J.P. McMurray

Bandera County, Texas

    During 1861, J.P. McMurray who was serving his first term as tax assessor of Bandera County, was traveling alone while discharging his official duties. George Hay and perhaps others warned him of the danger of Indians. But Mr. McMurray said he was not afraid. The first night the tax assessor stayed at a ranch on the Seco. The next day, about three o'clock in the afternoon, he passed two men, who were on their way to Bandera, and who were eating their lunch. These men asked McMurray to dine with them, but he stated he was in a hurry and rode ahead. Before he had gone a mile, however, the Indians sprang up around him and began firing. Mr. McMurray hurriedly started back to the two campers, but was soon killed by the savages. When word reached Bandera that the tax assessor was missing, P.D. Saner, Robert Valentine, O.B. Miles, and Geo. Hay left their homes to find the officer. The first night they stayed at the ranch of H.P. McKay, and the next morning McMurray's body, with face downward, was founded near a draw leading to the Seco. This draw has since been known as Dead Man's Hollow. Mr. McMurray was not scalped, perhaps, because he had a crippled hand. The Indians seldom scalped a crippled person. But these warriors took his pistol and assessment book.

    Ref.: Pioneer History of Bandera County by J. Marvin Hunter.

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


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