March the 2nd, 1866, Bolen Savage who lived west of Weatherford on
Sanchez Creek, was plowing in his field about ten o'clock in the morning,
when nine Indians came riding from the east. These Indians were first
discovered by Mrs. Elizabeth Savage, and she did her utmost to notify
her husband, who was about one-half mile from the house. But since
the March winds were blowing loudly, it was impossible for Mrs. Savage
to arouse his attention.
Historical Marker for Sam Savage
At the time Marion Savage, age eleven, James Savage, age seven, and
Sam Savage, age five, were about half-way between their father, Bolen
Savage, and the house, and were traveling toward their father. Marion
and Sam Savage were made captives, but James escaped by hiding in
the creek. Several of the Indians charged on toward the father, Bolen
Savage, and as he attempted to escape in the timber, he was shot in
the head when he jumped into the same branch in which his son hid.
One of the Indians rode into the yard and started toward the house,
but Mrs. Savage with Lornty, a six or seven month old baby, in her
arms, took an old gun with no lock, and told the Indian that if he
came any further she would blow his brains out. The Indians then fell
over his horse and rode rapidly away.
The red-men then took their two captives, Marion and Sam Savage,
and rode about two miles west where they struck the home of James
Savage Sr., a brother of Bolen Savage. He too, was plowing in the
field, and was unarmed. His being without necessary weapons was soon
discovered by the Indians, who rode over him with their horses, and
knocked him down. His daughter, Sarah about eighteen came running
to his assistance with a gun. She was followed by Renna, aged thirteen,
and Malinda aged eight, who came trailing along in the rear. The Indians
ran over Sarah and knocked the weapon out of her hand. By this time,
the father had almost reached his daughters, and he was instantly
shot down. They then captured Malinda, and when she was placed on
a horse, Renna caught her foot. After the wild men of the plains were
unable to force Renna to release her sister, they lanced her arm.
Wm. Savage, a brother of Malinda, and his mother, who had been working
east of the house, by this time, discovered the terrible crimes being
committed by the Comanches. But when they were approaching the house,
they saw the Indians were leaving and now had in their possession
three captives. The two sons of Bolen Savage, Marion and Sam, and
a daughter of James Savage Sr., Malinda.
Seated left to right: Sarah (Sally) Jane Savage Green; Arrena Savage
Doggett; Jennie B. Savage Oates. Standing left to right: Larkin Savage;
John Allen Doggett. All but John Allen Doggett were children of James
After the Indians left the homes of the Savage brothers, they next
appeared at the pioneer residence of R.C. Newberry, who lived on
Grindstone, about three miles east of the present town of Millsap.
There were now twenty Indians, for the original nine that first appeared
at the home of Bolen Savage had been augmented by others. From here
they went to the home of Fuller Millsap, who lived on Rock Creek,
about one mile north of the present town by the same name, and were
attempting to steal the horses in a field, when Fuller Millsap and
a negro woman took shotguns and drove the Indians away.
After the Indians left the home of Fuller Millsap, they started with
their caballada of stolen horses and three white captives, towards
the wilds of northwest Texas. While the savages were traveling along,
perhaps somewhere in Palo Pinto County, an Indian attempted to ride
on of their newly acquired animals. He was so badly thrown by the
wild horse, the Indian's head became entangled in the rope and was
completely severed from his body. It devolved on an Indian squaw,
who was already carrying young Sam Savage, to carry the head of the
dead Indian for several miles, and until they reached the place where
he was buried. Can you imagine the impression of little Sam Savage
as he rode along on the same horse with the Indian squaw and Indian's
head. The Indian was soon buried by his comrades.
The savages crossed Big Keechi, and continued their course toward
the northwest, until they reached the western parts of the present
state of Oklahoma. As usual, the captives were offered raw meat, and
little Sam refused to eat so many days, he became so weak and poor
he could hardly walk. Finally the little fellow seemed to realize
his very existence depended upon this peculiar diet, and when they
threw a piece of raw buffalo meat toward him, he picked it up and
at last ate a part of his Indian menu. When he did, the Indians clapped
their hands with joy.
The three Savage children were discovered by John Fields and one
or two others. These patriotic and worthy gentlemen, ransomed the
children of Bolen and James Savage, and placed them in charge of white
folks until Wm. and John Stephens, the half-brothers, of Bolen and
James Savage Sr., came for the children and took them to Denton.
Note: Author personally interviewed Sam Savage, himself, who remembers
a portion of his experience, and the remainder he has heard his mother
and aunt as well as others, relate many times; also interviewed James
and Sam Newberry, and several others who lived in Palo Pinto and Parker
County when this occurred.
J.W. Wilbarger gives a short description of the Savages' encounter with Indians in his book, Indian Depredations in Texas.