TERRIBLE EVENTS OF THE SCHNIVELY EXPEDITION RECALLED
By John Warren Hunter
In the fall of 1866 Jacob Schnively, an enthusiast in mine prospecting, and Col. William C. Dalrymple of Williamson County, created a stir of excitement among the people of the then Western and Northwestern border, over the alleged discovery of a very rich gold mine in the mountains on the Rio Grande. Mr. Schnively represented that he had prospected for gold in the Sierra Mountains and that he had discovered one of the richest mines on the continent in those mountains below El Paso and on the Texas side of the Rio Grande. In proof of his assertion he kept on display a fine collection of galena, quartz and various samples of mineral, all extremely rich and which, as he claimed, had been taken from the vast deposits with his own hands.
But to develop this mine and to garner its untold wealth, required some capital, and a good number of men, and in order to enlist able bodied men in the enterprise, he offered to give each man who enlisted in the expedition and remained faithful, a share in the mine and also an interest in the land which was to be located by certificate. Colonel Dalrymple was among the first to become interested in the proposition. He was an old Indian fighter, an experienced frontiersman, and a man of considerable influence. Schnively's plan was to organize a company of thirty or forty men, but Colonel Dalrymple argued that ten men of his selection would be sufficient to overcome any hostile opposition on the part of Indians and that the smaller the number the greater the value of each stockholder's share in the mine. His contention prevailed and he selected the following men to accompany the expedition:
Mose Carson, an aged brother of the celebrated Kit Carson; Tom Jones; Tom Holly; John Cohen; Abe Hunter; Malcolm Hunter; Warren Hunter; Temp Robison; "Bud" (W. H.) Robinson and A. Whiteburst, ten in all, and each one a frontiersman of known courage, marksmanship and endurance. Mr. Carson was quite old but still active and full of energy. He was in the Mier expedition in 1842 and was one of the number who escaped execution at Salado by drawing a white bean.
The story of this first organization, the start upon the expedition and its signal failure is best told by Mr. W. H. ("Bud") Robinson, who was shot and killed at his home near Fort Chadbourne on the Colorado, in 1911.
"In January, 1867, Colonel W. C. Dalrymple, E. V. Schnively, and Mose Carson, who was then 87 years old, came to my father's' ranch near old Camp Colorado. They were organizing a party to go a gold prospecting trip to a certain described mountain 40 miles east of the Rio Grande and not a great distance from Fort Quitman. For some time prior to the coming of these gentlemen, there had been nothing doing in our section of the country. The Indians hadn't been down in the settlements for quite awhile and times were awfully dull, more especially was this the case with those of us who had been used to fighting either Indians or Yankees. Dalrymple and Schnively wanted men to go with them on a gold hunt; Schnively knew where the mine was located, he had been there and had samples of the pure stuff to show. There was gold in endless quantity and untold wealth awaited each man who became a member of the expedition. The trip promised excitement, adventure and a better knowledge of the vast region that bordered on the Rio Grande, and this, taken in connection with the prospect of great wealth and coffers of gold, induced sixteen of its to enlist for the expedition and we were ready to be off at once. Besides the three already mentioned there were Dr. McReynolds, Warren and Abe Hunter, Tom Jones, Tong Melly, my brother myself, and a man by the named Greenwood. There were five other men whose names I have forgotten. You must bear in mind that forty-three years have elapsed since that time and my memory is not as clear to me as it was two score years ago. Each member of the expedition was required to furnish his own mount, arms, ammunition everything, and was to share equally in the ownership and profit of the mine. With the required equipment and a good supply of provisions we met at Camp Colorado, organized and took up the line of march for the new El Dorado, and proceeded without mishap until on the morning of February 3rd, we came to the old overland stage road—then a grass grown trail— on the North Concho about where Sterling City now stands. We followed along this dim stage road and had gone only a few miles when we ran across a trail but recently made by a bunch of horses and leading off in a northwest course. Tom Jones and I were riding some little distance in the rear and those in front, having examined the trail, decided it was that of a bunch of mustangs and and passed on. When Tom and I came to the trail we decided to give it a more careful inspection and after following it a few hundred yards, we were convinced that it was made by a large party of Indians, whereupon we left the trail and galloping up to Col. Dalrymple and Schnively, I told them of my observations. They advanced the idea that it was a trail made by wild horses which were quite numerous in that section at that time. I pointed out the fact well known to all plainsmen, that mustangs never kept in a beeline course, nor did they ever travel in single file, but zig-zagged more or less to the right or left, while horses ridden by Indians were always guided in a straight course and did not sway either to the left or right. I further told Col. Dalrymple who was in command of the expedition, that I believed we were in danger and that we were entirely too careless, and urged him to have the men and our pack horses kept in closer marching order. Old Mose Carson advised greater caution, but Dr. Reynolds tantalized me by saying that I was too easily excited and was ready to be seared by every mustang track that chanced to appear in our path. “All right, Doctor,” I said.”you'll learn to distinguish the trail of a herd of mustangs from that of a bunch of Comanches before any of us are much older and if you don't hear the war whoop before sunrise tomorrow. I'll be very much disappointed. That trail is fresh and this minute some of the bead-eyed scoundrels may be watching us from one of those peaks in the distance”.
"During the remainder of the day better discipline was observed; the men kept closer together and nearer our pack animals, Late that evening we camped on what was then known as Bat Creek, but ever since the time we camped there it has been known as Kiowa Creek, and which flows into the Concho river. We kept a close watch over our stock all night and remained in camp until 11 o'clock next day in order to give our stable a chance to graze, having been tied up and under guard all the night before. No Indians having appeared by this time, the trail had subsided and our vigilance was supplanted by the usual neglect and carelessness that follow men inured to danger. The men mounted and set off without any regard to order and our leader showed about as much indifference as some of his men.
"Holly and Greenwood were mounted on mules and were the last to leave camp. Tom Jones and I were slightly in the rear of the main party which reached a point about six hundred yards from where we had camped when we heard the yells and the screams of Holly and Greenwood, calling for help. On looking back, we saw two columns of Indians coming single file over the little rise near the camp we had just abandoned. Each band was led by a chief and they were coming Pell mell and yelling like demons right on the heels of Holly and Greenwood' who were howling for help and making tracks for dear life. Greenwood was belaboring his mule, fore and aft, with a heavy breechloading rifle while Holly was laying on manfully with the steel ramrod of his enfield musket. Being the nearest to them, Jones and I wheeled our horses and were soon at their side. This checked the foremost Indians for an instant and saved our two comrades. Although in close range, the Indians did not fire on us when we hastened to the relief of these two men, and why they withheld their fire has always been a mystery I could never solve. There were at the lowest estimate, two hundred of them, well mounted, while we were but four, and they could have easily dispatched us before our comrades could have reached us.
"And right here I want to say that during the Civil War, then but recently closed I had participated in fifty-two battles and had served under some of the most skillful cavalry officers in the Confederate army east of the Mississippi, but I had never seen a commander handle his troops with the judgment and skill displayed by a kiowa chief on that fateful occasion. During this hard fought battle, which lasted the rest of the day—say from 11 o'clock until after dark—that chief's maneuvers were in full view and his tactics won the admiration of every ex-Confederate soldier in our little band. Although within easy bearing distance, we never heard him give a word of command. A motion of the hand, the pointing of his long lance, or the flourish of his highly decorated shield, seemed to be as clearly understood by his warriors as his words of command could possibly have been. He was decked out in all the paraphernalia of savage warfare, was mounted on a superb bay gelding and seemed to rank the Comanche chief whose costume was less pretentious and who bestrode a very fine gray.
"Instead of firing on us when we reached Holly and Greenwood, this Kiowa chief seemed to hold up. giving us time to rejoin our comrades who had started back to our relief, and when we had rallied and had made ready to give them a hot reception, he led his men in single file and in perfect order past us, and when he reached a point due west of us and with the utmost coolness and precision formed his men—fully one hundred—in a hollow square. At the same time, and while this movement was in progress, the Comanche chief with about the same number of warriors, led his men back a short distance and drew up in line, their intention, evidently, being to cut us off from the Concho, which was not very distant and as we soon realized, afforded our only means of defense and ultimate escape, as we were outnumbered more than twelve to one.
"When the Kiowas formed their hollow square they advanced and opened a heavy fire, or more properly speaking, a heavy discharge of arrows, as only a few of them had guns. I counted only four guns in the entire outfit but several had pistols and nearly or quite all carried lances. Each of our men was armed with either an Enfield or Spencer rifle and carried from one to two six shooters and when the Kiowas advanced within our reach, we began to empty their old saddles, but the Kiowa chief held his men steady in line, at the same time employing his shield to ward off the many shots we fired at him. 'Shoot that chief!' came from every man in our party, but he seemed invulnerable behind that shield. Captain Schnively lost his head and ordered us to dismount and fight on foot, but some of his men cursed him for being a fool. Col. Dalrymple shouted to the boys: 'Stay on your horses boys, draw your pistols and we'll charge 'em!' and with a yell we went right in among them, shooting right and left, and they broke. As we dashed in among them, Tom Jones' horse was killed and as he fell Jones recovered his feet bravely in time to parry the thrust of a lance in the hands of an Indian mounted on a splendid horse. Seizing the bridle reins Jones shot the Indian and mounted his horse.
"When we made this charge we had to leave our pack animals for the time being without protection, seeing which the Comanches made an effort to capture them but when they saw their allies, the Kiowas repulsed, they swung round and joined forces. This enabled them to rally and to once more present a bold front. Seeing that our stock were scattering and were liable to capture and that there was a possibility of getting them to the creek, Col. Dalrymple ordered me and my brother to round them up and try to get them to the creek and then turning to the men he said: `Boys, the scoundrels ain't whipped yet; we'll have to go right in among them again, and the pick of the herd and one hundred dollars in gold to the man that gets the chief!' The Colonel led the charge, but they held their ground with dogged determination. Several of our horses were killed and more than half our men were wounded more or less severely in this hand to hand struggle. Col. Dalrymple received a lance thrust through the fleshy part of the arm just below the shoulder, and when the Indian attempted to withdraw it, the barbs of the blade caught in the tendons and muscles of the arm and held fast. Warren Hunter, seeing the Indian tugging at the lance, shot him and his horse having been killed he seized and mounted the fallen Indian's horse. When we, my brother and I, saw the desperate mix-up and that it was going hard with the boys, we abandoned the pack animals and hastened to their relief. Our comrades were gradually yielding, that is giving back, and the Indians were slowly closing round them. They tried to cut us off but we went in with a whoop. The boys were somewhat scattered, every man fighting on his own hook. Col. Dalrymple was holding his own, although encumbered with that lance which was still hanging to his arm. When we left the pack animals and started to his relief, and failing to head us off, six Indians got in between us and Dalrymple, thus cutting him off. By this time his gun and pistols were empty and his only hope was in tall running. He made a break with the lance dangling from his arm, and the six Indians close in after him, my brother and I following right on their heels shooting and yelling. This race was continued for about three hundred yards when the Indians finding themselves going too far from the main body and our fire getting too hot for them, gave up the pursuit and making a circuitous run, rejoined their comrades. Here we found a rallying point for our hard-pressed men and around which the boys soon gathered. It chanced to be near the creek or river which after all was no other than a small stream at this point. The boys fell back to this point fighting, and when we had all collected, the Indians made another charge but were repulsed. As they fell back they rounded up our pack animals, thus capturing all our packs and provisions. In this charge they wounded my horse, rendering him unfit for further service.
"When the Indians fell back, we felt that the worst was yet to come. We had killed and wounded a large number of their warriors, several of their horses and being desperate over their losses and having us at all disadvantages, doubtless they would never give up the contest so long as one of us survived. We improved the time allowed us in preparing for the final struggle which every one of its believed was near at hand. We assisted Colonel Dalrymple from his horse, (he was a large, fleshy man), released the lance from his arm and bound the wound with a handkerchief. He begged for water and I went to the creek nearby and brought water in my hat, of which he drank copiously. By this time Tom Jones had found a more secure place, a little ravine or gully that entered the Concho, and to this point we hastened. The banks were very low and while they afforded little protection, it was safer there than out in the open. While all this was going on in our locality, the Indians dismounted a number of their bucks and placed them on a high bluff on the opposite side of the creek and overlooking our position, while another party occupied the bed of the creek in our front. Those on the bluff were about 150 yards from us and while they were getting in position several of them bit the dust and we could see their comrades dragging them to the rear just beyond the crest of the bluff. I had cautioned the boys lying close to me to never shoot at a shield as it would be a useless waste of ammunition, but to always take aim at the hips, the legs or the lower part of the abdomen, just below the lower rim of the shield.
"In our first charge we had killed the Kiowa chief's fine horse and now, mounted on another steed we saw him marshalling his braves and by this we knew they were preparing for another desperate charge. Col. Dalrymple had somewhat regained his fighting strength and said to us: 'Boys they are going to come at its again. You fellows be good and ready, keep cool, lay low. select your Indian as they come up, hold a bead on him, and don't fire until I give the word and then if they don't stole let every man rise and with back-to-back we'll sell out. With fierce yells and the shaking of shields and lances the Indians came down in a furious charge and it seemed to me that Dalrymple would allow the Indians to ride right over us before giving the order to fire and thinking that an arrow may have knocked him out, I glanced over my shoulder to see what had become of him. I saw that he was alright and had just got my bead on one of the charging rascals and when they were within thirty feet of us, Col. Dalrymple yelled 'Fire!' and from the confused mix-up that followed the roar of our guns, I think every man in our outfit emptied a saddle. Some of the riderless homes actually ran over some of our men, who had risen to a stooping posture after the first fire, and were still pumping lead into the fleeing savages, most of whom milled around long enough to recover a few of their dead and wounded. Our deadly fire had completely staggered them for the time being. but after a short respite, they rallied and came again and met with a second repulse which was more serious, apparently than the first.
"The Kiowa chief rallied his men for the third and last final charge. They were in full view until we watched the chief while he rode up mud down his line. Owing to the distance we could not hear his voice but could see his vehement gestures, all that indicated that he was delivering to his braves one of his most eloquent exhortations.
"During all this time we were not idle. but rather making every preparation for the onslaught. The first excitement of battle that too often rattles men's heads and in which they become unnerved, had worn off and each man was cool and confident, although suffering from wounds more or less severe and each member of the party was being tortured with a constant thirst for water, yet, We Were sure of whipping the red scoundrels. And here, even in this dire extremity and in the face of impending death, the humorous jest was not lacking. We saw the chief suddenly wheel and lead off, his men following, but when they reached a point one hundred yards from us, every Indian turned tail, threw his shield over his back, and sped away as if the devil himself were at his heels reaching for his topknot. Finding himself alone, the chief shook his lance defiantly at us, cursed us in Spanish as 'cabrones,' and `hijos del Diablo,' then wheeling his horse he lit out after his skedaddling braves.
"During these three charges, those who occupied the bluff, annoyed us incessantly. One of them had an Enfield rifle and nearly every shot brought down one of our horses. To silence this fellow was of the utmost importance, and we didn't have to wait very long for the coveted opportunity.
“When the third charge was repulsed the enemy changed tactics. Those in front retired beyond view and later, numbers of them were seen gathering with them on the bluff, while still others, who had dismounted, were attempting to crawl upon us through the tall grass. Several of their dead still lay in the grass in our front and these they wanted to recover either by stealth or strategy. They crept uncomfortably close to us but not one of them dared show his head. They discharged arrows almost straight up in the air so that in their descent they might strike some of us, point foremost. For a short time the air was filled with these missiles, but owing to a high wind that blew out of the northwest, they were deflected and carried beyond their intended mark, although many of them fell near us, some coming down with a force that broke the shaft. This unusual target practice lasted nearly an hour. While this `sky shooting' was in progress some of the men saw the grass moving against the wind in our front. Evidently an Indian was crawling up to tie a rope about the body of a dead comrade that lay where he fell, and a close watch was kept on that particular point. Presently a feather was seen bobbing up and down and a little later a black head was raised as if to get his bearings. There was a shot and another dead Indian.
The Indian with the Enfield on the bluff was next disposed of. He was perched behind a rock or boulder on the brink of the elevation and we had wasted a lot of lead trying to put him out of business. I had tried to pick him off several times and had failed, but finally I got the distance down fine and drew a bead on the little opening by the boulder where he stuck his head when he rose to fire, and when his black noggin darkened this opening, I let drive and knocked the whole top of his head off. When the ball struck him he made a wild leap, fell over the ledge and rolled to the base of the bluff. This silenced the long range Enfield, but not until about all our horses were killed.
The sun was setting. The Indians withdrew over the hill, and Tom Jones, Abe Hunter, my brother and I walked over the battle ground to see how many dead the Indians had left behind and to count the puddles of blood the thirsty soil was drinking up. Two Indians re-appeared on the bluff and fearing a renewal of the attack my brother and Abe Hunter hastened back and prepared to make breast works of dead horses. Jones and I continued to prowl the battlefield. The Indians had got all our baggage, killed our horses, leaving us afoot. We had been wounded and were a long ways from home and wanted scalps—something to show for the powder we had burnt. We went to where the Indian with the Enfield had rolled down the bluff and found his carcass where it had lodged at the foot of the cliff. As before stated, my shot had left no scalp worth taking. I stepped the distance from the last blood pool in our front and found the distance to be one hundred and ten steps.
From the actions of the two spies on the bluff, Col. Dalrymple concluded that the Indians were preparing for a night attack and he called us in and ordered every man to prepare for another battle. The sun had gone down, and a little after dark the snake-eating thieves crawled sufficiently close to send arrow's into a horse and mule—both staggering under wounds that would have proven fatal— and finished them. Thus, out of one hundred and twenty-six horses and mules, we had not one left.
A little later we heard the Indians prowling along the base of the bluff, doubtless in search of a dead comrade— but they didn't find him. About an hour later a course, raucous voice called out from the bluff: 'O yez!' No reply was made and after waiting a moment, the same voice proceeded to make it's speech. The wind was unfavorable, but we could hear and understand enough of his bad Spanish, intermixed with his own lingo, to give us to know that he was ‘cussin' us out’ for being cowards and thieves. He said the Kiowas were brave and always fought bravely in the open, while we hid behind trees and in gullies. He wound up by telling us to go home and stay with our squaws. That was the last we heard of that band of Indians
"After this valedictory from the hilltop, all became still except the voices of the night winds. While a few of us, some standing, others with their ear to the ground, kept watch, or rather kept alert for every noise, as it was too dark to see an object forty feet away, others were engaged in dressing up each other's wounds the best we could. Fortunately no bones were broken and no one was entirely disabled. About ten o'clock we decided to make tl'e attempt to leave. Dr. Reynolds insisted that our best course was down the creek, but Old Hose Carson and others, pointed out that the Indians would expect us to take that course and would be waiting in ambush. for our coming. Nearly every man had his plan and it began to look as if no two could agree. Dr. Reynolds persisted in his plan of going down the creek until we struck the old stage road, but finally I said to him: `I have been led by crazy fools long enough, and now I propose to go in the lead for awhile, at least. Even if I am a strippling and get scared at the sight of a mustang trail, if you fellows will follow me I'll take you home and furnish you all the grub you want.' To this they all consented. and crawling on our hands and knees a short distance we got up and struck out into the hills. Just before day we came to the Concho river and finding a dense thicket, we lay up all day. All this time we hadn't eaten anything since the morning before, and we were weak from fighting, loss of blood, the night's travel, and naturally were ravenously hungry. As fortune would have it, late that evening a small herd of buffalo came in sight and, being on the windward side, Tom Jones and I, taking advantage of the brush in places and high grass, got near enough to bring down a buffalo cow, which proved to he a great relish to our half famished party. After having feasted on buffalo meat, half raw and without salt, we struck out and traveled all night and at daylight stopped in a thicket, lay up all day and when not asleep we were feasting on roast buffalo meat.
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"The next day weary, footsore and almost exhausted, we came in sight of the Twin Mountains, a noted landmark 10 or 12 miles above the confluence of the North and South Conchos. We sent Abe Hunter and Tom Jones ahead to secure relief at Tankersley's ranch on Dove Creek, but when nearing the ranch they came upon old Rich Coffey and a party of men and wagons enroute to the salt lakes on the plains where they expected to procure supplies of salt. Mr. Coffey sent us a good supply of provisions and the next day we reached his camp, where we separated, the Colonel and his party going to Fort Mason and the rest of us hit the trail for home. Col. Dalrymple and Schnively told us to go home, rest up, get a new mount and be ready to start early in the spring. They said they were going to reorganize and would have about 100 men in the expedition with wagons and a good supply of beeves on foot, and that we would whip every tribe of Indians that opposed our march. Tom Jones, TomHolly, my brother and I left the crowd and started afoot early in the morning and faced a heavy downpour of rain until 1 o'clock. Then it changed to sleet and a freezing norther. We had neither coats nor blankets, and Jones was bareheaded, having lost his hat during the fight. Late in the evening we built a fire, dried our clothes and warmed our almost frozen limbs. We finally reached home without further misfortune.
"Captain Schnively rode a beautiful gray horse, a noble animal, and one of the most intelligent of his species I ever saw. He was greatly attached to his master and at night in camp was allowed to go footloose and untethered, and on the appearance of the least danger he would run to his master's pallet. During the battle this horse was shot by an Indian concealed behind a bush. As the animal fell Schnively killed the Indian with a holster pistol, then turned his attention to the horse, which made three attempts to rise, failing in which he turned his great lustrous eyes upon his master and with an appealing look that spoke louder than any words ever uttered by mortal tongue, gave a whinny, low, pitiful and almost human. In a moment the noble steed was dead , and Captain Schnively wept as a little child.
"The lure of gold still beckoned us on and our late experiences only served to inflame our minds with a desire for further adventure, and, notwithstanding our late discomfiture, we were ready to make another effort to reach the reported gold fluids in the hitherto unexplored mountainous region along the Rio Grande. We quietly organized a large party and started out equipped for a long and hazardous expedition. Our wagons, drawn by oxen, were laden with tools, arms, ammunition and provisions, and in addition we started a bunch of beef cattle to fall back on in case of scarcity of game. This was in April, 1867, and the last outpost at which we camped was lien Ficklin near which place was camped a body of United States soldiers where later was established Fort Concho. Ben Ficklin had been fixed upon as our place of rendezvous. While here, Ben Gooch and others from Fort Mason passed along with a herd of 500 beeves they were driving to New Mexico. We told Gooch of the dangers ahead, related our previous experience and urged him to hold his herd until all our men came up and then join forces and all proceed together. Later, a man by the name of I. W. Cox came up with a herd of 400 beeves, also enroute to New Mexico. He had eight or ten men in his outfit, and among them was a man and his wife in a wagon, moving to New Mexico. We tried to induce Cox to wait and join us, but he also refused. He said he had fought Indians all his life and that he and his men could lick any gang of redskins that crossed their trail.
"Gooch started out a few days before Cox came along, and when he reached the head draws of the Concho, the Indians ran into them, killed some of their men, and carried off all their cattle. They crowded Gooch so close that he had to take to the brush, where the Indians surrounded him and tried to get him to come out and have a `talk'. They told him he was 'tin buena hombre,' a `heap good white man,' and that they were `buenos amigos.' But, as Gooch afterwards told us, he hadn't lost any Indians or Indian friendship and at that particular date he wasn't hunting for any new acquaintances among that tribe.
“Failing to induce him to come out, and dreading the big double-barrel shot gun and the two Colt revolvers Gooch carried with him into that thicket, the Indians went off and left him.
`With the Gooch outfit was a man and his wife moving to Fort Sumner. When the Indians attacked the layout, captured and ran Gooch into the thicket, they turned their attention to the wagons, one of which was the moving wagon, the other belonging to the mover. When the attack on the herd was made the mover tied his oxen to the mess wagon, while Gooch's driver turned his oxen loose, and the two men and the woman took refuge in one of the wagons and fought the Indians off until nightfall, killing and wounding several of the painted scoundrels. Some time after dark, and while the Indians were yet all around at a safe distance, the occupants of the wagon heard a noise at the rear of the vehicle and supposing it was an Indian trying to crawl in, the mover blazed away with an old Enfield. His shot grazed the side of the intruder's head and took off his ear, clean cut. He proved to be one of Gooch's men who had been ran off and chased into a thicket where he lay hidden until after dark when he made his way to the wagon. He said he would have made his presence known, but the Indians were so close he was afraid they would hear him and send an arrow through him before he could get into the wagon.
"Along towards day, these three men and the woman abandoned the wagons, stole past the Indians and after great suffering reached our camp at Ben Ficklin. They had walked over 50 miles without a morsel of food. We supplied them with provisions and means by which to return to the settlements.
We finally pulled out from Ben Ficklin and followed Cox's trail which led in the direction we wanted to proceed. We kept close watch and our journey to the Pecos was without incident worthy of note. When our vanguard approached that stream they discovered that somebody was having trouble and heard shots and yells that indicated that a fight was in progress which, in the end, proved to be a large party of Indians besieging Cox's camp. We rallied and were on the eve of making a charge, when the Indians discovered us bearing down on them, picked up and left double quick. When Cox reached the Pecos and had gone into camp, the Indians in great force attacked him, killed several of his men and captured his beeves and all his horses except one old pony. There chanced to be an old adobe nearby with only the bare walls standing, and into this ruin Cox and his remaining force sought refuge and where for three days and nights they had defended themselves and had repulsed charges of the savages. During the first days' fight the lady who accompanied the outfit with her husband, was desperately, wounded with an arrow and when we came to their relief she was in a state of delirium from the effects of pain, thirst and high fever. No food nor water had passed the lips of these people during the three days siege. Durring the day they were consumed by the burning sun and the night brought no rest as every man had to stand to arms and maintain the utmost vigilance. For three days and nights, they had held their own against fearful odds and it will never be known how many savages fell during this time but the number must have been considerable. The Indians had burned their wagons and when we came up they had nothing except their arms and the clothing they were wearing. We supplied their wants, bound up their wounds and provided an outfit for their return to the borders of civilization. The names of the brave men who were with Cox ought to be preserved and recorded down in history, but it has been so long ago that I have forgotten all but that of their leader, I. W. Cox, and that of their heroic woman, Mrs. Hoyett.
“From the Pecos the expedition went forward and finally reached Eagle Springs, not a great distance from the Rio Grande. This was to be our camping place, as Mr. Schnively had told us that the goldmine was in the vicinity of these springs. He said he had first received information from a dying soldier touching the existence of gold in that region and later he had prospected. and found the mine. He knew right where to go to point out the location, so he said, and we were all jubilant and hopeful when we found ourselves at the end of our long journey and so near, as we had been led to believe, a mine of gold that would make millionaires of us all. We had no sooner pitched camp and watered our stock than a small party, led by Mr. Schnively, struck out in search of the mine, while the remainder stayed to perform camp duty. This party returned late in the evening without having made any discoveries. The search was resumed next morning and was continued day after day until the entire surrounding country had been thoroughly prospected, but not a trace of gold was found. We then moved down near the Rio Grande and prospected through that mountainous region with no better success. We next returned to Eagle Springs disheartened, deceived and disgusted. The men were on the eve of wreaking their vengeance on Schnively, who, they believed had never before visited this inhospitable region. but had conceived the idea that there were rich mines in that section and under false pretenses persuaded them to join his expedition, his only desire being to have a strong escort to protect him while prospecting. My father, Col. Dalrymple and General Hardeman counseled moderation and their admonitions prevailed. Here the expedition closed and the company disbanded, some returning home, others going to Arizona and California, I being one who went to the Golden State. Captain Schnively went to Arizona and was killed by Apaches a few years later while prospecting along the Gila river.
"Among the one hundred who composed this expedition, there were a number of men whose names at that time were well and favorably known over the State, and among them I recall Captain Aaron Cunningham, of Comanche; General Hardman and Colonel Lane, of Austin; Captain Carrington of Bosque county. and Dr. Bunnells of San Saba."
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