Few areas of Texas had more Indian troubles than the picturesque hill
country, and coincidence was interwove into many of the fatal raids in
Kimble County in the heart of the area.
In the latter 1850s, Raleigh Gentry built a wilderness home on the banks
of Bear Creek and became Kimble
County's first white settler. The Gentry family consisted of several
grown sons who helped their parents "prove up" a claim.
More settlers came in the 1860s, and in 1862 Gentry sold his holdings to
Rance Moore and moved a few miles away to the Teacup Mountain area.
Typical of many pioneers, the Gentrys met tragedy head on. A son,
William, marched away to war and died while in the Confederate Army.
In 1867, another son, Alien, was killed by Indians hunting wild hogs on
Little Saline Creek near the spot where the Henry Parks family was slain
by Comanches on April 2, 1862. Alien's body was interred in the Gentry
Creek cemetery near the family home. Over on Bear Creek, the Moore
Colony continued to prosper. Among the newcomers was James Sewell who
had brought his young bride from Coleman County in 1868. Sewell was
surprised by Indians while cutting wood some distance from the
settlement. He was killed instantly and was the second person buried in
the Bear Creek Cemetery.
Some time earlier James Bradbury, Sr. had moved to Kimble County from
Williamson County and had established a flourishing settlement on the
banks for the South Llano River about two miles above the junction of
the North and South Llanos.
When the news of Sewell's death reached him, Bradbury eagerly joined a
posse and followed the Indian trail.
The redskins were overtaken near Teacup Mountain in the Gentry
settlement. In the ensuing Battle of Bradbury Hills, James Bradbury was
mercilessly slain by the Indians. The other members of the posse carried
his body back to the mourning village. He lies in an unknown grave near
the North Llano River.
Sentiment of the Kimble County
settlers was expressed in this letter written to the San Antonio Daily
Herald: "Kimball (sic) County, April 30, 1872-Editors. Herald:
On this day at eleven o'clock a party of Indians, about fifty in number,
passed though this county and found a man by the name of James Sewell
making rails. They killed him, scalped him, took his horse and moved on
down the country about five miles where they killed three cows and one
yearling and were feasting on them when they were trailed and attacked
by nine citizens.
The Fight was kept up for a short time as the citizens were so much
outnumbered and the Indians having the advantage of arms ... all of them
being armed with Winchester rifles. The attacking party thinks, or
almost knows, they killed four Indians, but as the Indians kept the
ground they would not know with certainty.
One thing they do know, they lost one man, killed. The man killed was
Mr. James Bradberry (sic), aged sixty- five years; he had spent forty
nine years on the borders of Texas and was brave as could be. Mr. Ranch
Moore was the leader of the brave and intrepid nine who had the courage
to attack fifty Indians, but of course they did not know that the
Indians were so well armed. Nos Messrs. Editors, what do you think of
this style of business? Is it not a splendid government we have, to arm
the Indians on the Reserves with the most improved guns and send them
down to kill us? You may think it is all right, but we up here in
Kimball (sic) County think different. Can you not do something in our
aid? Tell President Grant that it is very, very wrong. Respectfully,
Chas. S. Jones"
In 1873 Dr. Ezekian Kountz moved his family from Kansas and purchased
the Bradbury property. All went well until Christmas Eve, 1876, when the
last Indian raid was chronicled in Kimble County. On that eventful morning, Isaac Kountz, aged 16 and his
eleven year old brother, Sebastian were herding sheep on the
mountainside near the home. Suddenly a bank of marauding Indians came
upon them, shooting and killing Isaac with a Davy Crockett-type rifle.
Sebastian escaped to tell the story. The band of Indians traveled on
northward through the Llano River
valley past Round Mountain.
After crossing the North Llano River at the foot of Doran' Bluff, the
Indians encountered two more young brothers, Tom and Sam Speer. Tom
manages to escape, but Sam, aged 17, was killed.
The entire settlement was grief stricken and shocked by the killing of
the Kountz and Speer boys. A company of Texas Rangers led by Captain
Henry Moore and posse of frontiersmen, consisting of John A. Miller,
Jerry Roberts, Billie Waites, Dr. E.K. Kountz, N.Q. Patterson, Billie
Gilliland and P.C. Lemons, took up the Indian's trail. It was a
difficult course to follow, as it led though cedar brakes and over
rocks. The horses finally became too exhausted to go any farther, and
the Kimble County men gave up the
pursuit at Wallace Creek, a tributary of the Median River.
The Indians were not through with their trail of blood. Coming upon
Bandera County Deputy Sheriff Jack Phillips in Seco Canyon, they shot
and killed him. In late years, Phillip's nephew, T.B. Phillips, moved to
Kimble County and became one of its leading citizens.
Written by FREDERICA