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.