It is not uncommon for the title of a book to fully communicate to a potential reader what will be discovered within its pages. The title of this book disguises the fact that the author and his family were central to the history of early Texas and appear prominently within these pages almost from the outset. The stories of many others appear here too, all written with the authority of one who often knew the participants personally. Readers will discover that Andrew Jackson Sowell took part in the Texas Revolution of 1835 and was, miraculously a survivor of the Siege of the Alamo. He also fought in the most notable Indian fights in frontier Texas including The Council House Fight, The Battle of Plum Creek and The Battle of Salado Creek. He then served in the Mexican War and in the American Civil War for the Confederacy. The final section of the book focusses on the activities of the author in the most direct way because he served on the campaign to the Wichita Mountains with the Texas Rangers in 1871 and in subsequent engagements (which he reports as an eyewitness) against the Kiowa and Comanche tribes.
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Turner and Callahan made for a dense thicket, some distance off, keeping close together in this race for life. The other man, being mounted on a splendid horse, left his companions, and was soon out of sight, carrying off a double-barrelled shot gun belonging to Callahan, who had handed it to him a few minutes before to shoot a turkey.
The Indians, being well mounted, gained on them at every jump, at the same time uttering loud and exultant yells, as they felt confident of their victims; and when the two white men neared the thicket, were close upon their heels. Turner shouted to Callahan to leave his horse and run into the thicket, when he saw him about to pass around it, at the same time leaping from his horse and plunging in himself. The Indians were so near one of them threw his lance at Turner, striking him between the shoulders, near the left shoulder blade, but he still continued to tear his way through the brush, dragging the lance after him, until it pulled out. Being weak from loss of blood and exertion, he lay down at the base of a large pecan tree, with his rifle beside him, ready to shoot the first Indian who found him.
Callahan was overtaken and killed near the thicket, having failed to heed the warning cry of Turner. After stripping and mutilating his body, and taking off his scalp, they hung him up in a tree, and danced and sang around it, one of them every now and then saying: “Yankee Doodle,” “Yankee Doodle.” Turner could see most of this performance from where he lay, thinking it would be his time next, but determined to sell his life dearly as possible, and get one Indian at least. After getting through with their pow-wow around the dead body of his companion, the Indians prowled around the thicket, in search of Turner, but were afraid to enter, as they knew the white man carried his rifle with him, and it would be certain death to the foremost Indian, and none were willing to sacrifice himself. Once a lot of them charged through on their horses, almost running over him, but went in such a hurry they did not look much.
The Indians finally all left but one, a hideous, old, crooked-mouth fellow, who still continued the search for some time longer. Turner was sorely tempted to shoot this old demon, but fearing the report of his gun would bring the others back, he refrained from doing so until the old Indian should discover him, and then he calculated to kill him. The Indian would stoop down and peer into the thicket, and sometimes Turner was almost certain the Indian saw him, and once started to raise his gun to fire, but the Indian saved his handsome face from being spoiled by a bullet, by turning off and looking somewhere else.
Turner’s shirt was stained with green fodder, which he had been pulling, and so nearly resembled the green foliage beneath which he lay was one reason, I suppose, why the Indians failed to see him.
The old Indian finally gave up the search and left, to overtake his companions. Turner lay where he was until late in the evening and then crawled out from his hiding-place and looked around. His horse, of course, was gone. The body of Callahan was still dangling in the tree, and presented a horrible sight as it swayed to and fro in the breeze. Faint and weary, he then made his way to a small pool of water nearby, and pulling off one of his shoes, washed the blood out of it, which had run down from his wound, and drank out of it. He was so weak from loss of blood he was afraid to lie down and drink from the pool, fearing he would not be able to rise again. He drank several times before attempting to leave the place, but after his burning thirst was quenched, he felt stronger, and set out for the nearest house, which was three miles nearer than his own, and arrived there before midnight.
The family were still up, for they had heard the news from the man who escaped. He said that Turner and Callahan were both killed, and when Turner stepped in with his white haggard face and bloody garments, the lady of the house fell fainting to the floor. A runner was then sent to inform his parents that he was there, for he was an unmarried man and lived with them. They soon came, and he was carried home, but it was sometime before he recovered from that terrible lance thrust. The body of Callahan was brought in the next morning after he was killed.