A History Of Dickens County: Ranches and Rolling Plains Page: 4
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The following text was automatically extracted from the image on this page using optical character recognition software:
the Great Buffalo Slaughter began. A history of,.
Dickens County would not be complete without tell-
ing you that all the buffalos were killed or driven
on to the Plains. There was abuffalo camp at Soldier
Mound. Farmers plowing their fields, even today,
plow up many bones of what was once the mightiest
buffalo herds in the world. By the latter part of 1877
most of the Indians under the Cap had been killed.
Passing of the buffalo from under the Cap Rock
marked the end of the era and the beginning of another
in this section of the country. The way was opened
for the cattlemen, for with the Indian now gone, and
with little danger of his returning since the buffalo,
his commissary, had been annihilated, the country
was ideal for ranchmen. With verdant grass, with
sufficient water holes for great numbers of cattle,
the cattlemen were not long in driving their herds
under the Cap.
The Last Indian Fight In Dickens County
Soldier Mound was the supply base for General
Ronald S. Mackenzie's army during his campaign for
1871-72 and 1874-75 against the Comanches. Soldier
Mound had been fortified and manned by Major General
Thomas M. Anderson, 10th U. S. Infantry, and his
batallion composed of Companies A, S, I, and K.
Captain R. G. Carter, last survivor of the 4th
United States Calvary, who helped to rid the Staked
Plains of the Indians, once said in an interview:
"Our camps for the years 1871, 1872, 1874 and 1875
were at various times on the Freshwater Ford of the
Brazos, on Duck Creek, Double Mountain Ford of the
Brazos, near the mouth of McClellan's Creek, and
numerous other place;
"We scouted out from our base at Soldiers Mound,
which was supplied from Ft. Griffin by wagon trains
and pack mules that went as far west as Fort Sumner,
New Mexico. Major T. M. Anderson, 10th U. S. In-
fantry, commended the supply camp in 1874-75. It
was called Anderson's Fort. It was guarded by several
companies of the 10th and 11th Infantry. Anderson,
to make himself secure from attack in the rear by
any large band of Indians that might surprise us,
piled up boxes, barrels, logs, etc., in a great rec-
tangle. Hence Anderson's Fort.
"Some of our men died there or near there and
were probably buried on the mound. The man I
lost was named Gregg. We buried him at the South-
west slope of the butt at the mouth of Canyon Blanco
near where Quanah shot him out of the saddle. The
chief used him as a shield as we, a small party,
fell back. Otherwise, I would have killed Quanah
myself, as I was only thirty or forty yards from him.
"But there were too many of the Indians for me to
handle, and we were fighting a waiting battle until
the main command should come over the hills from
the Freshwater Fork to our rescue. When they did
come, the Indians fled up the canyon and later out
into the Staked Plains.
"All of our action took place at or near Blanco,
Tule, and Palo Duro Canyons and Red River near
the mouth of McClellan Creek. In 1872 we captured
1,300 squaws and children and 800 ponies. The In-
dians recovered the horses; we shot the next ponies
we captured -- 2,200 head."
Route Of The McKenzie Trail
Many towns and communities have laid claim
to the McKenzie Trail, that famous trail up which
General McKenzie, the Indian fighter, first came to
the soil which is known today as Dickens County,
in 1871. McKenzie and his men were pursuing a band
of Indian marauders at the time the trail was blazed.
History tells us that McKenzie reached Soldier's
Mound on Duck Creek, between Dickens and Spur.
He started out from Fort Griffin in Shackelford
County, and followed the Clear Fork of the Brazos,
and up to Soldier's Mound. Then he traveled across
Dockum Flat, thence north along the ridge east of
the old Spur Ranch Headquarters and to the Plains,
climbing the Cap Rock south of the Dickens-Lubbock
Highway and north of the head of Cottonwood Creek,
across the McAdoo Community on to Floydada and
11 miles North-East from Floydada.
Dickens County 1889-1937
As Told by A. J. Hagins, early settler.
Vast acres of cotton, corn and wheat together with
a few of the famed "Little Towns of Texas" now
grace the land, and fifty years ago was a vast un-
settled range dotted with scrub mesquites and cover-
ed with prairie grass, according to the story of
Abel Joseph Hagins, octogenarian, pioneer, and one
of the earliest citizens of the section now known
as Dickens County.
In the year 1889 equipped with two covered wagons,
an ox team, and a team of horses, A. J. Hagins moved
his wife and six children from JohnsonCounty, Texas,
after having moved there from Heard County, Georgia
in the year 1884. Like many other trail blazers of
the early days who constantly pushed his way west-
ward, Mr. Hagins was inspired and urged on by a
desire for "good land and cheap" as advertised to
have been placed on sale by the government at the
ridiculously low price of two dollars per acre. Ac-
cordingly, in January of 1889, Hagins filed on Sec-
tion 154 on Duck Creek in the southwest part of what
is today Dickens County-the fifth family to brave
the privations of the new region.
The four families already located in the area
when the Hagins family arrived were Bud Brown-
ing, whose brother was then Lieutenant Governor
of Texas, J. L. Gates, a family named Wilmore,
and the Crawfords. All of these families were
located at old Fort Griffin. There were about twenty
in all, and the fort afforded them protection from
the Indians, who at that time seldom gave trouble,
but a few stragglers remained and would kill if re-
fused food and tobacco upon demand from the settl-
The very elegant place of abode which Mr. Hagins
erected for his wife and six children was a one-
room dugout, roughly made by digging a space in the
earth about six feet deep, thirty-six feet long, and
fourteen feet wide. The sides were built up another
four feet by split poles. Over these, other poles,
cut from the willow trees there on the creek, were
laid. Leaves were strewn over the poles and then
dirt thrown over all of this. There was not a nail
nor a piece of lumber in the structure.
Sliding windows for the dugout were made by
leaning two poles against the one that held the
roof. Windows about two feet square were plac-
ed here; these were obtained from Abilene in Tay-
lor County about 125 miles southeast of the claim.
Three rows of cottonwood posts were cut, two plac-
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Arrington, Fred. A History Of Dickens County: Ranches and Rolling Plains, book, 1971; [Dickens, Texas]. (https://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth61098/m1/22/?q=hagins: accessed December 1, 2021), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, https://texashistory.unt.edu; .