Captain Alex (Buck) Roberts and His Rangers Round Up Indians Near the Pack-Saddle Mountains in Llano County

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.

Llano County, Texas

    During 1868, Capt. Alex Roberts, his son,Wm. (Buck) Roberts and George Roberts, Will Shipp, Morris Humphries and possibly one or two more, were out scouting in the colorful hills of Llano County and then discovered several horses apparently in distress. After the rangers reached the horses, they soon saw that four or five had been killed and others wounded by a band of marauding Indians. Their trail was followed one-half mile to where the savages had purposely separated to make it difficult for the rangers to follow their route.

    The scouts were now joined by Peter and Alex Shelley, John Crownoner and A. Hardin, local citizens who did not belong to the command. The savages were then followed a considerable distance and the rangers discovered where they had killed five or six additional horses and supplied themselves with horse meat.

    Wm. (Buck) Roberts said, "They proceeded about three miles further when they came to a small rugged mountain, leading from the main mountains, pointing down to the Llano River where they camped. Their spies either saw or heard us, so they mounted and fled like wild cattle. After following them three miles further, they were overtaken. Their chief was riding near the middle of the bunch and suddenly called a halt, throwing his arms at full length, formed a line, and wheeled them, facing us, and met us shooting and yelling, like fighting demons. It was cloudy and showers of rain had been falling at intervals. All, except father and I, were armed with old-fashioned cap and ball firearms, which refused to fire when necessity called."

    Nevertheless, as poorly armed as they were, the brave citizens stood their ground. Buck Roberts further said, "The Indians soon discovered our conditions and directed all their arrows against father and I. When the old chief sought to catch me,and carrying his fun in his left hand, advancing and shooting with a six-shooter in his right hand, father and I were armed with Spencer carbines that had been drawn from the government. Our ammunition being nearly exhausted, we were forced to retain our fire as long as possible, but the old warrior advanced to within a few feet of me when I put a bullet in the right place, throwing him to the ground. About the same time, four or five others of the twenty-two Comanches fell, so the remaining Indians retreated from the field."

    The citizens captured twenty-five horses, some saddles and other articles and none of their number was wounded.

    Note: Author personally corresponded with Wm. (Buck) Roberts himself. Also interviewed W.H. and Capt. Dan Roberts, who lived in that section of the state at the time.

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

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