Elm Creek Raid by Charles Goodnight

    …“The Indians had ripped open Mrs. Fitzpatrick’s feather bed and pillows and emptied the feathers out on the ground. ‘A strong north wind blew them southward into the timber and foliage where they seemed to cover an acre or more, resembled snow in the midst of the green, and would have been very attractive had it not been for the sad sight at the house and the thought of the unfortunate inmates. The same thing had happened at Mr. Hamby’s about half a mile farther up the creek.”

    Goodnight arrived at the Hamby house, finding the Indians had taken everything except their clothes, he gave them a blanket. Hamby hid his family in a cliff and took his son to warn the Williams’, who had already hidden in the brush. They then rushed on to Bragg’s house.

    …‘At the Bragg Ranch they made a fight,’ said Goodnight, ‘and I don’t think such a fight was ever made before or since. The Bragg house was an jacal-the timbers being set on end, daubed with mud between and covered with dirt-probably sixteen by twenty feet. Bragg had two marred sons besides his own family. Doc Wilson and wife were also there; in all four women and some children who lay under the beds on the dirt floor.

    ‘Old man Hamby took the only window in the house, and the others took care of the door. In front of the house was a small stockade of post-oak logs, and in front of the door, close to the stiles over the stockade, stood an oak tree. An Indian got behind it early in the fight, killed Wilson and severely wounded old man Bragg.

    ‘Hamby told me he tried to get a shot at the Indian for some time. Finally some Indians went down to the barn and got a pick and mattock, commenced to dig out the pickets which formed the house. Knowing they could not protect themselves if the Indians got another opening, young Hamby told old man Bragg to get on the bed, punch the mud out of the cracks in the side wall and fire down at random among them. Bragg had been shot in the breast and replied that he was dying, but luckily the arrow had struck a rib and followed it around to his back, where it was taken out next morning. Hamby bullyragged Bragg until he made the effort, and when he fired he hit an Indian right in the eye.

    ‘It seemed to have created quite a commotion among the diggers, and the Indian behind the tree leaned out to see around the corner. Hamby, who had been watching him closely, shot him with a double-barrel gun. He fell across the stile, and from appearances the shot had almost cut him in two, as the steps were a mass of blood when I got there, though the Indian had been dragged away.

    ‘Old man Hamby received several wounds in his arms and a slight cut on his breast, as it was necessary to expose himself a little in order to get good aim at the Indians. He must have done some splendid shooting, as the ground in a semicircle around the window was smeared with blood. Of course the Indians took away all their dead except the one of the stile, which they could not get, and it will never be known how many were killed, but their loss must have been considerable. A day or two later some of us followed the trail about forty miles, and we found several who had died of wounds.’

The above story is from the book, Charles Goodnight-Cowman & Plainsman, by J. Evetts Haley.


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