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Experience of Henry Riley

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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Jack County, Texas

    It was during 1867 that Henry Riley, who lived ten or eleven miles south of Jacksboro, went out at ten o'clock at night, to see about a bleating calf, he thought the wolves had caught. When he had gone approximately two hundred yards, something whizzed by his head, but he mistook it for a grasshopper. A second later an arrow whistled by his right side, and he said, "I sure knew what that was." Henry Riley now realized he had been decoyed from the house, and was surrounded by Indians, who had been bleating like a calf. Instead of running, although he was uninjured, he fell to the ground as if he were dead. When he did, the hidden savages darted from their places of concealment, and started toward him with their knives, thinking they were going to add another scalp to their list of trophies. But when the Indians were out in the open, he jumped up, took after a lone savage between him and his house, and began firing. The Indian, of course, had business elsewhere and gave Henry Riley an open path to his home, which was reached in safety.

    Note: Author interviewed: A.M. Lasater, who was at the Henry Riley home the next morning; also interviewed B.L. Ham and James Wood.

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

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