Further Activities of Indians During This Same Raid
After the Indians left the home of Ezra Sherman, they stopped about two or three miles north of the present city of Mineral Wells. The savages then took a northwest course toward Turkey Creek and next appeared at the home of Joe Stephens. But here they did little damage, and soon went away. Joe Stephens counted fifty-five savages painted for war.
The Indians now had a herd of about three hundred head of stolen horses. They made their next stop about one mile from the home of William Eubanks, who lived about five or six miles northwest of Mineral Wells. Four or five of the warriors were sent to reconnoiter his home. These Indians were first discovered by James G. Eubanks, about eleven years of age, who in company with John and George Eubanks, had been to the spring for water. James told his mother and older sisters that his father was coming. The sister came out to see, but soon discovered the horsemen were Indians. The three Eubanks girls, Mary, age eighteen, Emily, fifteen, and Guss, thirteen, put on men's hats, and stood on a bench stationed near the strongly fortified picket fence, and just on the inside of the yard. Only their heads and shoulders could be seen. Mary the oldest girl also armed herself with a loaded double barrel shotgun. The Indians then dashed up as if they intended to make a charge, but when Mary pointed the gun as if she intended to shoot, the savages circled and rode away. Had these brave frontier girls become frightened, perhaps a different story would have to be related. Mary actually fired one shot and the gun kicked her from the bench. It had the desired effect, however, for the Indians appeared frightened, and hurriedly made their retreat.
The savages then started toward the mouth of Big Keechi, a favorite Indian crossing. But it was not long before another unusual event transpired.
During the dark hours of night, Wm. Eubanks, who was away when the Indians visited his home, and who was now returning, found himself surrounded by about three hundred head of horses, and fifty-five warriors. Since it was dark, it occurred to him that the safest thing to do, was to remove his hat, assume a stooping position like an Indian and follow the herd. This he did, but made it a special point to drop behind as rapidly as he could. Finally, when he reached the timber, and had an opportunity to slip away, he lost no time in reaching his residence on Turkey Creek.
It was a rainy, misty night, but a bright moon was shining beyond the clouds. The savages crossed Big Keechi above its mouth and then took a westerly and northwesterly course toward Dark Valley. When the Indians crossed the rough country, bordering on the breaks of the Brazos near the mouth of Keechi, they lost several of their stolen horses. Each of the thirty-five head of Mr. Brown's horses returned home, including the horse he was riding when killed.
During the following day, when the Indians passed the home of Jowell McKee, who then lived in Dark Valley, near the Flat Rock Crossing, about eight miles north of Palo Pinto and seven miles southwest of Graford, they took about three hundred head of his horses. The Indian's herd now consisted of approximately five or six hundred head, and was about one half mile wide.
After leaving the home of Jowell McKee, the savages discovered Tom Mullins and Billy Conatser. An exciting chase followed with the latter in the lead. Mullins and Conatser, however, were not overtaken before they reached Ansel Russell's store, which was about one and a half miles west of Graford, and on the old Fort Worth and Belknap Road.
And this brings to a close one of the largest forays ever made by the savages on the West Texas Frontier. Seven people were killed, five wounded, two innocent girls made captives, but later released, and several others seriously menaced and greatly frightened by their presence.
Note: Before writing this section, the author personally interviewed James G. Eubanks, who first saw the Indians when they appeared at the home of William Eubanks; also interviewed Mrs. H. G. Taylor, Mrs. Huse Bevers, A. M. Lasater, Mrs. M. J. Hart, Martin Lane, James Wood, E. K. Taylor, B. L. Ham, Joe Fowler, John McKee, whose father lost the two or three hundred head of horses in Dark Valley. Also interviewed others mentioned in the preceding sections relating to the same raid. This is, no doubt, by far the most detailed and accurate amount of this major raid that has ever been offered. And it is the result of hundreds of miles of hard driving, and many months of close study.
The above story is from the book, The West Texas Frontier, by Joseph Carroll McConnell.