Amanda Howard Rides For Her Life When Indians Attack

Obviously, anytime children are attacked and kidnapped and their teacher killed a community rises up, and it was no different in Hamilton and Comanche Counties in 1867.

I’ve told you the story through what must have been the eyes of Miss Whitney, but what I haven’t told you is that a young seventeen-year-old by the name of Amanda Howard was also a key player on that fateful day in July.

I’ve studied the role Amanda Howard played in this horrible saga for years, and for years it has amazed me that a seventeen year old girl could pull off such a feat.

First of all, Amanda Howard didn’t come from the best of families; I’ve heard it whispered all of my adult life.

And to that I say, “Thank goodness!”

My reasoning is very simple: If she had been a proper genteel southern lady, there are a lot of you who just might not be here today.

No, it seems to me that quite a few people with roots in Hamiltonand Comanche Counties probably owe the fact that they were even born to this young lady. Without her courage, their ancestors very possibly would have lost their lives.

Here’s what happened:

About the time the schoolhouse was being attacked, Amanda Howard was riding nearby. Actually, she was riding a young horse for her brother in hopes of gentling him, and her sister-in-law was with her although she seems to get lost in the telling of the story.*

Anyway, the schoolhouse was located down in a valley and the two young ladies were riding above on the ridge when Amanda Howard noticed activity at the school. Making the

AMANDA J. HOWARD (11-14-1849; 7-31-1913)

same mistake that Miss Whitney had made, Amanda thought that she was seeing men who were rounding up cattle.

It wasn’t until Amanda took a second look that she realized exactly what was happening at the hands of the Indians. At the same time that Amanda Howard realized that indeed the schoolhouse was under attack, she was spotted by the fiends.

Now you have to remember that Amanda was only seventeen, and she always said that she didn’t know what else to do but jab that pony with all of her might and turn it toward the Baggett home, which was much closer than her own, with the Indians in hot pursuit.

Too late Amanda realized that there was a fence around the Baggett property, and she had no idea if her horse would jump or not. She simply kicked him with all or her might and she sailed over the fence. Once those who pursued her saw this, they turned back to the activity at the schoolhouse.

Amanda Howard never made it to the Baggett home. Realizing how many children were in that schoolhouse and that once the bloodletting was over there that the Indians would surely head on into the community with no one to sound the alarm, Amanda looked back toward the school.

What she saw should have made her run crying for cover, but it did not. It was at about this time that a wagon pulled into the valley; it was immediately attacked, the father killed and the others wounded. I’ve struggled with the correct spelling of the family name for years, but I will record it here as Stanaland, knowing that this is probably incorrect.

When Amanda saw what happened to this poor family and saw the Indians still at the schoolhouse, she knew that someone had to do something so she turned her horse around, sailed back over the fence, and flew toward the community, right in the path of the marauding Indians.

All I can assume is that the young girl must have taken the Indians by complete and total surprise because she was able to get by them before they began their pursuit. Amanda rode like the wind, and it probably did not hurt anything that she was riding a half-wild horse that day!

The Indians gave chase until she reached a fork in the road that led to the community and men with rifles, At this point they gave up the chase and headed north. It is told that at least a posse of the men followed them for a hundred miles before giving up the chase.

I feel sure this is the case; however, with a family to take care of still in the valley, with a young girl missing, a dead teacher, and children in hiding all over the countryside, I’m not sure that many would have set out immediately.


About Fredda Jones

Fredda Davis Jones was raised “in the country” in Comanche County and learned very early that creativity and innovation are traits that can flourish even in small-town Texas and that with enough effort, indeed nothing is impossible, including being married to the same man for over 40 years! Rickey and Fredda have 2 children, 5 grandchildren, and a crazy life that includes sitting in the bleachers several times a week. The rest of her time is spent creating great content for and marketing small-town Texas.
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