Early Comanche-co. settlers will doubtless remember the Darrow family, who were pioneers in the settlement of the town of Avilla, back in the fall of 1884 and the early part of 1885. One of the boys, Chas. H., now a resident of Alamosa,, Colo., writes the Western Star some interesting reminiscences of early days in and around Avilla. He says:
Alamosa, Colo., June 23, 1925.
Editors Western Star: I saw a copy of your paper the other day and I found much interest in looking it over. My folks were early settlers in Comanche-co. My father, D. H. Darrow, who died in Denver, Colo., on March 10, 1918, started the town of Avilla, which was located just 10 miles south of Coldwater. We were there when they drove the cattle out of Comanche-co. into the old Indian Territory. My eldest brother, Ed, helped to drive the cattle out, and was working for the Comanche Pool outfit. Then there was the Gorham cattle outfit, south and southwest of Avilla, with capt. Wash Mussett as range boss, also the "O. E." outfit, across the Cimarron river, down by Camp Supply, where the Indians and bluecoats (soldiers) were. A good many of the soldiers came through Avilla. They were cavalrymen, and were guarding the Oklahoma line, trying to keep out Capt. Payne, who tried to settle up the Indian country.
My father and Bob Watson established the Comanche County Citizen, the first newspaper in Avilla. They got the paper out once a week, if the office force were able for the task. At that time a stage ran between Avilla and Kiowa. There was also a line between Coldwater and Kinsley. Our freight was hauled from either Kinsley or Kiowa. Chas. Marshall was the stage driver between Kiowa and Avilla.
We used to have big times in Coldwater of the Fourth of July, also out in Poverty Flats not far from where Protection is now. That town once had quite an Indian "scare."
The Holley boys ran the hotel in Avilla. They were English boys. One of them lost his life by drowning in Salt Fork one Sunday. My mother organized the first Sunday school at Avilla. I had two uncles - Goss and Will Darrow - who lived in Coldwater and in Avilla.
Speaking of the Indian scare in and near Protection, I recall that the older men sat up all night, close to where Protection is located, and molded bullets to fight Indians. When they got through none of the bullets would fit the guns - they were too big.
I could write more, but will ring off for this time, hoping that what I have written will interest some of your readers, especially those, who settled in or near Avilla and Coldwater, and who still live there.
Yours very truly,
CHAS. H. DARROW.
A Pen. Picture and a Biographical Sketch of the Queen of the Salt Fork Valley.
Her Surrounding Country and Her Wide Awake Business Men.
The Republican, December 30, 1886.
James W. Dappert: Reminiscences of Early Days in Comanche-co.
The Western Star, January 15, 1926. A pioneer surveyor in 1885 and 1886, his account lists many early residents of Avilla.
"35. D. H. Darrow as next friend of E. E. Darrow vs. Aug. Darrow; on account. Palmer & Blake for plaintiff; Mitchell & Osborne for defendant." -- District Court Proceedings
The Western Star, June 18, 1887.
The Indian Scare
The Western Star, July 4, 1885.
Thanks to Shirley Brier for finding, transcribing and contributing the above news article to this web site!
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