Fierce Fight at the Ledbetter Salt Works

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.

Shackelford County, Texas

    The same Indians mentioned in the preceding section, (George Hazlewood story) next appeared at the Old Ledbetter Salt Works, about nine miles south and west of the present city of Albany, in Shackelford County. The Old Ledbetter Salt Works were on the salt prong of Hubbard's Creek. W.H. Ledbetter, Sam Lindsey and their families lived near the salt works at the time. Sam Lindsey and family lived in a little picket structure, about one hundred and fifty yards south of the Ledbetter rock house. Nep Thornton and others worked for Ledbetter and also lived near. When the savages first appeared, they were discovered about three hundred yards away by Harve Ledbetter, and, as usual, were hideously painted, and came yelling and screaming toward this frontier post. These early pioneers, however, well knew the savages did not intend to run completely over them. The large number of Indians circled the salt works several times, and constantly discharged their volleys of arrows.

    Some time before, a Mexican had brought a train of provisions from San Antonio to Fort Griffin, and when he passed the Ledbetter Salt Works, the Mexican contracted with W.H. Ledbetter to furnish one thousand buffalo hides at a certain future date. The buffalo had already been killed when the Indians appeared, and the open prairies covered with their carcasses. Sam Lindsey and Nep Thornton were engaged in carrying dried buffalo hides from a point near the rock house to a place where the hides were being stacked.

    During the thickest of the fighting, Nep Thornton discovered the Indians were about to capture Mrs. Lindsey, who had been sick, and her little daughter "Sis Lindsey," who afterwards married Pete Harris.

    Mrs. Lindsey and "Sis" had seen the Indians and were hurrying from their picket home to the Ledbetter Rock House, about one hundred and fifty yards north. Nep Thornton hurried to protect them, and arrived just in time to prevent a savage from catching little "Sis" Lindsey by the hair of the head. When this particular Indian saw that Nep Thornton was going to shoot, he ducked and ran away. In a short time all the citizens were under cover and prepared for an extended battle. For half and hour the savages charged and almost beat a path as they circled the salt works. But when the Indians realized they were constantly losing their warriors, who were being shot from their horses with buffalo guns, and other firearms, they started toward the northwest with their dead and wounded. None of the citizens were seriously injured.

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

Join the discussion

Further reading

Recent Comments