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WEBSTER MASSACRE. The event known as the Webster massacre has been reported at varying dates by a variety of sources. The conflict between the Webster party and Comanche Indians occurred sometime between the summer of 1838 and October of 1839, near the headwaters of Brushy Creek in what is now Williamson County. John Webster, leading a party of thirteen to establish a settlement in West Texas, discovered a large force of Indians between the North and South forks of the San Gabriel River. The Webster party tried to gain the security of the settlements on the Colorado but was overtaken near Brushy Creek. The members of the party formed defenses by arranging their wagons in a square. In the ensuing battle all the men were killed, and Mrs. Webster and her two children were captured. According to varying reports, Mrs. Webster and her daughter escaped from the Comanches anywhere from several months to two years later, when the Indians were encamped near San Antonio to attend a council for prisoner exchange (see COUNCIL HOUSE FIGHT). Her son, who was held by another group of Indians, was ransomed after two years of captivity. In 1936 the Texas Centennial Commission placed a monument at the place of burial of the massacre victims, 1½ miles east of Leander.


Frank Brown, Annals of Travis County and the City of Austin (MS, Frank Brown Papers, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, University of Texas at Austin). Harold Schoen, comp., Monuments Erected by the State of Texas to Commemorate the Centenary of Texas Independence (Austin: Commission of Control for Texas Centennial Celebrations, 1938). J. W. Wilbarger, Indian Depredations in Texas (Austin: Hutchings, 1889; rpt., Austin: State House, 1985).

Peyton O. Abbott

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Peyton O. Abbott, "WEBSTER MASSACRE," Handbook of Texas Online (, accessed December 01, 2015. Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.