Until a year ago, I’d lived in Parker County, Texas. You know that as someone who loves history, I searched out facts about the area’s past. One of the stories that fascinated me was the story of three children captured in the county’s last Indian raid in 1872.
At one time I did considerable research on this tale with the thought of turning it into a children’s book. I decided the facts were too gruesome for children. Well, at least for their parents’ approval.
Currently, I’m recovering from ankle reconstruction and can’t search through my notes. I’m stuck in bed with my foot elevated for another couple of weeks. So, my story for you will be based on memory.
Sam Savage and his family farmed on Sanchez Creek. His aunt and uncle farmed across the creek. A group of raiding Comanche rode through. Sam’s father and oldest brother were killed in the field where they were working. Mrs. Savage got the girls inside. One girl who was fifteen was shot with an arrow as she scooped up her sister. They barely reached the house in time to bar the door. I would have been afraid the house would have been set on fire, but the Comanche were after horses—and small children.
Sam was six and his brother John was eight. The two boys were captured. The Comanche then crossed the creek and killed the boys’ aunt and uncle and captured four-year-old Mary, their cousin. Their captors did not capture other children on this raid.
When they camped for the night, the children were given raw liver and forced to eat. They gagged and vomited but were shown no patience. During the night, John escaped and started home. He was recaptured and the soles of his feet slit so he would be unable to walk or run and no longer be able to sneak out of camp.
The three children lived with the Comanche in Oklahoma Territory for eighteen months. A trader spotted three white children in the camp. He traded everything he had with him, including his saddle and saddlebags, to rescue the three youngsters. The trader took them to Fort Worth in an attempt to identify the kids and reunite them with their families.
By this time, Mary spoke only Comanche and could not even communicate in English. The boys were able to give their names. Eventually, they were reunited with Mrs. Savage and what was left of their family.
I don’t remember (if I knew) what happened to Mary or John, but Sam remained in the area. He married a Pawnee woman and lived near Mineral Wells for the rest of his life. I found this story fascinating and hope you will also.
Caroline Clemmons is the author of MAIL-ORDER PROMISE, the first in the duet set titled MAIL-ORDER TANGLE, a western historical romance. She and her husband and their menagerie of rescued pets live near Fort Worth in cowboy country.