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

    James H. Swindells, April 24, 1858, received a contract to carry the mail from Stephensville to a little place known as Birmingham on Palo Pinto Creek about one and a half miles north of the present town of Gordon; then to Palo Pinto, and Jacksboro, and back, once a week. This contract expired January 6,1861. During 1860, J.H. Swindells employed Nick Lee to carry his mail.

    One fine spring morning in April, 1860, he had gone about fourteen miles north of Stephensville and was near the present village of Exray, when shot in the back and killed by Indians. Nick was riding a mule. Since he usually reached Birmingham for dinner, W.H. Daves, the postmaster, could not understand why the mail carrier failed to arrive.

    Note: Before writing this article, the author personally interviewed M.T. Gellantine, a second or third cousin to Nick Lee; Mrs. A. Wolf, a daughter of W.H. Daves; and Ike Roberts; C.E. Ferguson; Henry Blue, and others who were living in Erath and Palo Pinto County at the time.

    Further Ref: Census and Post Office Records in Washington and Austin.

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

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