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.

Parker County, Texas
The following story is from the book, A Cry Unheard, by Doyle Marshall:

Bill Heffington, son of Stephen Heffington, who took a land grant in the Bear Creek community of southeast Parker County in the mid-1850s, enjoyed the unusual distinction of having taken two Indian scalps while still a youth. As a child growing up in the Break Creek community, he was well aware of the possible danger of Indians lurking in the area. The senior Heffington, being the only man in the community with any degree of education, was selected to be the local part-time school teacher. He received no salary, but the farms in the community agreed to work his crop while he conducted school. Since there was no schoolhouse, the children were taught under a spreading live oak tree near where the Fort Worth-Cresson road crossed South Bear Creek. One of the rules of the school required that each boy twelve-years old and older bring a gun, which was leaned against the trunk of the tree for protection from possible raiding Indians.

When Bill was sixteen or seventeen years old, word reached the community that a band of Indians had been detected to the south, beyond the divide-between the Clear Fork of the Trinity River and the Brazos River. When a local party was formed to pursue the intruders, Bill was eager to participate. The party of volunteers overtook the raiders in the vicinity of present-day Acton, where a running battle ensued. When he fired and brought down the only casualty of the skirmish, Bill alighted from his horse, scalped the victim, and stripped him of his clothing and paraphernalia of savage warfare, while the remainder of the party continued to pursue the raiders. When later asked why he stopped in the heat of the battle to scalp the Indian, Bill replied that the folks back in the Bear Creek community would not have believed his "Indian story" without a scalp for proof.

...Bill Heffington took a second scalp while still a boy of seventeen. The only youngster ranging with a squad of eleven men from the southeast corner of Parker County, he again was credited with the only scalp taken in a battle with about twenty-five Indians in Palo Pinto County. As the Indians attempted to reach the safety of the brush, Heffington moved into a position between an Indian and a nearby thicket. While several shots and arrows were exchanged, Heffington felled the Indian with a shot from his rifle. After the other Indians made good their escape, the squad returned to the fallen warrior where Heffington again collected his spoils of war. Later, back at the Bear Creek community, Bill Heffington's younger brother, Jim, would sometimes dress in the Indian attire, visit the neighborhood farms, and "scare the life out of the children."


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