Fannin County TXGenWeb
These articles appeared in the Leonard Historical
Commission's History of Leonard Texas 1880-1980
by permission with our thanks.


 These articles represent the traditional pro-Confederate side of the
feud. From a perspective of all the written material I have ever
seen on the feud this is the version that is most accounted.



 These were written by W.W.Sherrell and pub. 1980
Page 14-15
    THE LEE-PEACOCK FEUD

        In the southwestern part of Fannin County, in the northwestere part of Hunt, in the southeastern part of Grayson and the northeastern part of Collin counties, there was an  area covered by thickets of various names. These thickets were known as Mustang Thicket, Black Jack Thicket, Wildcat Thicket, Jernigan Thicket and some times as the  Big Thicket. As late as 1877 there was a dense thicket about seven miles long and a maximum width of four miles south of the present town of Leonard, into which few  people had penetrated and through which only one man had evergone. During the Civil War these thickets were the rendezvous of army deserters, slackers, and fugitives. 
        In the northern part of one of these thickets whose southern boundary was the Fannln-Hunt county line, Daniel W. Lee patented a track of land and there built his  home and reared his family. 
        At the beginning of the Civil War his son, Bob Lee, joined the Confederate Army, and served in Tennessee and Louisiana. Bob Lee was "tall, dark, and handsome.' He generally wore a black suit, a black felt hat with the brim turned
    up and a black plume in it. He held the rank of captain in the Confederate Army,
    At the end of the war, Captain Bob Lee returned home with better clothes and
    a better horse and saddle than most Confederate soldiers and some gold coins. 
        The Union League, an organization led by the Freedmen's Bureau, carpet- baggers and scalawags, with Federal support, had its North Texas headquarters 
    at Pilot Grove, about seven miles from the home of the Lee families. The leader 
    of the Union League was Lewis Peacock, whose home was south of Pilot Grove 
    on the Fannin-Grayson County line. He had arrived in Texas in 1856. 
        It was not long until the news of Bob Lee's return was known everywhere in the Red River Valley. The Confederate veterans were happy about it, for now they felt they had  a leader. To Peacock, Captain Bob Lee, the cavalryman, with his good clothes, his plumed hat and gold coins, was too big for the "Corners" and would have to go. 
        Peacock and other membern of the Union League conceived the idea of extorting  money from Bob Lee. They came to his house one night and arrested
    him and started  to Sherman with him, but stopped in Choctaw Creek bottoms. 
    They took Lee's watch  and $200 in gold and he and his father, Daniel W, Lee, were to sign a note for $2,000.  Bob Lee was released. The Lees refused to 
    pay the note. Suit was brought in Bonbam  and the Lees won the case. 
        The robbery in Choctaw Creek bottoms started the Lee-Peacock War. During the  latter part of 1867, all of 1868, and until June, 1869, the war raged. All told something like 50 men would be killed. By the summer of 1868 the war had 
    gotten so hot that the Union League called for help from the Federal Govern- 
    ment. On August 27, 1868,  General J. J. Reynolds issued a notice of a reward 
    of $1,000 cash to be paid for the delivery of Bob Lee to the Post Commander
    at Austin, or Marshall, Texas. 
        Bob Lee did what many others had already done: he built a hide-out in the brush,  In late February, 1867, Bob Lee was in Pilot Grove. In a local stere he
    ran across Jim Maddox, a Union man suspected of being in the party that had kidnapped Lee. Bob  Lee offered Maddox a gun so they could fight. Maddox declined Lee s offer, Later  in the day Lee was standing on the street and 
    Maddox slipped up behind him and  shot him the the back of the head. Lee was knocked unconscious. He was taken to  Dr. William H. Pierce, who treated him
    in his home until he was able to go home. On February 24, 1867, Dr. Pierce was called to his door and shot to death by Hugh  Hudson, a known Peacock man, 
        Hugh Hudson, according to a theory by Dr. W. C. Holmes, who had taken over Dr, Pierce's practice, was killed at Saltillo, a teamster's stop on the road to Jefferson. Dr, Holmes was called on to identify a man said to be Hudson. The description met that  of Hudson. 
        One day early in the spring of 1868 Elijah Clark, a Peacock man, called on Hester  Anne Dixon to invite her to go with him to a dance. She refused him. In
    his frustration  and disappointment, he ran out of the house without bis gun which he had left on a table.  He met Hester Anne's brother, 16-year-old Billy Dixon, 
    a Lee man, Elijah grabbed Billy's gun and shot at him, Billy ran in the house, grabbed Elijah s gun and ran out of the house  and shot Elijah off his horse, dead. 
        In less than a month, Billy Dixon met death on the Jefferson Road. He was on the  way to Jefferson with a load of cotton when about 20 miles from home the wagon  broke down. His cousin, Charlie Dixon, was with him. They were re-
    pairing the wagon  when suddenly a dozen men appeared and surrounded them. They told Billy to march  ten paces with hands up, Five paces, six, seven; a single bullet split the air and Billy slumped in his tracks. 
        The Lee crowd was not inactive during this time. At one point two of Peacock's 
    men forced the Lee women to feed them. The men were only able to get a few hundred yards into the brush before their saddles were emptied by shotgun blasts. 
        In mid-May, at the Nance farm there was a meeting in which three men were killed, Peacock and some of his men were holding a meeting at the Nance farm, Messengers  had reported the meeting to Bob Lee, in Wildcat Thicket. Lee and 
    a possee of his men made a raid on the horse lot, where the meeting was being held. In the fight that ensued three Peacock men, Dow Nance, John Baldock and Dan Sanders, were killed. There  were no Lee casualties. 
        The $1,000 reward for Bob Lee, dead or alive, was attracting bounty hunters to "The Corners." Three Kansas "Red Legs," dressed as citizens, laid plans to capture or kill Bob Lee for the reward. It was in the early spring of 1869. The 
    Lees had reason to suspect  the three Red Legs" were ready to make their move and were ready for them. 
        When daylight came the scene appeared serene. In the kitchen of Bob Lee's home Dorinda Pierce and Melinda Lee were chatting about the day ahead at the Lee School where Dorinda taught, Suddenly the serenity was shattered by the sound of shots. They rushed down the read leading to Pilot Grove and found three dead men who were  strangers. The bodies of the three "Red Legs" laid all day where they had fallen. Peacock's men were afraid to come and get the bodies 
    for burial. Later the two  women buried them. 
        Lewis Peacock planned retaliation and revenge. He asked for, and obtained, more troops. The troops, under Captain Charles Campbell, had orders to settle 
    the feuding  in Northeast Texas by capturing the leader of the Southern sympathizers. 
        Lee's loyalty ring was broken by a neighbor and erstwhile friend, Henry Boren. The  Lees and Borens had come to Texas together and the families had been friendly, yet  Henry was to betray the secret trails to Lee's hide-out in Wildcat Thicket. 
        On the morning of May 24, 1869, Bob Lee, dressed in his black suit, boots 
    and  black hat with plume, and with all his side arms, announced that he was
    riding to a neighbor's home not more than three miles away. If his secret plan 
    was to ride south to Mexico, he had waited too long. 
        His journey was short. Less than half a mile from his home and before he reached the outside, he was caught by the flash of Federal musket fire from the guns of Captain Campbell's 6th Infantry. Between eight and fifteen shots were
    fired and Bob Lee slid  from his saddle without a word. 
        As an aftermath to Lee's death, Bill Boren, a nephew of Henry's, rode up to his uncle's house the next morning, called to his uncle to come out. Henry came out and was instantly killed by his nephew:, who silently turned and rode away, Death to a Traitor was evidently the opinion of some of the Borens. 
        After the death of Bob Lee in June 1869, his followers scattered to other parts
    of the state and the Peacock gang broke up, but a few of them stayed together, Peacock was  the ring leader of the force. 
        Dick Johnson, a Bob Lee lieutenant, had gone out to West Texas to keep out 
    of  trouble. Peacock and his gang had killed his three half-brothers, Simp Dixon, Bob Dixon and Charlie Dixon. Charlie was killed at Black Jack Grove, now called Cumby. Charlle  and his father had started the lumber mills near Winnsboro for lumber; Peacock and his gang followed them to Black Jack Grove and shot Charlie to death. Dr. Dixon brought  the body of his son home in an ox wagon and buried him. Dr, Dixon soon died and left  three daughters. The Peacock gang sent them word that they were going to burn them  out of house and home and they would 
    not have a rail left on their farm. The girls wrote to Dick Johnson out in West Texas to come home and protect them. He came in a hurry and the news soon reached Pilot Grove that Dick Johnson was back home. 
        When Peacock heard the news he was in the drug store of Dr. Kuyrkendall in Pilot Grove. He remarked, "Some morning when Dick gets up and comes to the door to get wood to, make a fire, I will be laying for him and will get him. The remark was carried 
    to Dick Johnson without delay and this remark cost Peacock his life. 
        Joe Parker was another of the Lee crowd who was still in the country, and he 
    and Dick Johnson were both anxious to have the honor of slaying Peacock. About the first of July, 1871, one of them climbed a lone elm tree on the prairie in sight
    of Peacock's home and  hid himself in the thick foliage; one writer claims that 
    this watchman was Dick Johnson,  while others claim it was Joe Parker. It is un- important as to which of these was on watch in the elm tree. The two were working in unison and with the same object. Peacock was seen to approach his home and Johnson and Parker that night made preparations to kill  him the next morning. They put Peacock s threat into action and waited until early next morning when Peacock came to the door to get wood to make a fire. He was slain in his own yard. 
        Dick Iohnson was never arrested, and he and his wife moved to Missouri, 
    where they lived for many years. He was seen in Fannin County in 1920 and was last heard of in Red River County, Texas, W. W. Sherrell 
     


 
     

    DIXON BLOOD 
    This article also written for the Leonard Centennial Book
    appeared p. 17
    by WilliamSherrell

        If a young man could have had his druthers in the generation following the Civil War it might have been to have had no Dixon or Boron blood in his veins. They were neighbors, friends and kin at first but later they were "cussing kin." Better said, "shooting kin. Another kinsman was Daniel W. Lee, also a neighbor, known to have been as thick as molasses, according
    to legend. Richard and Henry Boron lived in the Lee household. Henry was the leader of the Lee Gang, a band of young hellions whose pastime and livelihood was derived by rowdy civil disobedience. Like robbing travelers and hijacking freight wagons along the Jefferson Road; after the war murdering freedmen and patriotic American citizens, (locally known as Unionist): stealing cattle and horses, only the latter was considered a serious crime at the time. The happy family, as 
    far as the Lees and Borons were concerned, began to fare badly when the families took opposite sides as the war clouds began
    to grew. Lees, though they had no slaves, espoused the rebel cause. The Borons avidly took the Union cause. 
        The inevitable was not long in coming. In a bare knuckle and skull contest Henry came out winner over one of the Lee boys, by a large majority, something no prideful Lee could endure, Dan took his sons part, helped by some of his other numerous sons, stooges and his trusty blacksnake whip, an item which, along with ,a double-barreled 10-gauge shotgun, completed Dan's everyday dress. The whip was to teach the freedmen and white trash proper respect. The shotgun was for more worthy opponents. Dan was not at all averse to killing for lesser cause and why he did not kill Henry is left to conjecture, kinship perhaps, Dan "snaked" a goodly portion of hide off Henry s backside and turned him loose. Henry Boren was a bit of a prideful man himself. He promised Dan, his sons and the aforementioned stooges that he would extract a bucket full of bright red Lee blood for every inch of hide taken. 
        The story above was related to me many years ago by my cousin, W. R. Watson, and foster cousin Mike Scolam, and explains why Henry betrayed his cousin, Robert Lee, to the military for a promised portion of the reward and, of course -- revenge.
        Some of the Dixons settled in Limestone and Freestone counties when they came to Texas. Three others settled
    along the Jefferson Road. Jack (sometimes known as John) started a freight wagon business at the Mounds, 2 miles south 
    of Pilot Grove. His contribution to infamy was Billy and Simp, the latter a sometimes member of the Quantrill gang. Their careers would have shown brightly, except that they were overshadowed by Bob Lee, whom they idolized and were 
    fiercely loyal to. 
        The Colonel (sometimes called the General) settled near Blue Ridge. He had a family of 4 girls and two boys. The Colonel was said by the family to have committed suicide, Of course, there were rumors that it was a family affair, but no investigation
    was ever made. 
        Doctor Dixon settled in Black Jack Thicket, near present
    day Sulphur Springs. His contribution was Charley, who disappeared, or at least no trace of his fate can be found today. 
        The Dixon brother who settled in Limestone County contributed Tom, Bud and another whose name I cannot now remember. These worthies were the prime movers in an episode, dimly recorded in history as "The Freedman's Revolt," This 
    was a name contrived to indicate that the ex-slaves had revolted against their former masters, and used to cover up a blood binge in which blacks were murdered, man. woman and child, This largely unrecorded reign of terror began to wind down when some civic minded citizens discovered Bud and Tom in jail for some other matter of civil disobedience. Finding the two boys
    in jail unarmed resulted in a tremendous upsurge in public spirit. A mobrushed the jail, where they also found Joe Hardin, Wes brother. They grabbed him too, mostly because his name was Hardin and strung him up with Bud and Tom. Simp had been terminated at the Springfield gin three years earlier by a possee. The other unnamed Dixon disappeared, yet we must always remember, it was a time when justice was often a personal thing. 
        Contrary to legend there is not one bit of evidence that Henry actually shot Bob Lee, even though he was in the posse, All the Borons had not espoused the Union cause, Some of the young bloods had admired and ridden with Bob Lee. Bill Boron had ridden with Quantrill during his forays into Texas. News of his uncle s shooting of Bob was more than Bill could take. Early
    the next morning he went to his uncle s house and called him .to the door, engaged him in a cussfest, drew his gun and shot him down in cold blood. 
        The shooting of Bob Lee is amply covered in dozens of yarns, legends and some fairly accurate history.
    However, very little is known of how it blew the Boren family apart. Bill's killing of Henry ignited a Boren-Boren feud that wiped out all the male members of one family and caused the death of many others. It was an inter-family affair. The warring families apparently didnt want any interference of law officers, simply went to hoshwacking each other with gusto. Des- cendants today are probably not aware that such a feud ever existed. 
        The killing of Henry by his nephew was never officially authenticated, except I have a letter in which Bill tells how he baited his uncle into a gun fight and shot him down. It is known that Bill disappeared a few years later. It is not generally known that Bill was baited back and killed by Henry s son. Forgotten is that three Borens were ambushed nearby and buried in a wagon bed in the Dulaney Graveyard. William Sherrell 

 Please Remember NO one today is alive to tell the tale. That is what it is, tales mixed  with genealogy.  Since it is such you are invited to  discuss
genealogy on the Fannin County Email list (see main index page for info)
But please do not discuss the feud on that list. You may however please feel
free to email me any books , documents, or URL's that we can add to the
list for those who wish to research further. It would be wonderful if we
found documents and diaries that were from the actual participants but I suspect we still would all have a different opinion.
The feud is over and is just legend.
Susan Fannin CC and Listmaster


 

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