Erath County, TX Historical Newspapers

The Weekly Telegraph (Houston, Texas), Vol. 24, No. 45, Ed. 1 Wednesday, Jan. 26, 1859.

Palo Pinto, Texas
January 4th, 1859.

We, the undersigned, are the individuals who composed the company that attacked and killed a party of Indians (from the Lower Reservation) in this county, on the morning of the 27th of December, and felt it due to ourselves to make known the causes that led to this act, and all the attending circumstances in order that the public mind may be enabled to form a just opinion of our conduct from a correct knowledge, of the facts. We do this not from any disposition to evade any responsibility that may attach to our acts---but a proper regard to an impartial public sentiment.
Facts and circumstances dating as far back as last winter, all connected produced the opinion among ourselves and the community that it was the Reserve Indians, and them alone, that have commited the depredations in our section of country. These circumstances are too numerous to give them all, and yet they all form an important link in the chain. The fact that prior to the commencement of these depredations the Indians from the Reservation were all thrugh the country on hunting excursions, and soon after horses were stolen and the manner in which they selected the horses and the crossings of the mountains and streams, all evinced so thorough a knowledge of the country and the situation of the horses as gtiven rise to strong suspicions that the marauders were our near neighbors. These suspicions could not fail to be strengthened when several of our citizens learned that their horses were in possession of the Reservation Indians, and upon demand received some of them, the Indians demanding Ten Dollars per head as salvage, claiming to have recovered them from the Camanches who they alleged, with the Kickapoos, had stolen them.
In several instances there was a strong effort to conceal some of the horses known to be in their possession, for proof of which we refer to the evidence of Robert Martin and J. Hightower, two reliable and unimpeachable citizens whose deposition properly authenticated is herewith published. Notwithstanding these circumstances created strong suspicions and caused many of our citizens to request the Agents repeatedly, not to allow the Indians to come down in the settlements again--still many of our citizens willing to make some allowance for irregularities among a people changing or it would be more proper to say who it is claimed are changing from a savage to a civilized state, and we hopoed our suspicions might be groundless. Rangers were called out and soon the Indians retired from their hunting excursions and remained on the reservation. Immediately the depredations among us ceased. the Reserve Indians went out with the Rangers in the Spring in the xpedition against the Camanches. We learn they fought gallantly, and though some among us still had our doubts--a large majority of our people joined in the encomiums [?] so copiously heaped upon them. Things remained through the Summer, and we began to hope for peace an quiet, and our country began to settle up rapidly. This Fall our red neighbors from the Reservation began to come down among us in hunting parties. We immediately had our apprehensions excited; some of our number, Wm. E. Motheral with two other gentlemen, citizens of Palo Pinto. Messrs Lowder and Davidson, went to a party above Robt. Martin's Esq., between the 5th and 10th of December, firmly but kindly told them they must return to the Reservation--that the people could not nor would not permit them to hunt through the settlements--that they claimed to be friends and good Indians, but that our people could not distinguish one tribe from another, and they did not intend them to stay--that if they were good Indians they would show it by returning to the Reservation; and if they did not do it, they would raise men and kill them. The Indians promised to go the next morning early, and also promised to go by and notify some other parties that were in the country. The next day Judge Motheral while horse hunting met with two men of this party near the same place he again warned them of their danger and they openly laughed in his face at the warning, and he replie3d to them that they might laugh but if they did not heed it they would find it be too true when perhaps it was too late, they then became more serious and said they were then on their way to the Reservation. These warnings were made intelligible to the Indians and repeated till satisfied, and one who spoke the english language said he understood it. It is peroper to remark here, that these Indians said they were Aladarcou's [Anadarkos] and showed a permit from S. P. Ross, for the bearer and eleven others to hunt for twennty-five days, and dated the 11th of October 1857--and they were told it was worthless. Mr. Loyd, a citizen also notifed them that the citizens would kill them if they remained in the settlements. Other parties wre warned, all to no purpose, they would move their camps two or three miles but would not leave the settlements.
After these repeated warnings and the failure of the Indians to obey, six horses were stolen from off the Palo Pinto, about the 16th of December. And on the 21st of the same month a party of citizens from Palo Pinto and Erath counties, numbering from forty to fifty assembled on the waters of the Bosque, near Jamison's Peak, to take into consideration the best course to rid ourselves of horse thieves, either red or white, or both, as we had reasons to believe that there were a few white men in collusion [with] Indians. A committee composed of a large number was appointed, they organized the company composed of the undersigned, and they were ordered by the committee and it was sanctioned by the meeting unanimously, that we should kill any Indians found this side of Cedar Creek, and arrest certain white men and warn others to leave the State. We failed to find the white men we were ordered to arrest, but notified the others to leave the State, which they promised to do We then in pursuance to our orders went in pursuit of the Indians that had been encamped on the waters of Palo Pinto, and who we learned were still in the county of Palo Pinto. In the meantime we had learned from Mr. Jas. P. Brown, a reliable citizen, that one of the party of Rangers from Hubbard's creek informed him that they had trailed and Indian trail from where a negro was kill on Hubbard's creek (upon which trail some bloody garments were found) to the cam on Palo Pinto, occupied by the Reserve Indians, and that those Reserve Indians told them that they had had some of their horses stolen the night before the Rangers reached their camp. The Rangers then trailed this trail from this to another camp of the Reserve Indians (the one occupied by the party warned by Judge Motheral.) which had then been deserted and from which they could trail them no further, or at least the Indian guides who were trailing for the Rangers professed to be unable to get the trail off. We pursued the trail made by the Indians in pursuance to our orders and with a consciencius feeling of duty to ourselves and our country until we came on a camp early on the morining of the 27th December, when we charged the camp and killed all the men we saw and unfortunately and unintentionally, for it was positively against orders, and our intention to molest the women, still from the situation of the men being inthe tents, it being early in the morning and raining, two women and one child were killed. It was unfortunate, as we know it will be made a frightful theme for denunciations against us by the sickly sentimentalists who are ready to plead the cause of the poor Indian. That it was not our intention is sufficiently apparent when we left all we saw unhurt, except those mixed in with the warriors, and there were several.
We have testimony to prove that a warrior make the first effort to shoot, but candor and truth, and that spirit that dictates this narrative requires us to say that our charging his camp was sufficient to alone and cause his resistance, and that it had no influence on our course. It is proper also that we should say that the hostile demonstration made towards Mr. Vernoy by Jose Maria, the principal chief on the lower Reservations, and his son was made known to us before we made the attack and which is proven by Mr. Lemon's evidence' and in conclusions will only add that we honestly believe that w only anticipated the Indians that when we reflect that they were scattered over the country from the lower Reservation to Paluxy, a distance of eighty miles, and the insulting manner with which they acted and the depredations actually comnmited many minor ones we have not detailed, such as killing cattle and it leaves no doubt in our minds but that they after making their hunts and spying out our horses would have left a sufficient number to have driven off our stock and killing many unfortunate citizens happening in their way, and it would as usual have been charged to the Camanchese, and the Reserve Indians ready in the Spring to have led our troops to avenge themselves upon an enemy of theirs, but who we do not honestlly believe have done us any harm. That we have had wool pulled over our eyes in this way long enough is about an unanimous opinion.
We have no apology to offer for what we have done. We are sustained by hundreds of our follow-citizens. We are well known in the country in which we live, and have ever been men obedient to the laws.


P.S.---Loss---Killed 1: Samuel Stevens.
Wounded 1, John Barnes

Cushing, E. J. editor. The Weekly Telegraph (Houston, Tex.), Vol. 24, No. 45, Ed. 1 Wednesday, January 26, 1859, Newspaper, January 26, 1859; digital images, ( August 4, 2012), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History.
Accessed & Submitted here for use by Susan C. Hollis.

Transcribed and submitted by Barbara Kirkland

A LETTER OF LONG AGO (By William F Cobb)
Published in the Courier – Sentinal, Ellijay, Gilmer Co., Georgia Newspaper.

“Bluff Dale, Texas
November 29, 1899

Mr George W Gates
Editor Courier – Sentinal

“If you will allow me space in your paper, I will give you a few ____ from this part of Texas.

“This is a healthy country. I think it is the garden spot of the world. Anything will produce here that will produce anywhere else. It is one among the greatest peach counties in the world. Apples do not do very well here. We get one good crop out of every three, and there is no use to say anything about cotton. We make it every year, and corn grows as fine as can be, though corn is a little scarce here now, owing to a little drought that we had in the summer. Corn is worth 40 cents per bushel and cotton is 9.50 today. Sweet potatoes are worth from 30 cents to 50 cents per bushel, and as fine as you ever saw.

“A man can do well here if he will here if he will half-way try. A great many North Georgians are here, and some of them came here “strapped,” but they now have a good start.

“Not many days ago I was at Bud Bramlett’s and he showed me 1860 bushels of fine wheat that he raised this year. Bud is an old Gilmer county boy and is not afraid to work. Andrew and Fletch Long, Frank and George Gentry, and several other Gilmer county boys are here. Some come and go back and some stay. Bill Rogers arrived here Friday.

“It has been 5 years since I left Old Ellijay the last time, but if I live it will not be 5 more years till I will see the old home again – the dearest spot on earth to me. But I have got a good farm here; 106 acres, 85 in cultivation. I made 7 bales of cotton myself off 12 acres, and my renter made 25 bales.

“Last August was a year ago I changed my way of living, and I am now trying to live a Christian life, and I find it the happiest life on earth. I have a good Christian wife and two sweet little babies to cheer me on my way.

“If I could write some gracious line,
That those who mourn might read;
Some simple, hopeful, words to cheer
The hearts that grieve and bleed

“If I could speak some kindly words
To buoy some sinking soul
Across whose beaten, storm-tossed bank,
The waves of sorrow roll.

“If I could sing some stirring song,
To cheer some fainting hearts –
Implant a firmer purpose there
To set a nobler part.

“If I could do some kindly deed;
To light a life that’s drear
And bring a smile to quivering lips,
Or check a gathering tear,

“And that I owned no gold or lands,
True riches I would attain.
For if I should save one soul from hell
I have not lived in vain.

“Success to the Courier – Sentinal and its readers,

“William F Cobb”

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