Fort Fisher
Texas Rangers

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The Hall of Fame and Museum complex is located in Fort Fisher Park adjacent to Interstate Highway 35 in Waco, Texas (midway between Dallas/Fort Worth and Austin).
In 1963, visionaries led by Waco residents Jimmy LeBlonde and Roger Conger, met to discuss founding a monument to a Texas and American legend. They formed an organization to raise funds and build a center to preserve and memorialize the history of the best known lawmen in the world-the Texas Rangers.

Funds were raised through donations and what the small central Texas town of Waco could find in its budget. In 1968, founders gathered by the banks of the Brazos River in Waco and dedicated the modest 1,600 square foot Col. Homer Garrison Texas Ranger Museum and the Headquarters Office for Texas Ranger Company F. Today, 30 years later, more than 2 million persons have visited. In 1976 a Hall of Fame was added to the complex and a small library, the beginning of a Texas Ranger Research Center, was made possible by the Moody Foundation of Galveston.

Picture at Fort Fisher
Photo from the Book, Texas Forts, by Wayne Lease.

Waco is the most appropriate home for a complex honoring the Texas Rangers. It was founded on the site of an 1839 Ranger encampment and the townsite was later surveyed by Texas Ranger George B. Erath. To this day the Waco symbol (the Flying W) includes a Texas Ranger star.

Rangers

The early Republic of Texas Rangers Organization was based on the English tradition of the rural sheriff riding or ranging across his jurisdiction to administer justice and keep the peace. They were further influenced by Roger's rangers, formed during the French/Indian war and Clark's rangers during the Revolutionary wars. Made up of volunteers (usually Scots/Irish frontiersmen), they elected their captains and specialized in quickly covering long distances and delivering hard-hitting surprise attacks. The modern U.S. Army still maintains an elite Ranger Corp whose training includes Roger's ranger manual.

The Texas Rangers

    From the time that Texas became a republic, up until the present day, the rangers have played a prominent part in the history of our state, and invariably waged an effective war against the wild Indian tribes. While the Federal government was making preparations to wage an aggressive campaign against the hostile Indians, the state government, which had for many years furnished Texas troops to protect the frontier citizens, took active steps to, also, wage a more aggressive campaign. As a consequence, on the 10th of April, 1874, the Legislature passed an act, among other things, providing that the governor be required to organize, or cause the same to be done, one company of not less than twenty-five, nor more than seventy-five men for each county that may be subjected to invasions of Indians, outlaws, and others. This act further provided that the governor also cause to be mobilized a battalion of mounted men to consist of six companies of seventy-five men each; that the battalions be under the command of a major, and that each company should have one captain, two lieutenants, and one quartermaster, and other inferior officers. The salary of the major was placed at $125.00; captain's, $100.00; lieutenant's, $75.00; sergeant's, $50.00; and non-commissioned officers and privates, $40.00. This act was an amendment of other acts previously passed. The battalion was placed under the comand of Major John B. Jones. One of his companies, which headquartered in Jack County, was headed by Capt. Stephens. Another, located in Palo Pinto County, and for a time camped near the Flat Rock Crossing in Dark Valley was commanded by Capt. W.C. McAdams, an old experienced Indian fighter. Still another company saw action in Menard County, and elsewhere, and was commanded by Rufe Perry. Capt. W.G. Maltby had charge of another, stationed in Brown County, and Capt. Ikard and Capt. Caldwell were in command of companies further down the line. This battalion waged an aggressive campaign and rendered very effective service towards suppressing Indian depredations along the frontier. Ref: Author dug into old reports and documents on file in the Adjutant Generals office in Austin; referred to early Statutes, etc.

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

Picture of Major Robert Rogers
Major Robert Rogers. From the John Carter Brown Library

Rangers suffered early defeats against well-mounted Plains tribes, such as the tragedy at Stone Houses fought just north of Cottonwood Springs. That same year, 1837, and a little further south in the Palo Pinto Mountains, Texas Ranger Big Foot Wallace was captured and adopted by Comanches. He eventually escaped, rejoining his Ranger Company just about the time its captain, Jack Hays, developed a winning combination of thoroughbreds and repeating Colt pistols.

Picture of Samuel Walker
Sam Walker
Capt. Hays sent this Ranger to see the gun maker, Colt, in New York about making a heavier forty-five caliber six shooter for the Rangers. (Photo from the book, The Texas Rangers, by Walter Prescott Webb)

Aided by Apache scouts, these Rangers could finally take the fight to the Comanches. They found they not only had the ability but the advantage in the high speed and knee to stirrup brand of combat perfected by the Comanches. East Texas Ranger companies depended more on axes and rifles as they fought their way through thick forest.

Indian Actions

The following is from the book, Savage Frontier II, by Stephen L. Moore:

Excerpt from Savage Frontier II/Indian Actions

Excerpt from Savage Frontier II/Indian Actions

Excerpt from Savage Frontier II/Indian Actions

Excerpt from Savage Frontier II/Indian Actions

Rangers in colonial Texas raised posses to punish or drive out renegade Indian tribes. The Republic organized Ranger Companies to perform this duty but there were several bitter defeats when they first tried to pursue the tribes upon the plains, such as the Battle of Stone Houses. Ranger victories allowed the Republic to expand west as Captain Jack Hays successfully led his men, including Big Foot Wallace, far beyond the Colorado River, deep into Comancheria. East Texas Ranger Companies fought their way up the Trinity and the Brazos, expanding the Republic to the site of modern-day Fort Worth under the treaty of Bird's Fort.

Following statehood, Ranger companies were called into service of the United States in its war with Mexico, and much of the credit for the victory belongs to the Rangers.

When the United States built a western line of forts to protect the migrating gold seekers, the soldiers and the action moved one hundred miles west to Fort Belknap, the frontier's new hot spot. Reservations were established for the Indians, and the cream of America's military talent rode onto the North Texas frontier with the Second Cavalry. Rip Ford was authorized to form a Ranger battalion to protect the frontier and the Texas Indian Reservations when the Second Cavalry was relocated to Utah. Important Ranger battles were fought at Antelope Hills and the Pease River before Texas joined the Confederates. Captain Barry and Captain Cureton's Rangers were stretched thin, and the frontier suffered devastating Indian attacks particularly the Elm Creek Raid. Capt. Ira Graves led a bunch of cowboys in the bloody Salt Creek Fight. Ranger Companies continued to operate out of Decatur headquarters long after the U.S. Army returned to the frontier. The Indians remained a very dangerous threat as proven by A.J. Sowell's account of his company's 1871 fight at the Keep Ranch. A few years later, Major Jones formed the Rangers' frontier regiment. His company's 1874 defeat at Lost Valley during Lone Wolf's Revenge Raid proved the frontier would remain a deadly place until the raiding Indians were completely defeated, however, a year or so later when all the Indians had surrendered, Jones found out his men would stay busy just the same.

Jones reports frontier conditions, 1874:

Besides…scouting for Indians, the battalion has rendered much service to the frontier people by breaking up bands of outlaws and desperadoes who had established themselves in these thirty settled Counties [patrolled by the Rangers], where they could depredate upon the property of good citizens, secure from arrest by the ordinary process of law, and by arresting and turning over to the proper civil authorities many cattle and horse thieves, and other fugitives from justice…

Although the force is too small and the appropriation insufficient to give anything like adequate protection to so large a territory, the people seem to think we have rendered valuable service to them, and there is a degree of security felt in the frontier counties, that has not been exhibited [or] experienced for years before. CMR

The Rangers had a reputation for their brave service, but also for their wild, reckless spirit when they were off duty. The following description of the town of Jacksboro, from the book History of Jack County by Thomas F. Horton, portrays the part the Rangers played in the disorderly nightlife:

On the south side of town was a huge military post, Fort Richardson, which had a horde of heavy drinkers and hell-raisers; on the north side of town was a camp of Texas Rangers who got pretty wild when they came to town; all of the cowboys let off steam when they got to town; stir in a bunch of buffalo hunters, government freighters, and saloon girls; and mister, we had a "Red Hot Town."

There were frequent shoot-outs on the streets of Jacksboro. Some of the saloons had fiddle and accordian players that played and sang all night long. When the soldiers got paid at Fort Richardson, it wasn't safe on the streets for 2 or 3 days. Jacksboro was in dire need of law and order.

Texas Rangers Comic Book
The Texas Rangers were and continue to be an
inspiration for comic book, movie and television dramas.
(Photo from the book, The Men Who Wear The Star, by Charles M. Robinson, III)

Ranger stories from the book, Texas Ranger Tales, Stories That Need Telling, by Mike Cox:

    Back in Texas on September 9, 1843, after escaping from Mexican custody along with two other Texans-including the man who would one day deliver his eulogy-Walker soon signed up to ride with the legendary Ranger Captain John Coffee Hays. In the words of a contemporary writer, Texas was "then embroiled with the abrasions of the great Camanche [Comanche] race and the minor tribes strewn along her northern frontier." Mindful of these "abrasions," in January 1844 the Congress of the Republic of Texas authorized Hays to organize "a Company of Mounted Gun-men, to act as Rangers."

    Hays recruited his men in February and March and went to work on the frontier. All the Rangers were armed with a new weapon, originally purchased by the Republic for its navy: a five-shot revolver manufactured by a Connecticut gunsmith named Samuel Colt. Walker and the other Rangers soon got a chance to use the new pistols.

    On June 8, 1844, near a creek in the Pedernales River watershed, at a point Hays later described as about fifty miles north of Seguin (no other communities existed in the area at the time), the Rangers-including Walker-tangled with seventy to eighty Comanche and Waco Indians. Hays reported some Mexicans also were in the party.

    This is how Hays described the fight in his official report:

    After ascertaining that they could not decoy or lead me astray, they came out boldly, formed themselves, and dared us to fight. I then ordered a charge; and, after discharging our rifles, closed in with them, hand to hand, with my five-shooting pistols, which did good execution. Had it not been for them, I doubt what the consequences would have been. I cannot recommend these arms too highly.

    The Rangers killed twenty-three of the hostiles, badly wounding another thirty. Hays lost one Ranger to Indian arrows with Walker, Robert Addison Gillespie, and another Ranger suffering wounds.

    Walker later assessed the fight in this light:

    Col. J.C. Hays with 15 men fought about 80 Comanche Indians, boldly attacking them upon their own ground, killing and wounding about half their number. Up to this time these daring Indians had always supposed themselves superior to us, man to man, on horse…the result of this engagement was such as to intimidate them and enable us to treat with them.

    This battle changed the history of the West. It marked the first time Rangers had been able to fight the Comanches with an effective close range weapon that did not have to be reloaded after each shot. In firing an estimated 150 rounds, Hays and his men shot 53 Comanches in a running battle. The Rangers had the frontier equivalent of the atomic bomb on their side.

    The Comanches, though clearly at a disadvantage in weaponry, still were extremely competent in using their bows and arrows and lances.

    "In this encounter," Graham's Magazine reported only a few years later, "Walker was wounded by a lance, and left by his adversary pinned to the ground. After remaining in this position for a long time, he was rescued by his companions when the fight was over."

    Walker was taken to San Antonio, where he recovered from his wounds. Despite his close call, Walker stayed with Hays until the Ranger company ran out of funding. In 1845 he served in another Ranger company, this one led by Gillespie. On March 28, 1846, Walker was honorably discharged from the "Texas Mounted Rangers." But more rangering lay ahead.

Another story from the book, Texas Ranger Tales, Stories That Need Telling, by Mike Cox:

    Former Ranger A.J. Sowell remembered years after his Indian-chasing days an occasion when his company, sixty miles into the frontier beyond Fort Griffin, was running low of the essentials-flour, bacon, coffee, and tobacco. Not only that, an icy norther was blowing and the Rangers only had two tents. On top of all that, it was Sowell's turn to stand guard, hungry and cold, while the other men tried to sleep.

    As Sowell sat alone in the cold, his rifle about to freeze to his hands, "It seemed as if all the coyotes and wolves that roamed these vast solitudes had collected, and taken their position on the hills around our camp, to serenade us with dismal howls and yelps."

    Sowell did not write whether he thought about shooting some of the coyotes for breakfast, but it would be a violation of orders to shoot at one at night. The other Rangers might think Indians were attacking and that could be more dangerous than an empty stomach.

    Having some fresh coyote meat would not have done much good in this case. The Ranger did not have any firewood, either.

    "Without wood; our provisions nearly exhausted; with no chance of getting any, unless we could eat coyotes, we were in a sad fix. Coyotes by the million," Sowell wrote.

    The Rangers turned to head back to Fort Griffin, but it took another couple of cold, hungry days to reach the fort. At their next camping spot they did find wood for a fire and grass for their horses, but no game. They were living on coffee and half-rations of bacon. By the time they set up camp near Fort Griffin, they were not far from the point of cooking some coyote when a detail of Rangers rode in to the fort to get some fresh supplies.

Ranger Descriptions

Among the Texas Rangers, there was much diversity in their ranks, from doctors and lawyers to teenage sharpshooters. The following descriptions illustrate this diversity as well as the severity of the conditions they faced in the name of duty.

Noah Smithwick quote:

"So, the government provided for their protection as best it could with the means at its disposal, graciously permitting the citizens to protect themselves by organizing…ranging companies. WPW

Smithwick's description of Tomlinson's Rangers 1823:

"as we are altogether Depending upon hunting for our Subsistence at present it will be but a short time in all probability that what we have will be Expended. I therefore Dispatch two men to St. Antonio to endeavor to procure a supply from the Government Charging the Company with the amount to be deducted from their pay as there is ma[n]y of my men who is destitute of money at present [and] therefore would be unable to procure any [ammunition] from an individual at St. Antonio." CMR

John C. Caperton describes the equipment of early day:

"Each man was armed with a rifle, a pistol, and a knife, and with a Mexican blanket tied behind his saddle, and a small wallet in which he carried his salt and his ammunition, and perhaps a little panoln [sic], or parched corn, spiced and sweetened, a great allayer of thirst, and tobacco, [with these] he was equipped for months; and the little body of men, unencumbered by baggage wagons or pack trains, moved as lightly over the prairie as the Indians did, and lived as they did, without tents, with a saddle for a pillow at night, blankets over them, and their feet to the fire. Depending wholly upon wild game for food, they of course sometimes found a scarcity of it, and suffered the privations which are known to all hunters. Sometimes there was a necessity of killing a horse for food, when all else failed. The men were splendid riders, and used the Mexican saddle, improved somewhat by the Americans, and carried the Mexican riata, made of rawhide, and the lariat, used to rope horses with." WPW

John S. Ford quote:

"Rangers swam by the side of their horses, and guided them. No kind of weather precluded them from crossing rivers. They did so during "northers," and while snow and sleet were falling. The one idea ruled-make a rapid, noiseless march-strike the foe while he was not on the alert-punish him-crush him! With many there was a vengeful spirit to urge them on. Mothers, sisters, fathers, brothers, had been inhumanly butchered and scalped. Loved relatives had been captured, enslaved and outraged, and the memory of the cruel past rose up before the mind's eye, and goaded them into action. They fearlessly plunged into the thickest of the fight, and struck for vengeance. Braver men never pulled a trigger or wielded a blade." WPW

Ben McCullogh Picture
Ben McCullogh
(Photo from the book, The Texas Rangers, by Walter Prescott Webb)

Samuel Reid first impressions of McCullogh's Ranger Company 1846:

Here was a scene worthy of the pencil. Men in groups with long beards and moustaches, dressed in every variety of garment, with one exception, the slouched hat, the unmistakable uniform of a Texas Ranger, and a belt of pistols around their waists, were occupied drying their blankets, cleaning and fixing their guns, and some employed cooking at different fires, while others were grooming their horses. A rougher looking set we never saw. They were without tents, and a miserable shed afforded them the only shelter… Notwithstanding their ferocious and outlaw look, there were among them doctors and lawyers, and many a college graduate. CMR

U.S. Grant's observation of Texas Rangers:

Since we have been in Matamoras [sic] a great many murders have been committed, and what is strange there seems to be but very weak means made use of to prevent frequent repetitions. Some of the volunteers and about all the Texans seem to think it perfectly right to impose upon the people of a conquered City to any extent, and even to murder them where the act can be covered by the dark. And how much they seem to enjoy acts of violence too! CMR

Samuel Reid's noted wryly:

Our orders were most strict not to molest any unarmed Mexican, and if some of the most notorious of these villains were found shot, or hung up in the chaparral, during our visit to Reynoso [sic], the government was charitably found to suppose, that during some fit of remorse and desperation, tortured by conscience for the many evil deed they had committed, they had recklessly laid violent hands upon their own lives! "Quien sabe?" [Who knows?] CMR

Frederick Law Olmsted architect of Central Park in NY Observation of San Antonio Rangers, 1854:

Men and officers were on terms of perfect equality, calling each other by their Christian or nick-names. Their time, when not in actual service, was spent in hunting, riding, and playing cards. The only duty was for four (out of seventy) to stand guard. Men were often absent, without leave, three or four days, without being reprimanded. They fought, when engaged, quite independently, the only order from the commander usually being-"All ready, boys? Go ahead." Their principal occupation has always been Indian fighting, but two or three regiments of them were employed, during the Mexican war, with great advantage, mainly as scouts, pioneers, and foragers. CMR More

Wife of Captain Dan Roberts recalls Ranger camp near Menard:

The Rangers required only a few days to prepare quarters for us. About fifty yards from their camp stood a portion of a camp house. It had a shingle roof and a rock floor. It was converted into a kitchen, size twenty feet by twenty feet. Gunny sacks were tacked upon the walls. For our bedroom the Rangers built a room of logs with walls three feet high, on top of which they put a tent. It was provided with a fireplace built of stone. The floor was carpeted with gunny sacks. The kitchen also served as a storeroom. It was all so cozy. CMR

CMR=The Men Who Wear the Star by Charles M. Robinson, III
WPW=The Texas Rangers by Walter Prescott Webb

The following observations of the 1874 Rangers from Robinson's, The Men Who Wear the Star, demonstrate his typically illuminating research.

Piture of Armed Rangers of Capt. Dan Roberts's Company
Heavily armed Rangers of Capt. Dan Roberts's Company
(Photo from the book, The Men Who Wear The Star, by Charles M. Robinson, III)

H.H. McConnell Fort Richardson Cavalryman observes Rangers from Jacksboro:

    These Rangers were tolerable Indian fighters, but most of their time was occupied in terrorizing the citizens and "taking in the town." Shooting scrapes and rows between citizens, soldiers and Rangers in this year (1874) were so frequent that the long suffering citizens by their votes "incorporated."…

Jones reports frontier conditions, 1874:

    Besides…scouting for Indians, the battalion has rendered much service to the frontier people by breaking up bands of outlaws and desperadoes who had established themselves in these thirty settled Counties [patrolled by the Rangers], where they could depredate upon the property of good citizens, secure from arrest by the ordinary process of law, and by arresting and turning over to the proper civil authorities many cattle and horse thieves, and other fugitives from justice…

    Although the force is too small and the appropriation insufficient to give anything like adequate protection to so large a territory, the people seem to think we have rendered valuable service to them, and there is a degree of security felt in the frontier counties, that has not been exhibited [or] experienced for years before.

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

    After the preceding engagement at the Adobe Walls, the bloodthirsty warriors broke into several bands. One group went into New Mexico and raided in that section. Another went north. Still another group took a southern course. And Lone Wolf with approximately one hundred and fifty favorite warriors came to Jack County to pilfer, plunder and prey upon the people. The results of his extended foray, no doubt, would have been most disastrous and resulted in the death of many frontiersmen had he not accidentally encountered Major John B. Johnes and his rangers, who more than satisfied the Indian's thirst for war.

    Lone Wolf and his warriors made their first appearance when they charged James C. Loving, W.C. Hunt, I.G. Newcomb, and Shad Damron, then riding the range on Salt Creek Prairie, about three miles southwest of the present town of Jermyn, and not a great distance from the line of Jack and Young County. Loving and his men, instead of running toward the ranch, as the Indians, no doubt, expected, dashed to the west, and succeeded in reaching the roughs. In a short time, the savages were circling for the citizens trail, no unlike, and as industriously as trained dogs, trying to locate the tracks of a lost deer. No doubt, the Indians would have found them, but about this time they had other problems to solve.

    Major John B. Jones, of the Frontier Battalion, just happened to be in the vicinity, for he was making a tour of inspection of his frontier troops, stationed from the Rio Grande to Red River. The Major was visiting the camp of Capt. Geo. Stephens. Lt. Tom Wilson, of Palo Pinto County, W.W. Lewis, who now lives in Menard, Walter Robinson, of Uvalde County, and others, were apart of Major Jno. B. Jones' escort. When these rangers, about thirty-five in number, received word the savages were on a raid, Maj. Jones ordered a detachment of about six scouts to ascertain, if possible, the movements and whereabouts of the Indians, thought to number about twelve. W.W. Lewis and Walter Robinson were among these scouts. When they reported in a short time, the rangers were on the warrior's trail, and finally overtook them just before noon, in the Lost Valley country, not a great distance from the present town of Jermyn.

    Only a small detachment of the Indians were encountered at first. These Indians, no doubt, were attempting to decoy the Texans into a trap. At first a running fight followed, but in a short time, when the Indians were reinforced by Lone Wolf and his main band of warriors, Major John B. Jones ordered his men to retreat into a ravine, and to protect their horses as much as possible. About this time, the major also told his men they had come to fight Indians, and not run horses. Some of the ponies were sheltered in a ravine, and others tied in a cluster of pecan timber. Major Jones divided his men into two divisions so they could strike the Indians from different angles. In a short time, the rangers were completely surrounded, and as usual, Lone Wolf and his 150 warriors fought mostly from their steeds. For about four or five hours, the fight was stubbornly fought. During the most intense fighting an Indian's gun hit a tree above Lt. Tom Wilson, and when limbs and bark fell, Mr. Wilson, father of U.S. District Judge, James C. Wilson, Horace Wilson, and Mrs. Dr. J.H. McCracken, replied, "Now, by golly! I'm shot!" But he soon discovered his mistake and enjoyed the joke with others.

    During the fighting, Billy Glass was mortally wounded, and lay on the ground, a short distance from the ravine where his companions were entrenched. At first, the rangers thought he was dead, but when Billy moved, Zack Waddel ran through the shower of bullets and carried Billy Glass, his wounded companion, into the entrenchment. Later on in the evening, when Billy Glass was calling for water, Dan Bailey and Porter, mounted some fast steeds, and dashed to a nearby creek. But since Porter was narrow-sighted, several Indians were upon them before their presence was known. Porter successfully reached the main command, but Dan Bailey was killed.

    During the day, Lee Corn was also wounded by an Indian spy. The Indians succeeded in killing about eighteen horses, but several of their own steeds were shot down. It is not known just what were the Indians' casualties, but a large number were wounded.

    A runner was sent to Jacksboro for relief, but when the soldiers arrived the next day, the Indians had been gone for several hours. For as usual, they withdrew late in the evening. After the Indians were gone, the rangers carried their dead and wounded to J.C. Loving's Ranch.

Note: Author personally interviewed: W.W. Lewis, mentioned above; Oliver Loving, a son of James C. Loving; E.W. McCracken; and several others, who lived in Jack County and elsewhere at the time.

Further Ref.: Tex. Ind. Fighters, A.J. Sowell.

Walter M. Robinson, a surviving participant of the fight, provided details of the action from the Ranger’s point of view.

    The “Lost Valley” in Jack County provided the scene for the battle on July 12, 1874, between the Texas Rangers, thirty-five in number, commanded by Major John B. Jones and Captain Stephens, and 200 Comanche and Kiowa Indians, led by Chief “Lone Wolf.” The battle waged on for five hours. On the day before the battle Major Jones, who commanded all of the rangers on the frontier, and who traveled from post to post arrived at the camp of Captain Stephens, in command of a ranger force stationed in Jack County, located northwest from Jacksboro about fifty or sixty miles. On July the 12th a report came to Captain Stephens that Indians inhabited the country, and the captain deployed Lieutenant Wilson along with six men to take a scout into the vicinity which Indians reportedly occupied and complete an investigation. Walter Robinson, a member of Capt. Rufe Perry’s company, was one of the members of this scouting party. The detail proceeded about six miles and came upon a large Indian trail which denoted a raiding band of Indians of unusually large force, and a runner was sent back to camp by the lieutenant to inform Major Jones and Captain Stephens of these facts, and advising a force to be sent out of all the men that could be spared from camp to take up the trail of the Indians and give them battle in case they could be overtaken. In the meantime, while the messenger was speeding on his mission, Lieutenant Wilson and the other five men followed slowly on the trail, and in about twelve miles Major Jones and Captain Stephens along with thirty men, overtook them, making the ranger force now about thirty-five in sum.

    The combined force now kept on the trail rapidly until twenty minutes before 12 o’clock a.m., whence they came upon the Indians in a timbered but rough and rocky country of the Lost Creek Valley. The Comanches and Kiowas placed their force in ambush to evade the rangers whom they discovered on their trail. Before doing this, however, the wily chief divided his force into three bands and crossed and recrossed Lost Creek several times on purpose to disconcert and bother the rangers and cause them to scatter their force in pursuit. Finally he consolidated his whole force in a mott of timber on the west side of the creek. Before locating the Indians Major Jones divided his force into three squads to follow as many different trails, but cautioned each party to remain in touch with each other and be ready at any moment to reunite in case of an emergency. The major with thirteen men went to the right and skirted around the foot of some hills and came in close range of the timber which concealed the whole Indian force. The natives fired on them, which was the first intimation he had of their presence. This volley wounded some horses, and on its heels came the charge. The Indians left cover and attacked Major Jones with great fury in the open prairie, but he stood his ground and the gallant squad around him opened up a hot fire from the their Winchesters into the very faces of the yelling and advancing natives. The other two parties of the ranger force rushed to the scene of the fierce fight, and the main battle opened with terrific fury on both sides. The yelling of the Indians almost drowned the noise of the carbines, which popped and cracked like a canebrake afire. A few moments later, a bullet wounded Lee Corn and killed his horse. The rangers made a sweeping charge through the Indians, who were thickly massed. Their rapid and fatal fire both with revolvers and Winchesters forced the Comanches and Kiowas to give way. The Indians started to rapidly flee through the open ground towards the hills, followed by the now yelling rangers. The warriors passed about a mile of skirted timber, in which a ravine made by washings from the hills, made travel difficult. However the Indians crossed this and kept traveling through an open glade for a hundred yards or more, and then made a stand on the side of the hill amid rocks and bushes. They opened fire on the rangers from cover, which checked them, and they wheeled back to the ravine and there dismounted. During this fire from the Indians the horse ridden by Walter Robinson was killed, being hit by five bullets, and he went back to the ditch on foot. A gallant young ranger of Stephens’ company named Glass was killed, falling in front before the turn back was made. The natives also injured a ranger named Moore. The ravine or ditch was shallow, and while the rangers to some extent could protect themselves by lying down, it was not sufficient to cover the horses, and they were hit repeatedly. The Indians swarmed the sides of the hills yelling and shooting, and some of them gradually worked around the rangers and shot at them from various other points. This gallant little band, however, worthy of the name of Texas Rangers, were not dismayed, but would raise their heads above the ravine, take aim at some particular target, fire, and down again to adjust another charge, at the same time shouting defiance to their dusky foes. In about twenty minutes after the ravine was reached Zack Waddell noticed that ranger Glass, whom they thought dead, was kicking about on the ground, and expressed his intention of making a run and bringing him into the ravine. Even the officers tried to dissuade the man because the act seemed tantamount to suicide. But Waddell had his eye on his friend, and all at once leaped out of the ditch and ran rapidly to him, gathered him up in his arms, and started back amid a perfect shower of bullets and demoniac yells of the Indians, and the rangers in the ditch sprang to their feet, regardless of exposure, returned yell for yell and shot for shot with the Indians, and loudly cheered their gallant comrade, who came staggering in with wounds and his burden. He was hit with five bullets, but none inflicted serious wounds, and one of his boots was nearly shot off of his foot, so much so that he could hardly keep it on. Poor Glass never spoke, but lay there and breathed awhile, and then died there in the ravine with his comrades around him, with the noise of cracking carbines, whistling bullets, and savage yells in his dying ears.

The following story is from the book, Carbine & Lance, The Story of Old Fort Sill, by Colonel W. S. Nye; Copyright © 1937 by the University of Oklahoma Press. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

    …Hunting Horse describes the fight from the point of view of the Kiowas: “When we made our first charge the white men stopped and began firing at us. The bullets went Chu! Chu! Soon the enemy charged at us. We rode south in great haste. Red Otter’s horse was hit, and sat down suddenly and began to scream in pain. Red Otter slid off neatly, and with his red cape streaming from his hand commenced dodging around to escape the bullets. I thought the whites had him, but Set-kop-te (Paual Saitkopte) galloped up to him, reached down a hand, and pulled him up behind. They got away safely.

    “We all rode south through the valley. I was on an old grey plug, which lagged far behind. I thought they would catch me sure. One white man, riding a fine big black horse, was following us close, making it hot for us. He was way out by himself. Maybe he didn't know his friends were so far behind. Or maybe his horse was running away. Presently we reached the shelter of the wooded ridge, where we stopped and commenced firing back at the enemy. Tsen-au-sain dismounted, took a careful aim at the man on the black horse, and shot him off. The man went limping into the brush to the east.

    “We could see the leader of the whites motioning his men to fall back. One of them was slow. Tsen-au-sain shot him down. ‘I got one,’ shouted Tsen-au-sain, ‘Everybody back now!’

    “But nobody was able to touch the fallen enemy to make coup. We had to make coup or the revenge would not be complete. We could see the man lying there in plain sight. The heads of the other rangers could be seen sticking up from a dry stream bed. Nobody dared go close enough to make coup.

    “Red Otter got desperate. He called for volunteers. Not a warrior spoke up. I remembered the prophecy of the medicine man. It was my chance. I said I would go with Red Otter. Red Otter ran forward and took position behind a large tree. He signaled for me to join him. I ran forward and crouched behind the tree. The bullets were throwing the bark in our faces. Then we ran to another tree. But the bullets came thicker. Red Otter said it was too dangerous. We ran back behind the hill.

    “The trench where the rangers were hidden was so far away that I couldn’t reach it with arrows. Only the men who had guns stayed out in front and kept firing at the enemy. They could see the rangers’ horses tied in the mesquite. They killed most of these.

Robinson continues:

    Only short intermissions interrupted the battle for nearly five hours. The Indians were well armed, and the balls were almost constantly kicking up the dust around the margin of the ravine or hitting rocks and sending showers of scattered lead among the rangers. Some of the Indians went around the head of the ravine, surrounding the rangers and cutting off Lee Corn and Wheeler along with two others who stayed with Corn when natives wounded him and killed his horse. Retreat into the rank grass, bushes, mud and water of the creekbed became inevitable. The rangers fighting the battle in the dry ravine suffered greatly for water, remaining five hours with the hot July sun beaming down on them. Their tongues swelled, and their thirst drove them to dig beds in the ravine their Bowie knives to gather moist dirt which they sucked between their parched lips. During all of this time Major Jones exposed himself greatly and made several narrow escapes. Once he left the ravine and went to a tree and was watching the chief Lone Wolf to see if he could tell from his actions what his intentions were or what his next move would be. Captain Stephens also encouraged the boys by word and example to spare their arms. While Major Jones was watching Lone Wolf he sat down and leaned against the tree, with the balls occasionally skipping around him, and Walter Robinson and Flint Damon said, “Look out, major, they will hit you directly,” and about this time a hissing ball came and struck the tree near the major’s head, filling his eyes and face full of bark and splinters, and with such force that he fell backwards on the ground as if killed, but quickly recovered himself.

Hunting Horse continues:

    “As the day grew shorter it looked as though we were not going to be able to get any of the whites. Finally Maman-ti made a new plan. ‘We’ve got to cheat those fellows,’ he said. ‘We know they will have to go for water soon. So we will pretend to go away, but will leave some men, with the fastest horses, near the water hole. They can charge the whites when they come for water.’

    “So we rode slowly north, keeping out of sight behind the ridge, until we crossed the dry creek bed above the water hole. A big bunch remained here, hidden in the timber to watch for the enemy. The rest rode toward the hills which lie north of the creek. Some of us felt thirsty. Tahbone-mah and Quo-to-tai started back to get a drink. I was just going to join them, when somebody called, ‘Come back quick! Two of them are going for water now! Tahbone-mah and Quo-to-tai hid in the trees along the stream.’

Robinson continues:

    About one hour by sun some of the rangers expressed a determination to leave the ravine in spite of the Indians and go to Lost Creek after water, but all were persuaded out of this notion except two, Bailey and Porter, and they mounted their horses and rode off. Two hundred yards from the ravine the Indians ran upon them and killed Bailey in plain view of his companions. His mare, though fleet, failed to run when the Indians drew near and reared and plunged until they shot and lanced her unfortunate rider from her back. Porter had better luck, but narrowly escaped with his life. The Indians drove him into the creek, with the cry of one Indian behind him saying, “Me git you! Me git you!” in broken English as he went over the edge of the creekbed. The place Porter went over was close to the spot where Lee Corn was hiding; Porter, thinking an Indian was hunting him, shot at him as he hit the mud and water a few yards away, but fortunately missed due to an arm injury. In throwing the cartridge from the magazine into the barrel held the gun between his knees. When night came the rangers back at the ravine were in a terrible strait, and a council was held to determine what was best to do. They were nearly exhausted with thirst and strain and shock of the battle, ammunition nearly all gone, dead and wounded comrades scattered here, and fourteen dead horses besides the wounded lying around in the ditch. The Indians had drawn off and Major Jones asked the boys what they would rather do-remain there until daylight and renew the battle again if the Indians did not leave, or until soldiers could come from Jacksboro to their relief, for a ranger named John P. Holmes had ridden out of the ravine on a wounded horse in sight of the Indians before night, and gone to the fort where United States soldiers were quartered to ask for assistance. After canvassing the situation thoroughly, the rangers concluded to leave the ravine and make an attempt to get to Jacksboro or meet the soldiers. The dead ranger, Glass, was strapped to an Indian horse whose rider had been killed, and he dashed down among the rangers and stayed there. When all was ready they silently departed down the ravine, more than half of them on foot, and succeeded in quenching their thirst at a small spring and then kept on fifteen miles to a ranch, there remaining until the following morning at which time they buried their dead comrade. Walter Robinson performed this sad rite , and the others prepared to return to the battleground with a ranch wagon to bring in the wounded. They were accompanied by a band of rangers and a squad of soldiers who arrived at the ranch before daylight. Gallant Holmes informed them of the treacherous situation. Uneasiness was felt for the boys who had been left scattered in the Lost Creek bottoms, and a hurried return was made to the place by the rangers and soldiers, but on arriving there they found none of their comrades. The men discovered that their peers escaped to Loving’s ranch. Bailey’s body lie near where the fight commenced, badly mutilated, scalped, and full of arrows, besides numerous lance wounds. They buried him near the spot where he met his fate, and since the country has settled up in that locality, a schoolhouse and church stand near his grave, or near the spot where he was killed. It was afterwards learned that forty-two Indians were bullet-stricken during the battle, nineteen of them dying on the field.

Hunting Horse continues:

    "In a few moments two white men came riding swiftly to the water hole. One was about fifty yards ahead of the other. The first one, who was carrying several canteens, rode down into the creek, out of our sight. The other remained up on the bank to watch. Soon the Kiowas who had been ordered to charge them rushing in from the west. The Texan on the bank rode south. The man in the creek came out on the north side and started galloping in the opposite direction, with Tahbone-mah and Quo-to-tai after him.

    “At first Quo-to-tai was in the lead, but in a moment Tahbone-mah, who was riding a big grey-a famous racer-passed him. The white man turned in his saddle and kept shooting at the two Indians. He fired the last shot almost in Tahbone-mah’s face, then threw his empty pistol at Tahbone-mah. The Kiowa man dumped his enemy off with a lance, and herded the riderless horse off on a circle to the left. It was a fine bay, and he later gave it to me. Tahbone-mah couldn’t go back to make coup on the man he had knocked down, because there was heavy firing coming out of the woods along the stream.

    “When I got to the place where they had killed the other ranger, I learned that Dohauson had thrust him off his horse with a spear, but that Mamaday-te had made fist coup by touching him with his hand. Lone Wolf and Maman-ti and everybody was there. Lone Wolf got off his horse and chopped the man’s head to pieces with his brass hatchet-pipe. Then he took out his butcher knife and cut open the man's bowels. Everyone who wanted to shot arrows into it or poked at it with their lances.

    “Presently Lone Wolf stood back to make a speech. He said, ‘Thank you, Oh thank you, for what has been done today. My poor son has been paid back. His spirit is satisfied. Now listen! It was Mamaday-te who made the first coup. Because of this, and because he loved my son, I am going to honor him today. I am going to give him my name. Everybody listen! Let the name of Mamaday-te stay here on this battleground. Let the name of Mamaday-te be forgotten. From now on call him Lone Wolf!”

    "After Lone Wolf had finished his talk, we all sang a few verses of the Victory Song, then got on our horses and started home.”

Robinson continues:

    Mel Porter, after he had jumped or been thrown (by Tahbone-mah) from his horse near the water hole, dived into the creek and swam under water. When he came up he was nearly shot by Lee Corn and Wheeler, who thought he was an Indian. It was the fire of these two men which had caused Tahbone-mah and Quo-to-tai to sheer off at the last moment. The three rangers stayed in the brush until after dark, when they made their way to Loving’s Ranch. The next day Major Jones’s men came back to look for Bailey’s body. The young Texans caught their breath when they saw the condition it was in. They scooped out a shallow trench in the sand.

    William Glass was buried at Loving’s Ranch.

    The Tenth Cavalry Buffalo Soldiers, under Lieutenant Baldwin, rode out to join Jones and his Rangers in an unsuccessful pursuit of the raiders after word returned to Fort Richardson of the Lost Valley Fight.

Robinson continues:

    The rangers went back to Jacksboro, bought horses to replace those killed, and then went on into the Llano country.

    It is related of Lee Corn that when his horse was killed and himself down beside him with his left arm shattered, he still continued to work the lever of his gun, holding the barrel between his knees to load, and firing with one hand at the Indians who were swarming around them and yelling most fearfully, and during this time Major Jones passed him and the young ranger looked up and says, “We’re givin’ ‘em hell, major.” Mr. Walter Robinson, who was one of the escort of Major Jones, and who took a prominent part in this fearful battle, belonged to Capt. Rufe Perry’s company, and was in the Salt Creek fight in Menard County, and several others.

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