Howell Walker and Son, Henry

    September 13, 1873, Howell Walker and his son, Henry, who was about twelve years of age, and Mortimer Stevens, had been gathering corn, on Walker's Place, in Jack County, and went to the Thurman Springs, on Salt Creek, for water. They were driving oxen, and intended to haul back water in barrels. When they reached the Springs, deer signs were plentiful, so Walker suggested they drive the wagon under the hill, and wait for the approach of a deer. In a short time, Mortimer Stevens, who was in a tree, saw several deer coming from the north, and pointed them out to Walker. About that time, Walker looked toward a nearby bluff and started to run toward Stevens. He said, "My God, Steve, the world is alive with Indians. The best thing we can do is make that mountain." Mortimer Stevens replied, "No, lets stay with them, and give them all we have got." But Walker and his son started toward the mountain, and were followed by Mortimer Stevens. When they had gone about 250 yards, they laid down on the ground. After the Indians fired and passed on by, the citizens jumped and started toward the bluff, in the creek. In a short time, the Indians charged again, and began shooting down the creek. Two other Indians got in behind the citizens, who were fired upon from both directions. About that time, Howell Walker was shot from the rear by an Indian, and the same bullet passed on and wounded his son, Henry. Walker then said, "Steve, if you get out alive, have me buried decent, and go to Mr. Agnes and get the money that is due on the herd." The boy said, "My Lord, Steve, I'm killed." While the two were gasping for breath, Mortimer Stevens shot an Indian, dashed down the creek, and went into a dogwood thicket. He afterwards became lost, but finally reached the Rodger's home, about one o'clock. From there, he went to Jacksboro, and reported what had occurred.

    Mortimer Stevens said that he counted thirty-seven Indians, that two had some of his quilts stolen from his camp, that several of the Indians had highly colored blankets, and were wearing government hats.

    The savages, no doubt from the Ft. Sill Reservation, cut little Henry Walker's heart from his body. Walker and his son, were found the same day they were killed.

    Note: Among the old files and archives in the State Library at Austin, the author found an affidavit made by Mortimer Stevens, dated Sept. 14, 1873, the next day after Walker and his son were killed. The affidavit set out the above facts; after the killing; and was evidently correct for it was made before a government officer. Also found a letter from Lewis P. Valentine to Governor E. J. Davis dated Sept. 14, 1873. Mr. Valentine stated in the letter that he had just returned from the scene where Howell Walker and son were killed. Author also interviewed: Martin Lane; A. M. Lasater; James Wood; Mrs. Ed. Wohlfforth; and others. Although there was a slight variation in one or two of the reports, nevertheless, we compiled facts that caused us to believe Walker and his son were killed just as above related. And many months later, found in the Archives, the above affidavit, which substantiated our ideas.

The above story is from the book, The West Texas Frontier, by Joseph Carroll McConnell.

In his book, Indian Depredations in Texas, J.W. Wilbarger lists Walker's death among the many that occured in Jack County.

Howell Walker story by Wilbarger


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