The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 62, July 1958 - April, 1959 Page: 354
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
begin the fight first, all they are after is horses, and persons living in
such a place would have to keep two good ponies up and feed them
which is a plenty if they are properly cared for, then they would be
in no comparative danger either of your horses or your own wool.
The Moss have several ranches over there they keep none [?] of their
stock up, of course the indians get a good many of their horses, and
still they make money," all the Germans mostly in this country are
rich from the fact that they are constant workers, raising wheat is their
chief employment, and waggoning through the Spring and Summer
months when the grass is good and roads likewise. The nearest neigh-
bors to the Enchanted Rock spring is old man Riley a native of Coles
co on the site of the city of Charleston,45 has sons grown and nearly
all of his children are well off, the next is his son Crockett, and near
our ranche here on Willow4" "Wont I jump up and holler" when that
watch comes a good one too, I will take the best of care of it, and keep
44If the faded writing is legible here, Horace was rather harsh with the Moss
family. The Mosses, of German descent, possessed large holdings of land and cattle
in Llano County north of Gillespie County.
In John Henry Brown, Indian Wars and Pioneers of Texas (Austin, [?]), 442-444,
two brothers, James R. Moss and C. T. Moss, are the subjects of brief biographies.
James was born in Fayette County in 1843 and C. T. in Travis County in 1845,
and both served in the Confederate Army. Of James it is said, "He is one of the
oldest stockmen of Llano County and has been one of the most successful. He has
a ranch of about 9,ooo acres located in the southern part of Llano County." C. T.
and A. F. Moss formed a firm which "is one of the largest and best known in
West Central Texas, owning more than 3o,ooo acres of grazing land, lying in Llano
and Gillespie Counties, in which is kept from 2,000 to 3,ooo head of cattle the year
round." Another brother, William, was wounded in a pursuit of and a counter-
attack upon the Comanches after a raid on August 4, 1873. (Horace in his letter
of July 14, 1873, mentioned a raid in which "the Indians came in and stole a large
herd of horses, got about forty odd head from Dan Moore," and an unsuccessful
pursuit up the Llano River.)
There is mention of the Moss family also in Biggers, German Pioneers in Texas,
164: "The old Moss ranch was really in Llano County, just north of the Enchanted
Rock. Every one of these old ranches has its pioneer and Indian time history."
45It is of interest that this Riley hailed from Horace's home town, Charleston,
46Biggers, German Pioneers in Texas, 164, says of the James Riley family: "The
old Riley home, built perhaps in 1855, is still standing, with no evidence of decay
or dilapidation. It is a typical old-time home, built of logs, with two rooms, a broad
hall between, a second story or loft, and has a porch running the entire length of
the building. Near it stands the old smokehouse. In its day thousands of tons of
buffalo and deer meat, pork and beef has been cured in [it], a reminder of the
days when people . drew most of their sustenance from the forest and wild
herds." This house has since passed to another owner; Crocket Riley, one of James's
sons, built a two-story rock house two miles to the west. According to this chronicler
of Gillespie County, Crockett's house became noted as a center of pioneer spirit and
traditional hospitality. Crockett and Tom Shelley are said to have been among the
first stockmen to drive herds of cattle from this part of Texas to California.
No information is obtainable at this writing upon other men and families men-
tioned in these letters.
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 62, July 1958 - April, 1959, periodical, 1959; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101173/m1/421/: accessed April 30, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.