Captain Ira Long and Men Fight in Jack County

    After the Indians had stolen horses at the Loving Ranch, in Lost Valley, not a great distance from the present town of Jermyn, Capt. Ira Long, and his rangers, who were camped at Ranger Springs, about twelve miles west of Jacksboro, took the Indian trail, and in a short time discovered where they had killed a beef. From there, the Indians went south, toward the breaks, along Rock Creek. And when they were near the Baylor Springs, Capt. Long and his men ran on five Indians and a squaw. Before the Indians realized the rangers were around, one of their number had already been killed. A running fight followed and in a short time, another savage was shot down. They then shot the squaw and the Indian leader remained with her. Capt. Long attempted to get the chief to surrender. But when he refused, this Indian leader was killed. The fifth warrior escaped. Capt. Ira Long was wounded during the engagement, and no doubt, would have been killed had it not been for his belt.

    Note: Author interviewed: Oliver Loving, Jr., son of J. C. Loving; Oliver Loving Jr. saw the dead Indian; also interviewed others.

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

The following story is from the book, History of Jack County, by Thomas F. Horton.

The last Indian fight in Jack County was in Big Lost Valley in 1875. A small bunch of Indians-six in number-came a-foot, strictly on a stealing expedition. Just a few broncos and "rode-down" cow-horses were on the Loving ranch at the time, most of the boys with all the best cow-horses being out on the work. Two of the cowboys who had remained at home to take care of the work there went out in the pasture early in the morning and discovered the rail pasture fence down, knew Indians had torn it down from the peculiar manner in which Indians tore down rail fences. They looked around and soon ascertained that six head of horses had been stolen and carried away. These two men knowing that Captain Long, in command of a company of Wise County rangers, and camped at Ranger Springs a short distance away, went on down to his camp and gave him the information. It so happened that most of his men were sick (measles had broken out in his camp) but with a few men who were able for duty, came at once to the Loving ranch and soon found the trail of the Indians and gave pursuit. The Indians had gone south from the ranch, by Spy Knob, and up Cameron Creek, had stopped long enough to kill a beef and had gone on south several miles into the rough country and were leisurely riding along in single file. Captain Long and his men were very near the Indians who had not discovered the rangers till Captain Long killed one of them with his pistol. The fight followed. Captain Long killed one of them with his pistol. The fight followed. Captain Long killed the chief's horse and the chief killed his horse-"tit-for-tat"-the chief shot Captain Long's cartridge box, and the only damage to him was a blue knot as large as a man's fist. The rangers killed a horse one of the Indians was riding. This Indian developed to be a squaw who made every effort to surrender, making overtures to the rangers, exposing her breasts to show that she was a woman, but some of the rangers had had relatives killed by the Indians and cruelly tortured prior to this time and being in no frame of mind to extend any leniency, shot her down. The chief stayed with the squaw, but his gun jammed and he could not shoot any more. Grasping her gun by the end of the barrel, using his gun as a club he fought to the last but was killed with the squaw during the struggle. The other Indians had attempted to escape but the rangers being better mounted soon overtook all of them but one and killed them, making five Indians that were killed. The Indian that escaped was mounted on Oliver Loving, Jr.'s (son of J. C. Loving), horse, a small horse but strong and very fleet and of great endurance. Imagine, if you can, that Indian's lonely ride many miles from home, filled with remorse at the loss of all of his companions-if Indians have remorse and I suppose they like other human beings, though savage by nature have remorse and sorrow-carrying the sad news to perhaps father, mother brother, sister, of the fate that befell his companions on their last horse hunt. The squaw that was killed appeared to be beautiful, quite young and very attractive, possessing every feature of being of the white race, perhaps a half-breed, or possibly a white woman captured in early childhood, reared by the Indians, an exposed to wind and weather until very dark in complexion. However, the writer is inclined to the opinion that she was a white woman, otherwise she would not have made such strenuous efforts at surrender, something a full-blood Indian was never, in my experience, known to do.

The soldiers came out from Jacksboro, cut the heads of the Indians off and sent them to Washington to show beyond a doubt they were Indians.

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