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THE KILLOUGH MASSACRE
Page 4

Text & seven photos by Janet Gregg

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[Previous page] ... Some of the women screamed as the Indian ran toward them. The Indian, who spoke no English, tried to get them to take a path less traveled, the path to the left. They balked at first but he would not let them pass and they eventually gave in, believing they were going to die either way. A short way down the path they came into a clearing where about 200 Indians were camped. They were put in a hut and the Indian who found them sat in front of the door holding his gun.

The encampment was about four miles West of where Rusk now stands. They had traveled roughly 20 miles.

A negro woman came in and fed them, but refused to answer their questions. It was the first food they had eaten in two days. Eventually an interpreter was brought to them and he explained that they had been found by friendly Indians and were safe. They also learned that had they gone a half mile down the path to the right, they would have been killed, as a band of unfriendly Indians on the warpath, including some of the same group who had attacked them, were camped there. The interpreter also told the women that the friendly Indians had placed guards all over the county trying to find them before the renegades did.

They were given blankets and slept in the hut that night, with the Indian who found them rolled up in a blanket across the door. The next morning they were given horses and continued on their way to Fort Lacy.

When they reached the fort it was night. The exhausted women were hailed three times and were about to be shot when they finally identified themselves as “women from Saline”. They stayed in the fort for a month then went to old Douglas.
Killough Marker Tombstone
One of the family tombstones.
   
Narcissus always maintained there was one white man with the renegade Indians. She said when the Indians tried to make her little group go to Chief Sam Bengs, one rode up to her and tried to assure her the women and baby would not be harmed. Narcissus said through the paint and Indian clothing, she could tell he was a white man, and when he realized she saw that, he turned and rode away.

She recognized him as a man named Hawkins, who was from their old hometown in Alabama. He had migrated to East Texas earlier, had joined the tribes and gained a position of prominence among them. The survivors believe he spurred the Indians to attack. He was reportedly the first of the settlers who had migrated to East Texas, to return to Alabama to report the tragedy. Narcissus returned there later with her baby boy and that’s how the settlers learned Hawkins had reported the news first.

Hawkins involvement though, was never confirmed by General Thomas J. Rusk, who, five weeks later, guided by Nathaniel, led a detachment of soldiers to the site of the attack to bury the victims. The four bodies they found were buried in wooden boxes under a large oak tree, which no longer exists, a few hundred yards east of where Samuel’s home stood. The graves were given rough stone markers.
The soldiers found the settlement’s homes ransacked with beds ripped up and belongings turned upside down or thrown into the yards. Samuel’s home had been torched, but it only partly burned because it had been built with green wood. next page
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Text and photos © Janet Gregg
November 8, 2005
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This page last modified: November 8, 2006