INDIAN WARS AND PIONEERS OF TEXAS.
killed in Erath's fight with the Indians, on Big Elm,
in the same section, in January, 1837), William
and Prior Childers, small boys; his two grown
daughters, Katherine (afterwards Mrs. E. Lawrence
Stickney); Amanda (afterwards Mrs. John E.
Craddock, and still living in Bell County); and
Caroline, eight years old (now the widow of Orville
T. Tyler and the mother of George W. Tyler, living
in Belton), the whole family consisting of nine
also an old man named Rhoads, living with
the Childers family, -
Shackleford, Orville T.
Tyler, Parson Crouch and Robert Davidson (whose
families were in Nashville), Ezekiel Roberson and
the two messengers, John Beal and Jack Hopsontotal
souls, seventeen, of whom eleven were able
to bear arms, though Mr. Rhoads was old and
On the evening of the first day they arrived and
encamped at the house of Henry Walker, where
the families of Monroe and Smith had already
taken refuge. It was expected that these three
families would join them in the march next morning;
but they were not ready, and the original
party, when morning came, moved on. When two
or three miles southeast of Walker's house, on the
road to Nashville, via Smith's crossing of Little
river, Davidson and Crouch being about three hundred,
and Capt. Childers about one hundred yards
ahead and two or three men perhaps two hundred
yards behind, driving a few cattle, the latter discovered
about two hundred mounted warriors advancing
from the rear at full speed. They gave the
alarm and rushed forward to the wagon. Capt.
Childers, yelling to Crouch and Davidson, hastened
back. They reached the wagon barely in time to
present a bold front to the advancing savages and
cause them to change their charge into an encirclement
of the apparently doomed party; but in
accomplishing this purpose the enemy discovered
Messrs. Crouch and Davidson seeking to rejoin
their companions. This diverted their attention
from the main party to the two unfortunate gentlemen,
who, seeing the impossibility of their attempt,
endeavored to escape by flight, but being poorly
mounted, were speedily surrounded, killed and
scalped. Then followed great excitement among
the Indians, apparently quarreling over the disposition
of the scalps and effects of the two gentlemen.
This enabled the main party to reach a
grove of timber about four hundred yards distant,
where they turned the oxen loose, and only sought
t:o save their lives. At this critical crisis and just
as the savages were returning to renew the attack,
Beal and Hopson, who had won the friendship of
all by coming as messengers, and by their conduct
up to that moment, made their escape from what
seemed certain death.
For a little while the Indians galloped around
them, yelling, firing and by every artifice seeking
to draw a fire from the little band; but they presented
a bold front and fired not a gun. Shackleford
could speak the Indian tongue and challenged
them to charge and come to close quarters, but the
Indians evidently believed they had pistols and
extra arms in the wagons and failed to approach
nearer than a hundred yards and soon withdrew.
In close order, the besieged retreated changing
their route to the raft, four or five miles distant,
on Little river, on which they crossed, swimming
their horses. Carolina Childers, the child of eight,
rode behind her future husband, Orville T. Tyler,
who had a lame foot and was compelled to ride,
while others,'for want of horses, were compelled to
travel on foot. They doubted not the attack would
be renewed at some more favorable spot, but it
was not. Thus they traveled till night and
encamped. They reached Nashville late next day.
During the next day Smith, Monroe and Walker,
with their families, arrived. Immediately on leaving
the former party the Indians had attacked the
three families in Walker's house and kept up a fire
all day without wounding either of the defenders,
who fired deliberately through port-holes whenever
opportunity appeared. While not assured of killing
a single Indian, they were perfectly certain of
having wounded a considerable number. As night
came on, the Indians retired, and as soon as satisfied
of their departure, the three families left for
Nashville,. and arrived without further molestation.
NOTE. Robert Davidson was a man of intelligence
and merit, and was the father of Wilson T.
Davidson and Mrs. Harvey Smith of Belton, Mrs.
Francis T. Duffau of Austin, and Justus Davidson
of Galveston, all of whom have so lived in the
intervening fifty-one years as to reflect honor on
their slaughtered father. Of the family of Mr.
Crouch I have no knowledge. Mrs. Stickney died
in Coryell County, December 24, 1880. Prior
Childers died in Falls County in 1867 or 1868.
William Childers died in the Confederate army in
1864, having served from the beginning of the
O. T. Tyler was born in Massachusetts, August
28, 1810; landed in Texas in February, 1835;
married Caroline Childers in 1850; was the first
chief-justice of Coryell County, and filled various
other public stations; and full of years and the
honors of a well-spent life, died at his elegant home
in Belton, April 17th, 1886. His son, Senator
George W. Tyler, of Belton, was the first white
child born in Coryell County.
Brown, John Henry. Indian wars and pioneers of Texas / by John Henry Brown.. Austin, Tex.. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth6725/. Accessed July 30, 2015.