Indians Ambush W.J. Hale on Ioni

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
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Indians Ambush Hale on Ioni | Hale's Exciting Chase South of Mineral Wells | Indian Fight, about Eight or Nine Miles North and East of Strawn
Indians Ambush W.J. Hale on Ioni

    During 1871, the Jowell brothers were running the old stone ranch-house on Bluff Creek, in the western part of Palo Pinto County. This old building, which still stands, and in which portholes were made to better counteract the Indians, was used as ranch quarters, and known as the Jolly Ranch. At that time, deer in this section were so plentiful, sometimes fifty or more were seen in a single bunch. Bear, antelope, panther, wild eagles, wild turkey, and other kind of wild game and animals, common to this locality, were found in countless numbers. Even today, this section is one of the wildest places in north Texas.

    W.J. Hale, who had been working for the Jowell brothers for a few months, left the old ranch, March 7, 1871, and started alone on his way to Palo Pinto. When he reached what is called the Second Crossing of Ioni, about fourteen miles west of Palo Pinto, Uncle Bill was waylaid by several Indians, who made their arrows fly thick and fast. But he ran, and began firing with his six-shooters on both sides. When Mr. Hale reached the First Crossing of Ioni, eastward of the Dindy Place, a few Indians, had also entrenched themselves there. Here again, he fired two or three shots. As Uncle Bill fled eastward, he was followed by the savages until they reached the point where the Cantey Bus Station now stands. Here W.J. Hale made a halt, and when he fired with his Winchester, the Indians fell back. At each of the three places the savages were plainly visible in the bright moonlight. Uncle Bill reached Palo Pinto about eleven o'clock.

    Some one heard the firing, and when the news reached the Jolly Ranch, George, Jerry, and Virgil Jowell, and Sam Conner, who were at the ranch, took W.J. Hale's trail, and followed it to Palo Pinto, for they were afraid he had been murdered by the Indians. Geo. Jowell and Sam Conner and W.J. Hale then returned to Ioni, and discovered that either an Indian or his horse had been wounded, for two bloody places were found on the ground. An arrow was also found sticking in a tree, by which W.J. Hale passed as he went up the bank of the creek.

    Note: Author interviewed: W.J. Hale, mentioned above and one or two others.

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

W.J. Hale's Exciting Chase South of Mineral Wells

    About 1872, W.J. Hale, who had been to Dallas, spent the night at the old Fuller Millsap Place, on Rock Creek. A Mr. Abbott lived there at that time. The next morning he started on toward Palo Pinto, and just before reaching the top of Millsap Mountain, saw five Indians in the road ahead. W.J. Hale began firing his six-shooter, and when he did, the Indians opened a path. Uncle Bill then started in a long run across the prairie to the northwest. When he reached the location of the old Elm Hearst Park, two or three miles southwest of Mineral Wells, the Indians were already crowding him, and his horse beginning to weaken. Here, however, he discovered Jim Robertson, and a man named White, who lived northeast of Weatherford. So the three men threw in together, and after exchanging several shots, the Indians withdrew. The savages then again appeared and made a second charge, but soon fell back, retreated into the roughs, and started toward the Brazos River.

    When W.J. Hale first encountered the Indians, he was afraid to make a stand for fear many other Indians were nearby.

    Note: Author personally interviewed W.J. Hale, himself.

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

W.H. Hale's Indian Fight, About Eight or Nine Miles North and East of Strawn

    During 1872, Eastland County was attached to Palo Pinto for judicial purposes, and W.H. Hale, deputy sheriff, was detailed to go to Mansker Lake, in Eastland County, to serve some legal papers. The first night out he stayed with Wm. Stuart, who ran a ranch near the present city of Strawn. After serving the papers, the next night was spent with Peter Davidson, who then lived several miles southwest of Strawn. W.J. Hale left the Davidson Ranch the next morning, about eleven o'clock. When he crossed the divide between Lake and Palo Pinto Creeks, about nine miles northeast of Strawn, several Indians attempted to surround him. W.J. Hale then fired at the savages about three times, and when he apparently wounded their leader, the Indians made a halt. Hale hurried to the Jimmie Daniels Ranch.

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

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