John Heath, who formerly lived in Montague County, was, also, an employee of J. C. Loving, who had a ranch in Lost Valley, in the western portion of Jack County.
Needless to say, there were very few citizens on the frontier so well-known as an Indian fighter, and as experienced in Indian warfare, as J. C. Loving. For it seems that he and his cow-hands were constantly coming in contact with the savages.
On July 10, 1874, J. C. Loving and his men were preparing to make a roundup on the Wichita, and left the Loving Ranch in Lost Valley, to join Lafe Brumlow, Ira Cooper, and others, who were camped about one hundred yards from the Loving Ranch. When they reached this camp, some of the men had dismounted and others sitting in their saddles, when Indians began to fire. At first, J. C. Loving thought it were some of his own men shooting. But shortly afterwards, he exclaimed, "The Indians are shooting at us! Lookout for yourselves and for your horses!" J. C. Loving and John Heath were on the ground at the time, and both mounted their steeds. Just as Heath reached his saddle, he was shot in the head, and died a short time afterward. The Indians were hidden behind the cowpen, and outnumbered the citizens about four to one. But in the fight that followed, the savages evidently decided they had struck some real frontiersmen, for they made a hasty retreat without recovering a large herd of horses.
Note: Author interviewed: Oliver Loving, Jr., a son of J. C. Loving; and other early frontiersmen.
Further Ref.: Cattle Industry of Texas.
The above story is from the book, The West Texas Frontier, by Joseph Carroll McConnell.