AN INDIAN MASSACRE IN MONTAGUE COUNTY
From Hunter’s Frontier Times Magazine, August, 1938
In 1870 there lived two families on the west prong of Denton Creek, in Montague county, Texas, about six miles southwest of the town of Montague. One family consisted of Mr. and Mrs. Jesse B. Maxey and their three children: Rhoda, aged 9; Valentine, a boy, aged 7; and a small baby. Mr. Maxey's father, who was an old man, also lived with them. The other family consisted of Mr. and Mrs. T. W. Beall and their two children, Annie and Hezekiah. These families lived in double log houses not far apart. The houses were on an elevated place on the east side and about fifty yards from the creek, which at this point ran in a southeast course, and about three hundred yards below the houses there came in from the west a deep dry ravine, along which was considerable timber.
Late in the evening of September 5, 1870, a small band of Indians rode into the head of the ravine and stopped where they could see the houses and easily observe all that was going on there. Two of the Indians on foot slipped down the ravine to the creek, opposite the nearest house.
Jesse B. Maxey and T. W. Beall had gone over to Sandy Creek together that afternoon, and only the women and children and the old man Maxey were at home. Just before sundown the old man went out to the woodpile, which was west of the house and outside the yard, and commenced cutting wood, and the four children of these two families were all out there with the old man, to carry in the wood. About half way between the woodpile and the creek was a large post oak stump, and the two Indians above mentioned crawled up behind that stump and shot the old man Maxey twice. The Beall boy, who was standing near the old man, was also shot and killed. The little Beall girl started to run to the nearest house, but was killed before she could get into the yard. The Indians, as soon as they had killed the old man and the boy, dashed out from their place of concealment, and one of them ran upon the little girl and was so close to her when he fired that the blaze of his pistol set fire to the little girl's clothing. Mrs. Beall was in. the house, but got to the door in time to see her daughter shot in the back. Mrs. Maxey ran, with her baby in her arms, to get into the house where Mrs. Beall was, and the Indians shot at her and the bullet went through the baby's head and through the mother's arm, killing the. baby. Mrs. Maxey got into the house, and as Mrs. Beall was closing the door a bullet struck her in the forehead, plowing a furrow to the skull, and knocking her down, but Mrs. Maxey succeeded in getting the door shut before the Indians got in.
The Indians then ran and caught the two Maxey children, Rhoda, and Valentine, who were still outside, and ran with them back to the creek and up the ravine to where they left their horses and the rest of the Indians.
When Mrs. Beall got up she saw that the little girl's clothes were burning and ran to put the fire out, and Mrs. Maxey followed her. They went to the back yard, climbed the fence and concealed themselves in a patch of high weeds until Mr. Maxey and Mr. Beall returned home, which was about 10 o'clock that night. Recognizing the voices of their husbands, the two distracted women came forth from their hiding place to meet their husbands and tell the horrible story.
The men at once found the bodies of old man Maxey and the two Beall children, and took them into one of the houses and laid them on the floor. The next thing was to take the two women to a place of safety, where they could get a doctor and receive medical attention, for both were suffering from their wounds. They took their wives up behind them on their horses and went to the home of Paul Maxey, distant about a mile and a half, on the east prong of Denton Creek. Paul Maxey and family went with them up the creek about half a mile to the home of John Stroud, where they found Dr. John A. Gordon, who dressed the wounds of the two women. Stroud had a son who was very sick, and who died the next day.
The next morning by daylight Maxey and Beall, with others, got the bodies of the unfortunate victims of savage ferocity and took them to the home of John Stroud, and buried them all in what was for many years known as the Stroud graveyard. These were probably the first persons buried there.
Maxey and Beall, as quickly as possible, gathered a posse to take the trail of the Indians and try to recover the two Maxey children who had been carried away. They trailed the Indians to where they mounted their horses and for several miles until they were convinced that the children were not killed but had been carried off into captivity, and realizing that the Indians had so much the start of them, that hope of overtaking them was out of question, they abandoned the trail and returned home.
About a year later Maxey found his son, Valentine Maxey, with a tribe of Indians near Anadarko, Oklahoma, and ransomed him. The boy said his sister had been sold to another tribe of Indians shortly after their capture, and he never saw or heard of her afterwards.