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

    Uncle Johnny Eubanks first settled in Parker County in 1854. Two years later, he moved to Palo Pinto County, and during the Civil War, settled on Hubbard's Creek, about ten miles south of the present city of Albany, and just west of the George Greer Ranch.

    It is, indeed, difficult for us to realize the conditions as they then existed on the frontier. People thought differently, acted differently, and things seemed differently, to what they do today. The country was wild, open, and unsettled, and an abundance of buffalo, bear, deer, antelope, turkeys, and other game, were well-distributed through the western counties. Opportunities, too, were unexcelled. Ranch-life everywhere was as real and picturesque as ever painted by the most sublime poetry or prose.

    Cattlemen, during those days, worked together for mutual protection, and there was going to be a general roundup on Jim Ned and the head waters of Pecan Bayou. Uncle Johnny Eubanks was unable to attend. So in his stead, he sent Tom, his son, who was seventeen years of age, only a few days before. When the roundup was over, nine days later, the cattle were penned and herded at the old Narbo Ranch, in Callahan County. Uncle Johnny Eubanks, for the first time, learned his son, Tom, had never reached the ranchmen in their roundup. Tom's father, brothers, and friends, feeling assured that he had fallen into the hands of the savages, began to search. They followed the trail he probably followed. Somebody reported they heard shots in the territory south of the present city of Moran. Two dead horses were soon found in this territory, near where the counties of Shackelford, Stephens, Eastland, and Callahan come together, and about one-fourth mile east of Eubanks Mountain, which was named for Tom Eubanks, who had disappeared. When these horses were found, more than ever, the early frontiersmen thought they had just cause to believe that Tom had fallen into the hands of Indians. Soon a dead Indian was also found, and with this Indian were buried two shields, silver plates, an extra pair of moccasins, etc. His regalia seemed to indicate this Indian was a war-chief. But Tom was nowhere to be found. For days and days they searched without even finding a trace of his whereabouts. So Uncle Johnny Eubanks supposed that, perhaps, he had been captured by the savages, and carried into captivity. He then went to the Indian Territory somewhere in the vicinity of old Fort Cobb, in search of his beloved son. There was no doubt that Tom had come in contact with the Indians for the chief who was found buried on Eubank's Mountain was wearing Tom's powder horn and belt. The powder horn was identified beyond question for it was made by an African named Dan, whose name was cut on the horn.

    When Uncle Johnny reached the reservation, several white boys were then brought before him, but his beloved son could not be found. Mr. Eubanks then left the Indian territory in despair and found his way over the frontier, back to his ranch in the west. Feeling despondent over the loss of his favorite son, he moved back to Palo Pinto County. And the question that was then paramount in the minds of the early pioneers was, "What became of Tom?"

    About three years after his disappearance, some cowboys accidently found a person's skull in a little branch, not a great distance from where the two dead horses were found, to the east of Eubanks Mountain, and two or three miles south of Moran. They then found most of the remaining bones, a home-made shoe, and stirrup, on the bank of this little branch, and in a dense thicket of live oak timber. This was unquestionably Tom's remains, and his people later identified the shoe and stirrup.

    For many years, Mr. Eubanks kept the bones of his beloved boy in a sack, and Uncle Johnny often requested they be buried in the Lower Graveyard of Palo Pinto, and W.J. Hale stated he assisted in placing the bones beside Uncle Johnny's body at the time of his burial.

    Note: Author personally interviewed: J.C. Eubanks, brother of Tom, and son of Uncle Johnny; A.M. Lasater, whose brother married J.C. Eubank's sister; W.C. McGough, Joe Schoolcraft, Mrs. Bill Cain, James Eubanks, a cousin of Tom, Mrs. H.G. Taylor, Mrs. Huse Bevers, Mrs. M.J. Hart, Mrs. Wm. Metcalf, J.C. Jowell, E.K. Taylor, and several others who lived in Palo Pinto, Stephens, Schackelford, Callahan, and Eastland counties at the time. J.C. Eubanks says that his brother was killed during June or July of 1865.

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

A slightly different version of the story appers below. It is from the book, Indian Depredations in Texas, by J.W. Wilbarger.

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