Indian Raids

Taken from Loose Leaves of the History of Lamar County
Article appeared in The Paris News on Saturday, July 2, 1921

Back in the thirties the settlers in the Red River District were greatly beset by hostile Indians. During the year 1826, Mrs. Hanks, a widow, who in after years became Mrs. James Clark, was surprised one day to receive an apparently friendly visit from a Caddo Indian who had its head-quarters at that time on the banks of the Sabine, a distance of more than a hundred miles away. Her surprise was not lessened by the information he gave, and it was that good woman and family were in very great danger of being massacred and that, too, by a group of friendly Choctaws, who were then near neighbors and upon whom she and her family were mainly dependent for protection. This message was gratefully received by this good woman; while she was covered with confusion, she lost no time in communicating with her white friends. But when such old Indian fighters as Captain Burkham, who was her nearest white neighbor, and old Captain Henry Stout, had her story, they told her that the message which she had received was simply a ruse by the Caddos to frighten her family away from home and thus give them an opportunity to pillage her home and drive-off her stock and get out of the country before they could be overtaken. They advised Mrs. Hanks to return to her home at once, and a few men galloped out to look for the messenger and soon overtook him near the home of a settler by the name of Murphy. These old frontiers-men at once pounced upon him and gave him a severe whipping and then ordered him to “skiddoo” or he and his party whom they knew were somewhere near skulking in the brush, would fare worse. The Caddo messenger took them at their word. But it is said that Indians neither forget nor forgive. Just about a year from the date of the whipping above referred to a bunch of Caddos made a raid in that settlement going directly to the home of Murphy an found him hauling rails on a sled and building and repairing his fences. No on but the Indians know what transpired except that Murphy's team ran away during the melee going directly home. Mrs. Murphy fearing the worst but heedless of her own peril took the back trail of the team and came upon the dead and scalped body of her husband. The heroic woman returned to the house and drove the team and sled back to the place of murder, loaded her husband's body on it and carried him to the house. She then went on horseback to Captain Burkham, her nearest neighbor, some six or seven miles away. After the settlers had buried the victim of this cruel outrage a party was organized to pursue and punish them. Captain Charles Burkham was chosen captain, but the old warhorse, Captain Henry Stout, who was with John B. Denton when he was killed at the Village Creek fight, and who was himself wounded at the same time, was with the party. This expedition was comprised of 28 men. But the names of only a few of them are known: Burkham Stout, J. J. Ward, George Wright, Josh Robins, and James Anderson. This company followed in the direction the Indians had taken for some two hundred miles when all the party but 16 returned to their homes. Burkham, Stout, and Ward were the men who remained with the hunting party while the balance were comprised of boys sixteen and seventeen years of age. The search was continued for a few more days when men and horses, too, were practically exhausted. After enduring many hardships and privations, the party were forced to return and report failure. It was afterward ascertained that the Indians committed this murder purely for revenge. Since the whipping occurred near Murphy's house and the culprit did not know any who whipped him the Indians concluded that Murphy was instrumental in having the whipping done. As a matter of fact he had nothing whatever to do with it.

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