from The West Texas Frontier by Joseph Carroll McConnell
published in 1933
E.B. (Dick) Dennis was at his home in Hood County on a furlough and preparing to return to the army. But before he left, he and his wife rode out on the range in search of stock. Mr. Dennis was riding a slow pony, but Mrs. Dennis was mounted on a splendid steed. It was April 12, 1865, and as they rode leisurely along, enjoying the spring atmosphere, Mr. and Mrs. Dennis discovered several horsemen riding in the distance. Inasmuch as they displayed no excitement, Mr. Dennis and his wife thought they were cowmen, and gave them only passing consideration. The Indians waited until E.B. (Dick) Dennis and his wife were out of sight, then the warriors of the plains came dashing toward Mr. Dennis and his wife. Mr. Dennis was unable to escape on his slow traveling pony, but Mrs. Dennis, who was mounted on a fine steed, could have soon outdistanced the savages. But her courage and fortitude did not fail her, and this frontier mother heroically stayed beside her husband, who soon received a paralyzing wound in his spine, causing him to fall from his horse. Before he fell, an Indian thrust him through the right side with a lance. Concerning Mr. Dennis’ feelings, emotions, and thoughts just at this time, he said, “Unless a person has passed through the same experience, it is difficult to describe the feeling of a person situated as I was. I felt that I was killed and that my wife would be, in a few minutes, and both of us scalped. I resolved, however, to sell our lives for as many Indians lives as possible. They had knocked my wife from her horse, then both our horses ran off. Any one looking at the picture from a distance would have said, “They will both be killed.” But just watch the scene shift. I made a desperate effort and got my pistol out of my scabbard and just as two Indians were approaching my wife, I fired pointblank on the one in the lead. You cannot imagine the joy I felt when I heard the Indians give a yell, wheel and mount their horses, and make a run for ours, which they got and made off with.”
Mrs. Dennis, who was unharmed, successfully carried her husband to an old deserted cabin nearby. Since people who are seriously wounded invariably call for water, the first request Mr. Dennis made was for a drink. But no drinking utensils were available. So Mrs. Dennis brought him water in her shoe. Mr. Dennis said, “Now that was a dipper that I was not accustomed to drinking out of, but that was the best water I ever tasted before in all my life.” Then as speedily as possible the devoted frontier wife started for aid. Mr. Dennis said, “In a short time one of my brothers, who had just been chased by the Indians, heard what had happened and came to me. The Indians certainly had it in on the Dennis boys from that day. I was finally carried home and a neighborhood doctor sent for, who in due time arrived with his case of surgical instruments consisting of a dull pocket knife and a pair of bullet moulds.”
The doctor succeeded in dislodging the arrow spike in the spine of Mr. Dennis, and in due time, he recovered.
|Written account of this conflict furnished the author by W.K. Baylor, who personally interviewed Mrs. E.B. (Dick) Dennis, and then wrote the story. Author called to personally see Mrs. Dennis, but she had moved a short time before, to another part of the state.|