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SKULL CREEK. Skull Creek rises in the central western portion of Colorado County (at 29°40' N, 96°44' W) and runs east for eighteen miles to its mouth on the Colorado River, near Altair (at 29°31' N, 96°24' W). According to frontiersman Jesse Burnam, the creek was the site of one of the first battles fought between the white settlers of Colorado County and the Karankawa Indians of the area. In the spring of 1823 three young men from Burnam's settlement were ambushed by the Indians near the mouth of Skull Creek; two of them were killed, and the third was mortally wounded. Local settlers, led by Robert Kuykendall, retaliated with an early morning raid on a nearby Karankawa encampment. Fourteen of the Indians were killed and seven wounded; the attackers suffered no casualties. The creek was named when several human skulls-possibly the remains of some of the Karankawa-were unearthed along its banks. The stream flows into a number of small ponds, which are used as watering holes for cattle. The soil of the area is loose and gravelly and is easily eroded.


Jesse Burnam, "The Reminiscences of Captain Jesse Burnam," Quarterly of the Texas State Historical Association 5 (July 1901).

F. B. Largent, Jr.


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

F. B. Largent, Jr., "SKULL CREEK," Handbook of Texas Online (, accessed July 01, 2015. Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.