Two Boys Captured, Fannin County, Texas


By Judge J. P. Simpson

In 1841, General Tarrant raised a battalion of men in the counties of Bowie, Red River, Lamar and Fannin, for the purpose of driving out the Indians from Fannin's territory. They rendezvoused at Fort Inglish and camped for the night, and next morning were to take up the line of march for the Indians. In the evening, William Cox, who lived a few miles north of the fort, sent his son and another boy, who were about twelve years old, to drive up his milk cows. They did not return, being captured by the Indians, and the family were in great distress, not knowing whether the children were captured or killed by the Indians.

A runner was sent to the fort to notify Gen. Tarrant, who sent scouts in every direction in search of the children and to notify the settlers that the Indians were upon them and to keep a sharp lookout. The scouts sent to me, delivered the message, and wheeled their horses to go in search of the captured boys. They had not gone more than fifty steps when they came in contact with some Indians, who had caught some horses and were in the act of mounting to start. The men hailed the Indians, supposing them to be soldiers, when the Indians fled across the prairie, where Bonham now stands, the troops in pursuit, without the fire of a gun. I suppose they intended to capture them alive, from the course they pursued. Some lost their pistols, some horses fell down, riders were thrown off, and the Indians made their escape. All was pell-mell and in a bad fix. The Indians then charged the fort, with the captured boys behind them on their horses; the picket guards firing at them and wounding one old squaw, who died that night and was buried next morning by the Indians near where Orangeville now stands. This is the statement of the captured boys after their return, having been ransomed by the government for $600. After the Indians buried the squaw, they started for their village. They had not gone far when they saw a one armed man carrying a saddle, who from his actions and gestures, they supposed had lost his horse and was looking for him. The Indians concealed themselves in the brush until the man came near; they then shot and scalped him and cut off the arm at the elbow and threw the body in the creek. When they camped at night the Indians roasted the hand and arm and ate it, and appeared to be much elated while partaking of the delicious fare, and by signs and gestures showed the little fellows how they would kill, roast and eat them soon, which frightened them so they did not sleep, but spent the night in weeping and thinking of father, mother and home.

In six days they reached the village, where the boys were most cruelly treated by the Indians, their backs cut and lacerated in a most horrible manner; they were stripped of clothing and went naked in the cold and chilling northers, getting no bread to eat, and but little meat; their suffering was great. In about six months they were purchased by some traders and sent home. The case of the prodigal son was eclipsed by the return of the two captured boys. The father fell on the neck of his son and wept; the mother ran to meet them, but swooned away with ecstatic joy and fell to the ground, and when returning to consciousness, with deep emotion and tears exclaimed, when embracing them in her arms; "My son was lost, but now is found; was dead, put liveth, again; glory to God on high." One of the boys was the brother of Hugh Cox, who now lives eight miles north of Bonham. The residence of 'Wm. Cog was then near where the campground is located, four miles north of Bonham.

Reader, reflect and think of the danger, toil, tears, blood and carnage the first settlers of this country encountered for the purpose of developing the resources of the great State of Texas, which was then a wilderness country, but now is as rejoicing and blooming as the rose.

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