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Smith, Clinton Lafayette and Jefferson Davis (unknown–unknown)

Glen E. Lich Biography Entry

Clint and Jeff Smith were captured on February 26, 1871, by Lipans and Comanches while herding sheep near the Smith home on Cibolo Creek between San Antonio and Boerne. They were the sons of Henry Smith, a Texas lawman and rancher from Pennsylvania, and Frances Short, a native of Alabama and a member of the controversial Short clan of Fayette County, Texas. When an initial rescue effort led by the brothers' two sisters Amanda (Lane) and Caroline (Coker) failed, Capt. Henry Smith and Capt. John W. Sansom, a cousin, assembled a large body of Texas Rangers and local militia, who, along with a posse led by Capt. Charles Schreiner, pursued the Indians from near Kendalia to Fort Concho in West Texas. The rescue attempt was futile, however, and for the next five years, until Clint and Jeff were returned to their families, Henry Smith offered a reward of $1,000 for each of the boys. The panoramic tale of their captivity, laced with predictable adventures, a few inconsistencies, and the names of many prominent chiefs, including Geronimo, was compiled by J. Marvin Hunter. The brothers were interviewed in their sixties after they, along with Herman Lehmann, had long enjoyed their fame as "frontier" celebrities and performers of the Old West. The book was reprinted in 1965 and again, in 1986, by Milton O. Smith and other descendants of Clint Smith. Beyond the tale of their captivity and reacculturation, both brothers led interesting lives as trail drivers, cowboys, and ranchers. Clint, who was born on August 3, 1860, married Dixie Alamo Dyche and fathered four sons and four daughters. A member of the Old Time Trail Drivers' Association, he died on September 10, 1932, and was buried in the Rocksprings, Texas, cemetery. Jeff, handy with the fiddle and also an Old Time Trail Driver, was born on March 31, 1862, and married Julia Harriet Reed from Bandera County. They had five sons and one daughter. He died on April 21, 1940, and was buried in the Coker Methodist Cemetery in northwest San Antonio. A state historical marker was placed on Jeff's grave in 1994.

J. Marvin Hunter, The Boy Captives: Being the True Story of the Experiences and Hardships of Clinton L. Smith and Jeff D. Smith among the Comanche and Apache Indians (Bandera, Texas: Frontier Times, 1927). Rocksprings Woman's Club Historical Committee, A History of Edwards County (San Angelo: Anchor, 1984).


  • Peoples
  • Native American
  • Captives and Victims of Attack

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

Glen E. Lich, “Smith, Clinton Lafayette and Jefferson Davis,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed December 05, 2020,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.