TEXAS INDIAN FIGHTERS, ca 1883 - 1884
by A. J. Sowell.
more information about the Clicks at CLICK-L@rootsweb.com.
In the fall of 1866 Thomas B. Click, brother to M. C., was killed by Indians on the Medina River. He lived in Bandera, and was on his way up the river to see a man named Huffmann, who lived six miles west of town,who was going to move away.
Mr. Click started in the early part of the night and was riding a mule. When arriving at a point three miles from town at the fork of the road the Indians attacked him. He had no gun, and it was supposed from the sign that he turned and attempted to make it to the Medina River, 300 yards away. An Indian on a big horse (from the tracks) cut him off from there and turned him back to the road, where he was killed by a lance thrust, done evidently by the Indian, who ran around him, as the mule and horse track indicated they were close together. The slain man fell in the road, but the Indians dragged him out and left the body about fifteen steps away. Mr. Click had on a fine pair of buckskin breeches, which the Indians stripped him of and carried away with them. Next morning M. C. Click and D. A. Weaver started to Bandera, from about where Medina City is now, to attend to some business, and came upon the spot where the unfortunate man lost his life the night before. Mr. Click saw his brother's blood in the road, and stopping his horse said to Weaver, "Some one has killed a maverick here." About that time, however, his eyes rested on a small butcher knife in the road, and he dismounted and picked it up, recognizing it as belonging to his brother. This discovery made him feel uneasy, and a short search, for the grass was high, revealed the body by following the trail where it had been dragged. Officers in town were
notified and an inquest held over the body, after which it was taken back and buried in the cemetery at Bandera. A party took the trail of the Indians, but they scattered and nothing could be done with them. The Indians also got the mule and saddle.
M. C. CLICK was Marcellus Collin "Marsh" CLICK. D. A. (David Adam) WEAVER was his father-in-law.
M. C. CLICK. Came to Texas In 1863
While traveling through the mountain country of Bandera County hunting for frontier incidents, the writer (A.J. Sowell) had the pleasure of spending a night under the hospitable roof
of Mr. M.C. Click, who lived at that time in the Hondo Canyon, about two miles south of the Bandera and Utopia road.
While Mr. Clivk is not one of the earliest settlers of this country, he came here before all of the Indians were gone and has many true and interesting tales to tell of their daring raids and
bloody deeds. He came from Arkansas to Texas in 1863,and to Bandera County shortly after. In 1875 he moved to Hondo Canyon, but there were already some settlers here and had been for some time. Mr. Click was a Confederate soldier, and was in many battles during the Civil War. The following incident which took place before he came here, is a fact which he was familiar with:
In 1866 David Cryer and a Mr. Foster, who lived in the canyon north of the Bandera road, went to the town of Bandera in a two-horse wagon, purchased supplies, and came back across the mountains through the pass, and saw no signs of Indians until arriving near a noted mountain called the Sugar Loaf, from its peculiar shape, which was near their homes, and distant from Bandera about ten miles. Here at the head of a ravine around which the road ran they were ambushed by five Indians who were on foot, and likely saw the white men when they came through the pass. The Indians were not more than thirty feet from the two settlers when they showed themselves and drew their arrows back to shoot. Mr. Cryer saw the Indians just as they were in the act of shooting, and hit the horses a sharp blow, which caused them to spring forward quickly, and at the same time the arrows came, one of which struck Cryer in the small of the back and he fell from the seat backward into the wagon bed. Foster was not hit,and at once took the lines and whipped the team into a fast run, followed by the Indians, who commenced yelling and still continued to shoot arrows. There was a gun in the wagon which Foster now secured and aimed back at his pursuers, but they sprang to one side and he would not fire for fear of a miss, and waited for a better chance. During this flight over a rocky road the wagon bed jolted up over a wheel, and the horses, not
being able to run with it in that condition, began to slacken their speed. Although it was a most critical time, Foster stopped them, and getting out with great effort, lifted the bed back in place and then resumed his flight. The wounded man suffered untold agony during the wild ride, bouncing from one side to the other in the wagon with the arrow still in his body. It was not more than two miles home, and at the rate of speed the horses were forced into they soon arrived there. The Indians had long since abandoned the chase and went back. There was no doctor near to attend Mr. Cryer and he suffered great pain, as the arrow was deeply imbedded and could not be withdrawn by ordinary force or means. A man at Bandera named O. B. Miles had been a hospital steward and generally attended men who were shot by Indians or any other way, and he was at once
sent for and came, but Cryer had received a mortal wound and died in three days. Miles did all he could for him, extracted the arrow and dressed the wound, but of no avail. Three or four men went back to the place of the ambuscade, but could see nothing of the Indians. Many arrows were picked
up along the road.
The writer drove around the foot of Sugar Loaf Mountain, inspecting it, and indeed it is of peculiar shape and location, rising abruptly and alone out of the valley and towering high in a conical shape, and being almost perfect in symmetrical formation, except near the base, where it terminates in rough spurs and small gullies. The place of the ambush was also visited. The road is the same as at that time, coming round in a curve as it crosses the ravine near its head. There is a fall here of about six feet, over which the water pours during a freshet, but dry at other times. It is all solid rock, and the action of the water in time has scooped out a basin underneath in which a dozen men could secrete themselves and not be seen by any one traveling the road unless they stepped out into view. In the few moments the writer spent here recalling and pondering over this sad frontier tragedy and gazing down on the very spot where the savages stood and sent the fatal shaft into Cryer, he could almost, it seemed, see their upturned, painted faces, and hear the twang of the bowstrings as with brawny and sinewy arms they drew the arrows almost to the head and let them fly on their mission of death to a pioneer.
In 1867 Rufus Click, another brother, while coming from Kerrville to Bandera, was ambushed by Indians at the Bandera Pass. He had a dog with him, and when they got into the pass the dog raised his hair and got behind Mr. Click. This looked suspicious, but being on a fast horse he rode on, and was soon fired on both with bullets and arrows. The frontiersman leaned forward
on the horse's neck and the race for life commenced. There were two parties of the Indians, some on both sides of the road, and he had to run the gauntlet between them. A bullet hit his mare in the neck above the windpipe, and an arrow struck hitting below the shoulder blade and ranged up as he was leaning forward. The speed of his nag saved him, and he made it to the ranch of Mr. John A. Jones, three miles distant. He had to be assisted into the house, and a negro was sent to Bandera after Dr. Fitz Gibbon. He came and said Mr. Click was shot with a poisoned arrow, and he would have to give strychnine to counteract it, as it was the only chance to save him. He got well
but was never stout again. The poison was that of a rattlesnake. The Indians afterwards made a raid and stole the mare that Mr.Click rode that day and killed her below Bandera, stretched her hide on the ground and cut lariats out of it, commencing in the center.
In the winter of 1875 Jack Phillips, who lived six miles above Bandera on Winin's Creek, started to Sabinal Canyon on business for his brother-in-law, Buck Hamilton, who was sheriff of Bandera County. There was no wagon road over the mountains then to the canyon after leaving the settlement in Hondo Canyon; only a horse trail from there on. Phillips ate dinner with Mr. Click, then living in Hondo Canyon, and then went on his way. When he arrived at the pass which leads into Seco Canyon he was attacked and killed by Indians. This trail was above where the main road now runs. Mr. F. L. Hicks had
made a pasture fence across the trail, and in lieu of a gate had common draw bars through which to pass. Philips got through this and the Indians came down a point to the right and made their attack upon him. He ran back the way he came and succeeded in getting through the bars again,
but was closely pursued. It was a long chase of half a mile, the Indians firing, and the horse was finally shot through the shoulder with a ball and fell into a ravine. The doomed man now took down the ravine on foot, but was soon overtaken and killed. If he made any fight with them it could
not be told.
At this time Mr. William Felts and Miss Josephine E. Durban were on their way from Sabinal Canyon to Bandera to get married, and came upon the body shortly after the Indians left. They
first saw the horse, which was lying in sight of the trail, and went to him. Here they discovered the tracks of Phillips, where he ran down the ravine, and following these about fifty yards came to him lying face downward. They now hurried to the ranch of Mr. Click, told him the news, and stayed at his house that night. Next morning Click, Weaver and others went after the body, and Felts and Miss Durban went on to Bandera and carried the news over there. When Mr. Click and his party arrived at the scene of the killing the horse was still alive but unable to get up, and was shot by Dave Weaver. The body of Phillips lay face downward, stripped and mutilated. The Indians took the saddle off the horse and carried it away. The body was brought to Joel Casey's, the nearest Hondo settler, but off the main road, and Mr. Click went to Bandera that night and had
a coffin made. Mr. Phillips was a Mason and was buried by them at Bandera. Mr. Click is also a Mason of long standing.
The Indian were followed by Hondo men, but not overtaken. The shoes of Phillips were found on the trail. A scout of Texas rangers was on the trail of these same Indians, but their horses gave out and they were just turning back on Wallace Creek, fifteen miles away north, at the time the Indians were killing Jack Phillips, as it was afterwards learned. Dr. J. C. Nowlin, of the Guadalupe valley, was with the rangers on this occasion, and said they followed the Indians from North Llano, about where Junction City is now.
Historical Marker on the Courthouse Square
Main Street & Pecan
A Bandera County Deputy Sheriff, Capt. Jack Phillips, set out alone on Dec. 29, 1876, on an official visit to Sabinal Canyon. Indians attacked him at Seco Canyon Pass, 22 miles southwest of Bandera. Phillips raced for the nearest settlement. When his horse was shot from under him, he ran for half a mile before being killed. A mail carrier and a couple on their way to the county seat to be married found his body later that day. Ironically, the Indians had been trailed for many miles by Texas Rangers who had turned back in exhaustion just before Phillips was waylaid. (1970,