William Hencelwood

Stephens County, Texas

    About 1869, Wm. Hencelwood, Jack Hittson, Frank McLara, a Mexican boy, and one or two others, were driving about 200 head of cattle to old Picketville (Stealeasy). When within a few miles of their destination, and perhaps somewhere on the tributaries of Gonzales, they came upon six Indians killing a beef. The Indians ran west, and were pursued by the citizens. After running them four or five miles, one Indian's horse seemed to have given out, and this forced him to stop and fight. So he secluded himself in a little ravine. During the fighting, the Indian's arm was broken, but he fortified himself with rocks and logs, and was able to keep his assailants away for a great portion of the day. Wm. Hencelwood was wounded in one of his lower limbs, and it seems Frank McLara and the Mexican boy were also slightly wounded. A messenger was sent to Picketville for ammunition and reinforcements. Wm. Hittson, father of Jack, and Roy Hittson, responded to the call. The reinforcements brought a high-powered Spencer rifle. Somebody then slipped up and shot the Indian. When he did, Severe McDaniels rushed up and said he was going to cut one Indian's throat. But when he reached the savage, the Indian rose up and knocked McDaniels unconscious with his bow. The savage, however, was finally killed. Wm. Hencelwood died about five or six weeks later at Fort Griffin, from the effects of his wounds.

    Note: Author interviewed Jack Hittson himself, J.B. Matthews, Joe S. Schoolcraft, and others who were living in Stephens and adjoining counties at the time.

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


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