Murder of W.R. Terry and Children, and Capture of a Colored boy

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.

Kerr County, Texas

    During 1873 Jack Harding, an African boy, about twelve years of age, was returning from mill with corn meal, and captured on Cherry Creek, in Kerr County, about five miles southeast of Center Point. The savages then went about three miles farther, and shot W.R. Terry, while cutting cypress timber about fifty yards from his camp. When he was wounded, he ran a few feet, and fell. He was then lanced by the Indians who went on to the camp, killed two of his children, and captured a little girl, about eight years of age. Mrs. Terry, however, escaped, hid her baby in the weeds, and rushed on and concealed herself in a deep gulley, a short distance away. Shortly afterwards, she went to the nearest settlements and reported. And when relief arrived, the little baby was crawling around in the weeds.

    The savages with their two captives, were next heard from on the little Blanco, between the Sabinal and Frio Canyon. Here they gave Chris Kelley an exciting chase, and succeeded in capturing his horse. They robbed John Avant and Wm. Pruitt and Ed Myre's cow-camps, at the mouth of Cherry Creek, on the Frio. These men were away at the time.

    By this time, several citizens were on the Indians' trail. When the Indians were on the upper Frio, the African boy escaped, and reported to the settlers about the Indians' raid, and their having with them the little Terry girl. As usual this African boy had been subjected to the most inhuman treatment, and had been whipped unmercifully. The Indians often did this to test the bravery of their captives, and when the African boy grinned and stood the punishment, the savages grinned each time, and said, "Bravo, Bravo". After making a very circuitous route, the Indians were headed off between the Main and Dry Frio, near the head of Buffalo Creek, and were overtaken in the Dry Frio Canyon, a few miles further. By this time Wm. Pruitt, John Avant, Lysander Avant, Jack Grigsby and John Patterson, were present when the Indians were discovered. Others, however, were following the trail perhaps several miles behind. The citizens all fired simultaneously and the Indians fled. Since they knew that the little girl was behind one of the savages, they purposely shot over the Indian's head into the air, excepting in those cases where they knew an Indian was riding alone. About this time, the little girl either fell off, or was pushed off by an Indian, and she fell in the hands of her own race. The innocent child was terribly frightened, but the citizens soon quieted her and told her she was in the hands of friends. The citizens, however, pushed on after the Indians, and succeeded in wounding at least one of their number. In due time the recaptured little daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Terry was restored to her mother.

    Note: Author interviewed: Steve McElroy, and other settlers of that section. Further Ref.: 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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