One of the most important events that took place near present day Lipan, Texas was the last Indian fight in Hood County.  The fight began on September 11 and extended into September 12 during the year 1869.


The fight was called by various names by historians.  The battle was known as the “Point of Timbers Fight,” “Battle of Lookout Point,” or the “Ravine Slaughter.”


Historian J. W. Wilbarger identified the following citizens as participants in the fight:  J. J. Daws, J. B. Sears, T. J. Scott, Mark Herring, W. H. Johns, W. M. Clark, Lee Wright, James Parnell, and H. P. Thorp.  Others who Wilbarger identified were Robert Tramble, Marion Self, John Toby, Alvin Martin, Clabe Oxford, George Oxford, John Dennis, Edwin P. Ware, and J. D. McKinsey.


N. B. Self provided the names of David Self, S. M. (Marion) Self, Jackson Holt, John and ____ Formwalt, A. Z. and Florence Carpenter, William Johns, J. W. Powell, and E. P. Ware.  He also named John Mitchell, Andy Harris, Wm. Weldon, Jacob Harris, and John Clark of Thorp Spring who was father of William and John Clark


Thomas T. Ewell, in his History of Hood County, named participants as John Aston, Uncle Billy Powell and several of his sons, Robert West, John Clark, E. P. Ware, J. D. McKinzey, John Toby, J.J. Dawes, J.B. Sears, T.J. Scott, Mark Herring, W.H. Johns, W.M. Clark, Lee Wright, James Parnell, H.P. Thorp, Peter Garland, Wm. McDonald, Robt. Trammel, Marion Self, Alvin Martin, Claib and John Oxford, John Dennis, William Porter, his son Ben Porter, C.H. Bostick and Charles Arrington.

Thomas Taylor Ewell's description of the fight is included below.  Two articles written by Leland Debusk of The Hood County News provide additional information about the battle.

History of Hood County

By Thomas Taylor Ewell


The Last Indian Raid to Hood County-The Point of Timbers Fight.


Our Indian troubles, so greatly augmented by the open hostilities of the Caddo tribe, brought about by the violence which occurred at Golconda, as related in former chapters, after ten long years of bloody scenes and stealthy raids into every settlement of our western border, was now about to be ended, and that by a tragical act, which illustrates the overpowering ascendancy of the white race on its westward march over the rude and feeble savages of the forest.


The affair which we now relate, is told in diverse ways and with many colorings by the survivors who took part in it, though none of these seem now to remember the precise date, memories varying as to this over a period ranging from 1865 to 1869. It is, however, quite certain that it did not occur earlier then 1868, and Mr. Willbarger in his book specifically gives the date of the 11th of September, 1869, pointing strongly to the conclusion that he obtained his account from one who had kept a memoranda of the date. This doubtless is therefore the affair known by us as "The Point of Timbers Fight," and which Mr. Willbarger calls "The Battle of Lookout Point." It might, from its culminating act, more properly be called the "Ravine Slaughter."


But to the facts: Between sunset and dark on the evening prior to the fight, a party of stealthy Indians passed Robt. West’s and John Aston’s on their way down to Squaw creek, robbing the clothesline at West’s of the week’s washing, and was seen as they passed Aston’s place by his family. Arriving home shortly afterwards and being informed by his wife of their presence, John Aston at once set about to spread the information among his neighbors. They, upon consultation, determined that it was probable the party of Indians, after raiding the settlements below and gathering up all the horses they could, would then return toward the latter part of the night along the divide between the heads of Squaw creek and Robinson creeks. Here was a place where the timber land of Squaw creek and Paluxy jutted out into the prairie, where the dividing ridge of the prairie was narrow, and known for a long while as a point of rendezvous for intercepting outgoing parties of Indians. The Squaw creek part of settlers, led by Uncle Billy Powell and consisting of several of his sons, John Aston, West and others, repaired to this place with their weapons, and concealing themselves in favorable position, Powell posted one of his sons in the forks of a live oak tree which overlooked the scene for some distance below, from which position he was instructed to give notice of the approach of the Indians. Here they waited in position and expectancy from about midnight till the day dawn, and were about to conclude that the Indians had evaded them by passing out some other way, when just about sunrise the watchman from the tree discovered the Indians approaching rapidly with a considerable herd of stolen horses; and signaling his party they immediately prepared for action. Soon the Indians were upon them, and the fight opened. The Indians thus finding themselves opposed in their front, sought by shifting their direction and flight, to escape. They were mounted on fresh stolen horses, and the vigor and spirit of the Squaw creek party thwarted them at every point of attempted escape. A running fight ensued, and continued without casualty of consequence during the early part of the day, and during its progress parties from Stroud’s creek joined the Powell party, and soon a strong and bold spirited party from Thorp Spring, where a messenger had been dispatched early in the night, made their appearance upon the scene, coming up in gallant style with John Clark mounted on a racer at the lead. They were discovered by Weir, who in the confused running fight had been separated from his companions and was boldly confronting the compact party of Indians, who were endeavoring now to make their escape into the timber and thickets along Star Hollow, with the Powell party upon their heels. As soon as Weir discovered the Thorp Spring boys he waived his hat to them, and they dashed rapidly to his aid; Clark upon his racer sped in advance and passed to the front of the Indians, who fired on him, with no harm, one arrow striking the rear pommel of his saddle. He turned and fired upon them; and his shot took effect in the neck of one of their horses, felling him instantly and dismounting the warrior. This caused a considerable halt with them, and the remainder of the Thorp Spring party coming up and seeing the advantage to be gained by dismounting the Indians, several well directed aims at the horses placed most of the Indians upon their feet, and in this plight they now hastily dispensed with their remaining horses and maintaining their compact organization, finally by their dexterity and boldness succeeded in reaching the cover of the timber, and here they were closely and cautiously followed into a ravine emptying into Robinson creek. They passed up this ravine to its head, where a hole had been formed by the fall of water over the rocks as it descended from the prairie slopes beyond during rain-falls. Here seems to have been a considerable thicket of brush and some trees, but beyond was open prairie into which the Indians, seven in number, dared not to enter; so finding here in this hole shelter under the thick roots of a tree which grew on its brink, with other debris, they succeeded in concealing themselves from view, while at the same time they commanded the view below. Overhanging them above was the bluff bank lined with the thicket, from which direction they could not be reached by shot; below them and across the hole laid the trunk of a fallen cottonwood tree. The pursuing party, now united by all the several divisions from Squaw, Stroud’s creek and Thorp Spring, coming up, and finding their foes concealed beyond the aim of their guns, and in a position almost impregnable, long consulted and considered as to further conduct of the fight. Meanwhile the news of the affair rapidly spreading through the neighboring settlements, their forces increased in numbers to 75 or 80 men and youths, eager to take part in the inevitable final act. No one in particular had command over this now considerable force, and many suggestions were advanced and rejected as to the dislodgement of the Indians. One proposition was to approach the top of the bluff over them, by way of the thicket; and let rocks fall upon them, but the concave bank and roots protected them from this mode of assault. Under cover of the brow of a hill, approach could be had from below to within gunshot range, but no sooner did one make his appearance over this hill than he was instantly fired upon by the almost unerring aim of the thoroughly concealed foe. Powell and the other old hunters and Indian fighters with difficulty restrained the ardent and bold young men from exposing themselves in an open assault from this position, from whence no apparent effect could be had upon the hidden Indians. After hours of delay and consultation, during which time Wm. Weir, while boldly urging attack and exposing himself upon the brow of the hill, was fatally shot down by an arrow in the breast, and died some days later. Esq. J.D. McKenzie of Robinson creek also received a severe gunshot wound at this place. Thus admonished, both by the advice of the most experienced men and by these practical results, the party continued to hold the besieged Indians aground, and to exhaust their ingenuity for means of dislodgment more expeditious than starving them out, till toward evening, when, as if Heaven itself had decreed that the vengeance of the Indians had sufficiently preyed upon our frontier, sent down from the clouds a terrific rain shower, which flooded the Indians and compelled them to come out of their lair of roots and earth into the now deep pool of water, where with the overhanging cottonwood log and other objects to hide behind and cling to, they only occasionally exposed their heads for breath. And now their bowstrings and ammunition thoroughly soaked were no longer of use to them in defending themselves.


The assaulting party, as soon as the rain was over, scarcely knowing the advantage they had thus obtained, and yet fearing the deadly missiles, with hesitation now begun to renew their demonstrations of attack, and soon John Toby, a young man from Robinson creek, who had a tin trumpet, boldly took his position on the hill top and called upon his comrades to form upon him and at the sound of his trumpet make the assault; and soon a number with their arms were gallantly attacking the now defenseless Indians, who were compelled to expose their heads out of the water only to receive the deadly contents of the white man’s gun, now delivered at short range. It was the work of but a few moments till the dead Indians were dragged out of the water, and one badly wounded having clambered out into the thicket was endeavoring to conceal himself when discovered, and he, too, finished up, against his appealing protestation that he was a "good Indian." Their scalps were all taken, and one of the seven found to be a squaw. Thus not one of this bold party of night marauders escaped, unless indeed it be true, as told, that one of their party, following behind as a rear guard, had, at the opening of the engagement, evaded observation and had escaped to his tribe to bear the news of their disaster. This is probably true, as Mr. F.M. Edens relates that not a great while afterwards a man from the Indian reservation, traveling through the county and stopping for the night with him, on hearing Mr. Edens’ relation of the affair, stated that just such a party of Indians was known to have left the reservation and one only ever returned, and he reported to the agency that his party had fallen in with a party of Comanches, who had attacked and killed all but himself; that he was following his party some distance in the rear when they were attacked, and thus was enabled to evade the Comanches and escape. This messenger of death doubtless gave to his own people, however, the true facts as to the enterprise they were upon and the foe they encountered, as it was a noticable [sic] fact that Indian invasions into this territory were now comparatively few, and none perhaps were ever afterwards made by the Caddos. That these were Caddo Indians seems certain, as Mr. Joe Arrington, living near the scene of the affair, upon seeing the dead bodies, recognized one powerful Indian whom he had personally known, as "Caddo Jim," a chief of that tribe, who had accompanied hunting parties to this section prior to their hostility, identifying him more particularly by a snaggle tooth.


The Indian party, after passing Aston’s, had descended Squaw creek to Mr. McDonald’s, where they stole a number of horses, and owing to the extent of their raid down the creek and the number of horses with which they had encumbered themselves, were thus delayed in their passage out much longer that Aston and Powell had expected. Of course the entire Squaw creek and adjacent settlements were soon apprised of their presence, and numbers gathered for the pursuit and had come up to join the attacking party at the ravine. Among those were Wm. Porter, his son Ben, and C.H. Bostick. Porter, who was an old Indian fighter, still seems to enjoy the remembrance of the fact that, when one Indian while in the pool of water raised his head to the surface, he had the honor of killing him by a discharge from his gun, the Indian at the crack of the gun leaping high out of the water and falling back dead.


It is impossible to now name all those who were present participating in this fight; besides those already named we are enabled to mention now only the names of J.J. Dawes, J.B. Sears, T.J. Scott, Mark Herring, W.H. Johns, W.M. Clark, Lee Wright, James Parnell, H.P. Thorp, Peter Garland, Wm. McDonald, Robt. Trammel, Marion Self, Alvin Martin, Claib and John Oxford, John Dennis and Chas. Arrington. Most of these names are obtained from the account given by Mr. Willbarger, who has inserted in his "Indian Depredations" three separate partial accounts, evidently referring to this affair, and though in each there is some variance from the others, yet the substantial facts, though not as full as here related, are identical, and agree in the main with our account.


The citizens everywhere who had for so many years of peril and alarm upon the frontier suffered in loss both friends and property, now rejoiced upon hearing of the disastrous result to the Indians of this their last bold entry into the settlements this far down the Brazos. True, several other affairs and alarms occurred here, charged pretty generally to the Indians, but the circumstances accompanying these have thrown much doubt as to make it comparatively safe to say that this affair was the termination of our Indian depredations so far as our immediate territory was concerned. Though other bloody affairs occurred and many depredations chiefly by the wild Comanches and Kiowas far to the northwest of us. Those within our borders credited to Indians will occur in a future chapter, with attendant circumstances.



Hood County News - February 20, 1988



Man Locates Scene of Grandfather’s Triumph


By Leland Debusk

Staff Writer


Saturday, February 20, 1988

Page 8A

Transcribed by James T. Sears May 24, 2009


What does Gene Foster Lee of Limestone County have in common with an Indian battle that occurred 119 years ago near Lipan?


Quite a bit.  His grandfather was one of the Hood County settlers that participated in the 1869 clash that left seven Indians and one white man dead.  And for the first time last week, Lee visited the location where his grandfather participated with 80 other men in surrounding and killing six Indian warriors and a squaw who had stolen 200 horses belonging to area settlers.


The fight, called the “Point of Timbers Fight,” “Battle of Lookout Point,” or the “Ravine Slaughter,” has the dubious reputation with historians as being one of the rare occasions where white settlers scalped their fallen Indian foes.  Settlers rarely engaged in such behavior, say historians.


The conflict is also regarded by historians as the last Indian battle in Hood County.


Lee’s grandfather, R. T. “Bob” Foster apparently was an interesting character.


A Civil War veteran, he fought alongside his friend “Buffalo Bill” Cody in the Confederate ranks.  He was also known as an Indian fighter and courageous enough to trade with the fierce Comanche tribes in the Texas Panhandle during the height of their depredations against the white man.


Foster was also enterprising.  In June 1887, he and a helper managed to transport a 9,000 pound safe from Weatherford to the Granbury courthouse via a swinging bridge near Tin Top.


Foster was born in Missouri in 1838 and he married Althema Moulder just before the Civil War drew to a close.  After their first child was born, the couple set their sights on Texas, eventually settling close to present-day Lipan near Robinson Creek.


The couple produced seven more children after their arrival near Robinson Creek, but Althema died in 1880.


Foster did not marry again until 21 years later when he was 63 years old.  He married Ina Collins in a ceremony in Lipan July 12, 1901.  Collins, said some people, was almost a full-blooded Indian.


Four children were born as a result of that marriage.  One died, but the other three – Rubie, Jewell, and Coy – are still alive, with Ruby and Jewell living at Lipan.


Rubie later married Dewey K. Lee and the couple had a son in 1927, naming him Gene Foster Lee.


Lee states that he never knew his legendary grandfather, adding that he died eight years before he was born.  However, he remembers vividly the stories his mother told him about his grandfather.


An ardent Baptist, Foster’s favorite song was “Amazing Grace,” Lee said, recalling his mother’s stories.  He was also “very strict with his children,” stated Lee.  “They minded him at the drop of a hat.


Foster also didn’t think anything about riding 12 miles to a country dance when he was younger, Lee said.  During cold weather, he would ford icy creeks to get to the dance, often arriving with icicles hanging from his horse’s tail, Lee said his mother told him.


Foster was the consummate stockman in the fenceless miles around Lipan in those days.  “He had cattle all over this country marked with the BOB brand,” Lee recalls.  He was also active in combating rustlers and renegades who preyed on ranchers in the county, said Lee.


Foster was also “some kind of a country dentist,” said Lee.  “He had a tooth-puller and he pulled a lot of people’s teeth at his house,” Lee stated.  One time he was trying to pull a neighbor’s bad tooth, but managed to pull the wrong one.  He made up for that mistake by pulling the right one the next time, Lee reported.  “My mother swore that was the truth,” he laughed.


Foster was also the consummate traveler.  “He traveled everywhere.  He even went to the World’s Fair (St. Louis 1904) one time,” said Lee.  He was also a founding member of the Lipan Mason, Lee recalled.




Foster also loved squirrel meat, said Lee.  “The boys would kill squirrels for him and he’d do them little favors,” Lee stated.


Foster’s dealing with the Indians after his arrival in Texas makes for some interesting tales.

Comanche was the word that sent fear into settlers and soldiers alike on the Texas frontier from the 1830’s to the 1870’s, but apparently the tribes known as the “scourge of the plains” were not feared by Foster.


He made a living trading with the fierce Comanche tribes in the Texas Panhadle during the height of their depredations against the white man.


“He almost got in trouble up there several times,” Lee said.


On one perilous occasion, Foster and a young helper had taken a wagon load full of trading goods into the domain of the Comanche to barter for buffalo hides, said Lee.  Just before sundown one day, Lee said, the pair saw a huge cloud of dust approaching from far away.  As the dust cloud came closer,  Foster and his companion realized that it was a band of “400 Comanche warriors with warpaint and scalps,” said Lee, adding, “They came roaring right up to the wagon.”


On arrival, the Comanche chief rode up to the men and plunged his spear into the ground, Lee said.


Foster’s helper became so frightened that he dove under the wagon, hitting the undercarriage and breaking his hip in the process, Lee stated.  Foster and the man “just knew they were going to die,” he said.


A shaking Foster, however, approached the chiefs of the party with tobacco and other gifts as a goodwill gesture.  The leaders finally accepted the tokens and the chief pulled his spear out of the ground.  Giving a war whoop, the chief led his warriors away, said Lee.  Foster later theorized “that the cavalry may have been pressing the Indians hard and they didn’t have time to fool with his wagon,” Lee said.  “Maybe they were impressed with his bravery, too,” he added.


Foster got into another delicate situation with the Comanches when he was trying to purchase a stack of buffalo hides at a large Indian camp, stated Lee.  Foster, using a squaw as an interpreter, offered the Indians a dollar piece for the hides.


“Two dollars,” said the squaw.  “One dollar,” Foster argued back, said Lee.  “Two dollars,” said the squaw again.  The arguing went on for some time before three large Comanche bucks intervened.  “Two dollars!” said the huge Indians in a final and threatening tone.  Foster knew when he was licked.  He quickly agreed and the sale was made, said Lee.


Besides Comanches, Foster also tangled with a herd of buffalo riding cross-country west of Lipan one year when the grass was so high that it reached the stirrips of his horse, Lee recalled.  Dismounting his horse at one point, Foster spotted a large herd of rumbling buffalo.


His mount became frightened and took off following the buffalo, saddle and all.  Foster never saw the horse again and had to walk all the way home, said Lee.


The battle that made Foster a historical figure in Hood County and started the chain of events that drew his grandson to its location 119 years later began on a September night in 1869.


On the night of September 21 (actually Sept. 11), a party of what is believed to be either Caddo or Comanche Indians came into Hood County on a raid.  Passing down Squaw Creek in the southern part of the county, they came upon the house of a settler and stole all of the clothes his wife had just washed and hung out to dry.  After leaving there, they stole five horses from the man’s neighbor.


The Indians nearly penetrated to the Brazos River, but turned around and started working their way back up Squaw Creek.  During their raid through the county, they added rapidly to their stock of stolen horses until they had gathered a herd of over 200.


The Indians luck ran out shortly afterward, however.


The John Aston family spotted the Indians as they were making their way back along Squaw Creek.  Aston set out to warn his neighbors.  By 2 a. m., 11 Thorp Spring settlers set out after the Indians.  Further west, a dinner bell used by Foster to alert settlers to the presence of Indians was being rung by his wife Althema.


Foster and a number of his neighbors set off to aid the Thorp Spring and Squawk Creek men in intercepting the Indians.


Just before dawn near a landmark in the vicinity of Lipan known as Lookout Point, Foster and the others discovered that the Squaw Creek party had run into the Indians in the nearby timber as they were changing horses.


The Indians panicked when they saw the large numbers of settlers converging on the scene.  They abandonded the horses and ran for their lives.


Foster and his men joined the posses from Thorp Spring and Squaw Creek, chasing the Indians about four miles.  About 8 a. m., pressed by hard riding white, the Indians ran into a stream bed now known as Spring Branch Creek.  They followed it in their fright to its headwaters two miles from the present day Starr Hollow Country Club.


A limestone ledge had formed a deep rock shelter in a deep ravine at the headwaters of the creek and the seven Indians took cover underneath the ledge.  One of the Indians was shirtless and the men found to their surprise on closer examination that the shirtless one was a squaw.




The settlers soon surrounded the Indians’ shelter but most of them had never fought Indians before and they had no stomach for flushing the desperate group out of its hiding place.


Foster and the others hit on the idea of sending in a particularly vicious dog to flush the Indians out.  The dog went under the limestone ledge, but returned to the men shortly afterward bristling with arrows, Lee said.


The settlers decided to starve the Indians out.


Word of the Indians trapped in the ravine spread quickly and by 2 p. m. about 80 men and boys encircled the location as thunderstorms threatened overhead.


The weather was against the Indians that day and it sealed their doom.


Later that afternoon, a cloudburst came accompanied by jagged lightening and deafening thunder.  Water poured in torrents over the limestone ledge, flooding the ravine and the rock shelter where the Indians were hiding.


The rising water forced the Indians out into the open where they were easy targets for the white men.  Foster and the others surrounding the ravine charged in to attack them.


E. P. ware, a Thorp Spring settler, shot the Indian chief, but was in turn shot in the chest with an arrow by the Indian squaw.  Enraged, the other white men killed her.


The remaining Indians, demoralized by the storm, offered no resistance and were all killed.


The settlers chose to break with a long standing tradition and scalped their fallen enemies, said Lee, adding, “They were mad at those Indians.”  Foster ended up with the scalp of the squaw, which Lee now has a few strands of, he stated.  Lee said he still does not know, however, if his grandfather killed any of the Indians during the fight.


Sometime during the night after the battle, someone returned to where the Indians had fallen and horribly mutilated the bodies, Lee stated.


Ware didn’t die immediately after being shot, said Lee.  Foster had to pull the arrow out, Lee stated.  “It was hard to get out.  It was a hell of a wound,” the stories go, said Lee.


Ware died two weeks later and is buried in Thorp Spring Cemetery. 


It was apparently fate that led Lee to visit the site of the battle where his grandfather fought 119 years earlier.


Though Lee had grown up in the area and “and fished and rode horses all over that place,” he never visited the site.  “I didn’t really know where it was,” he said.


It had to have been fate because Lee arrived in Lipan to visit relatives just as Winford Spencer and local rancher Bill McKay decided to locate the battle site.


Lee left the scene of the battle with a new perspective of the grandfather he never knew and a broader understanding of history.


He has the pistol and bullet pouch handed down to him by his mother that his grandfather used in the long ago battle.  More importantly, he has a new sense of what his grandfather, as a person, was all about.


Other sources for this article included Glancing Backward, A History of Lipan, Texas by Iris Williamson Hubbard, Hood County History by T. T. Ewell, and Indian Depredations in Texas by J. W. Wilbarger.





Hood County News - February 20, 1988 





Eight Died in Indian Battle Near Lipan Over 119 Years Ago



By Leland Debusk

Staff Writer


Wednesday, September 21, 1988

Page 4A


When Caddo Jim and his little band of Caddo Indians came to steal horses from Hood County settlers in September 1869, little did they realize that fate was dogging their heels.


Angry settlers caught up with them near (present day) Lipan.  The group of six braves and one squaw were all killed in the ensuing slaughter.  A Thorp Springs settler also died.


Monday, September 12 marked the 119th anniversary of the battle, which took place at the headwaters of Spring Branch about 1 ½ miles west of the present location of the Starr Hollow Country Club.


Historians say it was the last Indian Battle in Hood County.


On the night of September 11, Caddo Jim and his band began their rampage in the Squaw Creek area, stealing settlers’ horses and even stopping long enough to take a settler’s clothes that had been hung out to dry.


After gathering up almost 200 horses, the Caddos decided to make their escape by way of a route passing near (present day) Lipan.  Their luck had run out, however.


By this time, settlers from Squaw Creek, Paluxy, Thorp Spring, and Lipan (actually Robinson Creek area) had been alerted to the Indians.  They caught up with them near the present location of Bill McKay’s Diamond A Ranch on the morning of the 12th and pursued them to the headwaters of Spring Branch, a tributary of Robinson Creek.  The Indians then took cover under a limestone ledge at the head of the creek to escape the settlers’ bullets.  Nature was against Caddo Jim that day.  A cloudburst came up that afternoon and forced the Indians out of the ravine, where they were slaughtered by a group of at least 80 settlers.  Thorp Springs settler E. P. (Edward P.) Ware was shot in the breast with an arrow by the squaw before she was killed.  He died 10 days later and is buried in Thorp Spring Cemetery.


The dead Indians were scalped and left where they had fallen.  So ended the last Indian fight in Hood County.


The battle, also known as the “Point of Timbers Fight” or the “Ravine Slaughter,” is still remembered by Lipan residents.  Some are still living whose fathers or other relatives fought in the battle.


It’s another part of Hood County’s fascinating history.




 HOOD COUNTY NEWS - September 21, 1988

HOOD COUNTY NEWS - September 21, 1988

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