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.

Part of our in-depth series exploring the forts of Comancheria

CA. February 10, 1875; Rocksprings, Texas: In the early months of 1875, Comanches raided south into Uvalde County, Texas. Moving down Frio Canyon on 25 January, they stole five horses from a company called Sawyer & Shores. The raiders continued to the Blanco River and moved downstream to its junction with the Sabinal, where they killed and mutilated a Mexican laborer. Northwest of Frio Town, they captured thirty-nine horses from Messrs. Brown, Allen, Gray, and Honeycut. The Comanches then turned back north­west and crossed the Nueces, eventually camping in a dense thicket near Beaver Lake.

Unknown to the raiders, a citizen posse, including Messrs. Humphrey, Green, Patterson, Avant, Sawyer, Blackburn, Goodman, and Wells, had been hot on their trail. Several horses feeding around the thicket attracted the party's attention. When they moved in, they saw an Indian bridling his mount. Avant, Humphrey, and Sawyer fired at him, driving him into the brush. Another Comanche appeared on the other side of the thicket, and Humphrey and Sawyer fired, hitting him in the side. When more warriors emerged from another quarter of the woods, Wells and Goodman, it was reported, "gave them Winchester music to retreat by."

Patterson and Green sped across an opening to block the approach of another band of Comanches, who were bringing in pack mules loaded with meat. Those Indians fled without joining their tribesmen. The Indians in the thicket broke out in all directions, which made it nearly impossible for the small posse to chase them. Patterson cut off one warrior, but his horse stumbled in a rut and threw him to the ground. Four men held the horses while another four charged into the thicket, but the Indians had already scattered.

The tired Texans, who had gone without food for several days, decided to recover what they could and call it quits. They captured thirty-five horses, two Spanish mules, one Indian pony, four shields, several headdresses, a photograph of "a beautiful white woman," and a light-haired woman's scalp. But what the men found most interesting was a certificate of good conduct, written to Mohecut, or Black Beard, a Kwahadi Comanche chief. It indicated that the chief was using his influence for good and that he promised to remain at peace with the whites. "I ask for him kind treatment at the hands of all with whom he comes in contact," the paper stated. It was dated 1874 and signed by agent J. M. Haworth of the Kiowa and Comanche Agency in Indian Territory. The posse considered the paper to be proof of what Texans already knew to be fact: reservation Indians were being protected in Indian Territory, but they continued to steal and kill in Texas.

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