Today, we travel back to 1870 to the Jesse Dickerson League survey in Brown County, Texas; however, first we have to journey through Comanche County where Frank Brown, George Wallace, and B. Grissom, were making their way to the mill in San Saba. The men stopped to rest and water the team at what I suppose we still call the mustang watering hole here in Comanche County.
While there, they were joined by another Comanche County man, John Roach, sometimes spelled Roch.
According to Eulalia Nabers Wells, the men soon heard a noise and looked up to see about thirty Indians charging at them. The best I can understand it, a couple of the men held the Indians off with gunfire while the others created a bit of protection from the wagon and sacks of grain they were carrying.
Before this could happen, both Brown and Wallace were wounded; however, Brown managed to fire a fatal shot into the chief, and the Indians retreated to regroup.
Obviously, the whites were outnumbered and knowing that the end was inevitable if they continued the battle, the men unhitched the mules from the wagon and made a run that would be for their very lives with the Indians in hot pursuit.
For the life of me, I can’t imagine trying to outrun a well-mounted Indian on a mule, but I suppose the men had no choice, and they continued to fire behind them as they ran. Mr. Roach (whom I would assume was better mounted but who was apparently riding a mule) became separated from the others. His mule was severely wounded, and he took an arrow through the back that protruded all the way through his body and partially out of his chest.
Eventually the wounded man dismounted to get a drink of water and then discovered that he did not have the strength to get back in the saddle, nor did his mule have the ability carry him any farther. Roach then began a slow journey on foot, making his way to the home of C.C. “Charlie” Campbell in Comanche County.
He collapsed in the Campbell yard where his groans were heard by a hired hand, who carried him into the house. Dr. Montgomery was called out the next morning to remove the arrow.
A group of Comanche County men dispatched themselves to where the wagons had been left and upon arriving, they found the wagons destroyed, the wheat sacks slit, and the grain lying upon the ground. By the time they had gathered supplies and rounded up a posse to pursue the Indians, it was 1:00 the next morning.
These men aided by four of Jack Cunningham’s dogs set out in pursuit. On what Eulalia says was a dry Blanket Creek in Brown County, the men found the grave of the chief shot by Mr. Brown the day before, his horse killed and laid beside his grave. Although I do not see it in Eulalia’s account, I have read where the reins of the horse were held in the chief’s hand….ready to take him to wherever it was that the Indians believed they would go after death.
The Indians had burned the grass in several places as they fled, making it difficult to trail them, but at about 2:00 that afternoon, the posse arrived at Hog Mountain, where the Indians were discovered camping at a spring.
This time it was the white men who had the advantage as they charged. The Indians scattered in all directions, leaving four dead where they had camped. Dave Cunningham and Freeman Clark (who wasn’t more than a boy) charged one Indian who turned and shot Clark in the neck, killing him instantly. The boy was too young to be in the group, but he had begged to be allowed to join the action.
Although there were other injuries to both men and beasts, Freeman Clark was the only human fatality. Today, he lies in the Oakwood Cemetery in Comanche, Texas.
Amazingly enough, Mr. Roach did eventually recover from his horrible arrow wound.