Fight of B.F. Gholson and Others in 1857

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.

Coryell County, Texas

    During the month of May of the above year, B.F. Gholson and William Burton left the old Blue Water Hole Ranch owned by Albert Gholson, to ride the range for cattle. When the two rode upon a divide overlooking the Colorado River, they saw other cowmen working with their stock in the valley below, and it was soon discovered they were Aaron Burleson, James Van Winkle, and Wm. Sneed, Sr. The five cowmen then took a northeast course, and when they had gone about one mile, from their position on the hill, discovered about thirteen Indians driving horses in the valley. These Indians were about a mile away, and at first thought to be cowmen. When Mr. Gholson and his companions were within five hundred yards of the copper colored horse thieves, the Indians halted and began to hideously paint their faces for war. One of their number was sent ahead to stop the herd of stock. The citizens dismounted and staked their horses in a nearby ravine on the side of the mountain. Hideously painted and screaming like demons, the twelve Indians then made a dash toward the Texans. But when the whites failed to fire the warriors circled and rode back to their original position. Another charge was made and this time the citizens shot one of the Indians from his horse. The wounded savage was carried away by his companions, who soon halted and again began to put on more paint for war. A third charge was made and this time two Indians were shot from their horses, and while being recovered by others, a third was shot. The three warriors were then carried back to the starting point. The Indians then held a "pow-wow" for about forty-five minutes; and no doubt, decided they had better leave the whites alone, for they rode away. The frontiersmen then made their charge and the retreating Indians were followed to the summit of the mountain. The stolen horses were recovered, but the Indians successfully carried their wounded away. This fight, which occurred about three miles west of the ranch of B.F. Gholson's father, exemplified how the whites could almost invariably whip an overwhelming number of Indians, if they would only stand their ground. But their hideous appearance, after being painted for war, and their hysterical screams, were often too much for the nerves of some of the early citizens.

    Ref.: Author interviewed B.F. Gholson, mentioned above. No doubt this was this veteran old frontiersman's initial experience in Indian warfare.

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

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