Salt Creek Prairie

By: Steve M. King

Type: General Entry

Published: July 1, 1995

Updated: February 5, 2019

Salt Creek Prairie, once known as "the most dangerous prairie in Texas," is a rolling, intermittently timbered prairie extending about nine miles on either side of Salt Creek in Young County from Fort Belknap to Rock Creek near the Young-Jack county line. It was crossed by the Butterfield Overland Mail and was long a favorite area for Comanche and Kiowa war parties striking south from the Fort Sill area to waylay travelers and attack settlers. Some twenty-one graves were dug on the prairie for victims of Indian attacks over a four-year period in the early 1870s. Young county sheriff W. F. (State) Cox and 2d Lt. William R. Peveler were casualties of an Indian attack on the prairie in 1863. On May 16, 1869, a group of twelve cowboys, besieged by Comanches northwest of what is now Jean, held their attackers at bay for an entire day while pinned down in a buffalo wallow. In mid-July 1870, Kiowa raiders led by Kicking Bird robbed a mail stage at Rock Creek Station. Pursuing cavalry from Fort Richardson engaged the raiders, but were forced to retreat. In late January 1871, Britton Johnson and two companions were slain by Kiowa raiders at the Turtle Hole. On May 18, 1871, Henry Warren's wagon supply train (see WARREN WAGONTRAIN RAID) was attacked en route to Fort Griffin by Kiowas under Satanta, Satank, and Big Tree. Seven of twelve teamsters were killed, and forty-one mules were stolen. Gen. William Tecumseh Sherman, on a frontier inspection tour, had passed unmolested over the same ground scant hours before. Capt. G. W. Stevens's company of Texas Rangers camped for two months here on Flat Top Mountain, pursuing Kiowa and Comanche raiding parties in July and August 1874. On July 12, 1874, a party of about fifty Kiowas under Lone Wolf attacked Frontier Battalion commander John B. Jones and his escort near Jermyn.

Benjamin Capps, The Warren Wagontrain Raid (New York: Dial, 1974). Robert G. Carter, On the Border with Mackenzie, or Winning West Texas from the Comanches (Washington: Eynon Printing, 1935). Llerena B. Friend, ed., M. K. Kellogg's Texas Journal: 1872 (Austin: University of Texas Press, 1967). Barbara Neal Ledbetter, Fort Belknap Frontier Saga: Indians, Negroes and Anglo-Americans on the Texas Frontier (Burnet, Texas: Eakin Press, 1982). Wilbur Sturtevant Nye, Carbine and Lance: The Story of Old Fort Sill (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1937; 3d ed. 1969). Walter Prescott Webb, The Texas Rangers (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1935; rpt., Austin: University of Texas Press, 1982).

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.

Steve M. King, “Salt Creek Prairie,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed June 26, 2022,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

July 1, 1995
February 5, 2019