The Second Expedition of Col. Wm. C. Dalrymple and His Men, and the Fight of Cowmen on the Little Concho

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.

Concho County, Texas

    Col. C. Dalrymple and his men were not dismayed by their experience on their first expedition, so they again agreed to attempt to reach the fabulous mines of gold in the far west. Old Fort Concho was their place of rendezvous.

    Before all had arrived, B.F. Gooch, of Mason, and his men, came by with about 500 cattle, which they were driving to New Mexico. Col Dalrymple's command related their previous experience, and invited Gooch to wait, and move with them. But he decided to risk the dangers, and pushed on. Shortly afterwards, I.W. Cox, and his eight or ten men, came along moving about four hundred head of cattle to New Mexico. They were accompanied by a man and his wife, who were moving west. When Ben F. Gooch and his men reached the head-draws of the Little Concho, they encountered a large number of savages and in the fight that followed several of his men were killed. Ben Gooch, himself, escaped by running into the brush. The savages, true to their well known intrigues, when they dared not enter the thick timber, proposed to have Mr. Gooch to come out and have a talk, and proposed to be friendly. But he was too wise for them, and afterwards said he was not making any new acquaintances at that time. The Indians finally went away and left him alone, for they did not like the looks of his double-barrel shot-gun and two six-shooters.

    The man and his wife were moving to Fort Sumner. When the Gooch outfit was attacked, the travelers sought refuge in one of the wagons, and were joined by another cowhand. After dark some object was seen quietly slipping around to the rear, and thinking perhaps, it were a savage, the men fired, and shot a hole through the ear of one of their comrades. Along toward day, these three men and a brave woman, abandoned the wagon, and quietly stole their way back to Fort Concho, which they safely reached after having suffered untold hardships.

    The Cox outfit was also stormed by the savages when they reached the Horsehead Crossing of the Pecos. For three days they were besieged by the Indians, but it so happened that Col. Dalrymple and his men, who were following Cox's trail, came along in time to save them. When the savages saw these approaching prospectors under the command of Col Dalrymple, they dashed away, like wild prairie dogs. The Indians took the Cox cattle on into New Mexico, where they, no doubt, fell into the hands of either American or Mexican cow thieves.

    This time the prospectors reached their destination, but failed to find the fabulous wealth they were told was hidden in the wild mountains of the west.

    Note: Author personally interviewed: W. Hunger, whose father was in the expedition; and two or three others who lived on the western frontier at the time.

    Further reference: Hunter's Frontier Magazine, July 1917. Pioneer Days in the Southwest, which contains the reminiscences of Mrs. Mary A. Nunnaley, a daughter of I.W. Cox, mentioned above, and Wilbarger's Indian Depredations in Texas. But Mr. Wilbarger erroneously placed the fight, mentioned in the preceding section, in the Wichita Mountains.

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

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