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Grayson County, Texas

The Denison Herald
March 14, 1976
by Donna Hunt

Last week in discussing the Dugan family of Bells in this column, we mentioned that in the summer of 1840 Daniel V. Dugan asked a neighbor boy to help him cut logs to build a house on Choctaw Creek about two miles from his father's house.
The boy failed to return home and the family, after riding to the camp, found that both had been killed and scalped.
It turns out that the "neighbor boy" mentioned was William Kitching, brother of Charles Johnson's grandmother, Malinda.  And the year was 1841, not 1940.
Johnson, who resides at 501 West Sears, is retired from the radio and television repair business.
While Kitching is often seen spelled Kitchens, Johnson has proof in the form of photos of tombstone markers, old letters and family photos with names written on them many years ago that the spelling is k-i-t-c-h-i-n-g.
William Kitching was one of five children born to John and Nancy Kitching.  William was born in Holland and his father stowed away on a ship for America to work two years before sending for his family.


William's sister, Malinda, married Samuel Johnson and became Charles Johnson's grandmother.  Her sister, Melissa, married Samuel's brother, Alfred.
William was killed by Indians on July 27, 1841 and is buried next to Daniel Dugan, who was killed at the same time.

In 1841, many families moved to this area where Rangers had been working unceasingly trying to make it a peaceful place to live.  Among these settlers were the John Kitching family, a Methodist minister named Rev. Spivey, and families named Green and Long.
John Kitching rented a farm near the Daniel Dugans, where he began to raise a crop.
In July, after the crops were "laid by," Daniel V. Dugan engaged William Kitching to help him get cut logs for a house he was going to build on his land before he brought home a young bride.  Two days after, they set up their camp.  William's father was working up above Choctaw on business when he heard that an Indian party of Renegades had crossed Red River near Preston Bend and were headed for the settlements.
John Kitching hurried to tell his son and Dugan that they should return home until the Indians were captured.  Upon arriving at the camp he found all quiet and no one in sight, thus surmising that the boys had already returned home.
He stopped by the Dungan's home to inquire of the young men and to his horror found that they had not been seen since they left home two days before.
Rangers were summoned to help in searching for the missing boys but were off in another direction.  Friends and neighbors gathered and a search party was formed to leave at sunup.  A few men were left to guard the families at the home in case of a surprise attack.
At mid-morning one of the searchers rode full speed back toward the house where the boys' mothers awaited word. He told the story of how the search party had reached the woods around camp and found William Kitching's body lying where he and Dan Dugan had been cutting logs.  He had been shot and scalped.
When the message carrier returned to the camp with a wagon to bring home the body, he was told that Daniel had been found about 300 yards from where Kitching lay.
Evidence of a desperate fight was found in the area.
The boys were buried the next day side by side in a beautiful spot on the Dugan farm.

The next Sunday after church services John Kitching, his son, Dan, and a young man named Stephens were sitting in the yard, their guns nearby.
His wife and daughters were doing their evening chores in the one-room unchinked cabin when a horse chained to the wagon in the yard suddenly began to act uneasy.  Without further warning three shots rang out, two of which struck Kitching and Dan in the foot as they sprang for the house leaving their guns in the yard.
Kitching returned to the yard, and as bullets whizzed by him, handed the guns to his son.  The women helped out as the men returned fire.  Several bullets found their target.
After the Indians left, carrying their dead, Kitching put Dan on his fastest horse and sent him to warn the Dugans.
A party of men returned home with Dan and helped move the Kitching family to the Dugan farm where they camped in the yard.

On Nov. 27, 1842, Malinda Kitching married Capt. Samuel Johnson, a Ranger, and they settled on Caney Creek in Fannin County. The couple camped under the shade of a post oak tree until they could build a house to live in.
Charles Johnson has a letter dated 1880 that tells of the marriage, building of the house and how Bonham had not been founded at that time.  It continues that the young couple had no meat nor bread, but managed to get a morsel for supper.

Samuel Johnson is a complete story himself.  He and his brother, Alfred, who later married Melissa Kitching, joined the Alabama Volunteers in 1835 and arrived at San Jacinto just after the battle was over.  They were assigned to help with the prisoners, among whom was Santa Anna himself.
Samuel was discharged from the Texas Army in Victoria in July, 1836, and joined the Rangers.  He was made lieutenant in Capt. James Bourland's Company in 1841, then captain of a Ranger Spy Company and sent to Fort Warren to help quell the Indian uprising.
Samuel died Nov. 8, 1887, and Malinda died April 12, 1902.  They were the parents of nine children, one of which was John K., Charles Johnson’s father.
Charles has among mementoes of his brave ancestors copies of letters, actual photographs, Confederate tax receipts dating back to 1864, a copy of Samuel Johnson's discharge dated July 22, 1936, wills, Confederate money and many other interesting keepsakes.

GRANDDAD'S MUSKET - Charles Johnson of Denison holds a musket that was carried by his grandfather, Samuel Johnson when he served in the Texas Army.  He was discharged in 1836.

Elaine Nall Bay
Grayson County TXGenWeb