Elonzo White and Sarah Kemp


During July of 1864, David White and family, Earl E. Kemp and family, were living on the old Jack Bailey place, on Big Keechi, about ten miles southwest of Jacksboro. Mr. White was one of the early settlers of Palo Pinto County, and had moved to Jack only a short time before. During the day, Mrs. White and Mrs. Kemp, had washed on the banks of Big Keechi, and hung out their clothes on the bushes to dry. Late in the evening, Sarah Kemp, a girl about sixteen years of age, and Elonzo White, aged about 10, were down on the creek after the clothes, which were about 100 yards away, when several Indians suddenly dashed upon them. Sarah started in a run toward the house, but Elonzo was captured. The Indians were, also, on the very verge of catching Sarah, but about this time, had a new problem to solve, for a large vicious dog, belonging to the two families, drove his teeth into the Indian's flesh. This permitted Miss Kemp to make her escape. When the wild men saw, however, that she was going to get away, an Indian shot an arrow into her breast. Other children were also playing out of doors at the time, and their screams soon frightened Mrs. White and Mrs. Kemp, whose husbands were away. Fortunately the Indians retreated back in the timber.

Poor little Elonzo, however, was carried away, and remained an Indian captive, far from home on the headwaters of the Canadian and Arkansas Rivers for many months. He was finally recovered by his father, and Negro Britt Johnson. Sarah Kemp recovered from her wound, and after the capture of Mr. White's son, Uncle Davy White, moved back to Palo Pinto County, and settled on Palo Pinto Creek, about two miles north of the present town of Santo.

Note: Author personally interviewed: Mrs. W. J. Langley, an aunt of Elonzo White; L. V. Arnold, Elonzo White's brother-in-law, Mrs. H. G. Taylor, Mrs. Huse Bevers, Mrs. Jerry Hart, A. M. Lasater, James Wood, B. L. Ham, Joe Fowler, and others who lived in Palo Pinto and Jack Counties at the time.

The above story is from the book, The West Texas Frontier, by Joseph Carroll McConnell.