In 1856, construction was begun on a new home for the James Cunningham family who had moved to Comanche County, Texas.
This home still stands today on Highway 16 South just a few miles south of Newburg, Texas, and it is known as the oldest home in Comanche County. It is a home that was used many times as a “fort” against the warring Comanches; however, in 1856, that was not necessary.
In fact, two of the first incidents with the Indians in Comanche County are rather humorous, at least they are from the vantage point of 150 years.
When James Cunningham and his family first settled on Mountain Creek, they built a log kitchen. They soon encountered friendly Indians there on Mountain Creek, and the Indians (probably Wacos) were told that they could knock on Mrs. Cunningham’s door, and she would feed them.
This worked quite well until one day a brave was obviously too hungry to knock, and he walked right on into the kitchen. A few seconds later, and with his head still ringing from the blow of a frying pan, that Indian brave realized that Susie Cunningham meant what she said!
A second incident involved the baby daughter of C.C. Campbell, one of the first three commissioners in Comanche County, Texas. According to F.M. Collier’s journal, Mr. and Mrs. Campbell had about 15 children when they moved to the area. (They went on to have 21!)
The first white girl child born in what became Comanche County was born to the Campbell’s in September of 1855; her name was Arcadia “Kate” Campbell.
When Kate was still an infant, (about 1856) a friendly group of Indians, who were probably Wacos, stopped by the Campbell homestead while Mr. Campbell was away in the fields. Kate was sleeping in a basket, and Mrs. Campbell noticed that the Indians seemed to be fascinated with her.
When the Indians took their leave, Mrs. Campbell left the sleeping baby Kate while she went to get water. When she returned, baby Kate was gone, and an Indian baby had been put in her place!
Mrs. Campbell sounded the alarm, and it was not long until Mr. Campbell, along with a group of neighbors, found Kate in the Indian camp, the entire band of Indians gathered around marveling at the white baby. According to the family, little Kate was already dressed in Indian garments with a strand of beads around her neck.
Although the Indians insisted that they had made a fair trade, it did not take Mr. Campbell long to get Kate back home where she belonged!