Howell Walker and Son, Henry

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.

Jack County, Texas

    September 13, 1873, Howell Walker and his son, Henry, who was about twelve years of age, and Mortimer Stevens, had been gathering corn, on Walker's Place, in Jack County, and went to the Thurman Springs, on Salt Creek, for water. They were driving oxen, and intended to haul back water in barrels. When they reached the Springs, deer signs were plentiful, so Walker suggested they drive the wagon under the hill, and wait for the approach of a deer. In a short time, Mortimer Stevens, who was in a tree, saw several deer coming from the north, and pointed them out to Walker. About that time, Walker looked toward a nearby bluff and started to run toward Stevens. He said, "My God, Steve, the world is alive with Indians. The best thing we can do is make that mountain." Mortimer Stevens replied, "No, lets stay with them, and give them all we have got." But Walker and his son started toward the mountain, and were followed by Mortimer Stevens. When they had gone about 250 yards, they laid down on the ground. After the Indians fired and passed on by, the citizens jumped and started toward the bluff, in the creek. In a short time, the Indians charged again, and began shooting down the creek. Two other Indians got in behind the citizens, who were fired upon from both directions. About that time, Howell Walker was shot from the rear by an Indian, and the same bullet passed on and wounded his son, Henry. Walker then said, "Steve, if you get out alive, have me buried decent, and go to Mr. Agnes and get the money that is due on the herd." The boy said, "My Lord, Steve, I'm killed." While the two were gasping for breath, Mortimer Stevens shot an Indian, dashed down the creek, and went into a dogwood thicket. He afterwards became lost, but finally reached the Rodger's home, about one o'clock. From there, he went to Jacksboro, and reported what had occurred.

    Mortimer Stevens said that he counted thirty-seven Indians, that two had some of his quilts stolen from his camp, that several of the Indians had highly colored blankets, and were wearing government hats.

    The savages, no doubt from the Ft. Sill Reservation, cut little Henry Walker's heart from his body. Walker and his son, were found the same day they were killed.

    Note: Among the old files and archives in the State Library at Austin, the author found an affidavit made by Mortimer Stevens, dated Sept. 14, 1873, the next day after Walker and his son were killed. The affidavit set out the above facts; after the killing; and was evidently correct for it was made before a government officer. Also found a letter from Lewis P. Valentine to Governor E.J. Davis dated Sept. 14, 1873. Mr. Valentine stated in the letter that he had just returned from the scene where Howell Walker and son were killed. Author also interviewed: Martin Lane; A.M. Lasater; James Wood; Mrs. Ed. Wohlfforth; and others. Although there was a slight variation in one or two of the reports, nevertheless, we compiled facts that caused us to believe Walker and his son were killed just as above related. And many months later, found in the Archives, the above affidavit, which substantiated our ideas.

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

In his book, Indian Depredations in Texas, J.W. Wilbarger lists Walker's death among the many that occured in Jack County.

Howell Walker story by Wilbarger

Join the discussion

  • Howell Walker was the uncle of Savannah Walker, the wife of Albert Duvall Benton, who is a direct decendant of my kids father’s family. I am working on the family tree. Another Benton relative, Sharron Spencer, published a book about the Benton family and this story was included. She had some actual hand written affidavits that she got from the Texas State Archives. While working on family trees, I don’t usually consider that they could have been in danger. I didn’t know the Native Americans were still in that area at that time and were extremely upset about their land being taken. Which I can’t blame them. It is good to include these stories in with the family trees. Gives a wake up about what your ancestors were going through as they tried to set up the land they got through land grants at that time.

    • Would Howell Walker be the brother to Vander Walker, my great-great grandfather who was married to Mary Stidham? I have no documentation about Vander’s own parents or siblings and would love to know more about them!

  • I am researching Vander Walker, my great-great-grandfather, and his siblings, one of whom was a Howell Walker. Thanks for presenting this information! I would be interested in finding any documentation linking Howell Walker and Vander Walker. Currently, I only have a deed of gift dating back to 1830 Bibb County, Alabama.

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