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One of County’s First School Teachers Killed by Indians


School Was Located In Same District As Pecan


Copied from “Indian Depredations in Texas ,” by J. W. Wilbarger


Miss Ann Whitney was murdered by a party of eleven Indians, about 2 p.m. Thursday, July 11, 1867, just one month after the burial of the veteran John Hogue Pierson, who after one week’s illness, died at his ranch on the ninth day of June, 1867, on Sunday morning.


The place where Miss Whitney was murdered was at a small log school house, where she was teaching school in Hamilton County , situated upon the brink of the south bank of the Leon River . A beautiful valley, three-quarters of a mile wide and one and one-half miles long, spread out in front-free from every obstacle to the sight. This was called “ Warlene Valley .” The Howard’s lived one-half mile west and John Baggett one-half mile east of the school house. Ezekiel Manning and Alexander Powers lived one and one-half miles south, but behind a high hill. The Massengills, Ganns, Stangeline [sic--should be Stanaland], Cole and James M. Kuykendall, lived up the river within two miles. J. B. Hendrix and sons, Crockett and Abe, lived two miles. Judge D. C. Snow and W. Livingston, lived three and four miles and the Pierson ranch was six miles below. The town of Hamilton is six miles southwest of the place of the murder. This is only one of the many instances of fiendish cruelty and barbarity practiced by the Indians in the cold blooded and cowardly murder of their victims. The logs of which the school house was built were unhewn, as was the custom in those days, and the spaces between were left open, so that it was an easy matter for parties outside to fire through them upon the inmates. There was a small window cut out in the north side and was without a shutter. Olivia, the twelve-year old daughter of John Barbee, a stockman who lived northwest some ten or twelve miles, was boarding in the neighborhood, and attended the school. Her father was expected to see her while out cow hunting.


On the day and about the hour above named, a daughter of Alex Powers was about the door which was in the south side of the house overlooking the valley; while there she saw a party of men on horse back rapidly approaching and soon became satisfied they were Indians. Miss Whitney seeing her standing at the door and gazing so intently, asked her what she saw. She replied that she was looking at some persons in the valley, who were coming toward the school house, and that she believed they were Indians. Miss Whitney bade her take her seat, telling her not to be foolish, that the men were cow hunters. She believed it was Mr. Barbee, and did not take the trouble to see for herself. Fatal error! Mr. Power’s daughter was still uneasy, and soon took another look, when she cried out, “they are Indians,” and took her little brother by the hand, and made good their escape through the window. This induced Miss Whitney to go to the door, and immediately told the children they were Indians, and that they were taking “Mary,” Mary was the name of a fine saddle animal, the property and pet of the lady. She often made the remark, “if the Indians ever take Mary I want them to take me, too.” When she became satisfied who the men were, she shut the door and told the children to escape by the window, which all did except Mary Jane, a daughter of Ezekiel Manning, who was sick, and two sons of James M. Kuykendall. Miss Whitney was very large and fleshly, weighting about two hundred and thirty pounds, and could neither get out the window nor hope to escape by running out at the door. Many of the children crawled under the house and thus became unwilling witnesses of the tragedy that soon took place. In a few minutes the Indians had surrounded the house, and one who seemed the leader, said to Miss Whitney, in fair English, “Damn you, we have got you now,” She read her doom in the hideously painted faces and blood thirsty looks and menaces of the savage foe. This heroic woman never lost her presence of mind, and desiring to save the lives of the children committed to her care, she implored the Indians who had addressed her in English, to kill her, if that would satisfy them, but not to harm the little ones. Whereupon, the Indian held up three fingers to his comrades, and they began shooting at the poor defenseless woman with their arrows, aiming through the chinks. Little Mary Jane Manning clung to the skirts of her beloved teacher, whose life blood soon began to gush from her cruel wounds and to pour over the floor, and upon those beneath, and the fear stricken child that clung to her so resolutely. She walked from side to side of this-her prison of death-marking the footsteps with streams and pools of blood, all the while pleading with the ruthless savages to spare the lives of the little children-a spectacle which should have softened the obdurate hearts even of these devils incarnate. She finally succeeded in getting the two girls (Manning’s and Kuykendall’s) to get out of the window, and while doing so an arrow was buried in the back of Miss Kuykendall, inflicting a severe hurt but not fatal wound. This left Miss Whitney and the two Kuykendall boys in the house, and about this time the Indians succeeded in bursting the door open, and an Indian entered to complete the foul murder, but to late to do further harm. The last gasp was given-the last quiver shook the straightening limbs, and a tortured soul was loosed to angels as her hellish enemy crossed the threshold of the doorway.


On perceiving that their victim was dead, the Indians who had entered called to some one outside, whereupon the English speaking Indian entered and asked the two boys if they wanted to go with them. One, in fright, said yes, the other said no. And, strange, with a “d... you, sit there,” to the one that said no, he took him away with them. This was John Kuykendall and was subsequently purchased from the Indians and sent home.


At the time the Indians who had entered the house called to the one outside, the latter had about succeeded in getting Olivia Barbee up behind him on his horse. This call saved her from a barbarous and perhaps shameful captivity. She immediately fled and was afterwards found by Josiah Massingill. She had received such a fright and was so terror stricken that she was wild and it became necessary to run her down to secure her, which was not till the succeeding day. Miss Whitney was not scalped nor was any children killed. Other things were transpiring nearby, and so rapidly that, in the opinion of the writer, had more to do in saving the children from slaughter or captivity than the entreaty of the poor school mistress.


Miss Amanda Howard saw the Indians when they were leaving the school house, and made a daring ride to warn the people of the community. A party of men were gathered together and they trailed the Indians, but never caught them.







Seventh Grade:  Glenn O'Neal, Ira Dean Whitaker, Williford Thompson, Opal Brewer, Dilton Oates


Sixth Grade:  Garlon Thompson, Jack Massingill, Wilburn Brewer, Charlie Oates, Dorcus Bratton, Guy Blansit.


Fifth Grade:  Barbara Jones, Eulalee Oneal, Maudie B. Whitaker.


Fourth Grade:  Elverne Jones, Valvin Wickliffe, Orval Brewer.



Third Grade:  none


Second Grade:  Francis Thompson, Hugh Whitaker


First Grade:  Windolene Oates, Syble Brewer, Dick Wickliffe.


Teachers:  Principal, Miss Lucille Anderson; primary, Miss Lillian Cates.



S. A. P. Club


The S. A. P. Club was organized at the beginning of the school.  The officers were Willeford Thompson, president, and Guy Blansit, secretary.  Meetings wee held every full moon.  Much fun has been had in cooking suppers, attending shows, and making candy.




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W. F. BILLINGSLEA, Publisher



Shared by Roy Ables




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People and Places: Gazetteer of Hamilton County, TX
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Copyright © March, 1998
by Elreeta Crain Weathers, B.A., M.Ed.,  
(also Mrs.,  Mom, and Ph. T.)

A Work In Progress