung his hat on the pommel of his sad- 
dle, and tying a red silk handkerchief around his head 
rode up the ditch, yelling and waving his carbine ; call- 
ing them cowards and dogs. The chief then rode slowly 
down his line, and seemed to be saying something to the 
Indians. He then turned, and galloped back to his 
position, on the left of the line, which was nearest to us. 
"Boys," said Sergeant Cobb, suddenly looking around, 
"what do you say to a charge.?" "All right, Ed.," 
came from the rangers, " you lead the way, and we will 

Ed. Cobb had seen service in the Confederate army, 
but had never fousfht Indians. He was a Virg-inian 
b}r birth, and belonged to Stonewall Jackson's diA*ision, 
during the late war. He was at the battle of the 
Wilderness, where legions of brave soldiers went down, 
amidst smoke, and carnage, with the roar of cannon, 
and the noise of tramping thousands in their ears. It 
was here the men of Texas, cow boys and rangers, 
followed Hood, and interposed themselves like a shield, 
between the shattered ranks of Lee, and the advancing 
hosls under Hooker. 

Ed. gave the boys a short talk, telling them they must 
stay together, and if need be, die together, and if routed, 
never leave a comrade as long as there was any chance 

3IO Rangers and Pioneers of Texas. 

to save him. If he was unfortunate enousfh to gfet 
wounded, or have his horse killed ; and as our horses 
were nearly broke down, we could make a better fight 
than a run. I will admit that I felt weak about the 
knees, and something like a chill would creep up my 
back every time I cast my eyes towards that black line, 
stretched across the ridge. I thought of the old folks at 
home, nearly five hundred miles away, and how my 
mother begged me not to go, with tears in her eyes. 
That mother, who, when she heard that my Christmas 
dinner, consisted of parched corn and salt, sat down and 
wept: saying, she wished on that day, she had eaten no 
dinner, since her boy had none. As such thoughts as 
these passed through my mind, as wicked as I was, I 
asked God to shield me in the battle, that I might once 
more behold that dear mother. 

With the exception of the sergeant and William 
Caruthers, who had also been a Confederate soldier, 
none of our boys had ever been in battle. Billy Sorrells 
was the youngest, being only sixteen years of age, but 
he was true-grit, and waved his hat at the painted war- 
riors, as we advanced to the charge. Having crossed 
the Rubicon, (ditch), the die was cast. No turning 
back now. We were about to play a desperate game ; 
eleven ranger boys, against forty-one picked warriors, 
from the Wichita mountains. Well we knew their sav- 
age nature, if we were overwhelmed ;*no surrender; no 
prisoners taken in this kind of warfare. Sergeant Cobb 
telling the boys to handle their guns lively, we galloped 
straight towards the centre of the Indians, without 
checking, until within eighty yards of them. I shall 
never forget my feelings at this moment, it seemed as if 
we had rushed to our destruction. The hideous faces 
of the Indians, with almost every spot of war-paint visi- 

Rangers and Pioneers of Texas. 311 

ble ; their shields and gaudy trappings, and all, com- 
bined, was enough to try the nerves of old soldiers, but 
the quick command of our leader, to ' 'dismount, they 
are going to fire," drove all such thoughts away, and I 
only had time to think of the present, and what was 
expected of every man. For I knew that every man 
must do his duty, or w^e were lost. And like Henry V, 
to his troops, at Agincourt, every man must fight to-day, 
as if on his sole arm hung victory. The men were not 
long in obeying the command, and received the fire of the 
Indians as they w^ent to the ground. As was anticipated, 
the balls whistled over our heads, and not a man was 
hit. Some few balls struck the ground under our horses. 
We instantly returned the fire, and the Indians charged, 
making the prairie ring with their war-whoops. Ser- 
geant Cobb told the boys to scatter ; we were too close 
together; stretch our line to fifty yards, and have only 
one man in a place, to be shot at, and to shun their fire 
as best we could ; drop low in the grass, or shoot from 
beneath our horses. The Indians evidently were not 
aware that we were armed with repeating rifles, and it 
seemed, were trying to run in on us, before we could 
reload ; as they generally did the settlers. But we gave 
them tw^o more rounds, in quick succession. Some of 
our balls cracking loudly, on their dry buffalo hide 
shields, and they fell back in some confusion. One 
horse having been killed, and evidently, some of them 
Indians, w^ounded, from their actions. One of them 
went off into the prairie, and remained alone, some dis- 
tance from the fight. But they soon raised another 
whoop, and came again, running towards us in zigzag 
manner, like a fence worm. Our boys were good shots, 
but an Indian is hard to hit ; protecting himself vvith a 
a shield in front spoils the aim even of the best marksmen. 


Rangers and Pioneers of Texas. 

Our boys handled their guns lively, and there was 
almost a continuous crack of carbines, during these 
charges, but we done but little damage. There were 
no two Indians together, and them darting here and 
there which also caused their own shots to be ineffectual. 
Those on horseback swooped around us, and fired from 
beneath the necks of their horses. Some of the boys 
had narrow escapes during this round, having holes shot 
through their clothinof. In this charsre we killed another 

(The P.attle.) 

horse and one Indian. He fell within about sixty yards 
of us, and made several attempts to get away, but could 
not and finally lav still, upon the prairie, nearly hid by 
the rank grass. After this charge, the Indians drew 
back some distance, and held a consultation. The chiefs 
riding among them and gesticulating, and pointing 
towards us. One of the Indians, who was not mounted, 
stopped and continued to fire at us at long range. He 
had the longest gun, I think, that I ever saw. He would 

Raxgers axd Pioneers of Texas. 313 

drop down on one knee and take aim. His balls would 
make some of the boys dodore, but no one was hit. When 
a carbine was pointed at him he would drop down and 
throw up his shield. Several of the boys tried their 
hand at him, but he was too quick for them at that dis- 
tance. The Indians having come to some understand- 
ing, concerning their next move, again advanced, yelling 
as before, and firing at long range. Although greatly 
outnumbering us they seemed to fear a close fight. They 
saw that we all had revolvers, which as yet, had not 
been drawn. Some of them again dashed around to 
the right and left, and we had to keep turning to fire. 
While doing this I came near being killed, by one of 
my comrades, James Ewers ; we both turned about the 
same time, and changed our position to fire at an Indian, 
who was running on a horse near us. In fact, I was 
nearer the Indian than Jim, and almost between the two. 
He stepped to where I was„ and was in the act of firing, 
when I turned to fire ; this movement brought my face 
almost in contact with the muzzle of his gun ; as he fired, I 
came near going to the ground, and my face was badly 
powder burned. He and I were on the extreme left. The 
Indian was not hit. About this time, two daring young 
bucks mounted a mule, belonging to their party, and 
made a run together. The mule running almost as fast 
as a horse. This unusual sight, drew the fire of several 
carbines, at the same time, and the mule fell, shot 
through. The Indians were thrown to the ground, but 
quickly sprang to their feet, and ran back ; neither being 
hit, though fired at several times. The Indians did not 
wait long after this charge, but came again with redoubled 
yells ; every one seemed to be making all the noise pos- 
sible. " Stand firm, now, boys," said the sergeant ; " I 
believe they are coming to us this time. Hold your fire 

314 Rangers and Pioneers of Texas. 

until they come close, and if it comes hand to hand, draw 
your pistols, if not use the carbines." Suddenly there 
rose up out of the grass, about sixty yards to our right, 
one of the most hideous objects I ever beheld. It was 
an Indian ; with buffalo head, mop, and horns on his 
head and shoulders ; having pieces of dry hides fastened 
about him. He made a fearful, snorting noise, and rat- 
tled his dry hides, as he rose up. Judson Wilhoit was 
the nearest man to him, and as some of the boys hol- 
loaed : "Look out Jud ! There is the devil on your 
side." He fired, striking the buffalo head, which 
cracked loudly. The Indian advanced a few steps, still 
making a terrible noise, and received another shot from 
Wilhoit, then seeing he could not scare our horses, beat 
a hasty retreat, mixing up with the other Indians, who 
were running towards us, and discharging arrows. Only 
one of our horses became frightened at the Indians 
during the fight. This was a little singular, as the sight, 
or even the smell of an Indian, generally puts them in 
terror, until they become accustomed to Indians, and even 
then, you can always tell when they are about, by the 
snorting of the horses. I suppose, the jaded condition 
of our horses had something to do with it. Some pricked 
up their ears, and showed signs of uneasiness, when the 
Indians first commenced yelling. Henson's race horse 
reared and plunged nearly all the time, and came near 
getting away, when we were dismounted. As yet, our 
men had escaped well, only a few scratches. Dan 
Edwards had six holes shot through his coat, which was 
rolled up and tied to his saddle. The fight had lasted 
for some time, and the manner in which the Indians 
scurried around, on their horses, with only one foot visi- 
ble, drew our fire, without doing any damage, except 
now and then, killing a horse. We were wasting car- 

Rangers and Pioneers of Texas. 315 

tridges to no purpose, and were apt to be picked off, one 
at a time, or have our own horses killed. We could 
avoid their shots tolerably well, by lying low in the grass, 
when fired upon, but it is strange they did not hit our 
horses more frequent. Sergeant Cobb now decided to 
change our position, and told the bo}S when the Indians 
drew back, after a charge, to mount quick and make for 
a littfe knoll, about three or four hundred yards, to our 
rear, and then dismount again, where we could have 
better protection for ourselves and horses ; as it seemed, 
the Indians were determined to wear us out, and cause 
us to exhaust our ammunition, and then swoop down, 
and make a finish of us, with lance and tomahawk. 
In vain, we had scanned the prairie, in the direction of 
Clear creek, in the hope of seeing the settlers coming 
to our assistance, but all in vain. We could see for 
miles away, and none were in sight. So, acting on the 
suggestion of the sergeant, we mounted, and made the 
attempt to reach the new position, but this move almost 
proved fatal to our little band. Some of the horses, not 
as badly used up as others, dashed off rapidly, while 
others would hardly go at all ; causing us to become 
scattered at the start. My horse seemed perfectly stiff, 
and moved as though hoppled, and one of my com- 
rades, Gus. Hasroot, was in the same fix, only a little 
worse. His horse refused to move when he mounted, 
although he gave him the spur, and struck him several 
times with his gun. The Indians, thinking we were 
terror-sticken, and were going to give up the fight, 
charged us with triumphant yells, and the mounted ones 
were soon around us. Gus got his horse started, just as 
a powerful Indian was close upon him, coming at full 
speed with leveled lance. I was in advance of Gus, 
about thirty yards, and commenced firing at the Indians 

3i6 Rangers and Pioneers of Texas. 

who were close upon him, and at the same time, shout- 
ing for the boys to hold up. Two Indians ran close to 
me, but passed. I fired at them, without effect; then 
turned in my saddle, to look at Gus, and help him, if I 
could, but at that instant, he killed the Indian, who was 
trying to lance him. He was so near when Gus fired, as 
to be enveloped in the smoke from the carbine. The 
horse wheeled suddenly at the discharge of the gun, and 
the Indian fell to the ground, breaking his lance, as he 
did so. All this occurred in less time than it takes to 
write it. As soon as the boys saw our situation, they 
turned their horses, while on the gallop, and came back, 
firing at the Indians around us, and for a few minutes 
the bullets came from both ways. The two Indians 
that passed us, wheeled off in the prairie, and were not 
hit. By this time, the Indians who were not mounted 
came up, and a close and desperate fight ensued. They 
seemed determined to rout us this time. The rangers 
fought on horseback; wounds were given and received, 
at the distance of thirty paces ; Billy Sorrells was struck 
in the left side, by an army pistol ball, and William Caru- 
thers received a glancing shot in the breast, from a 
Spencer carbine. Young Horseback rallied the Coman- 
ches around him, and made a close charge on the left, 
and was killed by Sergeant Cobb, and others, who fired 
on him at the same time, killing his horse also ; at the 
same time the . sergeant's horse was badly shot and he 
had to dismount. Billy Sorrells was near me when shot ; 
I heard the ball strike him, and turned to see who was 
hit : he was leaning over to one side, but soon dis- 
mounted and continued to fire from behind his horse. 
As soon as I could, I went to him, and saw that he was 
badly wounded. During this contest, I came in con- 
tact with a young warrior, carrying a blood-red shield. 

Rangers and Pioneers of Texas. 317 

Seeing him in the act of firing at me, I dodged at the 
flash, and in turn, fired at him, but he caught my ball 
on his shield. He was a devilish-looking fellow, and 
looked me straight in the eye, while we were exchanging 
shots. The third round, I struck the top of his shield, 
and think, the ball glanced, and struck him in the 
shoulder, for he suddenly wheeled his horse and gal- 
loped away, without raising his shield. The Indians 
were repulsed and ran, carrying their shields on their 
backs, to receive our fire as they went off. The 
Comanche chief lay near us, with one leg under his dead 
horse. Both had been killed instantly. The horse was 
shot behind the shoulder, and the Indian about an inch 
below the right eye. The Indians were not whipped 
yet. Again they advanced within range, and com- 
menced firing, and we again dismounted and commenced 
dodging bullets and arrows. Billy Sorrells was bleed- 
ing freely, and lay down. His color had changed to 
an almost ghostly whiteness, and we thought he was 
dying. This encouraged the Indians, and they yelled 
defiantly ; shooting blood-red arrows at us, in revenge 
for the dead chief ; which meant war to the knife. One 
of our men coolly sat his horse, about ten or fifteen steps 
from where we were dismounted, while this firing was 
going on, moving his carbine with the running Indians, 
trying to get a good sight. The Indians were running 
in circles, and we perceived that they, were getting 
nearer all the time. Some of the boys advised Cleveland 
to get down and shelter himself behind his horse, as 
some of them would hit him presently. He said he 
guessed not, and again raised his gun to fire. About 
this time a large Kiowa ran up on his horse, about 
seventy yards off, and shot an arrow at Cleveland, cut- 
ting the brim of his hat. He concluded then to dismount. 

3iS Rangers and Pioneers of Texas. 

and just as he got down, another arrow grazed his horse's 
nose. Larkin Cleveland was a brave boy, and all 
through this fearful ordeal, which we passed, I think 
his heart beat with regular pulsations. He knew not 
what fear was, and laughed when other men dodged 
from a bullet. 







The sun was now nearly down, and the Kiowa chief 
rallied his warriors, for a last and final charge, which 
was intended to crush us out of existence. Again we 
scanned the prairie, for the welcome sight of re-enforce- 
ments, but none were visible. Oh, if we only had 
twenty-five of our brave boys, who were lying idly in 
camp, on Big Sandy; little dreaming what a fearful 
strait their comrades were in ; only forty miles east of 
them, on Paradise prairie, as it was sometimes called, 
how quick we would be masters of the situation. But 
these hopes were vain, and we determined to hold the 
ground as long as possible, or at least, until night, but if 
then, there was no change in affairs, we were going to 
get out of there. Our force was too small to risk a 
night attack, on the open praire ; for the Indians would 
be certain to fire the grass on us. If we did attempt to 
leave the battle ground, without routing the Indians, we 
were going to keep together, and move off slowly and 
fight as we went. We congratulated ourselves on our 
lucky escape, so far, amid such a hail of bullets and 
arrows, which we had passed through in the last hour 
and a half. The chief formed his warriors, after riding 
among them, and stimng them up for a final charge. 

330 Rangers and Pioneers of Texas. 

Our sergeant made some change in his little force ; the 
men were moved up a little, and formed in front of Billy 
Sorrells, he being about the centre, and asked me to 
ride around and stop on the extreme right, about ten 
steps from the left-hand man, James Ewers. The 
Kiowa chief, placed himself on the left of his band, who 
were thinly scattered over the ground. The mounted 
ones being mostly on the right and left. The chief's 
bridle was richly ornamented with silver, which glittered 
in the rays of the declining sun, as he wheeled his horse 
and bore down upon us. Our boys dismounted to receive 
this charge, and were encouraged by the cheering words 
of our gallant sergeant, who was on foot, a little in 
advance of us, and seemed as if he wanted to bear the 
brunt of the fight. The chief came almost at full speed, 
firing rapidly with a revolver. The yelling of the 
Indians, almost drowning the reports of the firearms. 
He seemed determined this time to ride us down, but 
that mad charge was his last. He received a ball in the 
breast at the distance of twenty paces, and fell forward, 
on the wethers of his horse, dropping his shield and 
revolver, but hung to his horse, until he passed our line, 
and was soon kicked loose, a short distance in our rear. 
He was confined to his saddle by leather straps, across 
the thighs ; that was the reason he was so long falling, 
and if his weight had not turned the saddle, his horse 
would likely have carried him off. Our fire was so 
rapid, the Indians no longer tried to face us, after the 
death of the chief, but turned back, protecting them- 
selves with their shields, until out of range ; several were 
wounded, and one killed, besides the chief, in this last 

The boys all mounted their horses, except the wounded, 
when the Indians turned their backs : and made the 

Rangers and Pioneers of Texas. 321 

prairie ring with a regular Texas yell, and some spurred 
their horses after the routed savages. Sergeant Cobb, 
being dismounted, told the boys to surround the chief's 
horse, and secure him, which they did, after a short 
chase. While this was being done, Larkin Cleveland 
proposed to me, that we dismount and secure the scalp 
and rigging, of the fallen chief, as a trophy. Accord- 
ingly we rode to the spot, where the dead chief lay on 
his back, with his painted face upturned. Larkin dis- 
mounted, and drew his bowie knife ; when our attention 
was directed to the Indians, who halted a short distance 
off, on the prairie, when the boys quit pursuing, and 
were yelling at a fearful rate, and about a dozen of them 
mounted, were bearing down on us, at a sweeping gal- 
lop. As our men were somewhat scattered, in catching 
the chief's horse, and seeing the Indians making directly 
for us, Larkin mounted, and we galloped back, to where 
the balance of our squad was, just as Sergeant Cobb was 
mounting the Indian's horse ; having transferred the 
saddle from his wounded horse, to that of the chief's. 
We were now, about one hundred and fifty yards from 
the body of the chief. As soon as the Indians came up, 
some of them dismounted, and commenced lifting the 
body of their chief to the back of a horse, and we charo-ed 
them. Two men remained with our wounded com- 
panion. The Indians fired on us as we came up, but they 
soon ran, and succeeded in carrying the dead chief with 
them. He was tied cross-ways on the horse, with a 
lariat, and the horse turned loose, pursued by two 
Indians, on good horses, who whipped him at every 
jump, and they soon mixed in with the main body, and 
all commenced moving rapidly away, across the prairie, 
towards the blue hills in the west. Seeing they were 
about whipped, the rangers yelled and charged, hoping 

322 Rangers and Pioneers of Texas. 

to make them leave the body of the Kiowa chief, but a 
portion of them held back, and returned our fire, at the 
same time, uttering defiant yells, in which they were 
joined by all the band, who swarmed back, and seemed 
determined that we should not secure the body of the 
chief. One Indian dismounted in frout of us, in order 
to draw our fire, and attention to him, and to detain us 
as long as he could, and risk his own scalp to save that 
of Sittanke, who w'as nephew of the famous chief of that 
name, that was afterwards killed in Jack county, by 
United States soldiers. In vain, our best marksmen, 
tried to bring down this brave warrior. He danced, 
yelled, leaped into the air, sprang from side to side, and 
only mounted and ran off, when we were close upon 
him. He received one shot, which almost brought him 
from his horse, after he started ; but he recovered him- 
self, and soon mixed in with the balance, who were now 
on a dead run ; those on foot taking the lead. Those 
who were carrying off the chief, had disappeared across 
the ridge. We kept up a scattering fire, for some dis- 
tance further; which was occasionally returned by the 
Indians, with arrows. We passed over part of the 
ground occupied by them, during the first part of the 
fight, and saw several dead horses, and Indians, with 
shields, bows, caps, blankets, quivers, lances, etc., scat- 
tered about. During the fight, I saw a cap shot from an 
Indian's head. It was made out of the skin of a wild 
cat; dressed with the hair on; the legs were stuffed, 
and made in such a manner, that they stuck up straight, 
when on the Indians head, and resembled horns. One 
of these legs was cut smooth off, by a bullet. So close 
was our fire, that one lance ornament had three holes 
shot through it, and a small bell shot off, which was 
attached to it. In the last charge, George Howell had a 

Rangers and Pioneers of Texas. 


hole shot through his coat. Of the eleven men, who 
were in the fight, seven of them had the mark of balls 
or arrows on their person. 

In their retreat, the Indians ran with their shields on 
their backs, and when returning our fire, would wheel 
half around, and then go again. 

As our ammunition was nearly exhausted, and seeing 
we could accomplish nothing more, the sergeant oitlered 
a return, to where we left young Sorrell. The sun was 

(Tlu' Last Charge.) 

now about down, and we were glad enough to escape so 
well thus far, and call it even ; although we claimed the 
victory, as we had driven them from the battle ground. 
After examining the wound of Billy, which was an ugly 
one near the hip bone, on the leftside, and emptying the 
blood out of his boot, we placed him on his horse, with 
a man on each side, to support him, and then started 
for the Keep ranch. Gus Hasroot and myself supported 
the wounded boy. He was very weak, and leaned 
heavily on my shoulder, as we slowly moved off. The 

324 Rangers and Pioneers of Texas. 

Indians halted about half a mile off , and presently began 
yelling, and advancing towards us ; as if loth to give up 
the fight. They came so near, that Sergeant Cobb 
ordered a halt, and placed the men in position, to receive 
them, if they charged ; and told the boys if they did, to 
wait until they came close, and then to use the Win- 
chesters. These first until the cartridges were all 
exp«ided and reserve the revolvers for a hand-to-hand 
fight, if it came to that. Billy Sorrell was taken from 
his horse and laid down on the soft grass ; he expressed 
na fear of the Indians, and lay still, with his white face 
turned towards the blue canopy of heaven, now fast 
assumin'g a red tinge from the rays of the setting sun. 
But the Indians had no idea of again facing those lev- 
eled tubes at short range ; they scattered about over the 
ground where we fought, looking for their dead and 
picking up wounded who had crawled off in the grass 
during the fight. Seeing this we again mounted and 
moved off towards- the ranch, and a swell in the prairie 
soon hid them from our view. 

Ed. Cobb presented a picture as he rode along on the 
chief's horse, a large iron grey, and had on one of the 
finest bridles I nearly ever saw ; it fairly glittered with 
silver ornaments ; the horse was bloody from his withers 
to his feet, where the Indian bled while he was hanging 
over, before he came to the ground. The sergeant had 
blood on his breast, hands and gun, and looked as if he 
had been wounded, but had not received a scratch, and 
it is a wonder how he escaped, for I saw many shots 
fired at him, and every now and then would see him tuck 
his head quick as a flash, which showed they were not 
very wide of the mark ; he got the blood on him in 
handling bloody horses, and helping to lift Billy Sorrell. 
Before we arrived at the ranch we met Harvell, with 

Rangers and Pioneers of Texas. 325 

only one naan with him, a regular Indian fighter, named 
Ferguson. They had ridden hard, but were too late for 
the fight. Ferguson was sadly disappointed ; he was 
well armed, and mounted on a splendid horse; he was 
elated with our success, and rode round the sergeant, 
examining the blood-stained charger of the Kiowa chief. 

He said we had made the best fight that was ever 
made in that section of country with Indians. WhSn he 
learned that they were still on the ground he tried to 
prevail on our leader to go back and engage them again, 
but the sergeant told him the men were almost worn out 
with the long chase and nearly two hours' fight ; besides, 
their ammunition was well-nigh exhausted, and pointed 
to our wounded companion, who was leaning wearily on 
the shoulder of a comrade, and needed attention bad ; 
his wound was still bleeding, and we feared he would 
bleed to death if it was not stopped. "Well," said 
Ferguson, " I am bound to have a look at them, anyway, 
and if you will send your wounded man on to the ranch 
and wait with the most of your men to help me, in case 
I need it, I will gallop to the top of the ridge and see 
what they are doing." Ed. consented, and told two of 
us to go on with Billy, and himself, and the balance of 
the men would wait. It w^as nearly dark when we 
arrived at the gate in front of the Keep house. Seeing a 
woman standing on the gallery, I dismounted and went 
to where she was. She looked white and scared, with 
five children clinging to her dress. I politely accosted 
her, and in a few words told her who we were, and that 
we craved shelter for a wounded companion. 

" Oh, yes;" she said, "by all means; bring him in 
quick, and I will go and prepare a comfortable place for 

When we came in with Billy she had struck a light, 

326 Rangers and Pioneers of Texas. 

and pointed to a soft bed with snowy-white sheets and 
pillows and told us to lay him there. I told her to spread 
a blanket over the bed, as he was very bloody. " Oh, 
no;" she said, ''lay him there; there is nothing too 
good for a wounded ranger to lie on. You have saved 
myself and little children. I knew that you were fight- 
ing Indians on the prairie, and oh, the untold agony 
which I have suffered in the last three hours. Poor boy ! 
poor boy!" she exclaimed, and tears started to her eyes 
as Billy groaned when we laid him down. In pulling 
off his boot some blood ran out on the floor, and as Mrs. 
Jay was a timid woman and unused to blood and fron- 
tier life, had to leave the room to keep from fainting. In 
a short time the other boys arrived and brought their 
horses inside the inclosure. 

Sergeant Cobb came into the room where Billy was, 
and examined his wound, expressing the opinion to us 
that he would not live through the night, as there was no 
medical aid near, but hoped for the best. Billy had 
fainted from loss of blood, and lay like a dead man. In 
the meantime Mrs., Jay had again entered the room, 
and after looking a few seconds at the bloody sergeant, 
who, with candle in hand, had turned to salute her as 
she entered, asked him if he wished a place to lie down, 
thinking he was literally shot all to pieces, but he smiled 
and told her he was not hurt at all. 

Ferguson said when he went back, the Indians were 
considerably scattered about Dver the prairie, but yelled 
defiance at him when he appeared on the ridge. 
When he came back he said, "There are scads of 
them back there, boys, but woe to their hides if they 
stay there until morning. The settlers will rendezvous 
at the Keep ranch to-night and act in concert with 
the rangers to-morrow." "Oh, you will have a big 

Rangers and Pioneers of Texas. 327 

crowd before morning, captain ; the news has gone 
like wildfire down the country, to-night, that the 
prairie above the Keep ranch is black with Indians^ 
and a small squad of Texas rangers are fighting 
them and calling on the settlers for help. Oh, they 
will come ; the nearest ones, down on Clear creek, where 
Harvell went, will stay at home, the most of them fear- 
ing to leave their families, but they have sent runners 
further on, and by morning there will be enough men 
here to ' corrall ' the whole bunch on the prairie and 
take the topknot off the last painted devil of them. I 
think the chief you killed this evening was Kickemburg ; 
it looks like his horse. We have fought him down in 
this part of the country before." 

At this time we did not know the name of the chief 
which we had killed. 



All night long, Ed. Cobb, myself, and some others 
remained by the bedside of Billy, thinking that each 
hour, as they slowly dragged along, would be his last. 
"Water, water !" was his cry; "give me water!" Fever 
had set in and he became at times delirious, and often 
called the name of his mother, and then, again, he would 
fight the battle over. " Look out, sergeant;" he would 
say ; " they will hit you." 

The nearest surgeon was at Bolivar, thirty miles east 
of us, and as the settlers began to arrive one of them 
volunteered to go after him, as none of our men were 
acquainted with the road to that place. Our own phy- 
sician was at camp, about fifty miles away in a west 
directioiL Our men built a fire in the yard, for the night 
was chilly, and some lay down to rest, while others stood 
guard at various points around the premises. The wind 
was blowing from the west, and we could occasionally 
hear the faint yells of the still defiant Indians. 

Men continued to arrive at intervals through the night. 
They were informed by the runners that the Indians were 
near the Keep ranch, and all made for this point. From 
where I sat by the side of, my wounded comrade, every 
now and then I could hear the challenge of the sentry at 
the gate, and in answer, the hearty response of "Friends ;" 
and then the swinging of the gate and the entrance of 
one, two or three at a time. Late in the night a noted 
Indian fighter arrived from Denton county — old John 

Rangers and Pioneers of Texas. 329 

Chisholm, the man who drove the first herd of cattle up 
the Chisholm trail to Kansas, and which takes its name 
from him. I had walked out of doors and was at the 
guard-fire when he arrived, and had a good look at the 
brave old pioneer as he came up to warm his hands. 

He was tolerably small and well made and seemed to 
be about fifty years of age, and wore short grizzly beard. 
He asked us all about the fight, the number of Indians, 
and what tribe. He was very particular in asking us 
the exact locality of the place where we fought, and 
after gaining all the information he could, told us he 
would go out there on a little scout. We trjed to turn 
him from his purpose, but to no avail. He mounted 
and rode off alone on the prairie towards the battle 
ground, saying he would give a good account of himself, 
and in about an hour and half returned, but said he 
could not make any discoveries on account of a thick 
fog which arose after he left us. He could not see the 
Indians, but smelt them very strong. 

Most of the men remained up all night, conversing 
abouc our fight and other fights which had occurred on 
this part of the frontier, and laying plans for the morrow. 
Some favored the idea of moving on the &nemy that 
night, but were overruled by the majority, as it would 
cost the lives of good men, which could be avoided. 
The Indians would have all the advantage and ambush 
the whites as they came up. Before morning there were 
about thirty men standing around the fires in the yard, 
all anxious for morning to come. 

Mrs. Jay was a noble woman, and remained up all 
night, and "Oh," she said, "how different are the Texas 
rangers from what I always heard they w^ere. I sup- 
posed they were cruel and fierce, neither respecting God 
nor man, age nor sex." And indeed this is the impres- 

330 Rangers and Pioneers of Texas. 

sion which has gone out into the world respecting the 
rangers and cowboys of Texas ; but there on that bed 
lies as gallant a ranger as ever gave back an answering 
shout to the red man on the plains, with scarcely a per- 
ceptible down on his upper lip, and cheeks as fair as her 
own beautiful daughter ; and look at that broad-shoul- 
dered fellow standing in the light of the guard fire with 
the ragged hole shot through the breast of his coat. 
With his long mustachios and rough ranger garb he 
looks like a veritable mountain robber, but he has a ten- 
der heart and would weep bitter tears over a dying com- 
rade, or st^nd at the threshold of this lady's door and 
fight for her and her children as long as his strong hand 
was able to grasp the hilt of his bowie knife. 

Of course there are some exceptions. Occasionally, 
in some western village, you will hear a voice ring out 
on the night air in words something like these: "Wild 
and woolly," " Hard to curry," " Raised a pet but gone 
wild," " W^alked the Chisholm trail backwards," 
" Fought Indians and killed buffalo," " Hide out, little 
ones," and then you may expect to hear a few shots from 
a revolver. It is a cowboy out on a little spree, and 
likely will Aot hurt any one, as some friend, who is 
sober, generally comes to him, relieves him of his pistol 
and all is soon quiet again. As I took observations and 
noticed different individuals that night I could not help 
from contrasting the difference in the situations of the 
settlers, and our weary boys, who were either asleep or 
sat almost in silence around the camp fire. The settlers 
were at home ; their wives, mothers, and sisters were 
near, and they were anxious to meet the savages and 
drive them from the land and save the settlements from 
the tomahawk and scalping-knife ; they were impatient 
for morning to come and uneasy and anxious about the 

Rangers and Pioneers of Texas. 


welfare and safety of their families ; and well they might 
be, for one who was sleeping quietly that night twenty 
miles from the battle ground met his death next day at 
the hands of these same savages. On the other hand, 
our boys were four or five hundred miles from home, 
fighting to protect these people on this remote part of 
the Texas frontier from the raiding bands of savages who 
constantly harassed and made desolate their beautiful 

None of our men were married ; but they had parents, 
brothers, sisters and friends who were uneasy about their 
safety. The last thoughts on retiring at night and the 
first on arising in the morning were of the boys who 
were away off on the frontier exposed to all kinds of 
dangers, both day and night. That boy, lying in the 
house there, pale and bleeding, with his comrades around 
him, had a mother and sister in Gonzales county, four 
hundred and fifty miles away, who perhaps at this 
moment were taking their rest, little dreaming of the 
dangerous situation of the loved one. Suppose some- 
thing could have whispered in the mother's ear the 
truth : " Billy was shot down this evening on the prairie, 
by the Indians, and now lies in a critical condition, with 
no chance for medical aid ;" what a horrible night this 
would be for her ! No more sleep ; now she can only 
walk the yard and wring her hands in agony, and look 
towards the northwest where she knew her boy was, and 
wish she had the wings of a dove that she might fly to 
him, and, holding his drooping head in her lap, speak 
words of comfort and love. 

But, then, it is best not to know. She remained in 
ignorance of this fact until the slow coaches of those 
days could convey the intelligence, and then it was not 
so hard to hear ; the crisis had passed, and Billy was out 

332 Rangers and Pioneers of Texas. 

of danger before she knew he was hurt, His father also 
belonged to our company, and was with Garner, on a, 
hunt, when we left the camp ; we intended to send a run- 
ner to notify him as soon as daylight came. I do not 
think Mrs. Jay slept any that night; the scenes which 
were being enacted around her were new and strange. 
She informed us that they were just from Illinois, and 
were only stopping at the Keep ranch for a short time 
until her husband could bu) land, he being then absent 
with his two sons for that purpose, not realizing the dan- 
ger to which the family was exposed in their absence. 
They knew that they were on the frontier, and had been 
warned by the settlers to keep on the lookout for 
Indians, but thought it was more talk than anything else 
about so many Indians, and gave the subject but little 
thought. They were delighted with the country, and 
were anxious to buy land and settle. Cow hunters stop- 
ped nearly every day at the ranch to get water and rest 
themselves and horses, and she felt no uneasiness in the 
absence of her husband and sons, and now she was very 
uneasy about them, knowing their utter inexperience in 
an Indian country. She sai.l she was looking for her 
husband back that day, and frequently walked out on 
the gallery and scanned the prairie to see if they were in 
sight ; and it was while so doing she saw the Indians 
crossing a swell in the rolling prairie, and thought they 
were cow hunters and was rather surprised to see so many 
together. The idea never occurred to her that they 
were Indians. 

In about half an hour she again walked out and saw 
our men crossing the same rising ground. As we came 
along on the trail she thought it was another lot of cow 
hunters, and gave it no concern until Harvell dashed up 
and inquired for Dr. Jay and the boys. She told him 

Rangers and Pioneers of Texas. 


they were not at home, and seeing that he had ridden hard 
asked him what was the matter. He then informed her, 
in a few and hasty words, as he reined his horse around, 
that a large band of hostile Indians were back there and 
he was after men to help fight them ; that they were con- 
fronted by a small force of Texas rangers, but were not 
strong enough to do much good, and would likely all be 
killed if they fought them alone ; and so saying, he 
dashed off towards Clear creek, leaving her almost wild 
with terror. 

She suddenly realized what it was to be on the frontier 
of Texas. She then took a position where she could 
scan the prairie in the direction where she saw the 
Indians. Both parties had disappeared from sight, 
behind the swells, and she was in hopes they had gone ; 
but suddenly she again saw the Indians come over a 
ridge not far from the place where she first saw them 
and halt in a long scattered line,. looking back as if they 
were pursued. The next instant she saw the rangers 
gallop up and get down from their horses, and puffs of 
smoke commenced darting out from the Indian line. She 
knew, then, that the fight had commenced, but could not 
hear the report of the guns. 

She then seized her children, who were around her, 
and rushed into the house, praying for help. She threw 
herself on the bed and thought she would lay there until 
all was over, thinking herself and children would be the 
next victims when they finished the rangers. But she 
could not stand it long, and again went out to look. Our 
boys were holding their ground, and the Indians were 
scurrying around them, the mounted ones lying low on 
their horses and smoke puffing here and there. 

The rangers were also firing rapidly, but remained on 
the ground by their horses. Time and again she thought 

334 Rangers and Pioneers of Texas. 

she would have to leave her post, she became so faint 
and weak at these strange and startling sights. She said 
she had often read little books about Indians and the 
rangers in Texas, but little thought she would ever wit- 
ness one of these prairie fights. Only a short time ago 
she was in the densely populated State of Illinois, sur- 
rounded by her friends and relations ; now she was on a 
Texas prairie witnessing a desperate struggle between a 
small band of rangers and a large war party of Kiowa 
and Comanche Indians, all alone, except her five help- 
less children. Their lives and hers were in the balance 
if the rangers were defeated. She expected nothing 
but a horrible fate for herself and little ones, and she 
hardly dared to hope that they would be victorious. 

Mrs. Jay was a Christian lady, and fervently prayed 
to the Almighty to turn aside the darts of our enemies 
and shield and protect us in this our time of greatest 
need; and also prayed. for herself and children that He 
would protect them ; and " Oh," she said, " if the earn- 
est prayers of a woman were of any avail I helped you 
out in that fight ; and I prayed for protection for myself 
and children, and now look at the brave men encamped 
around my house and my children quietly sleeping. But, 
oh," she said, "I thought you were gone once, when you 
mounted and started off and the Indians ran among 
you. Part of the time you were hidden from my view 
behind the ridge, and my fears were increased, not know- 
ing but that you were all killed. I could see some of 
the Indians nearly all the time, and I often fancied they 
started this way, and I would give up all hope and clasp 
my children in my arms. And oh, I was so glad when 
I saw you come in sight, advancing on the Indians, and 
the smoke pufling from your guns and part of the 
Indians giving way. I felt so elated I could scarce for- 

Rangers and Pioneers of Texas. 335 

bear to cheer. But when you moved around and got 
between the Indians and the house, and when '1 suppose 
they made their last close charge, I again lost hope. It 
seemed they had completely swallowed you up ; the 
muzzles of the guns seemed close together, and every- 
thing was a confused mass of running horses and smoke. 
The Indians finally gave back, and I could only see a 
few rangers, and they seemed to be riding off until I 
lost sight of them altogether. I saw the Indians again 
charge and caught a glimpse of some of your men and 
most of the Indians again came back across the ridge, 
and as night was coming on I could not at that distance 
distinguish friend from foe. I was in great fear, for I 
knew not how it had terminated, and at dusk, when your 
men were near the house, I almost fainted, thinking they 
were the Indians, and was not entirely satisfied until I 
was accosted by one of the men, in English, which I 
knew was the voice of a friend. I am so glad," she 
continued, "that you all escaped so well, and I do hope 
and pray that this poor boy will recover. He looks so 
young to engage in such desperate combats as you have 
just passed through. I wish my husband was here ; he 
is a good physician, and I am satisfied he could greatly 
relieve him if he was onlv here." 




We tried to prevail on the good lady to take some 
rest, but she would not. I was proud of our boys that 
night as they stood around the camp fire answering the 
questions of the settlers, without boast or display, with 
the marks of bullets and arrows about their persons, 
seven out of eleven having been hit, either in their person 
or clothing. 

Some time after midnight, as I was sitting by the bed- 
side of my comrade, a negro came to the door and looked 
in, with his eyes about the size of Bland dollars. I asked 
him what he wanted. 

"Is de young man what got shot by de Injuns in 

I told him he was. 

" Yes, sah," said he. " [ want to take a look at him." 

" All right," said I. There he is on the bed. Come 

The negro advanced to the bed carrying a large dou- 
ble-barreled shot-gun in his left hand, with a large shot- 
pouch and powder-horn on his right shoulder. After 
looking at the bloody sheet and Billy's pale -face a few 
moments, he exclaimed : 

" Good gracious! Knows they have nearly killed dat 
boy shure nuff ; but I guess us Bolivar boys will give 

Rangers and Pioneers of Texas. 337 

'em a round in de mornin'. I guess we can sling a few 
slugs into 'em dat dey can't pack through Wise county. 
Come in here, Joe, and look at dis " (to another negro 
just outside the door who had come with him). "What 
I been tellin' you 'bout Injuns; you don't know nothin' 
'bout 'em. Come in here and see how dey will do you 
some day when you'se frolicking 'round over de country 
by yourself, and you jus' look out to-morrow when we 
go to charge and stick close to me." 

By this time Joe had got to the bedside, and seemed 
very much scared at the sight of blood. 

Before daylight the men were moynted and ready for 
a start. Sergeant Cobb left myself and Gus. Hasroot 
with Billy. Taking me aside he said he did not think 
young Sorrells could live through the day, and if he 
died, that myself and Gus would have to bury him, as he 
knew not when himself or men would return, as he was 
going to use every exertion to overtake and fight the 
Indians again if there was any chance. He had now 
about thirty men under his command, and was anxious 
for another fight. Dan Edwards volunteered to go to 
our camp and notify old man Sorrell of his son's condi-^ 
tion, and Larkin Cleveland to the camp on Big Sandy 
to notify Captain Baker of the fight. 

Just as day began to dawn the men filed out at the 
gate, and were soon lost to view in the gloom of the 
early morning, and with a sad heart I returned to the 
bedside of my wounded companion. The minutes 
seemed like hours as I watched and waited. I was very 
sore from the long ride the day before, and my face was 
still swollen and painful. I was anxious for some mes- 
senger to return and bring the news, whether they fought 
again or not. I knew if they did it would be a desper- 
ate one, for the sergeant had determined, with the force 

338 Rangers and Pioneers of Texas. 

now under his command, to charg^e into their ranks, and 
if such were the case the Indians would fight desper- 
ately and men were bound to be killed, and all the boys 
of Company F were like brothers to me, and most of 
the brave settlers were men of families, and some of 
them would be left desolate. 

About 10 o'clock I heard a footstep at the door, and 
on looking around saw the colored man from Bolivar 
with the big shot-gun. I was somewhat surprised to see 
him back so soon, and at first thought he might be a 
fugitive from the battle. 

•'Hello!" said^I; "you got back quick. What 
news.^ Did you catch the Indians?" 

"Yes, sah," said he; " dat is, dey had 'bout cotch 
'em when I lef. I would like to went on and help to 
give dem Injuns a rale good whippin', but business was 
'tainin' me so down to Bolivar to-day I was obleeged to 
go back, and thought I would come by and see how de 
young man was. Yes, sah, we got to de pond whar de 
Injuns stopped and washed de blood off'n deyselves and 
bosses what dey got shot. I never seed de like ; blood 
all roun' de pond and in de edge of de water, an' tracks 
— golly, thick as pigs' tracks. Yes, sah, I guess de boys 
has done give 'em a good maulin' by dis time," and 
with a flourish of his shot-gun he bade me good-day and 
joined his companion, Joe, at the gate; and these two 
sable warriors made tracks for Bolivar. 

There were not many negroes on the frontier, and 
most of them had a mortal terror of Indians, but I saw 
one who was in the fight on Battle creek who stood at his 
post and fought when some of the white men ran in 
terror from the savages. 

About noon Dr. Bobbitt arrived from Bolivar, and at 
once proceeded to examine Billy's wound, and pro- 

Rangers and Pioneers of Texas. 339 

nounced it a very bad one, but could not find the ball ; 
and after dressing it said he could do no more, but would 
remain with us through the night, and then he would be 
obliged to return. 

The next morning our patient was still feverish and 
restless. The Doctor left some medicine for us to give 
him and then took his departure. We constantly 
scanned the prairie through the day, but no one came in 
sight until nearly sundown, when I saw three men bear- 
ing towards the ranch some distance off, and about dusk 
arrived on very tired horses. They were old man Sor- 
rell. Dr. Gillespie and Larkin Cleveland. Edwards had 
carried the news to Mr. Sorrell, and he had hastened by 
the camp on Big Sandy and brought our physician with 
him. Cleveland, although nearly worn out, came back 
with them to pilot the way. I felt greatly relieved, you 
can imagine. Mr. Sorrell did not expect to find his son 
alive, and never spoke until he dismounted and took me 
by the hand and looked me straight in the face, and in a 
faltering voice said : 

" Tell me the worst. Jack." 

" Oh," said I, in a cheerful voice, " Billy is all right, 
and will be riding wild horses again in six weeks." 

I never saw such a sudden change come in a man's 
face in my life. From a look of anguish and despair, 
his eyes fairly sparkled with joy, and with a firm, quick 
step entered the house. Billy greeted his father with a 
smile and expressed his joy at his arrival. 

Dr. Gillespie made an examination of the wound, but 
said there was no chance to get the ball. 

I was now greatly relieved. Billy had his father and 
the Doctor with him, and was doing as well as could be 
expected under the circumstances. I was also very 
anxious to hear from the gallant sergeant and his men. 

340 Rangers and Pioneers of Texas. 

Now, if I were writing an imaginary sketch, of course 
they would overtake them and entirely destroy the band, 
but such was not the case. The Indians succeeded in 
making good their escape, although the men trailed 
them forty miles before sundown. Some of the settlers 
came back by the ranch and gave us the particulars of 
the chase. They were delayed some time at the battle 
ground in trying to find the main trail, as the Indians 
had scattered off in various directions, carrying off the 
dead: but at the bloody pond, six miles from where we 
fought, they all came together. 





From the pond the trail was plain, and they must 
have left it about midnight, for they killed a man named 
Hampton at sunrise next morning, twenty miles from the 
battle ground. He was a short distance from the house, 
chopping wood to get breakfast, when the Indians came 
round a hill and cut him off from the house. As he 
started to run they roped him and dragged him off across 
the prairie in sight of his family. The Indians did not 
stop to molest the family, as they knew they were pur- 
sued, or would be. Our men arrived at the ranch about 
lo o'clock. Some cow hunters had found the body of 
Hampton about two miles from the house, and brought 
it in. His clothing was almost entirely gone, and he 
was scalped and otherwise mutilated. 

The wife of Hampton said the Indians had a dead 
one w.ith them, tied crosswise on a horse, and she knew 
they had been fighting with the whites. This dead 
Indian was the chief Sittanke. We afterwards learned 
they buried him on the banks of Red river. The men 
used every exertion to overtake the Indians, after they 
left the ranch, but they had too much the start, and just 
before sundown they came to the foot of the mountains, 
and here the trail scattered and led off into dense thick- 
ets and deep canons, and the pursuit had to be given up. 

342 Rangers and Pioneers of Texas. 

Here the sergeant was joined by Captain Baker, with 
the bahince of the company. They had taken a near 
cut after hearing the news, guided by our trailer Marlett, 
who knew all the country, and told the captain he was 
satisfied the Indians would strike the rough country at 
this point. The Indians had stopped and kdled some 
cattle near this place, the flesh of which was still warm. 
Bud Seglar secured some of the arrows which killed the 
cattle and tied them to his saddle. The boys were all 
glad to see one another, and regretted, those who came 
from camp, they were not with us in the fight. There 
were now about sixty men together, all well armed and 
mounted, and eager for a fight ; but the enemy was 
beyond their reach. The men all camped together in 
the pass that night, and the next morning the rangers 
returned to camp and the settlers to their homes. They 
had one thing to console them : the Indians had been 
worsted on this trip, and driven beyond the settlements 
before they did much damage. The settlers, on their 
way back, closely examined the battle ground, and said 
there was more Indian sign on that prairie than they had 
ever seen there before. Bows, shields, quivers, blank- 
ets, lances, caps, robes, carbines, dead horses, etc., were 
scattered about. 

The wounded mule w^as still on the ground, about two 
hundred yards from where he was shot. They also 
found several dead Indians, where they had been car- 
ried off and hid, that night after the fight ; three of them 
were in a sink-hole, about half a mile from where they 
were killed. They accidentally came on another, lying 
full length on his back, in the tall grass, closely wrapped 
from head to foot in a fancy bed-spread. One of the 
men. present recognized it as belonging to the Keenon 
family, who were massacred in December. He said he 

Rangers and Pioneers of Texas. 343 

had often been at the Keenon ranch, and took notice of 
this bed-spread on account of its beautiful colors. 
Another one was found in a hollow, about a mile and a 
half west of the battle ground. A broken lance lay 
across his body. There was a dead horse also near him. 
This Indian was stripped, to secure some fancy rigging 
which he had on ; and the old scars on his body denoted 
him to be a brave and daring warrior, and had been in 
some close places on the frontier. One of the old 
wounds was in the right breast, and seemed to have 
been made by a large rifle ball, which shattered two of 
the ribs near the breast bone, passed through the body 
and came out near the back bone. Another one was a 
deep cut in the left shoulder, which extended into the 
muscles of the arm. Oska Horseback, the Comanche 
chief, was also found. He had an ornament on his 
breast composed of white beads about an inch long, and 
fastened in rows to a piece of red cloth, which just cov- 
ered the breast. The beads wxre made out of the 
finger bones of white men, which had been slain by him, 
or some of his people. Nearly all the settlers carried 
off some relic of the fight ; some had scalps. Ferguson 
obtained three ; he found the Indians in the sink-hole 
and scalped them. 

Some ()f our boys came back with the citizens with 
orders from the captain for Mr. Sorrell and some of the 
boys to remain with Billy, and the balance to return to 
camp ; and next morning two men, besides Mr. Sorrell, 
were left, and bidding them, and the good Mrs. Jay, 
farewell, we took our departure, and went by the way 
of the captain's camp, and from there to our own. 

On the way back, one of our men, who had procured 
some Indian rigging and a sack of red paint, dressed 
himself like an Indian and painted his face. Late in 

344 Rangers and Pioneers of Texas. 

the evening, as we were nearing Ball's ranch, the 
painted man and myself were riding ahead, through a 
small prairie, when we saw a man running his horse to 
a mott of timber ahead of us and a little to the left. He 
leaped from his horse behind a tree and covered us with 
his rifle. I saw his mistake at once, and shouted to him 
we were friends, at the same time riding towards him ; 
but it was some time before he would lower his piece, 
and when we came up I discovered it was old man Ball. 
He recognized me, but told my companion he had bet- 
ter be careful how he rode in the neighborhood of Ball's 
ranch with that rig on. 

Poor old man ! He had been harassed so much by 
Indians, he was on the lookout, and ready to fight them 
at any time. 

(It is surprising with what coolness one man will pre- 
pare to fight a band of Indians, single handed, on the 
border. On one occasion, when we were on a scout, we 
stopped to eat dinner and rest on Panther creek. We 
were sitting down in the tall grass, and hearing a noise 
near bv, all sprang to their feet, and saw a man about 
one hundred yards from us with a wagon and yoke of 
oxen. His wagon was locked fast against a tree, and 
he was standing behind it with his gun. When we came 
to where he was, he told us he thought we were Indians, 
as he could not see us good, and was preparing to fight 
us. He intended to make a breastwork of his wagon, 
and that was wh\' he ran it against the tree, so his team 
could not carr\ it off when the fight commenced.) 

When the balance of oin* men came up, Mr. Ball 
invited us to spend the night at his ranch, which we did. 
He saw there had been an Indian fight and was anxious 
to learn the particulars. 

We found the lioys all well at camp, and they were 

Rangers and Pioneers of Texas. 345 

as glad to see us as if we had been gone a month, 
instead of four or five days. 

In March, Captain Baker sent some papers to Ser- 
geant Cobb with orders to forward them to the Indian 
agent, Tatum, at Fort Sill. Corporal William Murphy, 
Tom Garner and George McPhail were detailed to carry 
these dispatches. They arrived all right at the fort, and 
went to the agent's office. He gave them a kind wel- 
come, but seemed greatly troubled and ill at ease, and 
said he feared trouble with the Indians. The soldiers 
had been ordered to Leavenworth, and the Comanches 
were insolent, and left the reservation whenever they 
were a mind to, and he was satisfied they were crossing 
the line into Texas, and joining bands of hostiles, who 
could not be brought to the reserve. He also informed 
the boys that a wounded Indian had come to the fort in 
February, and reported a fight in Texas, in which, he 
said, they had seven killed in the fight, including two 
chiefs, Sittanke and Young Horseback, and that they 
killed one of the white men. 

This was the fight we had, and proves that some of 
the resen-e Indians had joined the wild bands to raid on 
the Texas side. The agent also stated that the Coman- 
ches had laid a plot to kill him on a certain night, but 
was prevented from carrying out their plans by the Cad- 
does, who encamped around his house to protect him in 
the absence of the soldiers. 

It was ration day when our bovs were there, and the 
fort was full of Indians. A large crowd of them came 
into the agent's office and stood around our boys with a 
dangerous look in their black, snakish-looking eyes. 
They recognized them as rangers, and hated them with 
all their savage nature. They wanted to look at the 
carbines, but our boys would not allow them to put their 

346 Rangers and Pioneers of Texas. 

hands on them. George McPhail had on a pair of 
revolvers, and before he could prevent it an Indian 
jerked one of them from the scabbard. George snatched 
out the other one, and presenting it at the Indian's 
breast, made him put it back. The Indians looked very 
angry, and, after muttering among themselves and giv- 
ing the boys a black look, took their departure. 

After the business for w^hich they came had been 
attended to, the boys expressed their intention of setting 
out again that evening on their return, but the agent 
insisted on them remaining until morning, so that they 
could get some dist^^nce into Texas the next day before 
night, for he was satisfied if they started that evening 
and camped north of Red river, the Indians would fol- 
low and murder them if they could. Murphy said 
he would risk it, as he thought he could out-smart them ; 
and so, after receiving a letter to be delivered to Captain 
Baker, set out on their return. 

The boys noticed that the Indians watched them 
closely as they rode out of the fort. Murphy rode on 
until nearly dark, and then left the road and went into a 
small thicket near by, and dismounted, telling the boys 
not to remove their saddles, but hold their horses by the 
bridle, make no noise or strike a match. They remained 
here until about 10 o'clock, when a band of about fifteen 
Indians passed them, going towards the river. They 
expected to come upon the rangers in camp and m.issa- 
cre them, as the agent had feared, but they were com- 
pletely foiled. In about two hours they came back, and 
passed on towards the fort. At a signal from Murphy 
the boys mounted and quietly returned to the road, and 
by daylight were many miles from their foes, and spent 
the next night in camp among their companions. 

It was more quiet now on this part of the frontier than 

Rangers and Pioneers of Texas. 347 

it had been for some time. Our men scoured the coun- 
try around, but could find no fresh trails of Indians. 
The people breathed more freely, and it was published 
in a Denton paper that Wise and Montague counties 
were now fully protected by the Texas rangers, and it 
has been said they never raided that part of the country 
where we fought them, again. 

As soon as Billy Sorrell was sufficiently recovered from 
his wound, we were to have a ranger celebration at 
Decatur, Wise county. It was to be given by the citi- 
zens of said county, in honor of our recent fight. We 
had probably saved lives, besides considerable stock, for 
about 900 head of horses were under herd about six 
miles below the battle ground, on Hickory creek, and 
every one was satisfied the Indians were going after 
these horses, and would have driven them across Red 
river, if we had not overtaken and fought them. 







As SOON as young Soirell recovered, which was 
nearly a month after the fight, he arrived at the captain's 
camp, and our sergeant received orders to move his men 
down there. We did so, and in a few days set out for 
Decatur, and on arriving at that place were warmly 
received by the citizens. Onr men went into camp near 
the square, and had stables furnished in which* to keep 
our horses. 

The people had collected from all parts of the county 
and some from adjoining counties. The programme 
was to have dinner at i o'clock, and then repair to the 
court-house, where speeches would be delivered by 
Colonel E. B. Pickett, Colonel Bowles, Sergeant Cobb, 
and Miss Mary Pickett, who was to present our com- 
pany with a flag, made by herself and other young ladies 
of Wise county. At night there was to be a grand ball 
at the court-house. Lieutenant Hill was going to pre- 
sent the boys who were in the fight with a fine revolver 
apiece, with their names and date of the fight, which 
was February 7th, 187 1, engraved on the handles. 
When dinner was announced, we repaired to the dining- 
hall, where we found a long table, handsomely deco- 
rated and literally covered with everything which was 

Rangers and Pioneers of Texas. 


nice and wholesome, to eat. The rangers occupied the 
table first, and were waited on by a bevy of Wise coun- 
ty's most handsome daughters. 

We did ample justice to the dinner ; but I think some 
of the boys did not eat as much as they would have 
done had they been seated around a camp fire on the 
plains. There stood men who, a short time before, had 
shouted defiance to a picked band of Kiowa and 
Comanche warriors, outnumbering them four to one, 
surrounded, on the broad prairie, with no chance for 
succor ; met charge after charge with a steady eye and 
unblanched cheek. Look at some of them now, when 
those beautiful girls approach and ask what they will be 
helped to ; they cannot face them with steady nerves ; 
they stand first on one foot and then on the other, mut- 
ter out something unintelligible, attempt to hand the 
plate, drop a knife, etc. For instance, look at that six- 
foot ranger here on my right. I saw him receive the fire 
of a Comanche Indian at the distance of thirty paces, 
without dodging, and now he is so confused and scared 
he has just told that black-eyed girl he did not use cof- 
fee, and I have seen him sit down around a camp fire 
and drink a level quart of it, strong and black, without 

Everything passed off agreeably, and our boys acquit- 
ted themselves with credit. After dinner had been 
served to all, we then repaired to the court-house, which 
was soon closely packed. Colonel E. B. Pickett then 
spoke, followed by Colonel Bowles, who held an Indian 
scalp in his hand. Miss Mary Pickett then presented 
the flag to Sergeant Cobb, and delivered a nice address, 
which was replied to by the sergeant. It was a beauti- 
ful Texas flag — blue ground with lone star in the center, 
and beautifully embroidered. Miss Mattie Blvthe then 

350 Rangers and Pioneers of Texas. 

arose and called out the names of the men who were in 
the fight, and, as they answered, were told by our cap- 
tain to take seats in front of the speakers' stand. She 
then presented the pistols furnished by the lieutenant. 
They were handsome weapons, and on each scabbard 
was a large Texas star. Three cheers were then given 
for the rangers, and the assembly broke up. 

Late in the evening the rangers mounted their horses 
and rode around the square, Ed. Cobb in the lead, car- 
rying the flag. In the wind-up, the boys gave a speci- 
men of their horsemanship, charging furiously around 
the square, wheeling and turning at different points, and 
changing from one side to the other of their horses. Bill 
Archer's pistol was accidentally discharged, which killed 
his horse. By early candle light the ball commenced, 
which lasted until near midnight. All seemed to enjoy 
themselves, and we had a good time generally. 

The next day our company left the pleasant little town 
of Decatur, to return to their duties as guardians of the 
frontier, carrying away many pleasant recollections of 
the celebration and the well wishes of the brave and 
generous people of Wise county. 

We did not return to our old camp, as the grass was 
eaten up. Captain Baker, with the main part of the 
company, encamped in the hills northwest of Decatur, 
near the county line, and Ed. Cobb was sent further 
north, with sixteen men, and encamped on a little creek 
in Montague county. 

In a short time Captain Baker sent out a scout for the 
purjoose of taking a wider range than usual, and find out 
the state of affairs in different parts of the country. In 
the round, they were to take in Camp Colorado, Fort 
Griflfin, and other places, some of them two hundred 
miles from our camp. The scout was ten men, and 

Rangers and Pioneers of Texas. 351 

taken from both camps. From the captain's camp the 
following were selected : Charles Robinson, Cecil Rob- 
inson, Sam Cobb, Joel Payne, Dan Woodruff; and 
John Fitzgerald, Judson Wilhoit, A. J. Sowell, and 
Gustavus Hasroot, from Sergeant Cobb's camp; the 
whole to be under the command of Second Sergeant 
Joel R. Payne. One of our men, whose name I have 
forgotten, failed to go, which left the nine mentioned 

We were provided with one pack mule to carry pro- 
vision, mostly flour and coffee ; we calculated to kill 
game for meat. The boys were well mounted and in 
high spirits when we started ; but they little knew the 
hardships some of them were to undergo before they 
should again see Decatur. We w^ere accompanied part 
of the way by some land buyers from down East. They 
were nice-looking men, but had never camped out or 
roughed it any. Mr. James, a citizen of Wise county, 
having business in the West, was also along. The two 
land buyers were well mounted, and had a pair of sad- 
dle-bags each and blanket, but I could discover no fire- 
arms about them, which somewhat surprised me, as I 
thought they would have been encumbered with such 
freight, traveling, as the), were, on the extreme frontier 
of Texas. Some of our men asked them where their 
shooters were, and they merely said they were armed, 
which caused a smile among our men. They had asked 
permission to travel with us as far as Fort Grifhn ; the 
land which they wanted to look at was near Phantom 
Hill, further west. 

In the afternoon, about 3 o'clock, I killed a large 
deer, which was very fat. We took such portions of it 
as we wanted, and went a short distance and campevJ, 
as we had been riding since morning without dinner. 

352 Rangers and Pioneers of Texas. 

Around the little pool of water near our camp the Indian 
tracks were thick and tolerably fresh. We called the 
strangers down there to look at their first moccasin 
tracks. We tried to start the trail from that point, but 
could not on account of the ground being so dry, the 
moccasins leaving no impression on the hard soil. 

After fires were built and coffee put on to boil, the 
sergeant told all those who wanted meat, to cook and 
eat. One of the Eastern men cut a very thin piece, and, 
after putting it on a stick, held it about a foot from the 
fire. The other one did not attempt to cook any, and 
seemed perfectly lost. I broiled a side of ribs nice and 
brown, which looked very tempting to a hungry man, 
and our friend, who seemed to have no appetite, fished 
a small knife from his pocket, and said he would try 
some of that, if I had no objection. I told him to help 
himself to as much as he liked, and to bread and coffee, 
also. " But," said I, "if you use that kind of a Bel- 
dooke I will beat you ;" at the same time drawing my 
bowie and chipping off a bite about three inches square. 

After a short rest, we went on further, and encamped 
for the night on a small creek. The grass was fine, and 
we saw several deer, but did not kill any. Sergeant 
Payne gave orders for no horses to be hoppled, but all 
be staked, as we knew Indians were about. Everything 
was quiet until about midnight, when Fitzgerald came 
on guard, and discovered that two of the horses were 
gone. He was about to notify Payne of this fact, when 
he heard a terrible plashing in the creek, as if horses 
were being driven hastily across. Thinking Indians 
were about, he gave the alarm, and the men were soon 
on their feet. John told them the Indians had crossed 
the creek with some of the horses. Payne grabbed his 
gun, and telling some of the men to follow him and 

Rangers and Pioneers of Texas. 353 

others to stay at camp, started off in a run towards the 
creek, followed by some of the boys. Being somewhat 
behind, I heard Payne firing before I came up. This 
caused some excitement, and some of the men left the 
camp, thinking we were engaged in a fight ; but it was 
a false alarm. Two of the horses had been hoppled, 
against orders, and they had strayed off, and they made 
the noise by jumping through the water, and when the 
sergeant arrived on the scene were close together, with 
something black between them, which he took for an 
Indian, and fired three shots before he was convinced of 
his mistake. It was a black stump about the height of 
a man. Next morning it was found to have been struck 
twice out of the three shots. On our return to camp, 
one of our land buyers was standing about half way 
betw^een the camp and creek, w^ith a small pistol in his 
hand ; the other remained in camp near his horse. 

From camp, next morning, we went in the direction 
of the Brazos river, aiming to S'trike it near Palo Pinto. 
During the day Sergeant Payne killed a large turkey, 
which we tied on our pack-mule Balaam, but had not 
proceeded far before it slipped down and popped Balaam 
in the flank, which caused 'this hitherto docile animal to 
kick up his heels and set off at a furious rate through the 
woods, getting rid of his pack as he went. Some of the 
men started in pursuit, while others followed to pick up 
our scattered utensils and provisions. The runaway was 
soon caught and the pack readjusted. We camped 
before sundown on a small running branch close to some 
mountains. Fitzgerald, being an inveterate hunter, soon 
set out towards the hills in search of game. Our camp 
was in a small grove of live oak saplings, near the creek 
bank. It is always the best policy to camp among trees 
in an Indian country, if possible, for in case of a sudden 


354 Rangers and Pioneers of Texas. 

attack at night they afford cover for the men, and very 
often saves a party from slaughter. The horses were all 
staked out and the mule was suffered to go loose, as he 
was never known to leave the horses. 

About dusk, Fitz. came in and reported that he saw the 
tracks of two Indians between the mountains, where 
they had crossed a small sandy branch. We kept a good 
lookout on the horses, for fear the two Indians would 
try to mount themselves. About midnight the pack- 
mule, who had wandered off towards the foot of the 
mountain, suddenly snorted and dashed back to the 
camp. Ever}' man was ordered up and kept in readi- 
ness, for we were satisfied the mule smelt Indians, and 
shortly afterwards some arrows struck among the small 
trees over our heads. The fire was put out, and every 
man strained his eyes to catch sight of an Indian ; but 
we were not molested any more that night, and we sup- 
posed the arrows came from the two Indians whose sign 
Fitzgerald had seen that evening. We searched for 
them next day, but could not find them ; and again set 
out on our journey towards the Brazos, the mountains of 
which we could see in the distance. 

During the day, the men and horses suffered consid- 
erably for water. We struck a drj' district and searched 
in vain for water to quench our thirst, after the supply 
in the canteens gave out. The day was very hot, being 
in June, and we were obliged to ride to the Brazos before 
we could get water. 

Towards nig^ht we struck the river near the Hog^back 
mountain. Our tired horses quickened their gait when 
they smelt the water, but we had to descend a steep, 
ragged bluff to get to it. The trail made by cattle and 
game on the north side of the river was very narrow, 
and wound like a serpent around the boulders down to 

Rangers and Pioneers of Texas. 355 

the water's edge. We had to go down in shigle file, 
and in some places it was close rubbing for a man and 
horse to g-et throusrh this narrow cut. Our mule always 
followed the crowd without being led, and as soon as he 
saw the water dashed ahead of us and started down first 
at a rapid gait, but soon lost his balance and got a fear- 
ful fall, rolling over several times before he could regain 
his feet ; but we all succeeded in getting down w^ithout 
further accident, and man and beast soon quenched their 

One of our men became very poetical, and made a 
song on our unfortunate little mule, who was now stand- 
ing, very contentedly, up to his middle in the water, and 
seemed to be trying to take in enough to last him the 
balance of the scout. I will give you a few lines of the 
song as a sample of the poetical genius of a Texas 

ranger : 

" Our nack-mule Balaam took a tare, 
And down the. hill he run, 
But struck his foot against a rock, 
And down poor Balaam come." 

We camped near the river that night, and next day 
passed through the pleasant little village of Palo Pinto, 
and nooned it on Eagle creek, where there was plenty 
of good grass. From here we took our course for Camp 
Colorado, leaving Fort Griffin to the right, and the next 
day took leave of the land buyers, who could then make 
it to the Fort in a day's ride. We found game plenty, 
and had as much fresh meat as we wanted. The streams 
also were full of fish. On one occasion we saw about 
thirty deer in one bunch, and killed three. 





One evening just before sundown we came out of a 
dense wood and struck a trail, which led down a small 
creek, and we were satisfied a stock ranch was not far 
off, and in a short time came in sight of it. The beeves, 
which were intended for market, were just being penned 
for the night ; they were herded during the day. We 
saw some confusion among the hands when we first 
came in sight, but they soon discovered we were not 
Indians, and gave us a hearty welcome. Some of their 
hands had been run in a few days before by Indians, 
and they were on the lookout. We went down to the 
ranch and stopped long enough to cook a supply of 
bread, and listened to the tales and adventures of these 
hardy pioneers. They had plenty of everything in the 
way of provisions, and although there was no woman 
about the place, everything looked clean and nice. 

One man interested me especially. He had a strange, 
wild look about him, and although an American, could 
not speak the English language good. He was cap- 
tured by the Indians when he was three years of age 
and kept by them twelve years, and it was by accident 
he was discovered by his father, who traveled among the 
Indians trading. He had some mark about his person 
by which he was identified, and was induced by his 
father to return with him to Cheyenne city, and was at 

Rangers and Pioneers of Texas. 357 

that place when it was taken by the Sioux, under Red 
Cloud, and the garrison massacred. His father was 
killed and himself wounded. He lay among the dead 
until after night, and then crawled off and made his 
escape. He was with the Indians at the battle of Round 
Mountain, when they were so badly whipped by the 
rangers under Van Dorn. He says they had been on a 
big raid in the Brazos valley, and knew they were pur- 
sued by a large force of rangers, and selected this place 
to make a stand and see if they could not defeat them. 
The mountain was flat on top and covered with bushes, 
rocks and briars. Their scouts kept them posted as to 
the movements of the whites, and they had time to select 
their battle ground. They got everything ready, and 
then waited one day before the rangers came in sight. 
The scouts came first, and after riding around some time 
became satisfied the Indians were on the mountain, and 
some of them went back to notify the commander, and 
about sundown the entire command came. The Indians 
were confident they could repel them, situated as they 
were, with nearly six hundred Comanche warriors ; but 
it made some of them quake to see two hundred Texas 
rangers, splendidly mounted, riding around reconnoiter- 
ing theii" position. 

The rangers posted sentinels at various points, and 
then went into camp a short distance off. and soon their 
camp-fires lit up the wild scenerv around. But few of 
the Indians slept that night, and at early dawn saw the 
rangers mounted and drawn up a short distance from the 
base of the mountain. 

When the assault was made, most of the rangers came 
on foot, but some charged furiouslv up the side of the 
mountain on their horses, and twenty of them gained the 
summit and charged among the Indians. Those on foot 

35S Rangers and Pioneers of Texas. 

soon came up, and the fight became general. Several of 
the rangers were killed on the mountain side as they 
went up, but the Indians were badly whipped, and soon 
scattered among the bushes and rocks, and succeeded in 
making their escape from the mountains in small squads. 
It being very rough, and cut up with deep gullies on one 
side, they left most of their dead and wounded on the 
mountain. This man said he himself was wounded. 
He was painted and dressed in the garb of an Indian, 
and thought himself that he was an Indian, as he could 
not remember anything before his capture. He said a 
ranger on a white horse shot him with a pistol. He fell 
and was carried off by a squaw. Twenty rangers were 
killed in this fight. The Indians lost about one hundred 
warriors. He then gave us specimens of his skill in 
throwing a knife, sticking it in a tree, a distance of ten 
steps, nearly every throw. He then gave several pro- 
longed whoops, which were truly startling, and reminded 
me of the 7th of February. 

We camped near this ranch on the creek and placed 
our guards for the night. Nothing occurred to disturb 
us until late in the night, when a horse suddenly dashed 
through camp, dragging a brush after him. Every man 
was on his feet in an instant, with gun in hand ; several 
of them had to jump behind trees to keep from being 
run over by the frightened horse, which kept turning and 
running back through the camp. Some of the men 
thought Indians had taken this means to make our horses 
break loose. Finally one of our men 'said he believed 
it was his horse, as he had tied him to a bush. It was 
so dark he could not distinguish the color, and shoulder- 
ing his gun, went off in pursuit, and by the help of one 
of the guards, who was trying to find out what the clat- 
ter was about, caught him, and found out it was his own 

Rangers and Pioneers of Texas. 359 

horse ; and, fastening him securely, came back and 
reported, and was severely rebuked by Sergeant Payne 
for his carelessness, and the camp was soon quiet again. 

We scouted some in this vicinity, but finding no fresh 
signs of Indians, continued our course towards Camp 

One day we stopped to noon near a stock ranch, and 
while there a man named Lawrence came to us and said 
a man had just been shot at the ranch. Sergeant Payne 
immediately set out with his men to investigate the affair, 
and make arrest, if necessary. We were met at the 
ferite by a dozen rough-looking men, armed with car- 
bines and revolvers, who demanded our business. Payne 
informed them we were rangers, and wanted to see the 
wounded man, and the one who shot him. They said 
the wounded man was in the house, but the man who 
had shot him was gone. We then dismounted, and six 
of us entered the house. We found the unfortunate 
man lying on his back on a low bedstead and a bullet 
hole in his breast. He seemed to be unable to speak, 
and the woman who sat crying in the house would 
answer none of our questions; and we w^ere compelled- 
to leave without finding out anything, but were satisfied 
there had been foul play at this place. The man Law- 
rence said he was a stranger in that part of the country, 
and that he lived up on the vSavannah, and asked leave 
to travel with us that day, as he was afraid of the men 
at the ranch. To this Payne agreed, but did not like 
the man's actions much. 

After we got some five or six miles from the ranch 
we met a crowd of armed men, who were on the hunt 
for Lawrence, and said he was ahorse thief, and wanted 
to kill him, but were prevented from doing so by the 
rangers. Payne then had Lawrence disarmed, and we 

360 Rangers and Pioneers of Texas. 

kept him prisoner until morning. By that time the lost 
horses, which the men thought he had stolen were found, 
and we returned him his arms and set him at liberty. 

After leaving this place we rode hard all day and 
camped on Savannah creek, and the next night camped 
on the same creek, expecting every minute to fall in with 
a band of Indians, as several old trails led out through 
this country. Our camp was at the foot of some low 
hills, near the creek. About sundown the wild turkeys 
commenced flying from these hills and settling in the 
creek bottom. I am satisfied several hundred flew over 
our camp. This was a wild, but beautiful country. We 
were far out on the frontier, with no house, that we knew 
of, between us and Mexico. Early next morning some 
of the boys were out killing turkeys. They were large 
and fat, and we enjoyed them for breakfast. The men 
were all stout and in good health, and a Winchester car- 
bine seemed like a toy in their hands. Our horses were 
also in good condition, the grass being good everywhere. 

While we were saddling up to start, a difficulty occur- 
red between Sergeant Payne and Charley Robinson. I 
do not now remember what it was about, but both men 
became very angry, and drew their pistols, and I sup- 
suppose would have commenced firing had not Sam 
Cobb, who was standing near, sprang between them. 
Others crowded around, and they agreed to drop it until 
some other time, and afterwards became good friends. 

We arriv^ed all right at Camp Colorado, and found 
Swisher's company still there, making regular scouts, 
but having no important fights with the Indians. After 
giving them all the information we could, got some sup- 
plies, and came out to Pecan bayou, where we camped 
and caught enough fish in a half hour's time to have fed 
fifty men. They were mostly blue catfish. 





After leaving Pecan bayou, we shaped our course 
for Fort Griffin, and for some distance traveled over the 
same route we had coine the winter before ; but there 
was quite a change in the looks of the country. At that 
time it was midwinter, and everything looked bleak and 
desolate. The ground was frozen, ^and the tall grass 
was bent down with ice. Winter in the wilderness is a 
cheerless scene ; but now it was springtime, and every- 
thing looked beautiful. The prairie was covered with 
green grass and flowers ; birds were singing in the 
woods, and deer and antelope scampered off across the 
great prairies at our approach. 

We deviated somewhat from our course and went by 
Hitson's ranch, on Battle creek. The hands were busy 
road-branding cattle for the trail. Hitson owned a large 
stock of cattle, and generally employed from fifty to 
seventy-five hands. The Indians seldom molested him 
on this account ; they did not wish an encounter with 
Hitson's cowboys, for they had been worsted by them on 
several occasions. Once, when nearly all the hands 
were away, they ran one man in and came near killing 
him. His horse fell and threw him so violently to the 
ground that he lay stunned for a few moments, and while 
in this condition one Indian ran up, and, leaning over in 

362 Rangers and Pioneers of Texas. 

his saddle, fired at him with a pistol, but missed his aim. 
By this time assistance arrived and the Indian fled. 

We found Hitson to be a kind, clever man. He invited 
us in to take dinner with him. He had no family, and 
lived there a bachelor life with his hands. The dinner 
was served on a large goods box, turned down. It con- 
sisted of corn bread, fat beef, and very strong black cof- 
fee. As we had ridden since early dawn without stop- 
ping, and it was now past twelve, we did justice to the 
repast. Mr. Hitson seemed to be a man between forty- 
five and fifty years old ; hale and hearty. He afterwards 
sold his ranch for four hundred and fifty thousand dol- 
lars, and removed to Colorado Territory. 

After leaving the ranch, we traveled up the creek 
until we found plenty of mesquite grass, and camped. 
Before we left the ranch Mr. Hitson pointed to a moun- 
tain, several miles off, and informed us that a lot of 
hands were there gathering cattle for Jackson and Mur- 
phy ; "but," said he, "most of them are new hands, 
who never saw an Indian or heard one yell, and some of 
these fine nights," said he (for the moon was full and 
the sky clear), " the Indians are going to burst them up 

Our camping place was under a large mesquite tree, 
which stood a short distance from the creek. As we 
were not hungry, we staked out our horses, spread our 
blankets, and all but one lay down to rest. When 
night came on a regular guard was placed, and one by 
one the boys dropped off to sleep, to dream, perhaps, 
of loved ones at home, far away towards the south, all 
unconscious of the dangers which lurked around, for we 
were apt to be aroused at any time by the war-whoop of 
the savage. 

I lay and looked at the stars a short time, which so 

Rangers and Pioneers of Texas. 363 

thickly studded the sky, and being weary, with a long- 
day's ride, soon fell into a dreamless sleep, and it 
seemed as if I had hardly closed my eyes when a hnnd 
was laid on my shoulder, and I instantly awoke and saw 
one of my comrades bending over me. " It is your time 
to go on guard, Jack," said he. " It is past midnight, 
and the moon is shining bright as day." " All right,'* 
said I, springing up; ''turn in," and pulling on my 
coat, for the night had become chilly, I picked up my 
gun, and was soon keeping the lonely vigils of the night. 
I stood with my back to the tree and gazed out across 
the moonlit prairie. What a glorious night it was ! I 
imagine it was such a night as this when the shepherds 
were watching their flocks on the plains of Bethlehem, 
when the heavenly host appeared and announced the 
birth of the Savior of mankind, and proclaimed peace on 
earth and good will to men ; but here, on this far-away 
frontier, the Angel of Death, instead of mercy and -peace, 
was abroad. This was the night for roving bands of 
Indians to commit their depredations. I looked far out 
across the prairie, and could plainly see the dark mountain 
looming up, at the foot of w^hich Hitson said Jackson's 
cowboys were herding cattle. Everything was quiet, 
still and beautiful, with the exception of the snoring' of 
one of our boys, w^iich grated so harshly on the senses 
that I was tempted to punch him with my gun. 

I had been on guard, I suppose, about an hour, when 
I heard a shot in the direction of the mountain, and turn- 
ing my head, heard another, and then another, and then 
a perfect fusilade at once. I knew too well what that 
meant on this far distant frontier. The Indians were 
making an attack on Jackson's camp. I instantly 
aroused the boys, telling them an Indian fight was on 
hand. Sergeant Payne sprang to his feet and ordered 

364 Rangers and Pioneers of Texas. 

every man to his horse and saddle up quickly ; we must 
go to their assistance. In a few seconds we were ready 
and about to mount, when we heard the clatter of 
numerous hoofs on the hard prairie soil coming in our 
direction. Payne ordered all the horses to be brought 
up to the tree, and if it were Indians to give them a vol- 
ley as they came up. In the meantime we could still 
hear firing in the direction of the beefherd. We could 
plainly see two or three hundred head of horses coming 
towards us, and mounted men behind them. Indians 
running off horses, was our conjecture. ''Be ready, 
boys; give them a salute as they come up," said the 
sergeant; but, while at full gallop, we saw a man dash 
around to the left and turn them, and they passed by, 
three hundred yards away. The moon was shining so 
brightly they could see our squad collected up on the 
prairie, and avoided us. 

We .learned afterwards that Hitson's hands were run- 
ning their saddle horses in to corral them. They were 
grazing them on the open prairie, and when they heard 
the firing at Jackson's camp they knew Indians were 
there, and quickly rounding up the herd set out for the 
ranch. When the noise of running horses had died 
away, we listened again for firearms, but the fight was 
over, and not knowing in what force the Indians were, 
for sometimes they went in bands of two or three hun- 
dred, and as the fight was over, we were apt to encoun- 
ter them on the open prairie, or be fired on by the now 
excited cowboys, for they were not aware there were any 
rangers in that vicinity. Taking all these things into 
consideration. Sergeant Payne decided to stay where we 
were the balance of the night, which we did, holding 
our saddled horses until morning. 

At dawn we mounted and set out across the prairie 

Rangers and Pioneers of Texas. 365 

towards the camp. After some trouble and delay, we 
crossed a deep canon, and were soon at the scene of the 
late battle. The first thing we noticed was a considera- 
ble number of dead horses. We got most of the partic- 
ulars of the fght from a man named Crow, who was on 
guard when the attack was made. He said he was on 
•guard near the horses, most of them being staked or 
hoppled. The beeves were in a strong pen, built 
of heavy logs. The men were sleeping near the beef 
pen, and near by stood a covered wagon. A short dis- 
tance from the camp was a deep hollow. Crow was 
looking in the direction of this place when an Indian 
rode out of it and stopped in the open flat, and looked 
towards the horses. Crow, who was in a squatting posi- 
tion, instantly sprang to his feet and fired with a Spencer 
carbine, but missed his aim, and with a yell the Indian 
dashed towards the horses. Crow fired two more shots 
in quick succession, but was unable to bring him down. 
At the same time a large force of Indians charged the 
camp on the other side and commenced firing. By this 
time the hands were aroused. Some fought and some 
ran. Jackson and his veteran hands, who had been with 
him a long time, tried to save the horses, but could not. 
The Indians ran in among them and cut hopples and 
stake-ropes in quick succession, and ran them off. This 
accounts for so many horses being killed and crippled, 
as Jackson's men kept firing at the Indians while they 
were among the horses. The new hands, which Jack- 
son had but recently brought from up the country, with 
but few exceptions, ran ; five or six took refuge in the 
covered wagon, which was struck several times during 
the fight. The negro cook, who had been for years 
with Jackson on the frontier, snatched a pistol from the 
scabbard of one of the terror-stricken men and ran after 

366 Rangers and Pioneers of Texas. 

a bunch of Indians, who were carrying- off part of the 
horses, and fired among them so rapidly that some of 
them took to flight. One man ran off into the woods 
barefooted, with only his under clothing on, and did 
not return until the next da\ . His scant clothing was 
torn into shreds, and his feet badly lacerated by running 
through briars and over honeycomb rock. Some of the- 
Indians kept up a furious yelling and firing, while others 
were carrying off the horses. One acted with great 
bravery, repeatedly dashing within twenty paces of the 
men who were firing, but so quick were his movements, 
and so dexterous was he in changing from one side of 
his saddle to the other, that he avoided several shots 
which were fired at him. Jackson, seeing this, ran 
around to that side and exclaimed: "Can't some of 
you fellows kill thatd — d Indian." The Indian in ques- 
tion soon made another dash, and Jackson fired, killing 
his horse, but the Indian made his escape. 

The fight was soon over, and all the horses, except 
those which were crippled, carried off. Daylight came, 
but they could not see a dead Indian ; several bows and 
and shields were picked up. An Indian is like a deer: 
he will sometimes go a long way after receiving a death 
shot. Jackson was as brave as a lion, and did all he 
could ; he had spent most of his life on the frontier, and 
was always cool in the hour of danger. On one occa- 
sion, while out in the woods near home, he came upon 
a band of Indians, and putting spurs to his horse, started 
for home with the red skins close at his heels. Seeing 
that some of them were as well mounted as he was, he 
drew his revolver and fired at the nearest ones until it 
was empty, and he then knew his safety depended on 
the speed of his horse, and he soon saw that he could 
outrun all of the Indians but one, and the race lay 

Rangers and Pioneers of Texas. 367 

between the two. The Indian soon came up with Jack- 
son, and drew back his arrow to give him the fatal shot. 
Jackson, who was closely watching him, threw himself 
on the opposite side of his horse to avoid it, but the 
shaft struck him in the neck, almost cutting the jugular 
vein, and as they were now nearingthe house the Indian 
left him. Jackson was unable to recover himself in the 
saddle, and hung on to the pommel until he was nearly 
in a fainting condition from loss of blood. On reaching 
the house the horse leaped the yard fence, and John 
Jackson fell off at his father's door. 




We did not tarry long at the cowboys' camp, but set 
out on the trail of the Indians, which we followed until 
noon, and had strong hopes of coming up with them, 
but the country became so rough and uneven that we 
finally lost the trail altogether. It was then agreed that 
two men should be sent out as scouts to look for the 
trail or the Indians, and were to meet the sergeant and 
party that night at Grier's ranch, on Hubbard's creek. 
Dan Woodruff and myself were selected to hunt for the 
lost trail. After a fruitless search in the hills, Dan and 
myself arrived at Greer's about sundown, and spent the 
night there, but the rest of the boys failed to put in an 
appearance ; and not knowing what else to do, we, the 
next morning, set out for Fort Griffin, distant abou thir- 
ty-six miles. It seemed that it was impossible for our 
scout to get into a fight with these Indians. Had we all 
remained together the frolic would have come off, for 
when we least expected it Woodruff and myself came 
upon them at Foil's creek, and only saved ourselves by 
hard and desperate riding, and arrived safely at the fort, 
where, on the next day, we were joined by Sergeant 
Payne and his party, who had been lost in the brakes of 
Hubbard's creek, which caused the delay. 

It was now determined that we would start back to 

Rangers and Pioneers of Texas. 369 

our company without further delay, and report to the 
captain ; and after getting some supplies went down and 
camped on the river, below the fort, ready for an early 
start on the following morning ; but during the night a 
terrible storm came up, and four of our horses got loose 
and ran away, followed by the pack-mule. The men 
who found themselves afoot next morning, and a hun- 
dred and fifty miles from camp, were John Fitzgerald, 
Gus Hasroot, Cecil Robinson and A. J. Sowell. Search 
was made by the mounted men for the lost horses, but 
without success. We then employed two Tonkaway 
Indians to hunt. They found the trail, and followed it 
two days, but could not come up with them. Captain 
Sansom, of the rangers, had just arrived a short time 
before, and went into camp below us, on the river, but 
was now out, with the most of his men, scouting near 
Double mountain, the main hunting ground of the 
Comanches, and, as he was our senior captain, we 
decided to remain until his return and report to him, ^nd 
accordingly went into camp on the river. 

One evening, while here, we heard a cannon shot at 
the fort, and then several more in succession. Thinking- 
likely that the place was being attacked by a large force 
of Indians, we hastily evacuated our camp carrying only 
our arms and ammunition, and set out for the fort, the 
loud boom of the cannon still echoing down the valley. 
As we were going through a little prairie, which skirted 
the hill upon which Fort Griffin was built, we saw the 
Tonkaway Indians swarming up the hill in the direction 
of the firing, and we hurried up the hill and soon came 
to the parade ground, where the battery was placed. 
The firing had ceased, and only the Tonks and a few 
soldiers were there. 

I asked a soldier who passed near us what the firinp- 
24 ^ 

370 Rangers and Pioneers of Texas. 

was about. " Firing a salute to General Sherman, sir, 
who has just arrived," was his dignified though polite 
answer, as he passed on. I saw the general that even- 
ing at the billiard-room of the officers. He had a stern 
expression on his face, somewhat resembling our 
esteemed Governor, John Ireland. 

General Sherman was at this time making a tour of 
the Texas frontier, inspecting the posts. Every day we 
went up to the fort to see what was going on while we 
awaited the return of Captain Sansom. One evening, 
while there, a large government train, consisting of forty 
wagons, loaded with corn, passed through, en route to 
Fort Richardson. The teamsters were well armed, and 
it was thought could defend themselves against any 
Indian attack which would be made upon them. They 
saw no signs of an enemy until they arrived at Salt 
creek, some fifty miles from Fort Griftin, near what is 
now called the Monument Rock. Here they were sud- 
denly surrounded by three hundred Kiowa and Coman- 
che Indians, led by the four principal chiefs from the 
Fort Sill reservation — namely, Sittanke, Satanta, Big 
Tree and Kicking Bird. The teamsters hastily formed 
their wagons into a square, took refuge among them, 
and prepared to defend themselves as best they could 
against this largely superior force. The Indians charged 
them from all sides, and a desperate and bloody battle 
ensued. Numbers of the Indians were killed, but of no 
avail ; one by one the beleaguered men were killed. At 
last the Indians closed in on them, the wagons were set 
on fire, and the bloody strife was over. Thirty-seven of 
the teamsters lay dead around the wagons, three made 
their escape, and one of them was badly wounded. He 
became so sore from his wounds that he was unable to 
walk, and had to crawl along, subsisting upon anything 

Rangers and Pioneers of Texas. 371 

which came within his grasp — insects, lizards, berries, 
etc. Eleven days after the fight he arrived at Fort Rich- 
ardson, reduced almost to a skeleton, but by careful 
treatment sunived that terrible massacre. 

In a short time after the massacre Gen. Sherman and 
escort arrived upon the scene. The wagons were still 
burning, and the bodies of the slain lying around. The 
Indians had carried off their dead, but the bloody ground 
around the wagons showed with what obstinacy the fight 
was carried on, and with what bravery and unerring aim 
these gallant soldiers had fought for their lives ; but at 
last they had to fall and die between two forts garrisoned 
by eight hundred men. 







General Sherman immediately dispatched a courier 
to the commanding officer at Fort Griffin, ordering him 
to send out force enough to overtake and punish the 
Indians at all hazards, and recover the w^agon mules, 
w^hich they had carried off. He was not yet aware of 
the fact that the Indians who attacked the train were 
from the Fort Sill reservation. 

I and my comrades were in the fort when the messen- 
ger was discovered, on the north side of the river, run- 
ning through the flat, and who never drew rein until he 
dashed up on his panting steed to the headquarters of 
the commanding officer, Colonel Wood. I remarked to 
the boys that there was Indian news, and our supposi- 
tion was that Sherman and escort had been attacked. In 
a short time a bugle sounded, and about three hundred 
cavalry assembled on the parade ground, and being 
headed by an officer, started off at a quick pace towards 
the scene of the disaster. They struck the trail at the 
battle ground, we afterwards learned and followed 
it until it divided, the smallest trail going in the direction 
of Double mountain and the other towards Fort Sill. 
A lieutenant with thirty men were sent after the small- 
est band, and the others kept the main trail, which led 

Rangers and Pioneers of Texas. 


directly to Fort Sill. Most of the Indians who engaged 
in the massacre had dispersed, but the four chiefs were 
captured and sent down to Fort Richardson, to be tried 
by the military; the mules could not be found. On the 
way down to the fort Kicking Bird said if they would 
let him go he would bring back the mules. This was 
agreed to, so I understood ; but the Indian, instead of 
keeping his promise, gathered up some Comanches and, 
taking the mules, left for parts unknown. The other 
three chiefs were carried in a light wagon, Sittanke being 
on the seat with the driver and his hands tied ; Big Tree 
and Satanta were sitting together just in their rear, and 
a file of soldiers rode on each side. When they arrived 
near the fort, Sittanke,* who had remained perfectly 
quiet, w^ith his blanket drawn closely around him, sud- 
denly threw it off, with a glittering knife in his hand, 
and, before any one could interfere, cut the driver's 
throat, and sprang to the ground, carrying the driver's 
carbine with him, and, taking shelter under the wagon, 
commenced firing at the soldiers, wounding two of them 
before he was dispatched. The other chiefs remained 
perfectly quiet while this was being enacted. The body 
of the dead chief was left on the prairie, and the other 
two were safely landed in the guard-house at Fort 

The lieutenant and his party overtook the band which 
they were following near the Double mountains, where 
they were engaged in shooting buffalo, and a running 
fight ensued, in which two of the Indians were killed. 

At the trial of the two chiefs they were sentenced to 
imprisonment for life in the State penitentiary, but after 
a short confinement were pardoned out by Governor 

*This old chief was uncle to the Sittanke whom the rangers killed in the 
fight near the Keep house in February, 

374 Rangers and Pioneers of Texas. 

Davis on a promise to remain quiet and peaceable and 
not leave the reservation. Big Tree, who was the war 
chief of the Kiowa tribe, never broke his parole, but the 
blood-thirsty and ever-restless Satanta disregarded his 
promises and commenced depredating again, but was 
recaptured and sent back to the penitentiary, where he 
soon after died. This old chief once captured the 
famous Buffalo Bill, but this noted scout outwitted him 
and made his escape. 

I think if these murderers and highway robbers had 
been tried by the civil authorities they would have fol- 
lowed the spirit of Sittanke to the hiappy hunting ground 
in short order ; but the suppression of these chiefs broke 
the power of the hostile Indians in the northwest. 

In a few days we left the fort and went down to Cap- 
tain Sansom's camp, and concluded to remain there 
until his return. Sansom's men reported plenty of ante- 
lope in this vicinity, and the next day I went out in 
search of some ; but first kept up the river for some dis- 
tance, hoping to kill a buffalo fish, as John Fitzgerald 
had killed a large one the evening before, but finding 
none I fired a shot at a large garfish, and concluded to 
quit the river and hunt antelope on the prairie. The 
bluff bank here was about twenty feet high, and I had 
to hunt for a place to go up. I soon found a narrow 
trail made by game and cattle coming to water. The 
bank being very steep, I took a running start, so as to 
get up easy, and coming out on the level prairie found 
myself face to face with an Indian. He was standing 
perfectly motionless, with a carbine on his left arm. 
He had heard my shot, and was looking for me. Now, 
an Indian was an Indian with me, and I could not 
tell a Tonkaway from a hostile, as he had nothing about 
him to indicate that he was friendly. My first impulse 

Rangers and Pioneers of Texas. 375 

was to dodge back under the shelter of the bank, but 
thinking this might give him the advantage to get a shot 
first, if he was hostile, I presented my carbine at him, 
and he commenced holloaing; " Tonk ! Tonk ! Me 
Tonk! " I then advanced close to him, but was not 
satisfied as to his real character, for sometimes this is a 
ruse of the hostiles to throw a man off his guard and 
take the advantage, and I determined not to leave the 
ground first and turn my back on him. I then asked 
him what he was doing down there so far from the vil- 
lage, as I knew the Tonks seldom went far alone, as the 
Comanches, their most deadly enem^, were constantl}. 
on the lookout for them. He replied, in broken English, 
that he was hunting antelope. I then thought that the 
presence of the rangers on the other side of the river 
had induced some of them to hunt down here, as game 
was getting scarce near the fort ; but still I wanted him 
to turn his back first, and, making a motion towards the 
prairie, told him to go on, then, and hunt his game, and 
without a word he turned square around and walked off 
across the prairie, without once looking back. He knew 
that I was a ranger, and that I mistrusted him, and 
seemed very willing he and I should part company ; but 
if he had really been a Tonk I could have hunted and 
camped with him and been in no danger. They are one 
tribe who never fought the whites. I saw one at the 
village who said that he was one hundred and sixteen 
years old, and that he had killed deer along the Colo- 
rado river, where the capital of the State is now situated. 
After watching the Indian for some time. I turned off 
in another direction ; but was unsuccessful as a hunter, 
and returned to camp emj^tv-handed. 

Sergeant Payne stayed at the fort most of the time, 
trying to devise some means of mounting us, so that we 

376 Rangers and Pioneers of Texas. 

could start, as our time was already out for the scout, 
and he was anxious to report at camp. While here we 
received news of a fight between Captain Cox's com- 
pany and the Indians. He had three of his men 
wounded and killed eight Indians. One evening a 
ranger galloped into camp bringing the intelligence that 
Captain Sansom had returned ; that they had a fight, 
killing two Indians, and also brought orders from the 
captain to break up camp and move to the fort. This 
ranger had some rings in his pocket which he cut from 
the ears of a dead Indian. We all then set out and 
joined Sansom's n-^en, who were encamped on the north 
side of the river, opposite the Tonkaway village. The 
captain was absent at the fort, but we received a hearty 
welcome from the boys, who said they had heard a good 
deal about Baker's men. 

Some of the boys then gave an account of the chase 
in which they secured the scalps of two Comanches. 
After scouting some distance up Clear Fork and back 
towards Phantom Hill, they came upon what they sup- 
posed to be a large Indian trail, and followed it eagerly 
and rapidly, and in a short time came in sight of a large 
mott of timber, as they rode over the swell in the 
prairie, and could see manv objects moving about among 
the trees, " There they are! " exclaimed several voices 
at once. The c'aptain ordered a halt, and examined the 
timber a few moments, but could not make out whether 
they were Indians or not ; but all agreed that they 
undoubtedly were, and one man even said he could see 
an Indian on a white horse. The captain then gave a 
few orders, and made a rapid charge on the timber, and 
soon traversed the distance, every man with his carbine 
in his right hand, ready to fire. As the objects had dis- 
appeared, the captain supposed the Indians had made a 

Rangers and Pioneers of Texas. 377 

stand near the centre of the mott, or were escaping on 
the opposite side, and hastily gave orders for a portion 
of the company to charge through, and the balance of 
the men to divide into two squads and circle the timber 
to the right and left. These orders were carried out, 
when suddenly about two hundred Mustangs ran out 
and scampered off across the prairie. After examining 
the place they found a large spring near the center of 
the mott, and it was, no doubt, one of the watering 
places for these wild horses. After laughing over this 
grand charge and joking some of the men about seeing 
so many mounted Indians, they concluded, as it was 
nearly night, this would be a fine camping place, and 
when night spread its dark mantle over the lonely prairie 
the rangers were quietly sleeping on the spot where, a 
few hours before, they expected to fight a bloody battle 
with the scourge of the Texas frontier — the Comanches. 





After leaving this camp, they shaped their course 
towards the Double mountains, in the buffalo range, and 
one of the main hunting grounds of the Indians, and 
•when not a great way from these noted peaks they began 
to see unmistakable signs of the proximity of the red 
hunters — moccasin tracks, the remains of slaughtered 
buffalo and other indices of their presence ; and Tonka- 
way Bill, the scout, was kept ahead of the command 
with orders to report instantly if he sighted Indians, for 
Captain Sansoin knew that if the Indians were not in 
force he would have to use every precaution to come 
upon them unawares. They were going through an 
open flat, with rising ground ahead, and could plainly 
see the scout going up this slight elevation, when the 
captain ordered a halt until he could reconnoiter the 
prairie beyond. The scout went slowly when nearing 
the crest of the ridge, and when his eyes came on a level 
with the open ground beyond, he was seen to suddenly 
stop and lower his head, and, turning his pony around, 
bent low in the saddle and came rapidly back to where 
the company had halted, and riding up to the captain, 
commenced in his broken English: "Captain, me see 
two Comanches ; me no know hov/ many more ; maybe 

Rangers and Pioneers of Texas. 379 

so plenty; me see two." The captain then ordered the 
pack-mules to be driven into a ravine near by and left 
in charge of Tonkaway Bill's squaw. While this was 
bemg done, the old chief, Casteel, who had accompanied 
the expedition, dismounted, and pulling out a broad 
strip of red flannel, tied it to the tail of his horse, and 
then remounting, pointed to it, and thus addressed the 
rangers-: "When we fight Comanches, and heap run 
and he.ip shoot, you see this, you no shoot me ; you 
know me Casteel." The old chief vv^ell knew that in a 
mixed-up fight on the prairie the rangers could not tell 
one Indian's back from another, and had taken this pre- 
caution to prevent mistakes during the confusion of the 
fight, like the Lipan chief, Flacco, in the fight on the 
Nueces, who, when the firing commenced, tied a red 
handkerchief around his head and remained near Cap- 
tain Hays during the combat. 

In a few moments everything was ready, and the cap- 
tain gave the order to advance at a lively gait to the 
crest of the ridge, and when they arrived at this point 
saw the two Indians sitting on their horses, about three 
hundred yards off, but no others were in sight. The 
Comanches fled at sight of the whites, and a lively chase 
commenced across the prairie, the timber being about 
two miles off. Every few moments -some one fired, and 
the Indians urged their horses to the utmost speed, and 
being well mounted che rangers did not gain much on 
them ; but, finally, one of them, in jumping his horse 
across a ditch, his girth broke and the saddle and Indian 
came to the ground. The other one, who was some 
yards in advance, seeing the unfortunate condition of his 
companion, half turned his horse, as if he would come 
to his assistance, but seeing a whole company of rangers 
coming at full speed, saw it was useless, and renewed 

380 Rangers and Pioxeers of Texas. 

his exertions to save himself. The dismounted Indian 
ran a short distance on foot, as his horse had run off 
when he fell, and then came back towards his enemies, 
throwing down his weapons and holding up his hands ; 
but, as the rangers kept firing as they came up, he soon 
fell, pierced by several balls. This delayed them some, 
and the other Indian had gained on them considerably. 
Five or six of the best mounted men now undertook to 
run him down before he gained the timber; it all 
depended on who rode the best horse, for he was out 
of the range of carbines. But after running a mile fur- 
ther they saw the Indian's horse was beginning to fail ; 
but he was also nearing the timber. Captain Sansom, 
seeing this, urged his horse foi^ward, shouting to the 
foremost man to shoot the horse. By this time they 
were in range again, and after a few shots the horse fell 
dead in his tracks, shot through with a Winchester ball. 
The Indian hastily disengaged himself from his fallen 
steed, and pulling two revolvers, took one in each hand 
and came back to meet his foes, uttering loud whoops 
of defiance, and firing at those who were near him, and 
it took considerable skill in dodging and wheeling their 
horses to avoid his rapid shots. Some of the men dis- 
mounted and fired, hitting him several times ; but this 
brave warrior continued the unequal combat until his pis- 
tols were empty and himself completely riddled with 
bullets. He then dropped his weapons and stood erect, 
with his arms folded across his breast. There was such 
a look of proud defiance in his features, and something 
so noble in the attitude in which he placed himself, that 
the rangers ceased to fire. He was bleeding from a 
dozen wounds, most of them fatal shots, but still he 
stood erect and gazed far off across the prairie, not 
deigning to look at his enemies, who had now silently 

• Rangers and Pioneers of Texas. 381 

gathered around him. By this time the captain, the 
Chief Casteel, and about half the men had ridden up, 
and sat gazing with astonishment at this curious finale 
of the chase. Presently the Indian began to sing, still 
looking far off, not even turning his eyes, when the other 
men came up and crowded around him. It was, indeed, 
a touching scene, and one which is seldom witnessed on 
the frontier. This lone Indian, standing on the prairie 
with his arms crossed majestically on his breast, with a 
far-off look in his eyes, singing his death song, with about 
thirty Texas rangers in a circle round him on their pant- 
ing steeds. 

When his song was finished, he stood a few moments 
and then commenced swaying to and fro, and finally 
sank to the earth, dead. Captain Sansom asked Casteel 
if he knew what he was singing. He said " Yes ; " he 
understood all he said, for he was acquainted with their 
language, and that he was recounting all the brave 
deeds he had done, the scalps he had taken, what a good 
warrior his father was, etc. The party then turned and 
rode slowly back to the place where the mules had been 
left, leaving the body of this brave red man where it 
had fallen. These two Indians were evidently part of 
the band which had been scattered by the soldiers, and 
if so, participated in the capture of the government train 
and the massacre of the teamsters, and deserved to be 
killed. The scalp of the Indian was taken off by the 

When the party returned to where the first Indian was 
killed, they found the squaw, in whose charge the pack- 
mules were left ; but when the firing commenced had 
deserted them and followed the rangers, brandishing a 
revolver in her hand, and when she came to where the 
dead Indian lay, reined up, and, leaning over, shot him 

383 Rangers axd Pioneers of Texas. 

in the crown of the head, then dismounted and scalped 
him. When the Tonkaways returned to their village 
they had the scalp dance. 

Upon the return of Captain Sansom from the fort, he 
was informed that some of Baker's men were in camp, 
and he expressed a desire to see us. When presented 
to him, we acquainted him with our situation, and he 
said he was just preparing to go on a long scout ; that 
his Tonkaway spies had just got in, and reported a large 
camp of hostile Indians on Pease river, numbering some 
four hundred warriors, and that he was going to start for 
that point on the following morning, and would furnish 
us horses to go with him, as he was going to send an 
order for Cox and Baker to join him on the route. This 
worked exactly into our hands, and we felt greatly 
relieved. Thirty Tonkaway warriors and fifteen buffalo 
hunters were also going with the expedition, which 
would make the force nearly two hundred of rangers, 
Indians and hunters. The Tonkaway Indians came 
across the river from their village about sundown, and 
camped to themselves near by. They looked terrible 
in their war garb and paint, and would make a man 
shudder to think of being surrounded by such fierce- 
looking demons. 

Our expectations of speedily joining our company and 
probably participating in a terrible Indian battle were 
doomed to disappointment. Captain Sansom returned 
to the fort that night, w^hen the stage arrived, and 
received a letter from Governor Davis, ordering him to 
immediately repair to Austin, with all the rangers under 
his command ; so instead of starting to Pease river on 
the following morning. Captain Sansom set out for the 
capital, and we went back to our old camp, on the river 
below the fort. Sergeant Payne w'ent to the fort to buy 

Raxgers and Pioneers of Texas. 383 

provisions. Captain Sansom had offered us transporta- 
tion to Austin ; but we were satisfied that our captain 
would not move until his scouts got in. Payne would 
not insist on us going with Sansom' s men, though he 
thought it would be best, but said if we wanted to join 
our own company, we would set out without delay, and 
he would keep the mounted men with us, as the country 
was entirely unsettled, with the exception of a few stock 
ranches, from forty to a hundred miles apart, and we 
were almost certain to come in contact with Indians 
before we got through. 

We disposed of our saddles, bridles, blankets, etc., to 
a squatter, getting about one-fourth their value. We 
retained only Our carbines, pistols, ammunition, and a 
tin cup apiece, and canteens ; I also kept half of a blan- 
ket to lay upon at night. I do not remember the day of 
the month, but it was in June, when we bade farewell 
to Fort Griffin, and set out on our toilsome march. We 
concluded it would be best to keep down the river some 
distance and then take a northeast course for Decatur, 
which led across a rugged chain of mountains, deep 
canons and rapid streams. We calculated to live on 
game killed by the wav. The distance was about one 
hundred and fifty miles. Some salt was about all we 
w^ere hampered with in the way of provisions, except a 
loaf or two of bread purchased at the fort. 






At noon on the first day we stopped on a little creek 
about nine miles from the fort. The day was warm, 
and we rested in the shade of some large elm trees. To 
the east of us was a range of low hills. After remain- 
ing an hour or so, we were about to resume our journey 
when we were startled by a shot in the direction of the 
woods. "Be easy, boys, and keep silent until we see 
what it means," remarked Sergeant Payne; and then 
several more shots were fired, and, looking through the 
bushes, saw about thirty Indians coming over the ridge 
towards the spot where we were, and as usual, we could 
not tell whether they were Tonks or hostiles, and made 
a general scattering through the brush, hiding like par- 
tridges, where we could watch them without being seen. 
We saw now that the Indians seemed to be firing at 
some trees as they slowly rode down the hill into the 
little valley, but our fears were soon relieved when we 
saw a white man, with a captain's uniform, ride over 
the hill behind the Indians, accompanied by several sol- 
diers. Every man then came from his hiding place into 
the open ground, and were then discovered by the 
Tonks, who instantly halted, not knowing what kind of 
a lay-out we were, as some of our men wore long hair 
and buckskin, and might be taken for a Comanche seen 

Rangers and Pioneers of Texas. 385 

through the brush. The captain, seeing the halt, gal- 
loped to the front, and when the Tonks came up and 
recognized us as rangers, were glad to see us. The cap- 
tain said he had been scouting, but could see no fresh 
sign since the massacre at Salt creek, and wishing us 
good luck moved on with his dusky scouts, and we con- 
tinued our journey down the river and camped near its 

The evening had been excessively warm, and towards 
night black, angry clouds banked up in the northwest, 
and the low-muttered thunder at intervals threatened a 
storm, and shortly after night it commenced raining, and 
such a rain ! It was no use trying to keep dry. It 
seemed as if the clouds had burst and poured out a 
perfect deluge of water at once. We stood it as best 
we could under the circumstances, and got but little 
sleep. The whole country was flooded with water, and 
it seemed as if day would never come ; but it did at 
length, and what a sight for travelers, especially pedes- 
trians ! Water everywhere ! The Clear Fork of the 
Brazos was out of its banks, and running at a fearful 
rate, and when morning came belied its name, for its 
waters were almost as red as blood. This w^as caused 
from the red soil of Paint creek washing into it some 
distance above us. The rain was over, and the rolling 
thunder, which resembled the discharges of artillery 
during the night, was dying away in the distance. The 
next thing now was something to eat. We had a little 
bread ; not more than enough for one man, and no meat 
at all, and on looking around we saw that we could not 
continue our journey, as a deep creek, which was now 
overflowed, was directly across our path, and emptied 
into the river just below where we had stopped for the 
night, and concluded to remain where we were for the 

386 Rangers and Pioneers of Texas. 

present ; and some of the boys set off up the creek in 
search of game, while Sero^eant Payne drew a hook and 
line from his pocket and said he would try for some fish. 
We had no doubt but what we could get plenty to eat ; 
but our amazement was great as, one by one, the hun- 
ters returned empty-handed, not even finding a quail or 
rabbit. Well, here we were ; no breakfast, no dinner, 
the sun sinking in the west with but little prospect for 
supper. But after awhile the gallant sergeant returned 
with a catfish weighing at least a pound and a half, to be 
divided among seven men — hungry men at that. The 
fish was cleaned, however, and laid on the coals, and 
when it was done, those seven men devoured it. 

That night we got some sleep, and next morning arose 
feeling sore and hungry. The creek and river had fallen 
somewhat, but was still too high to ford, and seeing we 
would have to remain another day, the hunters again 
scattered out in hopes of finding game, and it was a 
wonder to us that it was so scarce this far from the fort, 
but we all anticipated better luck this time. The horses 
fared well, for the grass was fine. Those remaining in 
camp began to get restless when noon came and nothing 
had been brought in. One man, who went out horse- 
back came in and said he could see no sign of game, but 
as he had to keep mostly in the open ground, we thought 
the footmen would be more successful. But, as the day 
before, one at a time, they came in with no better for- 
tune, and in vain the sergeant whipped the stream with 
his line, until he gave it up in disgust. A fish the size 
of the one he caught the day before would now be called 
a monster. Well, have the hunters all got in? Count 
up. No ; John Fitzgerald, the mighty Nimrod of the 
company, was still out. 

Thev all had faith in John. Some said thev knew 

Rangers and Pioneers of Texas. 387 

John would bring in something ; but the day wore on, 
and the sun had nearly run its course ; the men were 
actually suffering for something to eat. Only a small 
piece of fish and a bite of bread in thirty-six hours, and 
in vain we looked towards the hills for the appearance 
of the absent hunter; and now, for the first time, the 
idea occurred to us that John might be lost, and why 
not! This was a strange country to him. " Fire some 
guns, boys," said Payne, " and if he he is in hearing it 
will guide him to camp." Two shots were fired in 
quick succession, and were answered by a loud report 
from a carbine close by. Every eye was turned in that 
direction, and there was John, slowly approaching the 
camp, almost fagged out with fatigue and want of food; 
but he had game. Yes, John had killed a turkey, a 
small one, it is true — a hen — but its proportions looked 
awful in comparison with the sergeant's catfish. 

The tired hunter sat down to rest while his compan- 
ions hastily prepared the banquet. It was soon ready, 
and the boys gathered around. At last they had met the 
enemy, and were anxious for the fray to commence. 
Knives were drawn and the combat opened. It was 
short but decisive. There was nothing left of that tur- 
key but the slick bones and feathers. The boys all 
expressed themselves as feeling better. Pipes were 
lighted, and some might have raised their voices in song, 
but the shades of night were drawing around, and it was 
time to put out fires and place guards ; fires and songs 
might attract the attention of a band of gay and festive 
Comanches. It was not likely, however, that any hos- 
tiles were in this vicinity 'at present, for the Tonk scouts 
had just passed through here, and the trail of a Coman- 
che never escapes their eyes. 

Next morning we were all hungry again, and nothing 

3SS Raxgeks and Pioneers of Texas. 

to eat, and it seemed almost useless to hunt. One of 
the men, on the previous day, while crossing a high 
ridge, discovered a settlement across the river south of 
our camp. We had heard of the Lee settlement dovv^n 
this way, and this, we thought, must be it. We then 
examined the river to see if a horseman could ford it. 
One party followed the course of the river to the mouth 
of the creek, but there was no chance of crossing that 
way, for the bluffs were high on one side or the other of 
the river, all the way. If we could find a crossing the 
sergeant said he would send a man to the settlement for 
provisions enough to last until we could continue our 

It was not our intention to follow the river much fur- 
ther, for our course was more north, and we were going 
n«arly east. The sergeant and party returned from up 
the river, and reported no chance for a horseman to cross. 
There was one place which seemed to be a crossing 
when the river was down, but it was still deep and run- 
ning very swift, and the going-out place on the other 
side was so narrow that if a horse went down below it, 
it would not be able to land at all. The idea, therefore, 
of crossing on horseback was given up for that day at 

The only chance was for some one to swim the river, 
procure some provisions from the settlers, and then swim 
back across the river with it — a feat not easily accom- 
plished. There were only certain places where even a 
man could ascend the bank ; some places the bluff being 
twenty feet high and perpendicular. It was finally 
agreed that two men had better swim the river and bring 
enough bread to last until the next day, when w^e calcu- 
lated the whole party could cross, go by the Lee settle- 
ment, and get bread enough to last a couple of days, 

Rangers and Pioneers of Texas. 389 

and also some salt, for after we left this settlement we 
knew we would have to subsist for days on fresh meat, 
without bread, and salt was extremely necessary. Vol- 
unteers were called for, and John Fitzgerald and Cecil 
Robinson were the first to step out. 

I will here give the names of our party, who were 
assembled this afternoon on the high blu?f of the Clear 
Fork of the Brazos, devising ways and means to procure 
something to subsist upon while we were hemmed in by 
the turbid waters. It was now about the ist of July, 
187 1. The names of the party are as follows : Sergeant 
Joel R. Payne, John Fitzgerald, Sam Cobb, A. J. 
Sowell, Gustavus Hasroot, the two Robinson brothers, 
Charley and Cecil. Two of our scouts had returned 
some time ago with Mr. James. 

Charley at first objected to his brother undertaking to 
swim the river, for he was young — only seventeen years 
of age — and not very stout, and was fearful that he 
would not be able to stem the current ; but Cecil was 
determined to go, and the two began to strip for the 
trial. They selected for their starting-place a point fur- 
ther up the river, where they could have the advantage 
of the current, which they knew would carry them some 
distance down the river before they would be able to 
cross it and make their landing good at a certain point 
below the high bluff on the other side. They fastened 
their clothing to the crown of their heads, and, sliding 
in, struck out boldly for the other side. 

John, being short and strong in the arms and chest, 
soon crossed the main current, and made the landing 
place all right ; but as soon as Cecil struck it, he went 
down in spite of all he could do. The balance of us 
kept down the river where we could watch him and ren- 
der such assistance as lay in our power. Charley shouted 

390 Rangers and Pioneers of Texas. 

to him to come back to the side on which we Were, but 
he still continued to battle with the current in his 
endeavors to reach the other side. Fitzgerald had landed, 
and was running down the bank in order to help him if 
he could ; but Cecil finally crossed the current and swam 
to the other side, but the bank was so steep that he could 
not get up, ana had to still keep down the river, although 
nearly exhausted, but finally came to a cypress limb 
which dipped the water, and went out on that and down 
the body of the tree. A loud shout went up from the 
boys on our side, which was answered from the other 
side, and they soon disappeared through the bushes, and 
we returned to camp to pass off the time as best we 
could until their return. 

We were getting very restless, and anxious to be on 
the move. We were tired of our camp ; tired of watch- 
ing the bloody-looking water glide by. The rangers 
were being disbanded all over the State, and probably 
at this time our company was breaking up, and we here 
on the bank of this swollen river, one hundred and fifty 
miles from our command, and four of us afoot, with an 
unknown country (to us) to traverse, unsettled, and con- 
stantly crossed to and fro by hostile Indians. 

The sun was nearly down when we heard a faint 
whoop up the river, and saw the boys preparing to cross. 
By the time we arrived opposite, they were ready for 
the plunge. They took particular pains in adjusting 
their bread and clothing, and then launched out. John 
went down about one hundred yards and then crossed ; 
but young Robinson was again unsuccessful, and went 
down rapidly with the current, and what made it worse 
we saw that in his efforts to land he had displaced his 
wallet of bread, which now hung around his neck, tied so 
securely that he could not remove it. He made several 

Rangers and Pioneers of Texas. 391 

efforts to pull it off, but could not. His strength was 
fast giving way, and finally he went under. His brother 
uttered a cry, and commenced throwing off his clothes, 
and could hardly be prevented from leaping off the bluff. 
Fitzgerald again plunged into the river, and came, with 
swift strokes, to Cecil's assistance, who, meanwhile, had 
arisen some distante below the point where he went 
under, and made some feeble attempts to swim. Payne 
shouted to him to cease his efforts and drift with the cur- 
rent, if he could, until Fitz. got to him. By this time 
we were nearly back to camp, but here there was an 
eddy and a perfect whirl of water against the bank. 
Fortunately the drowning boy was caught in this whirl 
and brought to the bank, and before he could drift out 
again a long pole was reached him, to which he clung, 
and was carried down the river to a lov/ place in the 
bank, where we landed him like a big catfish. He lay 
some time on the bank before he was suflSciently recov- 
ered to walk. He had thirty biscuits hung about his 
neck, and when they became saturated with water were 
very heavy, and soon exhausted his strength. But he was 
soon all right, with the exception of the loss of his hat, 
which was by this time probably several miles down the 
river. That night we feasted, like sailors, on soaked 






Early the next morning we again examined the river, 
but did not think it advisable to make an attempt to 
cross until evening, as we had to be very careful with 
our arms and ammunition. We had plenty of bread to 
last us through the day. About 3 o'clock we repaired 
to the place where there seemed to be a ford, and one 
of the mounted men put his horse in and made it across 
without having to swim far. He then returned, and the 
three horsemen carried our guns, pistols, belts of car- 
tridges, etc., and we all soon made it across; and, bid- 
ding farewell to the old camp, set out for the Lee settle- 
ment, guided by Fitzgerald and Robinson, the latter 
having a handkerchief on his head in lieu of a hat. 

Arriving at the house of old man Lee, we informed 
him that we would like to procure some more provisions, 
and also spend the night there, and set out early next 
morning on our journey. The old man received us 
kindly, telling us we were perfectly welcome, and any- 
thing that we needed which was on the ranch was at our 
disposal. The horses of the fnounted men were put up 
and fed, and all invited into the house, where he 
informed his wife and daughters who we were. They 
received us politely, and set about preparing supper, 

Rangers and Pioneers of Texas. 393 

which was in due time announced ; and for the first time 
since the celebration in March we ate from a table. 

We had not forgotten how to conduct ourselves in the 
presence of pretty girls ; and they being communicative 
and intelligent, and in nowise put out by our half-savage 
garb, for they were used to seeing men dressed in buck- 
skin and loaded with pistols and knives on this far-away 
western frontier. The time passed off pleasantly. The 
old man remarked as we were about to break up for the 
night not to be surprised if an Indian alarm was sounded 
before day in the settlement. His neighbors, about a 
dozen in number, were from a quarter to two miles off. 
Telling the old man that if a row was kicked up before 
day that we would be on hand, we were soon resting 
quietly, after the toils and hardships through which we 
had passed ; but no hostile foe awoke the hardy pioneers 
of this little settlement that night, and we aros& next 
morning greatly refreshed. 

We had a good breakfast, and our small wallets were 
filled with nice biscuit and other refreshments, and one 
of the girls hunted up a second-hand hat and gave it to 
young Robinson; and after bidding them farewell, and 
thanking them for their kindness, for they would receive 
no pay, we again turned our faces towards the wilder- 
ness. But could we have seen but a short distance into 
the future we would have turned back and stood guard 
around this old man and his family: for, shortly after 
we left, this settlement was attacked by the Indians, who 
burned the houses and killed or carried into captivity the 
inmates. Old man Lee was killed in the horse lot, his 
house set on fire, and his lovely daughters carried into 
a captivity worse than death. But such was life at that 
time on the frontier of Texas. 

So sudden was the attack, the old man was cut oft 

394 Rangers and Pioneers of Texas. 

from the house, and, being unarmed, fell an easy prey 
to his blood-thirsty and cruel foes. 

When we again struck the river, we crossed without 
much trouble, and took a northeast course through the 
hills. We calculated when we set out from the fort to 
remain together, but saw, after traveling some distance 
through this rough country, that we would gain time to 
separate, for we were continually coming in contact with 
deep ravines and canons, also rough and rocky moun- 
tains, where the mounted men could not proceed, and 
would consequently have to make a detour to the right 
or left to avoid these obstacles, and which, if we 
remained together, would cause the footmen to make 
tedious circuits, as we could go through many places the 
horses could not. Itw^as some time before Payne would 
agree to this plan, but finally, seeing the necessity of it, 

We told the sergeant that we would keep as near on 
our course as we could, as we had all agreed that in this 
direction lay Decatur. In the meantime Payne and his 
party could travel rapidly where the country permitted, 
and soon reach camp, and inform Captain Baker of our 
situation, and if we did not arrive on time to send out a 
party to search for us. After coming to this conclusion, 
we divided what bread we had, and after many fare- 
wells and some misgivings we separated. 

After our companions left us, and we could see them 
no more, a sense of loneliness crept over us. Here were 
four of us, with more than a hundred miles to traverse, 
across mountains, canons, honey-comb rock, etc., and 
with some beautiful prairie country. After resting our- 
selves and holding a consultation as to our future actions, 
now that we were alone and without a commander, we 
slowly journeyed on. The boys now asked me to take 

Rangers and Pioneers of Texas. 


the lead and travel such a course as I thought best across 
this pathless country. I told the boys that I was not 
competent to undertake the task which they were about 
to impose on me, but if such was their wish I would do 
the best I could, and this was my plan. In the first 
place, we would keep a northeast course, and shoot no 
game, except for our subsistence, and to cook and eat 
before sundown, and light no fires at night, and to travel 
some distance after night and then lay down in the tall 

(The Lost .Scouts.) 

grass, and it would take a keen-sighted Indian to find 
us. We were also to avoid prairies as much as possible 
for fear of encountering a mounted band of Indians, for 
then our chances would be slim of saving our scalps ; 
but in the rocks and canons, brush or timber, with two 
hundred rounds of ammunition, we felt that we could 
hold our own against great odds. The boys all agreed 
that this was the safest plan, and observed it all the way 
through. We had to pass within twelve or fifteen miles 

39^ * Rangers and Pioneers of Texas. 

of the spot where, a few days before, three hundred 
painted savages had yelled around the doomed men in 
charge of the train, and we were apt to come in contact 
with a roving band of hostiles at any time, and it 
behooved us to be ever watchful and on our guard. 

The'first night after the boys left us we were on a high 
mountain when night closed in around us, and it soon 
became so dark we could not see our way, and we lay 
down and slept good until morning. It was well that 
we stopped when we did, for the mountain had gradually 
narrowed to a point, and was steep and rugged, with 
deep chasms on each side, and we had to retrace our 
steps for some distance before we could descend into the 

That morning we ate our last biscuit, and began to 
look out for some kind of game, as we now had to sub- 
sist on that without bread ; but game was plenty, and 
we soon killed a turkey, which we cooked, and after 
eating a protion of it, carried the balance with us, and 
no more killed until that was gone, for the report of a 
gun might draw an enemy to the spot, and we would 
only shoot when necessity demanded it. 

After three days' traveling, climbing mountains and 
walking over rough, rocky country, our feet began to 
blister, and we suffered at every step. We wore heavy 
boots, and not being used to traveling on foot, we made 
but slow progress. Ascending a mountain on the fourth 
day, and looking back, we could still see the brakes of 
Clear Fork, from whence we started, but still we slowly 
toiled on, with skinned heels and blistered soles. 

We found plenty of game and pure water, and would 
have fared well if we could have traveled without so 
much pain and misery at every step.- We often stopped 
in cool, shady places, beside running streams, and 

Rangers and Pioneers of Texas. 397 

bathed and rested our tired and blistered feet, and vverp 
loth to depart and wend our way across hot prairies or 
up rugged hills. One mornin<j^, about the 6th of July, 
we started early, before the dew had dried from the 
grass, and had traveled but a short distance when we 
came upon a large Indian trail, which had been made 
but a few hours before, probably just before daylight, as 
the dew was fresh knocked from the grass. They were 
going in a west direction, and we crossed the trail going 
northeast, and therefore had no fear of encountering 
them. If we had lighted fires at our camp that night 
the Indians would have discovered us, as we had slept 
in the valley, an'd the Indians passed over a high divide, 
which overlooked our camp ; but we ^were lying asleep 
in the tall grass, all unconscious of the danger which 
was so near. We got away from the trail as soon as 
possible, as some of them might return for something, 
and discover us, for our Indian hunt was over, and we 
were now strictly on the dodge. From the looks of the 
trail there might have been thirty or forty of them. 

After getting clear of the trail, we traveled on for 
some distance over a tolerably open but broken country, 
and then entered a thick forest in a level country, but 
occasionally cut through by a deep gully. We were 
about to stop and rest, for it was about noon, when we 
saw the walls of a rock building through the trees just 
ahead of us. We were surprised at this, for we did not 
expect to find a habitation yet for days, but, on nearing 
it, we saw that it was unfinished and unoccupied. The 
walls were very thick, and the rock well joined together. 
It was partitioned off into several rooms, with numerous 
doors and windows. The floor, also, was smoothly laid 
with large stones, but there was nothing by which we 
could tell how long it had been there, or why it was left 

398 Rangers and Pioneers of Texas. 

in this unfinished condition, for it was roofless, and the 
grass was nearly waist high around its weather-stained 
walls, and a pile of rotten boards lay under a large tree 
near the south door. It was a pleasant, cool place to 
rest in, and we staid there some time. 

After leaving this place, we soon came out of the 
woods into an open, beautiful country, and a broad val- 
ley bordering a swift-running creek. Game was in 
abundance, and the soil looked rich and mellow ; but 
the red man still kept this beautiful country a howling 
wilderness, while thousands of human beings were home- 
less, struggling to maintain large families on old worn- 
out farms in other States. That was what we were here 
for, on this clear, bright evening, almost dragging our 
weary limbs along and limping at every step with blis- 
tered and swollen feet, that this paradise of northwest 
Texas might be opened up for settlers. When near the 
creek a deer was killed, part of it cooked and eaten, and 
what we could carry of it stowed away in our wallets, 
and again moved on, and as usual lay down after dark. 







Next morning it was almost impossible for us to 
travel. Our feet were so swollen it was with great pain 
and difficulty that we succeeded in getting our boots on, 
and after going a short distance were compelled to stop 
and pull them off. After resting for some time we again 
set out, but were compelled to abandon our boots and 
walk in our sock" feet, which relieved us for awhile, but 
the sharp stones soon wore our socks away, and we were 
left barefoot, but we still continued to slowly advance, 
and spent the night in some low hills, among rough and 
jagged boulders. Next morning Hasroot said he was 
unable to travel, but finally made the attempt, and by 
frequent halts got several miles by 3 o'clock in the even- 
ing. It was distressing to see him tr\ing to get along. 
The soles of his feet were puffed out and almost in one 
solid blister, and it was painful to even walk on the prai- 
rie grass. The others were suffering great pain, but he 
was the worst used up, and what made it more difficult 
was the weight each man had to carry. In addition to 
our venison, vve had a carbine, sixty cartridges and a 
heavy army revolver each. Finally, about three hours 
by sun, Gus sank down and said he was unable to pro- 
ceed any further, ajid begged us to go on and leave him, 

400 Rangers and Pioneers of Texas. 

and he wcnild make ;t to some settlement when he got 
able to travel, or he wonld remain there until a party 
could be sent back from camp after him. 

Of course we would not agree to this, as we knew not 
how far it was to camp, or what might happen after we 
separated to prevent us from carrying out this plan. We 
therefore prepared to spend the night where we were 
with our unfortunate comrade, and probably by morning 
we could move on a short distance further. I still had 
part of a light blanket, which I was carrying along to 
sleep on at night, and the idea occurred to me that I 
might convert this into a pair of moccasins for Gus, and 
having some buckskin strings, set about the work, 
and completed them before I lay down for the night. I 
put four layers of the blanket for the soles, which made 
them very soft and durable. When the work was done, 
I turned to my companion to inform him what a nice 
present I had for him, but he was fast asleep and his 
troubles forgotten. 

Had we thought of this sooner, and used our buck- 
hide the same way, we might have made it better. 

The following morning, when Gus awoke and discov- 
ered the huge moccasins I had manufactured for him, 
and I told him to try them on, as they were for his ben- 
efit, he said: " Where did you come across them fel- 
lows? Have you killed old Big Foot, a giant, or the 
Old Man of the Mountains ? They are not seven-league 
boots, are they, that I can jump in and step over to 
camp before night and tell the boys your situation? " I 
explained to Gus that they were neither of the articles 
mentioned, but a nice pair of moccasins I had manufac- 
tured myself out of the last remnant of my blanket 
while he slept. Gus then changed his humor, and looked 
quite serious as he proceeded to put them on. The 

Rangers and Pioneers of Texas. 401 

Big Foot whom he mentioned was not the famous 
Big Foot Wallace, the great scout and Indian fighter of 
Western Texas, but an Indian the rangers and settlers 
had often trailed, but could never catch, and who had 
one uncommonly large foot and one small one. 

After eating a light breakfast of venison, we prepared 
to move on, telling Gus to lead out and see how he 
could navigate in his blanket moccasins. He did so, 
and was surprised at himself to see how much better he 
could get along, and we could hardly keep apace with 
him, as we were suffering great pain at every step ; but 
we were cheerful, as we saw that Gus was good for the 

We took it slowly, often halting to cool our feverish 
feet in the cool mountain streams, which we often crossed, 
and in this way traveled eight or ten miles before we 
again lay down for the night. If Indians had been on 
our trail this day I think they would have abandoned the 
pursuit as soon as they caught sight of the track which 
Gus made, for if he had been proportioned in stature to 
the track he made he would have been about twelve feet 

W^hen morning dawned we arose greatly refreshed, 
but our feet were still sore and tender ; but we had 
avoided the honeycomb rock as much as possible, for it 
was the worst obstacle we had to encounter in the way 
of traveling. As there are people who do not know 
wh'at honeycomb rock is, I will try to describe it to the 
best of my ability. It is generally found in the low foot 
hills, and sometimes extends out into the prairies. It is 
not in large boulders, but in small fragments, scattered 
over the surface, sometimes for miles around, and is 
thickly perforated with small holes, resembling the cells 
of a honeycomb, with sharp, jagged points sticking up. 

403 Rangers and Pioneers of Texas. 

In some places it seems like a solid rock-bed beneath the 
surface. With these sharp points sticking out, it is 
almost impossible to travel over it, and as many of them 
are hidden by the grass, it is not possible to travel over 
them unshod without being wounded at almost every 

This morning we had nothing to eat, as our supply of 
meat had given out, and we had sighted no game since 
that we could get a shot at ; and it always seems the 
case. If men are out, this way, and run short of pro- 
visions and begin to suffer for something to eat, game 
seems shy and hard to get. I recollect hearing my father 
tell of a circumstance of this kind when he was a ranger 
at an early day in Texas. They were on a scout near 
the head of the Guadalupe river, and their provisions 
gave out, but it created no anxiety, for game had been 
seen in abundance, and they calculated to kill some next 
chance ; but night came, and they camped without sup- 
per, and the next day the same, and the next and the 
men began to suffer terrible pangs of hunger. Every 
eye was constantly roaming in search of game, but none 
came in sight, and they spent the third night in this con- 
dition. There was not much sleeping done, and by day- 
light they were again in the saddle. The men began to 
have a strange, wild look about them, and talked but 
little. About 8 o'clock they crossed a creek, and just 
as they got up the opposite bank there stood a large 
bear, not more than forty steps away. Calvin Turner, 
who was in advance, instantly checked his horse, and 
raised his rifle. The men all checked up, and remained 
perfectly motionless, with bated breath, watching the 
effect of the shot. At this moment the bear reared up 
on its hind feet, as if to get a better look •at them, thus 
presenting the fairest mark a hunter could wish. Turner 

Rangers and Pioneers of Texas. 403 

was a man of steady nerves, and drawing a careful bead, 
touched the trigger, and the cap popped without dis- 
charging the piece. The bear sprang off into the woods, 
as if he had been shot from a catapult, and before 
another rifle could be raised was out of sight. A per- 
fect yell of chagrin and astonishment arose from the men 
as they dashed off in hopes of coming up with him again, 
but the search was vain"; the bear made good his escape. 
Turner was uncontrollably wild with rage, and drawing 
his bowie knife, hacked the stock of his faithful old rifle, 
which had never gone back on him before, and wound 
up by shedding tears over his failure, when fifty hungry 
and starving men were at his back with loaded rifles, 
depending on his steady nerves and sure aim to fetch 
the meat. But fate was not entirely against them, for 
that evening a deer was killed and evenly divided among 
the men, a fire was lighted, and the feast began. One 
man ate up his share while searching for a gor)d stick to 
broil it on. 

After leaving our camp we traveled on until noon 
without finding any game, and stopped in some dry hills 
without water. The day, too, was excessively hot, and 
together with our painful mode of locomotion, aggra- 
vated our thirst. Fitz. thought he heard the yelp of a 
turkey, and took a short stroll in the hills, but could find 
nothing. After resting some hours. We again set out, 
with a long stretch of prairie ahead, which looked dry 
and hot, and made our feet ache to think of the steps we 
would have to make in order to cross it ; but there was 
no other chance, for the prairie stretched for miles to the 
right and left. 

We were now suffering with thirst, and the sooner we 
started the better, for we had to cross that prairie before 
we could get a drink, and bracing up as best we could 

404 Raxgeks and Pioneers of Texas. 

under the circumstances, we set out. The distance was 
much greater than we anticipated, and the heat of the 
sun was ahnost unbearable, it being now about the mid- 
dle of July. Besides, the prairie in places was thickly 
strewn with honeycomb rock. The sun was sinking low 
in the west when we began to near the confines of the 
prairie, and we steered our course for a small hill cov- 
ered with large elm trees, whose* shade looked cool and 
inviting after the long, hot tramp across the prairie with- 
out water. We could also see the serpentine course of 
a creek, which meandered towards the southeast from 
this point of timber, and we judged its fountain head 
must be there, and the thoughts of a cold spring buoyed 
us up and hastened our lagging footsteps. When near- 
ing the grove a small bunch of wild cattle ran out from 
behind the hill, and made off across the prairie in a 
northwest direction, and this also confirmed our belief 
that a spring was there, and gave us great joy, for it 
indicated that we were nearing the settlements. In this 
almost unlimited cattle range they often strayed from the 
ranches, and became almost as wild as the deer and 
antelope. As we drew near, we noticed a cottonwood 
tree growing at the foot of the hill on the north side. I 
remarked to the boys that I would bet a coonskin against 
Gus Hasroot's moccasins that we would find a spring at 
the rooc of that tree, and even before we arrived at the 
spot we heard the gurgling sound of running water. We 
forgot our blistered feet and ran to it, and such a spring ! 
It was delightful to look at. A stream of water came 
out from under the roots of the cottonwood almost as 
large as a man's arm, and nearly ice cold. There was 
a rattling of tin cups, and our thirst was soon quenched. 
We then ascended the hill and sat down in the dense 
shade of the elms to rest. The next thing now to be 

Rangers and Pioneers of Texas. 405 

thought of was something to eat, and in looking around 
discovered a thicket of wild plums. Numbers of them 
had ripened and fallen to the ground, perfuming the air 
with their delicious odor. They were the Chickasaw 
plum, and as sweet as any cultivated variety. After 
eating as many as we wanted, one of the boys set out 
after the cattle, in hopes of getting a shot, as by this 
time we were very hungiy. We had no scruples about 
doing this ; we knew the rangers were welcome to kill 
cattle to subsist on, when placed in a situation like this. 
Cattle were not as valuable then as now, and the Indians 
were constantly depredating upon them. Stock men 
were more than willing to furnish beef to men who were 
trying to rid the country of these dreaded and subtile 
foes ; and how quick the change has come ! Only 
twelve years have rolled away since we traversed these 
lonely wilds afoot, and now the country is thickly dotted 
with farm houses and stock ranches ; peace and plenty 
on every hand, and no one to make them afraid. The 
savages have been driven across the border, and no longer 
molest the Texas settlers. They have forever left the 
hunting grounds of their fathers, no more to return and 
dispute it with the white man. They have vanished, like 
a vision of the night, and a hawk's eye could not dis- 
cover an Indian's track. 

Our hunter, by taking advantage of a thicket, arrived 
in gunshot of the cattle, and brought down a fat calf. 
One of the boys went to his assistance, and they soon 
brought it in. A fire was raised, and we were soon 
feasting on fat broiled ribs, well salted, with occasional 
draughts of cold water. By the time the repast was 
finished night was at hand, and putting out our fire, we 
drew back into the dense shadow of the trees and lay 
down to sleep, which soon came after the toils of the day. 

4o6 Rangers and Pioneers of Texas. 

We arose early next morning, so as to make good 
time while it was cool, and when day dawned were 
ready to start. We followed the course of the little 
creek a short distance, and saw great numbers of small 
trout and perch in the clear water ; but as the course of 
the creek did not correspond with ours, we soon left it 
and began to cross the Keechi mountains. 

Some of the country now began to look familiar to 
us, as we had scouted near this range in June, soon after 
starting on this trip. We knew now that if we could 
hold out that in a few days we could make it to camp. 
We could still walk, and Hasroot's feet were getting 
well ; but the soles of his moccasins were fast wearing 
out and would soon be gone. 

After getting through the low foot hills, we deviated 
somewhat from our course, and ascended a high peak, 
60 as to get a good view of the country. Here we rested 
for a time, feasting our eyes on the grand and beautiful 
scene before us. 

The broad valley of the Keechi river lay at our feet, 
the stream stretching away to the south, till the timber, 
which lined its banks looked dim and smoky in the dis- 
tance. The view to the north was shut in by a range of 
mountains. The valley was as green as a wheat field in 
spring, with a thick coat of mesquite grass. This val- 
ley was once the home of the Keechi tribe of Indians,, 
and it was here in these mountains that Miss Hunter was 
held a captive forty-six days, but was restored to her 
people by them paying a heavy ransom. 

After gazing on this enchanting scene for some time, 
we descended the mountain and entered the valley, and 
after walking about a mile over the soft mesquite grass, 
came to the river. We soon found a shallow place and 
crossed over, keeping up the stream until time to rest 

Rangers and Pioneers of Texas. 407 

and eat dinner. After remaining about two hours, we 
left the river and struck out across the open country. It 
was not so warm to-day as it had been, and the country 
was level and clear of stones for some distance, and we 
made pretty good time, and that night slept in the hills, 
with the Keechi some distance behind us. 

The next day we saw more cattle, and crossed an old 
road running east and west. These were cheering signs, 
and we expected every minute to come upon a ranch ; 
and about 3 o'clock that evening, as we emerged from 
the hills into the valley, we saw a house about half a 
mile off, directly in our course. This hastened our 
movements, and we soon arrived at the place, but every- 
thing betokened it a deserted ranch. The gate to the 
yard fence was broken down, and high weeds had grovvn 
up around the house. There was a gallery fronting to 
the south, with open hall between two log cabins, all 
under one roof. There were chairs, tables, bedding, 
clothing and various other things scattered about in the 
passage-way and rooms. It seemed that no one had 
occupied this place for a year or more, and we conjec- 
tured that they had been run off by Indians. On the 
south side of the house there was a small field, and plum 
and peach orchard close by. We refreshed ourselves 
with delicious ripe plums, which were in abundance, 
almost to the door. The peaches were not yet ripe. 
There was also a spring and milk-house near by, and 
altogether it was a beautiful situation, commanding a 
fine view of the surrounding country ; but the place itself 
looked lonely and desolate, and we soon took our depar- 
ture. The sun was getting low, and we wanted to travel 
while it was cool. We afterwards learned that this 
place had been settled by a family from one of the north- 
ern states, who lived here several years. They had a 

4o8 Rangers and Pioneers of Texas. 

small stock of cattle, and were doing well ; but during a 
raid by the Indians through this part of the country the 
entire family were killed. Some of the children were 
found dead and scalped at the milk-house, as if they had 
sought refuge there when the savages made the attack 
on the house. As these people had no relations in this 
country, everything remained as it was the day of the 
massacre, except that the bodies had been removed. 

After leaving this place our journey was soon com- 
pleted. On the second day we struck Big Sandy creek, 
which was familiar to all of us. We took a bath in the 
creek, and then ascended a hill to see what we could 

"Decatur! " we all simultaneously exclaimed, as we 
gained the summit and cast our eyes to the east. Yes, 
there it was, about three miles off, and to the right. We 
had only missed our course this far in coming one hun- 
dred and fifty miles, and about 3 o'clock this forlorn- 
looking remnant of the scout walked into the square, 
with bare and blistered feet, long hair and greasy jack- 
ets. Rangers and citizens crowded around us. The 
news soon spread through the town that the lost rangers 
had got in, and we stood in our tracks the next five or 
ten minutes and shook hands. 

Payne, Dave Smith, Bud Seglar, Jim Seglar, Dawson 
Hodges, and others were just preparing to start in search 
of us, with guides who knew the country. Most of our 
scouting had been done further to the north and north- 
west, and our men were not familiar with the country 
we had just come through. W^e had been out just forty- 
four :lays, the last and longest scout that we made. 
While standing here, answering questions and shaking 
hands, one of my old messmates, Charley Figurs, came 
through the crowd, and taking me by the arm, told me 

Rangers and Pioneers of Texas. 409 

to follow him ; and leading the way to Brown's store, 
made me a present of a pair of fine boots, and, although 
painful, I pulled them on. If this ever meets the eye of 
Charley, he may rest assured that I shall always hold 
him in grateful remembrance. 

The boys had a brush with the Indians in our absence, 
and captured thirty-six head of horses. They ambushed 
them in a pass at night, as they were going out through 
the mountains with their stolen property. 

We reported to the captain, who was glad to see us, 
and had been very uneasy at our long absence. 

In a few days we set out for the capital, and were 

Occasionally we see some of the boys, and hear from 
others. Some have passed away. Gus Hasroot and 
Charley Robinson died in Gonzales county ; Gregg was 
killed in a fight with horse thieves in northern Texas ; 
Bill Archer was drowned while crossing Red river ; and 
Bill Taylor died in Santa Fe. 

I will here insert a letter which I received from Joel 
R. Payne five or six years after we were disbanded : 

Columbia, Tenn., July 12th, 1876. 

A. y. Sozvell, Esq., Se^id/i, Texas: 

Dear Jack — Time, with his furrowed brow, has brought about 
many changes for your old friend and comrade, and not the 
least among them is the reduction of his once robust frame to 
almost nothing but skin and bones. Sickness of the severest 
and most fatal type — consumption — has told very severely upon 
me in the last twelve months, and at last I have been compelled, 
from loss of strength, to quit work and retire — not on five thou- 
sand a year, but without a dime — penniless. 

And yet, my dear boy, I am surrounded by very kind friends, 
who do not let me want for anything it is in their power to fur- 
nish me I neither suffer for love or attention. My kind wife 
is my constant companion, ever ready to cheer me with kind 

4IO Rangers and Pioneers of Texas. 

and loving words, and never once faltering in her duty to her 
husband. Under all these circumstances, is it a wonder that I 
should still cherish a hope of getting well? If I should express 
one wish that I would like to have granted more than any other, 
it would be that our heavenly Father would grant me a few more 
years of life, that I might make some provision for my wife 
before lam called upon to " shuffle off this mortal coil" and 
bid the world an everlasting good-night. 

I feel that a great many years of my life have been foolishly 
wasted. Had I acted properly — had I done right when I became 
of age, I might to-day have been independent, so far as the 
goods of this world are concerned. But I did 7iot do right. I 
went heedlessly into reckless dissipation, and though my career 
was short, it was bright while it lasted. I finally saw the errors 
of my ways — when it was too. late, however, and after two years 
of reckless dissipation I found myself stripped of all my little 
fortune and broken down in mind and bodily health. Since 
then I have been struggling along, working for a salary. I have 
a little property left, which will probably net me four or five 
hundred dollars. With this amount I want to go to Texas in the 
fall and see if I cannot rebuild my sunken fortunes. The only 
danger I apprehend now is from hemorrhage from the lungs. I 
have already had four, but my physician says there is no partic- 
ular danger if I will be quiet for a time and abstain from work 
and an over amount of bodily or mental exertion. My idea is to 
resume work the ist of August, and continue until the ist of 
September or October, when I want to go back to Texas. I think 
I will either go to Wise or Montague counties, or go somewhere 
west of Austin or San Antonio. 

I presume you are still at work on your book. If you are, and 
I can be of any assistance, either in the way of furnishing items 
or helping you in getting it published, let me know, and I am at 
your command. You must be sure and tell me all about Dr. 
Gillespie, and all my other old friends. I suppose you have a 
family by this time, and have lost all desire to go back to the 
frontier. I've been thinking perhaps that you and I might get a 
commission and raise a company. I would be in my glory if I 
could get back. 

I will wait until I hear from you before telling you all the 
news. Do you ever hear from Figurs? I haven't seen or heard 

Rangers and Pioneers of Texas. 411 

from him in four years. Has George McPhail ever got back? 
My kind regards to your family. Write on receipt of this. 
Faithfully your friend, 

Joel R. Payne. 

I will state that I never heard from Payne again, 
although I answered his letter. 


u 9 66 



014 646 585 7 9^ 

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