On October 13, 1864, in western Young County, several hundred 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 (see CLIFTON, ELIZABETH ANN), the Indians killed and scalped Mrs. FitzPatrick's daughter, Mildred Susanna Carter Durkin, and killed the son of Britt (Britton) Johnson, a black slave. Mrs. FitzPatrick, her son and two granddaughters, Mildred and Lottie, and Johnson's wife and children were taken captive. Farther upstream Dr. Thomas Wilson, Thomas Hamby, and his son Thornton 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 heard 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-Havey, with the rescue of Johnson's family in June 1865. Apparently, as a part of ongoing peace talks, Asa-Havey 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.
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Carrie J. Crouch, Young County: History and Biography (Dallas: Dealey and Love, 1937; rev. ed., A History of Young County, Texas, Austin: Texas State Historical Association, 1956). Barbara Neal Ledbetter, Fort Belknap Frontier Saga: Indians, Negroes and Anglo-Americans on the Texas Frontier (Burnet, Texas: Eakin Press, 1982). Barbara Neal Ledbetter, comp., The Fort Belknap of Yesterday and Today (1963). Kenneth F. Neighbours, "Elm Creek Raid in Young County, 1864," West Texas Historical Association Year Book 40 (1964).
Campaigns, Battles, Raids, and Massacres
The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.
Kenneth F. Neighbours,
“Elm Creek Raid,”
Handbook of Texas Online,
accessed August 15, 2022,
Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
Original Publication Date:
October 1, 1995
Most Recent Revision Date:
March 23, 2022