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.

Palo Pinto County, Texas

    In all the early history of the West, we find none so colorful as the experiences and achievements of the early pioneers, who reclaimed for civilization the wild western frontier. The little pioneer log cabins, hidden among hills, and located in large valleys, were visited during each light of the moon, by the marauding hordes of the plains.

    While making one of these horse-stealing raids, the Indians were discovered along the Brazos, about six miles north of Palo Pinto. All the surrounding neighbors were notified.

    Pete and W.B. Slaughter tied some of their horses to big elm trees, close to the Slaughter Ranch, now known as the Harris Place, and slept in the corn crib, so the horses could be watched. Pete Slaughter sat up on guard until two o'clock in the morning while W.B. Slaughter, his smaller brother, slept. Then in turn, Pete lay down to sleep and W.B. Slaughter was placed on duty, to watch for Indians, until the break of day. But in a short time, W.B. Slaughter fell asleep, and when the boys awoke the Indians had already untied the horses staked to a nearby tree and led them away.

    But the savage that appeared at the Conatser Ranch two miles distant, was not so successful. Here George Dodson and Jack Conatser were also sleeping in a corn crib, and Geo. Dodson was on duty. During the silent hours of night, an Indian pulled up some fence pickets, slipped in the lot, and was attempting to drive out the horses. According to one or two accounts, this Indians was crawling around in the lot on his hands and knees, and grunting like a hog. Nevertheless, whether crawling or walking, when the logical moment arrived, George Dodson shot, and the report of his gun echoed among the cliffs and crags of Kyle Mountain, not many miles away. After the smoke of his gun was gone, one dead Indian lay oblong, and none of his comrades came to carry him to a place of concealment. No doubt, others were in the vicinity, for they seldom traveled alone.

    When daylight came, the above Indian warrior was carried to Palo Pinto, about six miles south. He was then dragged upon the hill north of Palo Pinto and the author found some of his bones a few years ago.

    Note: Author personally interviewed W.B. Slaughter, mentioned above; Martin Lane, A.M. Lasater, Mrs. Wm. Metcalf, J.C. Jowell, Mrs. H.G. Taylor, Mrs. Jerry Hart, Mrs. Huse Bevers, Jodie Corbin, Mrs. Smith, a sister of George Dodson, and many others who lived in Palo Pinto and adjoining counties at the time.

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

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