J Marvin Hunter's



Please use quotation marks "___ ___" for phrase search, eg. "Jack Hays," "San Saba" or "Battle of Adobe Walls."

Magazines & Instant Downloads

Vol 11 No. 02 - November 1933

Fortitude of a Pioneer Mother

Noah Smithwick.

An Excerpt: "We were on hand at the appointed time and, just as we were preparing for supper, a young white woman, an entire stranger, her clothing hanging in shreds about her torn and bleeding body, dragged herself into camp and sank exhausted on the ground. The feeling of rest and relief on finding herself among friends able and willing to help her, so overcame her overtaxed strength that is was some little time before she could give a coherent explanation of her situation. When at length she recovered, she told us that her name was Hibbons; that, in company with her husband, brother and two small children, she was journeying overland up to their home on the Guadalupe when they were attacked by a band of Comanches; the two men were killed, the wagon plundered and herself and children made prisoners; she being bound onto one of their mules and her little three-year-old boy on the other. The other child was a babe, and the poor little creature, whose sufferings the mother could not allay, cried so continuously that at length one of the Indians snatched it from her and dashed its brains out against a tree.

The scene of the attack being a lonely spot on a lonely road, the cunning redskins knew there was little risk of the outrage being discovered till they were beyond the reach of pursuit; so, when a cold norther met them at the crossing of the Colorado about where the city of Austin stands, they sought the shelter of a cedar brake and lay by to wait for it to subside. Confident that Mrs. Hibbons could not escape with her child, and trusting to her mother's love to prevent her leaving it, the Indians allowed her to lie unbound, not even putting out guards. It was bitterly cold, and, wrapping themselves in their buffalo robes, they were soon sound asleep. But there was no sleep for Mrs. Hibbons. She knew, as did her captors, that there was small hope of rescue from the discovery of her murdered relatives, and, realizing that the only hope lay in herself, she resolved to escape and to rescue her child. There was no time to loose, as another day's travel would take her so far beyond the reach of the settlements that it would be impossible for her to procure help before the savages reached their strong hold; so she waited until assured by their breathing that her captors were asleep, then, summoning all her courage, she carefully tucked the robe about her sleeping child and stole away, leaving him to the mercy of the brutal barbarians.

She felt sure the river they had crossed was the Colorado, and knew there were settlements below; how far down she had no idea, but that seeming to offer the only means of escape, she made straight for the river, hiding her tracks in its icy waters, hurried away as fast as the darkness would permit.

Once she thought she heard her child call, and her heart stood still with fear that the Indians would be awakened and miss her. She momentarily expected to hear a yell of alarm, and, not daring to leave the shelter of the bottom timber, she meandered the winding stream, sometimes wading in the shallow water along the edge, and again working her way through the brush and briars, tearing her clothing and lacerating her flesh, never pausing in her painful journey till late in the afternoon, when she came upon the first sign of civilization in some gentle cows feeding in the river bottom. Perceiving that they were milk cows, she felt that she must be near a white settlement, but she dared not attempt to call assistance lest the Indians be in pursuit; so she secreted herself near the cows, which she surmised would soon go home, and, waiting till they had finished their evening meal, followed them into the station, having spent nearly twenty-four hours in traveling a distance of only ten miles on open ground.

Fortunate, beyond hope, in finding the rangers there, she implored us to save her child, describing the mule he rode, the band of Indians, and the direction they were traveling.

Hastily dispatching our supper, we were soon in the saddle, and with a trusty guide (Reuben Hornsby) traveled on till we judged that we must be near the trail, and fearful of crossing it in the darkness, we halted and waited for daylight. As soon as is was light enough our scouts were out and soon found the trail…"

Further Mentions: Captain Tumlinson; Conrad Rohrer; The scene of the rescue was on Walnut creek, about ten miles northwest of Austin; Thomas Moore; San Gabriel, about forty miles from the city of Austin; Captain Eastland; La Grange; Chief Castro, assisted by his son, Juan Castro, young Flacco and Juan Seis; Jo Martin;

Commencement Address of Forty-five Years Ago

By Laura Ratchford Fromme, Elgin, Texas. Account of an old copy of a Commencement Address delivered at Austin at the University of Texas before the Graduation Class of 1888 (which' I think was the second class in the history of that school) delivered by Civil War hero, General D. H. Hill of Georgia. The address, was considered a masterpiece of English composition. It is a tradition that General Hill was an orator of ability in a generation of great orators and speakers, and it is easy to see that his knowledge of history as well as of every department of education was profound.

Further Mentions: Major J. W. Ratchford; Harvey Hill Ratchford;

Col. Kinney's Great Fair at Corpus Christi

By Coleman McCampbell The lone Star State Fair, staged under Kinney's auspices, was called to order in a huge circus pavillion. Invitations to the world, announcing to the world that prizes (donated by Col. H. L. Kinney) valued at $3,000 would be given away. Important officials from Mexico, Cuba, nearby states, an' as far away as Illinois, had arrived and were guests in the Kinney home (Kinney married Mary B. Herbert in 1850.) Among those present at the Fair were Dr. Ashbel Smith, Gen. Jose M. Carvajal, Colonel Terry of the Rangers, Gen. Hugh McLeod, Major James H. Durst, Gen. H. Clay Davis, Capt. Bill Maltby and Major W. M. Mann.

Further Mentions: General Carvajal of Mexico; Dr. Ashbel Smith; Mrs. Starkey Duncan, Pres. Wm. Travis Chapter, Daughters of Republic of Texas at Austin;

Sabinal Canyon Long a Battle Ground

NO COMMUNITY IN Texas suffered more from Indian depredations in the early days than did the little settlement around the log post office at Waresville, 65 miles west of San Antonio in the Cypress, or Sabinal canyon. From the Spanish archives one learns that the frontier village of San Antonio de Bexar was raided time after time by Apaches, coming down this canyon through the mountain range to kill settlers, steal horses and otherwise pester the venturesome Mexicans and Spaniards who had established their homes around the great springs, near the missions, shortly after the year 1700. This account furthers the details. Perhaps there is not another locality in Southwest Texas where the frontier spirit is retained untarnished as it is the Sabinal canyon. The people are direct descendants from pioneer stock who came early to Texas from the frontier states of Tennessee, Arkansas, Missouri and Kentucky, and most of them are children of patriots who fought in the Texas revolution. Captain William Ware led a company under Milam in storming San Antonio, 1835, and captained the Second Company in the Second Volunteers at San Jacinto.

Also mentions: Col Juan de Ugalde; the Blue Waterhole; town of Utopia; the chief, Laughing Wolf; Lieut. Knox, in command of 13 rangers from D'Hanis; John D. Deer; Capt. William Ware, Gideon Thompson, John Davenport, Lee Sanders, Henry Robinson, James Davenport, Aaron Anglin, Robert Kincholoe, Chris Kelley; Gideon Thompson; Charley Durbin; R. H. Kincholoe; Waresville; Five miles above Utopia lives Robert Thompson; Among those killed by Kickapoos and Comanches, Cynthia Ann Bolin, John Davenport, Huffman and Wolfe, Mrs. Kate McLauren, Allen Lease, John Bowles, John Sanders, Berr Buckalew and Louis Thompson; John E. Crane, justice of the peace of Utopia, is a grandson of Captain John Crane, who was also a captain under Milam and under Houston at San Jacinto;


By Hybernia Grace. The following story is told of difficulties the U. S. troops experienced enroute to Phantom Hill in November, 1851. Soldiers in Companies C and G of the Fifth Infantry were ordered to leave Fort Belknap and establish a post some fifty miles to the southwest near the Clear Fork of the Brazos.

An excerpt from this gripping account: They had with them an Indian guide. They followed for a time the Marcy trail. and on the third night after leaving Belknap, struck camp in a valley well protected by hills. On the following morning the Indian guide advised them not to continue their march, because he feared a blizzard would strike them on the prairie they would soon reach. There they could expect no protection. The morning was lovely; not a cloud was in the sky; a gentle breeze was blowing from the south, and the temperature was more like spring than winter. For this reason the officer in command placed no confidence in the Indian's forecast and ordered the soldiers to march forward. But in a few hours the sun was obscured by black clouds, and out of the north came the cold and pitiless wind, bringing with it blinding sheets of snow and sleet. Those who have felt the "northers" blowing over the prairies of Texas can understand the suffering that followed. The soldiers were forced to stop and build a fire in an attempt to ward off the cold.

The infantry had marched in advance of the quartermaster and his wagon, and, since they could travel faster, were in advance when the "norther" struck. All day long the blizzard blew, and back on the trail men, half blinded by sleet and snow, and benumbed by cold, struggled. Now and then a wagon would be driven into camp, and often a teamster would come in riding his saddle mule, having abandoned his wagon and team. Some of the drivers turned their teams loose, and wrapping what bedding they had around them, lay down in the wagons to await their fate. About four o'clock in the morning a teamster rode into camp and reported that a young man by the name of James Moorehead had stopped by the way, unable to travel, and would freeze unless rescued at once. Moorehead was from Missouri, and in the camp was another young man, Billy Benton, from the same state. Benton asked permission of Mr. Locklin, the wagon-master, to take his horse and go for Moorehead. It seemed an almost superhuman task to face the blizzard, but Benton, against all advice, started back on the trail…

Further Mentions: The body was buried near the banks of the creek which later became known as Deadman Creek because of the grave; Jacksboro; Fort Hays;

Five Years a Cavalryman

By H. H. McConnell. Ongoing, detailed and day-to-day journal recounting McConnell’s experiences are further related in this installment of his excellent story. To read this account is like being along for the ride. Frontier history comes alive in these pages, from the back of a great Calvaryman’s horse. These stories contains many details and incidents that often go unmentioned in most historical accounts of life on the frontier. You will definitely be captivated by the musings, reflections, observations, and experiences while following this soldier through his varied and interesting life on the Texas Frontier. For example, did you ever wonder what the fishing was like on the Brazos or Llano in the frontier days? You’d be surprised! – see September issue. (Continued from Last Month.)

Further Mentions: One Myers, a bugler in my company; "Captain Jinks."; Lieutenant Brothwick; Starkweather; Gulliver, Munchausen, even the lamented Ahrberg; Colonel Starr, was a brevet Leiutenant Colonel; General Hatch; Micky Free; James Oakes, brevet Brigadier General and Colonel of the regiment; Lieutenant Colonel Buell; Old Rann; "Cotton Eyed- Joe," D. W. Patton; Dr. Carvallo; Dr. Patzki; Judge Advocate General, Holt; Farrelly; Bob Pawls; Dr. Gunn (Continued next Month)

Emmett Roberts, a Pioneer of Jones County


By John R. Hutto, in the Western-Enterprise, Anson, Texas. Of the few old type cowmen left, of Nugent, in the eastern part of Jones county, is one of the most characteristic. He was born in North Carolina, December 23, 1850. When an. infant of just three weeks of age he was brought to Texas by his parents where they settled between old Birdwell and the present city of Fort Worth. His father engaged in farming and raising cattle. Tarrant county at that time had not been organized. In March, 1869, the Roberts brothers, Dick, John, Creed and Emmett entered the cattle business by taking charge of two herds in Stephens county. They were to receive a certain per cent of the calves, of the "mavericks," and of the beef cattle sold on the market. The country was open, unhampered by wire fences, and the grass was free to the man who cared to stock the range. One of the herds belonged to Adams of Fort Worth and the other to John Pollard of Weatherford. Their headquarters was called the "Pollard Ranch." They marketed their cattle in. New Orleans, in Shreveport, and in Jefferson, Texas. About 1871 they moved their cattle to Eastland county, near Ranger Camp, now the site of the city of Ranger.

This story is excellent early Jones co. history.

Further Mentions: Comanche, Brownwood, Hamilton, Stephenville, Palo Pinto, Weatherford and Jacksboro; a fellow by the name of Denny Murphy; the "Big Shinnery," on the Clear Fork, Jones county; They generally maintained three camps, one up about Lueders, one near where Nugent is, and one up on Mulberry creek; John Lawrens; George Outlaw; one of Lawrens' hands, named Wilson; B. Williams and Uncle Archie Medlin; Shackelford county; John Bill Sellman; Bill Kruger; Bitter creek; Herrick; John Wesley Hardin; George Scarborough; General Buell; Pecan Bayou, in Coleman county; Uncle Bobbie Sloan's range; John, Tom Derrett, Bud Matthews, Bill Spencer; James Pipe Bird, one of the four Bird boys; two men, Shaw and Jackson, who lived in the old magazine at Fort Phantom Hill; Judge Word of Tulia, Texas; Bill Moore; Old Man Henry Foster; the family has lived down there ever since. He had several boys, Henry, Bill, Zene, Joe, and Ham; Round Mound; Mr. Foster; Spring Creek, which emptied into Dead Man about John Zipps; Hubbard Timbers; Long Creek. Three Mile Creek; Chimney Creek rises toward Albany and enters Dead Man this side of Lueders; the old Butterfield Trail; Phantom Hill; Bluff Creek; Shinnery Branch; Cabin Branch; Cottonwood Creek; Mulberry. Bitter Creek, Noodle and Sweetwater Creeks; happenings around Nugent;

A GENEALOGICAL EXCERPT: "Our first neighbors in the cattle business were Mode and C. J. Johnson, who had a ranch up here on Chimney creek. The first man to live at Nugent Ivas Sol Jackson. He lived in a little picket shack covered with dirt, about where the present school building is located. There was a man named George Gilland, who lived at the fort, and a man named Williams, who had his tongue shot out in a saloon in Abilene by a man named Howard Jung, who was shooting at Judge Hammond. A fellow lived in the commissary at the fort named George Kaiser. He harbored two bad men up there in the shinnery. Those fellows killed our calves until we got tired of it and finally posted a notice giving them so many days to clear out of the country. The bluff worked. They posted a counter notice, but left the country. Woodie Elkins taught the first school at Green Valley, above Nugent. Frank Arnold lived on Dead Man where his wife taught school. The first store in Nugent was owned by Robert Jeffries. He lived in a little two-room house. The post office was named for old Judge Nugent, who was a great Populist. Mr. Jeffries was the first postmaster. The Green Valley and Dead Man schools were consolidated. Marshall Wyatt and I held the election. Nobody came to vote, so he and I voted and went home. The Green Valley school house was sold to the Baptists, who moved it to Nugent, and old Mr. Peter Harvey got the other school house and moved it down south of here and they called it Peter's Chapel. That was the first Christian church house in the country. I came here single, but later married Mrs. Agnes Bush. Most people cooked on fire-places, but I went to Fort Worth where I bought a cook stove, some dishes, beds and chairs. At first I lived with my brother John, but later, in 1876, a fellow by the name of Faulkner hauled the lumber from Fort Worth with which I built my first house. Brother Creed married Belle Anderson, and John married Laura Scott, the daughter of `Phantom Hill' Scott. They had a double wedding down at Phantom Hill, and people were there from everywhere. They were married by Judge Fisher from Albany, at the Pretty Smith Hotel. The musicians were Stribbling and Hamilton, dancing masters. They were dressed fine, in evening suits, and they were paid like congressmen for playing at the dances. Pretty Smith was the ugliest fellow I ever saw, but his wife was a portly, handsome lady, and she was smart and a hard worker. Their hotel, a boxed and stripped twostory building, was moved to Anson when that place was made the county seat.

Our first sheriff was named Cole. George Scarborough was his deputy. Scarborough was later elected sheriff, and was the bravest man I ever saw. I've seen him go right down into dugouts after bad men; and his daddy, old Parson Scarborough, would go right down with him with a pistol in his hand. One night a bunch of us, the Roberts brothers, John Bryan, now of Abilene, Eugene Mayfield, Molair Mayfield, C. B. Scarborough, George Scarborough and old Parson Scarborough, met down at the old Jackson shack in Nugent to try to catch two bad men, A. J. Williams and Redmond Coleman. It was awfully cold. Some other fellows were helping these men to escape the country. We did not get them that night, but later they were both captured. I understand that Coleman was under an assumed name, that he later turned out to be a good citizen. A. J. Williams was given bond, and was later shot by George Scarborough in the Whiskey the Road to Ruin saloon in Haskell."

"Truest" Story of Death of Sam Bass

ANY TALES ABOUT the death of Sam Bass one of the most widely famed of early Texas outlaws, have been told. Many of them have been adorned with misleading details.

S. W. Digby of Belton, nephew of Sebe Barnes, one of the members of the Bass gang, who was killed at the same time as Bass, says that many of the stories told have not truly represented the facts. He has in his possession an account of the killing which he says comes nearer to the truth than any account he has ever seen. This is that story.

Further Mentions: Jefferson D. Dillingham of Austin; James Murphy, a member of the Bass gang; Murphy was a prisoner in the Denton county jail and not in the Travis county jail as stated in the Blayne story; Will Morrow; Old Man Kopperal's store on Main street; , C. P. Barnes, living three miles south of Round Rock; August Gloeber, a German, operating a tin shop; Hart's hotel; the Gloeber building; Constable Moore.


We are in receipt of a letter from our old friend, R. B. (Bob) Dawson, of Phoenix, Arizona, for more than twenty-five years a stage driver in West Texas, out of San Angelo. Mr. Dawson and his good wife now reside in the suburbs of Phoenix, where they were engaged in merchandising. Friends throughout West Texas remember when Bob Dawson handled the ribbons that guided the broncos which pulled the stage out of San Angelo to Sherwood in the early 90's. It is said that he drove stage on that route for twenty five years without missing a day. Finally he obtained a vacation of one day, and having nothing else to do, he went over the route to see if, everything was all right. Mr. Dawson informs us that his father, Thomas P. Dawson, and early Texas pioneer, passed away January 9, 1933, at Winnsboro, Texas, at the age of 92 years. He sends us a clipping from a Lampasas paper giving an account of his father's death, which we reproduce

"News of the death of Thomas P. Dawson has reached Lampasas. It occurred January 9th, at Winnsboro, Texas. He was 92 years, 8 months old. Mr. Dawson was one of the earliest settlers of this section, having come here in 1859 from Tennessee. He made the journey from that state to Lampasas on horse-back. He resided in or near Lampasas seventy years. He was a participant in many of the stirring events of frontier days. His first residence was eight miles southwest of Lampasas. It was near that place that the Indians attacked thc. Stockman and Gracy boys, killing the latter, immediately thereafter attacked the Jim Baker family. It was Mr. Dawson who rode a fleet horse to Lampasas with news of the Indian raid, and lie was one of the party which rescued Baker's beleaguered family. He was a member of the military company which pursued the Indians after their murder of Mr. Payne, a battle with them occurring at Indian Gap, and he was in many other Indian epidodes. He was a member of Captain Pace's company, and was with that command when it, joined by a company stationed at Camp San Saba, made the perilous march to the Concho river to cover the retreat of Totten's force after its disastrous defeat at the battle of Dove Creek in January, 1865. Mr. Dawson was at one time one of the principal sheep raisers of the southwest, having large holdings in the Devil's River section, but he always claimed Lampasas as his home. He was a long-time member of the Christian church. The following children survive him, all of whom formerly resided at Lampasas Robert B. Dawson of Arizona ; James C. Dawson of Snyder, Texas; Mrs. Dug Hammond of Winnsboro, Texas; Maxwell Dawson of Fort Worth, Texas; Mrs. Arthur Crouch of California; Phillip Dawson of Midland, Texas."


Brief story of Benjamin C. Longist, who would have been 109 years old had he lived another month. A soldier first, last, and always, Mr. Longist's death closes the career of the oldest Indian War veteran in the United States and one of the most colorful frontiersmen. Mr. Longist was born in 1824 in North Carolina when American and British statesmen were still quarreling over the outcome of the War of 1812.

It was not until the opening of the Civil War, 36 years later, that he launched upon his soldiering career which carried him thru the Civil War and almost every important Indian campaign in the West.

He served under Gen. Beauregard in Florida thru the entire war between the North and South. Following the close of the Civil War Mr. Longist returned to his home for five years, and then once again donned 'a uniform, this time as a private in Co. I, 18th U. S. Inf. He patrolled outlying towns to keep down trouble. Later he was assigned to duty in New York, and then he was ordered west. Gradually his company went farther west, and in 1872 his company, with three other companies, was ordered to…


Account of J. H. McGowan who killed and dressed a pig for a barbecue. His three children, aged 11, 9 and 4 years, saw the process of butchering the pig. Next day McGowan left home and the children agreed to repeat the process of the day before. Having no other pig the two older children proceeded to butcher the youngest. They cut its throat and hung it up by the heels as the pig had hung, and were proceeding to disembowel it when their mother discovered the horrible tragedy.

- +

‹ Back

Quick Cart

Your cart is empty.


Our Testimonials

Glad to get networked with you Jim. I have really had a lot of success  with my research thanks to Frontier Times and yourself of course. Mr.  Hunter was a God send in helping record enough information to help  future generations track our history. When our families arrived here in  Texas they were ahead of government, counties, etc. so it is a great  task to piece together details. Thanks and have a Merry Christmas  brother!