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.

Stephens County, Texas

    During 1872, Ben Peobles was working for Gad Miller, who lived on the Clear Fork, close to the present town of Chrystal Falls, in Stephens County. He was out hunting horses, early in the morning, about two miles south of the Miller Ranch, alone on horseback, and armed with a six-shooting rifle. When charged by the Indians, Peobles ran toward the house, and no doubt felt sure he could escape, for Ben was riding a race horse. When this pioneer citizen was about three hundred yards from his destination, however, he received a mortal wound, and died almost instantly. Peobles was scalped and pinned to the ground with arrows. His yelling aroused others at the house. So Lish Christesson, J.H. and E.M. Current, G.W. Emberlin, and Bradshaw went to his rescue, but he was already dead. These citizens were later joined by Dick McCarty, and perhaps others, who followed and fought the retreating Indians until about two o'clock in the evening. About this time, Jeff Davis, Flake Barber, John McConnell and several others, joined the handful of citizens. It seems that after that hour, the Indians were never overtaken. However, the savages robbed a house on King's Creek, about sundown, and the citizens rode up just as the Indians were leaving.

    Note: Author interviewed: Lish Christesson, mentioned above; and others.

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

From Ty Cashion's book, A Texas Frontier:

...Depredations in the Clear Fork country peaked between 1871 and 1873. In Stephens, Shackelford, and Throckmorton counties, Indians killed at least four other people besides the Lees. Herders and other pioneers engaged raiding parties in no less than six other incidents. As usual, the mortal confrontations were stark and sudden. In another dawn attack near Ledbetter's Salt Works, four raiders lanced to death an unarmed hunter who had wandered away from camp. When warriors shot a teacher outside of Picketville, some cowhands alerted by the gunfire froze in place and only later dared venture to the scene. In another part of Stephens County, men found Ben Peobles, scalped and pinned to the ground by arrows, near his home. Moist poignantly, a patrol on the Salt Fork of the Brazos discovered a young girl hanged from a chinaberry tree, her calico dress ripped open in front. The soldiers found a lock of auburn hair near the spot where warriors had scalped her from just above the eyebrows to the nape of the neck.

[Wood to AAAG, Aug. 3, 5, 1872; July 3, Aug. 8, 12, 1873, RG 393, FG, LS: McConnell, West Texas Frontier II , nos. 716, 717, 734, 751, 752, 761, 762.]
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