John Leaky and Others Fight in 1858

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.

Uvalde County, Texas
John Leaky and Others Fight in 1858

During the above year, Wilson O'Bryant drove his family over to visit his son-in-law, George Thompson, who then lived about four miles above the present city of Utopia. During the night they were disturbed by running horses, and when an investigation was made, they discovered these animals in a nearby field, and one of them had an Indian arrow sticking in his side. The horses were then penned but the oxen were left on the outside. The next morning it was discovered that both steers had been killed. John Leaky, for whom the town of Leaky was named, Gideon Thompson, Sebe Barmore, Henry Robinson, and Silias Webster, followed the Indians afoot and came upon them about four miles west and near the head of Bear Creek, where they were cooking a part of the oxen. In the fight that followed, the five men were confronted by twenty Indians. John Leaky was soon wounded three or four times; Steve Barmore was shot in the side; Gideon Thompson's hat was shot from his head; and so deadly was the aim of the Indians, the whites were forced to flee.

As soon as they could get together, John Davenport, John Bowles, both of whom were killed by Indians during the following year; Newman and Geo. Patterson, John Findley, Charley Burgman, Gideon Thompson, Richard Ware, J.M. McCormick, Henry Robertson, R.P. Kelly, J.C. Ware, W.W. Black, and perhaps others, took up the Indian trail where they barbecued the oxen. The trail led across the main Frio, then across to the dry Frio, then to the top of a high mountain overlooking the San Antonio and El Paso Road. At this point the Indians seemed to have remained for sometime. Perhaps they were waiting for an opportunity to murder some lonely passing traveler. From here they went below Fort Inge, and crossed the Leona; they then took down the divide between this stream and the Nueces for some distance, and finally crossed again to the former river; the Indians only had one mule and two ponies, and it seems the whites were still undiscovered. John Findley, Gideon Thompson, and W.W. Black were detailed to remain with the horses. This command was under the leadership of Capt. Henry Robinson, who was also later killed by the Indians. But before the Indians had reached this point, they had divided and there were only about eight in this particular group. Robinson and Newman seemed to have been the first to shoot, and one of the Indians they wounded later proved to be a female tribesperson. J.C. Ware was about the next to fire and shot an Indian sitting beside this female tribesperson. This Indian jumped up, wheeled and ran about ten steps. It was later discovered that J.C. Ware, during the shooting, shot the Indian about the heart. One of this warrior's arrows passed through Mr. Ware's toes. A general charge was then made and seven of the eight Indians killed; only one escaped.

J.C. Ware, then only a young man, was given the Indian's bow, quiver of arrows, and shield. The spoils of the battle were brought to Uvalde where they were sold to the highest bidder.

Ref.: The author interviewed Capt. J.C. Ware, who was in the fight; also interviewed others.

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