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Ben Smith and Ruff

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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San Saba County, Texas

    July 2, 1867, the Coggin's outfit, from Brown and Coleman County, Ben Smith, Taylor Vandeveer and several others were making a roundup and holding a large herd of cattle on the San Saba River, about one mile west of Camp San Saba in McCulloch County. When Ben Smith, who lived on the Pecan Bayou about three or four miles southeast of Brownwood and a cowboy named Ruff, started across the San Saba about 100 yards above the present Brady and Mason highway, they were ambushed by about fifteen Indians who had concealed themselves under the banks of the river. Smith was killed almost instantly. Ruff evidently ran several miles. His fate long remained a mystery. But several years later, the cowboy's skeleton was found near a cliff. His gun was by his side, where he died.

    Note: Author interviewed Taylor Vandeveer, mentioned above, W.W. Hunter, Mrs. Pat Lester, a niece of Ben Smith and others who lived in that section at the time.

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

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