James Buckner "Buck" Barry, C.S.A. Historical
Walnut Springs Park, south side of town on SH 144
Came to Texas from North Carolina in 1845. Fought in Mexican War and Indian campaigns. In the Civil War, commanded Confederate cavalry regiment in Texas outposts from Red River to Fort McKavett. Camps were a day's horseback ride apart. Patrols protected outer settlements and prevented Indian attacks and threatened Federal invasion from Indian territory. Elected to Texas Legislature 1883. Died on ranch near here. Left personal records of his years in frontier defenses. (1964)
After the ordinance of secession was passed, early in 1861, as has already been related, Col. Henry E. McCulloch and his forces were assigned to the frontier. Col. R.B. (Buck) Barry, who had charge of a portion of McCulloch's command, was stationed on the northwestern frontier.
While camped at Camp Cooper, Col. Buck Barry agreed to meet Major Burleson at a spring on Red River. Consequently he detailed ten men to escort the wagons, which carried provisions and supplies. When the ten men had gone about forty miles, they were stormed by a large number of savages, and eight of their number wounded. The battle started at nine a.m. and continued until three p.m. when the Indians were supposed to have exhausted their ammunition and left the field. It was afterwards learned through peaceable tribes that the savages lost eight of their warriors. Capt. Buck Barry, as soon as he received the news of their situation, dispatched one half of his command to the rangers' relief.
During the second day after the above fight, Wilse Biffle reported to Capt. Buck Barry and his command, that he had discovered Indian signs. Col. Buck Barry halted his command and sent twelve men back for the pack mules. This was during the hot days of July, 1861. The twelve men were hardly out of sight, when firing started. The remaining command, of course, rushed to their relief. But three of their number, namely; E.J. Weatherby, Tif Conneley, and Bud Lane had already been killed. During the fighting two others were wounded. The savages were well armed, highly painted for war, and outnumbered Col. Buck Barry's men about three to one. Their chief, in accordance with their usual custom on such occasion, was wearing a peculiar head piece somewhat similar to that often worn by a bandmaster. For a long time this chief was able to turn the showering bullets with his shield. But finally the Indian chieftain was wounded in the head, and his warriors rallied to his relief and moved him away. It was not long before a running fight followed with the savages in the lead. For ten or twelve miles, along the divide between the Little Wichita and the Red Forks of the Brazos, the rangers followed the Indians. Seven of the savages were known to have been killed, and, perhaps, others seriously wounded. The next morning, the horses of Col. Buck Barry's men were so stiff, they were hardly able to stand.
Graves were dug with butcher knives for the dead, and they were buried in a buffalo trail. Private McKay who was one of the eight men wounded two days before, also, died and was given a frontier burial.
Ref.: Col. Buck Barry's account of this controversy in Wilbarger's, Indian Depredations in Texas; also interviewed F.M. Peveler, Babe Williams, John Marlin, Henry Williams, Mann Johnson, W.A. Ribble, and others who were living on the northwestern frontier at the time or shortly afterwards.
The above story is from the book, The West Texas Frontier, by Joseph Carroll McConnell.
The following pages describe Captain Cureton's fight with Indians on Wolf Creek in 1860. This story is from the book, Indian Depredations in Texas, by J.W. Wilbarger.