Indian wars and pioneers of Texas Page: 126 of 894
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INDIAN WARS AND PIONEERS OF TEXAS.
A Raid in Burnet County in April, 1861
Death of James
George Baker and Family's EscapeEscape
of John H. Stockman, a Boy.
In 1861 Thomas Dawson, a single man, lived
about nine miles westerly from Lampasas, and two
miles east of the road from Burnet to San Saba.
With him lived a fatherless boy of thirteen, John
H. Stockman, whose aunt, Miss Greenwood, subsequently
became the wife of Dawson. On the 10th
of April, 1861, James, the thirteen-year-old son of
John N. Gracey, then and still (in 1887) of
Lampasas, went to Dawson's in search of horses,
and remained all night.
On the morning of the 11th these two boys, on
foot, went out seeking the horses. When about
two miles from the house and very near the Burnet
and San Saba road, while Stockman was trying to
kill a turkey a short distance from Gracey, and in
a body of post oaks, he heard a rumbling sound then
shouts, and, on looking, discovered fifteen
Indians in charge of about a hundred stolen and
frightened horses. Checking up the herd, three of
the savages seized little Gracey, stripped off his
clothing, scalped him as he stood upon the ground,
then beckoned him to run, and as he did so, sent several
arrows through his body, causing instant death.
It was the work of but a moment, during which
Stockman stood among the trees as if paralyzed, not
doubting a similar fate; but just as the wretches
were about to rush upon him, their attention was
directed to another party a short distance below on
the road. It consisted of George Baker, of Austin,
on horseback, his wife and infant, and Mr. Austin,
his father-in-law, in a buggy. Most of the Indians
were required to hold their restless herd, but the
remainder attacked the party. Mr. Baker sought
to defend his precious charge till they could reach
some timber and brush perhaps two hundred yards
away. He had both a gun and pistols. He was
soon wounded, but killed the most daring of the
assailants at an instant when Mrs. Baker was for
a moment at their mercy. But they were so sanguine
of killing the husband and holding the wife,
that the whole party succeeded in reaching the
desired haven and found partial protection. Mr.
Austin was an old man somewhat palsied in the
arms and could do nothing. Baker held them at
bay, firing several shots and wounding a second
Indian; but he was wounded several times and
finally became unable to do more. Mrs. Baker
drew the arrows from his body and staunched the
wounds as best she could; but in the last dread
alternative stood in his stead, wielding his weapons
and holding the brutal creatures at a respectful
distance. An arrow entered the baby's stomach
through several folds of a Mexican blanket, but
not far enough to endanger its life.
In the meantime two other fortunate events
transpired. The boy, Stockman, seized the occasion
to escape. He found partial protection for a
short distance along a ravine. Having on a very
white shirt, easily seen at a considerable distance,
he cast it off. Having to cross a small prairie, he
crawled perhaps half a mile, lacerating his flesh
and limbs, and while so engaged, a part of the
Indians, in preventing a stampede of the horses,
rode almost upon, without seeing him, in the higii
grass. Through brush and briers he ran rapidly,
by circuitous routes, six or eight miles, to reach
the house of Thomas Espy, two miles east of Dawson's
place. He was severely torn and bruised,
but not otherwise injured, though frantic over the
horrors he had witnessed.
The other incident was that as the occupants
quit the buggy, the horse ran away, casting off one
of the four wheels, and, providentially leaving the
road, he went full speed to Dawson's house, near
which one or two of the Indians captured, unharnessed
and hurried him back to their fellows. This
was seen by Mr. Dawson, who mounted his own
horse and started in a run to give the alarm at
Lampasas; but, again providentially, within a mile
he fell in with a hunting party from Lampasas,
consisting of Dempsey Pace, John Greenwood
George Weldy and Newton Knight, who, at half
speed, followed the trail made by the buggy, and
soon arrived on the scene, to find the enemy still
endeavoring to accomplish their object, without
losing any more of their own number. The savages
challenged them to combat at some distance on the
prairie; but their purpose was to protect and save
the apparently doomed family. They prepared, as
best they could, for conveying them to the house
of Mr. Espy, the nearest family in that region.
The Indians soon retired with their booty, and the
rescuers safely conducted their charges in, carrying
Mr. Baker in a litter. He was gently nursed for
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Brown, John Henry. Indian wars and pioneers of Texas, book, 1880~; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth6725/m1/126/: accessed May 25, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; .