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    Description

    Ford gives a detailed account of Indian activity shortly after the Antelope Hills Campaign

    [Texas Rangers]. John S. "RIP" Ford Autograph Letter Signed. Three pages, 8.5" x 14", "Head Quarters Texas Rangers Camp Runnel [Palo Pinto County, Texas]," June 29, 1858. The Texas Rangers began life as a group of citizen-soldiers protecting settlers on the frontier of Texas from marauding Indians, mostly Comanche. Major John S. "RIP" Ford, one of the more celebrated men from this period, penned this extraordinary letter just six weeks after the Battle of Little Robe Creek [Indian Territory, May 12, 1858] in which Ford (with 102 Rangers and 113 Indian allies) defeated an army of Comanche warriors under the leadership of Iron Jacket, who was killed in the battle. Writing to Texas Governor Hardin R. Runnels, Ford gives a detailed account of further Indian activity in the preceding four weeks, in full and transcribed as written:

    "I have the honor to report my operations since May 22nd 1858. A few day after that date I received a communication from Capt. S. P. Ross requesting me to visit the Brazos Agency. Upon my arrival Jim Pockmark an Anadarco Captain [who was responsible for the killing of Iron Jacket] brought forward two Indians prisoners he had taken having in their possission horses stolen from the Comanche Agency. He proffered to turn them over to me. I declined to receive them on the ground that they should be surrendered to an officer of the U.S. He declared his willingness to be responsible for their safe keeping. They belong to one of the Tribes of Indians settled north of Red River, and say their Chief Tow-ee-usbe sent them out to steal horses from the Comanche Agency. A few days after this I received intelligence that the Comanche of Col. Leper's Agency had made a Mexican prisoner who belonged to the band of Iron Jacket, but had left previous to the affair of May 12th [Battle of Little Robe Creek]. I moved to that point with Lt. Burleson and a detachment of twenty men. The prisoners possessed no information of any value. On the day after our arrival Ke-tum-se [a chief of the Southern Comanche living on the Comanche reservation on the Clear Fork of the Brazos River in modern Throckmorton County] informed Col. Leper that a party of Northern Comanches were left in the vicinity. Ten of them had visited his camp during the night without Ke-tum-se's knowledge, and left an American Animal with the wife of a Comanche who had left the agency several months since. In proof of this they brought forward a black American man branded with the figure 5 on the right shoulder. The woman she had been in the Noconi Camp [the Noconi were a Comanche band] and could show where they had killed a horse. About twelve o'clock we left the Agency, accompanied by Col Leper, Ke-tum-se, 14 Comanche warriors and the squaw. We travelled till late in the evening without finding the dead horse. Ke-tum-se concluded the woman had lied and returned to the Agency. We encamped and moved for Camp Runnels the next day. Ke-tum-se however made another effort and found the remains of the horse, but owing to a rain having fallen could not follow the trail of the Noconi's. I then received news of Indian depredations in Comanche Country and sent Lt. Tankersley to make a reconnaissance in that region. He remained out twenty days without finding Indians or any Indian sign. I placed Lt. Preston with fifteen men on Elm Creek twenty miles north of this. He made several scouts yet found no Indians. I leave small detachments stationed to protect the contiguous settlements, one at Capt Baylor's ranch and one at Mr. Home's. On the 21st June I dispatched Sergeant Bibles with a detachment of 23 men to make a reconnaissance upon Hubbard's Creek, and to return by way of Old Fort Phantom Hill. He reports no Indians in that country. I received notice to day of the evacuation of Camp Cooper by the U.S. Troops I shall send a detachment to protect the settlers near that post. Lt. Pitts and myself have been on the sick list for some time We are without any late news. I cannot account for the extraordinary absence of Lt Nelson. I shall muster Lt. Preston and his detachment out of service tomorrow. I fear I may unintentionally over run the appropriation. I should be pleased to learn at an early period whether the men are to be mustered out here or at what point. Some of them do not wish to reenlist."

    Due to increasing complaints by settlers against the Indians on the reservations (the settlers desired the Indian's lands and blamed them for the continuance of raids on Anglo settlements), the Indians were moved further north into Indian Territory in 1859 and were assigned to the Wichita Agency. Raiding continued, however, as the reservation Indians were not responsible for the raids in the first place. Raids were a continuing problem that only increased during the days of the Civil War as the frontier was left undefended.

    Light dampstaining at the folds and along the edges affecting some text, which is still wholly legible. Light chipping along edges. Small pin holes in upper left corner of each page.


    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    September, 2013
    21st Saturday
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