Weatherford Pioneer’s 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.

I want to emphasize that the red flagged locations are approximate and the mileage is provided solely for the purpose of tempting the imagination of one viewing through the windshield. All property beyond the fences is private and it is dangerous and illegal to trespass.

When you make the turn onto 1885 from 920, set your odometer at zero. The draw that leads to the farmhouse on the left side of 1885, 2.6 miles from where 1885 branches west from 920, was Johnnie Leaper's homestead in 1863. His young wife, who was half his age, heard gunfire and her seventy-year old husband's screams coming from their cornfield. She made it to the front door in time to see several warriors successfully completing his murder.

When you reach 4.5 miles on your odometer, also on the southside, William Youngblood was killed about a half mile from his house where he was splitting rails. A posse gathered together and found the Indians, but one of the citizens couldn't restrain his excitement and hollered, alarming the Indians. Then, they got away because they were riding better horses. They next appeared at the home of High Van Cleve where preparations were being made for a wedding. The warriors attempted to steal Van Cleve's prize race horse but it broke loose and ran into the stable and Van Cleve closed the door. Another fight occurred seven miles southwest of Jacksboro. One Indian was killed, and Youngblood's scalp was found in his possession. Youngblood was buried with his scalp. The groom was married though his clothes were badly torn up during the fight and the Indian's corpse was propped up against a tree on the road, where he remained for many years. The settlers believed that once a warrior fell into the hands of his enemy his companions from then on would steer clear of him.

Further up on the road, again on the left side George McKlusky was killed in 1873 by an Indian who had been hiding in an oat stack in the field.

On the north side of the road about a year earlier, Joe Littleton and his wife were gathering pecans on a creek near their house. Their five small children were in the house when Indians appeared. Mary, the oldest child, was struck in the leg by a bullet when she closed the door. Still, she held an old, useless pistol to protect her siblings. Her father dropped one attacker and wounded another, who died from his wounds and whose body was found a few days later when it attracted buzzards.

Just to the south of the road before the intersection with Highway 281 is where Mr. Dalton and two of his traveling companions were ambushed and murdered on November, 1870, by a band of southbound raiders who had just struck the Jowell Brothers near present day Perrin. Dalton was returning from a cattle drive to Kansas and had eleven thousand dollars hidden in his trunk that the Indians cut open but overlooked.

Our road trip turns north at the intersection of Highway 281 where we will parallel the path of Nocona's raiders on our way to Fort Richardson.


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