Indian wars and pioneers of Texas / by John Henry Brown. Page: 45 of 894

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The Heroic Taylor Family of the Three Forks of
Little River

In the autumn of 1835 the outermost habitation
on the waters of Little river was that of the Taylor
family. It stood about three miles southeast of
where Belton is, a mile or so east of the Leon river
and three miles or more above the mouth of that
stream. The junction of the Leon, Lampasas and
Salado constitutes the locality known as the " Three
Forks of Little River," the latter stream being
the San Andres of the Mexicans as well as of
the early settlers of Texas. This change of name
is not the only one wrought in that locality, for
the names "Lampasas" (water lily) and "Salado"
(saltish) were also most inappropriately
exchanged, the originals being characteristic of
the two streams, while the swap makes descriptive
nonsense. At an earlier period the same incongruous
change occurred in the names of the
"Brazos " and " Colorado " rivers.
The home of the Taylors consisted of two long
cabins with a covered passage between. The
family consisted of Mr. and Mrs. Taylor, two
youthful sons and two daughters. One of the
latter, Miss Frazier, was a daughter of Mrs. Taylor
by a former husband, and afterwards the wife
of George W. Chapman, of Bell County.
In the night of November 12th, 1835, eleven
Indians attacked the house. The parents and girls
were in one room--the boys in the other. The
door to the family room, made of riven boards,
was a foot too short, leaving an open space at the
top. The first indication of the presence of the
enemy was the warning of a faithful dog, which was
speedily killed in the yard. This was followed by
a burly warrior trying to force the door, at the
same time in English demanding to know how
many men were in the house, a supply of tobacco
and the surrender of the family. By the bright
moonlight they could be distinctly seen. Mrs.
Taylor defiantly answered, "No tobacco, no surrender,"
and Mr. Taylor answered there were ten
men in the house. The assailant pronounced the
latter statement false, when Taylor, through a
crack, gave him a severe thrust in the stomach with
a board, which caused his hasty retreat, whereupon
Mrs. Taylor threw open the door, commanding the
boys to hasten in across the hall, which they did,
escaping a flight of balls and arrows. The door
was then fastened, a table set against it, and on it
the smallest boy, a child of only twelve years, was

mounted with a gun and instructed to shoot
through the space over the door whenever an
Indian appeared. There were not many bullets on
hand, and the girls supplied that want by moulding
more. Taylor, his wife and larger son, watched
through cracks in the walls to shoot as opportunity
might occur. Very soon a warrior entered the
passageway to assault the door, when the twelve
years' " kid," to use a cant phrase in use to-day,
shot him unto death. A second warrior rushed in
to drag his dead comrade away, but Mr. Taylor shot
him, so that he fell, not dead but helpless, across
his red brother. These two admonitions rendered
the assailants more cautious. They resolved to
effect by fire that which seemed too hazardous by
direct attack. They set the now vacated room on
fire at the further end and amid their demoniac
yells the flames ascended to the roof and made
rapid progress along the boards, soon igniting those
covering the hallway. Suspended to beams was a
large amount of fat bear meat. The burning roof
soon began to cook the meat, and blazing sheets of
the oil fell upon the wounded savage, who writhed
and hideously yelled, but was powerless to extricate
himself from the tortune. Mrs. Taylor had
no sympathy for the wretch, but, peeping through
a crack, expressed her feelings by exclaiming:
"Howl! you yellow brute! Your meat is not fit
for hogs, but we'll roast you for the wolves! "
As the fire was reaching the roof of the besieged
room, Mr. Taylor was greatly dispirited, seeming
to regard their fate as sealed; but his heroic wife,
thinking not of herself, but of her children, rose
equal to the occasion, declaring that they would
whip the enemy and all be saved. From a table
she was enabled to reach the boards forming the
roof. Throwing down the weight poles, there
being no nails in the boards, she threw down
enough boards in advance of the fire to create an
empty space. There was a large quantity of milk
in the house and a small barrel of home-made
vinegar. These fluids were passed up to her by
her daughters, and with them she extinguished
the fire. In doing so her head and chest formed
a target for the enemy; but while several arrows
and balls rent her clothing, she was in nowise
While these matters were transpiring, Mr. Taylor
and the elder son each wounded a savage in the

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Brown, John Henry. Indian wars and pioneers of Texas / by John Henry Brown., book, [1880]; Austin, Tex.. ( accessed July 31, 2016), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History,; .