Peveler Ranch Encounters

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.

Young County, Texas

    During 1867, several shots were exchanged with the Indians at the Peveler Ranch, on Salt Creek near where this stream was crossed by the Jacksboro-Belknap road. The Indians, succeeded in driving away several hobbled horses. But Geo. Hunter, who heard the shots, hurried to the house, and when he arrived, Lewis Peveler said, "Let me have your horse and I'll get those horses back." He hurried over the hill and told the other boys to follow. Lewis Peveler had only gone a short way, however, when he came upon seven savages cutting the hobbles from one horses' feet. Here he took deliberate aim at the nearest Indian, who fell forward on his steed when Lewis Peveler fired. A second Indian dashed backwards and began to fire. Lewis Peveler now dropped back over the ridge to meet the remaining boys whom he thought were coming afoot. Shortly afterwards Grub Hines and Carr Hunt, who were coming to the Peveler ranch, met six savages and it was supposed the seventh one had been killed by Lewis Peveler.

Indian Boy Captured at the Peveler Ranch

    About two weeks after the preceding encounter, the batching cowboys at the Peveler Ranch were disturbed by the continual barking of the dogs. Lewis Peveler, Champ Farris, Bill Farris, and perhaps, one or two others, went out in the yard to ascertain, if possible, what was causing the disturbance. Champ Farris could speak Spanish, the language that was more or less spoken and understood by many of the Indians. After being outside only a short time, they were surprised to hear an Indian boy say he was sick, had no weapons of war, and wanted something to eat. This Indian boy voluntarily surrendered, and proved to be a walking skeleton. He said he had been abandoned by his comrades several days before, when they made a raid, perhaps, through Jack County, and that he was now on the verge of starvation. This boy was humanely treated, properly fed, and in a short time, completely recuperated.

    After the Indian youth was captured, and when on one occasion he and some of the Pevelers spent the night at the home of Martin Lane and his people, the Indian boy remarked that he had seen Martin Lane before. He was then asked when and where. The youthful Indian replied that for some time he sat on a hill and watched Martin Lane and other boys take a swim. The Indian also described the time and place accurately. Martin Lane laughed and said about that time and in a place similar to that described by the Indian, he, John H. Williams, John Lasater, John Peters, and others, were, in fact, in swimming on Keechi, in the southern part of Jack County. No doubt, they were watched by this same Indian boy, who finally found his way to the Peveler Ranch in a starved and feverish condition. This boy was later placed in the hands of Geo. Barnard, who gave him proper attention, sent him to school, and later sent him across Red River to receive his allotment.

    Note: Before writing this and the preceding section, the author personally interviewed F. M. Peveler, a brother of Lewis Peveler. F.M. Peveler took horses to the Peveler Ranch shortly after the two above transactions occurred.

The above stories are from the book, The West Texas Frontier, by Joseph Carroll McConnell.

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