Nov 18 2014
Mr. Rector no sooner caught a glimpse of the strangers, though, than he knew them to be Indians. Telling the boy so, and calling to him to follow as fast as he could, Mr. Rector wheeled the old mare he rode, and set off at her best speed back toward the house. He was totally unarmed, as he rode, he shouted loudly to imaginary friends: “Come on, boys -- come on—here they are.” His object being to create the impression on the minds of the Indians that a party of whites were near at hand. He had not gone 100 yards when his mare turned a summersault, and left him afoot. But springing to his feet, he continued to shout, “come on boys.” and ran at the best speed his game leg would permit. As for the boy, he was riding a mule and that obstinate brute absolutely refused to follow after Mr. Rector. The Indians therefore overtook the boy, and speared him to death. Then not sure but that Rector had friends in the rear, they let him alone, and drove the large herd of horses they had gathered and galloped into the post oaks. They were followed as soon as a party could be gotten together, but as the post oaks were exceedingly boggy and there was necessarily considerable delay in beginning the pursuit, they escaped to the west side of the San Antonio River with their booty. It took (illegible) however for the alarm to subside. One day, three weeks after the murder of the McGee boy, all the people in the Lavernia neighborhood had assembled at a log house on the banks of the Cibolo which served the purposes of a church and school. How it originated nobody knew, but suddenly a report went around that a force of more than 1,000 Indians had assembled on the headwaters of the Cibolo, and were moving in a body down the creek, killing and scalping as they came. Not a man but that believed it, not a woman but expected, ere morning came to become a victim of Indian brutality. Home they went, under whip and spur to gather up their children and either find a hiding place in the woods or to gather together at this or that large house. Although long before nightfall, many cool-headed men had convinced themselves it was an absolute false alarm, quite a number of others remained in doubt until at dawn next morning a scouting party returned and gave the lie to the report. It was a day or two although a few families who had taken to the brush were found, and persuaded to return to their homes.
Many and remarkable as the differences between the past and present of the Cibolo Valley, they catch the eye and claim the attention only of the boy of then, the old men of now. Then only fields, gardens and yards were enclosed, all other land being a common range on which everybody’s cattle, horses, sheep goats and hogs grazed and roamed at will. Then one might have struck a bee line from the Sulphur Spring to San Antonio and not have met a man, encountered a fence or passed in sight of a house – the only animate things to be seen on the route being birds, squirrels, rabbits, coyotes, lobos, deer, long-horned cattle, long maned and tame horses and, perhaps, now and then a panther, catamount, leopard cat, wildcat, coon, fox or opossum. Now practically all the land save that given to roads and lanes is under fence: the homes of a happy and prosperous people dot the landscape in every direction, the wild game has sought refuge in much deeper wilds as yet little trodden by the foot of man, the long-horned cattle have become Durham’s and Devons, the long haired horses, Percherons and Morgans. Towns have sprung up on the sites of ancient Indian camps; the whistles of locomotives of the Gulf Shore Railroad and of many (illegible) of the day telegraph and telephone wires follow the track of the railroad, the rough log buildings that once served for school and churches have been supplanted by large and commodious frame houses and the Belles of a dozen or more handsome tall-steepled churches in country and town of a Sunday summon the devout to the worship of God.
In short civilization has banished the rudeness and wilderness of the grand ante-bellum days. The dwellers in the now peaceful valley are in touch with the world. The old log houses in which their fathers and mothers dwelt have been replaced by marvels of the ornate, in architecture, and from within the precincts of these handsome homes comes the sound of laughter and music and the rustle and swish of not simply daintily, but fashionably clad women. The side saddle, and the gentle, cross gaited horses, on each of which a mother and three or four children were wont to ride to church or festive gathering have gone out of fashion, vehicles taking their place. Whereas it used to take a day to go to San Antonio, and a day to return in, it now takes but an hour each way: and whereas in the old days the method of communication with the outside world was by letter or visit, now you send your messages by wire, or talk over the telephone. All that is lacking, in fact, to render the people of the Cibolo Valley thoroughly happy, is the Marconi system of wireless telegraphy. That established, not even the small remnants of still alive Populists will do any more kicking.