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North Texas Star
August 2012 • NORTH TEXAS STAR STORYTELLER & RAMBLER • Page 2
Mary Jo Watson
North Texas Star
THE ICEMAN COMETH
THE SAGA OF
ROBERT SIMPSON NEIGHBORS
CHASING OUR TALES
OUTDOORS ALONG THE BRAZOS
August 2012 • NORTH TEXAS STAR STORYTELLER & RAMBLER • Page 3
The iceman is coming!
The iceman is coming!”
We kids were excited when we saw the
iceman’s truck turning into our lane.
He would let us have slivers of ice to suck on
when he chipped off the big block Mama wanted.
The sign in the window had been turned up to
25, so the iceman knew we wanted 25 pounds
today. He came to our house every other day.
Sometimes we still had ice and didn’t need any so
the “0” was turned up. Sometimes before a week-
end when aunts and uncles and cousins were com-
ing for a special occasion we wanted 50 pounds so
we could make ice cream.
The iceman stopped at our house and climbed up
on the back of his truck where a huge block of ice
rested under heavy covers to keep it from melting
too fast. He threw the covers back, and chipped
along some cloudy lines that showed where to chip
to break off a 25-pound block.
After throwing the heavy covers back over the
remaining huge block, and giving us our slivers to
suck on, he grabbed a pair of large tongs, picked
up the 25-pound block, slung it over his shoulder
and carried it into the kitchen where our icebox
stood. He opened the top compartment and
dropped it in.
After some chit-chat about the weather and some
of the neighbors who had been sickly, coins jingled
when Mama dropped them into the iceman’s hand.
He thanked her, tipped his hat and was off to his
We lived in the Squaw Mountain community of
Jack County. In those pre-electricity days, I never
wondered where the ice came from or how it was
made. Now I know. Our iceman probably got his
ice in Mineral Wells, which would have been the
nearest ice-making plant. Huge blocks of the ultra-
thick, fallen-down walls are still visible in the sec-
ond block west of U.S. Highway 281 on S.W.
Martin Luther King Jr. Street (formerly S.W. 6th
I LOOKED FORWARD to those family gather-
ings when ice cream was made! Mama mixed up
eggs, sugar, milk and lots of cream, added vanilla
flavoring. This mixture was poured into a round
container which had a paddle in the middle. The
paddle turned when the freezer was hooked up with
a crank on one side.
My older brothers would break a large chunk of
ice into smaller portions. They put those into a
heavy sack, then crushed with a sledge hammer
into smaller pieces. A lid was put on the can con-
taining the ice cream mixture. This was placed into
the larger wooden ice cream freezer. A handle
placed across the top held the can upright and cogs
fit into the top of the can to turn it with the crank.
Alternate layers of ice and salt were packed around
it. This was very cold. And as the ice melted, the
liquid had to be poured off from a small hole near
the top of the freezer.
A piece of folded tarp or old quilt was placed
atop the freezer. It was the chore of some of us
smaller children to sit atop the freezer to stabilize it
while some of the older and stronger children
cranked the handle to turn the mixture as it froze.
As the ice cream thickened, it became hard to turn
the handle. When one of the adults deemed it fro-
zen and ready to eat, it was allowed to sit still for a
few minutes as bowls and spoons were gathered,
ready to be filled.
The handle was taken off the top, excess salt
Please see page 4
By Wynelle Catlin
August 2012 • NORTH TEXAS STAR STORYTELLER & RAMBLER • Page 4
From page 3
carefully brushed away from the top of the can so
it wouldn’t get into the ice cream. The top of the
can would be removed carefully, and that creamy
rich ice cream dipped into bowls.
When the paddle was taken from the center of
the can, it would be dripping with luscious ice
cream. We kids vied for the chance to get to lick
the paddle after the dipper had scraped off as much
as possible. For some reason, it tasted better lick-
ing the paddle than eating from a spoon.
What a treat. I can taste it yet!
THE ICEBOX was Mama’s pride and joy. It
was made of oak wood and had pretty gold handles
to open the two compartments. She kept milk and
butter in the bottom, which was kept cool from the
ice in the top compartment.
And she chipped pieces of ice to put in Daddy’s
tea. My older brothers might have been privileged
enough to get ice in tea, but I don’t remember that
I ever did.
When Mama was growing up in the Powell
cabin (now restored at the Jack County Museum in
Jacksboro) they had a brush arbor dairy to keep
their milk and butter cool. Five-foot tall posts
were set in the ground in a five-foot square,
then net wire stretched around it to keep ani-
mals and chickens out. The top was cov-
ered with brush to shade the insides. Pans
of water were placed inside the arbor and
crock jars of milk were set in the pans.
Mama’s family didn’t have a water
well. They had to depend on a free-flow-
ing well a mile from the house. Her
brother would put the water barrel on a
sledge hitched to a horse and go to the
well to fill the barrel. It would be placed
in a cooler place away from the sun and
water dipped from it daily to freshen the
water in the pans in the arbor.
Mama was proud of the well we had in our
front yard, and of our ice box, which kept milk
and butter cooler than a brush arbor dairy.
MAKING ICE is common practice today. And
we don’t have to have an iceman deliver it, but
make it in our own refrigerator. This ability is less
than 100 years old.
The first ice machine was invented in 1845 by
Dr. John Gorrie, considered the father of air condi-
tioning and mechanical refrigeration. But he was
ridiculed during his lifetime and the first ice-mak-
ing plant didn’t open until 1868.
Prior to that time, ice was a very expensive luxu-
ry, being cut from frozen lakes, ponds and rivers
during the winter and stored in icehouses for sum-
In the early 1800s this “natural” ice was being
shipped to 28 cities across the country. Stored in
wood shavings and sawdust, some of the ice sur-
vived the shipping.
When machines began making ice it was called
“artificial” ice, explains Elli Morris, great grand-
daughter of the founder of Morris Ice Company
which opened in Jackson, Miss., in 1880. Morris
has authored a book, “Cooling the South, the
Ice Era, 1875-1975.” She also wrote an article,
“Making Ice in Mississippi” published in a histori-
cal magazine. This information about ice-making
comes from that article.
Even thirty years after ice was being made by
machine, people could not believe it was being
done. (Some people still don’t believe men walked
on the moon.)
Morris tells a story about the minister of a small
church in the south who visited an ice-making
plant in a nearby city. Returning home he told his
congregation he saw water being frozen into ice in
July. He was not believed. He’d lost his sanity, or
the devil had gotten ahold of him. He was asked to
give up his position for making such an outlandish
Ice-making plants were huge sprawling build-
ings. They had to have room for an engine room
where the engines used to run the machinery had
ten foot wheels, a tank room for water used to
make ice, and a well insulated ice storage room.
Most ice-making plants produced ice in 300-
pound blocks, which were about 4 feet by 2 feet by
1 foot. It took about three days to make a clear
block of ice, the goal of most ice makers because
clear ice is denser and lasts longer than cloudy ice.
To produce a clear block of ice the water had to be
kept in motion as it froze so bubbles escaped.
By 1920 there were 4,800 ice-making plants in
this country making 40 million tons of ice, which
drastically changed our world. No longer did peo-
ple have to have gardens in their backyards or
nearby. Produce could be shipped because it
could be kept cool during shipping.
One ice-making plant in Mississippi could
produce 200 tons of ice in a day. It became
the largest railroad-icing plant in the
world. It could ice an entire trainload of
cars in less than an hour.
Ice went from being a luxury to being
considered a necessity. In fact, it was
thought to be so vital to the nation’s wel-
fare that men who worked in ice-making
plants could be excused from being draft-
ed into military service in both world
In addition to being considered a necessi-
ty, block ice was also the first form of air
conditioning. Theaters began placing blocks
of ice in front of fans to keep patrons cool.
Fancy theaters had elaborate cooling systems in
their basements that blew cooled air up into the
theater. When more people showed up, more ice
was required to cool the theater. Popular movies
became known as “blockbusters.”
WHEN I COME UPON an old time icebox in an
antiques store, I remember the pride my mother
had in having ice delivered to her kitchen and
placed in her very own icebox. And the wonder we
kids felt when the iceman gave us slivers of cold
ice to suck on.
And when I take a tray of ice from the refrigera-
tor on a hot summer day, I am thankful.
was a very
August 2012 • NORTH TEXAS STAR STORYTELLER & RAMBLER • Page 5
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August 2012 • NORTH TEXAS STAR STORYTELLER & RAMBLER • Page 6
everal months ago Sharon Berry of
the Weatherford Democrat emailed
me. It seems a gentleman had called
her concerning his great-great-grandfather,
John Warren Curtis. He was looking for
information on Curtis, and I told her I would
research Curtis and get back to her. I was
very interested in his middle name, Warren,
because many of my friends are Warrens in
the Palo Pinto/Young County areas. I found
enough information that I said I would write
a column about him, and so here is some of
what I have found. Hope you enjoy it.
John Warren Curtis was born in Jackson County,
Tennessee, on Dec. 24, 1819. He married Mary
Collum (1809-1854) on Jan. 1, 1843, and then he
married Mary Amos (1840-1917) on July 27, 1858, in
Weatherford, Texas. He died on July 27, 1882, in
Mineral Wells, Texas, and is buried in the Curtis
Cemetery in Weatherford. His occupation was that of
a grocer. He and Mary Amos had eight children, John
W. (1859-1863), Jefferson W. (1861-1928), Don
Carlos “Carl” (1863-1927), Thomas (1865-1866),
Joseph Edward (1867-1932), Mary Belle 1869-1909),
Anna Lue (1874-1891), and Robert Warren (1874-
John Warren Curtis was the son of Benjamin
Browning Curtis by his first wife. Her name may
have been Margaret Genety. When Curtis was 9 years
old his father remarried. The second wife, Elizabeth
Short, and she and Benjamin were married on Jan. 4,
1829, in Jackson County, Tennessee, and in 1833 they
moved, with John and two other small children, to
Texas. However, when they got to Van Buren,
Arkansas, yellow fever was raging, and they would
not allow them to cross the river, so they settled in
Washington County, Ark..
In 1843 John Warren Curtis moved on from
Arkansas to Texas where he married his first wife and
became a resident of the Republic of Texas. He
applied for a headright certificate in the Peters
Colony, and he stated that he “came to the Colony as
a family man prior to July 1, 1833, and settled on the
East Fork of the Trinity in Old Fannin County.” This
cannot be correct, for in 1833 he was only 14, and
everything else suggests he was still in Arkansas.
A land document in the General Land Office deals
principally with the disposal of the 640 acres of
“unlocated land” granted Curtis as a colonist. There is
a Fanning third class certificate No. 3046 for 102
Please see page 8
By Sue Seibert
August 2012 • NORTH TEXAS STAR STORYTELLER & RAMBLER • Page 7
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August 2012 • NORTH TEXAS STAR STORYTELLER & RAMBLER • Page 8
From page 6
acres, patented in Collin County, and a
Nacogdoches third class certificate No. 3589 for
2,380 acres, patented in Dallas County, both of
which would have been in the Peters Colony.
In 1849 John Warren went to California to the
Gold Rush. He brought home a “stake” but left
some property behind in the care of a cousin. In
1852 he acquired land from the government in
what is now Parker County. His son, Don Carlos
said in 1925 that his father was closely associate
with the pioneer history of Parker County. He also
said his father was a generous man and provided
the land for the Curtis Cemetery, now inside the
Weatherford city limits south of Highway 180 and
east of Highway 171 just north of Weatherford
College, which is where his first wife, his second
wife and he are all buried.
John Warren Curtis became a lieutenant in the
frontier patrol during the Civil War, protecting his
family and other Parker County families from the
This story of Curtis was recorded in 1971 as
told by Melvin Wilson Current from an interview
with Grandfather, Joe:
“John Warren Curtis, Sr. was an early pioneer
settler of Parker County and Weatherford, owned
some land from where the courthouse is now to
three miles south of it.
“His sons were clearing some land in what is
now the Roselawn addition. Don Carlos Curtis,
Sr. (Carl), with his brothers, were going to cut
down a tree when he looked up and saw an iron
spike driven into the trunk, fifteen feet off the
ground. He climbed up the tree to investigate and
he saw the spike was sighted with a tree one hun-
dred and fifty feet away. This tree had two branch-
es grafted together to make a large circle and the
spike was sighted through this circle.
“He started checking out nearby trees at random
by tapping on them with the handle of his pocket-
knife. When he tapped several of these trees a hol-
low sound would result. He would then peel off
the bark and there would be a little geometric
sign … etc. All of these marks were at an odd
level. 3, 5, 6, 9 feet. The Mexicans did this so they
would know that these marks were done by them
and not by an Indian. If the Indians would happen
to discover one of these marks they would be
thrown off trying to locate the mine because no
sign matched and each was at an odd level.
“He followed a pattern tapping trees and then he
came upon a large, flat rock two miles northeast
of the spike. He turned over this rock, and it was
ovaled out underneath. There were markings on
this rock, the same as on the trees. Four marks
were on this rock and they were arranged in a pat-
tern the way the trees were.
“He began digging a shaft six feet square where
the spike he had first found had pointed. At twen-
ty-five feet down (this is another of the Mexican’s
off numbered measurements), he found a Bowie
knife scabbard embedded in a block of black
cement and next to it was the hip bone of a buffa-
lo. This bone was cut at a 45-degree angle and it
was sitting on top of the block. He dug twenty-
five feet north, found some more markers and
then decided these meant to go toward the Bowie
knife and bone. He found some more markers by
the knife and these said to dig east, so he did. He
tunneled about two hundred feet east, when an old
Mexican from Old Mexico came over. This
Mexican was a perfect stranger and he came over
to introduce himself and started talking about this
mine. He told Mr. Curtis about everything he had
already found. Mr. Curtis did not let on that he
knew all of this. The Mexican said there was an
old gold smelter, several hundred yards away at
the creek. Mr. Curtis still did not let on and the
Mexican walked straight to the smelter. Mr. Curtis
then said that he knew it was there because he had
found it earlier. The Mexican said the reason he
knew all of this was because his daddy had
worked at the mine and the smelter many years
before. The gold was mined, smelted, and taken to
Mexico on burros for Santa Anna. He went down
into the mine with his daddy and hung around
there when he was a little boy.
“When Santa Anna declared war on Texas he
was working several mines here. He ordered the
rich mines to be sealed in and marked above and
below. The ones that were not so productive he
ordered to be filled up and not even marked.
These mines were packed tight, not only the shafts
but all of the tunnels too. Santa Anna ordered
these shut two years before he declared war
because he could see the trouble coming. (That is
how long it took to fill this mine, two years). He
had mines in Texas because these had more gold
and silver than Old Mexico’s and were much rich-
er. He had these marked because he thought this
was a little rebellion in Texas and he would be
returning soon to open them. There were three
mines in North Texas that were rich. This one was
called the Half-Moon mine because the hills
around there are shaped like a half moon. Two
other rich mines are within thirty miles from here,
they are the Buffalo and the Bowie. The scabbard
and bone found at first are representing the Bowie
and the Buffalo mines.
“The Mexicans built a cement vault in the main
tunnel, thirty-five feet away from the face of the
tunnel where they mixed the raw gold. They
stored some already smelted bars in this vault,
along with their copper picks, shovels and tools.
On a sheepskin run in this vault were the maps of
the Bowie and Buffalo mines. These two mines
each had their own vaults that were just like the
Half-Moon’s. So, if one was uncovered the other
two could be found. (The workers of the mine
took an oath never to tell where the mines were).
The Mexican said he would make a deal; he
would get 50% of the gold if he told Mr. Curtis
where the vault was. He left for Old Mexico and
said he would return soon. He said in the vault
there was $12,000,000 in smelted gold (this was
in the 1830’s when gold was worth a fraction of
what it is now). He took flu in 1917 and he died,
Please see page 10
August 2012 • NORTH TEXAS STAR STORYTELLER & RAMBLER • Page 9
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August 2012 • NORTH TEXAS STAR STORYTELLER & RAMBLER • Page 10
The grave marker
of Mary Amos.
The grave marker of
From page 8
he was in his nineties. His wife sent Mrs. Curtis
a telegram saying he died.
“Mr. Curtis and his son Pat and some hired
hands were on their own. He kept finding more
signs, an eagle killing a bear, a Catholic Nun
with a shroud, a cart, an Indian’s head and a
“One day a hard rain came and filled up the
first shaft completely full at about one p.m. At
two p.m. an hour later, the shaft was empty and
there was not any water in it. A ravine ran by the
shaft and when it over flowed the water spilled
over into the shaft. This water drained out of a
small hole about six inches big on the east side
of the shaft. This water somehow managed to go
from the shaft to the vacant part of the tunnel.
This tunnel is about thirty feet lower than the
bottom of the shaft which is three hundred feet
away. The one Mr. Curtis dug was a few feet
below this unfilled Mexican’s and as the water
flowed downhill, into Mr. Curtis’ tunnel, it
sounded like water pouring through a half filled
jug (with the suction and gurgling sounds). This
abruptly stopped after a few hours, so it was
known that this was not an underground stream.
“After all of Mr. Curtis’ work he was finally
near his reward. Then he became ill. This was
just a month after the water came through the
tunnel. But in those days it took a long time to
dig a shaft and this was in progress when he
became ill. He was sick for three months and
then he died. The doctor said his lungs were in
terrible shape from breathing in all of the sand
from the mine for so many years. This was
something like coal miner’s “Black Lung” is
today. His health was in this state when he
caught the flu. He could not get over it. He
planned to sink another test shaft several feet in
front of where the water had come out, but after
his death his sons lost interest in the min and
they sold the land. The shafts were filed in with
refuse and garbage so no one or any cows that
were grazing would fall in. The tunnels still
remain open today.
“Today houses have been built over this land
and several could fall through and into the
ground because they are sitting directly over
some tunnels that are still open and the vault
where the Mexicans stored the $12,000,000 to be
gotten after a quick war, still remains undis-
turbed after one hundred and thirty-eight years.”
This story has been retold on Ancestry.com at
I have had another inquiry.
“I am the author of the inquiry I found embed-
ded on your subject page – unfortunately you
misspelled my first name when you made the
“We have discovered lots of information since
I made that inquiry...none of it having to do with
the Annetta cemetery. The family was moved
from Silver Creek to a historical cemetery locat-
ed elsewhere. There is a very big, long, sad story
about that. The original cemetery was at Silver
Creek, not Annetta, and was located on family
land located not far from the intersection of FM
1886 and Silver Creek Road. Dorthy Casten
August 2012 • NORTH TEXAS STAR STORYTELLER & RAMBLER • Page 11
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August 2012 • NORTH TEXAS STAR STORYTELLER & RAMBLER • Page 12
The Saga of
(This is part two 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, legislator, and
Indian agent for the Republic of Texas, the United States
ollowing the council meeting
at Comanche Peak, the for-
mal treaty signing was con-
ducted on May 15, 1846, at Council
Springs on Tehuacana Creek, south
of present Waco. As had been spec-
ified in the treaty, a trip to
Washington, D.C., with a delega-
tion of Indians chiefs accompanied
by Robert Neighbors and his inter-
preters was soon begun.
Please see page 13
By Jim Dillard
August 2012 • NORTH TEXAS STAR STORYTELLER & RAMBLER • Page 13
From page 12
The horseback trip started at Torrey’s Trading
House on the Brazos. During the long trip, they
would travel by horse, steamboat and railroad. When
they reached Jefferson Barracks in St. Louis, Mo.,
many of the Indians wanted to return home because
they had seen so many whites they knew they could
not fight them all. They arrived in Washington, D.C.,
about June 25, 1846, where they were greeted in the
halls of the Senate by then Texas Sen. Sam Houston
and President James K. Polk. The chiefs saw the
sights in Washington during the monthlong visit and
received a medallion from President Polk. On July
25, 1846, President Polk issued a proclamation of
friendship between the United States and this group
of Indians and the tribes they represented.
With the Indian chiefs becoming restless from
their long journey away from their people,
Neighbors started back to Texas with them about
July 26, 1846, and arrived at Torrey’s Trading House
on Aug. 30, 1846. After he presented each of the
Indians the horse they had ridden on the trip, they
departed and made their way back to their tribes.
The Indians were also promised in the treaty that
$14,000 worth of gifts that would be delivered to
them at the council grounds on Tehuacana Creek
during the fall of 1846.
When nearly 3,000 Indians appeared there at the
appointed time to receive the gifts, Neighbors
learned the Texas Legislature had adjourned without
appropriating the promised funds. Neighbors now
found himself in a precarious situation. With threats
by the Indians to take possession of the trading
house in reprisal, a courier was quickly sent to Sen.
Houston, who authorized the Torreys to issue goods
to the Indians in the amount of $10,000. Congress
later appropriated the funds to pay for the gifts. The
Indians then departed much pleased with their gifts.
With the outbreak of the United States war with
Mexico during 1846 over the boundary dispute
between the two countries, acting Texas Gov. A.C.
Horton recommended that President Polk appoint
Robert S. Neighbors as United States Indian Agent
for Texas. Neighbors accepted the position under
direction of the governor of Texas and established
his headquarters at Torrey’s Trading Post No. 2 oper-
ated by George Barnard, which was located eight
miles east of present Glen Rose, Texas. It was one of
several trading houses authorized by the treaty
signed between Indians and Republic of Texas
President Sam Houston at Bird’s Fort in Tarrant
County during 1843. The trading houses not only
served as places where Indians could barter their
trade items for cutlery, cloth, powder and lead, hoes,
axes, trinkets, and other objects, but much intelli-
gence could also be obtained at them concerning
Indian conditions and movements.
In early January 1847, Neighbors learned from
Indians visiting the trading post that Apache Indians
had intruded into Texas from west of the Rio Grande
River and were establishing camps on the headwa-
ters of the Colorado River in West Texas. When he
advised Gov. Henderson, who had resumed his office
of governor of Texas, he ordered Neighbors to travel
west and inform the Apache bands that they must
leave the state. He employed interpreter Jim Shaw, a
trusted Delaware Indian who spoke most Indian lan-
guages, to accompany him on the journey.
On his way to meet with the Apache, Neighbors
visited the new organizing German colony on the
Guadalupe and Pedernales rivers above San Antonio.
Members of the Fisher-Miller grant who had pur-
chased land in that region for settlement were in the
process of surveying it before a deadline expired on
Sept. 1, 1847. The land was located in hunting
grounds of Comanche Indians who also occupied the
region. The German settlers were preparing for a
possible armed conflict over the surveying when
Neighbors arrived. Gov. Henderson instructed
Neighbors to meet with Freiherr von Meusebach, the
director of the grant, to assist him in making an
agreement between the German settlers and the
When Neighbors arrived in Fredericksburg on Feb.
5, 1847, he learned Meusebach had departed 10 days
earlier with a force of 40 well-armed men to protect
the surveyors. He quickly set out to locate the group
before any conflict occurred and caught up with
them on Feb. 10th in a valley on the San Saba River.
They were encamped in their covered wagons and
tents near the campsite of Chief Ketumshe and his
small band of Penateka Comanches. None of the
principal Comanche chiefs were present at this
camp. After stating their friendly intentions to the
Indians, Neighbors accompanied Meusebach and his
survey party up the San Saba River toward the old
Spanish mission near present Menard, Texas. Since
the terrain was so rough, most of Meusebach’s cara-
van was sent back to Fredericksburg as Neighbors,
Meusebach and 17 mounted men continued.
After arriving at the old mission they remained
there for a day drying meat since their provisions
were depleted. Neighbors was able to find a bee tree
on their return trip to meet with the Indians and
obtained a supply of honey to supplement their diet.
The main Comanche camp was located in a valley
about 25 miles from the mouth of the San Saba
River. The following morning they held a council
with three of the principal Comanche chiefs: Buffalo
Hump, Mope-choco-pe and Santa Anna.
Santa Anna was acquainted with Neighbors having
recently traveled to Washington, D.C., with him.
Meusebach offered the Indians 1,000 Spanish dollars
for the right to establish a settlement on the Llano
River and the right to survey land north of that river
and in the valley of the San Saba. The Comanches
ultimately agreed and were treated to a meal of veni-
son and rice provided by Meusebach. Neighbors and
Meusebach returned to Fredericksburg on March 7,
On April 13, 1847, Neighbors received a commu-
nication from W. Medill, United States
Commissioner of Indian Affairs, that he had been
appointed by the Secretary of War to be United
States special Indian Agent for Texas for one year.
Since this was not an appointment by the president
and confirmed in the Senate, it indicated that the
United States had not formulated a permanent policy
concerning Indians in Texas.
Neighbors returned to Fredericksburg in May 1847
with trader John Torrey and Delaware Indian scouts
and interpreters Jim Shaw and John Connor to draw
up a final treaty between the Comanches and
German settlers. In the treaty it was agreed:
• To visit in each other’s settlements on the Llano.
• The Germans would be allowed to survey land as
far as the Concho or Colorado Rivers.
• To pay the Indians $1,000.
• Provide supplies to the Indians while in
Fredericksburg during the treaty signing.
The treaty was signed May 9, 1847, by R.S.
Neighbors, J.O. Meusebach, F. Schubert, J. Torrey,
Jim Shaw, John Connor and Comanche chiefs Santa
Anna, Buffalo Hump, Old Owl and Ketumshe.With
Neighbor’s intervention and influence a conflict
between the two groups was avoided and a peaceful
settlement was reached.
Neighbor’s next assignment was to provide infor-
mation to the Bureau of Indian Affairs on the num-
ber and status of the various groups of Indians in
Texas. He began a tour of the prairies on May 22,
1847, and visited a principal village of the
Comanches located approximately 100 miles north
of Austin where he met with several of the head
chiefs. From there he traveled to villages of Caddos,
Ionies and Jose Maria’s Anadarko Indians who were
then located on the Brazos River 16 miles west of
present Hillsboro, Texas, arriving there on May 30,
1847. These prosperous villages were occupied by
Indians who were cultivating fields of corn and num-
bered around 150 houses built of wood and covered
To visit the villages of hostile Wacos, Wichitas,
Tawacanos and Keechis on the upper Brazos,
Neighbors requested a ranger escort but was denied.
Six Delaware and six Anadarko Indians under the
second chief Towiash were engaged to travel with
Please see page 14
August 2012 • NORTH TEXAS STAR STORYTELLER & RAMBLER • Page 14
From page 13
Neighbors. On June 10, 1847, they arrived at
the Keechi village located in present Palo Pinto
County 10 miles west of Graford on the left
bank of the Brazos River. At his initial meeting
with these Indians, Neighbors demanded that
they adhere to provision of the treaty signed in
1846 and turn over horses they had recently sto-
len. Fifty-three head of horses were turned over
to Neighbors and others being held at the
Wichita Indian village on the Wichita River
were to be returned later.
Neighbors learned that hostilities had taken
place between the Germans and Comanches
along the Llano River where four surveyors
were killed. It was believed the Comanches were
responsible and when Neighbors arrived at the
scene he discovered the Comanches fled the
area with all their possessions toward the “Grand
Prairie.” Neighbors followed their trail for 250
miles before his Indian guides advised him to
abandon the pursuit.
Neighbors returned to Austin but set out again
on Aug.10, 1847, to locate Comanches living far
out on the plains to the northwest. He traveled to
Torrey’s Trading House and departed from there
on Aug. 20, 1847. He arrived at the Caddo,
Ionies, and Anadarko villages along the Brazos
River east of present Hillsboro and found the
Indians there were suffering from drought and
crop failure. He also discovered they were in
possession of large quantities of liquor which
had been introduced to them from some
Continuing his journey, Neighbors once again
visited the Keechi village west of present
Graford in Palo Pinto County along the upper
Brazos and found an assemblage of Pawnee,
Caddo, Ioni, Keechi, Waco, Tawacono and
Wichita Indians conducting a grand medicine
dance. Neighbors was received warmly by the
Indians who provided his party provisions from
their abundant crop of “corn, beans, pumpkins,
melons, etc.” The dance lasted four more days as
heavy rains delayed Neighbor’s departure.
While at the village a council meeting was
held Sept. 6, 1847, with all Indians at the vil-
lage, including a party of uninvited Comanches
under Chief Old Owl who had arrived on Sept.
2nd to partake of the bountiful annual harvest of
these agrarian Indian tribes. Neighbors
announced that the “presents” intended for them
at the coming council meeting at Torrey’s
Trading House had arrived and would be distrib-
uted on Sept. 25, 1847, the next full moon,
which greatly pleased the Indians.
Neighbors also learned that Comanche Chief
Buffalo Hump had gone on a raid into Mexico
with 600 to 800 warriors. When a group of trad-
ers arrived at the village with 40 gallons of
whiskey and a large quantity of lead to trade
with the Indians, a practice strictly prohibited
under treaty agreements, Neighbors made them
leave in fear of their lives by threatening to
induce the Indians to confiscate their goods and
kill them. As Neighbors left on his return trip to
Austin, he encountered a group of Cherokee
Indian traders with six kegs containing thirty
gallons of whiskey bound for the Indian villages
which Neighbors seized and destroyed.
On Sept. 28, 1847, 2,200 Indians including
Comanche, Ioni, Caddo, Anadarko, Waco,
Keechi, Wichita, Tawacano, Tonkawa, Delaware,
Shawnee, Cherokee, Biluxie, Kickapoo, Mohaw,
and Pawnee Indians arrived at Torrey’s Trading
House to receive their promised presents. In all
60 chiefs were present including Comanche
chiefs Pah-hah-yuca, Mope-choco-pe and Santa
Anna. Also in attendance were a considerable
number of citizens who arrived to view the spec-
tacle. Neighbors met in council with the chiefs
and explained the provisions of the Butler and
Lewis Treaty that had been signed near
Comanche Peak the previous year. At this and
other councils with Indians, Neighbors contin-
ued to seek the release of Cynthia Ann Parker,
who had been captured by Comanches dur-
ing a raid at Parker’s Fort near present
Groesbeck during May 1836.
Since many of the Penateka Comanche
bands failed to come in to the council meeting,
Neighbors set out on Jan. 31, 1848, to search for
them in the upper Brazos River country to the
northwest. Neighbors and his Indian guides John
McLennan and Jim Shaw were met by Chief
Old Owl about 15 miles from his large camp
located near present Seymour, Texas. The chief
camped with him that night to guide him to the
village the following day and protect him from
some hostile bands of Indians that he had no
control over that were also camped there.
They arrived at the camp on Lewis Creek, also
known as Plants Creek, on Feb. 14, 1848. The
camp contained 250 Comanche lodges, 50
Tonkawa lodges and 10 Wichita Indian lodges.
Other Indians including the great chief Pah-
hah-yuca, head of the Tenawish and Noconas,
and other Ketsoteka Comanche chiefs also
arrived that evening to meet with Neighbors.
A feast was held that evening and a general
atmosphere of good will prevailed between
Neighbors and the Indians present.
During council the following morning,
Neighbors rebuked the Indians for continu-
ing to steal horses and warned them that until
stolen horses were returned they would be con-
sidered hostile should they approach any of the
frontier settlements. The chiefs indicated that
they could not prevent their young warriors from
occasionally stealing horses and had no more to
say about the subject. Old Owl would later
return some of the horses stolen in south Texas
by his warriors.
Neighbors returned from his journey to the
plains by way of the friendly agrarian tribes
along the Brazos and arrived at Torrey’s Trading
House on March 1, 1848. During the thirty day
trip he had visited with representatives of most
of the Indian tribes then in Texas except for the
Lipan Apaches who were located along the Rio
Grade River. For the most part, the Indians
Neighbors had met with reassured him of their
friendly intentions but relations would remain
unstable for many years to come. There would
be many more long horseback trips yet to come
for Neighbors as he sought to find solutions for
the existence of Native Americans in Texas with
the advancing tide of settlement of the Texas
frontier. (To be continued.)
(Sources: Robert Simpson Neighbors and the
Texas Frontier 1836-1859 by Kenneth F.
Neighbours; The Handbook of Texas Online and
other internet sources.)
s,, , ,
g ng ng
August 2012 • NORTH TEXAS STAR STORYTELLER & RAMBLER • Page 15
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Palo Pinto County is established from land formerly part
of Bosque and Navarro counties.
AUGUST 18, 1857
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W.C. Poston and George C. Poston established Poston Dry
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August 2012 • NORTH TEXAS STAR STORYTELLER & RAMBLER • Page 16 ER • Page 16
The following column appeared in the
Thursday, April 1, 1976, issue of the Mineral
Wells Index. It’s been paraphrased.
bout thirty-five years ago perhaps half the
population went fishing at least once. There
was nothing else to do, no cell phones, no
text messaging, no nothing. How did people manage?
For gosh sakes, what did they do? Well, they went fishin’. All the
anglers, of course, didn’t fish the same way or even for the same spe-
Let’s take the catfisherman for instance: some like to set trot lines in
deep holes for big yellers, others in shallow rapids for channel cats.
It depends on the time of year for choice bait but many countrymen
use shrimp or earthworms, chicken blood, gizzards, stink bait concoc-
tions, lively red horse minnows, hellgrammites, even blue-barrel soap,
perhaps the Procter & Gamble brand. And, of course, live grasshoppers
in July and August.
But don’t hold your breath until you spot some blue barrel P&G soap
in a hidden Mom-and-Pop crossroads nook. P&G blue barrel soap is
next to impossible to find nowadays.
When the countrymen go after the 50-75 pound yellers they use 15/0
hooks and rope, also perch about the size of your hand for bait. Perhaps
grabbling is legal in the Brazos now, but it was twice the fun when it
Catfishing gets in your blood; you can set your own pace if you spend
the night hidden in an ol’ tent round the bend under a starry sky, with a
nearby sudden screech owl causing you to spill hot coffee where it
There is just something about a glowing bed of coals; it adds camara-
derie, turning into folklore, leaving you with a night you’ll remember 50
After camp chores are done, after lines are freshly baited, perhaps the
extended family will cluster round a yellowish orange flame, their sun-
burned faces looming out of the darkness to tell yarns that grow as the
flame dwindles. Nary a one wishes the night will end. There’s nothing
else like it, the mood, the atmosphere.
Besting the riverman’s scalding black coffee is something a fancy res-
taurant cannot do, saltwater and grounds in a rusty bucket. Rust adds the
flavored gravel you don’t get in just any cafe.
Then there is the artificial lure guy who can’t wait to show you his
10-tray tackle box, stuffed with shiny plugs everytime you drop by for a
This fanatic angler pursues denizens of the deep with tackle often
very expensive, not Zebco stuff. He subscribes to all outdoors maga-
zines you’ve heard of, even some you haven’t; he’s got his wall calen-
dar marked with phases of the moon; his barometer is handy; he’s very
scientific, hasn’t missed one fishing tournament in years. Happy? Yes,
as long as he’s got the winning lunker, a largemouth black bass with a
bucket mouth, in tow 15 minutes before deadline at the weigh-in station.
Everybody will be there! And if his outboard quits? He’ll die.
We have the sand bass, apparently a prolific fish, which inhabits
Possum Kingdom and the Brazos River. Sandies have been caught a
short distance up the creek’s mouths, such as Ioni, Eagle, Keechi, on
river float trips.
Possum Kingdom has the edge. Traveling frequently in large school,
sandies seem to savagely attack a shiny spoon, sometimes a buzzing top
water with attached spinner. Fifty years ago chromed Heddon Tiny
Torpedo was my favorite for schooling sandies.
Oftentimes crappies seem to travel in schools also, thriving in our
lakes and stock tanks. “Barn doors!” the countrymen holler as they find
a pocket of truly big ‘uns, landing one after another on jigs, tiny spoons,
but more likely small lively minnows.
There’s nothing prettier than a heavy stringer of “barn doors,” all
about the same size. It’s a good idea to take pictures, find memories
later of a red letter day, a day when the huge crappies went wild.
And let us not forget the ubiquitous sunfish, sometimes called perch,
bream, green sunfish, pumpkinseed, bluegill, coppernose, redear, etc.,
all members of the panfish tribe. Many fishers overlook sunfish, scoff-
ing at anglers who fish “just for perch,” but this group of smallies gave
me so much pleasure growing up that I just can’t turn my back and walk
Give a bluegill a chance; he’ll strike either live bait or small artificials
Please see page 18
By Don Price
August 2012 • NORTH TEXAS STAR STORYTELLER & RAMBLER • Page 17
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August 2012 • NORTH TEXAS STAR STORYTELLER & RAMBLER • Page 18
From page 17
with gusto. This tiny warrior is often ignored because most anglers use bass
tackle or heavy cane poles. He bites all day and most lakes and ponds are
overstocked anyway. You’ll never be called a fish hog.
Here’s the way to get hooked on panfish for the rest of your days; Use a
light fly rod, something like a 3- or 4 wt., about 2 to 2 ¾ ounces. Attach a 5-
or 6X leader to your line, about 2 pound test, and the smallest single-action
reel you can find.
Trout flies are ideal, hook sizes #8, #10, #12. Joe’s Grasshopper, long-
shanked, #10 hook, mottled yellow, for July and August, even September,
can’t be beat for sunfish.
During the spawning bed days of late spring I’ve hooked as many as 100
or more red ears, up to 9 ¾” in length, many 9 inchers, a few ten inchers.
These tough fighters can actually pull a 12-foot aluminum boat and at the
same time snap your leader if you don’t give them enough line to relieve the
pressure on a 5X leader.
And they are delicious; there is nothing as sweet-tasting as fried panfish.
And fight? It’s been said that if these sunfish reached a weight of five
pounds, you’d never land one on whisper-light tackle.
But just the same, I’d like to try. Wouldn’t you?
What can we say about a common sunfish that’s given us so much plea-
sure? We need to give something back, but how?
When the morning sun’s rays touch the treeline, a huge red wafer just
pasted there on the eastern horizon, I’ll sigh a “thank you, Lord” as I hold at
arms length a freshly caught sunfish, just a common perch, to admire its
rainbow. Surely this is why it’s called a sunfish. Solace, a sanctuary, I’d
The following column appeared in the Sunday, January 27th, 1980 issue of
the Mineral Wells Index. It also has been paraphrased.
You started out like a dummy, didn’t know a casting reel from a spinning
reel. You were so backward the local tournament winners would move to
another coffee table when they saw you coming for morning fellowship.
But it wasn’t your nature to quit. Your uncle, an old fishing guide on
Caddo Lake, knew all about largemouth black bass. So he whispered his
And so you practiced for 20 years at this fishing game. You got pretty
good. In fact, the neighbors were soon saying you were the most consistent
bass fisherman in the neighborhood.
Your stringer, your status symbol, was extra heavy. But then you hit a
snag; it couldn’t have happened to a nicer guy. You’d lost your rabbit’s foot.
What really hurt was that all the neighborhood kids would be disappoint-
ed; of all people, your coming home in your old pickup truck with an empty
You studied the fine art of alibiing; your uncle, the old Caddo Lake guide,
told you of the fine art of an effective alibi. “But above all else,” he said,
“you must look, act and behave nonchalantly.”
And here forthwith are proven alibis you can utter to your fans, the tykes
on your block; you must keep it simple, for your dedicated fans are just
1. He broke my line (you forgot to secure the knot).
2. The big bass wrapped my line around a tree.
3. The wind was wrong, out of the east.
4. The barometer crashed, not a good time.
5. The moon was waning, not good.
6. The moon was waxing, not good.
7. He socked it, causing a backlash fiasco.
8. Partner forgot the net.
9. Water too muddy.
10. Lake too full.
11. Creek falling, bad for catfish.
12. Never fish with an Aggie. Two Aggies hit the jackpot Saturday. They
used a rental boat, an old Lone Star aluminum job out of Red Nance’s
Fishing Camp, $5.00, all day. The jackpot was a crappie hole in the middle
of Possum Kingdom, no tree to mark the spot. And GPS was years away.
On the way back to college the smarter one got to drive the car. “Sure was
a good crappie hole. Did you mark the spot?”
“Sure did. I put an X on the bow of the boat.”
“You Ding Bat! What if someone else rents the boat and finds the big
crappie hole before we get back?”
This joke is about as old as an original Creek Chub “Ding Bat,” an artifi-
cial lure, a popular plug found in tackle shops in the 1950’s, perhaps Red
Nance’s Camp, a plug made of wood imitating a frog with protruding glass
An original Creek Chub Ding Bat, a rare color in excellent condition, orig-
inal box in good condition, with papers and matching color-code factory
numbers, is worth big bucks to collectors.
So if someone calls you a “Ding Bat,” it could be a compliment.
August 2012 • NORTH TEXAS STAR STORYTELLER & RAMBLER • Page 19
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August 2012 • NORTH TEXAS STAR STORYTELLER & RAMBLER • Page 20
ere’s a story based on a real
person, my great-grandfa-
ther, with lots of facts and a
little fiction. This is a conversation
between two old men and takes place
in the 1940s as they talk about Bob
“You ‘member Uncle Bob Routh, don’t ya? He rode with the Texas Rangers down
in Brown County durin’ the Indian troubles in the 1870s, right?”
“Yup, he did that, and he sure had hisself an opinion on most anything you wanted
to ask him ‘bout. Even give his thoughts to the Brownwood Bulletin on more’n one
occasion, and let me tell you, he was somethin’, that ole man. He was somethin’.”
“Shoot, I ‘member when he whupped that preacherman from here to yonder. Rode
his hoss right into the little Methodist Episcopal church, roped the feller, and drug him
right outside in front of God and everbody. Never did understand ‘xactly what hap-
pened there, but the rumor was that ole circuit rider had done messed with Uncle Bob’s
oldest daughter, Mz. Bee. Guess the reverend deserved the horse whippin’ he got, and
that sure put the icin’ on the cake far as stories about ole Uncle Bob is concerned.”
“Least-wise Mz. Bee married that Bowden boy what owned the furniture store. Hope
she had a happy life, but I heard she never was right after that, whatever that was.”
“Say, do you ‘member that time, back ‘bout 1875, when Dick Cheatham and Dick
Smith run ‘crost that Comanche raidin’ party what kilt the whole of Bill Williams’
family whilst he was in town buyin’ supplies and what not?”
Please see page 22
By Sue Seibert
August 2012 • NORTH TEXAS STAR STORYTELLER & RAMBLER • Page 21
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August 2012 • NORTH TEXAS STAR STORYTELLER & RAMBLER • Page 22
From page 20
“Yup, ole Bill was one of them fellers what believed Comanches was jest mis-
understood, peaceable folk with not a mean bone in their bodies. Otherwise he’d
never‘ve left Mz. Williams and those two little mites there without some sort of
protection. Why I heard tell he didn’t even leave her with no gun!”
“That’s what I heard, and when he come home to his ranch, ‘member it was up
on the Jim Ned, he found poor Mz. Williams a dyin’, one of the children dead,
and the other poor little thing probably carried off by them blood-thirsty Injuns.
Never heard from her again, ‘s the way that story goed.”
“Times back then was dangerous, that’s for shore! Times is better now.”
“Well, maybe so, but ole Bob Routh’s still a purty dangerous feller, and he’s,
what, 91 or so. Sure wouldn’t want to be held in jail there with him the jail-
er and Mz. Jenny cookin’ the food. Heard she’s one terrible cook and
meaner ‘n a snake on Sunday, you ask me. But not meaner
“Yeah, well, back to that raidin’ party o’ Comanches.
‘member that there was the last Injun fight in Brown
County, or so they say. Took place, it did, up on Clear
Creek, when Smith and Cheatham run acrost them
Injuns. Think it was right after they’d kilt Mz.
Williams, but I knows for certain sure
they didn’t have no children with
“Yup, that fight didn’t last too long
neither, and, ‘cept for one or two, all
the Injuns was kilt, and Smith
brought one dead Injun back into
Brownwood and done set him up in
the winder of Mr. Dave Hutchinson’s
blacksmith shop. They kept him there
for a few days, ‘til the stink was God Almighty
awful. Then all the businessmen in town took
that body out on the old Comanche Road and
stuck it up in the big ole live oak as a
“Oh, yeah, I ‘member what happened then.
The body finally fell outtin’ that tree down
onto the ground and some of them roamin’
hogs done et it up. Think that showed them
Comanches who’s boss. Never were no more
raids after that.”
“But do you ‘member the time that old
man, can’t ‘member his name, who kilt
once too many times. Shot his brother-in-
law, carved a second notch on his gun.
Why, I hear tell he shot that feller in the
mornin’ and went to a church picnic that after
noon. Onliest thang was, Uncle Bob and ole Captain James found out all ‘bout it,
and they shore went down to that picnic and arrested that old man. 77 he was,
too, but meaner a snake. Believe they hanged him before the next Sunday.
‘course, Uncle Bob weren’t ‘fraid to bother church people, ‘specially after he
horse whipped that preacher man.”
“Now, that Captain Jason James was a fine man, weren’t he? Didn’t take noth-
ing offen no body. Not even ole Bob Routh! Why, you know ole Captain James
may ‘ave been a member of Quantrill’s Raiders. After all, his first cousin, Jesse,
and Jesse’s brother, Frank, were both part of that band with the Youngers and
“Yup, they surely was, but I don’t know about Captain James. Mean as he was,
he was always on the right side of the law, if you know my meanin’, and him
and Uncle Bob was in some mighty scary situations, but they’s
always after them Injuns or some other sorta bad guys.”
“One thing is for shore, Captain James looked ‘xact-
ly like his cousin, Jesse. Why they coulda been
twins! And he always carried a photograph of
Jesse in his shirt pocket. He told Uncle Bob
onced he hoped he’d never have to go after
Jesse, but I ‘spect he would if he hadda.”
“ ‘member the time James went down
to Pecan Bayou to arrest that feller who
was camped down there? Believe that
feller was a horse thief or some such,
but Captain James went alone, way
those Ranger always do.”
“Yup, he got down there to the
Bayou, and the feller seemed all peace-
able and such. He told James he’d surely
ride into town with him, and he asked
James if he coulda got his coat outta his
“I ‘member. James was bein’ particularly
nice that day, I guess, and he didn’t cuff him or
nothin’, let the feller go into the wagon, and the
next thang he knowed the feller reached under the
wagon seat, pull out his hand gun, and fired at James.”
“ ‘course if was real close range, and James was hit hard, but
he pulled his gun and shot back, and he kilt that sorry so-and-so.”
“Yup, and Uncle Bob come along about then and carried James back to town.
James stayed at that roomin’ house over on Fisk what was run by Mz. Hattie
Bowden, and it took him a few months afore he was back in the saddle and off
rangerin’ again with Uncle Bob.”
“I think Uncle Bob took that shootin’ hard, and when his enlistment was up is
when he gave up rangerin’ and went to runnin’ that general store with Mz.
“Well, one thing’s for shore. Uncle Bob were one interestin’ feller. Wish I
knowed him better, but when I was a little ‘un I was plum skeert to death of him.
And I shore don’t want to get to know him from a jail cell!”
August 2012 • NORTH TEXAS STAR STORYTELLER & RAMBLER • Page 23
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Park entrance: 3101 Old Granbury Rd.
Hours: Monday-Friday 9-6 Saturday 9-5
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August 2012 • NORTH TEXAS STAR STORYTELLER & RAMBLER • Page 24
OUR FAMILY KNOWS
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100 SE 17th Ave. • 940-325-2541(inside Metro)
HOURS: Mon. - Fri. 9-9 • Sat. 9-8 • Sun. 10-2
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