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Adobe Walls

It is now a ghost town in Hutchinson County, far north in the Panhandle, but in the 1800s it was a community that briefly came together during what would be the latter days of buffalo hunting in north Texas. It is also the site of two battles between the mostly Anglo inhabitants and the native tribes that came together to try and eliminate them.

Around 1843, Anglos began residing in the area to trade with both the hunters and the tribes. One of the former residents was Charles Bent who along with Ceran St. Vrain ran the trading company of Bent, St. Vrain and Company to trade in furs and other articles with local inhabitants there. Their operation existed in the 1840s until they moved further north and west, reportedly due to tribal hostilities. Bent is said to have built two series of structures, the first with logs and the second with adobe block. In response to depredations from the nearby tribes, they reestablished their business in New Mexico and later in several locations, ending with a structure known as Bent’s Fort in what is now southern Colorado. Bent would also briefly serve as territorial governor of New Mexico until he was sought out and killed by rebels who revolted against the United States occupation of the area in what is called the Taos Rebellion. St. Vrain took part in United States efforts to quell the rebellion, after which he continued to trade in the eastern New Mexico territory until his death of natural causes when he was in his upper 60s in 1870. Bent Creek in Hutchinson County is named for Charles Bent and/or his brother William Bent. The creek flows into the nearby Canadian River near the former community.

Anglos began coming to the Adobe Walls area largely due to the buffalo trade in the 1860s, meeting resistance again from local tribes. In late 1864, there was a battle mostly between an estimated 375 United States Army troops out of New Mexico and a much larger force of Kiowa, Plains Apache and Comanche who had consolidated against them. The troops were able to hold out in the small fortress.

As the buffalo trade continued to decline, hunters drifted down into Texas from nearby northern states such as Kansas and by the mid 1870s, the Adobe Walls settlement had revived. The ruins were expanded and rebuilt to an extent and various trades to service the hunters resumed. The businesses included at least two stores, blacksmith shops and the inevitable saloon or saloons. Hunters exchanged their hides for goods and supplies. Hides were transported north.

In the summer of 1874, a second battle took place, this time led by Comanche Chief Quanah Parker and others. A consolidation of Comanche, Cheyenne, Kiowa and Arapaho warriors again attacked the fortress. Numbers are estimated at several dozen Anglos against a larger force from the tribes. The battle lasted a few days and the death toll was actually numbered at about three Anglos and less than two dozen from the tribes before the warriors withdrew, but not before killing or capturing virtually all the horses, mules and oxen at Adobe Walls. It was during this battle that Billy Dixon, scout and buffalo hunter, is said to have made a legendary and extremely long rifle shot with a Sharps .50-90 rifle that killed a warrior, the event that that led to the tribes’ withdrawal, ending the battle. The battle was considered a standoff, but it amounted to the last major battle between the tribes and Anglos in the area before more settlement occurred.

Some of the Anglos remained at the location for a short time, but it was mostly abandoned by the fall of 1874. About one hundred years later, interest in the area led to it being added to the National Register of Historic Places in Texas and archaeological excavations were carried out. It was acquired about one hundred years ago by the Panhandle Plains Historical Society.

There are a number of museums in the area and historical markers that memorialize the location and events.


Sources include Ghost Towns of Texas by T. Lindsay Baker, University of Oklahoma Press.

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Posted by on July 29, 2021 in town names

 

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The Lubbock Brothers

Three brothers figure into the history of Texas.  They are Thomas, Francis and Henry Lubbock.  Colonel Thomas Saltus Lubbock is the brother for whom Lubbock county and the city of Lubbock is named.  He was born in South Carolina in 1817 and came to Texas early enough to participate in the Siege of Bexar in late 1835.  He was also a participant in the ill-fated Santa Fe Expedition in 1841.  Thomas was captured in New Mexico while Texas troops were on their way to Santa Fe.  He was taken to Mexico and imprisoned, but was one of two individuals to be able to escape.  He later made his way back to Texas.  When the Civil War broke out, he first served in an irregular unit comprised mostly of former Texas soldiers and Texas Rangers as scouts for the Confederate Army.  He and some others later joined the Confederate Army and were founding members of “Terry’s Texas Rangers,” the 8th Texas Cavalry.  Lubbock was promoted to Colonel and put in command of the regiment after the death of Benjamin Franklin Terry but happened to be ill with typhoid fever at the time.  Thomas died the following day on January 9, 1862 before he could take command.  He is buried in Glenwood Cemetery in Houston, Texas.

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Posted by on February 6, 2020 in biography, civil war, county names, town names

 

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Clinton McKamy Winkler

Clinton McKamy Winkler was a lawyer, judge and a member of the Texas Court of Appeals for many years.  He was born in North Carolina in 1821 to David Tate and Lavinia Cates Owen Winkler.  He moved with his family first to Indiana in 1835 for a few years before relocating to Texas in the early 1840s.  They settled in what is now Robertson County to be near other Winkler relatives.  The family was said to be descended from German immigrants, but his grandfather was born in North Carolina according to traditional genealogical sources.  McKamy was also an old family name and many of these McKamy relatives were also residents of North Carolina.

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Posted by on February 28, 2019 in biography, civil war, county names, town names

 

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Gustave Eiffel and Paris, Texas

The Fort Worth Gazette issue of August 8, 1889 carried a small paragraph that read as follows under the headline in all caps that read “TO OUTDO THE FRENCHMEN.”  The paragraph read, “A Washington architect, anticipating the great world’s fair to be held here in 1892 in honor of the 400th anniversary of the discovery of America, and wishing to lay the Frenchman who conceived and built the Eiffel tower completely in the shade, has submitted plans for a tower to astonish the thousands who will gather here at the great exposition.  It is to be 1500 [feet] high or 500 more feet more than the wonderful tower in Paris.”

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Posted by on February 21, 2019 in town names

 

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Thomas Jefferson Rusk

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(Image credit: Findagrave)

Thomas Jefferson Rusk is considered to be one of the fathers of Texas.  He was born in South Carolina on December 5, 1803 to Irish immigrant John Rusk and his wife Mary Sterritt Rusk, and was one of seven children.  He had a modest upbringing as his father was a stone mason.  The family lived on the estate of John C. Calhoun who was his mentor.  Rusk studied the law and was admitted to the South Carolina bar.

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Posted by on February 14, 2019 in biography, county names, republic of texas, town names

 

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