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Will Davis Has Just Published His Latest Book
Kincaid

A signed copy of my fourth novel, Kincaid, as well as my first three are now available. They can be purchased by sending $17.00 including postage and handling to:
Will Davis, 1047 Evening Primrose Lane, Bernalillo, NM 87004

Will Davis Award Winning Author

Will Davis moved to the West in the mid 1900's. He became interested in the West and read everything he could find about ranching, horses and life in the early West. He bought a small ranch where he raised cattle and began breaking and training Quarter Horses. He spent several years showing horses, competing in calf roping, bull riding and working cattle drives.

He has spent weeks at a time in the wilderness areas of New Mexico on horseback and experienced considerable success bow hunting for big game. He has been a long time member of the mounted search and rescue unit for the local sheriff's department.

The stories he tells and the books he writes are based on real historical events and he researches the locations to assure that they describe, as true as possible, what they were in the 1800's

He visits the towns, forts and rivers that he writes about in his books and talks with the people that know the legacy of the area. He draws upon his studies of the Indians of Texas, New Mexico and Arizona and often includes them in his tales of the West.
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Kincaid

“Ya know Luke we could save the Judge a lot of trouble. It would only take a tall tree and a short rope,”

Looking to take advantage of free land in Texas offered by Stephen Austin, Luke Kincaid and Jim Bowie headed west in hopes of becoming ranchers. Luke was successful in establishing his ranch with land he acquired on the banks of the Brazos River. With the help of his new found friend and foreman, Irish, Luke’s ranch flourished, but not without testing his courage and dedication to Texas. He soon learned that life on the frontier was a constant challenge. He found himself at odds with Comanches, Comancheros, Mexican Federales and Gringo outlaws.

Luke fought along side Sam Houston at San Jacinto, served under Captain Rip Ford of the Texas Rangers, partnered with Bigfoot Wallace to escape a Mexican prison and came face to face with the evil El Gigante of the Comancheros.

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Six Points of Death

“Waco, push your luck and you’ll be pushing up flowers in the Pinos Altos cemetery.”

U.S. Marshal Lance Kincaid left the hill country of Texas in pursuit of his father’s killer. He believed the killer was headed for Pinos Altos, New Mexico. During his journey, he encountered run-ins with outlaws, renegade Indians, and Comancheros.

When he arrived at Fort Griffin, Texas he was told the fort Commander’s daughter, Amy, had been kidnapped and was being held for ransom. He and his partner, Hefty, were given the task of rescuing her.

In route to Bent’s Fort, he came upon the massacre of a peaceful band of Lipan Apaches he had befriended years before. Lance decided to put the search for his father’s killer on hold while he tracked down the perpetrators of this crime. He found at Bent’s Fort that his two searches converged. After assisting the military unit stationed at Bent’s Fort with several missions, he and Hefty proceeded to Pinos Altos by way of Taos, Santa Fe, Fort Craig and Fort McRae.

He and Hefty faced a number of challenges, some man-made and others of nature, while traversing the Black Range Mountains to Pinos Altos, the territory of Geronimo. With the assistance of Sheriff Roy Bean, and the elimination of Waco, Christian’s hired gun, they tracked down the killer. Their final task was to bring the killer back to Texas for trial.

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The Ring

“I always knew an Apache might do me in, but I never thought one would save my hide.”

U. S. Marshal Lance Kincaid accepted an assignment from the governor of the New Mexico Territory to act as an undercover agent. His mission was to investigate the violence and crime in the Silver City area, identify the people responsible for such activities and bring them to justice.

Lance began to suspect the violence in the area not only involved the Apaches, but also city ruffians, the Indian agent, the territory politicians and perhaps the military. The gunslinger, John Kinney, was determined to have Lance killed.

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Bell County Bushwhackers

"Sorry you rode such a long way to die."

Lance Kincaid struggles to discover his past after losing his memory due to wounds he received in a Civil War battle. His search takes him from Illinois to Bell County, Texas by way of fort griffin. His trip is plagued by run-ins with red neck Yankees and Lipan Apaches. He is smitten with the fort commander's daughter, Amy Scott, but his romantic desires must be put on hold until he determines if he has family obligations.

Dark Moon, a Tonkawa Indian scout from Fort Griffin, guides him and his partner Hefty from Fort Griffin through the Comanche territory to reach Belton, Texas. With the help of Dr. Barton and Judge Tayler, Lance locates his family ranch only to find the Union Regulators have confiscated the properly. Still without any memory of his past, he must find those behind this skullduggery and try to recover the ranch. With only determination and skill with a gun, he sets out to bring the wrongdoers to justice. In the end he finds himself face to face with Slade Cannon, a hired killer. He regains his memory when he receives help from an unsuspected source only to find that total justice has not been served.

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How to Purchase My Book

Any of my books can be purchased on the internet from the companies listed below. Just click on the selected line to go directly to the book sales page.

Click here to buy "Kincaid" on Amazon.com

Click here to buy "Six Points of Death" on Amazon.com

Click here to buy "Six Points of Death" on BarnesAndNobel.com

Click here to buy "The Ring" on Amazon.com

Click here to buy "Bell County Bushwhackers" on Amazon.com

Click here to buy "Bell County Bushwhackers" on BarnesAndNobel.com

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Book Reviews

Will Davis is an excellent story teller. I enjoyed his book. The hero's travel across the country keeps the reader turning pages to see what's going to happen next. The story is very compelling.

Harry Haines
Author of "The Orphan" winner of the "Mayhaven Award for Fiction" in 2006.

Reading Bell County Bushwhackers took me back to my childhood when I loved to go to the western movies where the good guys wore white hats and always won in the end. Lance Kincaid typifies that type of character. It is refreshing to read a book that is action packed without resorting to profanity or pornography. I'll be proud to give it to my elderly father as a Christmas gift. I'm looking forward to the further adventures of our hero in my beloved hill country of Texas.

Jane Ann Lunn
Retired Principal, Virginia Myers Elementary Northside ISD. San Antonio, Texas

I started reading your book on the way home Friday and couldn't put it down. Not only is it well written, but you truly captured the style of Louis L'Amour. You must have the right background and did the extensive research to capture the feel for this period of time. I really enjoyed it and I'm looking forward to Lance's trip to New .Mexico.

Dr. Roger Greenwell
Eagle, ST

Hey Will, I finished reading your book...and thank you so very much for sending it to me. I read it in about five sittings. The reason, of course, is that it was so spell-binding. The writing is crisp and Hemingway-like, the plot is engaging, the story moves along at a fast pace, and the reader is really drawn into the lives of the people in the book. In short, Will, you are a hellishly good writer! But I was really impressed with the research that you must have done to get all your facts straight. The historical setting and all the information you convey about post civil war western culture, the shameful treatment of the Indians, and the ills of the south during reconstruction were all well-documented and described. I really enjoyed learning those things from the book. And by the way, I am glad you did not forget your own roots in Pittsburgh as Hefty described in his stories the life he led there in the past. It was a very good read and I enjoyed it immensely. No wonder you won the New Mexico prize for last year. Now, I guess I will have to look forward to the next novel when Lance finally (I presume) comes up against Christian and (hopefully) gets his revenge. And I have the feeling that there could be a movie in the making (if we all live long enough). The book would make a darned good western movie.

Louis Salvador
Morgantown, Wyoming

Just finished your book this morning. I really enjoyed the history you included in the book! And of course, Hefty's stories were as good as ever. Now I'm looking forward to the story of Lance and Amy getting their spread in southern NM. You must really enjoy the research about gold mining techniques, Indian issues, Santa Fe Trail travel, military history of the region, and historical figures like Roy Bean and Kit Carson. I love the part about horses smelling game and Indians. Fargo would do exactly as you described when we came upon deer on the trail. As often as we saw them, she continued to freeze, ears up, when she smelled or saw them. Reading your books is almost like riding with you. Thanks for the fun.

Julie Steffes
Member of the New Mexico Mounted Search and Rescue.

"Six Points of Death" continues the excitement where "Bell County Bushwackers" left off. Wrapping a journey of adventure around a man of integrity, Will Davis tantalizes his readers with historical facts of the wild west, salient wit, and just the right sparkle of romance. An enjoyable story that leaves the reader looking forward to more.

Wendy Shaneyfelt

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Horse Sense

First Things First

Submitted November 1, 2008 by Willl Davis

To begin training on a green horse, you have to catch him first! Chances are when you enter the corral, he will turn his hind quarters toward you. To approach would be an invitation to get kicked. Always have a length of rope or a whip with you. When he turns away, snap him on the rump. If he moves off and still faces away, snap him again. Repeat this until he faces you. At that point praise him and walk away. When you return later, go through the same routine until he faces you when you enter his area. Brush him down when he begins facing you to give him a good reason to continue. Horses are creatures of habit. Once he gets accustom to facing you when you approach, he will likely continue. Initial training should begin from the ground, but you should fit him with a bridle and snaffle bit or a hackamore (bosal) early on. This will accustom him to the head gear when you begin to work it with the reins. I recommend you continue your ground work, long-line training until you have him walking, trotting, loping, stopping and backing with only the long-lines on a halter. At this point, you are ready to attach the long-lines to the bosal or snaffle. This approach will allow you to cue the horse with a light touch. Going to the bit or bosal too soon could result in developing a hard mouth and a reluctant response to your cues. Ground work is extremely important. Don’t cut it short.

Hasta la vista,
Will Davis

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Vital Signs What’s normal?

Knowing the vital signs and how to measure them could save your horse’s life. Remember the acronym “THRAP” Temperature: The temperature of a horse at rest should be between 100 and 102 degrees Fahrenheit. Measure the temperature by inserting the thermometer 2 to 4 inches into the rectum. Use a 6 inch vet. thermometer with a two foot string tied to it. Fasten the end of the string to the horse’s tail with an alligator type clip to avoid losing it in the horse or having it fall to the ground and break. Hydration: There are two ways to measure hydration. 1. The pinch test: Grasp a fold in the skin of the neck and twist ever so slightly and release. Count the seconds it takes for the crease to disappear. If the time for the disappearance is more than three or four seconds, your horse is probably suffering from dehydration. 2. Capillary refill: Lift the horse’s lip and gently press one finger on the gums just enough to leave a fingerprint. The color should return to the gum almost immediately after you remove your finger. If not, the horse is probably suffering from dehydration. Respiration: The average respiration rate for a horse at rest is between 8 to 20 breaths per minute. Measure this vital sign by watching the rib area for one minute and count every in and out movement as one breath. The rate should never exceed the pulse rate. and multiple by four to get the beats per minute. If any of these tests results are outside the normal range, a veterinarian should be consulted. Your horse could be suffering with anything from colic to shock; either of which could take the horse’s life if not attended to properly.

Hasta la vista,
Will Davis

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Chaps or Chinks

If you plan on doing much trail or brush country riding you will probably want to consider wearing chaps or chinks. Which one and what kind? Well, that all depends. Let’s talk about chaps first. They are the full length of the leg and come in two basic styles, shotgun and batwing. The shotgun chap usually fastens with a full length zipper. The batwing style came along after the shotgun and usually fastens from the top to just behind the knee by fasteners such as buckles. The batwing chap is fuller cut and has more leather extending behind the leg. Chinks are shorter than chaps. They usually go from the waist to just below the knee. They fasten much like the batwing chaps. The last fastener is just above the knee to allow the legs to move more easily. If you’re riding in heavy brush country, chaps will give you more leg protection. They make movement on foot a little more challenging. The extra area of leather on the batwing chap makes it even more difficult on foot. If you’re riding in areas of mostly higher tree limb and light brush, the chinks will do a good job of protecting your upper legs. They have the added advantage of allowing you freedom of motion when you are on foot. Chaps and Chinks come with or without fringe. If you should get caught in the rain, the fringe helps the water run off instead of down your boot. This is particularly useful if you are riding in chinks. Two other considerations are color and thickness. If you’re riding in hot country, you’ll want to use light colored leg covering to reflect the heat. If it’s cold country, dark colors all the way to black, will help to keep you warm. The leather thickness depends on the density of brush you travel through. Thinner grades of leather are more comfortable and are usually used for show. Thicker grades are better for heavy work. If you enter rough country with thin leather chaps you’re likely to come out the other side wearing “chicken hide chinks”, not to mention messed up legs.

Hasta la vista,
Will Davis

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Submitted April 1, 2008 by Willl Davis

A “Bit” of Advice

There are several techniques you can use to make placing the bit in the horse’s mouth more acceptable to the horse. The following are some suggestions. Never use a bit with a severe curb. It will result in an unruly horse with a “hard mouth”. A swivel will work better than a curb on a well trained horse. Use a sweet iron bit to make the bit more acceptable to the horse. In cold weather, warm the bit with your hands before attempting to bit the horse. Never force the bit against the horse’s teeth. If they refuse the bit, slide your finger in the horse’s mouth behind the teeth. The horse will open his mouth and the bit can be inserted. Try to ground train (no bit) your horse to plow rein. Begin riding using a bosal until you have him neck reining. Introduce the horse to a swivel bit with no reins attached. This gives him a chance to feel comfortable with the bit before any pressure is applied. You can ride using the bosal while the bit and headstall is in place. Always ride with a light hand, but with the reins in touch with the horse’s mouth. The horse is a powerful animal. A bit can not force him to perform effectively. It should be used only to communicate to the horse what you expect of him. Learning to communicate with the horse will result in a happy rider and a horse of high performance.

Hasta la vista,
Will Davis

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Mounting

If you have ever owned or ridden a horse you know you are to mount a horse from the left side, but do you know why? There is no physical difference between the horses left side and his right side. So why left? This is a custom that goes back to the days of the mounted cavalry. Soldiers in those days wore sabers. Since most people are right handed the blade was worn on the left side and was drawn with the right hand. To mount the horse on the right would require the soldier to lift the saber over the saddle. To avoid that problem the men taught the horse to be mounted from the left. The custom has carried over to modern day. So, can you mount the horse from the right these days? It depends on the horse. Horses require training independently for each side, including turning, side passing and mounting. Even after training, horses seem to have a favorite side. This trait is usually due more to the riders dominate side and their ability to train on that side more than a trait of the horse. If you train the horse to be mounted on either side there is no reason why they can’t be mounted on either side. However, if you don’t know the horse or their training it is best to play it safe and mount the animal from the left side. There are conditions when it is advantageous to be able to mount on either side. It is best to have a horse that will let you do so. Another consideration when mounting a horse is the direction you face when mounting. Many horses will try to move forward as you attempt to mount. If you are facing forward that tends to pull your foot out of the stirrup. Turning the stirrup forward and facing to the rear will help swing you into the saddle if the horse moves forward.

Hasta la vista,
Will Davis

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Walking Around the Horse

Most folks know you shouldn’t walk behind a horse, but do you know why? Because of the way in which horses eyes are set in their head, it is very difficult for them to see close behind them or immediately foreword of their head. When images suddenly appear to them at close range front and rear they may kick out of fear or throw their head. If you must pass behind a horse, touch them on the flank first then walk very close to their rump as you pass by. The other option is to walk far enough behind them that their kick would not reach you. When approaching from the front start slightly from the side and touch their jaw before going to their forehead. Many horses are ear shy. Be careful when reaching for their ears. They may throw their head. Getting hit in the face with a horse’s head is not a pleasant experience. In general, horses are not mean. Most of the time people have bad experiences with horses because they do not understand the animal. It is very easy to frighten a horse and cause them to react in such a way as to inadvertently cause you harm. You wouldn’t drive a car without some training. Should you handle or ride a horse without some training?

Hasta la vista,
Will Davis

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To Shoe or Not To Shoe

You’ve seen horseshoes in horseshoe pits, hanging above doorways for luck and perhaps you’ve even seen them on horse’s feet, but do you know the considerations involved in whether or not to shoe a horse? Not all horses require shoes. Some never do, others require them only under certain circumstances. First you must know the quality of your horse’s hooves. If they are very soft or very brittle, they should be shod if they are going to be ridden. Hooves that are hard and tough may not need to be shod at all. Hooves that are light and dark striped are considered good candidates for no shoes. If it is decided shoes are needed, you need to decide what type of shoe to use. Common choices are metal shoes, rubber shoes or rubber boots. The popular choice is metal shoes which are acceptable for most conditions. Hard rubber shoes are used if the horse is to be ridden mostly on concrete or metal surfaces. That shoe provides more traction for the horse. Rubber soled boots are becoming popular. These boots have a patterned rubber sole similar to an athletic shoe. The upper is a canvas type material secured to the hoof by Velcro and a buckle. This type boot has several advantages. It is easier on the horse’s feet, it does not require the horse to be shod and it can be removed when the horse is not being ridden. Most farriers think it is good for the health of the horse’s hooves to go without shoes when practical. If the boot is used, the hooves still need to be trimmed ever six to eight weeks in the summer months, but trimming is much cheaper than shoeing so money can be saved using the boots. Since much of the horses protein goes into growing its winter coat the hooves grow much slower in the cold months and trimming may not be needed as frequently. Proper hoof care involves more than shoeing and trimming. More will be covered on this subject in future features.

Hasta la vista,
Will Davis

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Keep Your Horse Safe and Secure

In the early west, ranchers showed proof of ownership of their stock was by branding them or notching their ears. One of the famous notching techniques was John Chisholm’s procedures of cutting his cattle’s ears, causing them to dangle or hang down. The most common method is to use a hot Iron to burn a unique brand into the cattle’s hide. The brand can be registered to assure there was no duplication. The registration not only described the configuration of the brand, but also specified the location on the animal. Being innovative, some cowboys came up with the “running iron”. They became very efficient with using this spot iron to trace over and modify the existing brand. The falsified brand was very difficult to detect unless the animal was skinned and the brand was viewed from the inside. That technique is described in my novel “Bell County Bushwhackers.” There is also the technique of tattooing an identification code on the inside of the animals lip. More recently the technique of embedding a micro chip under the animal’s skin has become common with registered horses. As a minimum, horse owners should have ID tags made to fasten to the horse’s halters. That does very little to protect your horse from theft, but it would help you recover your horse if they run off. That’s particularly valuable when you taking multiple day wilderness trips where it is difficult to secure your horse at night. Whatever technique you use, some steps should be used these days to keep you horse secure. Believe it or not, horse thieves are still out there.

Hasta la vista,
Will Davis

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Features

NewSubmitted June 1, 2009 by Willl Davis

Old Dan Tucker Gentleman? Gunman? Lawman?

From all accounts Dave Tucker, later known as Dan Tucker was all of these things. Little is known about Tucker’s beginning. He was believed to have been born in Canada, lived in Indiana for a time, then moved to Colorado. While in Colorado, it is said he got involved in a ruckus that resulted in his shooting and killing a man. From Colorado he moved to Silver City, New Mexico in 1875. Sheriff Harvey Whitehill, of Grant County, was looking for a deputy. He needed a man of courage that was good with a gun and knew the territory. Dan Tucker met all those requirements. It’s possible that Whitehill knew Tucker from his days in Colorado, but in any case he appointed Tucker his deputy. Tucker was a man slight of built and with blue eyes and blonde hair. He had a quiet and shy disposition and was the last person anyone would consider a gunman, except those he shot or hung. He was very courteous, a pleasant talker, never boasting, even tempered, but one to hold his ground. His appearance was dangerously deceptive, as the bad element of the county soon learned. His constant companions were an imported Belgium double-barreled shotgun with the barrel chopped down to nineteen inches, and a forty-five caliber six-shooter. Tucker was said to have killed twenty men, but he only owned up to eight in Grant County and as he put it “and several in Lincoln and Doña Ana County.” He also placed the hangman’s rope on many of those he captured and was wounded several times while taking part in more gun battles than Wyatt Earp or Wild Bill Hickok. One of his friends said, “He was just a nice and unassuming man, quite, didn’t bother anybody, but nobody better bother him.” He was a lawman that buried those that resisted arrest; a man killer that did not hesitate to take a life, if he felt it was warranted. Tucker ran the robbers, rustlers and murders out of Silver City and Deming in the late seventies and was credited with making the cities safe for law biding citizens. By all accounts he died of natural causes in San Bernardino, California in the mid eighteen-eighties.

Hasta la vista,
Will Davis

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Submitted January 1, 2009 by Willl Davis

Black Jack

Unlike Black Jack Ketchem, the famous outlaw, William T. Christian, alias “Black Jack” was apparently in the wrong game. William T. was born in north Texas. He and his brother Robert terrorized the Oklahoma territory in the 1880’s until they were arrested for killing a deputy sheriff. They escaped jail, killing a sheriff, and headed for southwestern New Mexico. They added three others to their gang and became known as the High Five Gang. Their first robbery, in Separ, New Mexico, netted them two hundred and fifty dollars. Their next dozen holdups netted them little more. In 1897 they attempted a bank robbery in Nogales, Arizona. The heist was bungled and they barely escaped with their lives. Their next job was the attempted robbery of an A&P train just south of Albuquerque. They were about to blow the safe when one of the members, Code Young, was killed by a load of buckshot from a deputy’s shotgun. The remaining four fled for their lives. They then tried their luck plundering stage coaches in Lincoln County with little success. Things were getting too hot for them in southeast New Mexico so they headed west. On the way, they again tried a holdup at Separ and only netted one hundred dollars. They established a hideout near the Arizona border. Before long they were tracked down by a posse. In the gun fight that followed, Black Jack was hip shot and died later from the wound. Months later his brother Robert, and one remaining gang member pulled off a successful train robbery near Grants and disappeared into Mexico. It certainly seems that Black Jack took up the wrong game.

Hasta la vista,
Will Davis

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Kit Carson’s Regret

They were near what later became Springer, New Mexico when the wagon carrying James White, his wife, daughter and servant was attached by the Jicarillas. Mr. White and his servant were killed. His wife and daughter were carried off by the attackers. A caravan discovering what was left of the wagon and Mr. White, informed the army in Taos. It was two weeks after the incident when the army along with Kit Carson, as their scout, arrived at the scene. The trail of the fleeing Indians was faint, but after twelve days, Kit managed to track them down. Kit saw the Indians before they were aware of the army’s presence. He called for the army to attack, but the Major held his men back, deciding it would be better to hold a parley with the Indians. When the Indians saw the troops, they scattered in all directions. Mrs. White ran toward Kit and the troops. Before she could reach safety, several arrows pierced her heart and she fell dead. After the encounter, Kit was going through what was left of Mrs. White belongings. He discovered a Kit Carson dime novel depicting a rescue of settlers from the Indians by Kit. He never got over the thought that she had read the novel and knowing she was near his home, she would be saved by him. He was convinced she would have been saved if the soldiers had attacked as he requested. He regretted that he did not have the authority to call for the attack. If he had, he was convinced she would have been saved. It was discovered months later that her daughter was traded to the Utes. She was never found.

 

Hast la vista,
Will Davis

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Submitted October 1, 2008 by Willl Davis

Too Many Saloons

In 1888, technicians performed an inspection of the Walnut Grove Dam near Wagoner Arizona and wrote a critical report concerning its condition. The report stated that substandard concrete and lumber was used in its construction. The report pointed out that a chief engineer was not used at the site and that the cement did not go to the bedrock. Finally it stated that there were too many saloons in the area. On February 22, 1890, Arizona experienced one of its greatest disasters when the 110 foot high, 400 foot across, Walnut Grove Dam gave way. Nearly one hundred lives were lost and millions of dollars worth of property was destroyed. A recovery team from Phoenix found thirty bodies in the rubble immediately after the flood. For many years after the dam failure, bones of drowned victims surfaced from the sands. The last of the remains were discovered twenty five years after the collapse. Interestingly enough, much of the loss could have been avoided if there hadn’t been so many saloons in the area. The day before the dam collapsed, the dam superintendent began to see signs of dam failure. He sent a company employee, Dan Burke, out to warn all near inhabitants of the possible break. Burke started out on horseback, but made a “quick” stop at the nearest saloon, the Cameron House, for a drink. One drink led to another and before long Dan was too drunk to walk, let alone ride to give the warning. What seemed to be an irrelevant comment in the inspection report could have been a pertinent finding, if taken seriously, that would have saved many lives. One of those, whose property was destroyed, was Henry Wickenburg, the founder of Wickenburg, Arizona. He filed suite against the Dam Builders for $7900. He never collected a cent, was left in financial ruin and committed suicide in 1905.

Hasta la vista,
Will Davis

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Submitted August 1, 2008 by Willl Davis

Massacres

When we think about the early west and see the word massacres, we generally think about the cruelty of the Indians. In the following paragraphs, you will see that the Indians didn’t have the corner on that market. In 1864 Black Kettle, a Chief of the Cheyenne said, “It is not my intention or wish to fight the whites”. Unfortunately he was not given that choice. He realized the power of the whites and made every effort to keep his moving village away from white soldiers and hunters. He proudly flew a U. S. flag from his teepee. That flag was presented to him by the government. He was camped along Sand creek in November of 1864 when Col. John Chivington and his Colorado Volunteers attacked Black Kettle’s village. “Kill all the Indians you come across” was the Colonel’s command. When Black Kettle saw the men approaching, he flew his U. S. Flag above his teepee along with a white surrender flag. The 700 Volunteers killed and mutilated 150 women, children and old men as they ran for cover. The young men were away from the camp, hunting. After dark Black Kettle returned to what was left of his village to find his wife. She had been shot nine times, but survived. He carried her away to safety on his back. In late 1867Colonel George Armstrong Custer and his 7th Cavalry struck Black Kettle’s village on the Washita River. Black Kettle fired a warning shot, then mounted his horse and pulled his wife up behind him. They were both fatally shot off the horse. One hundred Cheyenne were slain, of which only 11 were warriors. The army seldom made any distinction between warring Indians and those parlaying for peace. A leading U. S. Army general assigned to the frontier once said, “The only good Indian is a dead Indian. I guess Col. Covington and Col. Custer created a wealth of “good Indians”.

Hasta la vista,
Will Davis

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The Jack Ass Attack

In the early years of the Civil war, Fort Craig situated on the west bank of the Rio Grande presented a formidable obstacle for the Confederate Army. The rebel forces, led by General Sibley, planned an invasion of New Mexico by marching up the Rio Grande Valley. When they came upon the fort, they decided to by pass it and stay west of the Rio Grande. The fort consisted of thirty-five hundred soldiers. Many of the guns the Confederates observed at the fort were “Quaker guns” (wooden cannons painted to look like real cannons). The Union Commander of the fort did not want the Rebs to get by the fort so he elected to meet the enemy forces outside the fort. The Confederates were camped near the fort at Valverde on the west bank. Union Captain James Graydon decided to move out under the protection of darkness by executing a night attack on the enemy camp. After loading howitzer shells on the backs of two mules, the captain, his men and the two mules waded across the river. From the west bank he moved in as close as he dared to the Confederate camp. Once in place, his plan was to aim the mules toward the Reb camp, light the fuses on the shells, put a whip to the mules and attack the camp after the explosives did their damage. Things went as planned up to a point. The mules were aligned, the fuses were lit and the mules were slapped. As the mules headed for the camp, they discovered that their masters were headed for cover near the west bank. The mules turned and headed back to their stables at the fort with the fuses burning down. Graydon and his men found themselves running in all directions trying to find a safe haven from their own mules. As it turned out the only casualties were the two poor mules. Subsequent to this fiasco, there was a battle at Valverde that included Kit Carson. Both sides claimed victory. However, the Confederate troops were able to proceed north and reached Glorieta, New Mexico before they were turned back. Fort Craig was not surrendered.

Hasta la vista,
Will Davis

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Submitted May 1, 2008 by Willl Davis

Quanah, Great Chief of the Kwahadi Comanche

Quanah was born to a Comanche chief and a captive white woman in 1854. He had gray eyes and skin lighter than his tribe. He worried as a youngster that he would not be accepted by his fellow tribe members because he looked differently. He was very close to his mother and she convinced him, and rightly so, that one day he would be a great chief. In 1867, he became the war chief of the Kwahadi Comanche. Early in the 1860’s Texas Rangers “rescued” the white mother of Quanah. They identified her as Cynthia Ann Parker. She was returned to her uncle, Isaac Parker where she tried, unsuccessfully, to escape back to what she considered her people. She refused to eat and starved herself to death in 1870. After surrendering in 1875 to the US Army, he asked permission to visit his mother’s grave. They read her head stone to him and for the first time he found out his mother’s name was Cynthia Ann Parker. From that day on, he said he would honor his mother and become Quanah Parker. Quanah Parker went on to become the wealthiest Native American of his time. He became the managing agent in business deals between his tribe and the white man. He was a successful cattleman and in 1886 he became a judge of the Court of Indian Affairs. He hunted with Teddy Roosevelt and in 1905 he rode along side Geronimo in the inaugural parade of President Theodore Roosevelt. In 1910, Quanah Parker was able to convince the government to have his mother’s remains removed to Post Oak Cemetery at Ft. Sill. Quanah Parker died at the age of 64 in 1911. He was buried according to his last request, next to his mother.

Hasta la vista,
Will Davis

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Submitted April 1, 2008 by Willl Davis

Salado, Texas

In my book “Bell County Bushwhackers”, Lance Kincaid spends time in Salado , Texas with Judge Tayler and Dr. Barton. Today, Salado is a picturesque, quaint little town. If you are in the neighborhood, it is well worth a visit. The town was founded by Scottish settlers and was incorporated in 1867. It is located about 40 miles north of Austin, Texas in Bell County. It is the location of the 1859 Old Military Road at the crossing of Salado Creek. Salado College was founded in 1860. It was the first coeducational college in Texas. Dr. Barton was on the Board of the college. The college was later used as a high school. The grounds and the partial walls that remain are preserved as a historical site. Eighteen buildings in the town are registered in the National Register of Historic Places. The Central Texas Museum is a “must see”. The town was originally founded because of its many springs and rich farmland. The Old Chisholm Trail came right up Main Street. It was also a stop for most of the stage lines. When the town was passed up by the railroad the college closed. In 1828 the population was 900. In 1914 the population was 400. In 1950 the population was 200. In 2006 the population was 1214. Today the town is thriving with more than a hundred unique and interesting shops stocked by the local craftsmen and artists. Of particular interest is The Stagecoach Inn. It originally opened in the 1860’s. In those days it was an Overland Stage and Pony Express stop know as The Shady Villa Hotel. The Hotel boasts of such early guests as, General George Armstrong Custer, Robert E. Lee, Sam Houston, the James Brothers and Sam Bass. The Hotel was restored in 1945 and is a delightful Inn acclaimed as one of the outstanding small inns of Texas.

Hasta la vista,
Will Davis

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Submitted March 1, 2008 by Willl Davis

Fort Griffin and Fort Griffin State Park

If you are ever traveling through Texas and find yourself near Abilene, head North East about 60 miles to Fort Griffin and Fort Griffin State Park. The park is on State Route 283. The park has beautiful RV accommodations under the hackberry trees with nice walking paths. Across the highway you will find Fort Griffin. There is a visitor’s center and tour map for the fort. Many of the buildings are still standing and the history of the fort and the town known as “The Flat” is well documented. The fort was originally named Camp Cooper, but was renamed Fort Griffin in the mid 1860’s. In 1867 federal troops arrived and the first stores began to crop up in “The Flat”. The fort was manned for the purpose of protecting the settlers, the stage lines, and the travelers on the route to California. The troops campaigned against Indians to the north as far as the Indian Territory and east to the Palo Duro Canyon area. The fort and its town were the headquarters for the Western Cattle Trail and the home base for buffalo hunters. You can learn much about the hotels, bakeries, and saloons. Shawnessy’s Saloon was known as the place where Doc Holiday knifed Ed Bailey to death. Doc first met Wyatt Earp in this saloon in 1877. The most notable saloon was the Beehive owned by Owen Donnelly. Donnelly married Lucinda Selman, sister of John Selman the Texas gunman who shot and killed John Wesley Hardin. At one time there was a Lipan Apache camp just north of town. Later the Tonkawa Indians set up camp there and became scouts for the troops at Fort Griffin. The fort had eight Congressional Medal of Honor recipients and experienced the presence of many famous visitors including: Captain Phillip L. Lee- Nephew of Robert E. Lee Doc Holiday Wyatt Earp Bat Masterson Pat Garrett Billy The Kid In 1881 the federal troops left Fort Griffin. In 1883 the fort was flooded and the Tonkawa Indians were moved to Oklahoma. If you are a history buff, this is a great place to visit.

Hasta la Vista!
Will Davis

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Submitted February 1, 2008 by Willl Davis

Belton, Texas Bell County,

Texas was created in 1850 and Nolansville was selected as the county seat. It was selected in part because the Nolan Creek meandered through the site. The creek got its name from an Irish adventurer Philip Nolan, who explored Central Texas in 1797. In 1851, for reasons not clear, the city’s name was changed to Belton. According to historical records the first two buildings to be built were John Danley’s blacksmiths shop and John M. Payne’s store. Prior to the Civil, War Sam Houston made two speeches in downtown Belton, urging people not to vote for secession. His life was threatened as a result of his recommendations. The people ignored his advice. More than a thousand Bell County men joined the Confederate Army. As the war progressed, Belton began to suffer from the dwindling of currency and inventories. Stores began to close, but at war’s end the future looked brighter and the town began to prosper. However, the effects of the war were not over. Elected officials were replaced with Union appointees. Federal troops patrolled the streets giving little protection to the citizens. Lawlessness got so bad the citizens decided to take the law into their own hands. The locals entered the jail one evening and shot nine prisoners to death because they were convinced the outlaws would never stand trial. After that event, outlaws gave a second thought to using the tools of their trade in Belton. The Chisholm Trail was established in the 1860’s and it ran near, if not through, the town of Salado and Belton. By 1872 over three million head of cattle passed by the town on their way to Abilene. The trail bosses and their crew of wranglers helped to sustain the economy of the county. From its humble beginnings with two log cabin stores and a 16 foot by 18 foot courthouse Belton has become a thriving county seat for nearly 150,000 people.

Hasta la vista,
Will Davis

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Submitted January1, 2008 by Will Davis

General William Tecumseh Sherman’s Close Call

In the spring of 1871 General Sherman was not convinced there was a serious threat from marauding Indians on the plains of Texas. He decided to tour the countryside to get a first hand look at the conditions. His detail included a covered wagon for their gear, an ambulance in which four officers rode, including General Sherman, followed by seventeen mounted soldiers. Their route would take them through Fort Concho, Fort Griffin, abandoned Fort Belknap and Fort Sill. It would take them eighteen days. The commander at Fort Concho was concerned about the general’s safety and assigned a company of the 4th Cavalry to follow along about a mile behind the general. Sherman was not aware of the followers and certainly would not have approved had he known about them. As it turned out, a Kiowa war party of one hundred and fifty braves lead by Santanta was on a collision course with the Sherman party. Santanta’s scouts spotted the Sherman caravan, but also spotted the cavalry unit following behind and decided not to attack Sherman’s small group because it could be a trap. There was a third group in the area headed for the same spot. It was the Warren wagon train. There were seven wagons and twelve men in the train. They were headed for Fort Richardson. General Sherman and his group reached Fort Richardson on the afternoon of May 17, 1871. In a letter the following morning, Sherman wrote, “The road is across rather rough country and water is very scarce. Of course we saw no Indians.” Between midnight and dawn the next day a wounded Tom Brazeal from the Warren wagon train stumbled into the fort and announced that they were attacked by more than one hundred Indians. Seven of his men were killed and five, including him, escaped. One of those killed was tied to a wagon wheel and burned alive. It was only by chance that Santanta decided to attack the Warren wagon train instead of General Sherman’s detail. As a result of that incident, Sherman became aware of the serious threats to ranchers and settlers and consequently called for an all out war against the American Indians in the west.

Hasta la vista!
Will Davis

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