Indians Assault the Beale and Maxey Families

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. His passion is travel, and he seizes any opportunity to share his experiences in the most immersive way possible, whether at sea or on the land.

Montague County, Texas

    September 5, 1870, there lived two families on the west prong of Denton Creek, about six miles southwest of Montague. Jesse Maxey, his wife, and daughter, Rhoda, and son, Valentine, lived in one end of a double log-house; and T.W. Beale, wife, and son, Hezekiah Beale, and daughter, Anna Beale, lived in the other. Jesse Maxey and T.W. Beale had gone to Sandy Creek, just before sundown. Grandfather Maxey, who was staying with his son Jesse B. Maxey, went out to the wood-pile to cut some wood, and was followed by the two Beale and Maxey children.

    A large post-oak stump stood half-way between the wood-pile and creek, and behind this, two Indians had hidden to do their bloody work. They shot grandfather Maxey, who ran a few steps and fell. They also shot Hezekiah Beale, and killed him. Anna Beale was running in front of her grandfather Maxey, and she was shot down before reaching the house. The Indians was so close when he fired, the blaze of his gun ignited her clothes. And Mrs. Beale reached the door in time to see the savages do this dastardly deed. Mrs. Maxey was running with her baby held next to her breast, to join Mrs. Beale, and when the Indians shot at her, the bullet went through the baby's head and passed through Mrs. Maxey's arm. When Mrs. Maxey hurried into the house, Mrs. Beale closed the door, and as she did, a bullet glanced her forehead, knocking her down, and left a gash about three inches long. Mrs. Maxey then finished closing the door, and in a second or two, Mrs. Beale, who was shot, was again on her feet. When she saw that little Ann's clothes were on fire, she put them out. The two women then hurried out of the house, and hid in some high weeds, until about ten o'clock p. m. when their husbands arrived. Mrs. Maxey still held her dead baby in her arms. The two Maxey children were made captives, and carried away. After M. Beale and Maxey returned to their bereaved, and broken homes, the dead were moved to one room to be prepared for burial, and the two wounded women were carried away for treatment. They were taken to Joel B. Maxey's home, about one mile away; and from there, to the home of John Stroud, one-half mile further on up the creek. M. Stroud had a very sick son at the time, and here the women were treated by Dr. John A. Gordon, who dressed their wounds. The dead were buried next morning in the Stroud Graveyard.

    About one year later, Valentine Maxey was recovered from the Indians on the Washita, but the fate of his little sister was really never known. He reported, however, that the last time she was seen, the savages took her toward a brushy thicket, where she was, no doubt, murdered because she was sick, fatigued, and unable to travel further.

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

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