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Wesley Cravens

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. Please consider reading our editorial policy to understand how and why we publish the resources we do.

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Palo Pinto County, Texas

    John Cravens and Nath Darnell established an old ox-treadmill in the western part of Palo Pinto in 1858 or 1859, and it was from this old structure that Mill Branch derived its name.

    John Cravens owned a sandy bearded African called Wesley, who often looked after the mill. Early one Sunday morning in 1860, this darky rode out on Lynn Prairie for the purpose of finding the oxen. There was little timber on this prairie at that time. The African had not gone far when he met Mrs. Wm. Cain, a daughter of Geo. Hazelwood, and her brother John. They were on their way to Palo Pinto, to stay with Mrs. Cal Hazelwood, while her husband was away. When Wesley reached Little Elm, which bounds the prairie on the southwest, he was suddenly attacked by six or seven Indians. The African took a northeasterly course in an attempt to reach the home of Uncle Johnny Lynn then located just north of the present highway. But when the darky reached a point about one half mile south of the Lynn home, where two small tanks are at present located, near some hackberry bushes, and a little more than one mile southwest of Palo Pinto, Wesley fell dead from his horse, with several arrows sticking in his back. The exciting chase was seen from the home of Uncle Johnny Lynn.

    The African was buried near the Upper Graveyard, and the first of seven murdered by the Indians, to be buried at Palo Pinto.

    Note: Before writing this article, the author personally interviewed and heard the following people relate this story; H.G. Taylor, who extracted some of the arrows from the African's back. E.K. Taylor, his brother, Mrs. H.G. Taylor, Mrs. Huse Bevers, Mrs. M.J. Hart, Jodie Corbin, J.C. Jowell, Mrs. Wm. Metcald, M.F. Barber, Mrs. Matilda Van Cleve, Mrs. Julia Cott, Calvin Hazelwood, Mrs. Wm. Cain, a daughter of George Hazelwood, A.M. Lasater, W.D. Reynolds, whose death occurred today, T.C. Powers, Mrs. J.C. Smith, a daughter of Wesley Nelson, and others. To be sure H.G. Taylor and Calvin Hazelwood were not living when the author began to take notes for the present work, but he heard each of them several times relate this incident.

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

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