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Re: Hopewell indian massacre, williamson county
Posted by: W.C. (ID *****1109) Date: May 18, 2003 at 09:30:49
In Reply to: Re: Hopewell indian massacre, williamson county by Kimberly Fairchild of 65481

Further research reveals a good bit more on the subject of your search. The following: is found on page 189 of the book “Land of Good Water:”

The last Indian attack which took lives in Williamson County was during the Civil War near Hopewell, The inscription on the gravestone in Hopewell Cemetery reads, “Wofford Johnson, Wife and Little Dau. Massacred by the Indians Aug 15 1863”

Several slightly different versions of the violent event have been told. When the war began, many men from east Burnet and west Williamson counties went into service. Since Comanches still ranged close by, a group of young boys, old men, ministers and others formed a company for scouting, with Captain Jeff Maltby, a Texas Range, in command, Wofford Johnson lived near Maltby, operated a small molasses mill at his home, and joined the patrol.
A short time prior to the murders, horses had been stolen from the vicinity. On a Sunday morning, Mr. and Mrs. Johnson, their two daughters and their baby boy rode to the home of a neighbor, a Mr. Whitehead, about a mile away. Late in the day, the Johnsons started toward home, Mrs. Johnson holding the baby and the older girl riding on the horse behind her mother. Johnson took his four old daughter on his horse. As they rode near a dense thicket of dogwood along Dog Branch, they were attacked by Comanches. The father and his youngest daughter were apparently killed first. The eldest girl jumped from the horse and managed to escape, running the short distance – about three hundred yards – to her home. Mrs. Johnson fell from her horse about one hundred yards further on, but managed to slip the baby boy into a thicket before she collapsed. A Comanche Indian named Japee told Captain Maltby later that he and others of his tribe had killed the Johnsons. The Johnson daughter reported the tragedy, and John Owen, Maltby and Alex Barton spent the night gathering thirty men to investigate at daylight. As they passed the dogwood thicket they heard the sound which led them to the baby. The boy feverish, hungry and thirsty and had an arrow through his arm. An uncle took him home to care for him. The Wofford Johnson’s niece, Mrs. C.C Proctor, a girlhood friend of Mrs. Johnson, was staying with them at the time of the tragedy while Mrs. Proctor’s husband was away with the Confederate Army. Mrs. Proctor recounted the story, giving the names of the children as Mary Jane who was killed along with her parents, and Elvira (who ran for help) and baby Georgiana. Mrs. Proctor said the baby was a girl rather than a boy. She also said that Mr. Whitehead had the molasses mill, to which Johnson, a cattleman, and his family had gone to make molasses that fateful day. The three Wofford Johnsons were among the early burials in the Hopewell Cemetery.

Mrs. Scarbrough, the author, follows all this with a footnote #22. That foot note lists Yoakum II, 265-267, and her notes of Archival and Published Sources shows, Yoakum, Henderson K. “History of Texas, 2 vols. New York: Redfield 1855, 1856.

I would suggest that you contact your local library and through interlibrary loan they should be able to secure that book or microfilm for your further research.

Again I wish you the best of luck,

W. C.


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