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North Texas Star
Chasing our tales
November 2012 • NORTH TEXAS STAR STORYTELLER & RAMBLER • Page 2
North Texas Star
ADVERTISING Mary Jo Watson firstname.lastname@example.org Mary Gray mgray@mineralwellsindex CIRCULATION Brenda Hickey email@example.com PUBLISHER Mel Rhodes firstname.lastname@example.org LAYOUT & DESIGN Lindsay Bryant email@example.com CALL (940) 325-4465 ONLINE www.mineralwellsindex.com
3 OUTDOORS ALONG THE BRAZOS
CHASING OUR TALES
8 OF THE SAGA
ROBERT SIMPSON NEIGHBORS
DOWN MEMORY LANE
November 2012 • NORTH TEXAS STAR STORYTELLER & RAMBLER • Page 3 g
Outdoors Along the Brazos
Turkey Shoots & Snake Hunts
By Don Price
the string and you win a turkey]. It’s loads of fun! Also bow and arrow contests will be held and many more contests too numerous to mention in this short column. Elmer Seybold will show the fans a bit of keen marksmanship and exhibition shooting with his trusty muzzleloader. A Winchester Model 94 lever action carbine in 30-30 caliber will be given away at the Turkey Shoot to some lucky person. So come on out to the Brazos River Gun Club Sunday. You may be furnished a gun by a club member if you do not have one. Everyone is invited to attend. So come on out and enjoy the fun. (Author’s ad lib) Many local sharpshooters began looking forward to the fall of the year, as these Turkey Shoots were popular for a long time. One particular local expert comes to mind. At the time he was a trooper with the Department of Public Safety. You sure wanted to avoid his relay when the competition began on the ﬁring line, whether it be a riﬂe, handgun or shotgun relay. His name is Bill Carter, and it didn’t take but one or two shots for you to realize you’d made a big mistake to compete against trooper Carter. Snake Hunt The following article appeared in the March 17, 1965 issue of the Mineral Wells INDEX. It has been paraphrased. After the 1920’s things shriveled, with there being plenty of time to spit and whittle... but once again this coal country caught ﬁre, at least for a weekend. Excitement was in the air. Everything seemed tuned to a feverish pitch,
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Fifty years ago technology didn’t seem to inﬂuence the lifestyles of young people as much as today. The nineteen ﬁfties and sixties saw a period of limited TV reception, and video games hadn’t come along with their market share. So when the local American Legion was holding an outdoor Turkey Shoot two weeks before Thanksgiving, it was something the area sharpshooters were talking about. It was a great idea for a local community project, and it didn’t require a lot of preparation; expenses for the local American Legion post were minimal, and proﬁt for the Legion was worthwhile. So the Yaycees followed with their successful Turkey Shoot, followed by the Brazos River Gun Club. Several other local organizations also tried it. And if the weather held, turnout was good and proﬁts were made. These Turkey Shoots became so popular they sometimes ﬁlled the weekends from the middle of November through December. The following clipping appeared in the Mineral Wells INDEX in the November 5th, 1963 issue: The Brazos River Gun Club will hold its annual Turkey Shoots at the club range, one-half mile north of Seybold Guest Ranch, Sunday at 1 pm. Matches will be held for .22 caliber rim ﬁre riﬂes, high power riﬂes, shotguns, pistols, muzzle loaders, and bows and arrows. Some of the matches are quite colorful such as: Shooting at the running deer target or seeing how many times you can hit the miss-and-out target without missing or Cut-the-String shoot [simply cut
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with there being noise, danger, and close quarters. Never had Strawn (pop 817) seen so many people in a weekend, anyway, since 1910. Instead of grimy miners pitching coal in a bin, hunters pitched diamondback rattlesnakes in a pen. An estimated 2500 people from out of town came for the weekend from far and near; sixty-two registered hunters participated in the roundup, contest prizes also. Reptiles were collected. A chef was on hand. So several spectators sampled snake stakes (pun intended). “Delicious,” one said, “tastes like chicken.” Shellie Downs, Jr., the well-known reptile collector from Micanopy, Florida, “milked” the reptiles, extracting the venom from 250 western diamondback rattlesnakes. These reptiles were captured within a 50 mile radius of this quiet town, which lies in the southwest corner of Palo Pinto County. Bill Ransburger, herpetologist from Sweetwater, and his sons were there to identify and record the snakes as they were brought from the ﬁeld. Prize money was given for the longest diamondback, a 64 incher, by Chuck McBroom of Ft. Worth. A tie occurred for the most rattlers, 13 in all. Lython Fowler, of Strawn, brought in a diamondback with 13 rattlers as did D.W. Bearden’s hunting party from nearby Mingus and Gordon, Texas. Local hunters had the edge. D.W. Bearden’s hunting party also took prize money by bringing in the most reptiles during the 2-day contest, 152 western diamondback rattlesnakes. Fifty dollars was offered for the ﬁrst coral snake; the sponsor, the local American Legion, retained the money as not one hunter brought the deadliest of all reptiles to headquarters.
“This was our ﬁrst hunt and we think it is a huge success,” said Keith McDonald, Strawn High School agricultural teacher, who did a lot of leg work in getting the hunt organized. Doyle Combs, editor-publisher of the Strawn Reporter, was pleased with the publicity, both for town and paper. The American Legion is already planning ahead for next year. It will be an annual event. Autumnal Appreciation It begins before you know it, a ﬂaming dot here, an orange daub there, with interspersed gold, bringing before a mortal’s eye a mottled coloration yet to be captured on Claude Monet’s canvas.
The season picks up momentum (it’s November now): there are two dots of scarlet, two daubs of orange, two of heavy gold; before you blink again, there are too-many-to-count jewels as the crest of color is here, if we’ll take only a moment to notice. And it will crest, this autumnal coloration, some years more strikingly than others, if we’ll take only a moment to look... But in our culture of competitiveness, some folks have a habit of progressing haphazardly, often without a plan. This is human nature (the early bird gets the worm). In his haste to become successful – without realizing it – man possibly disturbs precious top soil and tree roots. It takes years to heal, likely more than a lifetime for one single live oak to mature. Realizing an average lifetime is very short, man develops an insatiable appetite within his timeframe for wealth and power. It looks as if man will never become completely satisﬁed as long as he lives; perhaps he’ll harm himself with nothing more than excessive ambition; and in his haste to reach the plateau of accomplishment, he could unintentionally harm the rest of us. Rather than pursue excessive ambition, which could shorten a lifetime in many ways, how does the switch to moderation sound instead? Is this a worthy subject to be discussed among thinkers? ▲
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Chasing Our Tales
By Sue Seibert
I posted a query about William Alfred Barber in my August column, and as I haven’t heard a word from anyone, I thought I would do a little research myself to see what I would discover. William was born in Texas on July 6, 1873, and he was living with his family in Panola, Texas, in 1880 at the age of 7. At the age of 23, he married Nannie E. Paxton in De Soto, La., and in 1900 he was living in Shelby County, Texas, at the age of 27. At that time he was listed on the census sheets as being an owner of a sawmill. By the time the census was taken in 1910 he, along with Nannie and their three children, Willie, Eva, and Thomas, were living in Tenaha, Shelby County, Texas, and his occupation was listed as a vehicle salesman. By 1920, the year after Nannie died, William, with Eva and Thomas, had moved to Mineral Wells, Palo Pinto County, Texas, living close to his daughter and her husband, Lyonell and Willie Barber Green and the Charlie Majors family. At the time of his death on Aug. 14, 1931, William was living in Wharton County, Texas, and his children, who were still living in Mineral Wells, brought his body back. He was buried in the Elmwood Cemetery. William was the son of Cullen Andrew Barber and Martha Ann Bowen. Cullen Andrew Barber was born in Coosa, Ala., on April 23, 1843. He moved to Panola, Texas, when he was age 21 and married Martha Ann Bowen. He was a farmer. He and Martha lived in Panola until she died in 1884. They had seven children. William was their middle child. After Martha died, Cullen married Julia Echols in 1884, who died in 1885; Miranda Johnson in 1885, with whom he had two children; and Alice Adeline Perry, with whom he had ﬁve children. Cullen was the son of John Barber, 18071862, and Lucy Jane Allington, 1818-1891. Lucy was John’s second wife. It appears they had 18 children, and it also appears John had seven children by his ﬁrst wife, Catherine. There is a story about William Barber’s brothers and many others which was published by the East Texas Genealogical Society in its East Texas Family Records. The story concerns the Battle of Mansﬁeld during the Civil War and the Red River Campaign of 1864, which was an effort by Union troops to occupy Louisiana and Texas. Both the battles of Mansﬁeld and Pleasant Hill, La., took place that year, and it is said that the roar of battle could be heard 30 miles away. The commander of the Southern troops was Gen. Richard Taylor, a Louisiana native, and although the North occupied New Orleans, Taylor and his men had kept them from advancing to the central and northern parts of the state. It is said that when the Northern troops began to build up in New Orleans, their commander, Gen. Nathaniel Banks, stated, “There won’t be a Rebel left in either Louisiana or Texas by the end of April (1864).” For he expected to attain Shreveport by April 10, and Banks thought to make good on his words, for Taylor had retreated to form a more favorable position, and Banks was aware of the retreat when he sent a probe to Alexandria, La. Therefore Banks sent Gen. A.L. Lee north in early March, and at the same time, about 10,000 re-enforcements from Gen. Sherman’s march to Vicksburg arrived in Louisiana to join Banks. For this Taylor paid a heavy price and a fatal blow was struck to the Stone family of Panola County, Texas. Peter Wynn Stovall Stone, the youngest son of John Stone, of Panola County, was with what was called the best artillery battery in Taylor’s army. The battery was at Fort De Russy near Marksville, La., and Banks’ Cavalry captured that fort, taking all the soldiers there prisoners, along with 250 of Taylor’s Calvary, while Taylor retreated further north toward Shreveport. Peter Stone was conﬁned as a rebel prisoner on March 14, 1864, and was sent to a New Orleans prison camp. There he fought malnutrition and disease. He was already weak, as he had just returned to his unit from a 45-day recovery period from wounds he had received eight weeks earlier. Stone and 44 other men had been stationed at Fort De Russy endeavoring to halt the approach of the Northern army. Within a few days of his imprisonment Stone was sent to the prison hospital with pneumonia, and within three days of his release from the hospital he contracted a
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deadly case of typhoid fever, which he had probably gotten while in the hospital. He died Mary 29, 1864, but his fate was not known by his family for over 100 years, until a writer investigated records and discovered it.
While Peter Stone was in prison and dying, his cousins and friends prepared to defend their homes along the Sabine River in Texas. And as re-enforcements began to arrive to replace the cavalrymen lost at Fort De Russy, Taylor sent his men to Natchitoches, La., and the Texas troops began to gather at Nacogdoches, Texas. As the Northern troops advanced, Taylor pulled out of Natchitoches and sent the Texans north to join two of his commanders, Mouton and Walker. Then Taylor sent Tom Green, his commander of the Texas forces, to help generals Delray and Major who had not yet crossed the Sabine. Their orders were to cross the river and lie up at Mansﬁeld, thus avoiding contact with Banks until the time was right. Banks delayed the occupation of Natchitoches long enough to hold Loyalist Elections, “while Texans swarmed across the Sabine unhindered by real opposition.” Taylor decided that Mansﬁeld Moss Plantation was the best place for a battle, and the Confederates, who now numbered 11,000, were still far outnumbered by the 40,000 Union soldiers. The Texans succeeded in stopping the Union from invading East Texas and Northern Louisiana, however, many men were wounded and carried their scars until their deaths. On the day of the Battle of Mansﬁeld all the southern troops were praying for victory, and the men were in high spirits. Taylor appealed to them to “draw ﬁrst blood in defense of their homes and hearths,” inﬂaming them to ﬁght like savages. By mid-morning, April 9, 1864, scouts, hiding in the tall pines along Stage Road, used mirrors to ﬂash that the Yankees were coming. The Confederates pushed the attack with extremely ﬁerce ﬁghting, and a southern reportedly wrote, “Through the
woods and along the road, our Cavalry and Artillery completely slaughtered them ... men and horses rolled down in hundreds. The road was red with their blood.” The battle lasted from dawn until dusk, and though the southerners were outnumbered, Taylor was the master of the ﬁeld. He lost about 1,000 men while the Yankees lost over 2,000. In Mouton’s charge that pierced the Union line, many Texans, including Mouton, were killed. A horrible price was paid for the victory, and it was said of the Confederates, “never in war was a more complete victory won. In vain were fresh troops brought in. Your magniﬁcent line, like a restless wave, swept everything before it.” Gen. Banks retreated to Pleasant Hill, 10 miles back, and there was yet another battle, fought on April 9. Texas was not invaded from the Red River Campaign. Wounded and dead rebels were removed to Keatchie where a hospital was set up in the old Keatchie College. The dead were buried in a cemetery nearby where the gateway is marked “Confederate Memorial Cemetery,” and massive tress and underbrush make it nearly impossible to locate graves. Among those wounded or killed were two of Cullen Barber’s brothers. Others who are named were W. M. Corley, who was placed on the Confederate Roll of Honor; E.T. Crawford, who was wounded; Dave McCormack, husband of Sarah E. Leslie, who as killed; Joseph N. McNeely, from Ochiltree County, who was
killed; William Tell Pou, who returned home to discover his family had heard the sounds during the battle; William Ritter, of F Company, 10th Texas Cavalry, who was killed; William A. Norman, who was killed; Pinkey F. Taylor, who was seriously wounded and whose father-in-law, Richard Golden, took a slave with him to the battle site to bring him home, although he died three days after reaching home; and Captain H.A. Wallace, who lived as a year as a prisoner and was paroled at the end of the war. Others in the battles were Robert “Bob” Wyatt, who was one of the older men in Panola County. At the age of 47 he had enlisted speciﬁcally to ﬁght in the Battle of Mansﬁeld to stop the Union from entering Texas. He lived through the war. Ebenezer Newton, in Capt. A. W. DeBerry’s company, was wounded. Thus ends one story, of part of one family, who later settled in Mineral Wells. Isn’t history interesting? See ya next time! ▲
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The Saga of Robert Simpson Neighbors – part 5
By Jim Dillard
States for use by Texas Indians. Once again Neighbor’s knowledge of the th landscape of the Texas frontier and the th Indians that occupied the region would prove pivotal to accomplishing his w next mission: to assist in locating lands n suitable as reservations for the Indians. s He H was notiﬁed on April 16, 1854, by Commissioner Manypenny that he and C Capt. Randolph B. Marcy had been selected C to locate lands for the reserves as soon as possible. p Captain Marcy, a graduate of the United States Military Academy in 1832, had S spent much of his military career on the s frontier including exploration of the upper reaches of the Canadian, Brazos and Red Rivers of northwest Texas. He had led an immigrant train of California gold seekers from Fort Smith, Ark., to Santa Fe across the Texas Panhandle in 1849. On his return trip, he explored a new route from Dona Ana (southern New Mexico) back to Fort Smith. In 1851 he escorted Gen. William Goldsmith Belknap to a site along that route in present Young County near a crossing on the Brazos River where Fort Belknap was established. He would later serve in the United States Army during the Civil War and as a brigadier general on the Texas frontier following the war. He left New York on May 4, 1854, and traveled to Fort Smith, Ark., and arrived on May 18th. After gathering adequate supplies from the quartermaster at Fort Smith for the expedition, he set out on June 1, 1854, with 15 men, nine wagons drawn by three yokes of oxen each, 10 horses, and an ambulance drawn by two mules. They arrived at Fort Belknap on July 12, 1854, where they met
(This is Part 5 in a series of articles on the life of Robert Simpson Neighbors, who was a soldier in the army of the Republic of Texas, Texas Ranger, prisoner of war, legislator, and Indian agent for the Republic of Texas and State of Texas.) At last Maj. Robert S. Neighbors’ dream that the Indians of Texas would one day have their own land came to fruition on Sept. 19, 1853, when United States Secretary of War Jefferson Davis wrote Texas Gov. Peter Hansbrough Bell, urging him to establish reservations for them in Texas. He saw this as a solution for the defense of the Texas frontier that would hopefully ease tensions and assimilate the agrarian and nomadic tribes into the cultural ﬁber of the state as self-sustaining people. On Feb. 6, 1854, after reviewing the joint resolution passed by the last Texas Legislature on the matter, Gov. Bell forwarded a copy of a law passed that day by the current session of the Legislature to United States Indian Commissioner Manypenny whereby Texas granted 18 leagues of unallocated land to the United
Maj. Neighbors with his Indian guides who would lead the expedition. While there Neighbors and Marcy held a council with the chiefs of the Ionies, Anadarkos, Caddos and Wacos Indian tribes that were located on the Brazos in the vicinity of Fort Belknap. They welcomed the establishment of a reservation for them with the desire that it be located below Fort Belknap, which would provide them protection from the hostile plains Indians to the north and whites settlers in the area. Since much of the land in that region had been claimed by settlers, the expedition would ﬁrst explore the region to the north and west along the Big Wichita River and higher up the Brazos and its tributaries for suitable lands. The reconnaissance expedition left Fort Belknap on July 15, 1854, and explored the river courses of the Wichita, Little Wichita, Double Mountain Fork of the Brazos and Clear Fork of the Brazos rivers and their tributaries of present Archer, Wichita, Baylor, Knox, King, Stonewall, Haskell and Throckmorton counties, returning on Sept. 7, 1854. No unallocated lands suitable for the relocation of the Indians could be found in most of that vast region. A reservation for Comanche Indians totaling 18,576 acres was ﬁnally selected and surveyed in present southern Throckmorton County along the Clear Fork of the Brazos River. Another 68,120-acre reservation was selected and surveyed in present southern Young County south of Fort Belknap for the Caddo, Anadarko, Waco, Tonkawa and small groups of Shawnee, Delaware, Choctaw and Cherokee. Four leagues immediately to the
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November 2012 • NORTH TEXAS STAR STORYTELLER & RAMBLER • Page 9
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November 2012 • NORTH TEXAS STAR STORYTELLER & RAMBLER • Page 10 traveled with Agent Hill on to Fort west of the Young County Belknap, where the whole band of reserve was also surveyed for Southern Comanches numbering relocation of the Mescalero 1,200 Indians had assembled. They Apaches. But that tribe, then had ﬂed there for protection, fearing located along the Pecos River rumors of an attack by troops in southwest Texas, was never assembling at Fort Chadbourne relocated there. under United States Army Capt. W.J. A detailed account of this Newton. While Neighbors in his expedition was recorded in the role as the federal Indian agent was diary of W.B. Parker. Parker, a endeavoring to calm the Indians on New York City businessman and the Texas frontier and settle them close friend of Marcy’s who had on reservations, state and federal yearned for an adventurous trip military units were being sent to the to see the vast southwest, was region at the same time to chastise invited to accompany Neighbors hostile Indians. The problem was on the trip. Fortunately, he kept that no distinction was being made a daily diary of observations he made on the trip which was later by the military between those that were friendly and those that were published as “Notes Taken During the Expedition Commanded hostile. by Capt. R. B. Marcy, U.S.A., Through Unexplored Texas, In the Maj. Neighbors left for Washington, D.C., to confer with Summer and Fall of 1854.” The book was reprinted in 1990 by the Commissioner Manypenny on the business of settling the Indians Texas State Historical Association, Austin, Texas, and reveals a on the reservations in Texas and arrived there on Jan. 25, 1855. fascinating account of that expedition including notes on geography, His report was accepted and approved, but back in Texas military geology, wildlife, plants, Indians, cowboys and weather. units had attacked and scattered several bands of Southern While the surveys of the two Indian reservations were being Comanches contrary to instruction left to Agent Howard that ﬁnalized and preparations made to move Indians onto them, they not be molested. In addition, Agent Howard had failed to Neighbors returned to San Antonio on Sept. 4, 1854. A report on assemble the Tonkawa Indians at Fort Inge (also known as Camp the expedition made by Neighbors and Marcy and surveys of the Leona in Uvalde County that was established to protect the reservation lands were forwarded to Commissioner of Indian Affairs Southern Overland Mail route between San Antonio and El Paso) and to Texas Gov. Pease for recording on Texas General Land Ofﬁce as instructed and exceeded his orders by making a contract with maps so others settlers would not locate on the same lands. his protégé and retainer, Robert W. Keyworth, to supply the 250 A daughter was born to Tonkawa Indians from the time they Neighbors and his wife on Oct. left the Nueces River until their 8, 1854, and was christened arrival at Fredericksburg. Francis Elizabeth Ritchey Neighbors arrived at Fort Inge Neighbors in the Methodists on April 5, 1855, to discover that a Episcopal Church of Seguin. few days prior to his arrival a band Sadly, she lived only a short of white men had assembled and time and died Dec. 1, 1854, threatened to steal all the Tonkawa’s after Neighbors had already ponies. The Tonkawa Indian women departed on Nov. 10, 1854, and children were sent to the on one of his tours to visit the mountains and a standoff between prairie Indians. the two groups occurred. With the He ﬁrst visited Fort threat of a larger force of white Chadbourne, where he found men returning, the remainder of the just a small band of the Tonkawa Indians ﬂed and could not See page 11 Comanches. From there he
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be located by Maj. Neighbors. He then returned to San Antonio with the intention of starting a wagon train with supplies for the new reservations in north Texas. On March 1, 1854, Major Neighbors made a contract with Charles E. Barnard to furnish 100,000 pounds of beef monthly to the new reservations. Agent Hill was authorized to begin moving some 800 Caddos, Ionies, Wacos, Anadarkos and Tawacanos located near Fort Belknap onto assigned locations on the Brazos Reserve to start farming and constructing agency buildings. One hundred-eighty Comanches under Chief Ketumshe were also temporarily moved onto the reserve. By May 1, 1855, Maj. Neighbors found that 550 Indians were settled on the Brazos Reservation. The quarrelsome Comanches under Ketumshe were sent on their way to their own reserve on the Clear Fork of the Brazos since Agent Hill expected an additional 450 Indians to arrive at the Brazos Reserve the next quarter. Two hundred-ninety ﬁve acres of corn had been planted at the government’s expense and an additional 100 acres by the Indians. Agent Hill resigned his position effective June 30, 1855, leaving Neighbors to attend matters at the agency until a replacement for Hill could be appointed. John R. Baylor, a former member of the last Legislature from La Grange, was appointed as special Indian agent for the Comanche
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November 2012 • NORTH TEXAS STAR STORYTELLER & RAMBLER • Page 12 relative peace would follow implementation of the two Indian reserves From page 11 in North Texas and arrival of the military units. Neighbors received Reservation and Capt. Shapley Prince Ross, a former Texas Ranger close cooperation from the military during this period but it was not to and friend of Neighbors then living at Waco, accepted his appointment last. to the Brazos Reservation, arriving there on July 31, 1855. Baylor Just at the military units arrived at the Comanche Reservation, arrived at the Brazos agency on Sept. 14, 1855, and was sent on to agent Baylor took an unauthorized leave of absence to his home in the Comanche agency on the Clear Fork to assume duties there. The Fayetteville, Texas, where he arrived on Jan. 16, 1856, to visit his wife agencies were eventually staffed with interpreters, farmers, laborers, who was pregnant with child. Due to Baylor’s absence, some of the sutlers, carpenters, contractors for corn, beef and supplies, and later Comanches became unsettled and left the reserve, fearing reprisals from with teachers and missionaries to instruct and assist the Indians. Agency the newly arrived military units. buildings were constructed on both reservations. Neighbors had been in San Antonio and Austin since Dec. 8, 1856, By the end of 1855, agent Ross reported that the Indians on the attending to agency business and working with the Legislature that Brazos Reservation had worked their crops together and built 15 log was in session. Just before he left houses with others under construction, as well as approximately 190 Austin on Jan. 25, 1856, to return to dome-shaped thatched grass houses typically used by those agrarian Fort Belknap, his ﬁrst son, Robert tribes. They also planted 800 peach trees, began construction of fences Barnard Neighbors, was born in and were taking care of the cattle given them. On the Comanche the home of his grandparents near reserve Agent Baylor reported there were 450 Comanches under chiefs Seguin. Ketumshe and Sanaco that were tending their cattle and pleased with the Signiﬁcant legislation was prospects of farming the following year. passed by the Texas Legislature Four companies of the Second United States Cavalry under Maj. that session, including a law William J. Hardee arrived at the Clear Fork Reservation on Jan. 3, authorizing the extension of the 1856, and established Camp Cooper to protect the Southern Comanche United States intercourse laws over bands located there from northern bands of Comanches. Hardee would the Texas Indians, particularly the be replaced by Lt. Col. Robert E. Lee on April 9, 1856. Two years of prohibition of the sale of “ardent spirits” to them. It also created a reservation of ﬁve leagues west of the Pecos River for the Lipan and Mescalero Apache Indians then located in the Davis and Guadalupe Mountains. Maj. Neighbors arrived back at the Brazos Reservation on Feb. 16, 1856, to ﬁnd everything in a good state of affairs except for the bitterly cold
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weather, which had put a stop to all farming activities by the Indians. He traveled on to the Comanche reserve on February 16th and remained for eight days. Five inches of snow fell on March 1st. Agent Baylor had still not returned but a letter was received stating he was on his way. Since many of the Indians on the Comanche reserve were suffering from venereal diseases, Neighbors asked the Commissioner of Indian Affairs permission to expend funds for medical services to those who wished treatment. He returned to the Brazos reserve on March 5th, where Baylor arrived on March 10th. During June 1856 Maj. Neighbors sent Gov. Pease a specimen of stone coal discovered near Fort Belknap. Fifty years later a railroad line was constructed to the area and a thriving coal mining operation developed three miles north of Fort Belknap around the town of Newcastle, lasting until oil was discovered in the area. He also sent a large meteorite weighing around 500 pounds to San Antonio found along the Red River in Wichita County. It was later moved into the State Capitol in Austin and survived the ﬁre that destroyed the building in 1881. The meteorite was also sent on tour with Texas Exhibit to the St. Louis World Fair of 1904. It is now located in the Texas Memorial Museum at the University of Texas in Austin. With relatively peaceful conditions among the Indians prevailing on
the Texas frontier during 1856, an increased number of settlers began moving into the region around the Brazos Reservation. The counties of Erath, Parker, Jack, Palo Pinto and Young were created by the Legislature as more and more settlers ventured west. Maj. Neighbors returned to San Antonio to visit his wife Elizabeth and their two young children at their home then located on Soledad Street next door to the Methodist Episcopal Church, South. During that stay in San Antonio Neighbors drew up his last will and testament due to “the certainty of death and the uncertainty of life” before returning to the frontier. He arrived back at the Brazos Reservation on Sept. 5, 1856, and toward the end of that month traveled to Dallas to open bids for supplying 182,000 pounds of ﬂour to the reservation Indians. There had been an increase of 434 Indians on the reservations by the end of the year and by all accounts his dream of settling the Indians of Texas on reservations appeared to becoming a successful reality. He now hoped to obtain adequate funding from the government to provide teachers and missionaries for the two reservations to further educate the Indian children in the English language. To be continued ... (Sources: Robert Simpson Neighbors and the Texas Frontier 18361859 by Kenneth F. Neighbours; Rip Ford’s Texas by John Salmon Ford; Through Unexplored Texas by W. B. Parker; The Handbook of Texas Online (www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/index) and other Internet sources.) ▲
DOWN MEMORY LANE
By Wynelle Caitlin
When we were young – my brother and I – we lived near the foothill of Squaw Mountain in Jack County. We couldn’t see it from our home, but my mother was able to, every day of her life until she married and moved away from her family home. Squaw Mountain was just a mile to the north of the cabin where she was born. (The restored Powell cabin is now on the grounds of the Jack County Museum in Jacksboro.) Though she looked at Squaw Mountain every day, she never climbed it to see the grave of the Indian woman. Why an Indian woman was killed and buried there was, and is, a mystery. One rumor says an early settler shot and killed her. Another rumor says, before settlers came to the area, a Ranger saw smoke coming from the mountain, rode over to investigate and shot and killed, her thinking she was a warrior. Another says there was a skirmish between Rangers and a band of warriors, and she was shot and killed. Still another says that settlers and a band of warriors had a battle there. All the rumors leave a lot of unanswered questions. It is an accepted fact that an Indian woman was killed and buried on the mountain, thus giving it its name. The nearby community, also called Squaw Mountain, began as a stagecoach stop where tired horses were exchanged for fresh ones. The community grew and, during its heyday, had a post office, a blacksmith shop, a general store, cotton gin, telephone exchange, dipping vat, coal mine and a school. Both my parents graduated from the eighth grade with a well-rounded education in math, English and English literature, which included the classics, spelling and handwriting. My mother walked a mile or more to the school from the cabin where she was born. Rain, shine, cold or heat, she and her siblings walked down the hill from the cabin, crossed Cameron Creek near where Lynn Creek merges with it, across flat prairie land to the school. Once, when Mother had outgrown her shoes, Grandmother got her a new pair. But they were boys’ shoes and Mother wouldn’t wear them to school. So when she got to the creek, she took the new shoes off, hid them in a hollow tree and went on to school barefoot. She’d put them on again when she came home in the afternoons. When my brother and I were youngsters we, with our parents and three older siblings, lived in the dogtrot log cabin which had been home to my father, his parents and eight siblings. We couldn’t see Squaw Mountain from there, but we could, and did, walk across a flat, cross Lynn Creek and go up a hill to Grandmother Powell’s. The cabin we lived in, had had the dogtrot enclosed to make an entry hall. The fireplace room to the right was our parents’ bedroom and also served as a parlor in cold
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weather. At warmer times, the men sat on the front porch to visit, and the women tended to gather in the kitchen, which had been added to the back of the cabin. The room to the left was the bedroom my older sister and I shared, just as my four aunts had. The tacked-on sleeping porch, the domain of my father and his four brothers, was now my brother’s and our two older brothers’ room. By the time we lived there, in the 1930s, most of the community of Squaw Mountain, was gone. We rode the school bus eight miles to Antelope to attend school. Today, there’s only a church and scattered houses remaining in the Squaw Mountain community. Memories I invited my brother, Fearl Smith, of Jacksboro, to go with me to take a picture of Squaw Mountain. When we go places where we’ve spent time in the past, we go down memory lane. We went north from Jacksboro up the highway and turned to Shannon, where my Uncle Ola’s house still stands. My brother and a cousin were good buddies so he spent a lot of time at their house. Down the road apiece, there was a field where Uncle Ola grew corn every year. One year he put the boys to hoeing weeds out of new corn, but my brother was soon exempted from that chore. If he kept on there wasn’t going to be any corn left. The road went through the community of Oakland where Mollie, my sister-in-law, grew up. As we went up one steep little hill, my brother remembered that, when he was “courtin’” Mollie his car, so he said, would barely make it up the hill and he would have to pull over and park at the top to let the car rest. Good excuse, wasn’t it? Mollie is no longer with us, but the memories are.
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We stopped to visit with Ann Crowley, who looks daily at Squaw Mountain that is practically in her backyard. She’s lived there many years and passed along some of the rumors. Down the road we stopped so I could take a picture that would set Squaw Mountain apart from all the other hills in the area. Impossible task – they all look alike. Not much further was the road through a pasture that led to the site where the cabin stood – the one my mother had been born in. It was on private property and we didn’t turn up that road. The cabin was no longer there, having been moved to Jacksboro and restored. Only memories of my grandmother and her dog, and my Aunt Bert who followed turkey hens to find their nests and get their eggs. I wrote a children’s book, using her experiences and the cabin setting. And memories of my cousin Bobby. When he was a baby, with his bright blue eyes, I thought he was a big doll for me to carry about and play with. We turned down Lynn Creek Road, which runs past the dogtrot cabin we lived in when we were small. The cabin is no longer there but memories are. We walked from our house, across a field with the Seven Sisters pecan trees, waded across Lynn Creek, went up a hill and we were at Grandmother Powell’s cabin. Where there used to be a field of sugar cane is where the mill was set up to make molasses syrup. A barn stood away from the house and we kids played there. There I milked a gentle old cow, putting my head up against her flank and got lice.
She was a gentle cow and didn’t protest anything I did. One day I got brave and decided to milk another cow. I was little and didn‘t know right from left yet, and she protested when I sat down on the wrong side to milk her. She kicked the milk bucket away and scared me. I didn’t try to milk her again. My brother remembered going with Mother along a nearby fence picking blackberries and family get-togethers when aunts, uncles and cousins came. We were a large family. There were 50 or so when we all gathered. Food was placed outside on trestle tables that were covered with tablecloths – and we feasted. But we kids had to wait until Daddy and all our uncles had filled their plates. I just knew there wouldn’t be enough left for me! I remember getting to crawl up on one of the work horses when Daddy came in from working in the field, taking the horse down to drink in the stock pond and being afraid I’d fall in when he stooped over to drink. I remember that same pond being frozen in winter and being cautioned about walking out onto the ice. A neighbor’s child had walked out on ice, which broke with him and he drowned before they could rescue him. Everywhere we looked – my brother and I – there were memories. When we’re young, we always look forward, to the exciting days or years ahead. Then we reach an age when we’re looking back. And our memories of times, places and people keep us company and comfort us. And so it is with memories of the time we lived near the mountain where the Indian woman was killed. ▲
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