Raid Through Montague,
Cooke and Denton Counties
During September of 1866
During the next light moon after the killing of Mr. Box
and capture of his family, the savages again appeared. Indians were first
discovered about two miles from Red River Station. About two days later
a band of savages stormed the citizens' fort near the Head of Elm, in
the eastern part of Montague. Three strangers had stopped at the fort,
and others were near home for the savages were expected. A few shots were
exchanged, and the Indians went about four miles east of the present town
of St. Jo., where they came upon and killed James Harris, who was alone,
and hunting horses about two miles south of his home. Mr. Harris was killed
in the morning.
The Indians next appeared near the mouth of Brush Elm, where
they charged Newt Gilbert and his family, and James Courfey, who were
moving to Gainesville, and who retreated for protection in the old Shannon
home. When the Indians realized they had a fight on hand, they withdrew
and turned south until they struck the Forestburg and Gainesville road.
In a short time they came upon Andrew Powers and Winfield Williams, about
seven miles north of Forestburg, and had started to Gainesville. Andrew
Powers, who was riding a mule, was overtaken and killed, but Williams
successfully escaped. Shortly afterwards, no doubt, the Indians threw
in with another band that was returning from Denton County with a stolen
herd of approximately eight hundred head of horses. There were now as
many as perhaps sixty-five savage warriors. In a short time, Charlie Grant,
Joseph Field, C. Loran, Alex Frazier, and several others struck the Indians'
The Indians then started on their return toward the northwest
and passed about one-half mile east of the town of Montague. Here, a second
posse of men including Joe Bryant, Jno. McFarland, L. B. White, Jno. Hall,
J. M. Grayson and about 20 others, took the Indian trail, and came upon
them near the mouth of the Big Wichita. The citizens hid in the tall grass,
and a bitter fight followed. Both Indians and whites would rise up out
of the tall grass, shoot and then duck down again. Several Indians were
supposed to have been killed. The fight lasted until nearly dark, when
the whites fell back across the Wichita. A group of citizens from the
Forestburg Community, under the command of Capt. Brines, came along on
the trail and discovered where the first posse had stuck up the following
note, "Come on, Boys, they have passed this way." Near the mouth
of the Big Wichita, they found a second note tacked to a tree. "Turn
back boys, they have given us a warm reception."
Note: Author personally interviewed: Joe Bryant, mentioned
above, who was in the fight at the mouth of the Big Wichita; Charlie Grant,
who trailed the Indians, and others who lived in Montague County at the
Further Ref: History of Montague County, by Mrs.
W. R. Potter
The above story is from the book, The West Texas Frontier, by
Joseph Carroll McConnell.