|Birth: ||Aug. 20, 1860|
|Death: ||Dec. 24, 1876|
Kountz was originally buried in another location. He was moved to Junction Cemetery and placed in between his parents in 1892 when his Mother died. The grave was left unmarked for a long time. Marker is the original.
Historical Marker: 30.48062 N. 99.78573 W.
The following information has been very graciously provided by Virginia Brown:
The killing of Isaac Kountz in Kimble County has been told by various people connected to the incident. Although some of the details have differed, most have provided the same basic facts.
The fateful event happened on Christmas Eve in 1876 on a bitterly cold morning when a blanket of snow covered the ground. Sixteen year old Isaac Kountz and his twelve year old brother, were tending a small herd of sheep on a hillside near their home. They were the sons of Ezekiel and Harriet Kountz who had moved to Kimble County from Kansas the year before. Their father had bought the old James Bradbury place on the South Llano River, which was perfect for herding sheep. He had also bought more land extending down into the South Llano valley near what is now the Junction Cemetery to the B.L. Smith place and west beyond "The Nobs."
Isaac and Sebastian's father had left on an errand earlier that morning, and only their mother and sisters, Elizabeth and Dixie, were home. Their older brothers, John and Christopher, were in Kansas on a cattle drive. In April they had been employed as trail hands to take a herd of cattle to Dodge City.
Three versions, which offer a bird's_eye view into what happened during that tragic event, are presented in the following accounts. The first narrative is by a man who later married into the Kountz family, another offers details concerning the posse, and the last report has an emphasis on the Texas rangers. As a matter of interest, Ezekiel Kountz was 47 years old at that time.
Following is the story, in part, told by Nicholas Patterson, who would later marry their sister, Elizabeth: He said, "It happened on December 24, 1876, about 10 o'clock a.m. Snow was on the ground. The two boys Isaac, 16, and his brother Sebastian, 12 or 13, were sent out on the hillside to look about some sheep. While looking after them, they saw some people coming down the road. They took them to be cowboys. On second look they saw 15 or 16 Comanche Indians. Part of them had left the road and were coming around the hillside. The boys started toward the ranch house in haste, only a few hundred yards away. The Indians shot the older boy through the knee and he fell. The Indians advanced, dismounted and shot him through the head, took his boots and part of his clothing.
By this time Sebastian had crossed the road and was going over a rail fence around the field. An Indian made a grab for him as he went over, but only succeeded in snatching off his cap. In the meantime the mother and the two girls had heard the shots, and they stepped out to investigate. When they saw the younger boy running across the field toward home, Elizabeth, who is now my wife, ran half way across the field to meet him. He informed her the Indians had killed Isaac. She was in plain view _ near enough to count them. The Indians did not advance on the ranch house for fear there might be some men there ready for them. This all happened while there was not a man in a mile of the ranch. The Indians moved across the valley north a mile or two, where they ran across another youth out looking for horses. They killed him, but did not attempt to scalp either of the two boys. ...
A posse of citizens was formed to follow them. The father of Isaac and my father, N.Q. Patterson, who were both captains in the Civil War, led the posse till night overtook them. At daybreak they were on the trail again. A squad of State Rangers had joined the chase. After a chase of 150 or 200 miles the Indians abandoned their bunch of stolen horses and split up, making a half_dozen trails or more in various directions, so that it was impossible to follow the real trail any longer. ... "
A detailed description of the chase has been provided by John A. Miller in an article in the Frontier Times, titled "Chasing the Murderers of Isaac Kountz, " August 28, 1924. Nicholas Patterson referred to him as "Honest" John Miller.
"I have been requested by a few of the Old Timers to give some of my experiences with reference to the Indian raids that were made into Kimble County in the early days. The first one I shall mention is the raid made in December 1876, and during when Isaac Kountz and a son of Dr. Spears were both killed.
I came to Kimble County and settled at the mouth of Johnson Fork on December 24, 1874. My first work was to build a small log cabin for my wife and three children. It only had one room and a dirt floor. The roof was made out of clap_boards which I split myself from pecan, elm and white oak trees. I lived in this with my family for some two years and later on built a better log house out of split logs which was a considerable improvement over the first one.
The Indians did not bother us very much the first two years. Early in the year 1875, my brothers, George and Frank Miller, saw a bunch of eight Indians just across the creek from where I lived. As the boys were coming to the house they met two more. These Indians did not molest us in any way, but a few hours after they left, some five or six cow boys from South Llano came along following their trail. The Indians had stolen their saddle horses and the cow boys followed them in order to recapture the horses. They did not go much past my house, however, until they decided the Indians had too much the lead and they turned back.
On Dec. 24, 1876, which was just two years exactly after I settled at the mouth of Johnson Fork, we were notified that the Indians had made another raid and killed Isaac Kountz and the Spears boy. Isaac Kountz was the son of Dr. Kountz, who lived at that time on South Llano about two miles above where the court house in Junction now stands. Four out of our settlement left to follow the Indians; they were Jerry Roberts, Dan Baker, Bill Estes and myself.
We started as soon as the news came to us and got as far as where Junction now stands, when we met Dr. Kountz and old man Patterson & Patterson's nephew. There was no town where Junction now stands, but we met these three men in the mesquite flat and that made seven in our party. We turned over on North Llano to the Spears house and saw the Spears boy after he had been laid out. We decided then to notify the rangers who were camped up on Bear Creek. We went as far as Billie Gilleland and a man named Lemons who said they had already notified the rangers. They told us that the Indians had turned back east and were going down the river, and as my family was down at the mouth of Johnson Park, I became very much alarmed that the Indians might double back there and attack our folks at that place. Gilleland and Lemons also said that the rangers had packed up and started, with six men and the Lieutenant, and told them they had plenty of force without them. They then decided to go with us and old Billie Waits also went along. That made ten men in our party.
We turned back down Bear Creek in order to get to the river valley. The snow was deep on the ground and the day was cold and disagreeable, with the snow still falling. We thought we could trail the Indians in the snow, however, and we pushed on. We rode all night before we struck the trail. About day break the next morning we struck the trail right where the London and Mason road now crosses Gentry Creek. It was almost as plain as the big road for they had a big bunch of horses which they had stolen from the settlers up and down the rivers. We thought the snow was deep enough that they would be unable to travel very fast and that we could catch them. Before we left Gentry Creek, however, Dan Baker and Bill Estes decided to turn back and protect our little settlement at the mouth of Johnson Fork. Baker had a store at that time at the mouth of Johnson Fork and Estes hauled his goods for him from San Antonio. This was the only store in the country at that time.
When Baker and Estes turned back this left only eight men in our party and we set out in hot pursuit of the Indians. At about 9 o'clock we came to where they had butchered a roan horse. This was down below the mouth of Red Creek. We roasted part of the roan horse and had breakfast. We knew we were not very far behind the Indians and we did not tarry very long. Then we pushed on expecting to overtake them right away, but we rode all day without seeing anything of them. By this time we were down in Mason County and night came on. It was bitter cold and we had been riding all day and all the night before, so we decided to camp for the night.
We all turned out to hunt wood, and after a while old man Patterson and Dr. Kountz came in with a big log on their shoulders; the other boys asked where they got the log, and they said off a little sycamore cabin down in the flat. We had thought when we left that old man Patterson and Dr. Kountz would not be able to go far, as they were both well up in years. So was Billie Waits. But it turned out that they were fully as able bodied as we younger boys, and they stood the hardships just as well as any young man in the bunch. It wasn't very long before we had a good many logs off of the little sycamore cabin, and had a good fire burning. We placed a big log on each side of the fire and used these for seats. The snow was an inch deep and it was very cold and disagreeable. We left our horses saddled all night because we didn't know whether the Indians were close enough to us to see our camp fire and might attack us.
Next morning by daylight we were off again and had only ridden about two or three miles when we caught up with the six rangers and the Lieutenant. That made a pretty good bunch of us together and we felt very brave at that time. The rangers were all packed up ready to go when we reached their camp. We went pretty fast and about three miles further on we came to the Indian's camp where they had spent the night before. The sign was plain where they had the horses corralled, and there appeared to have been about forty head of the horses. Nine Indians had slept around their fire with a bunch of grass under each one's head for a pillow, and a bunch under the hips for a bed. We knew we were close to them, for they had not been gone but a little from their camp. We thought we could catch them, as they had horses to drive and we did not. We pushed on rapidly and in about three or four miles came to where they had killed a big fat cow. They cut out the best part of the cow to eat and left the rest.
We were satisfied they would roast this meat before they had gone far, and we pushed up a bit and sure enough, in about three or four miles further we saw a smoke. We knew that was the Indians, and it excited our boys very much, but Lieutenant Moore held us all together and would not let us advance too rapidly. When we reached the top of the ridge where we had seen the smoke coming from, we found about fifty pounds of fresh roasted meat. We knew then that the Indians had seen us coming and had left in a hurry.
Until this time the Indians had been going in an easterly direction, keeping to the north of the Llano river, but they turned after seeing us and went due south. Our boys were very much excited, but Lieutenant Moore held us back and kept us all together. We were trotting on at a good gait but the boys wanted to go much faster. Lieutenant Moore, however, said it was foolish to rush into an ambuscade. The boys said we had twenty miles of open country to catch them in, and if we didn't catch them in the twenty miles, we would not catch them at all. Moore said we could catch them anyway, if we would all stay together, and it seemed like we could do so; they had forty head of horses to drive and we had none, but we didn't go fast enough. After we had gone ten miles we began to find horses that had given out and had been left behind by the Indians. About 17 horses were captured by us, and we found about that many dead horses. Lieutenant Moore detailed two men to bring these horses back home, and the rest of our bunch went on. Gilleland and Lemons brought the horses back.
It was very exciting at this time as we were so close to the Indians, and we felt sure we would catch them any minute. By this time, however, we were reaching the breaks of the Guadalupe, and the Indians were gaining on us after we reached such rough country. The trail at this time showed that there were about three or four Indians on horses and the rest were on foot. We finally stopped and didn't know what to do. We were all sick at heart because we had let the Indians get away, and were all nearly starved and frozen to death.
Our horses were very tired and we turned down in the settlement. Old man Patterson saw a house and some people moving about and said, "Let's go get something to eat." We had no further thought about Indians at this time, but when we got to the house the man had his horses tied at the doors and he said, "Didn't you see the Indians?" We had seen some folks stirring around the house at the time old man Patterson first sighted it, but we didn't think they were Indians. The man at the house said they had tried to rope his horses and had run them into his yard. He had gotten his gun and was preparing to fight them off the best he could when the Indians broke and run. He was satisfied they had seen us coming and said he believed if they hadn't seen us coming they would have gotten his horses, and possibly him and his family. Old man Patterson told him that we had been following these Indians two days and two nights and had eaten nothing and that we were all getting dreadfully hungry. The man told us to wait until his wife could cook some bread and said they had plenty of dried beef. We went back in about an hour, and she had a whole sack of corn dodgers and one dried beef for us. We camped that night separate from the rangers and all kept watch for some sign of the Indians. We knew they were stealing horses all along the Guadalupe above Kerrville, and we could hear the dogs barking all night long, but we could not locate any of the Indians.
Next morning in going down the valley we saw men in every direction armed and on the lookout. They said the Indians had stolen all their horses the night before and by and by we struck their trail again, but they were now mounted on fresh horses, while ours were tired and jaded, so we decided to turn back home. The rangers went on about four or five miles further, and then they turned back and went on down to Kerrville. Our Kimble County boys were very much disappointed over the chase. We had gone so far and rode so hard and were so close to the Indians that it seemed a pity that we failed to get them."
T.J. Meridith, who moved to Kimble County in 1876, provides his account of the chase in the Frontier Times in an article titled "Last Raid of the Comanches," 1924.
"The dead body lay on the floor inside the house. His clothes were bloody from gunshot wounds. By his side knelt his mother and sister, weeping. A few minutes before the father had left the house hurriedly to help to trail the Comanche Indians who had killed the boy."
Thus begins a tale told by T.J. Meredith who moved to Kimble County in 1876 and witnessed the raid. Mr. Meredith moved to San Antonio eighteen months ago and now lives at San Jose. Mr. Meredith, then 20 years old, was one of the first to reach the scene and participated in the lively chase which followed. The raid occurred at the Kountz home, near Junction, on December 24. It was the last fatal raid by the Indians in Kimble County.
Being an eye witness to this raid, Mr. Meredith tells his story in realistic style. He says there are many people now living in Junction, who will recall the coming of this late raid. In fact, one sister and two brothers of the murdered Kountz boy now live at Junction.
"This band of Comanches had come upon two boys of the family as they herded a small bunch of sheep near home. They shot Isaac Kountz dead at once and tried to capture his younger brother. Isaac was 16 when killed while his younger brother with him was 10. They may have wanted the younger boy to hold for ransom, or, possibly, to rear up as a member of their tribe. Anyway, one warrior made a determined effort to capture him. He ran his horse into the rail fence and snatched off the boy's hat as he went over the fence. This boy, Sebastian Kountz, is now living at Junction.
Directly after killing Isaac and chasing Sebastian over the field fence, the Indians drove their herd of stolen horses off northward at a rapid rate. As already stated, the father had gone away hastily to notify his neighbors.
After leaving the Kountz home on the South Llano, the Indians made a wide detour of Junction. They traveled north and crossed the North Llano. Continuing north up Elm "draw," they came to Gentry creek. Here they turned east toward main Llano, which they forded at Beef_Trail crossing. From this point, they turned south. Their route then passed Sycamore creek around the head of Johnson's fork of the Llano, 25 miles east of Junction, and took a forty_mile passage over the Divide and down into the "breaks" of the Guadalupe river.
On leaving his ranch on the South Llano, the father of the murdered boy secured aid from his few neighbors and set out to keep on the trail of the Indians. In following thus, the posse came on the dead body of a son of the Speer family who lived three miles from the Kountz ranch. He had been out to bring in his father's horses when he was killed and his horses driven off.
A few miles beyond the Speer ranch, the pursuers sent a messenger on the run to notify the Rangers at Bear Creek on the road to Fort McKavett. Meanwhile, the settlers kept on the trail of the Comanches. The rangers came from about 15 miles away and intercepted the tracks of the settlers on the Junction_McKavett road. It was found by the rangers, who were experts on this kind of work, that signs left behind indicated there were about 20 warriors who had some 40 stolen horses with them. Some of the settlers recognized their own horses which were shod.
In this race to overtake the Indians, the rangers were at a disadvantage. The Indians could travel both day and night while the rangers could travel only in the daytime and make sure of being on the trail. Again the savages had enough horses to take a fresh mount at any time; the pursuers had but a single mount to each man.
Handicapped as they were, the whites sought to use strategy. Seeing the Red men were going in a circle, ten men were sent by Captain Roberts under Lieutenant Denman to cut across the circle and head off the fugitives. At one time they found a trail of horses, but soon gave it up since only unshod tracks were found. For three days these ten rode strenuously but to no avail. They then returned home. It was with these ten men that T.J. Meridith went.
Captain Rogers and his men held on the direct route taken by the Indians and rode steadily and persistently forward. In order to save time they did not send a courier ahead of the main body, as is usually done, to avoid ambush. They knew this plan was a challenge with death.
Refreshed with a night's rest, the rangers used increased speed the second day out. The trail now showed more plainly than heretofore. One of the stolen horses, exhausted and footsore, stood by the side of the trail. Soon after passing the shattered horse, the rangers came upon the remains of a colt killed and eaten by the Comanches. The blood of the cold showed it had been slaughtered but a few hours before. The thought of soon coming upon the miscreants gave stimulus to the chase. The rangers now galloped ahead faster than ever before. An hour after passing the colt, the Indian sentry left behind to cover their trail was seen riding up a knoll about a mile straight ahead. The rangers stopped till the sentry passed behind the crest of the knoll, then put on a burst of speed to come up to him before he should be aware of the presence. On reaching the top of the hill, the rangers were discovered by the sentry who made his fresher horse leave them further behind. Realizing the Indian would outrun them, Captain Rogers ordered his men to shoot.
However, the distance was too great to kill the sentry and he got away out of sight. Then, in turning around a cedar brake, the rangers saw the sentry again just as he dashed into the band and herd of stolen horses. Like a flash, the band scattered each Indian going in a separate direction. Immediately the canyons and forest swallowed them up. Most of the stolen horses were then recovered by the rangers. It was reported a few weeks later that these same Indians had come together again in Bandera county and that they had stolen another bunch of horses and driven them off to Mexico."
Mr. Meredith is one of the few men living who took part in the chase. He is well known in Kimble County, having been justice of the peace for precinct No. 1 for 20 or 21 years and having served as county commissioner for 14 years. He also was a county trustee for two years. He came to San Antonio for his health and is now living at San Jose.
Compiled and transcribed by Virginia Brown
Some Descendants of John Counts of Glade Hollow, Hetty S. Sutherland, 1978, Clintwood, VA.
Families of Kimble County, Kimble County Historical Commission, 1985, Shelton Press.
Pecos: A History of the Pioneer West, Alton Hughes, 1987, Seagraves, TX.
Frontier Times, Vol. 2, No. 12, September 1925, Capt. Moore's Rangers on the Scout, published by Marvin Hunter.
Frontier Times, Vol. 3, No. 11, August 1926, Last Raid of the Comanches by T.J. Meridith, published by Marvin Hunter.
Frontier Times, Vol. 4, No. 12, September 1927, Chasing the Murderers of Isaac Kountz, published by Marvin Hunter.
Frontier Times, Vol 5. No. 8, May 1928, Fifty_two Years in West Texas, published by Marvin Hunter.
Ezekiel K. Kountz (1828 - 1881)
Harriet S Lindamoode Kountz (1830 - 1890)
John Cook Kountz (1850 - 1929)*
Christopher Columbus Kountz (1855 - 1935)*
Elizabeth Lumira Kountz Patterson (1857 - 1946)*
Isaac Newton Kountz (1860 - 1876)
Sebastian C Counts (1863 - 1954)*
Note: Bio provided by Virgina Brown (Thank you).
Plot: Grave Site: 30.48294 N. 99.77966 W.
Created by: C. Fahey
Record added: Apr 28, 2008
Find A Grave Memorial# 26475293