J. D. Creeth, George Branch, and Elias Brown
About the 12th day of May, 1879, J. D. Creeth, George Branch, his son-in-law, and Elias Brown, who lived in Kimble County, about fifteen miles above Junction, on the south or lower prong of the Llano, loaded a pack-mule, and started on a prospecting trip toward the Southwest. Since they failed to return, E. L. Earnest, a son-in-law of J. D. Creeth, began to write letters to different localities in that part of the state, for the purpose of finding out, if possible, what had happened to the prospectors.
Nearly three years later, the deputy sheriff, at Ft. Clark, who received one of the letters, had occasion to visit a sheep ranch, about fifty miles to the southwest of Junction. When this officer inquired about certain cattle on the range, the owner of the ranch replied, "Such stock were located near three Indian skeletons, close to a spring not a great distance from the ranch. The ranchman was then informed these skeletons were evidently not the remains of Indians, but of three prospectors, who disappeared nearly four years previously.
A minute examination of their bodies readily disclosed that the remains were in fact those of the lost trio. Branch and Brown were found close together. But Creeth had evidently died about three miles up the stream.
Since the deputy sheriff had lost the letter received from E. L. Earnest, this officer advertised in the San Antonio Express for relatives of the deceased citizens. Dr. Whittaker, who took the paper and lived near Mr. Creeth's home, notified his people that the remains of the three missing men had evidently been found.
So E. L. Earnest again wrote the deputy sheriff and told him that Mr. Creeth's pistol had "E. B." carved on its handle. Since this pistol had been found, an examination disclosed these initials. The bodies were also identified by a dirk knife, and other articles. E. L. Earnest, a son-in-law of Mr. Creeth, and John and Jim Brown, brothers of Elias Brown, brought the remains of the missing men home, and gave them a decent burial in McCulloch County, on the Colorado, River.
Note: Author interviewed: E. L. Earnest, mentioned above.
The above story is from the book, The West Texas Frontier, by Joseph Carroll McConnell.