History of Texas, together with a biographical history of Milam, Williamson, Bastrop, Travis, Lee and Burleson counties : containing a concise history of the state, with portraits and biographies of prominent citizens of the above named counties, and personal histories of many of the early settlers and leading families

IIISTORY OF TEXAS. 4~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~5~

her independence, but when volunteers were
called for he raised a company with which lhe
entered the service, and after serving for a
time in front of Santa Anna took a position by
General Houston's direction near the Brazos,
where he gave to the scattered settlers needed
protection against the Indians. He continued
in active service as a ranger up to the date of
his death, and, in fact, made his life the last
offering to a people whom he had so long and
faithfully served. He was killed in what is
Iow Bell county, in 1839, while at the lead of
a company of rangers in pursuit of Indian
horse-thieves. The circumstances attending
his death form one of those interesting
episodes that mark the early history of Texas
and one deserving a full discription in this
connection.
On May 26, 1839, Captain John Bird, with
a company of thirty-one rangers, well
mounted and equipped, left Fort Milamn, at
the falls of the Brazos, on a scouting expedition
against the depredating bands of Indians
who were constantly making forages upon the
unprotected settlements around Fort Griffin,
on Little river, which was at that time on
the extreme frontier of Texas in that direction--the
Bryants, Marlins and a few others
on the Brazos being their nearest neighbors.
The presence of the Indians was divined from
tihe usual signs, and after a hurried march of
some five miles upon the freshly made trail
they suddenly came upon several small bands
of Comnanches. When discovered the Indians
were evidently aware of the presence of tIhe
rangers and were engaged in collecting their
forces. The rangers charged the redskins,
who moved on ahead of the white men,
thinking by that means to prevent pursuit.
Following on for some three miles
over the prairie, the rangers found themselves
confronted by the same party of In

dians increased by others who had ol)eyed the
signal to come together, and were arrayed in
battle order and ready for a fight. The Telxanis
again charged u111S then, aied alter a
short skirmish tlhe Indians again fled, tle
rangers pursuing them several miles further,
but without overtaking them. Their horses
being considerably jaded, the savages easily
outrode them. Tlhe rangers now gave ul) the
chase, but after retracing their steps for half
a mile, and just as they were emerging from
a skirt of timber on thle south side of a small
stream, since called Bird's creek, and at a
point about seven miles northeast of the present
town of Belton, they were suddenly smurrounded
by about forty Indians, who shot their
arrows at themei from every direction. Tlhe
rangers made for a ravine some 600 yards in
front, where there was a spring, which they
succeeded in reaching despite the desperate
attempts made to thwart them by the savages,
who now retired to the top of a hill
about 300 yards distant. A council of war
was now held, when tlhe Indians sent up
three " signal smokes," which were in a like
manner answered in as many different directions.
In about half an hour the rangers
saw a large body of mounted warriors heading
in the direction of their confederates. In
a few minutes the hilltop seemed to be literally
alive with painted demons. Increased
to about 300 in number, and led by the famous
chief Buffalo Hump, the Indians now
arrayed themselves in battle order, ready and
eager for the fray. Advancing a few paces,
the entire company halted, and they remained
silent and motionless for several moments,
perhaps to give the little band of Texans in
the ravine an opportunity of counting the
enemy; but, as one of the rangers remarked
after the fight, "thar warn't no time for
countin' Injins." The helpless little coin

HISTORY OF TEXAS.

t435

Lewis Publishing Company, publisher. History of Texas, together with a biographical history of Milam, Williamson, Bastrop, Travis, Lee and Burleson counties : containing a concise history of the state, with portraits and biographies of prominent citizens of the above named counties, and personal histories of many of the early settlers and leading families. Chicago. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth29785/. Accessed July 12, 2014.