August Rothe and Others, Encounter Indians on the Hondo

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.

Medina County, Texas

    In the spring of 1865, August Rothe, Geo. Miller, Herbert Weynand, and Jacob Sauter, who lived on the Seco near old Fort Lincoln, while out in search of oxen, camped on the Hondo near a place called the Sink of Waters. Weynand, the youngest, was about twelve years of age, and the other boys were slightly older. Sauter soon found his oxen and returned home.

    While August Rothe was searching for this steers in the mountains, about 2 o-clock in the evening, he found Ludwig Mummie, who had been lost for two days and nights without food and provisions, and was found in a delirious condition. Mr. Mummie, while attempting to pass over the mountains from Bandera to D'Hanis lost his way. After the boys nursed the elderly gentleman back to his normal condition, they insisted on his remaining and returning with them to the settlements. But he refused, and proceeded on his journey.

    Rothe went to see about his horses and was suddenly alarmed by firing in the camp. He later learned, however, that Geo. Miller emptied nearly the loads in Rothe's pistol at a tree. When August Rothe returned to the camp, he said, "George, you should not have done that. I have no more loads, and now suppose the Indians should come upon us." Weynand happened to have a little powder and two buckshot, and with these, two additional chambers were loaded, making three in all.

    Next morning after breakfast, Rothe and Weynand went out in search of the horses which had strayed a mile or more from the camp. When the horses were found they suddenly met George Miller coming in a run. Miller said that several Indians were watering their horses only a short distance away. Unfortunately, the savages saw Miller when he made a hasty retreat. Before he hardly told his story, eight warriors rushed upon the three boys. Geo. Miller said, "We must run for the mountains."

    Weynand was instructed to run to McCay's Ranch, several miles distant. Rothe and Miller then started toward the mountains with five Indians after them, and Weynand, down the road pursued by the three remaining savages. When the Indians advanced, Rothe would draw his gun and caused them to retreat. Rothe and Miller then advanced further toward the mountains. Finally, Geo. Miller, who was unarmed, became almost exhausted and was overtaken by the Indians, who hit him over the head with a spear, causing him to stagged. About that time, August Rothe heard Weynand hollow, and shortly afterward could see an Indian holding him by the hair of his head. Up until this time, Rothe thought that Weynand had escaped, for they became separated and were some distance apart. Two of the five Indians that followed Rothe and Miller, carried the latter back to camp. The three remaining savages trotted on after Rothe, and one of these Indians appeared to be a Mexican. Again and again Rothe was closely crowded by his assailant, but finally succeeded in reaching the summit of the mountains, and by the time he did, the Indians had abandoned their pursuit. He then crossed over the divide, hid in the thick timber on the other side, and when able, wound his way on to the McCay Ranch.

    A searching party then returned and found George Miller's shoes sitting side by side in the camp. A little later, Geo. Miller's body was found under a bluff near the water, where the Indians were first discovered. He was stripped, but one sock, according to Indians custom, was left on his foot, and his hands were tied with a pair of hobbles, drawn so tightly, the flesh was cut to the bone. He was lanced in the left side and his jugular vein had been opened, but was not scalped.

    Capt. Joe Hey, of D'Hanis, and others, followed the Indians, and when the savages were overtaken, they scattered live a covey of quail in the mountains. But several stolens horses, saddles, bridles, etc., were recovered. According to reports, the fate of Herbert Weynand has always remained a mystery.

    Note: Author personally interviewed: Joe Ney, a son of Mr. Ney, mentioned above; Monroe Fendley.

    Further Reference: Texas Indian Fighters, by A.J. Sowell.

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

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