F. C. Brown and family lived
about one and one-half miles east of Parson J. J. Hamilton's
home, and in the same community. Mr. Brown, serving as a soldier
in the Confederate army, was gone. Mrs. Harriette Brown, his
wife, and their eight children remained at home. The children's
names and approximate ages were: Sarah, 16; Martha Ann, 13; Jane,
11; Elizabeth, 10; Moie, 8; Joseph, 5; and twin babies, ten months
old, named Tennessee and Estell.
During the preceding night Sarah
dreamed the Indians killed her mother; and so strongly was she
impressed with the dream, Sarah prevailed on Mrs. Brown to have
their neighbor, Mr. Gattling, a gunsmith who lived about 300
yards north, to repair a broken rifle. Mrs. Brown took the gun
to the Gattling home early in the morning. But since Mr. Gatting
was away, the mother left the rifle at the Gattling residence.
When the Indians were killing
Wm. and Stewart Hamilton, they were seen by Mrs. Brown and some
of her children. But at the time only thought the Indians cowmen.
Joseph Brown was a short distance from the house, on Patrick's
Creek, watching Wm. Welch and family wash wool.
Shortly afterwards, the Indians
came to the Brown residence and for the first time the citizens
knew the horsemen were warriors instead of cowmen. Mrs. Brown
sent Elizabeth down to the creek to notify Mr. Welch and family,
and Joseph. But Mr. Welch had already discovered the savages,
scattered his family, and made himself and two negro boys conspicuous
for the purpose of decoying the red man away. The savages followed
them for a short distance, and then turned back for what they
considered a more valuable prey.
When Elizabeth attempted to return
home, she was captured by the savages and placed on a horse behind
As the savages approached, Sarah
started toward the home of Mr. Gattling with Tennessee, one of
the ten month old twins, and was followed by the Indians, who
shot her with an arrow under the right shoulder, near the spine.
Sarah then quit the road and went into a nearby thicket, and
in her wounded condition finally reached the Gattling home with
the twin baby. Jane Brown, who is now Mrs. Newt Pickard, of Weatherford,
had already preceded Sarah, with Estell, the other ten month's
old twin. Martha Ann and Moie had also gone to the Gattling home.
Sarah knew that Jane was ahead with the other twin. But Mrs.
Brown did not, and thinking, perhaps, her infant baby, Estell
was still sleeping on the bed, Mrs. Brown turned back toward
their home to get the other baby. Sarah, too, could have reached
the Gattling home without being injured. But she lingered behind
and was repeatedly telling her mother the other twin was ahead.
Mrs. Brown however, in her dilemma did not hear, but hurried
back toward the Brown home. This pioneer mother was shot nine
times, and killed almost instantly. The savages, however, did
not scalp her, perhaps, because she had black hair. Since all
Indians are black-headed, as a rule, they are much less inclined
to scalp a person whose head is covered with hair the color of
their own. After Mrs. Brown had been killed, and the house vacated,
the savages ripped open feather and straw beds, took the ticking,
bed clothes, and such other trinkets that happened to suit their
fancy. While this was being done, and Indian said to Elizabeth,
Good Barbeshela. Elizabeth, however, a few seconds later realized
her opportune time had come, so she jumped from behind the Indian,
and started in a run toward the Gattling home. One Indian exclaimed,
She is gone! She is gone! So this little girl, 10 years of age,
was followed by a savage, shot in the hip, but made her escape.
There were approximately ten Indians in this raiding party, and
they next appeared at the Gattling home. A war-widowed daughter
of Mr. Welch, and Mrs. Ellis who, also, had a baby, a baby of
Mr. and Mrs. Wm. Welch, and Mrs. Gattling and her daughter, Sif,
were already at the Gattling residence with no men to protect
them, for Mr. Gattling was away. Martha Ann Brown, a girl 13
years of age, had always heard that the savages would not enter
a house when the door was shut and guns drawn. And since Mr.
Gattling was a gunsmith, she picked up an old gun barrel and
stuck it through a port hole beside the door. She then cursed
and told the Indians that if they did not leave, she would shoot
their brains out. Before she made the statement, the Indians
had already begun to dismount. But after the savages saw the
gun barrel and heard what she said, they again mounted their
horses and rode away. They next appeared at the home of Mr. Beachman,
who lived a short distance below Parson J. J. Hamilton's tanning
vat. Here the warriors killed Mr. Beachman's dog, but did no
further damage. Elizabeth recovered from her wound, but Sarah
died about five weeks later. The frontier citizens of this settlement
were greatly bewildered after this catastrophe occurred. Mrs.
Welch, with a child of her own, and a child of her step-daughter,
Mrs. Rebecca Ellis, came to the Gattling home before the Indians
were hardly out of sight. Mrs. Ellis, also, went to the Brown
home and hid with her child under the floor. But the Indians
had already done their dirty work, and rapidly riding away.
Note: Before writing this section
the author personally interviewed Mrs. Jane (Brown) Pickard,
who carried Estell, the 10 month's old twin; James and Sam Newberry;
George Hill; and several others who were living in Parker county
at the time.
The above stories are from the
book, The West Texas Frontier, by Joseph Carroll McConnell.