Indian Raid Near Old Gocian in Parker County

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

    During 1862, H.R. Frazier, who lived south of Agnes, went to Old Gocian for his son, Don M., then attending a school being conducted by Ambers Cain. Mr. Frazier had heard that Indians were in the community. When Mr. Frazier arrived, after a consultation with Ambers Cain, the teacher, school was dismissed. The father and his son started home, about three and one half miles nearly west. Mr. Frazier rode the horse a part of the way, and let John walk, and then the latter rode the horse and the father walked. When the two were within a quarter of a mile of their home, John, walking about one hundred yards ahead of his father, discovered two Indians, one of whom was riding, and the other walking. The savages saw John but could not see his father. So the one on the horse jumped to the ground and began stringing his bow. John yelled, "Yonder is Indians," and then hurried back to his father. After placing John on the horse, the two rode rapidly home.

    That night several families "Forted-up" at Uncle Steve Erwin's home, and the men took their turns in guarding horses. Just after a shower which fell about midnight, Steve Erwin and Henry Roberts started to the house for a coat. No doubt, the same two savages seen during the day, had been watching and waiting for an opportunity to steal the horses. So these Indians made an effort to drive the horses away, thinking the guards had gone and not knowing that Jack Stennett and Jack Fiddler were still hidden nearby, thought their opportune time had arrived to take the horses. The Indians went down the fence then made a stop. Mr. Stennett said to Jack Fiddler, "Now is the time to shoot. I will shoot at one Indian and you the other." They did, and Mr. Stennett's Indian fell from his horse. The other savage made a quick attempt to drive the herd away. When the lone Indian was fired upon a second time, he went away. A rope was placed around the neck of the dead savage, the other end fastened to the horn of a saddle and by this means, the warrior was dragged to the house. By ten o'clock during the succeeding day, many people from the surrounding neighborhood gathered around. The Indian was later dragged about one and a half miles and placed in a ravine, where his horse remained for a long time.

    Note: The author personally interviewed John M. Frazier, mentioned above.

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

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

On a spring day in 1863, the alarm was given in the north Parker County communities of Erwin and Goshen that Indians were in the area. Several families gathered at the home of "Uncle' Steve Erwin. The men gathered their horses, turned them into a green wheat field, and selected a detail to guard them through the night. While the women and children spent the night in the house, the guards stood watch over the horses. As it began to rain some time after midnight, two of the guards, Steve Erwin and Henry Roberts, went to the house for protective clothing. Sam Stennett and Jack Fidler remained on guard in the fence corner. When Erwin and Roberts left, two Indians, unaware that the two guards remained on duty, quietly laid down the rail fence and began to round up the horses. Limited with only single-shot cap-and-ball weapons, the remaining two guards killed one of the Indians; the surviving Indian disappeared into the adjacent woods. The guards tied one end of a rope to the saddle horn and the other end around the victim's neck-then dragged the body to the house. On the following morning settlers came from miles around to view the spectacle while the scalp was still in place. "Uncle" Steve Erwin was selected to "lift" the scalp, and he proved capable of performing the task. After the excitement diminished, a log-chain was hitched around the Indian's neck, and the body was dragged by a team of oxen and rolled into a ravine about a mile away. Later, some of the youngsters of the settlement went to the ravine, took strips of skin from the victim's back, and used them for shoelaces. Sometime later, after the body decomposed, the Indian's arm and leg bones were used for making gun stocks and file handles. One unusually imaginative settler put a bail on the inverted skull and used it as a bucket for carrying fish bait.

Join the discussion

Further reading

Recent Comments