|Painting by Gwenfred Jones Lackey|
The Battle of Adobe Walls was fought June 26, 1874 about twenty-five miles south of Spearman, Texas, in the Canadian River 'brakes'. Quanah Parker, son of Cynthia Ann Parker, a white woman, together with several other Indian chieftains led 700 of their braves, in full war dress against 28 white buffalo hunters and a white woman, Mrs. William Olds.
Just about the time the Indians were coming in for their pre-dawn attack, the old cottonwood ridgepole of the saloon split making a loud, sharp noise. This awakened the hunters who hurried outside to see what the noise was about. They discovered the approaching Indians, otherwise they would have been massacred while sleeping. The Indians were so near, their shadowy forms were visible. Two men dashed to the stockade and store and quickly distributed the 2000 rounds of ammunition they had brought for the hunt. All hands took battle places and prepared to defend the fort, a defense which turned out to last for many hours.
The Indians killed all the hunters' horses, while a pet crow, mascot of the fort, flitted from building to bushes screaming his protest, without so much as losing a feather!
The enemy showed good military strategy except for fighting by a bugle call; the hunters knew the meaning of the calls, too, and met every advance with heavy shooting defense.
The hunters suffered only four casualties. The Shadler brothers, freighters, were scalped as they slept in their wagon and Billy Tyler was killed by an enemy bullet while trying to sight an enemy target through a stockade crack. Mr. William Olds accidentally met death on the 5th day when his gun fired as he was leaving a lookout, atop the saloon. They were buried in a single unmarked grave, except William Olds who was buried separately.
Jim and Bob Cator, first settlers in Hansford County, were camped only six miles from the battle site but knew nothing of it until it was all over.
Mr. Henry Lease volunteered to try to maneuver his way through the enemy lines and get word to Dodge City, Kansas, nearest place they could hope to get help from. Meantime hunters from the surrounding plains drifted in slowly increasing the forces at the fort. The Indian losses were so great, and so many of their horses killed, that they gave up and fled before any main body of reinforcements reached the Adobe Walls Fort.
These highlights of the Battle of Adobe Walls come from stories Gwenfred Jones Lackey remembers, as told to her father, the late Joseph Jones, by his friend, Billy Dixon, one of the buffalo hunters who fought in the battle.
Gwenfred's father took her the 35 miles from their ranch to Adobe Walls, in a buckboard, so she could sketch a true outline of the battle terrain for her canvas, 'The Battle of Adobe Walls'. She worked on this painting two years and did a lot of corresponding with Billy Dixon so she could have the proper location of the buildings and other battle properties that had been destroyed years before she started to paint them, in 1911.
Mrs. Gwenfred Lackey now lives in Spearman, Texas - is owner of the ranch formerly owned by her father and is a director of the First National Bank, Guymon, Oklahoma where this picture now hangs.
This was an undated flyer distributed by The First National Bank of Guymon, Oklahoma probably in the late 1960s or early 1970s.
Page last updated June 8, 2002.