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Barnes and His Mexican

Michael has a BA in History & American Studies and an MSc in American History from the University of Edinburgh. He comes from a proud military family and has spent most of his career as an educator in the Middle East and Asia. Please consider reading our editorial policy to understand how and why we publish the resources we do.

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Clay County, Texas

    During the War, Clay County was entirely abandoned. As early as 1862, only one or two families remained in the county. Ed Wohlfforth, and family lived on the Big Wichita about three or four miles from its mouth.

    One morning about eleven a.m. during 1862, approximately thirty Indians, returning from the settlements with about one hundred head of stolen horses, like wild demons, dashed upon Mr. Barnes, of Grayson County, and his Mexican employee. Mr. Wohlfforth was not at home at the time. Mrs. Wohlfforth who heard the shooting and Indians yelling, stepped out in the yard to see the excitement. Barnes and his Mexican fought the Indians for about one hour, and until their ammunition became exhausted, Mr. Barnes, who had cattle in that section, and who was out to look after his stock, was finally killed. The Mexican then fled, but before he had hardly gone a mile, he too, was slain by the savages. Mrs. Wohlfforth sat on a chicken coop and watched the entire proceedings, which occurred about three quarters of a mile from her house.

    The two were buried by Mr. Wohlfforth and a Mr. Gooch. Mrs. Barnes removed her husband's cattle two or three years later.

    Note: Author interviewed Mrs. Wohlfforth herself.

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

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