Raid Through Montague, Cooke and Denton Counties During September of 1866

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.

Cooke County, Texas
Denton County, Texas
Montague County, Texas

    During the next light moon after the killing of Mr. Box and capture of his family, the savages again appeared. Indians were first discovered about two miles from Red River Station. About two days later a band of savages stormed the citizens' fort near the Head of Elm, in the eastern part of Montague. Three strangers had stopped at the fort, and others were near home for the savages were expected. A few shots were exchanged, and the Indians went about four miles east of the present town of St. Jo., where they came upon and killed James Harris, who was alone, and hunting horses about two miles south of his home. Mr. Harris was killed in the morning.

    The Indians next appeared near the mouth of Brush Elm, where they charged Newt Gilbert and his family, and James Courfey, who were moving to Gainesville, and who retreated for protection in the old Shannon home. When the Indians realized they had a fight on hand, they withdrew and turned south until they struck the Forestburg and Gainesville road. In a short time they came upon Andrew Powers and Winfield Williams, about seven miles north of Forestburg, and had started to Gainesville. Andrew Powers, who was riding a mule, was overtaken and killed, but Williams successfully escaped. Shortly afterwards, no doubt, the Indians threw in with another band that was returning from Denton County with a stolen herd of approximately eight hundred head of horses. There were now as many as perhaps sixty-five savage warriors. In a short time, Charlie Grant, Joseph Field, C. Loran, Alex Frazier, and several others struck the Indians' trail.

    The Indians then started on their return toward the northwest and passed about one-half mile east of the town of Montague. Here, a second posse of men including Joe Bryant, Jno. McFarland, L.B. White, Jno. Hall, J.M. Grayson and about 20 others, took the Indian trail, and came upon them near the mouth of the Big Wichita. The citizens hid in the tall grass, and a bitter fight followed. Both Indians and whites would rise up out of the tall grass, shoot and then duck down again. Several Indians were supposed to have been killed. The fight lasted until nearly dark, when the whites fell back across the Wichita. A group of citizens from the Forestburg Community, under the command of Capt. Brines, came along on the trail and discovered where the first posse had stuck up the following note, "Come on, Boys, they have passed this way." Near the mouth of the Big Wichita, they found a second note tacked to a tree. "Turn back boys, they have given us a warm reception."

    Note: Author personally interviewed: Joe Bryant, mentioned above, who was in the fight at the mouth of the Big Wichita; Charlie Grant, who trailed the Indians, and others who lived in Montague County at the time.

    Further Ref: History of Montague County, by Mrs. W.R. Potter

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

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