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Indian Troubles on Iron Bayou and Martin's Creek "Know Your Heritage" By Leila B. LaGrone

In the fall of 1837, a party of Cherokees attacked the lonely cabin of JOHN IRONS near Old Beckville and left his body filled with arrows and ready for the wild beasts. Several days later DANIEL MARTIN found the remains of the body and buried them. After the massacre of JOHN IRONS, MARTIN sensed danger from the parties of Cherokees that often visited his settlement and he added more defenses to his fort. On one occasion, MRS. MARTIN was cooking a meal for her family when several warriors appeared at her kitchen door. After a few words, she realized her predicament and dashed a pan of boiling grease into their faces. The Indians fled through the forest yelling with pain. Another time, a band of Indians came when the family was away. They stole food supplies and ripped MRS. MARTIN'S feather beds, scattering the feathers in the breeze.

In April 1839, an attack came from the Cherokees who tried to murder the people and destroy their property. An old Squaw who liked Martin's whisky, told him the war-like Indians were planning an attack on the settlement. MARTIN moved his wife and small children to the Old Stone Fort at Accordance. He and his oldest son, PETE, remained to protect the home. As they watched for signs of trouble, travelers on Trammel's Trace sought refuge in the fort. The attack took place at night and within the fortress were: MARTIN; PETE; JOHN W. MIDDLETON, a scout for the Republic of Texas; DAVID BROWN, a surveyor; a MR. ELLIOTT; EZEKIEL DAVIS; and the MAY FAMILY, a man, his wife and child. When the dogs began barking, DAVIS went to the door to learn the cause; and when he opened the door, he was shot. He crawled under the house and died. There the Indians found him and they attacked the house. The MAY FAMILY was in the back room and the Indians fired into that room. MAY was wounded; his wife and child hid under the bed and escaped notice. DANIEL MARTIN'S son was wounded. DAVID BROWN, surveyor, ran into the forest leaving his saddle-bags and surveying instruments. The Indians carried them off, along with DAVIS's hat and MARTIN'S best horses. When the Indians had gone with their spoils, MARTIN sent to the REED SETTLEMENT for help, fearing another attack. Help came and they did pursue the Indians to see that they were out of the area.

Of the three earliest settlements in Panola County, the LAGRONE SETTLEMENT had the least trouble with Indians. The neighborhood bore many signs of former Indian habitation, including a considerable number of mounds of ages gone by. The Indians found by the Anglos who settled there in the 1830's were the friendly Caddoes. Tradition has recorded two unfriendly Indian confrontations in this settlement. ALLEN LAGRONE, son of ADAM LAGRONE, was deer hunting when he discovered an Indian preparing to lariat him. He fired his rifle directly at the Indian and killed him. He then buried him under a clay root where a tree had blown down. This was to camouflage his grave so that other Indians would not find it. Tradition locates the place as being across the road from the Deadwood LAGRONE Store. Legend records another instance when an Indian was luring two small children of A.J. and LUCINDA LAGRONE away from the spring. LUCINDA, though small of stature, was known for her fierce courage; and she was able to frighten the savage away.

During the colonization era, the Indians were a source of danger to all Texas colonists. Some impresarios tried to win their friendship by kindness, but when this plan failed, force was used. Colonists had to guide the plow with one hand and protect the lives of their families with the other. After the victory of the Battle of San Jacinto in 1836, all of Texas began having Indian troubles. Indians were committing depredations among settlers everywhere. Texas Republic president, SAM HOUSTON, advocated kind treatment for the Indians who were plotting hostility against East Texas settlers, President M.B. LAMAR, elected in 1836, determined to drive them out of Texas. He recommended a line of military forts and with congressional authority he created a regiment of 840 men to protect the frontier. The government offered to purchase the lands claimed by the Cherokees and they would have to leave Texas. The Indians refused to go and so it was that in 1839 they plundered and fought the settlers. Many Indians were killed and a few survivors fled from Texas to the north to Oklahoma Territory.

PANOLA WATCHMAN, CARTHAGE, TEXAS, MAY 18, 1975