Battle Creek Burial Ground
Dedication Ceremony
Dawson, Navarro County, Texas


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Dedication of Battle Creek Marker
Summer, 1966

Address given Sunday, June 25, 1966, Battle Ground Site, near Dawson TX
By Arthur Patrick, Jr.
Originally published in "The Navarro County Scroll", 1966
Reprinted with permission of the Navarro County Historical Society


Mr. Moore, Ladies and Gentlemen:

We are here today to dedicate this historical marker to the memory of some brave men who died while bringing the white man's civilization to this place where we stand.

Others before us have helped to preserve and mark this site.  Mr. John P. Cox and his sister, Mrs. Mollie Griffin erected a monument here on this burial site in memory of their brother, Euclid M. Cox.  This was done in 1881.

In 1936, the Texas State Legislature appropriated money to make grave site a State Memorial Park.  In 1954, land surrounding the grave was purchased and a gravel road was constructed around the grave, connecting with State Highway 31.   This same year, the DAWSON GARDEN CLUB beautified the grounds and put a concrete curb and walk around the grave and shrubbery around the fence.

Most everyone standing here today is familiar with the facts of the "Battle Creek fight which took place on October 8th, 1838, beginning about 11:00 in the morning."  This famous battle was between a group of white land surveyors and several Indian tribes made up of the Kickapoos and Iones.

We are indebted to Col. W. F. Henderson, one of the survivors of the battle who gave an account of the fight which was published in the Navarro Express newspaper in 1860.  Also, this account is preserved in many Texas histories, as it is in the Navarro County History, written by our late good friend, Mr. Alva Taylor, whom we all knew and loved so well.  Mr. Taylor worked with the ladies of the Dawson Garden Club to get this marker placed here today.  This was the Last historical marker ordered by Mr. Taylor before his death.

Briefly, let me tell you of some events leading up to this battle.  The time element is important.  The dates are interesting.

The great massacre at Fort Parker took place on May 19, 1836.  The fierce Commanche Indians kidnapped Cynthia Ann Parker, age nine, and her little brother, John, as well as Mrs. Elizabeth Kellog, Mrs. Rachel Plummmer and several others.  This massacre set the people of Texas afire with anxiety and brave men swore revenge.

Sometime in November of 1836, Mrs. Kellog had been traded to a band of Delaware Indians near the Red River.  General Sam Houston ransomed Mrs. Kellog from the Indians for $150.00.

In 1837, General Sam Houston appointed one of Texas brave men, George Washington Hill, to be Indian agent on the frontier of Texas.   Hill was sent north to establish a trading post and to bring about better relations with the Indians.

Hill chose a place very near here to be his headquarters.  It was known as Spring Hill, a place known to the Indians as an ideal site to secure their winter supply of buffalo meat.  Great herds of buffalo could be found wandering all over these grassy plains where we now stand.

In the spring of 1838, over 500 Indians of the Kickapoo tribe came down from Arkansas and camped at the springs to hunt buffalo.

In October of 1838, a group of surveyors arrived at the trading post from Franklin, Texas.  These men had come to survey this land so that white families could move in.

These were tragic times for the poor Indians.   He well knew that when surveyors came to lay out the land with "Gods Eye", a term used by some Indians to describe the compass, white families were not far behind.  He also knew this would be the end of fine buffalo hunting grounds on which the tribes survived the long winters.  It is said that the Indians asked the surveyors to leave this land.  The surveyors were men who had been sent to do a job and they continued with their work.

A great battle was fought near here between these surveyors and the Indians.  Eight white men survived and fifteen died.  Those who died were buried here beneath this tree where we now stand.

One can only imagine the actual events in the battle, although we have these survivors accounts, and in the heat of battle much fact is lost in the smoke and excitement.

However, in closing, let me tell you about the ordeal of one of the survivors, Bullock Violet.  He was badly wounded in the battle, having been shot in the thigh.  The rest of the survivors carried him some two miles.   He was in so much pain however, they had to leave him hidden in a ravine and go on to Fort Parker for help.  In the meantime, Violet made a brace out of grass and sticks.  He managed to limp and crawl along, traveling only at night and resting during the day.  The only food he could find was wild berries.  Believe it or not, he managed to crawl almost 18 miles to Tehuacana Springs where he was found by the rescue party.

Let us be thankful today for this wonderful land.   Although we took it from raw nature and the red man, it was not taken without much blood shed, sorrow, and heartache.

We honor today not only the fallen dead white surveyors, but we also honor the proud red man who fought to maintain his home lands, just as we white men have done and will continue to do.  

Thank You.

 


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