The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 65, July 1961 - April, 1962 Page: 495
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Notes and Documents
Friday, Jan. 9. Pulled out of Devil's river at 7 A. M. Doubled teams
up the hill. Moved only about 8 miles and camped near a water hole
on the headwaters of "Painted Cave Spring Creek." Painted Cave,
two miles out of Devil's river, is a noted camp and cave grotto,
rather, which was formerly embellished with numerous Indian pic-
ture writings, no longer to be seen, but in their place appear the
mysterious characters, "S. T. 186o," "X Plantation Bitters," "Tutt's
Pills," "Sozodont," etc. showing that the Star of Empire still takes
its way westward and that the peripatetic advertising agent is even
aboard on "Devil's River." Sun shone today so we availed ourselves
of the opportunity to dry our bedclothing which had been damp for
a week. Since writing the above, Bullis & his Seminole negroes have
put in an appearance and struck camp about soo yards from us.
During the next four days the expedition moved toward Fort
Davis and camped at Johnson's Run.
Wednesday, Jan. 14. Left camp at 7 A. M. and a 2o mile drive
brought us to "Howard's Springs" or "Wells."1' It is in the bottom
of a rocky canyon, several hundred yards from the road, dug down
about fifteen feet vertically at one end, approached by a narrow
flight of rude stone steps, covered with sand and gravel. The water
lies in a little irregular rock basin and the supply at the time I saw
it did not apparently exceed five gallons. But it appears to run in
as fast as it is dipped out. The Indians for many years fought des-
perately for the possession of this spring, it being the only [one] in
many miles around, and quite a number of graves nearby mark the
last resting place of their victims. This Spring is on the great wagon
thoroughfare from Chihuahua via El Paso to San Antonio, and
trains of wagons are passing nearly every week and have been, per-
haps, for a hundred years. During all that time this was debatable
ground between the savage and the teamsters, and here occurred
many sanguinary encounters. A Chihuahua train was sacked here
11Howard's Springs or Wells was the scene of a celebrated Indian massacre in 1872,
seven years before Duval reached the spot. When August Santleben was returning
with his prairie schooners from Chihuahua City en route to San Antonio, he nooned
at this waterhole. As his train pulled out, Anastacio Gonzales, who also lived in San
Antonio, came up with a six-wagon outfit headed for Chihuahua City. Santleben
warned him of Indians following his train for the past few days then, seeing his
own train moving two miles ahead, he drove off in his ambulance to catch up.
The Gonzales train was attacked soon after Santleben left. Lieutenant Vinson
and a detachment of the Seminole Scouts rode up soon after the attack and
found Gonzales and all of his men killed and the wagons still burning. Vinson
followed the Indian trail, and in a fight he and several of his men were killed.
Gonzales was building a new rock house in San Antonio on North Laredo Street.
The roof was still unfinished, and his widowed bride never allowed any more work
to be done on the house; the half-finished residence stood as a monument to
her husband for sixty years.
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 65, July 1961 - April, 1962, periodical, 1962; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101195/m1/555/: accessed November 18, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.