Mysterious Disappearance of the Christal Brothers

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.

Wichita County, Texas

    About 1862, John, Richard, Isom and James Christal left their home in Denton County for a buffalo hunt, at some point in the northwest. The brothers established their permanent camp on the Wichita River, near the mouth of Holiday Creek, not a great distance from the present city of Wichita Falls. At that time bisons were extremely plentiful. So John and Richard left their brothers, Isom and James, at the camp to cook supper, while they went out in search of game. Shortly afterward, a gun was heard to fire, and in a few minutes they heard the report of a second gun. When dark came, supper was prepared, but John and Richard had not returned. The two brothers in camp thought perhaps they were lost, so they gave a large number of vociferous yells, answered only by the howling wolves. Guns were also fired. The following day the two brothers had not yet returned. So Isom and James saddled their horses and took their brothers' trail. Before going a great distance they found where a buffalo had been killed, and partly skinned, and also discovered one of the brothers had gone to the creek for a drink. This was verified by his handkerchief which was hanging on the brush. About one half mile further on, they also discovered moccasin tracks, but otherwise no further evidence of their brothers' fate could be found. After searching for four days, Isom and James returned home and reported to their parents what had happened. A searching party of about fifty men then departed to where the boys disappeared. But neither could they ascertain what had happened to Richard and John, and their disappearance today still remains an unsolved mystery.

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

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