|Cemetery notes and/or description:|
On October 13, 1864, west of present Newcastle, Texas, Kiowa and Comanche Indians raided the Elm Creek Valley northwest of Fort Belknap. Peter Harmonson and his son, after taking refuge in a thicket on nearby Rabbit Creek, shot and killed one of the Indian leaders.
At the household of Elizabeth Ann Fitzpatrick, the Indians killed and scalped Mrs. Fitzpatrick's daughter, Millie Durkin and killed the son of Britton "Bitt" Johnson, a black free slave. Mrs. Fitzpatrick, her son and two granddaughters, and Johnson's wife and children were taken captive. Dr. Thomas Wilson, Thomas Hamby and his son Thorton K. Hamby, a Confederate soldier, rode to warn others in the area and then defended several families who had taken refuge in George Bragg's cabin. After charging the cabin several times, killing Wilson and wounding Bragg and Thomas Hamby, the Indians hear shots from a company of Confederate colonel James G. Bourland's Border Regiment and rode north with a herd of stolen cattle and horses. The company under the command of a Second Lieutenant Carson, pursued the Indians but rode into an ambush, in which five soldiers were killed and several were wounded.
Some sources claim that in March 1865 Britt Johnson went to live with the Comanches in order to find the captives and that he managed to pay a ransom and rescue his family and Mrs. Fitzpatrick. Others regard Johnson's exploits as mere legend and credit friendly Comanches, namely Comanche Chief Asa Harvey, with the rescue of Johnson's family in June 1865. Apparently, as a part of ongoing peace talks, Asa-Harvey paid a ransom for the captives, rescued them, and took them to the Indian agent; eventually the family was delivered to Britt Johnson. United States troops rescued Mrs. Fitzpatrick in November 1865.
Kenneth F. Neighbours
Courtesy Fort Belknap Archives