The Hidden Story Of The Valley Of Tears

If it was half as bad as I have heard, a tenth as bad as I have watched on old western movies, the place that came to be known as the Valley of Tears was a hell hole like even my fruitful imagination cannot fathom. It’s not a subject on which I like to write, and yet it needs to be written so that the souls of those who experienced the Valley in person are remembered as having lived and suffered so long ago…and yet not so long ago at all when you really think about it.


The years between about 1820 and 1880 produced a chapter of Texas history little recorded. Few had the stomach to think about it, and even fewer would speak of it. Besides, “decent” people didn’t talk about the things that happened in that valley.

It was a time of unbelievable violence and, of course, fear. The various Indian tribes had been betrayed by government and army treaties for years. Then, came the white traders who further incited them with the white man’s whiskey and his guns, especially those young braves already bitter at the white man’s continued presence on lands their people had hunted and used for centuries, land they considered, if not their own, certainly their birthright to use.

Many of these young braves formed war bands, splitting away from their Apache, Comanche, and Kiowa tribesmen. Thus began a series of savage raids on white settlements and ranches as none of us can imagine today, spurred by the fact that a notorious breed of white and Mexican outcasts known as Comancheros were willing to pay gold, rifles, whiskey, and white man trinkets in exchange for the men, women, and children stolen by the Indians.

The Comancheros, in turn, resold the captives into slavery…or maybe I should say that the males were sold into slavery. The females, of course, went into Hell.

These groups of depraved men met in the Valley, the Comancheros and the Indians with their captives, and they made deals over raucous laughter and whiskey, the Indians selling and the Comancheros buying those they knew they could resell with no regard for the families they tore apart in the process, the screams of the women and children reverberating in their godless ears.

Today, if you travel to the edge of southeastern Briscoe County, Texas near Caprock Canyons State Park, you will find the natural beauty of Texas. However, if you take a walk in the very still portion of the night, you just might hear the haunting echo of the wails of those poor captives who learned firsthand the terror of the Valley of Tears.




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.
This entry was posted in Indian Attacks, Latest Posts, Texas Heritage and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

10 Responses to The Hidden Story Of The Valley Of Tears

  1. Cliff Newell says:

    Hello Fredda,
    I read your article about the Valley of Tears with great interest. It was the only thing on this subject I could find on the Internet. It seems strange that a Texas historian has not written extensively about this topic. It seems too bad to be true.

  2. Rich says:

    Hello, There is actually a two episode set on the old GUNSMOKE TV series that fairly well documents the horrific situation in the VOT. 1973 Season 19 EPs 1&2.

  3. Carol McMeans says:

    I am watching an episode of the old TV show, Gunsmoke. It is a 2 hour special on the Valley of Tears. I googled to see if it was fiction. Sad to see that it is real. Your article made the show a lot more meaningful and, of course, sad. Those were terrifying times, for sure. Man’s inhumanity to man about sums it up . Thank you.

    • Fredda Jones Fredda Jones says:

      One of the toughest pieces of research I have done so far. I can’t imagine the horror, and yet, I see those few blurbs of news that mentions human trafficking, and I know that the same horror exists today. Thanks for commenting!

  4. Bob Dunn says:

    I’ve heard that the actual Valley of Tears is not actually within the state park and is on private property which can not be accessed. Do you know anything about this?

  5. Lori morris says:

    The old gunsmoke episode depicting this is on gotta wonder if any of the captives male or female ever got away from their hell.

  6. Ken Neal says:

    Not only blacks were sold to slavery.Its remarkable.This is a part of American history that is so forgotten ,even in a understanding from blacks knowing they were not the only slaves in america

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>