The Recapture of the Krawitz Children

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.

Bandera County, Texas
The Recapture of the Krawitz Children

    During 1862, about fifteen rangers camped about ten miles from the head of the Medina River in the Bandera County territory. It was an autumn night and Taylor Thompson doing guard duty. He heard somebody remark, "Say, mister stop." When Taylor Thompson halted he heard a further remark; "Mister, you are a white man aren't you?" Then he replied in the affirmative. Two small boys firmly holding hands, emerged from a nearby thicket. It proved to be Fritz and Willie Krawitz, eleven and eight years old respectively.

    A few nights before, their mother had gone to the home of a neighbor to be with a sick friend. The father and the three children, including the two boys and their six year old sister, who was still in the hands of the savages, were at home alone when charged by Indians. Mr. Krawitz was wounded and his children carried into captivity. The night the two boys came to the ranger camp, the savages were camped near the head waters of the Medina, and although the brothers hated to leave their little sister, they nevertheless slipped away under the cover of darkness, when an opportune time arrived. They then found their way to the beautiful banks of the Medina. Subsequently and with almost Providential guidance Fritz and Willie came directly to the camp of the rangers.

    Although the boys were unable to pilot the minute-men back to the particular place from which they escaped; nevertheless the rangers successfully found the Comanche camp. A part of the Indians evidently were out in the darkness searching for the run-away boys, while the remainder guarded the camp and girl. The main command halted about four hundred yards from the savages. Taylor Thompson and a man named Macedonia reconnoitered the Indian camp and could hear the little girl crying. They then slipped back and the rangers left two of their number in charge of the boys, advanced toward the savages, and their presence was not discovered, until citizens were within forty yards of the Indian camp. Althought Indians cannot, as a rule, withstand firing at close range, they stood their ground for about ten minutes and then scattered like a covey of quail in the nearby timber. But the poor little girl tasted the troubles of the early West Texas frontier. Fortunately for her, she was recaptured by friends. After the fight was over six savages lay dead on the ground. One ranger lost his life and others wounded.

    When the Krawitz children reached their home, about ten miles from Castroville in Medina County, the little ones were extremely pleased to find their father alive. He soon recovered from his severe wound.

    Note: 248, Pioneer History of Bandera County, by Marvin Hunter. Also old timers of that section.

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

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