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Motheral Gap Fight

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. Please consider reading our editorial policy to understand how and why we publish the resources we do.

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Erath County, Texas

    During 1861 or 1862, the Indians stole horses belonging to James Ferguson and others then living in the vicinity of Stephenville. The citizens took a course south and east, supposing the warriors would go to Motheral Gap. S. Danley, John Clark, M.T. Gillentine, Wm. Gillentine, Wm. Waller, and possibly one or two others concealed themselves in this Gap, which is about ten miles southeast of Stephenville. Here they waited for the Indians. At the same time three men were following the Indians trail. The Indians with stolen horses passed the home of Ben Beech, and in a short time reached Motheral Gap, where they were ambushed by the above citizens. Apparently, three or four of the savages were seriously wounded. But the citizens were able to scalp only one. Walsh Cox, Hightower, and Townsend who were the three trailing the Indians, reached the battle ground just as the fight was over. The savages pushed on into the mountains in the direction of Glen Rose, and were pursued for several miles, but finally made their escape.

    Note: Author personally interviewed M.T. Gillentine who was in the fight, Ben Beech by whose home the Indians passed. C.E. Ferguson, whose father had his horses stolen, etc., all of whom lived in Erath County at the time.

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

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