Fort Richardson and Salt Creek Prairie

On May 18, 1871, on a hill overlooking Salt Creek Prairie, 20 miles west of Fort Richardson, a Kiowa war party waited for suitable victims on the *well-travelled road below.  After permitting a small military troop to pass unaware, the Kiowas attacked a government contractor's wagon train.  Seven teamsters were killed in the foray, but one escaped and alerted the military at Fort Richardson.

At the post, General William Tecumseh Sherman, who that day had crossed Salt Creek Prairie on an inspection tour of the frontier, ordered immediate reprisal.

In 1869 Sherman was appointed Commanding General of the United States Army by President Grant.  General Sherman devoted much of his time as Commanding General to the Western and Plains states safe settlement through the continuation of the Indian Wars.  Thus the reason for his presence at Salt Creek Prairie and Fort Richardson in Jacksboro, Jack County, Texas.

It is unlikely he made mention of Salt Creek Prairie or Fort Richardson in his memoirs published four years later in 1875, however, it was historically significant for Fort Richardson and the people of Jacksboro, Texas, including my 3x Great Grandfather, John Moore Leatherwood.

John Moore Leatherwood was 37 years old, a veteran of the 20th Regiment Texas Volunteer Infantry Confederate Civil War and living within a few miles of Salt Creek Prairie when General Sherman made his crossing and tour of Fort Richardson.

At the time John and Martha Ann Caroline Pearson had seven children including my 2xGreat Grandmother Mary Josephine.  Their eighth child, Minnie Lee, was less than four months old on that fateful Salt Creek Prairie Kiowa attack.

General Sherman's tour and subsequent action in May 1871 is well documented at Fort Richardson's Museum.  He, of course, moved on to complete his tour as Commanding General of the United States Army under President Grant.  On the other hand, my Leatherwood Ancestors remained in Jacksboro, Jack County, Texas, and their descendants are citizens there today. 

John Moore, his wife Martha Caroline and six of their eleven children are buried at Salt Creek Cemetery on the corner of Salt Creek Road and Dark Corner Road.  Yes, the same *well traveled road General William T. Sherman rode to Fort Richardson, and where seven teamsters lost their lives on May 18, 1871.

I love Texas History!  Don't you?

1 comment:

  1. interesting. A lot of characters in the Texas tale


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