Ward Mountain Fight

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.

Palo Pinto County, Texas

    The date of this conflict is not certain, but it occurred about 1867, and will be reported at this time. During the days of reconstruction, the savages were so severe in their onslaught, many of the citizens traveled during the night to avoid the Indians. Two methodist preachers left Stephensville, traveled all night, and the next morning were chased by a large band of savages when they were within one mile of Palo Pinto, and near the upper graveyard. These early preachers could run as well as preach, so they reached Palo Pinto safely.

    But in a short time, H.G. Taylor, Uncle Johnnie Lynn, and several others, whose names we do not have, under the command of George Cathey, took the trail of the seven Indians. These savages were followed to Ward Mountain and overtaken about ten or twelve miles southeast of Palo Pinto. The Indians were first discovered on the opposite side of a canyon, and were going up the hill. According to reports, Geo. Cathey, who was in command, seemed to have urgent business elsewhere, and said, "Charge them, Boys, I will go after more help," and then ran away. But the remaining citizens charged the seven Indians in the roughs along Ward Mountain, and a considerable fight followed. Uncle Johnnie Lynn continued to point his gun on a particular Indian, but never fired. As usual the savages were yelling, dancing, dodging, blowing whistles, etc., to excite their assailants, but in a short time, the Indians began to retreat. H.G. Taylor said to the savages, "Damn you, why don't you stop and fight?" A rusty old warrior replied, "Damn you some too." The Indians retreated into the thick timber. After the fight was over, H.G. Taylor asked, "Uncle Johnnie, why didn't you shoot? You had a bead on him several times." Uncle Johnnie Lynn replied, "Yes, but I could not get him still long enough. I wanted to kill that old greasy Indian."

    Note: Author heard H.G. Taylor several times relate this incident. Also interviewed P.J. Taylor, a brother of H.G. Taylor, and others who were living in Palo Pinto at the time

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

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