Incident at the McLauren Ranch
The tragedy at the McLauren Ranch is one of those stories that has gone down in Texas history as a massacre on settlers of the Frio Canyon, but the story goes so much deeper. The story changed the lives of four women and involved four different cultures. This version will bring everything together.
At night ‘neath the stillness of the towering bluff
you can hear her saddened cry,
as a mist engulfs your body
in a shroud that will mystify.
As you walk through the quiet stillness
you can feel her presence there,
and now I’ll tell you the story
so listen, if you dare.
Shhh! Listen, listen and you can hear,
“Mother, Mother,” young Maude cried.
“Go Maude, run,” says her mother,
“Run south by the mountain side.”
There are many versions of the story about the incident that occurred at the McLauren Ranch in the Frio Canyon of Texas on April 19, 1881. This version of the story does not begin nor does it end on that dreadful day.
It has never ceased to amaze me how many stories in history relate to one another. Just a small diversion could have totally changed the ending of many of these stories. The tragedy at the McLauren Ranch, located a few miles north of the town of Leakey, Texas, is one of those stories where a slight diversion could have altered the lives of four women: Kate McLauren, her daughter Maude, Teresita, and a nameless Lipan Apache woman. The four cultures involved were the Lipan Apache, The Black Seminole, the Buffalo Soldier, and the Anglo settlers.
A few of the accounts of this tragedy mention an “Indian woman” who rode with the Buffalo Soldiers and the Black Seminole scouts as they tracked the Lipan Apache into Mexico. This particular group of Lipan Apache had killed Kate McLauren and Allen Lease but had compassionately left the McLauren children alive. This unidentified Indian woman had to have had a name, she had to have had a family, and she had to have a story. After much searching, an amazing woman and her story emerged.
Still unknown, however, is the story of the Lipan Apache woman who rode with the band of warriors that killed Kate and Allen. Her name will probably remain hidden from the pages of history forever. She is the only one of the small band to survive the attack of the Buffalo Soldiers and Black Seminole scouts from Fort Clark, Texas, as they sought revenge for the killing of Kate and Allen. Maude McLauren, the six-year-old daughter of Kate, may have been the only lucky one. However, the experience that she lived was one that no child should have to endure.
The headwaters of the Frio River are located in the northern region of this remote canyon. The water from the many springs that line the riverbed supplies the river with cool clear water for many miles. The canyon terrain is rough and rugged, in the mildest of words. Caves and rock shelters are abundant along the canyon walls. These caves and shelters served as protection for early populations to the area. People inhabited these sites as far back at 5,000 B.C. The area has always been a remote haven and still is to this day. [i] We call this place the Frio Canyon.
Even though the Spanish inhabited the neighboring Nueces Canyon in the 1700s, modern civilization did not move into the Frio Canyon until around 1855. John and Nancy Leakey became the first Anglo settlers to call the Frio Canyon home. John established a sawmill in order to ship shingles and lumber elsewhere. The Frio Canyon was a lonely, isolated area. Because of this, it was the target for Indian raids and was a safe home to many known outlaws. [ii]
Life as the Indians knew it was about to take a drastic change. This change would eventually destroy their way of life. Their mere existence was threatened, and warfare was becoming a predominant way of life. They, who had once conquered the plains, would become remnants on reservations. They, who had gardened and hunted, would become poverty-stricken. They, who were once proud warriors, would now be homeless on the Texas frontier.
Some who once found solace in this canyon were the Tonkawa, the Comanche, the Kiowa, and the Lipan Apache.[iii] The Lipan Apache would be the last to leave, but only after this one last raid.
The Lipan Apache divided into small bands of about four hundred people. They tried unsuccessfully to avoid conflict, but in order to survive they became skilled warriors. The Anglos drove the Lipan into the vastness of the Llano Estacado and the Edwards Plateau of Texas. These areas were very remote, and the Lipan were able to become somewhat hidden in these wilderness areas. The Anglos, the Spaniards, and the Mexicans labeled the Lipan as renegades and savages. The early settlers considered them predators. What the settlers did not seem to realize was that they, as settlers, were invading a land that had long been the home to these people. The Lipan fought to protect this land that they considered home. As the buffalo were slowly becoming extinct, the Lipan began to raid the ranches. To the Lipan, the cattle were a replacement for the buffalo. The conflicts would continue until the Lipan-like the buffalo-were no more.[iv]
Warfare became the last hope and new way of life for the Lipan Apache. From this time forward, it was either fight or perish.
When Texas became a state in 1846, the remaining tribes felt more pressure to protect their homeland. Texas did not feel a responsibility toward Indians and looked at them as trespassers in the new state. The Indians, on the other hand, still considered the land that formed this new state, theirs.
In 1858, Texas Ranger John S. (Rip) Ford entered Texas and wreaked havoc on the tribes. From the 1860s through the 1880s, the Lipan Apache again split into smaller groups within Texas. Some lived in Indian Territory, some with the Mescalero Apache, some served as scouts, and some looked for revenge.
On January 25, 1869, President Ulysses S. Grant met with a delegation of Quakers. This group of Quakers believed that an Indian policy needed a foundation based on peace and Christianity rather than force. The Quakers urged President Grant to appoint men of religious conviction to the agency posts in the West. History called this effort Grants’ Peace Policy.
The Quaker leader Lawrie Tatum took charge of the Fort Sill, Oklahoma reservation in 1869. These religious leaders worked hard to civilize Native Americans. Three strong Kiowa chiefs, Lone Wolf, Kicking Bird, and Satanta, continued to resist the efforts of the religious leaders, a disaster in the making. They would raid and plunder in Texas and then return to the safety of the reservations. Tatum begged them to stop. He continued to believe that he could bring peace to the Indians and the settlers, but he would soon see his dreams die on the plains of Texas.
In May of 1871, a large group of Kiowa led by Satanta attacked a supply train of ten wagons on the plains of Salt Creek Prairie. Salt Creek Prairie is a rolling plain of grass located in north central Texas. Five of the twelve teamsters escaped, the rest were mutilated. The same Indians overlooked and bypassed a smaller group of wagons earlier in the day. In this group of wagons rode General in Chief of the U.S. Army, William Tecumseh Sherman. Sherman had come to Texas to inspect the frontier facilities and to validate the stories of the Indian depredations. It was on this trip that he would realize how close he had come to being part of the Salt Creek Massacre.
Tatum realized that his way was not working, and he resigned his post shortly after the arrest of Satanta. Grant’s Peace Policy was a failure and the conflicts continued. [v]
Two groups of people who played an important part in the making of Texas are the Black Seminole and the Buffalo Soldier. Not only did they play a big part in the shaping of Texas, but they greatly influenced this story.
The Black Seminole
The Seminole of Florida are a mixture of various cultures and circumstances. They are a blend of the Creek, Hitchiti, Apalachee, Mikasuki, Yamassee, Yuchi, Tequesta, Apalachicole, Choctaw, and Oconee tribes, as well as slaves who had escaped from plantations in the South and assimilated into the Seminole tribe. The tribe became a well-organized culture and still is to this day.
In 1830, the Seminole and Black Seminole found themselves living in the Indian Territory of Oklahoma. Many of the Black Seminole escaped to Mexico, fearing capture by Anglo slave hunters. Under the guidance of Chief Wild Cat and John Horse, the Black Seminole felt safe living in Catholic Mexico, which prohibited slavery. Life in the Florida wilderness had given this group of people the skills to become some of the best frontiersman and trackers in the West. [vi]
The slave hunters continued to plague the Black Seminole in their new habitat along the banks of the Rio Grande. One night in 1852, John Horse attended a fandango in a rowdy border town. A fight ensued. He found himself shot and the captive of a slave trader. The slave trader carried him across the river into Texas. Upon hearing of the incident, Chief Wild Cat paid five hundred dollars in ransom for the return of his friend. To avoid more captures by the slave hunters, the Seminole and Black Seminole left the border region and settled in and around Nacimiento, Mexico.
At the conclusion of the Civil War, with the abolishment of slavery, the Black Seminole began to cross the Rio Grande back into Texas. Retaliation of the Comanche and the Apache plagued the people of Texas. The U.S. Army, under the leadership of Major Zenas R. Bliss of the 25th U.S. Infantry, recruited the skill of the Black Seminole. The Black Seminole knew the land, the language, and the ways of the Texas Indians. This would be a great asset to the U.S. Army. The Black Seminole would receive pay and rations. The army allowed them to bring their families back across the Rio Grande into Texas. [vii]
On July 4, 1870, Major Bliss mustered the Black Seminole at Fort Duncan, Texas. Fort Duncan and nearby Fort Clark would be the primary southern Texas homes of these men and their families. The first men to enlist for a six-month term were John Kibbitt, Joe Dixie, Dindie Factor, Pompie Factor, Hardie Factor, Adams Fay, Bobby Kibbitt, John Thompson, John Ward, and George Washington. These new recruits would receive thirteen dollars a month, a Spencer rifle, ammunition, and cavalry issued wool clothing. They could combine their own Seminole dress with the cavalry-issues. They had to furnish their own horses or use horses captured from other Indian tribes.
It was in this desolate Texas land, just north of the Mexican border, that the Black Seminole Indian scouts made their new home. Descendants of these early scouts are still in the area today. A stroll through the Seminole Indian Cemetery near Brackettville, Texas, shows the older gravestones that indicate that many of these people were indeed born in Florida.
On July 28, 1866, the free blacks and former slaves began to serve in the U.S. Army. On that date, six black regiments came to be. Four would serve as infantry and two as cavalry. These men learned to function under the harshest conditions imaginable. Their horses were sorry rejects captured from the Indians. In spite of all of these negative hurdles, these men had the lowest desertion rate. Several won the Congressional Medal of Honor. They served honorably and proudly in many campaigns, the first being the Indian Wars.
Ironically, the Indians bestowed these black soldiers with the name that they would honor and carry proudly: Buffalo Soldiers. As the Indians faced this enemy, they found there was much in common between these daring black men and the buffalo, the animal that they honored and respected in so many ways.
As the Anglos moved west, the depredations with the Indians became quite fierce. The Anglos wanted to spread their wings and acquire new space, and the Indians wanted to protect the space that had been theirs forever. The final blow would be bittersweet. [i]
On March 6, 1847, as blood stained the frontier, Captain James H. Ralston wrote of his concerns:
“Since I have been on these frontiers, I have been forcibly impressed with the conviction, that most, if not all, the aggressions, complained of against the Indians may be traced immediately to the improper encroachments by white men on Indian rights; the stupidity of white men leads them into the Indian Country to survey wild lands, the Indians, to prevent such encroachments on their hunting ground, murder the surveyors and others found in their territory; thus a continual excitement is kept up on the frontiers, and peace and safety cannot be had till a treaty boundary has been established, beyond which the surveyor shall not be permitted to plant his Jacob staff. Such a boundary being established, a very few small frontier Posts, would give security and peace to the whole frontier of Texas…the United Sates would be inexcusable for permitting the Indian Tribes to be exterminated or driven out of the state, for the benefit of a few Surveyors and land speculators.”
Nevertheless, the stage was set and before it was all over, many lives would be lost, white, black, and red. The government realized that they had to work on a strategy. One solution was to set up a chain of forts throughout Texas. The new settlers continued to make their homes on Indian land protected by treaty. Unfortunately, this would lead to unhappy endings for both the settlers and the Native Americans. Thus, the army felt compelled to protect these settlers.
One of these forts was located on the springs of Los Moras Creek, in deep, remote South Texas. The orders issued in June of 1852 were, “Build a fort---build it to last.” And build it, they did. Life at Fort Clark was a challenge in its own right, as the elements of South Texas were difficult.
In March of 1873, the all-white 4th Cavalry, under the command of Ranald S. Mackenzie, arrived at Fort Clark. On April 11, 1873, the people of Fort Clark hosted a dance to honor this new commander and visiting dignitaries including Secretary of War William Belknap and General Philip Sheridan. [ii]
The concern and main topic of conversation between these leaders was the border situation with the Indians. The Indians would cross the river and raid in Texas, then slip back across the Rio Grande to the safety of Mexico. Sheridan wanted this stopped. The army could not pursue the Indians across the border into Mexico. Sheridan, on the other hand, was forceful in his statement to Mackenzie. He indicated support but told Mackenzie that he must assume the risk and clean up the situation one way or the other. The troops stationed at Fort Clark knew that they were not supposed to pursue the Apache and Kickapoo into their strongholds in Mexico, but Colonel Mackenzie felt that the support would be there if he made this one last raid.
Mackenzie dispatched scouts to locate the Indian camps. On May 16, 1873, he received word that most of the camps were located in and around the Mexican town of El Remolino. Buffalo Soldiers of the 9th Cavalry and the 4th all-white Cavalry gathered the next day. Lieutenant John L. Bullis from Fort Duncan, along with his eighteen Black Seminole scouts, soon joined them. The mission unknown, but as they approached the Rio Grande, Mackenzie informed them of their expedition, failing to tell them of the lack of official authorization. The troops traveled across the Rio Grande and into Mexico at a fast pace. They rode the entire night hoping to hit the village at early dawn. They pushed hard through the heat, dust, mesquite, and prickly pear. The incident that happened that day would eventually weave its way into history and become part of the tragedy at the McLauren ranch. [iii]
There was an uneasy tremor in the ground,
she knew something was not right.
She heard the pounding of the horses' hooves,
and slowly she stood in fright.
The troops topped the ridge at the break of dawn.
They arrived in a cloud of dust.
She turned and looked for her father
the chief, a man she knew she could trust.
Her eyes sparkled like black diamonds,
her hair like a raven's wing,
and as she stood amid the chaos
she could hear the Shaman sing.
Their homes were torched and set ablaze.
Through the clouds of smoke she could hear
the sounds of the cries of the wounded,
and again she gazed in fear.
Costelitos was roped and drug by a horse,
she ran to assist the old man.
Where is the respect? she wanted to know.
He is leader of the Lipan
They seemed not to care and they fired more shots,
but soon not another sound.
With a silence so deadly and a calm so serene,
The tribe was gathered around.
Four hundred riders thundered down on the sleeping village of El Remolino, Mexico, that morning. From Mackenzie’s view, the surprise attack had been a success. He had ordered the village burned. Renty Grayson, a Black Seminole scout, roped the Lipan Apache Chief, Costelitos. No one is sure of the exact number of deaths in the attack. The severely wounded died where they fell, only a few escaped. The soldiers took the rest captive.
One of the captives was a young woman named Teresita, the daughter of Chief Costelitos. Her world was about to drastically change. Teresita fearfully watched as the soldiers burned the lodges and dreams of her people.
Those that could walk were made to march.
The others would die alone.
They crossed the river, then another moon more,
'twas the last time she would see her home.
Teresita and her father marched like the rest,
at Ft. Clark destiny loomed.
They would live the life of a captive
while their life as a Lipan was doomed.
Teresita would become the bride of a scout,
she would ride with him each day.
For freedom she did this, relinquished her dream,
oh what a price to pay.
No longer to run as free as the breeze,
no longer her soul to soar,
no longer to live as a dove on the wing,
no longer a life as before.
But, to her new life she adjusted.
Her new freedom she did behold.
She loved her family and worked as a scout,
but still longed for her life of old.
The treck back to Texas was long and hot. Costelitos, Teresita, and the rest of the captives made their way to their new home in Texas. A Mexican jacal, a hut make of pickets and mud and situated on Fort Clark land, would be the new abode for Chief Costelitos and his daughter.
Teresita later became the bride of James Perryman, a Black Seminole scout. James Perryman was originally from Florida. Lieutenant Bullis, the beloved leader of the scouts married the couple. Teresita, herself, was a good scout and tracker and assisted the scouts on several occasions. Descendants of the Perryman family still live in the city of Brackettville, Texas. Some stories tell that Teresita may have been the mother of two sons. 
April 18, 1881 and the Time Before
The McLauren Family
The story of the McLauren family stretches back to the moors of Scotland. Duncan McLauren was one of the first to set foot on the soil of America. He arrived with his wife and eleven children around 1788. They were mainly farmers by trade. Their lives were devastated after the Civil War, so they salvaged what remained, and like many others, moved west. The move brought them to Texas. The trails that they followed were lined with the graves of settlers who had come before them.
Upon arriving in Texas, the settlers realized that they had to make do with the barest of necessities. They also became acquainted with the Comanche and Apache. In many instances, the acquaintance was not a friendly one. The settlers felt that the land was theirs for the taking, and the Indians felt that the land was theirs to keep and defend. The result became a bad mix for both.
John McLauren Sr. and his family made their way to the Frio Canyon in 1872. They built a native limestone rock house with 24-inch thick walls on Flat Creek. The house is still standing.
John McLauren Jr. was not satisfied with the original location of the homestead south of Leakey. He made the decision to move his family north of the small settlement. The conflicts with the Comanche and Apache had been few and he felt that the move north would be a safe one. He packed up his wife, Kate, and their children Mary Satirah, Maude Lee, John Alonzo, and William Franklin and settled on land about six miles north of Leakey. The place that he chose was a fertile piece of land, nestled between two towering bluffs with the cool, serene west prong of the Frio River flowing nearby. The location today is beautiful, yet haunting. 
The Lease Family
This place became the new home of the McLauren family, but fourteen-year-old Allen Lease made his home there as well. Allen was an orphan living in a large, combined family. Times were hard for everyone, especially Allen’s family. To make things easier at home, Allen moved in with the McLauren family to help with their new homestead. After all, families did expect teenage boys to be able to do a man’s work.
The ancestors of Allen Lease suffered many hardships. Allen’s father, William Barney Lease, migrated from Virginia to Texas at a time when those treks were long and dangerous. William Barney married Catherine McCarthy in Uvalde, Texas. Catherine, twice widowed, brought to the marriage four children. Catherine and William Barney Lease had three boys: Thomas Mack, Allen, and William Henry. Catherine met with a tragic accident shortly after the birth of William Henry. Head injuries from a fall would be the cause of her death a few days later.
Lease, the father and guardian of 7 children, married Sarah Fulgham. Sarah was a widow with children of her own. It was a marriage of convenience for both. At the beginning of the Civil War, Northern sympathizers hung Sarah’s first husband. This was a hard time, in a hard country, and the desperate family did the best that they could.
John Leakey employed William Barney Lease in the shingle-making business. Lease would haul the shingles by wagon south to Sabinal and Fort Inge, where he would deliver the load and return with the payment in gold. On a trip home from one of these deliveries, outlaws ambushed him. They murdered him and took all the gold.
Again widowed and destitute, Sarah moved in with her son Tom Fulgham. Tom, a widower with five children, welcomed her. Between the two blended families, there were eleven children. It is no wonder that Allen went to work for John McLauren at his new ranch north of Leakey. He would be a great help to the McLauren family and one less mouth to feed at the Fulgham home. 
John McLauren built a crude log cabin at his new ranch. The cabin was probably just large enough for the family. The river and rich land would be ideal for Kate’s garden. The few free-ranging chickens, hogs, milk cow, garden produce, and the abundance of wild game met the family’s needs adequately.
The Lipan Apache may have camped on the bluff above the McLauren home for a couple of days. Maybe they were waiting for an opportune time to plunder the house. Perhaps what happened that fateful day in April of 1881 was just a robbery gone bad. Then again, they might have been seeking revenge and had decided to take advantage of an unprotected situation.
Whatever the reason, the small band of Lipan Apache probably watched John McLauren as he rode away for the overnight trip to the Cherry Valley settlement about twenty miles away.
On the night of April 18, the whip-poor-wills sang their lonely call to the sighing of the cypress trees along the banks of the Frio. The katydids added their evening songs as Kate put her children down for the night. High atop the bluff that overlooked the McLauren homestead, a small campfire flickered and the stars began to send light beams dancing across the bluff.
April 19, 1881-The Morning
The morning was cool and crisp as Kate McLauren prepared breakfast for the family. Allen Lease milked the cow, then fed the hogs a little corn, just enough to keep them around. After these chores were finished, Kate and Allen hauled water from the river. The water boiled in the pots for the morning-long chore of washing the clothes.
Situated on the high hill, the Lipan Apache watched each step that Kate and Allen took. They patiently waited.
About midday, the wash was complete and the clothes scattered about on bushes and fences to dry. Kate gathered the children and went to the garden. The garden was located close to the river, making it convenient to carry water to irrigate the coveted vegetables. Kate laid baby Frank on a quilt pallet for his afternoon nap.
The eyes from atop the hill saw this as the right time to descend for a closer look at the cabin and its contents. Cautiously, the Apache made their way to the cabin while Kate, Allen, and the children were working in the garden. No one knows the intentions of the Lipan Apache. Had it been revenge, they could have killed the family at any time after John left the day before. Maybe they just wanted to get food and goods from the cabin. No one will ever know why or understand what would soon happen. 
John had left them early that morning,
Kate, Maude, Alonzo, and baby Frank,
And a hired hand, young Allen Lease,
All alone on the riverbank.
They had worked hard all that morning
Carrying water for washing their clothes,
While high atop the rocky cliff.
Danger perched in a menacing pose.
When all their chores were finished
They took to the garden plot.
It was a lovely cool April day
And the sun was not quite hot.
April 19, 1881-The Afternoon
As the Lipan Apache cautiously approached the cabin, it was clear to them that everyone was at the garden. Thus, the cabin was empty of danger as they entered the only door. It must have been an exciting experience for them because, in a short time, they forgot about the danger of discovery. Kate heard the sounds of the Indians as they ransacked the cabin.
Baby Frank woke from his nap, and as Kate was tending to him, she became uncomfortable at the sounds coming from the direction of the cabin. Instinctively, she figured that the pesky hogs had ventured into the yard, creating havoc everywhere. She called to Allen to go take care of the situation. Allen trotted to the cabin only to find that it was the Lipan Apache invaders making the noise. In fear, he turned and yelled to Kate. As he started to run back to the garden, one of the Indians shot him in the head. Allen fell dead.
When Kate heard the shot, she screamed for Maude and Alonzo to run. Kate was picking up the baby when a well-aimed shot from one of the Lipan met its mark. She was shot again as she attempted to run. Maude and Alonzo escaped the confines of the garden fence, and as Maude turned back, she saw her wounded mother struggling to get over the fence with the baby. Maude only six years old ran back and took the baby from her mother. By this time, the Indians had shot Kate five times. With Maude’s help, Kate managed to get over the fence.
Kate collapsed on the other side of the fence. Maude and Alonzo were petrified. Baby Frank was sobbing as his dying, bleeding mother tried desperately to comfort and protect him. Kate knew that this was a desperate situation. The only person who she had to rely on was little Maude. The oldest child, Mary, was boarding at the Leakey community in order to attend school. Kate called Maude to her and told her that she was going to have to go for help. Maude stood looked south, where she knew she could find help and safety. Then she looked at her mother, turned west and headed straight for the cabin. The Lipan were shocked to see this young girl coming straight toward them. They might have considered eliminating her life or taking her captive, but her bravery saved her life that day. They did no harm to her. They stood in awe as this little girl ran by them and took a pillow from a bed. Maude again ran by the Indians and back to the garden to her dying mother. She placed the pillow under her mother’s head in hopes that the pillow would help ease her pain. 
The Indians watched them all morning
As the quietly stalked their prey,
Then they descended the mountain
At an hour past midday.
The Indians started to ransack the house,
They pillaged and plundered the place,
They had no mercy in their eyes,
Only murder, malice, disgrace.
Kate heard the noise from the garden below
And said, “Allen, go check and see,
It sounds like the hogs are in the house,
Go run the off now, would you please.”
So Allen knowingly went to the house
But unknowingly went to his death,
He died from the shot of a warriors gun
And sighed in his dying breath.
“Go children run, over the fence!,”
Kate cried even though she’d been shot.
She tried to give Maude the baby
And cried as she weakened somewhat.
Four times more Kate would be shot
As she tried to scale the fence.
She fell to the ground, the babe in her arms
Soaked with her blood and no defense.
Kate lay there dying, covered in blood,
Maude wanted to ease her pain
And what she did defied all fate
As she ran to the house with disdain.
She left her mother all drenched in blood,
She ran as the blood did spread.
She ran to the house, where the Indians were,
To retrieve a pillow for her mother’s head.
The Indians saluted her bravery.
They stood in awe of her diligent run,
They left but they would always remember
The girl and the deed she had done.
Maude tenderly placed the pillow
And comforted as best she could
While her mother whispered to her,
“Go Maude, run, take the trail through the woods.”
Maude hated to leave her mother,
She feared what the Indians had done.
She cried as she stood and looked about
Then turned south and began to run.
The thought of Maude’s courage must have comforted the dying Kate. She again instructed Maude to run to the home of the Fishers for help. At this point, brave Maude bid her mother farewell and ran south. She located Mr. Fisher at his favorite fishing hole. Maude told him that Indians had shot her mom and that she needed help. Mrs. Fisher was only a short distance away. The three proceeded to the Fisher cabin for a rifle. They knew they would need more help. They headed south toward the Leakey settlement.
The first stop that they made was the homestead of Jim Hicks. Mr. Hicks’ wife was a stepsister to Allen Lease. They then picked up Henry Wall and Mrs. Goodman. The next stop was the home of Dave Denning Thompson. It was here that they left the women and Maude. The men kept moving south, gathering a posse.
Meanwhile, back at the McLauren cabin, the Indians felt at ease because the two main elements of danger lay dead or dying. They finished robbing the homestead, taking items that were easy to carry. Then they mounted their horses and headed for the safety of the mountains in Mexico.
John McLauren had an uneasy feeling as he rode away from his family the day before. Some say that he had a premonition. He was heading home now, riding hard in hopes of getting to his family before the sun set.
As McLauren left the Leakey community heading north, he came upon John Leakey, who delivered the sad news. Leakey assured him that Maude was safe at the Thompson home. One can only imagine the sadness and panic that John McLauren felt as he realized that his wounded wife and children were alone at the homestead. The women at the Thompson home comforted Maude. Maude told the story of the day’s events in the voice of a six-year-old little girl. They listened intently to this first-hand account of this historical event.
As the sun was beginning set in the west, the men of Leakey rode hard to the McLauren ranch. They arrived to find Kate dying on the banks of the Frio River. In spite of the five gunshot wounds, she clung to life out of concern for the safety of her children. John comforted her as best he could, but after a few sips of water, Kate drew her final breath. 
She ran to the home of the Fishers’,
They couldn’t believe the story she told.
A posse gathered to find the Indians
Before the trail could grow dim and cold.
John McLaurin rode hard to get home,
He had a premonition that all was not well.
It was John Leakey who gave him the sorrowful news
And they rode to that massacred hell.
On their arrival they found the carnage
That was revealed from brave Maude’s run.
The Indians were gone but left their deeds
To be viewed in the setting sun.
The found Kate’s life flickering
A few sighs were all that was left
But she knew her children were safe now
And with pain she drew her last breath.
As darkness cloaked the tragic site, the men decided to wait until morning to take the bodies of Kate McLauren and Allen Lease to Leakey for burial. The men wrapped the bodies in quilts, pieced by the hands of Kate McLauren. They gently laid them in the bed of the wagon to await the morning’s departure.
April 20, 1881-The Day After
Early the next morning the wagon, with its precious cargo, made its way to Leakey. Kate McLauren and Allen Lease would be the first bodies laid to rest in the Leakey Floral Cemetery. The wagon reached the community about midmorning.
Miss Sally Godbold related a story that was told to her of that heartbreaking morning. People lined the street. Their sad, solemn faces and hushed tones told the story. No one seemed to move, except for a little girl who peeked around from behind her mother’s skirt to view history as it passed. She never realized that later in life she would speak to people of this tragic day. The little girl could feel her mother’s hand begin to tremble. They could hear the soft sound of the horses’ hooves in the distance. The silence was deafening except for the slow plod of the horses and the rhythmic sound of the hames and harnesses. The horses were unaware of their part in this sad but memorable event as they pulled the wagon to the small settlement. As the wagon bringing the dead approached, the sound made by the team pulling against the harnesses grew louder. The combination of sounds played a mournful funeral dirge, a dirge the little girl would never forget. She could sense that it was a sad and scary occasion as she got her first glimpse of the wagon as it drew closer. That little girl was Miss Sally Godbold. Miss Sallye did tell me the story when I was a girl scout in about the 4th grade. I remembered the story as the little girl being Miss Sally herself; however, after researching, it could not have been her, as she was not born until 1882. It was a story she remembered and a story I thought I remembered but that is why all stories need to be checked and rechecked. I would like to know who the little girl was.
The people of the community gathered to mourn the tragedy that would live in the pages of history for years to come. They lined the road on both sides. Women cried softly, while most of the men coughed and cleared their throats attempting to stifle their feelings. A few of the men allowed tears to roll unchecked down their cheeks. The young children were mostly confused but sensed their parents’ protection getting stronger.
As they lined the road, the people wondered about the compassion shown toward the McLauren children. Some said that a young Lipan Apache Indian woman in the group might have been the determining factor in sparing the lives of the children. Others just continued to wonder.
Everyone had taken for granted that the Indian Wars were over. There had been no reports of Indian raids of late and because of this, many folks had let down their guard. However, yesterday’s attack had brought everything back to reality. The Frio Canyon was still a place to live with caution. The creaking wagon proved it. 
A Few Days Later at Fort Clark, Texas
Teresita peered out from the door of the jacal to see what the disturbance could be. Several of the men were coming back from the main compound of Fort Clark. Her husband, James Perryman, told her to get ready. Even though she was unsure of his demand, she packed supplies and left the children with a woman from a nearby jacal. Where they were going and what they would be doing, she was afraid to ask.
She did learn that the disturbance was a posse from the Frio Canyon bringing the news of a raid on the McLauren homestead. The small posse of determined men arrived at Fort Clark after a couple of days of riding in the wet spring weather. Their horses were tired and needed rest. The posse turned the pursuit of the Lipan Apache who had killed Kate McLauren and Allen Lease over to the troops stationed at the fort. It was obvious that the Lipan Apache had retreated
into what they considered a safe place in Mexico.
Teresita loved to track but she hated to leave her children. She felt honored to ride along with the men but her heart always yearned for the children she had left behind. The Black Seminole tribe replaced the Lipan Apache family that she lost the day of the raid in Remolino. But, she was the daughter of Costelitos, and because of this, her life had been better than that of the other captives.
As the Seminole scouts trailed the Lipan Apache into Mexico, Teresita soon realized that they were trailing some of her tribe who had escaped Remolino. She attempted to ride away, either in order to warn the Apache or to lead the soldiers off their trail. Eventually, the soldiers were able to subdue her. They tied her to her saddle to prevent her escape, and it was there Teresita remained until they returned to Fort Clark.
The quest of the Buffalo Soldiers and the Black Seminole scouts was successful. They found the Lipan Apache even though they had wrapped their horses’ hooves with rawhide to prevent tracks. When the dust settled, a lone, wounded and unnamed Lipan Apache woman and one young boy survived. Their new home would be a reservation. John McLauren later identified clothes and items found in their camp as those belonging to his family. 
The Bittersweet End
The Lipan Apache are now almost gone from this earth. Once a large, proud tribe, for the most part it they assimilated into other tribes on the reservations. There are those who are today attempting to preserve and reunite this group of people. 
The Buffalo Soldiers eventually left Fort Clark. Today, re-enactment groups work to educate people about their life that once was. 
Descendants of the 1881 Black Seminole scouts of Fort Clark are still in Brackettville. The ancestors of these people had been promised much, they received little.
Records indicate that Teresita died later in the year 1881. It makes one wonder why she died so young. Did she die of natural causes, or did she meet a tragic death? I believe that she lies in an unmarked grave in the Black Seminole Cemetery at Brackettville, Texas.
Allen Lease did not live long enough to marry and have a family. However, descendants of his siblings are in the Frio Canyon today.
Kate McLauren would be proud of her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. They have done much to preserve her memory. She lived proudly and died tragically in a time when pioneer women of Texas had to be strong to survive.
About the only things that have not changed since that day in 1881 are the Frio River and the Frio Canyon. Numerous springs still bubble out of the limestone rocks, feeding the crystal, clear Frio River. The Frio Canyon is still rugged, with its steep canyon walls and heavily wooded valleys. However, it is the quiet and serenity of this place that draws people to it. As the breeze gently blows through the cypress trees, the canyon hints at the stories that happened here many years ago.
The Indians are gone along with Kate’s life
but the story is alive today.
So listen again, listen once more
and listen to what she must say.
Shhh, you can hear her now.
Hear the words from her dying breath,
“Go Maude, run!” she cries
these many years since her death.
So as you listen to the night birds calling,
as you listen to the cypress trees sigh,
as you listen you can hear her voice now,
as she says her last, “Goodbye.”
My thanks go out to everyone who shared their stories of this situation. It has been oral history at its finest. My thanks and appreciation goes to Buck Miller and his son Buck Bowie. I spent the first years of my life on a very isolated ranch in Real County, Texas. There was always excitement whenever we could hear the bump gate, a mile away, slam shut, and we knew that someone was coming. Even more exciting was the sound of shod horses hooves when they made contact with the many, many rocks as they got louder we knew that the riders were getting closer to the house, and someone was riding in. Most of the time those shod horses belonged to Buck and Buck Bowie as they rode in to spend the day. Usually, there would be surprises in Buck’s saddlebags possibly candy, but one day he brought a book. The book was old and worn. It was most likely a first edition of A. J. Sowells, Early Settlers and Indian Fighters of Southwest Texas. In that book was the story of the raid on the McLauren ranch. That was the first time I heard the story, I was 6 years old, the same age as Maude. The story that Sowell wrote spared no words but he told the story as it happened and here we are years later hesitating to put all the detail and sparing words that might harm a young 6 years old’s mind or would exhibit discrimination. We are in a very changing world. Buck Bowie is now the sheriff of Menard County and well, I write about the things that I love; Sowell’s words did not harm us.
*The background for this page is the historic location of the actual