Waco and Cherokee Fights

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.

McLennan County, Texas

    Cherokees who were en route to Texas, encamped on Red River during the winter of 1828-29. Shortly after their arrival, Waco warriors on a stealing expedition during the silent hours of night, slipped in and stampeded the Cherokee horses and drove away a large number. In a council of war the Cherokees decided the Wacos should pay dearly for this dastardly deed. Consequently, during the month of May, 1829, fifty-five well armed Cherokee warriors left their Red River encampment in search of the far away villages of the Wacos, then on the beautiful banks of the Brazos near the present city of Waco. When the village was finally located, scouts were sent out to reconnoiter the Waco camp, Just after the break of day when the invading enemy was quietly stealing along like a cat after its prey, the Cherokees were discovered by a lone Waco, who was slowly collecting the remaining coals of fire left from the preceding day. This Waco warrior instantly gave the alarm, and his shrill voice echoed for many miles in the still morning air. All Wacos were instantly on their feet. Like demons who had dropped out of the dark clouds of night, the Cherokees stormed the village. Altho, greatly outnumbered, the invading enemy was much better armed, for they had only recently immigrated from Tennessee. The Wacos were soon forced to retreat to their own fortified sink holes, which afforded ample protection. The enemy held a council of war, and decided to storm these breastworks, fire their guns and then with tomahawks, fight the battle to a bloody finish. About this time, however, the Cherokees were charged by the thundering Tehuacanos coming from the breaks on the opposite side of the Brazos. The Tehuacanos captured a twelve year old boy, the only son of his father. This boy was brutally murdered, and his scalp placed on the end of a lance, which was used by the Tehuacanos to defy the Cherokees. The angered father of the boy, stripped himself of all apparel and without a word, seized a knife in one hand and a tomahawk in the other, without heeding the protests of his companions, charged onward and said, "I shall die with my brave boy, by slaying the wild men who have plucked the last rose from my bosom." He rushed forward and before he fell successfully slayed a number of the Tehuacanos.

    Since the Cherokees had already scalped fifty-five Wacos and lost only two men and a boy, they decided to retreat and in due time reached their encampment on Red River.

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

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