Massacre of the Porter Family
During 1863, Pendleton Porter and family lived five miles east of St. Jo, near the Montague and Cook County line. Geo. Moore also lived two miles further east, but had moved his family to St. Jo, because of the extreme hostility of the Indians.
October 10, 1863, George and Isaac Porter went to the Red River to kill a beef. Richard Porter was also on the Red River and the remaining Porter family was at home. Without warning, their home was suddenly surrounded by a large band of Indians. In a few moments the savages killed Mr. and Mrs. Pendleton Porter, Mrs. George Porter their daughter-in-law, and Mr. Pendleton Porter's grown daughter, making a total of four. Three others, two of whom were wounded, were also, at or near the house at the time. Wm. Porter, a son of Pendleton Porter, about sixteen, happened to drive up near the house with a load of rails while the Indians were making their charge. The warriors inflicted sixteen wounds in his body. But William managed to leave his wagon and crawl under a mill. After the blood-thirsty Indians did their deadly work, they ripped open the feather beds, took the ticking and such other commodities that suited their fancy, fired the house, and then went away. After they were gone, Wm. Porter, wounded as he was, came out from under the mill, and hurried to the house about one hundred yards away. When he arrived, he found his father and mother, sister, and sister-in-law apparently dead. But he was able to save the two small children of Geo. Porter. Geo. Porter's oldest child, named Missouri, was the only one unharmed. Geo. Porter's second child, a baby named Buck, was wounded through the throat, and Billy, although wounded sixteen times, took these two children to the mill, before the flames had entirely enveloped the house. The bodies of the four killed, were burned, when the building was consumed by the flames. Of the seven at, or near the house when the Indians arrived, four were killed, two seriously wounded, and only one, a little girl named Missouri, remained unharmed.
When the Indians went away they took Wm. Porter's pony, which was near the fence. After the savages were gone, William who was now suffering severely from his sixteen wounds, sent little Missouri Porter, the three year old daughter of Geo. Porter, to the spring for water. For persons severely wounded invariably cry for a drink.
During the same morning this catastrophe occurred, Geo. Moore left St. Jo in an ox-wagon for his farm, seven miles east of St. Jo, and two miles east of the Porter home. He was leading a pony behind his wagon. When he reached the Pendleton Porter place, Geo. Moore was much surprised to see that the Porter home had been burned to the ground. After observing what had happened, he hurried to the mill and found Wm. Porter and the two children in a most distressed condition. Mr. Moore took these three members of the Porter family to St. Jo.
Wm. Porter stated a white man was with the savages when they committed these bloody crimes. Whether or not this white man was some person the savages had captured when a child, or whether or not it was some renegade ruffian of our own race, no one knows. Neither have we been able to ascertain whether or not this white man had red hair.
(Note: Before writing this section the author personally interviewed Charlie Grant, and others who lived in Montague and adjoining counties at that time; also corresponded with Mrs. G. A. Stanley, a daughter of Geo. Moore. Mrs. Stanley was living in St. Jo when this tragedy occurred.)
The above story is from the book, The West Texas Frontier, by Joseph Carroll McConnell.