Indian wars and pioneers of Texas / by John Henry Brown. Page: 55 of 894



A man arriving at the fort reported a fresh
"foot" Indian trail twelve miles east and bearing
towards the settlements below. It was agreed that
Erath should pursue them. He started on the
morning of the 6th with thirteen men and boys,
nearly half being on foot. Three of the number
were volunteers for the trip, and eleven were soldiers,
viz.: Lishley (a stranger), Robert Childers
(now living at Temple) and Frank Childers, his
boy-brother, volunteers; the soldiers were Lieut.
Erath, Sergt. McLochlan, Lee R. Davis, David
Clark, Empson Thompson, Jack Gross, Jack
Houston, and four boys, viz.: Lewis Moore,
Morris Moore, John Folks and Green McCoy,
a boy from Gonzales. They traveled twentythree
miles east, striking the trail and finding that it
was made by about a hundred Indians on foot. At
night they heard the Indians, who were encamped
in the bottom, on the bank of Elm creek, eight
miles west of the present town of Cameron, in
Milam County. They remained quiet till nearly daylight,
then, after securing their horses, cautiously
approached along ravines and the bed of the creek
till they secured a position under the bank within
twenty-five yards of the yet unsuspecting savages,
who very soon began to move about and kindle
their fires. When it was sufficiently light each man
and boy took deliberate aim and about ten Indians
tumbled over. With revolvers (then unknown),
they could easily have routed the whole band. But
each one had to reload by the old process. During
the interval the Indians seized their guns, there not
being a bow among them, and, realizing the small
number of their assailants, jumped behind trees
and fought furiously. Some of them entered the
creek below to enfilade Erath's position, and this
compelled a retreat to the opposite bank, in accomplishing
which David Clark was killed and Frank
Childers wounded. Erath continued to retreat by

alternation, one half of the men covering the retreat
of the other half for thirty or forty yards at a time,
so that half of the guns were alternately loaded and
fired. The bottom favored this plan till they
reached their horses at the edge of the prairie. On
the way, Frank Childers, finding his life ebbing,
reached a secluded spot on one side, sat down
by a tree against which his gun rested, and there
expired, but was not discovered by the enemy,
who, instead of continuing the fight, returned to
their camp and began a dismal howl over their
own dead.
There were numerous narrow escapes, balls cutting
the clothes of nearly every man. One broke
McLochlan's ramrod, another the lock of his gun,
a third bursted his powder horn, a fourth passed
through his coat and a fifth through the handkerchief
worn as a turban on his head. At that time
the families of Neil McLennan and his sons-in-law
were living eight miles distant. The men were absent,
and, but for this attack of the bold " Flying
Dutchman," the women and children would have
fallen easy victims to the savages. A month later
one of McLennan's young negroes was carried into
captivity by them. David Clark was past middle
age and was a son of Capt. Christopher Clark, of
near Troy, Lincoln County, Missouri, known to the
writer of these sketches from his infancy. Green
McCoy was a maternal nephew of Clark and a
paternal nephew of Jesse McCoy, who fell in the
Alamo. The Childers brothers were maternal
uncles of George W. Tyler, the first child born (in
1854) in Coryell County. Capt. Erath, Robert
Childers and Lewis Moore, of McLennan County,
are the only survivors of this episode of nearly
fifty-two years ago. Of the whole party, men and
boys, every one through life bore a good character.
They were in truth of the " salt of the earth " and
" pillars of strength " on the frontier.

The Surveyors' Fight in Navarro County, in October, 1838.

At this date the long since abandoned village of
4' Old " Franklin, situated in the post oaks between
where Bryan and Calvert now stand, was the
extreme outside settlement, omitting a few families
in the Brazos valley, in the vicinity of Marlin, and
was the county seat of the original Robertson
County, with its immense unsettled territory,

including the west half of Dallas County and territory
north and west of it. It was a rendezvas
for both surveying parties and volunteers on expeditions
against the Indians. Its male population
was much larger than the female, and embraced a
number of men of more or less note for intelligence
and courage. Among these were Dr. George W.

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Brown, John Henry. Indian wars and pioneers of Texas / by John Henry Brown., book, 1880~; Austin, Tex.. ( accessed October 23, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History,; .