False and Determined Ideas
Lead Goddleck Koozer to His Grave
About 1870, Goodleck Koozer, a quaker from Illinois, and
his family passed through Montague, on their way to establish a colony
in Clay County while the Indians were as hostile as they were. But Koozer
said that it was suicidal to move into Clay County while the Indians were
as hostile as they were. But Koozer said that he had never waged war against
the Indians, never carried arms, and that he was going to live on peaceful
terms with the savages, whom he felt sure would respond to kind treatment,
if they only had a chance. Unfortunately, Mr. Koozer was totally unaware
of the conditions as they existed on the frontier, for he, like many people
in the north and east, at that time, seemed to be of the opinion that
the people along the frontier were to blame for the prevailing difficulties;
and that the Indians would readily respond in a friendly way to kind treatment.
We can appreciate Mr. Koozer's efforts to introduce the
Word of God among the savages. But we cannot fully appreciate his mistaken
ideas that seemed to be in accord with certain citizens and historians
in remote sections of the United States, who seemed to attempt to saddle
the responsibility of the frontier affairs on the shoulders of the citizens,
and who entertained the idea that practically all the depredations were
being done by renegade ruffians of our own race. Such ideas were not supported
by the facts, and we sincerely feel that it is not only our liberty, but
duty as well, to make this brief explanation in behalf of those faithful
frontiersmen, and patriotic pioneers, who suffered inconceivable hardships
to blaze the pathway of our present civilization.
But regardless of the appeals of local citizens, Mr. Koozer
moved out into Clay County, and occupied the deserted buildings of Henrietta.
These buildings were abandoned at the outbreak of the Civil War. Indians
and others, from time to time, had passed and entered the deserted village.
But Mr. Koozer and his family occupied this place as a home, and determined
to make friendship with the Indians.
What was the result? After they had been there a short time,
chief Whitehorse, who was wearing a large head-garb, similar to those
worn today by certain bandmasters, and his warriors, came by Henrietta.
When the Indians arrived, Mr.. Koozer came out to meet them, and extended
his hand in token of peace and friendship, but Whitehorse held Mr. Koozer's
hand with his left, pulled his six-shooter, and killed Mr. Koozer with
the gun in his right hand. Mrs. Koozer and her two grown daughters were
made captives and carried away. Ed Koozer, about eleven years old, was
out after the calves at that time, and hid when he saw the Indians. After
being in the hands of the Indians for several months, the soldiers and
citizens at Fort Sill, secured their release, and escorted Mrs. Koozer
and her daughters back to Montague. When she told her story, Chief Whitehorse
was indicted. W. A. (Bud) Morris and District Clerk of Montague County
at the time. He issued a warrant and sent it to the government authorities
in Oklahoma, but they refused to surrender Chief Whitehorse. Joe Bryant
and several other citizens went from Montague over to Henrietta to bury
the body of Mr. Koozer, who was killed while attempting to make peace
with the Indians.
Note: Author personally interviewed: Joe Bryant, and W.
A. (Bud) Morris, mentioned above.
The above story is from the book, The West Texas Frontier, by
Joseph Carroll McConnell.