I spent years studying Elkins along with a host of other “old timers” who recorded their memories of frontier happenings as they saw them. Of course, one thing that becomes evident very quickly is that they did not all see things alike, just as we do not today!
Most of you who tie into the Elkins line will probably already know everything that I am going to include; however, on the off chance that some of your younger people do not even know that John M. Elkins recorded his memories, I thought I would share a few bits and pieces. I am reading from Indian Fighting On The Texas Frontier.
In 1853, John Elkins was 12 years old, and his family moved to what today is Parker County, Texas. Young John went to school in Weatherford and it was in about 1854 that he heard of Indian attacks around the town of Jacksboro.
“…the adventurous spirit within me was aroused. I wanted to go—why I wanted to go I cannot say—whether it was for thrill or to help the ones who were suffering at the hands of the merciless savages, I do not know…”
That was the beginning for John M. Elkins, who spent most of the rest of his active life on the Texas frontier, often in pursuit of Indians, including the raid that would capture Cynthia Ann Parker, a very tragic story at best.
“In my eighty-eighth year, I now live in Coleman County, West Texas, within two miles of Old Fort Colorado. The little house in which I am spending my last days is built from the first lumber ever freighted into this county.
“When Coleman County was first organized in 1871, I had been passing through and fighting Indians across this section of the country for about eighteen years. I am proud of the fact that the honor was bestowed upon me to be the one to drive the stob to locate the county site, which I did and that is the spot where it is now situated.
“I was the first Sheriff and Tax Collector of Coleman County, Texas, resigning that office soon, when Governor Davis appointed me Captain of this county’s Rangering Company to range from the Red River to the Rio Grand…”
John M. Elkins was born about 1840; he died November 16, 1931. He is buried on land that used to be Camp Colorado in Coleman County.