John Henry Brown.

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Taos on the 10th. From that time till the 22d of
August, her time was about equally divided between
the families of Messrs. Workman and Eowland, who
bestowed upon her every kindness.

She now learned that these gentlemen had for-
merly sent out a company to recover herself and
Mrs. Harris, w'hohad fallen in with a different tribe
of Indians and lost several of their number in a
fight. Her friend, Mr. Smith, had performed a
similar service and when far out his guide faltered,
causing such suffering as to cause several deaths
from hunger, while some survived by drinking the
blood of their mules. While Mrs. Horn remained
with them these gentlemen endeavored through two
trading parties, to recover her children, but failed.
A report came in that little John had frozen to
death, holding horses at night; but it was not
believed by many. Mrs. Harris and Mrs. Plummer
reached Missouri under the protection of Mrs.
Donoho. On the 2d of August, all efforts to recover
her children having failed, leaving only the hope
that others might succeed, Mrs. Horn left in the
train and under the protection of Messrs. Workman
and Rowland. She was the only lady in the party.

Nothing unusual transpired on the journey of 700
or 800 miles, and on the last day of September,
1838, they arrived at Independence, Missouri. On
the 6th of October, she reached the hospitable home
of Mr. David Workman at " New " Franklin.

This closes the narrative as written by Mrs. Horn
soon after she reached Missouri and before she
met Mr. Donoho. Her facts have been faithfully
followed, omitting the repetition of her sufferings
and correcting her dates in two cases where her
memory was at fault. She sailed from New York
on the 11th of November, 1833, a year earlier than
stated by her, hence arrived at Dolores a year
earlier, and consequently remained there two years
instead of one, for it is absolutely certain that sh&
arrived there in March, 1834, and left there in
March, 1836. I have been able also, from her
notes, to approximate localities and routes men-
tioned by her, from long acquaintance with much
of the country over which she traveled.

Mr. Donoho, in company with his wife — a lady
of precious memory in Clarksville, Texas, from
the close of 1839 till her death in 1880 — conveyed
Mrs. Plummer (one of the captives taken at Parker's
Fort, May 19, 1836), and Mrs. Harris, from Santa
Fe to Missouri in the autumn of 1837. He escorted
Mrs. Plummer to her people in Texas, left his wife
and Mrs. Harris with his mother-in-law, Mrs. Lucy
Dodson in Pulaski County, Missouri, and then
hastened back to Santa Fe to look after his property
and business, for he had hurried away because of a
sudden outbreak of hostilities between the New
Mexicans and Indians formerly friendly, and this^
is the reason he was not present to take personal,
charge of Mrs. Horn on her recovery at San Miguel.
When he reached Santa Fe Mrs. Horn had left
Taos for Independence. Closing his business in
Santa Fe, he left the place permanently and
rejoined his family at Mrs. Dodson's. Mrs. Horn
then, for the first time, met him and remained several
months with his family. Prior to this her narrative
had been written, and she slill saw little of him, he
being much absent on business. Mrs. Harris had
relatives in Texas but shrunk from the idea of goino-
there ; and hearing of other kindred near Boonville,
Missouri, joined them and soon died from the expos-
ures and abuse undergone while a prisoner. Mrs.
Horn soon died from the same causes, while on a.
visit, though her home was with Mrs. Dodson.
Both ladies were covered with barbaric scars — their
vital organs were impaired — and they fell the
victims of the accursed cruelty known only ta
savage brutes.

Mr. William Donoho was a son of Kentucky,
born in 1798. His wife, a Tennesseean, and



daughter of Dr. James Dodson, married Mm in
Missouri, in 1831, where their first child was born.
From 1833 till the close of 1838, they lived in Santa
Fe, where the second daughter, born in 1835, and
their first son, born in 1837 (now Mr. J. B. Don-
oho, of Clarksville, the only survivor of six chil-
dren), were the two first American children born
in Santa Fe. Mr. Donoho permanentlj' settled at
Clarksville, Texas, late in 1839 and died there in
• 1845.

In verification of the facts not stated by Mrs.
Horn, because, when writing, they were unknown
to her, I have the statements of Dr. "William Dod-
son and Mrs. Lucy Estes, of Camden County, Mis-
souri, brother and sister of Mrs. Donoho, who were
with all the parties for nearly a year after they
reached Missouri.

A copy of Mrs. Horn's memoir came into my
possession in 1839, when it had just been issued
and so remained till accidentally lost many years
later, believed to have been the only copy ever in
Texas. The events described by her were never
otherwise known in Texas and have never been be-
fore published in the State. This is not strange.
Beales' Colony was neither in Texas at that date,
nor in anywise connected with the American col-
onies or settlements in Texas. It was in Coahuila,
though now in the limits of Texas. When its short
life terminated in dispersion and the butchery of
the retreating party on the Nueces, the Mexican
army covered every roadway leading to the in-
habited part of Texas, before whom the entire
population had fled east. None were left to re-
count the closing tragedy excepting the two
unfortunate and (as attested by all who subse-
quently knew them), refined Christian ladies whose
travails and sorrows have been chronicled, both of
whom, as shown, died soon after liberation, and
neither of whom ever after saw Texas.

Fortunately, through the efforts of Mr. James
B. Donoho, of Clarksville, and his uncle, Dr. Dod-
son, and aunt, Mrs. Estes, of Missouri, I have
been placed in possession of a manuscript copy of

Mrs. Horn's narrative, made by a little, school girl
in Missouri in 1839 — afterwards Mrs. D. B. Dod-
son, and now long deceased. Accompanying its
transmission, on the 5th of February, 1887, Mr.
James B. Donoho says: —

"As it had always been a desire with me to
some time visit the place of my birth, in the summer
of 1885, with my wife and children, I visited Santa
Fe, finding no little pleasure in identifying land-
marks of which I had heard my mother so often
speak, being myself an infant when we left there.
I had no trouble in identifying the house in which
my second sister and self were born, as it cornered
on the plaza and is now known as the Exchange
Hotel. While there it was settled that my sister,
born in 1835, and myself, born in 1837, were the
first Americans born in Santa Fe, a distinction (if
such it can be called) previously claimed for one
born there in 1838."

The novelty of this history, unknown to the peo-
ple of Texas at the time of its occurrence, has
moved me to extra diligence in search of the troth
and the whole trdth in its elucidation. As a deli-
cate and patriotic duty it has been faithfully per-
formed in justice to the memory of the strangely
united daughters of England and America, and
of those lion-hearted yet noble-breasted American
gentlemen, Messrs. Donoho, Workman, Rowland
and Smith, by no means omitting Mrs. Donoho,
Mrs. Dodson and children, nor yet the poor old
Comanche woman — a pearl among swine — who
looked in pity upon the stricken widow, mother and

Lamenting my inability to state the fate of little
John and Joseph, and trusting that those to
come after us may realize the cost in blood through
which Texas was won to civilization, to enlightened
freedom and to a knowledge of that religion by
which it is taught that — " Charity suffereth long
and is kind — * * * beareth all things, believeth
all things, hopeth all things, and endureth all
things," I do not regret the labor it has cost me to
collect the materials for this sketch.



The Heroic Taylor Family of the Three Forks of

Little River — 1835.

In the autumn of 1835 the outermost habitation
on the waters of Little river was that of the Taylor
family. It stood about three miles southeast of
where Belton is, a mile or so east of the Leon river
and three miles or more above the mouth of that
stream. The junction of the Leon, Lampasas and
Salado constitutes the locality known as the " Three
Forks of Little River," the latter stream being
the San Andres of the Mexicans as well as of
the early settlers of Texas. This change of name
is not the only one wrought in that locality, for
the names "Lampasas" (water lily) and "Sal-
ado " (saltish) were also most inappropriately
exchanged, the originals being characteristic of
the two streams, while the swap makes descriptive
nonsense. At an earlier period the same incon-
gruous change occurred in the names of the
" Brazos " and " Colorado " rivers.

The home of the Taylors consisted of two long
cabins with a covered passage between. The
family consisted of Mr. and Mrs. Taylor, two
youthful sons and two daughters. One of the
latter, Miss Frazier, was a daughter of Mrs. Tay-
lor by a former husband, and afterwards the wife
of George W. Chapman, of Bell County.

In the night of November 12th, 1835, eleven
Indians attacked the house. The parents and girls
were in one room — the boys in the other. The
door to the family room, made of riven boards,
was a foot too short, leaving an open space at the
top. The first indication of the presence of the
enem^- was the warning of a faithful dog, which was
speedily killed in the yard. This was followed by
a burly warrior trying to force the door, at the
same time in English demanding to know how
many men were in the house, a supply of tobacco
and the surrender of the family. By the bright
moonlight they could be distinctly seen. Mrs.
Taylor defiantly answered, "No tobacco, no sur-
render," and Mr. Taylor answered there were ten
men in the house. The assailant pronounced the
latter statement false, when Taylor, through a
crack, gave him a severe thrust in the stomach with
a board, which caused his hasty retreat, whereupon
Mrs. Taylor threw open the door, commanding the
boys to hasten in across the hall, which they did,
escaping a flight of balls and arrows. The door
was then fastened, a table set against it, and on it
the smallest boy, a child of only twelve years, was

mounted with a gun and instructed to shoot
through the space over the door whenever an
Indian appeared. There were not many bullets on
hand, and the girls supplied that want by moulding ■
more. Taylor, his wife and larger son, watched
through cracks in the walls to shoot as opportunity
might occur. Very soon a warrior entered the
passageway to assault the door, when the twelve
years' " kid," to use a cant phrase in use to day,
shot him unto death. A second warrior rushed in
to drag his dead comrade away, but Mr. Taylor shot
him, so that he fell, not dead but helpless, across
his red brother. These two admonitions rendered
the assailants more cautious. They resolved tO'
effect by fire that which seemed too hazardous by
direct attack. They set the now vacated room on
Ore at the further end and amid their demoniac
yells the flames ascended to the roof and made
rapid progress along the boards, soon igniting those
covering the hallway. Suspended to beams was a
large amount of fat bear meat. The burning roof
soon began to cook the meat, and blazing sheets of
the oil fell upon the wouuded savage, who writhed
and hideously yelled, but was powerless to extri-
cate himself from the tortune. Mrs. Taylor had
no sympathy for the wretch, but, pee[)ing through
a crack, expressed her feelings by exclaiming:
" Howl! you yellow brute ! Your meat is not fit
for hogs, but we'll roast you for the wolves ! "

As the fire was reaching the roof of the besieged
room, Mr, Taylor was greatly dispirited, seeming
to regard their fate as sealed ; but his heroic wife,
thinking not of herself, but of her children, rose
equal to the occasion, declaring that they would
whip the enemy and all be saved. From a table
she was enabled to reach the boards forming the
roof. Throwing down the weight poles, there
being no nails in the boards, she threw down
enough boards in advance of the lire to create an
empty space. There was a large quantity of milk
in the house and a small barrel of home-made
vinegar. These fluids were passed up to her by
her daughters, and with them she extinguished
the Are. In doing so her head and chest formed
a target for the enemy ; but while several arrows
and balls rent her clothing, she was in nowise

While these matters were transpiring, Mr. Taylor
and the elder son each wounded a savawe in the




yard. Having accomplished her hazardous mission,
Mrs. Taylor resumed the floor, and soon discovered
an Indian in the outer chimney corner, endeavoring
to start a Are and peering through a considerable
hole burnt through the "dirt and wooden" jam.
Seizing a wooden shovel, she threw into his face
and bosom a . shovelful of live coals and embers,
causing him to retreat, uttering the most agonizing
screams, to which she responded " Take that, you
yellow scoundrel!" It was said afterwards that
her warm and hasty application destroyed his eye-

After these disasters the enemy held a brief con-
sultation and realized the fact that of their group
of eleven, two were dead and partially barbecued,
two were severely wounded, and one was at least
temporarily blind under the "heroic" oculistical
treatment of Mrs Taylor. What was said by them,
one to another, is not known ; but they retired

without further obtrusion upon the peace and
dignity of that outpost in the missionary field of

An hour later the family deemed it prudent to
retire to the river bottom, and next morning fol-
lowed it down to the fort. A small party of men
then repaired to the scene of conflict and found the
preceding narrative verified in every essential.
The dead Indians were there, and everything
remained as left by the family'. Excepting Mrs.
Chapman, all of that family long since passed away.
Before the Civil War I personally knew Brown
Taylor, one of the sons, then a quiet, modest young
man, carrying in his breast the disease destined to
cut short his days — consumption.

This all happened more than fifty years ago.
To-day two large towns, Belton and Temple, and
half a dozen small ones, and two trunk line rail-
roads are almost in sight of the spot.

Fall of Parker's Fort in 1836 — The Killed, Wounded and Cap-
tured — Van Dorn's Victory in 1858 — Recovery of
Cynthia Ann Parker — Quanah Parker,
the Comanche Chief.

In the fall of 1833 the Parker family came
from Cole County, Illinois, to East Texas — one or
two came a little earlier and some a little later.
The elder Parker was a native of Virginia, resided
for a time in Georgia, but chiefly reared his family
in Bedford County, Tennessee, whence, in 1818, he
removed to Illinois. The family, with perhaps one
exception, belonged to one branch of the primitive
Baptist Church, commonly designated as Two Seed

Parker's Fort, or block-house, a mile west of the
Navasota creek and two and a half northwesterly
from the present town of Groesbeck, in Limestone
County, was established in 1834, with accessions
afterwards up to the revolution in the fall of 1835.
At the time of the attack upon it, May 19, 1836, it
was occupied by Elder John Parker, patriarch of
the family, and his wife, his son, James W. Parker,
wife, four single children and his daughter, Mrs.
Rachel Plummer, her husband, L. T. M. Plummer,
and infant son, 15 months old ; Mrs. Sarah Nixon,
another daughter, and her husband, L. D. Nixon ;

Silas M. Parker (another son of Elder John), his
wife and four children ; Benjamin F. Parker, an
unmarried son of the Elder;. Mrs. Nixon, Sr.,
mother of Mrs. James W. Parker ; Mrs. Elizabeth
Kellogg, daughter of Mrs. Nixon ; Mrs. Duty ;
Samuel M. Frost, wife and children ; G. E. Dwight,
wife and children ; David Faulkenberry, his son
Evan, Silas H. Bates and Abram Anglin, a youth|of
nineteen years. The latter four sometimes slept in
the fort and sometimes in their cabins on their farms,
perhaps two miles distant. They, however, were in
the fort on the night of May 18th.

On the morning of May 19th, James W. Parker
and Nixon repaired to their fleld, a mile dis-
tant, on the Navasota. The two Faulkenberrys,
Bates and Anglin went to their fields, a mile
further and a little below. About 9 a. m. several
hundred Indians appeared in the prairie, about
three hundred yards, halted, and hoisted a white
flag. Benjamin F. Parker went over to them, had
a talk and returned, expressing the opinion that the
Indians intended to fight ; but added that he would



go back and try to avert it. His brother Silas
remonstrated, but be persisted in going, and was
immediately surrounded and killed ; whereupon
the whole force sent forth terrific yells, and charged
upon the works, the occupants numbering but three
men, wholly unprepared for defense. Cries and
confusion reigned. They killed Silas M. Parker on
the outside of the fort, while he was bravely fight-
ing to save Mrs. Plummer. They knocked Mrs.
Pluramer down with a hoe and made her captive.
Elder John Parker, wife and Mrs. Kellogg attempted
to escape, and got about three-fourths of a mile,
when they were overtaken, and driven back near to
the fort, where the old gentleman was stripped,
murdered and scalped. They stripped and speared
Mrs. Parker, leaving her as dead — but she revived,
as will be seen further on. Mrs. Kellogg remained

When the Indians first appeared, Mrs. Sarah
Nixon hastened to the field to advise her father,
husband and Plummer. Plummer hastened down
to Inform the Faulkenberrys, Bates and Anglin.
David Faulkenberry was first met and started im-
mediately to the fort. The others followed as
soon as found by Plummer. J. W. Parker and
Nixon started to the fort, but the former met his
family on the way, and took them to the Navasota
bottom. Nixon, though unarmed, continued on to-
ward the fort, and met Mrs. Lucy, wife of the dead
Silas Parker, with her four children, just as she
was overtaken by the Indians. They compelled
her to lift behind two mounted warriors her nine-
3'ear-old daughter, Cynthia Ann, and her little boy,
John. The foot Indians took her and her two
younger children back to the fort, Nixon following.
On arriving, she passed around and Nixon through
the fort. Just as the Indians were about to kill
Nixon, David Faulkenberry appeared with his rifle,
and caused them to fall back. Nixon then hurried
away to find his wife, and soon overtook Dwight,
with bis own and Frost's family. Dwight met J.
W. Parker and went with him to his hiding-place
in the bottom.

Faulkenberry, thus left with Mrs. Silas Parker
and her two children, bade her follow him. With
the infant in her arms and the other child held by
the hand, she obeyed. The Indians made several
feints, but vrere held in check by the brave man's
rifle. One warrior dashed up so near that Mrs.
Parker's faithful dog siezed his pony by the nose,
whereupon both horse and rider somersaulted,
alighting on their backs in a ditch.

At this time Silas Bates, Abram Anglin and
Evan Faulkenberry, armed, and Plummer, un-
."vrmed, came up. They passed through Silas

Parker's field, when Plummer, as if aroused from
a dream, demanded to know what had become of
his wife and child. Armed only with the butcher
knife of Abram Anglin, he left the party in search
of his wife, and was seen no more for six days.
The Indians made no further assault.

During the assault on the fort, Samuel M. Frost
and his son Robert fell while heroically defending
the women and children inside the stockade.

The result so far was : —

Killed — Elder John Parker, Benjamin F. Parker,
Silas M. Parker, Samuel M. Frost and his son

Wounded dangerously — Mrs. John Parker and
Mrs. Duty.

Captured— Mrs. Elizabeth Kellogg, Cynthia
Ann and John, children of Silas M. Parker, Mrs.
Rachel Plummer and infant James Pratt Plummer.

The Faulkenberrys, Bates and Anglin, with Mrs.
Parker and children, secreted themselves in a
small creek bottom. On the way they were met
and joined by Seth Bates, father of Silas, and Mr.
Lunn, also an old man. Whether they had slept
in the fort or in the cabins during the previous
night all accounts fail to say. Elisha Anglin
was the father of Abram, but his whereabouts do
not appear in any of the accounts. At twilight
Abram Anglin and Evan Faulkenberry started
back to the fort. On reaching Elisha Anglin's
cabin, they found old mother Parker covered with
blood and nearly naked. They secreted her and
went on to the fort, where they found no one alive,
but found $106.50 where the old lady had secreted
the money under a book. They returned and
conducted her to those in the bottom, where they
also found Nixon, who had failed to find his wife,
for, as he ought to have known, she was with her
father. On the next morning. Bates, Anglin and
E. Faulkenberry went back to the fort, secured
five horses and provisions and the party in the
bottom were thus enabled to reach Fort Houston
without material suffering. Fort Houston, an
asylum on this as on many other occasions, stood
on what has been for many years the field of a wise
statesman, a chivalrous soldier and an incorruptible
patriot — John H. Reagan — two miles west of

After six days of starvation, with their clothing
torn into shreds, their bodies lacerated with briars
and thorns, the women and children with unshod
and bleeding feet, the party of James W. Parker —
2 men, 19 women and children — reached Tinnin's,
at the old San Antonio and Nacogdoches crossing
of the Navasota. Being informed of their approach,
Messrs. Carter and Courtney, with five horses, met



them some miles away, and thus enabled the
women and children to ride. The few people
around, though but returned to their deserted
homes after the victory of San Jacinto, shared all
they had of food and clothing with them. Plum-
mer, after six days of wanderings, joined the
party the same day. In due time the members of
the party located temporarily as best suited the
respective families. A party from Fort Houston
went up and buried the dead.

The experienced frontiersman of later da^'s will
be struck with the apparent lack of leadership or
organization among the settlers. Had they existed,
combined with proper signals, there can be little
doubt but that the Indians would have been held
at bay.


Mrs. Kellogg fell into the hands of the Keechis,
from whom, six months after her capture, she was
purchased by some Delawares, who carried her
into Nacogdoches and delivered her to Gen. Hous-
ton, who paid them $150.00, the amount they had
paid and all they asked. On the way thence to
Fort Houston, escorted by J. W. Parker and
others, a hostile Indian was slightly wounded and
temporarily disabled by a Mr. Smith. Mrs. Kel-
logg instantly recognized him as the savage who
had scalped the patriarch, Elder John Parker,
whereupon, without judge, jury or court-martial,
or even dallying with Judge Lynch, he was invol-
untarily hastened on to the happy hunting-ground
of his fathers.

Mrs. Rachel Plummer, after a brutal captivity
through th€ agency of some Mexican Santa Fe
traders, was ransomed by a noble-hearted Amer-
ican merchant of that place, Mr. William Donoho.
She was purchased in the Rocky Mountains so far
north of Santa Fe that seventeen days were con-
sumed in reaching that place. She was at once
made a member of her benefactor's family, after
a captivity of one and a half years. She, ere long,
accompanied Mr. and Mrs. Donoho to Independ-
ence, Missouri, and in due time embraced her
brother-in-law, Nixon, and by him was escorted
back to her people. On the 19th of February,
1838, she reached her father's house, exactly
twenty-one months from her capture. She had
never seen her infant son, James P., since soon
after their capture, and knew nothing of his fate.
She wrote, or dictated an account of her sufferings
and observations among the savages, and died on
the 19th of February, 1839. About six months
after her capture she gave birth to a child, but it
was cruelly murdered in her presence. As remark-

Online LibraryJohn Henry BrownIndian wars and pioneers of Texas → online text (page 7 of 135)