Chief Feathertail

The following story is from the book, Fort Worth, A Frontier Triumph, by Julia Kathryn Garrett. She was a legendary history teacher at Arlington Heights High School and an invaluable figure in the preservation of Texas History.

    …Another day in 1849, the Comanches from their village in present Palo Pinto made a visit to obliterate the post. Leader of the plan was giant Chief Jim Ned. The white man’s fort, according to his thinking, was too close to his hunting ground; and Arnold’s scouts had taken one of his ill-gotten horses. Following plans of a war council, two bands of one hundred Comanches each, traveling different paths, were to converge upon the fort. Chief Feathertail with his band took the southeast trail; Chief Ned took the northeast. The second night out from their village, Chief Ned camped to await Chief Feathertail in the valley at the foot of the bluff where a hundred years later, would be the All Church Home for Children and the E. B. Harrold Park.

    On top of the bluff, a camping fur trader with good ears, heard many voices arising from the lowlands. Going to the edge of the bluff he looked down upon a band of warriors. It did not take much time for him to cover the distance between his camp and the fort. Within an hour, wagons, infantry and cavalry were ready. Scouts, led by the fur trader, were son peering over the bluff. As there was a full moon, what they saw made it easy to plan the attack. The Indians were then asleep. The troops were to be divided and attack from three directions. The reliable six-pound howitzer was rolled into place on the bluff. The cavalry galloped down upon the unsuspecting victims. The three units fired into the sleeping camp. Bright moonlight helped the infantrymen to make every shot count. Not a man of the garrison was seriously hurt. Chief Ned fled; met Chief's band, and together they retreated to the hills of Palo Pinto. Today, a small concrete shaft located on the property of the All Church Home marks this site of the last large-scale Indian battle in the environs of Fort Worth.

    To be fair to the major and the record, the story must be completed. Next morning, the troops were in pursuit of the Indians. Two days later in a Palo Pinto canyon, they engaged these Comanches in a battle of several hours. Chief Ned was killed, and the leaderless Indians fled. Thanks to the major, there were no more hostilities on a large scale in Tarrant County, only petty annoyances.

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