Citizens Encounter Indians in Colt’s Canyon in Taylor County and Elsewhere

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.

Taylor County, Texas

    T.W. Clark, E. Charles Suggs, Tom Amberson, Addie Lynn and Jim Ratliff, who were camped on Indian Creek about seven miles southwest of Brownwood, started out on the range and had gone only a short distance north, when they came in contact with twelve Indians. The red men ran over a ridge and the whites stopped on the divide about fifty yards away. The citizens were poorly armed, but fought the Indians until they "fired out" and then made a retreat, and some of the Indians followed. When the savages crowded too closely, T.W. Clark would draw his empty pistol and the Indians would fall back. One savage was riding a horse that had been stolen from "Dude" Lee, who lived about two miles south of Brownwood. After being followed a considerable distance, Tom Amberson was finally wounded in the wrist, so T.W. Clark reached over for his six-shooter. By this time, Tom Ratliff was wounded with an arrow. From here, the Indians turned back. When the four citizens reached camp, they summoned Dr. Baker of Brownwood, to wait on the wounded.

    While the above four citizens were having their fight with the Indians, A.J. Carter, Shorty Brown and Bill Morrow were out hunting with dogs, heard the firing and came running to the camp. They were then joined by E. Suggs and Will Avery and took the Indian trail that led through Coleman County. From time to time, they picked up other white citizens from the scattered ranches and Sam Gholson, who had several cowboys, joined them. The Indians were followed to Colt's Canyon in Taylor County and overtaken the next day while they were eating breakfast at this point. The savages had killed two colts belonging to a Mr. Pickett, who lived not a great distance from Brownwood. And because of this incident, this place has since been known as Colt's Canyon. Here the citizens crowded the Indians so closely, they forced the twelve savages to run away on ten horses and they also recovered about forty-nine head of stolen ponies. According to reports, one or two Indians were also killed.

    Note: Author personally interviewed T.W. Clark, mentioned above, and other early settlers of that section.

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

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