North Texas Star

January 2012 JJJJJanuary 2012
•Potpourri
•The Shrums
•First Legal Hanging
in Palo Pinto
and much more!
January 2012 • NORTH TEXAS STAR STORYTELLER & RAMBLER • Page 2
??
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January 2012 • NORTH TEXAS STAR STORYTELLER & RAMBLER • Page 3
The following essay appeared in the February 6,
1976, issue of the Mineral Wells Index. It has been
paraphrased.
T
o live deep in the woods in a humble log
cabin, a one-room affair, but large enough to
hold one’s favorite books, would be quite a
change of pace, a cabin so deep in the hinterland it
isn’t bothered with lights, gas or phone (no cell phone,
please).
There were many “pioneers” who would have
jumped at this chance 35 years ago (when this essay
was published), but most of them enjoy creature com-
forts today; it would take a determined “pioneer,” one
with self-reliance, to attempt living this lifestyle in the
year of 2012.
It’s a shame we can’t find time to do this bucolic
thing; perhaps hardly anyone can and yet still find time
to eek out enough pay for lights and gas and water and
phone on main street.
We ask for a few hours each week to do this sort of
thing, while our friends are mesmerized with the little
black box in the parlor, but now it seems to be a mas-
sive flat screen.
Speaking for the few of us who are left, we cherish
the touch of a simpler lifestyle, our tenuous link with
sanity. How many of us in the past year of 2011 actual-
ly stopped one time to be awed by a glorious orange
orb? Nowadays, perhaps there are hardly more than a
few who can actually know in which direction the sun
rises. Maybe.
Someone owns a set of U.S. Corps of Engineers top-
ographical maps of the West Texas area. Shockingly
many acres have been scarred, some for better, some
for worse. (This happened largely before “land stew-
ardship” became a recognized shibboleth.) It’s the
indiscriminate harming of nature’s habitat; precious top
soil is not infinite.
Please see page 4
Potpourri
by Don Price
January 2012 • NORTH TEXAS STAR STORYTELLER & RAMBLER • Page 4
From page 3
Naturalist Henry David Thoreau (died 1862) gave us
his wisdom: “If a man walks in the woods for the love of
them, half of each day, he is in danger of being regarded
as a loafer, but if he spends his whole day as a speculator
shearing off those woods and making earth bald before
her time, he is esteemed as an industrious and enterpris-
ing citizen.”
Laurance S. Rockefeller said that more and more peo-
ple are coming to understand that man must live in har-
mony with nature and not as its adversary.
Mr. Rockefeller also stated that “we do not have
boundless resources of materials and manpower and spir-
it; we cannot afford waste. People are finding that a sim-
pler lifestyle provides more satisfaction that pursuit of
materialism.” Italics, mine.
“A simpler lifestyle means different things to different
people,” Mr. Rockefeller said.
It involves reducing waste, while increasing both phys-
ical and spiritual capacities to the fullest. It means open-
ing up some form of communication with nature, and
reducing dependence on mechanical things.
Why not swing an ax with rhythm? There’s an art to it,
and it’s great exercise. Why do we have to grab a noisy
chain saw?
The ax brings about a sounder sleep. Until about 70
years ago the cedar post cutters around Brad, Texas,
largely used a double-bladed three-pound Kelly ax. These
cedar post cutters turned it into an art, the way they could
make chips fly, and the way they could side-step a coil-
ing diamondback, nonchalantly. Those were the days.
The following essay appeared in the Nov. 16, 1980,
issue of the Mineral Wells Index. It has been para-
phrased.
Why is there so much month left at the end of the
money? Taxes and utilities and inflation are increasing,
along with raw land and housing and gasoline. You’ll
sometimes feel as if it’s a conspiracy.
We’re refocusing our visions, spot checking the gray
dawn, an awesome sight, for there will eventually be no
middle class, only patricians and proletarians, as in
France just before the revolution.
Someone said President Ronald Reagan holds a magic
wand. We’ll soon find out if he can steer this ship safely
into a peaceful harbor.
When you sit down at the old campfire to ponder over
it, no other country in history has enjoyed middle-class
strength as long as we have. But restlessness can take the
day if we brood over the shrinking paper dollars in our
pocket books.
Our own Eisenhower “silver dollar” is a stale sand-
wich; Susan B. Anthony’s hard currency lacks strength. If
a certain brand of plug tobacco skyrockets, I’ll bellow. It
won’t do one iota of good, but I’ll holler.
Let’s get our heads together. We’ve got the senses we
were born with, enough to give thanks for our many nat-
ural gifts, one of which is the Brazos River, the panacea
belonging to you and me. Why don’t we tell others about
our fortune?
What is it the Brazos holds, that certain yearning, pull-
ing natives to return home time and again? Is it the reli-
gion, stoicism, that countrymen seem to grasp as they
stand rooted to riparian banks covered with Indian blan-
kets and Mexican hats?
Some of it is pristine wood etched deeply yet, a forest
you’ll want to share with your children and grandchildren
as you talk them to sleep at night, having ridden rapids at
the Boy Scout Camp that afternoon, again dodging the
old rusty Ford pickup sunken down river from Dark
Valley Bridge, remembering placid pools, a kaleidoscop-
ic-like pepper of Claude Monet’s, shady cottonwoods and
spicy cedars.
With a little delving into history you’ll be able to tell
the grandkids about the war grease with which the
Comanche and Kiowa braves smeared themselves, toting
lances atop swift ponies while prowling this upper mid-
dle Brazos region. Each bend will bring you high adven-
ture and deeper meaning.
Upon remembering the time we camped on a
grassy bank at twilight, I wasted no time unrolling a
sleeping bag near a purling rapid’s tail, the resonance of
that particular stretch of river soothing my sunburned
body as I simply drifted... .
You’ll learn to be part of the river if you’ll hold it in
reverence, to give nature’s sounds a chance to whisper its
melodies; it’ll share some of its fondest secrets if you’ll
slow down to feel its throb.
Are we worthy enough to grasp an inspiration on this
winding river, meaning a sunrise of glory? It’s happened
every day of your life, but you’ve missed it because
you’ve been very busy making a living. There’s just not
much time left, though.
If this is so, let us pack a dinghy with spare staples,
cast off from low water bridge to while away a weekend
with a friend. Let us open our minds to sights and sounds
of nature: a barking squirrel, even an ant, God’s half
acre.
To inhale the aroma of river coffee perked on a bed of
mesquite coals, while listening to a Chuck-will’s-widow,
is pretty tough competition for a TV advertiser. Next
morning the orange ball will blow our minds, but it won’t
work until we let its rays sink into our hearts. 
January 2012 • NORTH TEXAS STAR STORYTELLER & RAMBLER • Page 5
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January 2012 • NORTH TEXAS STAR STORYTELLER & RAMBLER • Page 6
This is Part 3 in a series of articles on
the life of Kiowa Indian Chief Satanta
(White Bear) who played a significant role
in the history of the settlement of frontier
Texas during the turbulent years of the
1860s and 1870s.

D
uring late May of 1871, events
began to unfold at the Kiowa-
Comanche Agency in Indian
Territory following the Warren wagon
train raid in Texas. Satanta’s and other
Kiowa bands had set up camps along
Cache Creek in the broad two-mile space
between the agency and Fort Sill to draw
rations. It was Saturday and Satanta knew
that agent Tatum would not issue rations
to them the following day which was
Sunday, the day he observed his religion.
Satanta, with several of the chiefs and a
few young men, went to the commissary
building to meet with Tatum.
It was there on May 27 that Satanta
admitted to Tatum his complicity in the
massacre and that of other Indian leaders
he named. Agent Tatum knew he must act
and not let the atrocity go unpunished. He
went directly to Fort Sill and made a writ-
ten request for Colonel Grierson to arrest
Satanta, Eagle Heart, Big Tree, Big Bow
and Fast Bear for murder.
A trap was set to lure Satanta and some
of the other guilty Indians to Fort Sill to
meet with Colonel Grierson and General
Sherman where they could express their
grievances for shortages in annuity goods,
arms and ammunition they had been
promised. The Indians were to meet at
Colonel Grierson’s house, which sat just
off the quadrangle. Squads of cavalry and
civilian soldiers were positioned and con-
cealed from view behind the walls of a
stone corral. As General Sherman paced
on the open porch, Tatum, Satanta, Satank
and 20 other warriors climbed the steps of
Grierson’s home. Sherman informed
Satanta that he, Satank, Big Tree and
Eagle Heart were under arrest and would
be extradited to Texas to stand trial for
murder.
Satanta began to change his story, say-
ing that he had only blown his bugle and
given the young warriors directions on
how to fight. He then became enraged and
attempted to draw a revolver but was sub-
dued as the shutters of the house flew
open revealing soldiers of the Tenth
Cavalry with carbines leveled at him and
the other Indians. Following several near
volitle confrontations outside the house
between other Indians who had arrived
and soldiers guarding the house, calm was
eventually restored without bloodshed.
General Sherman had Satanta, Satank and
Big Tree arrested, put into irons and
placed in confinement.
Sherman instructed Col. Ranald
Mackenzie, who had arrived from Fort
Richardson on June 4, to transport the
Indian prisoners back there to stand trial
in Jacksboro. This would be the first time
Indians would be tried in a civil court.
On June 8 Satanta and Big Tree were
placed in one wagon and Satank in anoth-
er as the military detachment began the
long trip to Fort Richardson. Satank, who
was well into his 70s, began his death
chant, having resolved to die before
reaching their final destination.
Old Satank was soon able to free his
hands from their bindings and lunged at
one of the guards, slashing him with a
knife he had concealed under his blanket.
As he and the guard tumbled from the
wagon, Satank grabbed a carbine from the
soldier but was shot several times by the
other guards before he could fire the
weapon. His body was left by the side of
the road and would later be retrieved and
buried in the Fort Sill cemetery. The col-
umn arrived at Fort Richardson on June
15 and Satanta and Big Tree were con-
fined in the guardhouse until their trial
date could be set in nearby Jacksboro.
On July 4, 1871, Satanta and Big Tree
were indicted by a grand jury in Jacksboro
and the trial began the next day. For their
protection the two Indians were escorted
the quarter-mile from Fort Richardson to
the Jack County courthouse by a group of
20 soldiers. The 30-by-30, two-story sand-
stone courthouse had been constructed
earlier that year with the courtroom locat-
ed on the second floor.
The pending trial created a circus-like
atmosphere in Jacksboro as spectators,
newspaper correspondents and local citi-
zenry filled the courthouse and over-
flowed into the streets. Even the schools
were dismissed so children could experi-
ence the events that were transpiring in
their town.
Accompanied by their appointed attor-
neys Thomas Ball and J.A. Woolfork and
Fort Sill interpreter Horace Jones, the
blanket-wrapped and manacled Indians
were marched into the building. Although
they likely had little understanding of the
proceedings that were about to take place,
they knew that their lives would depend
on the outcome.
Judge Charles Soward, a state circuit
judge from Weatherford, presided over the
trial. Samuel Willis Tucker Lanham, who
had been appointed District Attorney of
the Thirteenth District of Texas in 1871
by Gov. Edmund J. Davis, prosecuted the
case for the State of Texas. Lanham would
eventually be elected the 22nd governor
of Texas in 1902.
A motion made by the Indians’ defense
lawyers that the State of Texas had no
right to try the prisoners who were wards
of the federal government was denied by
Judge Soward, but he did grant a motion
to sever Big Tree’s trial from Satanta’s.
Twelve jurors were quickly selected in
the hot, crowded courtroom as the trial
began. After eloquent presentations by
both the prosecuting and defense attor-
neys, the deliberation by the jury was
short: “guilty of murder!”
In his own defense, Satanta promised to
never cross the Red River again and raid
into Texas, stating, “I am a great chief
among my people. If you kill me, it will
be like a spark on the prairie. It will make
a big fire – a terrible fire!”
The jury condemned both Indians to the
gallows and to be held in the guard house
at Fort Richardson until their execution
date.
Following the letter of the law, Judge
Soward set the execution date of Sept. 1.
Gov. Davis, however, had misgivings
about the legality of the court proceedings
believing “... the killings for which these
Indians were sentenced can hardly be con-
sidered … as coming within the technical
crime of murder under the Statutes of the
State, but rather as an act of Savage
Warfare.”
On Aug. 2 Gov. Davis commuted their
sentences to life at hard labor which creat-
ed public outrage all across the frontier.
Satanta and Big Tree remained in the
guardhouse at Fort Richardson until Oct.
16 when one company of the Eleventh
Infantry under Captain H.L. Chipman
escorted them on the 17-day trip to the
state prison in Huntsville, Texas, where
they arrived on Nov. 2, 1871.
Satanta was given the number 2107 and
Big Tree 2108. They soon were assigned
to work in a chain gang of 100 convicts
leased to Albert Denson, construction con-
tractor for the Houston and Texas Central
Railroad.
After only a month on the chain gang,
Satanta and Big Tree were separated from
the others, chained together and taken to
St. Louis to meet a delegation of Kiowa,
Apache and Comanche chiefs who were
en route to Washington. The trip had been
organized by Captain H.E. Alvord, a
member of the Indian service, to review
the obligations of the Medicine Lodge
Treaty on both sides and in hopes of put-
ting a stop to raids by the Kiowa that were
continuing along the frontier. Alvord also
wanted to impress upon the Indians the
extent of the power in Washington. When
Please see page 8
SATANTA: Orator of the Plains
By Jim Dillard
January 2012 • NORTH TEXAS STAR STORYTELLER & RAMBLER • Page 7
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From page 6
he promised to allow the delegation to see
Satanta and Big Tree in St. Louis, they
agreed to make the trip.
Since there was no direct rail service
from Huntsville, Texas, to St. Louis, MO,
Satanta and Big Tree were taken by train
to Dallas by U.S. marshals and from there
a company of cavalry escorted them to the
Missouri, Kansas & Texas railhead at
Atoka, Okla. They arrived in St. Louis on
the morning of Sept. 19, 1872, and were
taken to the Everett House Hotel where
they met in the dining room with the other
Indian delegates traveling to Washington,
many who knew Satanta and Big Tree.
There were greetings, talks and a
lengthy oration by Satanta in which he
encouraged the delegation to pursue the
path of peace between Indians, the federal
government and Texas citizens. The dele-
gation traveled on to Washington while
Satanta and Big Tree were returned to
Huntsville.
Back at the prison in Huntsville, the
two were assigned to work in the prison
shops. Big Tree was industrious in his
work but Satanta refused to do anything.
Unknown to them, there were already
rumblings in Washington over their con-
tinued incarceration in Texas. Since there
was relative quiet among the Kiowa and
Comanche bands in Indian Territory near
Fort Sill, federal officials believed the
current peace policy of the government
was working.
During the summer meeting in
Washington the proposition was presented
to the Indians that if they were committed
to stopping raids, perhaps the government
would recommend Satanta and Big Tree
for executive clemency, even though it
was a State of Texas matter. To that end
Secretary of the Interior Columbus Delano
petitioned Texas Gov. Davis, with the
blessings of the President of the United
States, for the release of Satanta and Big
Tree.
In reality, the Kiowa were quiet because
their leaders were still processing what
they had seen of the power of the United
States on their recent visit to Washington
and were planning their next move. The
Comanches were quiet because many of
their family members which Colonel
Mackenzie had captured on a raid of their
camp in the Texas Panhandle were still
being held hostage at Fort Concho in
Texas.
To settle the matter, a conference
between U.S. Commissioner of Indian
Affairs Edward P. Smith, Indian Agent
James Haworth of Fort Sill, Enoch Hoag
of the Friends Committee (Quakers) and
Gov. Edmund J. Davis of Texas was held
at Fort Sill on Oct. 6, 1873.
Satanta and Big Tree had already been
moved from the Texas State Prison in
Huntsville to Fort Sill where they arrived
on Sept. 4 and were placed in the newly
constructed guardhouse. Gov. Davis
would use them as a bargaining chip to
force the Indians to stop all raids into
Texas or face an all-out war by Texas
forces. If Satanta and Big Tree were to be
released, it would be on his terms and his
terms only.
At the meeting, Gov. Davis outlined the
terms under which the release of the two
chiefs could occur: 1) The Indians must
settle permanently and convert to farming
with agents placed in their camps; 2) no
more than three days rations to be issued
with each man drawing them himself at a
roll call; 3) Comanches responsible for
recent raids be arrested and extradited to
Texas for trial; 4) all horses stolen from
Texas be returned and all captives freed;
and 5) Satanta and Big Tree to remain in
the guardhouse until the Indians were
making a good faith effort to comply with
the terms outlined by the Gov. of Texas.
After two days of further negotiations
between federal officials, the Indians and
Gov. Davis, it was decided that since
Texas officials could not enforce the terms
of the agreement, the federal government
would assume that responsibility.
Gov. Davis reluctantly agreed that
Satanta and Big Tree would be
paroled rather pardoned and sub-
ject to re-arrest if they did not
put a stop to all future raiding.
Satanta and Big Tree embraced
Davis and were once again
free.
Gen. Sherman was outraged
at the turn of events as were
the citizens of Texas.
However, Satanta’s freedom
was short-lived and within a
year he would find him-
self back in the Texas
State Prison in
Huntsville.
Although
Satanta
denied
his
involvement in several raids conducted by
the Kiowa and Comanche during 1874, it
was reputed that he had at least been pres-
ent, thus violating the conditions of his
parole. He was not present for roll call on
Aug. 13, 1874, having left with several
other Kiowa chiefs to go to the Wichita
Agency. When the Kiowa were ordered to
leave the agency, a fight broke out that
lasted for two days before they left the
area. Satanta claimed that he was not
involved in the fight and left when hostili-
ties started. The fact that he was even
there constituted a violation of his parole.
Other engagements occurred during the
year including the Second Battle of Adobe
Walls in the Texas Panhandle and an
attack on Maj. Wyllys Lyman’s govern-
ment supply train; it was reported that
Satanta was present. It was more likely
Kiowa chiefs Lone Wolf and Maman-ti
led those raids. Guilt by assumed associa-
tion with these bands of Kiowa was
enough to send Satanta back to prison in
Texas.
On Oct. 3, 1874, Satanta surrendered to
Col. Neill and by early November was
taken back to Texas State Prison in
Huntsville.
Big Tree was eventually released to
walk the “white-man’s road” and was
instrumental in establishing
the first Baptist mission
on the reservation. He
also was a deacon of
the Rainy
Mountain Baptist
Church for the
next 30 years
and died at
his home
near Anadarko, Okla., in 1929. He was
buried in the Rainy Mountain Cemetery.
At the Texas State Prison in Huntsville
on Oct. 11, 1878, having been told he
would never again be released, Satanta
attempted to commit suicide by slashing
several of his arteries. An attendant
stopped the bleeding and took him to the
second floor of the prison hospital. When
the attendant left him alone for a short
time, Satanta leaped from the landing to
his death. His body was placed in a sim-
ple pine coffin and taken to a brushy hill
known as Peckerwood Hill where the
prison system maintained squatter’s rights
for use as a potter’s field. It was there that
the once powerful Kiowa chief was bur-
ied.
A gravestone arrived in December from
Houston on which an inscription was
engraved – “Satanta, Chief of the Kiowa.”
Mark Auchiah’s son, James, one of
Satanta’s grandsons, initiated an effort to
return Satanta’s remains for burial in the
Fort Sill Cemetery. In 1963, a joint resolu-
tion was introduced in the Texas
Legislature directing the Department of
Corrections “to accede to the wishes of
the Kiowa Indians of Oklahoma, and to
take whatever steps are necessary to all
for the removal of the bones of Satainte
and for their return to his people.”
Although this resolution met with some
opposition by several factions, it was
finally approved by both Texas houses
and signed by Gov. John Connally on
May 17, 1963.
Today, Satanta’s grave at Fort Sill is
marked by a standard military headstone.
The old gravesite in Huntsville is still
maintained and protected by an iron pipe
fence, since it is considered a sacred place
by the Kiowa people.
He lies beneath the sacred earth; no lon-
ger can he speak.
Others now proclaim his name, his
memory they will keep.
Satanta’s bugle sounds no more, its
metal cold and worn.
There are no battles left to fight, no one
to blow his horn. (to be continued)
Sources: “Satanta,” by Charles M.
Robinson I; “Heap Many Indian
Chiefs,” by Roy D. Holt; “The
Warren Wagontrain Raid,” by
Benjamin Capps; Handbook of
Texas Online and other internet
sources.
January 2012 • NORTH TEXAS STAR STORYTELLER & RAMBLER • Page 9
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January 2012 • NORTH TEXAS STAR STORYTELLER & RAMBLER • Page 10
Zachariah E. Coombes:
Frontier Teacher on the Brazos Indian Reservation
This is Part 6 in a series of articles based on a daily
diary kept by Zachariah Ellis Coombes, school teacher
at the Brazos Indian Reservation in Young County,
Texas, between Oct. 7, 1858, and April 27, 1859.
C
old weather continued during early February
1859 at the Brazos Indian Reservation in
Young County as one cold spell after another
blew through the area.
On Feb. 2, John B. Robinson arrived hoping to sell
some oats at the reservation store, but at the handsome
price of $1.75 per bushel, no one bought. The Indian
school had a good turnout that day and the students paid
good attention. Zachariah was depressed that evening
since there were no guests at his house to enliven his
spirits and little else to occupy his thoughts. He knew
that time in his present position as school teacher at the
reservation was nearing its end as he wrote in his diary,
“Every day bringst the end closer.”
After a good night’s sleep he was in much better spir-
its the following day. At the sutler store he was able to
obtain a sack of flour for the school, the first since the
current session of school began. Coombes’ wife,
Rebecca, became sick and was confined to bed that day.
Zachariah was worried that she was suffering from an
attack of “winter fever.”
At school he had to whip one of the students who had
become unruly. His friend Robert Payne left that day to
go wild horse hunting and would be gone for six to
eight days.
During the next day’s school session, a spelling match
between the “Waco-Tahwaccaroes v.s. the Caddoes and
Anahdahcoes” students was held with the former being
the winner. It was beginning to appear that a sense of
ambition was developing amongst the scholars as to
who would excel in spelling.
Rebecca was feeling better than she had the day
before and appeared to be recovering from her illness.
That evening two of Zachariah’s Caddo Indian friends
came to visit but had little to talk about. He observed
that “the whole of the Indian concern do not seem to
know that it costs dollars and dimes to live.”
On Saturday, Feb. 5, 1859, Coombes spent much of
the day getting his beef butchered and brought to his
house. That night Mr. Barnard and Captain Ross ate
supper at his house and all had a good meal. Parson
Tackett (Tackitt) was also a guest that evening and was
to give a discourse (sermon) the following day. Mrs.
Dyche (wife of the blacksmith) returned to the reserva-
tion after being gone for some time to visit her home.
Mr. and Mrs. Light also arrived, having just moved to
the reserve.
On Sunday Reverend Vannoy and Parson Tackett
arrived early at the Coombes residence. Parson Tackett
gave a good discourse, part of which was presented to
the Delaware Indians through an interpreter. The minis-
ters had dinner with Mrs. Dyche and visited at the
Coombes’ house before leaving for their homes.
Coombes found Parson Tackett to be a most pleasant
individual and looked forward to entertaining him any-
time he chose to return to the reserve. Zachariah and his
wife Rebecca visited with Mrs. Dyche to learn of any
news she might have gleaned on her visit “from below.”
At the start of the next week of school on Monday,
Feb. 6, 1859, there were 36 students including the chil-
dren of Mr. and Mrs. Dyche and 17-year-old Caledonia,
another white child from the reserve. Coombes mailed
several letters he had written the evening before and all
was relatively uneventful during the day. The following
day was so very cold with a fresh norther blowing that
Coombes dismissed his students at noon until the next
day. Mr. Barnard and Captain Ross met at Coombes’
house to discuss government contract business with a
partner of theirs.
On Thursday Mr. Dyche returned from Waco having
been gone a number of days in pursuit of Mr.
Fonderberg, the instigator who led Peter Garland’s gang
to Chocktaw Tom’s hunting camp north of Galconda
(Palo Pinto.) He reported that his whole concern was
nothing more than a magnificent failure in the line of
arresting the murderers of the Indians. Zachariah’s
friend Dave, a Tahwacaro, returned from a 10-day hunt
for his horses and was successful in reclaiming them.
As the school week came to an end on Friday,
Coombes lamented in his diary on the many responsi-
bilities a teacher must be prepared to assume to earnest-
ly provide instruction to a wide diversity of pupils
“from the very obstinate and thick skulled to the very
obedient and industrious scholars. I have never had
much experience in teaching the children of my own
race, but I find that savages are of all grades, from the
most ambitious student to the most stupid cult.”
As usual, Zachariah spent most of Saturday getting
his beef for the following week and hauling a load of
firewood. Mr. Barnard and Captain Ross returned from
a trip to Fort Belknap, much hungry from their long
ride. John Bingham and Samuel McDermott were trav-
eling guests at the Coombes house that evening.
Coombes noted that his wife, Rebecca, seemed in quite
an ill temper that night, likely due to fatigue and bad
health.
On Sunday Zachariah and his Indian friend Joe Harry
spent most of the day hunting Coombes’ cattle which no
one had seen for the last three months. (He apparently
had a few head of free-ranging cattle that belonged to
him personally.) He learned from his friend that most of
the Indians were dissatisfied with the current state of
affairs on the reservation and no longer felt safe to pur-
sue their livelihood. Coombes felt that his position as
teacher at the reservation and everyone else’s position
there was likely near an end as well. It was becoming
the consensus of everyone at the agency that the imme-
diate removal of all Indians to the United States (Indian
Territory) would be in their best interest. Although a
light shower fell, it did little more than settle the dust.
Rebecca and Mrs. Dyche started their late winter gar-
dens by planting English pea, mustard, lettuce and rad-
ish seeds.
The remainder of February 1859 on the Brazos
Reservation for Coombes was spent with the daily rou-
tine of teaching school and providing for guests who
came to the reserve to visit or on business. Average
attendance at the school was 32 students out of 46
enrolled. Due to the anxiety over the recent murders of
some of the reservation Indians in Palo Pinto County by
white citizens, some Indian parents would no longer
allow their children to attend the school for fear they
might meet the same fate.
Coombes was able to purchase one turkey and one
venison ham at 25 cents each to supplement their food
supply. The weather remained relatively warm for the
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January 2012 • NORTH TEXAS STAR STORYTELLER & RAMBLER • Page 11
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January 2012 • NORTH TEXAS STAR STORYTELLER & RAMBLER • Page 12
From page 10
season but little rain fell on the garden he and Rebecca
had put in. They planted additional English peas, onion
seeds and sets, lettuce, cabbage and beets. His friend
William Light made a bench for the school, the fourth
one in use since the school began.
Rumors continued to swirl about the future of the res-
ervation and possible relocation of the Indians to Indian
Territory. On Feb. 23, Comanches
raided the Caddo camp and stole
between 50 and 100 horses. John S.
(RIP) Ford, commander of Texas vol-
unteer forces in the field, and his small
force of men who were on a scout in
the area, arrived at the Brazos reserve
that same day. Upon learning of the
Comanche raid, Ford made prepara-
tions for a campaign against the
Comanches to recover the stolen hors-
es. While at the agency, the school-
house was used as quarters to accom-
modate Ford and his men, requiring
Coombes to temporarily postpone
classes and remove all books so they
would not be destroyed or damaged.
From the Brazos reserve, Ford
enlisted 40 Caddo and Anadarko
Indians and set off in pursuit. They
marched to Fort Radziminski on Otter
Creek in Indian Territory in hopes of
forming a joint campaign with Major
Van Dorn and his units located there
but were unable to coordinate such an
effort. After a long march back across the Red River
and then southwest through the Pease River country of
Northwest Texas, Ford’s expedition was unsuccessful in
locating the Comanche’s trail or recovering any of the
horses.
On Saturday, February 26, the weekly task of getting
their beef butchered and hauled by wagon to the house
was again repeated. On the following day, Coombes
borrowed a gun and with the assistance of Joe Harry
began a search for his cattle. After searching all day
with no results, they returned by way of the Shawnee
Village, being tired and very hungry. At the request of
Captain Ross, Coombes wrote a report on the conditions
and progress of the school at the Brazos Agency School
for the month of February.
Blustery winds blew in during the first week of
March 1859 with a cloud of dust and grit that coated
everything at the reservation. On March 2 the air was so
thick with dust the sun was obscured from 3 o’clock
until sunset. Captain Ross received a letter from L.M.
Harris informing him that a large company of men was
being raised in the area to attack the reservation on
March 20. Coombes was asked by the captain to make a
copy of a letter from him he had written to Major
Neighbors advising him of the possible
attack being planned which Coombes
promptly did. In a letter to his father,
Zachariah asked him to bring him a six-
shooter for his protection. Coombes was
able to purchase 100 pounds of bacon
for his kitchen.
Zachariah’s father arrived on March 4,
1859, with Mr. Dillingham and reported
that most all of the officials in Jack
County were interested in raising and
outfitting a force of men to attack the
reserve and wipe out everyone, both
Indian and white. Also, that a combined
force of 750 to 1,000 men from Jack,
Palo Pinto, Erath, Comanche and other
counties were being assembled, armed
and equipped to attack the reserve.
Coombes recorded his thoughts on the
matter in his diary, “If the Lord of Hosts
be for us who can be against us.” He
also noted that this was the last day in
the public and senatorial career of Gen.
Sam Houston, who he considered to be
a statesman, warrior and philanthropist
“in the most extensive sense of the word.”
On Saturday Coombes again got his beef allotment,
processed it and left with Dr. Sturn to search for his
cows which were still missing. At Mr. Dillingham’s
place he learned that two of his cattle might be located
at Mr. Gibson’s place and the other at Mr. Taylor’s;
none were found at either location. Since Mr.
Dillingham and his son were not at home, it was specu-
lated they had likely gone to Jacksboro to inform offi-
cials there who were plotting against the agency on the
state of affairs at the reservation. As night and
approaching rain overtook them, Zachariah and Dr.
Sturn took lodging at the home of Mr. Choate, who also
believed Dillingham was a spy for the mob and was not
to be trusted.
When Coombes returned to the agency on Sunday
morning around 8 o’clock he found Parson Tackett had
arrived and at 11 o’clock presented a discourse from the
10th Chapter of St. Luke. Parson Tackett remained at
the agency several days and then left to go down the
country to meet with some of the local citizenry there
and try to stop their movement against the reserve.
Coombes felt that he would likely have little chance of
succeeding.
News was also received from Judge Porter and Mr.
Richie Moys (Moss) that Mr. (Oliver) Loving was rais-
ing a company of men from Palo Pinto County to pro-
tect Peter Garland and his men from being arrested and
to take them away from civil authorities if necessary.
They also reported that a company of men was being
raised in Jacksboro to attack the agency. Coombes noted
in his diary, “If so it is that our own countrymen are
determined to murder us we do hope they will have a
good time of it.”
Captain Ross’ wife arrived with two children, one a
Comanche prisoner and the other Mexican. She and the
captain traveled to Fort Belknap and returned the next
day with news that the infantry would be arriving at
Camp Cooper any day. Parson Tackett, Captain Ross
and his wife visited the school while they were at the
reserve as did Anadarko Chief Jim Pockmark who
would eventually replace Jose Maria as principal chief
of the Anadarko. Chief Pockmark had participated in
the Battle of the Antelope Hills on the Canadian River
with Texas Ranger Captain John S. (RIP) Ford in 1858
and killed Comanche Chief Iron Jacket. The Comanche
chief wore an old Spanish coat-of-mail and had always
claimed its “medicine” would protect him from harm.
Pockmark put a rifle bullet through it and Chief Iron
Jacket, thus ending the chief’s claim. 
(to be continued)
(Sources: The Diary Of A Frontiersman by Z. E.
Coombs; Heap Many Indian Chiefs by Roy Holt,
Empire of the Summer Moon by S. C. Gwynne, The
Handbook of Texas Online, Lambshead Before
Interwoven: A Texas Range Chronicle 1848-1878 by
Frances M. Holden, Rip Ford’s Texas by John Salmon
Ford; Frontier Defense in the Civil War by David P.
Smith, Live of “Big Foot” Wallace by A. J. Sowell, and
many other internet website. A special thanks to Ted
and Nancy Paup for providing a copy of Zachariah E.
Coombes’ published diary. Coombes was Nancy Paup’s
great-great grandfather.)
Rip Ford
January 2012 • NORTH TEXAS STAR STORYTELLER & RAMBLER • Page 13
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January 2012 • NORTH TEXAS STAR STORYTELLER & RAMBLER • Page 14
T
he old nag almost got him
killed back in Jacksboro.
That’s where he used the
alias, Albert Moore, to commit armed
robbery. His quick getaway slowed to
a trot when the old brown mare came
up lame in her left hind leg. She
wasn’t his horse and he wasn’t Albert
Moore, but that didn’t stop John Dove
from trading his stolen horse. And, he
knew all to well that a horse thief in
Texas could look forward to a necktie
party if he was careless enough to get
caught. But not John Dove. He was
better than everybody… He was too
smart for the law, too fast with a six-
shooter, and too young to die, or so
he thought. At 23 years of age, Dove
fancied himself a notorious outlaw,
the likes of which Jack County had
never seen. But tonight, he was a
stranger in these parts and a long
ways away from his home in
Jacksboro. So, when he saw the
Gardenhire Ranch sign above the
gate, Dove grinned a little smirk
knowing he’d found a place to hide
from the law and trade his stolen
mare. Like his parents, ranchers were
stupid, Dove rationalized in his mind.
Gullible ranchers always believed his
lies and took him in for the night with
free room and board. But tonight, fate
would intervene. When he rode
through that gate, John Dove had no
way of knowing his conceded arro-
gance had already sealed his fate and
within one year he would swing from
the gallows at his very own necktie
party.
Ben Gardenhire wasn’t just any
rancher, and he didn’t believe Dove’s
story. He knew horses well enough to
know that Doves’ mare was rode hard
for 30 miles or more and not the short
distance from Gorman, as he’d
claimed. And, another thing bothered
Ben, why did they have to trade now?
A cowboy wouldn’t trade his horse in
such poor condition, if he wasn’t in a
hurry. When asked, Dove offered a
lame excuse saying something about
steep mountain trails had winded her.
With that, Ben became even more
suspicious. His ranch was 21 miles
southwest of Thurber’s coal mines
just outside of Lipan, and the only
mountain was, Double Mountain,
which wasn’t much more than a
molehill. Virtually all of Erath County
was flatlands and there were no
mountain trails between his ranch and
Gorman. Ben correctly surmised that
this, Albert Moore, or whoever he
was, ran his mare into the ground
while running from the law.
Then, Ben saw the ugly side of
Dove’ s temper. His refusal to trade
horses had triggered Dove’s anger,
and to diffuse any violence, Ben com-
promised his better judgment and
allowed him to stay overnight in his
barn. With guns loaded and one eye
open, Ben stayed awake that memora-
ble night, the 22nd of August 1895, to
protect his family and property from
a perceived threat. At the time, Ben
had only suspicions and he had no
way of knowing just how real the
threat was or how close he and his
family had come to violence at the
hands of Dove.
Leaving the Gardenhire Ranch
the following morning, Dove rode
in a northeasterly direction to John
Trout’s ranch where he traded
Trout his brown mare for a horse,
a railroad watch, and five dollars.
His next stop was at the Meredith
Ranch where the remainder of that
day, August 23rd 1895, John
Dove’s actions were chronicled
as the defendant in courtroom
testimony by the victim,
Mrs. Joe Meredith:
“Mrs. Joe Meredith tes-
tified to defendant’s
assaulting and ravishing
her at her home. That she
was just recovering from
an attack of measles, and
was very weak; weighed
only 110 pounds. Her hus-
band had left home in the
morning. She was alone with
two of her little children. Her near-
est neighbor, Mr. Knight, lived about
one-half or three-quarters of a mile
from her house. Defendant came to
her house about 11 o’clock a. m., and
asked for a drink of water. She
had never seen him before.
Gave him a drink of water,
and he went into the melon
patch and got a watermelon;
came back and sat down
under an arbor in front of the
house and ate it. He then got
up and went up close to her
and asked her if she was an
Italian woman. She told him
she was an American woman.
He asked her the way to
Gordon, and when she tried
to tell him, he ran up in front
of her and caught hold of her,
and told her to go to her
room. She told him she
would die first, and the
defendant then crushed
her down. She was so
weak she could not
resist him; could do
nothing. When the
defendant left, she
took her children and
went to Mrs.
Knight’s. Upon her
husband’s return, she
told him…”
Dove left the
Meredith home after the
commission of his offense
and fled the country where he
remained at large. Palo Pinto County
Sheriff O. L. York issued wanted
Please see page 16
The First

In Palo Pinto
Legal Hanging
by Randall Scott
January 2012 • NORTH TEXAS STAR STORYTELLER & RAMBLER • Page 15
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January 2012 • NORTH TEXAS STAR STORYTELLER & RAMBLER • Page 16
From page 14
posters, while at the same time,
Governor Culberson offered a reward of
$250 for information leading to the
arrest and indictment of John Dove
wanted for assault and rape of a white
woman. A statewide manhunt ensued
for the next four months and ended
abruptly on the following January of
1896 when Sheriff York got a break in
the case. Officers at Franklin County
jail in Mt. Vernon claimed the image
sketched on his wanted poster looked
much like one of their inmates. York
agreed. There was no mistake. The
detailed descriptions that were provided
by Mrs. Meredith, John Trout, and Ben
Gardenhire had fit Dove’s appearance to
a tee. His adamant denial did little to
help his case, but instead, caught Dove
in another lie when he fabricated a false
alibi. York checked it out and there was
no John Dove listed in the Huntsville
penitentiary when the offense occurred,
or at any other time.
One month later, back in Palo Pinto
County, the March term of Judge
Straughan’s district court convened to
pick a jury, appoint attorneys and hear
the defendant plead his case. The fol-
lowing month, discovery phase was
completed and the prosecutions’ prelim-
inary litigations began when court con-
vened on May 13th. The eye witness
testimony of, Ben Gardenhire was cor-
roborated by John Trout and the victim
herself, Mrs. Meredith, which left no
doubt in the minds of deliberating
jurors: Dove was guilty, and for punish-
ment, the death penalty was assessed.
And, so it was; upon the identification
provided by one lady, who alleged to
have been assaulted and could only pro-
vide circumstantial evidence, the testi-
mony of only one person: the victim,
Mrs. Meredith, convicted Dove for cer-
tain execution. The trial started and
ended in one day and justice was served
when District Judge J. S. Straughan set
an execution date of Friday, October
30th, 1896 and passed sentence upon
John Dove to be hung by the neck until
dead.
An appeal was brought before Judge
Davidson at the Texas Court Of
Criminal Appeals in Austin based on
alibis provided by Dove’s friends. These
friends attested to the whereabouts of
John Dove having seen him in Clay
County on the day the alleged offense
was committed. But when officers sub-
poenaed Tom Cooper, Jim Turner, and
John Ogle, they were exiled to Indian
Territory out of reach and unaccount-
able to the court. Attempts to issue
applicants for A.J. Dove and R. Long of
Jack County were returned blank. Also,
Dove alleged that his attorneys were
appointed by the court on the very day
of the trial with little time to prepare his
defense. Also, Dove pointed out that
these attorneys were young and inexpe-
rienced having not one witness testify in
his defense, nor even calling him to the
stand in his own defense. His appeal
was denied and the judgment affirmed.
In response, A petition was circulated
by Dove’s friends asking executive
clemency pending the Investigation of
his case. Governor Culberson reviewed
the petition and granted him a stay of
execution until November 27th. After
the investigation found no improprieties,
the governor refused to interfere and
ordered Sheriff York to carry out the
sentence of the court.
Having never performed and execu-
tion, Sheriff York, and his jailer, Charles
Martin, were trying their best to make
ready for the hanging. A sturdy branch
was chosen outside the courthouse that
served as a hanging tree, where directly
below, the men constructed a wooden
platform equipped with a trap door.
Jennie, the jailer’s wife, had sewn a
black hood to cover the condemned
man’s head, and with that completed,
she began cooking his last meal.
School was dismissed early on Friday,
November 27th 1896 for the 3:00 p.m.
execution. Horses and buggies began to
file inside Fleming Livery Stable keep-
ing Wilborn and his boys busier than
they’ve ever been before. People gath-
ered early spreading their blankets over
the courthouse lawn to relax and eat the
contents of their picnic baskets. They
were surrounded by an overflow of
carts, buggies, and horse drawn wagons
parked outside the courthouse square. A
barking Carney sold bottled snake oil
from atop his wagon tailgate. Food ven-
dors served pork legs and trimmings
cooked over smoking campfires. Roving
peddlers mixed throughout the crowd
selling hats, toys and souvenirs. While
some people felt a somber ambiance,
Palo Pinto sprung to life in a festive car-
nival atmosphere of more than 200 anx-
ious people gathered together in morbid
celebration.
Inside Palo Pinto’s two story jail-
house, the carnival’s main attraction
went about heartily eating his last meal.
The jail was a huge rock fortress built
back in the 1880s to house prisoners
and also provide a home for the jailer’s
family. Charles, the jailer, and his wife
Jennie had four children, Rose,
Elizabeth, Josie and Olin, who knew
Dove very well having fed his food to
him through the bars for nearly eight
months. The children had made close
ties with the condemned man.
Please see page 18
January 2012 • NORTH TEXAS STAR STORYTELLER & RAMBLER • Page 17
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From page 16
A relationship that would sadly end
very soon. With complements for their
mother’s cooking, Dove asked the chil-
dren to bring him more food. The sher-
iff passed him a whisky bottle and
Dove took a stiff drink. He then
smoked a great many cigarettes, and
the mixture disagreed with him so that
he was in a weak
condition just
before the time
arrived for his
execution. A doc-
tor was called in
to make an exam-
ination and for
Dove’s pain relief
the doctor pre-
scribed a stimu-
late, so another
dose of whisky
was given to him.
Dove revived
after several more
doses.
Reverend W. K.
Caperton asked
Dove if he should
stay with him to
the end. He said
no, that it would
do no good, and
with that, the rev-
erend shook
Dove’s hand for
the last time.
After tying his
hands behind his
back, Sheriff York
marched him out-
side to the shouts
of cheering
crowds, while out
the back door,
Jennie quickly
lead her children
away to hide them
in a nearby creek
bottom. He stumbled at first and had to
be helped to his feet, but then he
walked without assistance to the scaf-
fold. He stood on the trap door erect
and fearless, looking straight ahead
while Martin secured his ankles.
Sheriff York asked him if he had any
last words to say. He said, “No, I have
not a word to say.”
Then, York secured the black hood
over his head, followed by the noose
around his neck and at 3:05 P.M. the
trap door was released. Dove fell to the
end of his rope, but not to his death.
The fall didn’t snap his neck.
Witnesses account for his struggle to
breath while trashing about hissing and
spewing through the cloth of his hood.
The crowd grew eerily silent as they
watched the condemned man squirm in
agony. This wasn’t an execution…, it
was primeval torture. A woman
screamed, another fainted, and people
shouted for someone to put the poor
man out of his misery. Martin grabbed
a hold of Dove’s legs to add his
weight, but he still choked and spewed.
York stepped up to help, grabbed a leg,
and with a quick downward jerk, he
ended it. From the time the trap door
sprung, the spec-
tacle lasted a very
long seventeen
minutes before
Dove was pro-
nounced dead by
the attending phy-
sician. And, to
pacify onlookers
and photogra-
phers, he was left
to hang another
twenty-four min-
utes before Dove
was cut down and
laid in his coffin.
John Dove, a
native of
Jacksboro, Texas,
was 24 years of
age.
Two men began
cutting the noose
into six inch
lengths and then
they tied a string
around both ends
to prevent the
rope from fraying
or unraveling. A
line formed in
front of the scaf-
fold of those who
wanted to pur-
chase a length for
25 cents each,
which was a large
sum of money in
those days, but
the prohibitive
costs didn’t deter buyers and the
accounts of one witness attest to over
one-hundred souvenir seekers waiting
in line. Jennie Martin kept a morbid
souvenir of her own. The black hood
she’d sewn for Dove’s death shroud
stayed in her possession for many
years and she would entertain friends
and guests with their own private
viewing.
As you’ve seen, the first legal hang-
ing in Palo Pinto, Texas was a disaster.
There were other small Texas towns
that botched hangings and some were
even worse than John Dove’s execu-
tion, if you can imagine that. The out-
law, Black Jack Ketchum was behead-
ed when executioners failed to account
for his weight gain. The “drop” must
be based on the person’s weight, to
deliver 1260 foot-pounds of force to
the neck. The noose is then placed
snugly around the condemned man’s
neck, behind his left ear, which will
cause the neck to snap. If properly
done, death is caused by dislocation of
the third and fourth cervical vertebrae,
or by asphyxiation. No doubt, this was
information, Sheriff York, and his jail-
er, Charles Martin, could’ve used.
Records of John Dove’s hanging
have, for the most part, been limited to
eye witness accounts, and at that, sel-
dom discussed by those not wanting to
reveal the dark side of Palo Pinto his-
tory. It leaves much to speculation, but
one can understand why county offi-
cials constructed an indoor hangman’s
room in 1906. Narrow stairs lead up to
a second floor balcony where a hang-
man’s noose hauntingly suspends over
a trap door, all of which are still on
display for you to enjoy at the old jail-
house museum in Palo Pinto. 
Consultants: Sue Ficke Seibert, Bob
Erwin, Samuel Williams
References:
(1) Texas Court Of Criminal Appeals
- Austin term 1896 Vol. 36 p. 105
(2) History of Palo Pinto County - p.
257 copyright 1978 by the Palo Pinto
County Historical Association - Taylor
Publishing Co.
(3) The Galveston Daily News -
Saturday Edition November 28th 1896
Randall Scott, Author of “The
Tinner,” is a member of Western
Writers Of America and Western
Literature Association. You can find
Randall on the Internet at http://
Randall-Scott.com
Photos by Libby Cluett
January 2012 • NORTH TEXAS STAR STORYTELLER & RAMBLER • Page 18
The Old Jail Museum in Palo Pinto
January 2012 • NORTH TEXAS STAR STORYTELLER & RAMBLER • Page 19
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January 2012 • NORTH TEXAS STAR STORYTELLER & RAMBLER • Page 20
T
he old doctor had been
wrong, Mrs. Shrum con-
cluded. Her daughter,
Belle, was as normal as the rest
of her children: she had 10 nor-
mal kids. “Clairvoyant my eye!”
She’d watched though, dreading any sign of supernatural
power in her daughter. What would people say?
All this normalcy ended sometime in 1888 with an
amazing and unnerving feat of “second sight,” though it
was her son, Jimmie, not Belle, who “saw things.”
The Shrums, who later spent 30 years on a farm near
Mineral Wells, at the time lived in Comanche County.
Belle was 6, Jimmie 9. Their father, M.A. Shrum, had trav-
eled to Brownwood to purchase some land. Night fell and
the father and husband did not return as he’d said he
would.
Mrs. Shrum imagined the worst, that her husband had
been waylaid and was lying dead or injured on the road-
side – something like that. She and her small children hud-
dled around the fireplace, straining to hear the sound of
wagon wheels.
Some of the kids were fidgeting in their seats, as young-
sters will do, but not Jimmie. He sat on a stool pressing his
eyes with his hands. His mother asked if he was sick, but
he said he was not. He continued the odd behavior until
bedtime. Mrs. Shrum kept a close watch on him through
the night.
Morning came and still no Mr. Shrum. The anxious wife
was beside herself with worry, the passage of time re-
enforcing her fears. Then Jimmie dropped a “bombshell.”
“I can see with my eyes shut,” he told his mother.
Distracted, she laughed and assured him he could not.
Jimmie begged to differ and asked his mother to put her
hands to her eyes and give it a try. Nothing.
The 9-year-old persisted until, hoping to discourage the
child’s fantasy, she said, “If you can see, Jimmie, tell me
what you see.”
Please see page 22
The
Amazing
Shrums
By Mel Rhodes
January 2012 • NORTH TEXAS STAR STORYTELLER & RAMBLER • Page 21
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January 2012 • NORTH TEXAS STAR STORYTELLER & RAMBLER • Page 22
From page 20
“I can see the whole world,” he replied.
“What is the ‘whole world?’” his mother asked.
Jimmie said he could see towns and houses, windmills
– the whole world.
Oh, what the heck: “Can you see your papa?” Mrs.
Shrum finally asked.
The boy placed his hands over his face and said he
could see his pa, and that he was camping by a creek
under a large tree.
OK. I’ll play along, his mother thought, asking, “What
is he doing now?”
Jimmie told his mother his pa was handling cooking
utensils and had just fed Brit on the
ground.
Ha! thought the mother. “Now I know
you are wrong. You know your father
would never feed Brit, his favorite horse,
on the ground.”
“Ask pa when he comes,” was the lad’s
reply. “You’ll see.”
Later that morning Mr. Shrum returned
home to find an inquisitive wife. After
explaining he’d gotten a late start back
and had decided to camp along the way, he was asked
where he’d camped.
You guessed it: along a creek under a big tree. So
what? Wouldn’t most people camp near water and under
the shade of a tree?
But the husband’s jaw surely dropped at his wife’s next
question: “Why did you feed Brit on the ground.”
After the initial shock, Mr. Shrum explained he’d fed
the horse as he had because the animal had been trying to
get at an oat sack on the wagon, tearing the wagon sheet
in the process. In aggravation he’d thrown Brit’s feed on
the ground.
But he gave no credence to the implicit claim Jimmie
had “seen” these things. To prove his point, he went to
the barn, hid his purse, and told his son he’d lost some-
thing. “Find it for me.”
Jimmie did the hands-over-the-eyes thing again and
told his father he’d lost nothing but instead had hidden
his purse. The increasingly strange boy then marched out
to the barn and retrieved the item.
Belle, too, had the gift, as the Shrums learned upon
questioning all their children. When asked why she
hadn’t told her parents of her remarkable ability, 6-year-
old Belle said, “I thought everyone could.”
Of course when neighbors found out, the “weird”
Shrum children became the talk of the town. Folks prob-
ably crossed to the other side of the street when they saw
them coming. To escape the unwanted attention, the
Shrums moved on to Johnson County, the children hav-
ing been instructed to keep quiet about Jimmie and
Belle’s “gift.”
Things were quiet for a while, until while attending a
camp meeting in Burleson one of the Shrum’s children
wandered off and became lost. Hysterical, Mrs. Shrum
turned to little Belle and asked if she could “see” her
brother. She could, and, in fact, led an uncle right to the
gate of the house where he lay in bed. Kind folk had
taken the crying child in until the affair could be sorted
out.
Like kerosene-doused fire, news of Belle’s “queer
doings” spread. The Shrums began to fear their gifted
children would be kidnapped or killed and moved west to
Eastland County.
There Mrs. Shrum confided in a doctor concerning her
children’s abilities. The physician conducted several
exercises and at length determined Jimmie and Belle
were quite remarkable. Later they traveled with the doc-
tor to Dallas for the state fair and were in that city exam-
ined by the medical board. They were deemed normal,
healthy kids.
Following the Dallas trip the children performed from
time-to-time, “wowing” audiences with their seemingly
magical powers. First they visited surrounding towns,
then cities in Tennessee, Colorado and Arizona.
An article in the Palo Pinto County Star dated March
15, 1895, read:
“Master James and little Belle Shrum, known as the
Shrum Children, accompanied by their father and by
W.D. Robinson, were in Palo Pinto this week and gave
an exhibition of their strange power to read or see things
in the past or describe things many miles
away. These interesting children are now
on tour of the country exhibiting their
wonderful gift.”
But as they grew older they used their
gift less, though the horses and rigs of
many “seekers” could be seen around the
Shrum home near Mineral Wells.
Belle died at 43 in 1925. Jimmie passed
in his 50s. Their mother in later years
related that she believed her children
could “see” things because they were born with a “veil
over their faces.” 
Note: In the old days, being born with a veil over
one’s face meant he or she had come into this world with
a thin layer of skin over the face. Called a caul, the mem-
brane was considered to foretell good luck and was care-
fully collected and saved as an heirloom. But, since the
caul was widely believed to protect someone from death
by drowning, medieval women often sold them to sailors
who considered them valuable good luck charms or talis-
mans.
*Based on a story by Mary Whatley Clarke published
in her “The Palo Pinto Story.” Also on articles published
in the Palo Pinto County Star (March 15, 1895) and
Dallas Morning News (Nov. 8, 1894).
Like kerosene-doused fire, news of
Belle’s “queer doings” spread.
January 2012 • NORTH TEXAS STAR STORYTELLER & RAMBLER • Page 23
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lrer-currerl pr|ces app|y lo eacr corporerl. Requ|res or||re 0l3l NelWor| accourl lor d|scs oy ra||; oroadoard lrlerrel lo slrear corlerl; l0 0vR lo slrear lo Tv. Excrarge or||re rerla|s lor lree |r-slore rov|e rerla|s al parl|c|pal|rg
8L0CK8u3TER slores. 0ller rol ava||ao|e |r laWa||, A|as|a, Puerlo R|co or u.3. v|rg|r ls|ards. 3lrear|rg lo Tv ard sore crarre|s rol ava||ao|e W|lr se|ecl pac|ages. · 0|g|la| lore Advarlage p|ar requ|res 21-rorlr agreererl ard cred|l
qua||l|cal|or. Carce||al|or lee ol S1Z.50/rorlr rera|r|rg app||es |l serv|ce |s lerr|raled oelore erd ol agreererl. Aller 12 rorlrs ol prograrr|rg cred|ls, lrer-currerl pr|ce W||| app|y. S10/ro l0 add-or lee Wa|ved lor ||le ol currerl accourl;
requ|res 21-rorlr agreererl, corl|ruous erro||rerl |r AuloPay W|lr Paper|ess 8||||rg. 3-rorlr prer|ur rov|e oller va|ue |s S99; aller 3 rorlrs lrer-currerl pr|ce app||es ur|ess you doWrgrade. Free 3lardard Proless|ora| lrsla||al|or or|y.
uplrorl ard rorlr|y lees ray app|y. Pr|ces, pac|ages, prograrr|rg ard ollers suojecl lo crarge W|lroul rol|ce. Add|l|ora| reslr|cl|ors ray app|y. 0ller ava||ao|e lor reW ard qua||l|ed lorrer cuslorers ard erds 1/31/12. 'Everyday pr|ce guararlee
va||d or|y or lre lo||oW|rg pac|ages: 0|srFAVlLY, Arer|ca's Top 120, Arer|ca's Top 120 P|us, Arer|ca's Top 200, Arer|ca's Top 250, 0l3l Arer|ca, 0l3l Arer|ca 3||ver, 0l3l Arer|ca 0o|d. · l80Ü, C|reraxÜ ard re|aled crarre|s ard serv|ce
rar|s are lre properly ol lore 8ox 0ll|ce, lrc. 3TARZ ard re|aled crarre|s ard serv|ce rar|s are properly ol 3larz Erlerla|rrerl, LLC. · Fasl F|ve (ur|versa|): @ 2011 ur|versa| 3lud|os. A|| R|grls Reserved. 8r|desra|ds (ur|versa|): @ 2011
ur|versa| 3lud|os. 0esp|cao|e Ve @ 2010 ur|versa| 3lud|os. A|| R|grls Reserved. A|| R|grls Reserved.
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PROMOTIONAL PRICES START AT
$
ART AT
99 9999
mo
UNTIL
/mo value.
PROMO PROMOT L IONAL PRICES P STA PROM
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PRICES PRI STA
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FOR 12 MONTHS
Independently Owned and Locally Operated
Licensed • Bonded • Insured M-37729
parkercounty.MrRooter.com
There’s a reason they call us Mr.™
817-594-7077
Serving Parker and
Palo Pinto Counties
Full service
plumbing and
drain cleaning
Advanced Healthcare Solutions
Lynn Porter- Administrator
Lori Craig- Director of Nurses
200 SW 25th Ave • Mineral Wells
940-325-7813
• Medicare/Medicaid Certified
Care Provider
• Skilled Nursing Care
• Physical, Occupational,
. Speech, Therapies
• IV Therapy
• Specialized Wound Care
• Hospice Care
• 24 hour / 7 day
admissions
Learn'n Tree Health Shoppe
Wynelle Catlin, C.N.
Laura Catlin, L.V.N.
Friendly, knowledgeable Proprietors
940-325-9161 • 1510 S.E. 1st St. • Mineral Wells, TX 76067
Call For Operating Hours
• Special & Bulk Ordering
• Vitamins & Minerals for
Adults & Children
• Herbal Supplements
• Aromatherapy
• Essential Oils & Extracts
• Bodycare Items
• Household products
• Wheat Free & Gluten Free Foods
• Pet Products
• Special Water
• Homeopathic Remedies
• Copier
• Moms & Moms to Be Section
• Inexpensive Gifts
Natural Remedies for
Better Health.
January 2012 • NORTH TEXAS STAR STORYTELLER & RAMBLER • Page 24
OUR FAMILY KNOWS
YOUR FAMILY’S NEEDS.
WE WILL HELP YOU FEEL BETTER.
D I A MO N D P H A R MA C Y
100 SE 17th Ave. • 940-325-2541(inside Metro)
HOURS: Mon. - Fri. 9-9 • Sat. 9-8 • Sun. 10-2

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