Indian wars and pioneers of Texas Page: 59 of 894
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INDIAN WARS AND PIONEERS OF TEXAS.
one-third of their guns were always loaded to meet
the attack at close quarters. Their aim was deadly
and warriors were rapidly tumbled to the ground.
Yet, knowing they were ten to one against the
Texians, the Comanches were not willing to give up
the contest till over twenty of their number lay
dead, and doubtless as many more were wounded.
Col. Karnes, in his intense and unselfish desire to
both save and encourage his men, greatly exposed
himself and was severely wounded, this being the
only casualty to his party, though nearly all his
horses were more or less wounded. It was a gallant-and
successful defense against immense odds,
and served to cement more closely the already
strong ties that bound the modest but ever faithful
and fearless Karnes to the hearts of the people of
San Antonio and the whole Southwest. Living,
fighting and dying in the country without family or
kindred; leaving no trace on paper indicating his
long and faithful service; largely winning achievements
of which neither official nor private record
was kept; though personally having had very slight
acquaintance with him, it has ever been to the writer
a sincere pleasure to rescue from oblivion his many
gallant deeds, and place his memory where it rightfully
belongs in the galaxy composed of the truest,
best, most unselfish and bravest men who wrought
for Texas at any time between 1821 and 1846.
The Captivity of the Putman and Lockhart Children in 1838.
In the summer of 1837, succeeding the great
exodus of 1836, Mr. Andrew Lockhart returned to
his frontier home on the west side of the Guadalupe,
and nearly opposite the present considerable
town of Cuero, in DeWitt County. He was
accompanied, or soon joined, by Mitchell Putman,
with his wife and several children. Mr. Putman
was a man of good character, and had been honorably
discharged from the army after having served
a full term and being in the battle of San Jacinto.
The two families temporarily lived in the same
When the pecans began ripening in the fall, the
children of both families frequented the bottom
near by to gather those delicious nuts, which, of
course, were highly prized at a time when nearly
all, and oftentimes all, the food attainable was
wild meat, indigenous nuts and fruit.
On one occasion, in October, 1838, Matilda,
daughter of Mr. Lockhart, aged about thirteen,
and three of Mr. Putman's children, a small girl,
a boy of four and a girl of two and a half years,
left home in search of pecans. The hours flew
by-night came, and through its weary hours
parental hearts throbbed with anguish. Signal
fires were lighted, horns blown and guns fired the
few accessible settlers were notified, but the
morning sun rose upon two disconsolate households.
The four children, as time revealed, had
been cunningly surprised, awed into silence, and
swiftly borne away by a party of wild Indians.
Pursuit was impracticable. There were not men
enough in the country and the families needed
nightly protection at home.
Mr. Lockhart, more able to do so than Mr. Putman,
made every effort to recover his daughter and
the other children. For this purpose he accompanied
Col. John H. Moore on expeditions into the
mountains in both 1838 and 1839. In one of these
expeditions Col. Moore made a daylight attack on
a large hostile village on the San Saba, or rather
just as day was dawning. Despite the remonstrances
of others the resolute seeker of his lost
child rushed ahead of all others, exclaiming in
stentorian voice: " Matilda Lockhart! Oh, my
child! if you are here run to me. I am your
father! " He continued so to shout, and, dear
reader, Matilda heard and recognized that loved
voice repeatedly; but the moment the fight opened
she was lashed into a run by squaws and speedily
driven into the recesses of thickets. So time
passed, the stricken father seizing upon every hope,
however faint, to recover his child.
Negotiations were opened with the hostiles, by
direction of President Lamar, in the winter of
1839-40, seeking a restoration of all our captive
children, and there was known to be quite a number
among them. The wily foe betrayed the cunning
and dissimulation of their race from the first.
They promised much in two or three interviews,
but performed little.
During the spring of 1840 the little boy of Mr.
Putman was brought in and restored to his parents.
The elder daughter was not heard of until during
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Brown, John Henry. Indian wars and pioneers of Texas, book, 1880~; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth6725/m1/59/: accessed May 27, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; .