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    Texas | Features | People

    The Killing of General J. J. Byrne

    Historical marker in Sierra Blanca, Texas
    at the intersection of FM 1111 and Bus 10 (Old hwy 80),
    (the only two paved roads in town)

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    Historical Marker Text

    The Killing of General J. J. Byrne

    One of the final acts of violence in raiding led during 1880 by the feared Apache chieftain, Victorio.

    Just prior to this incident, Victorio's band--100 to 200 strong-- had finished a sanguinary two years of raiding in southwest Texas, New Mexico, and Mexico. His brilliant guerrilla tactics baffled his U. S. Army pursuers and earned their grudging admiration.

    J. J. Byrne, a surveyor and retired military man, had fought in U. S. Army in the Civil War (1861-65), having been cited both for gallantry and meritorious conduct. At the time of his death, he was the lone passenger on the stage bound for Fort Davis.

    Drawn by small, swift Mexican mules, the coach left Fort Quitman, a former Army post on the Rio Grande, August 13, 1880. As it entered a steep canyon Victorio's men attacked. Gen. Byrne was killed almost at once but the driver, Ed Walde, turned the stage and raced back to the fort for safety.

    Later in 1880 the United States and Mexico fielded 5,000 soldiers to hunt down Victorio, who was finally killed in Mexico. Thus ended the career of one of the most notable Indian chiefs in the southwest.

    Byrne, born in Ireland about 1842, was buried near Fort Quitman but later reinterred in Fort Worth.
    1973
    Sierra Blanca, TX - Killing of General J.J. Byrne

    Historical Marker
    Photo courtesy Barclay Gibson, 2009

    Sierra Blanca, TX - Hudspeth County Courthouse, restored

    Photo courtesy Barclay Gibson, 2009

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