Roger E Bilstein.

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howling wilderness, is now one of the
most beautiful parts of Texas. It is
is crossed by many lines of railroads
and covered by villages, towns and ci-
ties, beautiful residences, fine farms, and
large ranches stocked with fine herds of
c;iitle abound everywhere.

After many months of fatigue and
famine they came in sight of San Miguel,
H town not far from Santa Fe. One of
their men, named Lewis, went in and
betrayed them. The Mexicans forces
came out and of course the only thing to
do was to surrender. The Mexicans
took them pri-'omrs and confiscated
their wagons, goods and horses. Here
they were held for some time. In the
meantime they recovered their strength
and health somev-hat. From here they
were marched to the City of Mexico, a
distance of about 2000 miles, under the
command of Sal.nzar, a brutal, cruel ty-
rant, and they made the journey on foot.
Many died on the way. The ears of the
dt ad were cut ot and carried as tro-
phies of war and proof that they had
not escaped. Of fiis long and perilous
iourney \ve can give but little. On the
way there was what was called "The
Dead Man's March" a desert waste of
HIM miles without water. They made
it in two nights rnd a day. They started
with their canteens full of water, but
tli is did not last long. Many died on
this awful trip. Those that survived
were barefoot and almost without
c.lothes. When they readied the City of
Mexico, they were confined in a walled
in space with no roof or floor. My
father with others, was paroled, lie then
made his way to Vera Cruz, from whence
he made his way to Texas. His friends
fitted him up with clothes, hat and
shoes. Not many months after this, he
joined an expedition known as the Mier
Expedition. This expedition started
from San Antonio and they marched
direct to the Rio Grande river, opposite
the Mexican town called Mier. They
captured this place and then marched
on to Salaclo where after a hard fought
battle the Texans were taken prisoners.
The order was then given that every
tenth man should be shot. In order to

determine who wa, to be the tenth man.
they were to draw a bean from a box in
which had been placed as many black
and white beans as there were prisoners,
every tenth bean was black, and the men
who drew the black beans were to be
shot. Father avoided having to tak
part in this drawing by being sick; how-
ever he was not a sick as he pretended
to be. An officer -"-as sent in to see if
any of the men oi> the sick list W.T.
able to come out and draw the. beans and
the way this officer determined if they
were alilc to go or not, was to run at
them with a set bayonet. If they jump-
ed then they were made to go out. My
father understood the game and did not
flinch, so the officer reported that he was
about dead anywuy.

From here they were marched to Mat
amoras and then to the City of Mexico
On the trip some of the men tried to es-
cape, but were r. 'captured. For this act
about twelve of, the men were ordered to
be shot. Father was one of the doomed
men. They were placed in line and a
company of the Mexicans were in front
of them ready to obey the command to
"fire", when a luiseman appeared, rid-
ing very rapidly and carrying a piece of
paper in his hand. It was an order
from a higher officer not to shoot these
men. So again father's life was miracu-
lously spared.

From the City of Mexico, he and a
companion made their escape by climb
ing over the wall. They found the
guards asleep and so passed safely. They
traveled by night and hid themselves by
day until they again reached Vera Crux,
where they got aboard a U. S. vessel and
made their way back to Texas.

In 1845, father was happily convert
ed old Bastrop after hearing a ser-
mon by Dr. Homer S. Thrall, the Histor-
ian of Texas, o'i the text. "Choose yoxt
this day whom you will serve." He ever
afterwards lived a faithful member of
the Methodist church.

After the Annexation war broke out
between Mexico and the United States,
for three months father drove a com-
mK-ary wagon for Taylor's Army nnd
then resigned. lie decided that he had
had enough of war and its hardships.

He returned to Cincinnati! where his
parents had moved while he. was in Tex-


as. I think that he had never heard
much from them during; this sojourn of
eleven years in the wilds of Texas and
Mexico. When he arrived home his
mother did not know him. She said
"That is not my hoy. Jack." His father
said, "It is our boy." After a time, his
mother yielded and claimed her long lost
boy. He remained with them several
years and during this time he married
Miss Rebecca Rogers.

Soon after their marriage, my father
and mother started for Texas. They
came down the Ohio and Mississippi
Rivers to New Orleans and from there
across the Gulf fo Gal'veston, from there
up Buffalo Bayou to Harrisburg, five
miles from Houston. Here father bought
a cart and yoke of oxen. They placed
their belongings in the cart and started
for Bastrop. Their earthly possessions
consisted of a cherrywood table with a
folding top, a bureau, feather bed, a
trunk and some other smaller articles.
It took them about a week to make this
trip. They seltled on Oscar Creek,
twelve miles west of the town of Bas-
trop. Here they lived until God called
them home: My mother died Nov. J7,
1891, in her seventieth year, and father
died June 30, 1899, at the age of eighty
years, one month and fifteen days.

To them 1 were born Sophia E., Tho 1 . J'" 1 .,
Sam Houston, Joseph Rogers and Julia
Ann Morgan, in the order named. My
brother Tom lived to be nine yea-s old,
Joe about four and Julia about two.
They all died in the same year and tvo
of them in the samr month. They died
with diptheria. The doctors of that, day
could do nothing with that desease. My
sister Sophia died October 21, 1923, in
the 72nd year of her life. She was born
in a little log cabin with dirt floor and
died in sight of the same spot. I am
the only survivor of this family.

I could give many more interesting
details but space will not permit. The
cherrywood table fibove mentioned is in
my home, and I prize it very highly. It
is somewhat like the Ark or the Coven-
ant to me.

Frontier Times and says: "I see so much
about the cattle drives over the old Chis-
hol'm Trail and so many different state-
ments that I would like to help enlight-
en some of those writers. There were
three main trails, but those writers get
all mixed up. I don't claim to know all,
but I had experience on those three
three trails. The first drives to Kansas
from Texas were to Barter Springs, in
the southeast corner of Kansas. We
drove there for three seasons; then
drove to Coffeyville, further west. The
next change was to Caldwell, then to
Abilene, then to Dodge City, and then
to Ellsworth. None of these trails ever
touched the old Santa Fe Trail, except
the drive to Ellsworth crossed it near
Dodge City. The Santa Fe Trail kept
on the north side of the Arkansas River
and crossed at the Lone Tree Crossing
West of Dodge City. Neither trail ever
touched the Staked Plains. John Chis-
um never moved his cattle from Cole-
man ami Brown county, Texas, until
]S71 and 1872. Sam Gholson of Tucum-
cfiri. New Mexico, can give you facts in
iv-ard to this. (Hiolson and Miles drove
more cattle over those trails than any-
body else from JSBG to 1872. I was at
their last round-up on the Pecan Bayou
in Coleman county, in 1874, when they
had supposedly 200,00 cattle in one
round-up. Sam' Gholsoii was, in my
opinion, the best cow man of his day.
They had over sixteen hundred marks
brands, and he seldom if ever missed
cutting every herd belonging to Ghol-
son and Mile- at any round-up. Find
enclosed my cheek tor $1.50 for which
set my subscription up another year,
will be 80 years o'd in September, and
I am still going strong, and frequently
ride my own races."

Mr. Hatcher has a string of race
horses, and is noted as a turfman
throughout Oregon and Washington.

From Curley Hatcher.

Curley Hatcher, old time Texas Ran-
ger, now living at Myrtle Point, Oregon,
sends in his renewal subscription to

Frontier Times at the present time
cannot use photograph's unless the half
tone cuts are furnished ly those sending
ihe pictures. We ha: e no engraving
plant and the cost of gett' ig hall'iones
is high. We expect to, v. "'' ii. i he nex:
year, use illustrations, * T.iu'ly p V-

tures of ~>M iLne Texans, ri civ* maga-



John 11". (li-iuj, S/i'j,/ii'iiri/li' Tt:<-<is, /?? Junction E<njl<\

WONDER if there arc many peo-
ple living in Kimble County at
this time, who were living there
and were did enough to remem-
ber the Indian raid and murders com-
mitted on Christmas Eve, Dec. 24, 187(1.
just .">() years ago this Christmas. I am
.sure there are a l'-w. and they will be
glad to hear from one who was there
and felt the pan;::, of seeing relatives
who had been shot down by this mur-
derous hand of Indians, who i-ame down
the South Llano River that cold morn-
ing when the ground was covered with
ice, and made their first appearance near
Dr. Kountz's place just above Junction,
where -lohn Kountx. now lives.

It was about the middle of the morn-
ing when they reached this place. Isaac
and Sebastian Kountz, had turned the.
COWS, and I think :i small bunch of sheep
out of the pens, and were driving them
out towards the mountains just west of
the hou>e. when they saw. what first ap-
peared to them to be a company of Ran-
gers coining right down the public road,
but when tli- loser the boys realiz-

ed that it was Indians 15 or 20 in the
hunch. and as they came closer they made
an attack on the boys. I cannot recall
now for sure whether Isaac had his six-
shoot er and attempted to defend himself
and brother, or whether the Indians
shot him down before he fully realized
who they were. Sebastian made a run
for the house and two of the Indians
tried to catch him. He was running
right next to the rail fence and as one of
the Indians reached over to grab him,
he ducked and then jumped over the
fence. The other Indian took a shot
at him, and they then turned back and
joined the band and all started acrcoss
the mountains towards the North Llano.

Sebastian was a black headed boy,
Uaae was red headed,, and I was told at
the time, and before then, and many
times since, that the Indians would not
kill a boy or girl who had black hair.
Sebastian was then 11 or 12, and Isaac
was 16 or 17.

I was 13 years old only a few days be-

fore this and knew the boys well, in
fact all of the Kountz family.

These Indians then crossed over the

mountains and came down on the North

Llano, just west of 'the first cliff, about

le above when; the road then and

rosses the Nftrth Llano.

1 lived with my grandmother, Spear,
in a liltlejog house a few hundred yards
below the crossing of the river. Her
two young children, George, 17, and
Nora, 13, and my.-elf made the family.

Tom Doran's family lived between us
and the crossing. The alarm of Indians
and the murder of Isaac, spread fast, and
a runner came by our house, and then
on to Doran's, telling us that the In-
dians were crossing the mountains. The
Indians crossed the river about 100
yards above where Tom Spear lived, on
the north side, or. bank of the river.
Tom Doran had gotten to Spear's place
before the Indians crossed, and found
that Tom had gone out in the mesquite
flat after the horses. His brother, Sam,
17 years old. took Tom's gun and cart-
ridges, and ran out in the mesquites to
find Tom, so neither of them were at the
house when the Indians crossed the river.
Sam found Tom driving up the horses,
and gave him the gu and told him to
go on to the house and he (Sam) would
bring the horses in. As the Indians
went on out through the mesquites to-
wards the hills, they missed Tom, who
was on foot, but came upon Sam who
was driving the horses. Of course the
only thing for Sam to do was to out-run
them, which he tried to do. Two of the
Indians took after him and ran up by
the side of him, and one of them stuck
his gun against hin; and shot, killing him
instantly. The oher one grabbed the
bridle of the horse, and one of the'm took
a shot at Tom, wl o was not more than
100 yards away, and then turned back
and joined the hand and took all the
horses. Tom Spear seems to have com-
pletely lost his head, or his nerve, for
he was armed with one of those Sharp
Shooting Needle Guns, 50 caliber, and he
could have killed an Indian at 500 yards.
Sam was killed within 200 yards of the



house, and Tom ve a> his reason for
not shooting, thai ho was between the
Indians and his hoi se where his wile and
children were, ;:i:d also that it mi^hi
have caused the Land of Indians to have
attacked and murdered all of them.
Tom's wife was ;, sister to my Tncle
George Spear. 1 have always believed
that if George, who was then only _17
years old, had been placed where-Torn
Spear was with 'thai Sharp Shooter.
that, he would very cooly have sat right
down and took .ieiibcrale aim at every
Indian that showed up, and as lie was a

good shot, there would have I n fewer

Indians for the Rangers to have follow-
ed. Well, while the latter killing was
taking place, my grandmother and we
three kids were on the way to Tom
Spear's afoot, and had to wade the river
at the old crossing. We heard the shots
when Sam was killed, and reached ,the
house before he was brought, in. I have
forgotten whether 1 helped to carry him
in or not; I gueSs I did, because there
were no men exeep' Tom Doran and Tom
Spear, and I guess George and 1 helped.
This band of Indians, after killing Sara
Spear, drove their horses out upon the
first rise going up the mountains, east of
the draw that comes down just east of
what we call the "Double Cliffs," and
there stopped and from what we could
make out, changed horses and probably
ate some lunch. - l'-y the time the Doran
family had come on up to where we were.
and I am not sure but what the Dick
.Kawls family was there, and possibly

A company of Hangers was then sta-
tioned at the head of Bear Creek, and the
Fort McKavitt read, and a runner was
then on the way to the Ranger camp.
It was late that evening before the Ran-
gers got on the trail. This band of In-
dians went on east and circled around
through the edg" of Gillespie, Kerr.
Bandera an/1 Kinney Counties, and com-
mitted several jc.her murders. The
Rangers caught up with them,
though I think now that they followed
them to the Rio Gi-ande somewhere above
Fort Clark.

Of course this tragedy was felt more
keenly by the Kountz family than our
family, as Tom Spear was not related to

us except by marriage of IMS brother to
my aunt.

In the Kount/ family there was the
father and mother of Isaac, and three
brothers and two sisters, who were grief
stricken on that eventful Christmas Eve,
when that tine, noble young man was
wantonly murdered.

1 can recall just now only a few of
the families that lived near us. There
were the Pattersons that lived down the
river in the bottom just north of the
business part of Junction, am! ti .Meeks
lived across the river from the I 'utter-
sons, also the family of Latta in the edge
of the bottom. The Brownings I think
were still down near the mouth of John-
son Fork, where Ihey settled some time
Browning was a little older than I. The
before this event. I think Jimmie
Temples and Smiths had settled up the
South Llano, and Jim Deaton was just
across the river south of Dr. Kount/.
My uncle, Charlie Spear, was living up
the North Llano < bout two miles above
the mouth of Dear Creek, at an old set-
tled place, on the south side of the river,
and on Fort Mason and Fort Terrett
Government road.

I was herding cattle for Jim Deaton
in the spring of !: V 7(>, and had these cat-
tle grazing in the mesquite flat where
the public squar- of -I unction now is,
when Dr. Kount/. John Kount/, Mr.
Patterson and others, including Sel Den-
man, the survey ', were engaged in sur-
veying out the iown of Junction City.
I was right on hand July 4th, 1876, when
the people of Junction and Kimble Coun-
ty held the first big celebration of the
new town with a barbecue-picnic, with
an all day and night dance, under an
arbor, just down under the hill south of
the Square, at or near the point where
there was later a water mill. If there
are any old timers there, who remember
me as a boy, and care to communicate
witli me, 1 would be glad to hear from
them. . I first saw Kimble County in
187;i, and lived with my grandmother
there five years, leaving in 1878.

Many subscriptions to Frontier Times
expire with this issue. x Watch for the
enewal blank which you wilf' find in
your ccfpy of the magazine, and prompt-
ly send in your renewal subscription.



Written for Frontier Times lj l>nald /'. McCa /{/<//, .Vontrose, California

UK OLD DAYS in ih,. west were
grim days when it came tn
exacting ,!u. -tire. The Mosiac
rule of ;MI eye I'm- an eye and a
tooth for a tool 1 : endured then, as it di<l
in the remote pastoral era "'hen it was
first put down in writing. They \vere
the days when the man who (lid a thing
> it well, and most of all thai ap-
d to him who >lew his fellow beings.
( luce he sta! ted ; be prepared |o

keep on, tor wl , Itered there was

no mercy shown Sun. This applied to
must individual-;. Men 'ding to

or their own

and prep acl the conseipir<

from others, fhe eame spirit crept into
the courts al tim ;s; and, alt hough just ice
was sometimes 1 line in functioning, there
were many cat i.s where; the convicted
man faced a 1rib"nal as stem a> any that
sat in t lie old biblica| t inies.

!'< rhaps the mosl remarkable instance
of the - tcrness of i'ronlier judges came in
the case of -lose Maria Marline/., a young
.Mexican who was convicted of murder
in Taos, >^ew .\i , March, !S."i4.

He had shot down his victim, a well
known man of the community, from am-
bush, that he might rob him. .Judge

Kirby lie lie:. "ho pre.-.ided ta the

trial, was but '2'2 years of age, the young-
est jnri .Mil the federal
bench. When the jury brought in its
verdict, the court, in passing sentence,
delivered himself of the following re-
markable lanirilage :

"lose Maria Ma tine/,, stand up. .Jose
Maria Marline/, yon have been indicted,
tried and col by a .jury o

com; ime of murder, and

the court is now about to pass upon yon
the dread sentence of the law. As a
usual t hiiiir, JoSti Mart iue/., it rs a

painful duty for ihe judge of a court of
justice to pronounce upon a human be-
ing the Sentence Of death. There is.
i hing hon-ibi.- about it . and t he mind
of the court naturally revolts from the
ormance of nich a duty. Happily,
ever, your ease is relieved of all such
unpleasant IV and the court t

positive delight in sentencing yon to

"Von are a young man, Jose Maria
Marline/, apparently of good physical
i it ion and robust health. Ordinari-
ly, you might have looked forward to
many years of life, and the court has no
doubt that \ou have, and expected to die,
at a ripe old age, but yon are about to he
cut off in coense, pa-nee of your e.wn act.
"Jose Maria Mai tine/, it is now Spring-
time. In a littlo while the grass will be
springing up green in these beautiful
valleys, and on those broad mesas and
mountain sides flowers will be bloom-
ing: birds will > - singing their sweet
carols, and nature will be putting on her
most gorgeous ami her most attractive
robes, and life will be pleasant and men
will want to stay. But. none of this for
you, .lose Maria Mirtinez; when these
things come to gladdou the Censes of
men, you occupying a space about
six by two beneath 'he soil, and the green
IS and those beautiful flowers will be
growing above you 1 - lowly head.

"The sentence of .death is that you be
taken from this place to the county jail;
tha you be there k -pt safely and secure-
ly in the custody o the sheriff until the
day appointed for your execution (Be
very careful. Mr. Sheriff, that he have
no opportunity to escape and that you
him at tin- appointed place at the
appointed time) That you be so kept,
Jose Maria Marline /, until Friday, the
t wenly-seeond of 'March, when you will
be taken by the sheriff from the place of
your confinement to some safe and con-
venient spot within the county and there
to be hanged by the neck until you are

"And the coiir: was about to add.
.Io.-e Maria .Martinez, '.May God have
mercy on your sold,' but the court will
not assume such responsibility of asking
an all-yvise Providence to do that which
a jury of your peers lias refused to do.
The Lord could not have mercy on your
soul. However, if you affect any relig
ion belief, or an connected with any
i, it might be well
{Continued on Page 55)



m I

Si-nt to h'rontifr Time* liy Hi*

MY father ;nu ! family ;ind mysell'
and faiuii\ cnmc to Texas from
Mississippi' in lS4!t, in o.x-wag-
ons, and we settled four miles
from Bell on on the Lampasas
river, whore we 1 nilt log houses, opened
up farms, bought sonic stock, and set-
tled down to gr'>u up with the country.
All went well until the gold fever broke
out in California in 1S.">0. Along came
a wagon train going to the gold fields,
and I told my father it' he would stay
at home and take care of onr families I
would go to California, make a fortune,
come back and we would all enjoy it.
So it was agreed that I should go. I
bade my wife and three little boys
goodbye, and joined the caravan that
was passing through the' state on the
way to the land of gold. My baggage
consisted of my old fiddle, a change of
clothing, and blankets. .My two single
brothers also joined (he wagon train.
This was in February. 1S">('). We took
the Southern Route by way of San An-
tonio, I'valde, San Felipe (now Del Rio)
Comanche Springs, Limpia Canyon and
El Paso. When we reached Devil's
River it was a very dry time, and the
water was very low in the river. We /
camped and prepared to stay there a
few days to rest the stock. There lie-
ing lots of catfish, all we had to do was
to tie a butcher knife on a stick and we
could get all the fish we wanted out of
the crevices in the rock bed of the
river. About the fourth day cholera
broke out in camp and seven people
died. The captain ordered us to break
camp at once, and after burying the
dead, we started on. MV friend and
partner was one of the unfortunate
ones, and I helped to bury him on the
bank of Devil's Kiver, and placed large
rocks over the grave to keep the
wolves from uncovering and eating tin-
body. (Twenty-two years afterward I,
was on Devil's lliver hunting deer and
bear, and I looked for and found my
friend's grave. Some of the rocks had
been rolled away from it.) After travel-
ing for a day or so the cholera ceased,

and our iiext stop was at the famous
Painted Cave. 1 will state there were 95
wagons in our train, about I'OO men.
and about that inany women and chil-
dren. We, stopped at the Painted Cave
and let our teams rest, and we danced
three days and nights in the Cave, I
being one of the fiddlers. You se.> we
had to dance that long in order to give
every one a chance to dance. The music
sounded splendid >nd inspiring in that
cavern, there being lots of room, and
we all had a good time. Leaving Paint-
ed Cave, we headed for Howard's Well.
We made camp, and both stock and
people were suffering for water when
we reached the Well, and when we got
there we found a dead mule in the well !
The Indians had killed the mule and
placed it in the well to keep us from
getting water to drink. We first had
.to clean out the well and wait for clear
water before wo could get a drink.

Our next stop was at the Peeos River,
where we rested several days and built
large rafts to carry the wagons over.
The river being narrow, we had no
trouble in crossing the stock. After all
were crossed we headed for Comanche
Springs (now F;ort Stockton). We were
now in the sure enough wild country,
and could see Indians almost every day.
Our men were under strict discipline,
and we had both front and rear guards.
Our caravan made a train some three
miles long, as we had 9o wagons with
two to three yoke of oxen to each wag-
on. We had about 500 head of work
oxen, besides the horses. Every night
we w T ould stop the wagons in a circle,
making a corral of the wagons, unhitch

Online LibraryRoger E BilsteinFrontier times; devoted to frontier history, border tragedy, pioneer achievement .. (Volume 4) → online text (page 33 of 92)