W.F. Harris Remembers 1870s In Comanche County, Texas

Robert Leslie

Robert Leslie

W.F. Harris did what all of us should do…he recorded at least some of his memories. These memories were published in a pamphlet titled “True Experiences Taken From the Life of  W.F. Harris.”

One of the things Harris remembered about Comanche County, Texas occurred in the 1870s, and it must have made a huge impression on the boy…at least it would certainly have made one on me!

W.F. Harris was just a young boy when his father, Jerry Harris, filed on a piece of land that was located about 3 1/2 miles northeast of Comanche. Mr. Harris hired a man by the name of Robert Fields to cut logs for the house. Fields stayed on site and had a tent set up nearby. The plan was that when W.F.’s brother, John, who was either a Ranger or a ranger, came for a visit, both he and little brother would camp in the tent with Fields.

“Supper was over and we all laid down on the bed. The moon was shining pretty and bright. The boys put me between them on the bed. They had a six shooter each. Brother had his needle gun, and Robert Fields had his double barrel shotgun. They laid them by the side of them where they could get hold of them.

“After a while, both of the boys raised up in bed with their guns in their hands. The Indians had ridden up within 30 feet of the front end of the tent. The boys could see the bulk of them in the moonlight. Neither of them spoke a word, but I think you could have heard my heart beating for 300 yards.

“The Indians sat there for a while on their horses, turned and rode back to the old Indian trail about 400 yards north of where the tent was located. They went on west of the draw to the edge of the Prairie about 2 miles west of where the camp was, turned south, and went into town where they stole almost every horse all around.

“Early the next morning, we arose. Brother and I got on the horse, and Robert Fields went through the woods afoot to Comanche before we had any breakfast. When we got there, a posse of men and a few rangers had organized to set out after the Indians. That evening they went out northwest from Comanche right up through the country where Cross Plains now is and on to Buffalo Gap, but never did overtake them.

“In September of that year [1874, the year Jerry Harris moved out of Comanche] the Indians made their last raid in that country, traveling their same old trail just north of where our house was standing.”

“They left out going east down their trail and went down the Pettit branch to where it empties into Dunkin Creek in old uncle Ed Carnes field. They went around the field and down Duncan Creek. The next farm joining Uncle Ed on the east was old uncle Bob Leslie’s. They went around his field down the creek; it was just about sunup. Uncle Bob was out looking for calves, and they shot and killed him. That was the last raid the Indians ever made in Comanche County.”

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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 texansunited.com and marketing small-town Texas.
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