which saved little boy from Indians (Lavaca County Tribune – Jan.
granddaughter, Mrs. Roy S. Woods of Norman, Oklahoma collected a
great amount of material about our pioneer, John H. Livergood, who
was the county judge when Hallettsville
became the county seat.
Here is a story about him in an expedition against the Indians who
had killed a settler’s wife and daughter and kidnapped his 8-year-old
the Civil War, almost every able-bodied man, in Texas, was away
from home and at the battlefront.
This left very few at home to protect their homes and the women
and children. Therefore the Indians raided at will. They murdered
old men and boys and women and children. They took many women captive
and sold them to other tribes for slaves.
These conditions existed when the men began to return from the horrors
of war at the battlefronts. Many of them to find their homes in
ashes, their family gone and their cattle driven off.
One morning a man rode up to the home of John H. Livergood, and
told him that a neighbor’s home had been destroyed and his wife
and daughters slain and his little son stolen. The man had gone
out to hunt game that day and when he returned, his house was a
smoldering pile of ashes and his wife and daughters were lying about
the yard, slain.
John H. Livergood saddled his horse and put some food into his saddlebags
and was ready to go with a band of Texans to avenge the wrongs [against]
his neighbor. They rode all morning without seeing anything of the
Indians. Then about noon they found fresh tracks, all going in the
same direction. They knew they were the tracks of Indians and probably
the ones who had stolen the little son of Mr. Johnson.
The group of men rode that day and camped that night where the Indians
had camped the night before, as there were coals of fire in the
ashes where their campfire had been. There were fifteen Texans in
the group with Abel Smith leading them. Mr. Smith told the men to
eat and get all the rest that they could as he thought they would
overtake the Indians before noon the next day. “I believe there
are about twenty five or thirty Indians in the band,” he said, “maybe
more, and we will have a stiff fight on our hands.”
were staked out near the camp and the men all lay down to sleep
or rest, except one man, who was left to guard the camp. This man
watched until about midnight, then woke one of the others and let
him guard the rest of the night. He roused the others before daylight
and they quickly ate breakfast, saddled their horses and were on
the trail again as soon as it was light enough to see.
The Indians were traveling northwest. About the middle of the morning
the Texans saw a bunch of cows and upon getting nearer they saw
something else, which looked like a child. As they rode closer they
saw it was a little boy, whom Mr. Johnson immediately recognized
as his son. The child was completely naked except for the loincloth
that the Indians wore. It was the custom of the Indians to strip
the clothing off their captives as soon as they were taken.
The little boy, Dan, told what had happened at home and of his capture.
“They left me near the camp fire and when they were all asleep I
crawled away until I was out of their sight. Then I walked all night
and this morning I found these cows and I thought the wolves would
not bother me if I was with them, so I stayed.”
Mr. Johnson was happy to find his little son. He took the child
up behind him on his horse and the little group of men continued
on after the Indians. Mr. Smith had guessed right and they came
up within sight of the Indians as they were stopped at noon to water
their horses. They had stopped on a branch of the Big Sandy.
There was a ravine running at an angle from the creek and in this
the Texans could get within shooting distance of the Indians without
being seen. This they did and began shooting. The Indians were thrown
into some confusion. They soon rallied and began shooting arrows
in the direction of the Texans.
A hot battle ensued but the Indians were soon routed and some were
captured and some killed while many of them escaped.
© Murray Montgomery
March 20, 2008 Column
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