Fannin County Museum of History

   

One Main Street, Bonham, Texas

Holding Talks With the Indians

Bonham Daily Favorite, April 30, 1995.


Dr. Daniel Rowlett, in his 1840 report to Mirabeau B. Lamar, in addition to his recounting of the persons already residing along Red River in 1836, also gave extensive and first hand accounts of some of the Indian depredations that occurred in the area. Many of the accounts were later corroborated by others in various depositions to certain Texas agencies in the 1840's. Still other accounts of these incidents were published much later by other correspondents. In general the Rowlett accounts should be considered as being the most accurate because they were not distorted by the passage of time or the failure of memory. His accounts also make reference to certain occurences that took place at an earlier time than those indicated by the later reports.

"About the 10th of May 35, there was an organization of all the men in sd bounds into a militia company -immediately after the organization of sd Company which was at the residence of D. Rowlett, a party of sd Company or detachment commanded by sd Rowlett consisting of five men passed up Red River for the purpose of holding talks with the Indians there residing along sd. river.

On the 12th of May 36, discoverd a fresh Indian trail passing to the North, which was immediately followed to the River where was found a party of Kikapoo, Indians who upon examination informed us that the whites had whipped the Mexicans, that the horses of the Mexicans were all sick, and the Mexicans were leaving Texas, never to return.

On reaching Shawneetown (note: believed to have been in present day Grayson County near the site of Denison) where lived about thirty warriers, they were found to be peaceable, and among them was Jim Logan, who had been educated at the great crossing of Elkhorn Scott County, Kentucky with whom sd Rowlett was acquainted, and after some friendly conversation on the subject of the death of the father of Jim Logan, a Shawnee Chief who lived in the family of Judge Logan in Kentucky during the Indian Wars in that country, and who lost his life in fighting by the side of James Sugget in the Blackswamp in October or November 1812 .


Jim Logan got out the flute presented to him by Richd M Johnson and performed a few of his favorite tunes. Promised peace and friendship the party then proceeded to the head of Trinity, where they fell in and conversed with a party of Cado Indians, who were traveling to the north when we first saw them, but on being requested by us, they changed their course and promised to visit the north area until they were informed by the whites that they might do so in peace, the party then passed to the headwaters of Bois D Arc where a man by the name of Dugan and another by the name of Russell had made an attempt to settle but vacated their camps and their trail in a direction for the settlements on Red River were all that was left behind them.

On the 17th the detachment reached the crossing on the Bois D Arc at the residence of Carter P. Clift, where they met all the settlers on Red River, who then augmented the company founded on the 10th under the command of Rowlett to 57 - previous to that time it had been 17 only - a detachment from sd company was sent out to see to the disposition of the Indians on our border occassionally with orders to treat all the indians with great caution, until 18 July 36 when sd Rowlett, Lock (Richard H.) and Slack (Daniel) left sd settlements for the headquarters of the army of Texas then at or near Victoria, and sd County and all the frontier settlements remained in the most perfect peace until sometime in May 37 at which time the population of sd county had extended to the Trinity and to the cross timbers (in present Cooke County), amounting in all to some 6 or 700 but at the place now known as Warren and about the 15th of May 1837 there were about 17 men commanded by Daniel Montugue made an attack on a party of Indians at or near the place of Shawnees, Kikapoos, Cherokees, and Dellawars of whom them killed several on the spot, and among the slain was Billy Amos a cosin to Jim Logan, the whole neighborhood was collected together.

The slain burned and a promis of peace given on both sides, but the indians from that time became doubtful and in November following, 30 horses were stolen from the same place on the same night and from that time until the summer of 43 hostilities were kept up on both sides, and many daring acts performed by the settlers and their assailants equal to any on record.

In one instance an old man by the name of Kitches was attacked by a party of indians among who, was a negro. Kitchens and his son had taken shelter in the cabin, after the first fire in which one of his sons was killed and the other wounded. The indians kept up the fire and rushed on the house but the leader of the party and one other of the assailants being that in a few minits fell in the yard, and the negro retreated to the distance of about 30 yards and got behind a small tree for protection but the old man from one corner of the house and his wounded son from the other kept up a fire on him until after holding to the tree a while he fell dead at its root having received several shot which passed through his body and this transaction took place about the middle of the day.


At another time shortly after dark and while there was a good light in the house of Daniel Dugan there was another furious attack made on the house, and one man killed and another badly wounded. The Indians then rushed to the stable for horses, but as it happened some of the boys had been staiond in the stable to protect the horses, and as the indians advanced within a few steps they fired on them and one Indian fell at the stable and another was able to get about 75 or a hundred yards and fell dead -it is strang- and on the next day when I was in attendance on the wounded man, the hogs were devouring the dead bodies of the indians in open view of the whole family who seemed to forget their own loss in the gratification thus derived.

But the people on the whole line of frontier was so hardened by repeated murders that nothing shocked them. At one time I saw 2 little boys the sons of John R. Mclntire at the age of 10 and 12 years who had been murdered in sight of each other and within a half mile of their father camp, and a sister and 2 brothers, all younger than the 2 murdered remained at the camp alone until the neighborhood was called together, the boys found, and desposed of and the indians traild off; night after night did the three little fellows remain by themselves protected by a half faced camp and heaven.

During five years they (the Indians) made the whole line of the frontier dared their visitation on various accounts they often in the course of one night would deprive a whole neighborhood of every horse that was running at large, shooting with arrows such as they were not able to halter. They often killed cattle and hogs.