Dalton’s Pass Road Trip

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.

On Hwy. 337 to the east, in 1872, three cowboys intending to join a trail drive to Kansas, stumbled onto a band of Indians near the mouth of the Big Keechi. The Indians managed to steal some baggage containing three pairs of white stockings which cowboys wore to dances. Men's fancy silk stockings were then unknown in this section. Several nights later, a posse located these Indians who, unfortunately for six of them, wore the white stockings on their arms, making themselves excellent targets in the dim lightd. The exact damage inflicted was not known as the Indians carried off their dead and wounded, as was their custom.

Probably near 1870, the Slaughter brothers were taking turns sleeping in a corn crib while the other stood guard in the saddle. Meanwhile nearby at the Conatser Ranch, George Dodson was doing likewise with Jack Conatser. George shot an Indian he saw crawling through the horse herd and grunting like a hog in an effort to stampede the horses. The boys moved the Indian up on top of the hill; years later, McConnell found the bones. The next morning just before dawn, John Slaughter stepped out to see what was upsetting the chicken house and the dogs. He caught a bullet in the ribs but managed to struggle back and get his gun. The Indians fled and he recovered within a few months.

Again on the west side of the highway, in 1863, Mr. Henry Welty had failed to return home from the field by nightfall because he had been slain by a band of Indians. John Graves writes about the unfortunate Mrs. Welty, pregnant and hiding in a darken cabin, hearing the screech of an owl or the howl of a coyote and wondering if the sounds aren't actually Indians signaling. Goodnight pointed out that only the best-trained ear could tell the difference.

In 1865, a handful of cowboys armed with cap and ball pistols, forced a superior band of Indians to retreat. The only known injury was Ben Caruthers, who caught an arrow during the fight.

Further east, in August of 1864, cattlemen around the Keechi Black Springs community failed to meet for a roundup in Loving's Valley. The men managed to find each other and prepared and ate their noon meal at Turkey Creek. At that time, one of their horses came toward the group with an arrow sticking in its side. Some of the men raced in the direction the horse came from. Soon several braves were spotted by the five cattlemen who had begun the search. One-armed Wilson was riding the best horse. He rode toward the Indians, who had strung their bows and had crossed the creek, heading in his direction. Wilson held the bridle reins with his teeth, using his only good hand to fire his six-shooter. He dropped his gun and requested someone else loan him one. Sam Ham had caught an Indian by his long hair but was forced to fall back when he turned to shoot him. Wilson, now rearmed, shot an Indian off of his horse, causing his arrows to scatter across the ground. As the Indian bent to gather them up, Wilson shot him again but he managed an attempt to escape; only to receive several more shots. The final one administered to the head by Charlie Goodnight. The rest of the Indians retreated and the cattlemen recovered nine stolen horses.

In 1869, George Eubanks and some others were hunting when he was separated from the group because he had stopped to eat hackberries. Something caused a flock of wild geese to rise off the prairie and sent George in search of protection. He got behind a small post oak tree with a trunk no bigger than eight inches which nonetheless received nine gun shots while George returned fire in the direction the shots were coming from, burying eighteen bullets in a rock the raiders were hiding behind. The continuous firing caused Eubank's four or five companions to hurry to his assistance, causing the Indian to run away.

East of 337, on the 8th of November, 1870, the Jowell Brothers and others were hunting cattle in Turkey Creek country where they had a confrontation with a band of Indians. At first, the two sides were scattered. Shots were exchanged but no one was hit. Eventually the cowboys got together and concentrated their fire at the base of a cottonwood tree where they had seen gun smoke rising. The Indians then ceased their firing and where seen passing on through another opening.

Sometime during or right after the Civil War, Johnny Eubanks sent his seventeen-year old son, Tom Eubanks, to represent him in a roundup on the headwaters of Pecan Bayou. Eventually Johnny learned his son never arrived at the roundup so he gathered a group of friends and relatives to search for his missing son. Two dead horses were found in the vicinity where Tom should have been traveling. After further searching, an Indian was found buried in the same vicinity and amongst his remains was Tom's powder horn and belt. Johnny traveled all the way to the Fort Cobb area of Oklahoma, hoping that his son had been taken captive but to no avail. Several years later, his son's bones were found near what would later be called Eubank's Mountain, where the Indian and two horses were also found. Johnny kept his son's bones until his death, at which time they were placed with him in his grave.

On April 24, 1869, cowboys of the Ikard outfit overtook a band of Indians. Both Sam Newberry and John Doss shot Indians and the boys retrieved some of the Indian's horses and gear, unfortunately Elbert Doss was killed in the fight.


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