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Vol 04 No. 09 - June 1927

Murder Of Alwilda McDonald and Her Mother

By Leonard Passmore, Voca, Texas

TOM McDONALD was an old pioneer who came from Illinois to Texas in 1855, settling at the Doss ranch in Gillespie county, Texas.

In Mr. McDonald's family were the following children ~ Mary, Monroe, Fannie, Melvina, Mariah, Angeline, Josephine, Lafe, Gus and Sam. Of these Mary who married a man by the name of Fannin.

While the McDonald family was living on the Doss Ranch there resided not a great distance from them another pioneer family by the name of Joy. The name Wiley Joy was a noted Indian fighter and sturdy frontiersman. He possessed in his family a very beautiful daughter named Alwilda. She was considered most lovely by all who knew her. Her cheeks showed the flush of good health, her eyes were blue, sparkling with fun; her hair was a most beautiful auburn, and her voice was low and sweet. But this was not all, for she possessed a disposition which was tender and loving, making her one of the saintliest and best loved of the Texas border. The dignity of her bearing, together with the other things we have mentioned, won the heart of young Lafe McDonald, who wedded her in the year 1863- that year of turbulent civil strife between the states. The account goes on to depict the tragic and senseless murder of the dear woman and subsequent events.

Further Mentions:Characters: Tom McDonald, Mary, Monroe, Fannie, Melvina, Mariah, Angeline, Josephine, Lafe, Gus, Bettie Larimore, John Larimore, Charlie Wahrmund,

Locations: Doss Ranch, Gillespie County, Nueces, James River, Spring Creek, Perdenales River, Walnut Creek, Taylor Ranch, Harper, Banta Branch, Tivydale,

The Transformation of the XIT Ranch

By Mrs. T. V. Reeves

The early and middle 1890’s saw the last of the great trail herds of Texas following the long road to northern pastures and northern markets. Texas fever, increasing numbers of nesters along the trails, barbed wire fences, and the extension of railroad's had brought to an end one of the most picturesque periods of history of the old Southwest.

While the old order was passing there existed in the Panhandle of Texas one of the largest ranches in the world; one whose organization was to exert an immense influence upon the development of Northwest Texas. This was the X1T Ranch, composed of a vast body of land, 3,000,000 acres of which the State of Texas traded for its huge granite capitol building, and 500,000 acres which the Capitol Syndicate purchased.

The ranch, like hundreds of others, was commonly known by the name of the brand it used: it was said that the brand, XIT stood for Ten (Counties) in Texas. It is not strange that the brand became so well known, for cattle with XIT burned on them covered a ranch 575 miles around; a ranch which had as its northwest corner the northwest corner of the State, and extended south 185 miles to a point in Hockley County; the east line of the ranch was 175 miles long, and the north line 30 miles long.

When the Farwells came into possession of this land in 1885 they intended to colonize it immediately, but upon investigation they decided that the land was too new and untried for this, and determined to fence it and develop it as a great ranch, which they proceeded to do in the late eighties. This story continues to develop the history of the great historic ranch.

Further Mentions:Characters: Farwells, Major Littlefield.

Locations: XIT Ranch, Hockley County, Buffalo Springs, Middle Water, Minneosa, Rita Blanca, Escarbada, Bovina, Spring Lake, Yellow House Of Casa Amarillas, Channing, Hartley County, Austin, Dalhart, Vega, Genrio, Summerfield, Friona, Farwell, Amherst, Littlefield, Olton, Muleshoe.

Says Reno Was Not A Coward

By E. A. Brininstool John Ryan, troop M. Seventh Cavalry, was a survivor of Major Reno's battalion, which fought the Sioux along the Little Big Horn, Montana, June 25, 1876. Ryan says that Major Reno was not a coward. He thinks that Reno did the best thing possible, and that he, with others of the three troops of cavalry led by Major Reno have him to thank for being alive today. This is what John Ryan said in a letter dated March 15th, 1926. This story details Ryan’s argument.

Further Mentions:Characters: Sergeant John Ryan, Major Reno, Captain Tom French, Donald McIntosh, Captain Moylan, Lieut. Hodgson, Custer,

Locations: Little Big Horn, Fort Riley, Washita, Fort Rice, Hays City,

The Murder of Jim Billings

By Miss Alice Nichols, Harper, Texas

Jim Billings settled on Willow Creek, Gillespie county, Texas in 1863, with his family. One day while he and his small son, John Billings, were out hunting their cows, some distance from their home, they were attacked by a band of Indians and the elder Billings was killed, while the little boy escaped death only by a miracle. John was about eleven years of age at the time, but he displayed a rare presence of mind and heroic fortitude that was remarkable for one of his tender years. Mr. Billings was armed with a rifle, and when they discovered the presence of the Indians the two were completely surrounded in an open space, with all chance of escape to a thicket cut off. The Indians began shooting at them, but before they killed him Mr. Billings shot one of the Indians. Little John, who was unhurt, resorted to a ruse, and fell to the ground as if shot, and lay perfectly still. They gathered around the fallen and for a time held high carnival, then all left but three of the redskins, who remained for a short while to make sure that their victims were dead. John dared not make the least movement for fear his ruse would be discovered. Finally an Indian picked up a large stone and hit him a crushing blow in the face, knockng out several of his teeth and cutting a deep gash under his right eye. The pain from this was almost unbearable, but the boy bore it with fortitude and shammed death so effectively that the Indians went on, believing they had killed both father and son. Before leaving, however, one of the Indians stooped over him and with a keen knife...

Characters: Jim Billings, John Billings.

Locations: Willow Creek, Gillespie County, Mountain Home, Kerr County.

Helped Knock the Bark Off Of Texas

By Cora Melton Cross

Account of Jim Rose, of Gainesville, whose father, Thomas Rose, an Illinois "corn-fed" who trekked to Fannin County some years before, decided to move on to Sivellis Bend, twenty miles north of Gainesville, Texas. This man with his family, a Dr. Ligon, Judge Dillard and Langford Pace with their families constituted what was known as the Sivells Bend settlement. These were the only settlers then in what is now known as Cooke County. Thomas Rose had done his bit in helping rescue Texas from the Mexicans; later he served in the war between the States and was one of the few people who actually remember seeing Texas under six flags.

Further Mentions:Characters: Jim Rose, Thomas Rose, Dr. Ligon, Judge Dillard, Langford Pace, Hardie Pace, William Faversham.

Locations: Sivellis Bend, Gainesville, Cooke County, Fort Smith,


A. J. Nichols, a native of frontier Texas, was born when she was a Republic. His parents came to Gonzales in 1836, and helped to found the town of Seguin in 1838. He was horn in Seguin in 1844.

Further Mentions: Arch Gipson , Dawson massacre , the Woll campaign on the Rondo , Alsee Miller , Gonzales Wood , Milford Day and Jim Nichols , the Plum Creek fight with the Indians who burned Linnville , Col. McCord, Chalk Bluff , Nueces Canyon , Ben Terrell , Joe Dibrell.

More Light On Bill Longley

Account details certain historical, civil and court documents pertaining to the arrest and execution of the notorious gunman. Clarification is offered pertaining to the confusion of the hanging of Longley, as well as the killing of Lew Sawyer.

Further Mentions:Characters: Bill Longley, Captain Mast, William Burrows, June Courtney, A. M. Garland, A. J. Murray, Thomas Evans, Thomas J. Carson, E. J. Davis, A. J. Durham, Lew Sawyer, Theo. Watkins, Pat Dolan, W. T. Gamble, J. E. Hewett, W. G. Burgess, W. T. Jackson, W. H. Burroughs, W. P. Sample,

Locations: Nacogdoches County, Mason County, Fredericksburg, Kerrville, Rock Springs, Burleson County, Brazos River, Evan’s Ferry, Moseley’s Ferry, Washington County, Evergreen, Dry Frio Canyon, Giddings, Uvalde County,

The Texas Ranger

By J. Frank Dobie 

Further Mentions:Characters: James B. Gillett, Sam Bass,

Locations: Crow Flat, Junction County, San Saba, San Antonio, El Paso,


J. A. Drummond, Paris, Texas

Account of 1864 cattle drive herding about 400 young steers 250 miles in ten days.

Colonel Rip Ford And Rangers Battle With Indians

By A. J. Sowell

Col JOHN S. FORD, known among'' border men as "Old Rip," was a native of South Carolina and came to Texas in 1836. He served for a time in the Texas army and in 1843 commenced the practice of medicine in San Augustine. In 1844 he was elected to Congress and in the Mexican war of 1846 he commanded a company in the regiment of Col. Jack Hays. In 1849 Colonel Ford with Maj. Robert Neighbors, laid out a road from San Antonio to El Paso and Santa Fe. In August of the same year he was placed in command of a ranging company at Austin and sent south, being stationed between Brownsville and San Patricio, near King's ranch on the Santa Gertrudes Creek. In November John E. Wilson, Dave Steel, Charles Wiedenmiller and John Dickins were on their way back to camp with a wagonload of supplies, when, one evening after striking camp, Wiedenmiller went to water the wagon horses in a little creek not far away and soon the other three rangers heard him calling for help. Wilson and Steel ran to his assistance and found him surrounded by Indians: They boldly charged the Comanches, and firing into them, drove them away and the three then ran quickly back to the wagon with the horses. The Indians "rallied and, seeing that only two.' men had put them to flight, made a charge...

Further Mentions:Characters: John S. Ford Old Rip, Jack Hays, Robert Neighbors, John E. Wilson, Dave Steel, Charles Wiedenmiller, John Dickins, Andrew Walker, Ed Burleson Jr., John Wilson, James Wilson, Ed Stephens, Jack Taylor, Mat Nowlin, William Gillespie, Jack Spencer, Ad Gillespie, James Hart, Andrew Wheeler, D. M. Lovel, Robert Rankin, Vol Roundtree, Andrew Gatliff, Marvin E. McNeill, Albert Gallatin, James Carr, Baker Barton, Warren Lyons, William Lackey, Alfred Tom.

Locations: San Antonio, El Paso, Santa Fe, Brownsville, San Patricio, King’s Ranch, Santa Gertrudes Creek, Rio Grande, Fort Merrill, Nueces River, Sweetwater Creek, Refugio, Laredo, Brazos Santiago,

A Diary Kept On The Overland Trail In 1854

By V. L. James, San Antonio, Texas

Lengthy and detailed diary of James Bell, depicting his cattle drive to California in 1854. The diary was written by an uncle of San Antonio's former mayor, Hon. Sam C. Bell.

Further Mentions:Characters: James Bell, Sam C. Bell, Maggie Bell Newton, John Newton, John James, Judge Hewitt, James R. Sweet,

Locations: San Antonio, Castroville, Medina, Hondo, Las Moras, Socete River, San Pedro, San Phillipe, Rio Grande, Rio Diablo, Palo Springs, Howard’s Spring, El Paso Del Norte, Live Oak Creek, Pecos River, Escondido, Leon Springs, Limpia, Wild Rose Pass, Eagle Springs,


By Sam C. Bell

Author records life of his grandfather, Samuel Bell, who was born in 1792, in Pittsburg, Pa., He became proficient in making Bowie knives and daggers, and later moved to Knoxville, where he and his sons manufactured gold and silverware cutlery. In 1852, after business reverses, he moved with his family, to San Antonio, Texas and built up a good jewelry and silverware business. Sam Houston never came to San Antonio without calling on him. He remained in San Antonio during the war Two of his sons were on the Confederate side, and one, David Bell, was with the Union in Washington. A vigilance committee arranged to hang him, but in their meeting one Abe Mitchell told them if they harmed a hair of his head it would be over his dead body, so they let him alone.

Further Mentions: well known San Antonians, Mauermann's, Kellsos, and others. John W. Smith, the first mayor. John J. Kloehr, Bob Dalton, Bill Broadwell, Grat Daton, and Texas Jack, N. H. Rose


By Mr. B. H. Erskine, Sr., of Cometa, Crystal City, Texas

Account of author’s father, Andrew N. Erskine, who served with Jack Hays in Texas Rangers 1842 to 1844, afterwards was with him for some time surveying.

Further Mentions: John Caperton , Michael Erskin , Jane Erskine , at Capote, the celebrated ranch of Michael Erskine, 14 miles west of Seguin , the Cortina War , the historic battle of Bandera Pass , . A. J. Sowell , the battle of Salado , the Dawson massacre , Erskine's Ferry , Co. D, from Seguin and the celebrated 4th Texas Reg., Gen. Hood's Brigade , Second Battle of Manassas , the celebrated bloody battle of Antietem, Md., September 17, 1862 ,KNEW JIM BRIDGER. J. A. Drummond, of Paris, Texas, writes of some reminiscences of two western trips where Jim Bridger was guide.

Great Indian Raid near Fort Mckavett In 1866

By Jasper Newton

Eye-witness account of major Indian raid.

"For some days before the raid, I had been assisting Mr. Poe, who then lived at 18-mile crossing of the San Saba, in leveling to see if water for irrigation could be taken from the river. Early one morning about an hour before day, Charley Champie dashed into the yard and yelled: "Jasper, get up and get home quick; the valley is literally alive with Indians - they have killed McDougall, lanced Clara Schulenberger and drove off all the stock in the country, and I expect their scouts will be back today and murder all the people. There are over two hundred Indians in the bunch!" I hurried off and when I reached Mr. McDougall's place, about 1 1/2 miles below McKavett, I found…"

Further Mentions:Characters: Charlie Champie, Mr. Dawson, Mr. Poe, McDougall, Clara Schulenberger, George Roberts, Bobbie Robinson, John Ringer.

Locations: Fort Mckavett, San Saba, San Antonio, Cedar Creek, Austin, Georgetown, Mason, Devil’s River, Spring Creek, Fort Concho, Middle Draw Valley.

Assassination of Jesse James, The Outlaw

By John N. Edwards

Edwards makes the case that the murder of James was a cold-blooded act of cowardice and motivated from profit and gain.

Of course, everything that can be said about the dead man to justify the manner of his killing will be said; but who is saying it! Those with the blood of Jesse James on their guilty souls. Those who conspired to murder him. Those who wanted the reward, and would invent any he or concoct any diabolical story to get it. They have succeeded, but such a cry of horror aria indignation at the infernal deed is even now thundering over the land that if a single one of the miserable assassins had either manhood, conscience or courage, he would go as another Judas, and hang himself.

Further Mentions:Characters: Jim Lane, Jesse James,

Locations: St. Joseph, St. Louis, Missouri

The Savoy Cyclone In 1879

"After a residences of five years in Denison, I moved to Savoy, a station on the Transcontinental line, eleven miles from Bonham, and I was in the mercantile business there when the cyclone struck. I retired early on the night of the cyclone, which came at about 10 o'clock. Before I dropped off to sleep, I cautioned my wife, who was going about the room with a little glass oil lamp in her hand, looking for something. I told her she was liable to set the house on fire. The next thing I knew I went out of bed as if by a force not my own, and fell sprawling on the floor. What appeared to be a terrific hailstorm was raging. Hailstones weighing ten pounds each were bombarding the house. I opened the door to look abroad, and at once realized that tremendous mischief was afoot. By the incessant flashes of lightning, which made a continuous light, I saw the railroad station vanish, perceived that the business district of the town was bare of houses and realized that what I took to be hailstones striking the house, were the flying shreds and fragments of demolished buildings. The wind was so strong that I could not shut the door, and I called Harry Naylor, my nephew, to assist me. The blow was all over in a minute or two. Then came a veritable deluge of rah., a regular waterspout We could hear on all sides the cries of men, women and children in distress..."

Characters: W. S. Adair, J. M. Naylor, Harry Naylor, Isaac Naylor,

Locations: Dallas, Denison, Savoy, Bonham, Sherman, Bennetts, Detroit, Whitewright, Garland.

A Waterspout in Coleman County In 1874

By Curley Hatcher

On the 23rd of September, 1874, Company E, of the Frontier Battalion of Texas was encamped on Home Creek, about eight miles south of where the city of Coleman, in Coleman county, now stands. About 1 o'clock in-the morning it began to rain. We had had no rain for three months and everything was very dry. Home Creek was almost dry, and near our camp was a dry slough or lake at the foot of the hill, near which stood a large pecan tree. Our camp was on the west bank of the creek and the foot hills were about a quarter of a mile away. The bottom land was covered with mesquite bushes.

A few minutes after it began raining the horse guard came to my tent and called to me to wake up the men, as the creek was rising fast. I dressed and started out to look at the creek and stepped off of a little rise into water up to way knees. I yelled to all of the boys to get up and run for a bluff nearby. Jim Paulk and a man named Cliff were sleeping in my tent and got up when I did. We secured our horses and mounted there without bridles or saddles, and started for the high ground, but when we had gone about half way a wall of water fully six feet high struck us and rolled our horses over before they could get the swing of the current...

Further Mentions:Characters: Jim Paulk, Captain Maltby,

Locations: Home Creek, Coleman County, Brownwood, Clear Creek

Some names mentioned in this volume:

Adair; Barrymore; Baker Barton; Gen Baylor; David Bell; J. M. Bell; James Bell; Miss Maggie Bell; Hon Sam C. Bell; Samuel Bell; Samuel C. Bell; Jim Billings; John Billings; George Bird; Jim Bridger; Cov Brininstool; Bill Broadwell; George Brode; Jim Brown; Walter Burgess; Gen Ed Burleson; Ed Burleson Jr; Lt Ed Burleson; W. H. Burroughs; William Burrows; Caldwell; John Caperton; Phil Carney; James Carr; T. J. Carson; Thomas J. Carson; Charlie Champie; R. V. Colbert; June Courtney; R. C. Judge Crane; Cora Melton Cross; Robinson Crusoe; Cunningham; Jim Currie; Bob Dalton; Grat Daton; Davis; Milford Day; Joe Dibrell; John Dickens; Judge Dillard; Pat Dolan; Howard R. Driggs; J. A. Drummond; A. J. Durham; Maj John N. Edwards; A. N. Erskine; Andrew Erskine; Andrew N. Erskine; Andrew Nelson Erskine; Mrs Ann Erskine; B. H. Erskine Sr; Jane Erskine; Michael Erskine; Thomas Evans; Mary Fannin; Mary McDonald; William Faversham; Ramon Febre; Sheriff Finley; Capt Ford; Col Rip Ford; Benjamin Franklin; James A. Frear; Capt Tom French; Albert Gallatin; W. T. Gamble; A. M. Garland; Andrew Gatliff; Arch Gibson; Ad Gillespie; William Gillespie; Capt Gillett; James B. Gillett; Col Charles Goodnight; U. S. Grant; J. A. Hon Hamilton; James Hart; Col Jack Hays; William Haywood; J. E. Hewett; Judge Hewitt; Wild Bill Hickok; Lt Hodgson; Russ Holloway; Gen Hood; John R. Hutto; W. T. Jackson; James James; Jess James; Jesse James; John James; V. L. James; Wiley Joy; Hanam Klein; John Klein; John J. Kloehr; William Lackey; Jim Lane; Miss Bettie Larimore; John Larimore; Amanada Lewis; Dr Ligon; Maj Littlefield; F. M. Lockard; W. P. Longley; Will Longley; D. M. Lovel; Col R. C. Lyon; Warren Lyons; Mrs Mattie A. Maddux; Capt Maltby; B. Markwordt; Capt Mast; Will Sheriff Mast; Masterson; Col McCord; Alwilda McDonald; Mrs Alwilda McDonald; Angeline McDonald; Eli McDonald; Fannie McDonald; Gus McDonald; Josephine McDonald; Lafe McDonald; Mariah McDonald; Melvina McDonald; Monroe McDonald; Sam McDonald; Tom McDonald; Lt Donald McIntosh; W. M. McKee; Marvin E. McNeill; Edgar B. Merritt; Milam; Alsee Miller; Abe Mitchell; Capt Moylan; A. J. Murray; Berta Hart Nance; Harrison Naylor; Harry Naylor; Isaac Naylor; J. M. Naylor; Robert Maj Neighbors; John New; Jasper Newton; John Newton; A. J. Nichols; Miss Alice Nichols; Jim Nichols; Mat Nowlin; Langford Pace; Gov Parker; Passmore; Jim Paulk; Col R. L. Penick; Gen Pike; Robert Rankin; Mrs T. V. Reeves; Maj Reno; Reynolds; Rupert N. Richardson; John Ringer; Dr C. C. Rister; George Roberts; Bobbie Robinson; Jim Rose; Thomas Rose; Young Rose; Vol Roundtree; Cov Russell; Sgt; John Ryan; Capt W. P. Sample; Saunders; Lee Sawyer; Lew Sawyer; Jake Scheider; Clara Schulenberger; Schulenberger; R. E. Sherrill; W. E. Sherrill; Capt Skillman; C. F. Smith; Jim Smith; John W. Smith; Sowell; Jack Spencer; Dave Steel; Ed Stephens; Seymour Stuart; James R. Sweet; Jack Taylor; Ben Terrell; Alice Todd; Alf Tom; Alfred Tom; Capt John Tom; Charlie Wahrmund; Emil Sr Wahrmund; Andrew Walker; Lt Andrew J. Walker; Wallace; Capt Theodore Watkins; (See Longley Bill) Webb; Capt West; Lt Andrew Wheeler; Charles Wiedenmiller; James Wilson; John Wilson; John E. Wilson; Woll; Gonzales Wood.

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