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a treaty and the Indians dropped back from their position, but were followed and a fight ensued in which the Cherokees lost eleven killed and the whites only three, though fourteen of their number were wounded. The Indians again retreated and the following day there was a general battle; Chief Bowles was killed, with several hundred of his followers, while the remainder of the Cherokees fled westward, being followed to the Bois d'Arc fork of the Trinity, three or four days' march, by companies of Captains Slaughter and Todd.
The need which had prompted the organization of an armed force now no longer existing, the men disbanded, and Mr. Slaughter returned to the labors and attendant comforts of home life. In 1852 he moved to Freestone county, intending to turn his attention to stock-raising. He brought with him ninety-two head of cattle and established a ranch near the old town of Butler, and in five years he resided there his herd increased to 600 head. Mr. Slaughter believed there were better opportunities to be gained by removal further west, and in 1857 drove his herds to Palo Pinto county, locating five miles north of the town of that name, at that time known as Golconda. He bought 2,000 acres of land and located by certificate 960 acres more, and the ranch located at that time was thereafter his home, though his residence at this point was not continuous. In 1858–59 Mr. Slaughter was occupied in raising stock and running a small farm, but the following year moved his stock to Young county, at a point near the Ross Indian Reservation. He had then 1,200 head of cattle and a small bunch of horses, but lost forty head of the latter through theft by Indians in 1860, and for these and other property stolen, he later filed claims against the government aggregating $6,500.
Mr. Slaughter's holdings of cattle had increased in 1867-68 to such an extent that he decided to sell the greater portion of them, and he accordingly disposed of 12,000 to James Loving and Charles Rivers at a uniform price of $6.00. Rivers was afterwards killed by the Indians while in camp in Jackson, in June, 1871. Following the sale of his cattle Mr. Slaughter formed a partnership with his son, C. C. Slaughter, and began driving cattle through to Kansas. The first drove only consisted of 800 head, but they brought the neat little sum of $32,000. For the seven years up to and including 1875, the herds of Slaughter & Son were driven to Kansas points and thence shipped to St. Louis and Chicago. The drove in 1870 was probably the largest, numbering 3,000 head, and the returns from this herd footed up $105,000. In 1870 Mr. Slaughter moved his family to Emporia, Kansas, in order that his children might have the advantage of the superior facilities at that point, but in 1875 he returned to Texas and resumed operations on his old ranch in Palo Pinto county. The number of cattle handled and the money received from their sale can be expressed in round figures as follows:
1868, 800 head, $32,000.00; 1869, 2,000 head $90,000.00; 1870, 3,000 head, $105,000.00; 1871, 2,000, $66,000.00; 1873, 2,000 head $66,000.00; 1874, 2,000 head, $60,000.00; 1865, 1,000, $45,000.00. Such figures as these go a long way toward impressing the reader with the importance of the cattle business twenty years ago.
In 1876 Mr. Slaughter dissolved partnership with his son, C. C. Slaughter, taking into business with him another son, Peter, and in 1878 they sold and shipped 4,000 cattle. Six years later on account of declining health, Mr. Slaughter disposed of his cattle interests and afterwards devoted his time to the care of his ranch and other property. He had at his Palo Pinto ranch 1,280 acres of land, and owned 1,300 acres in other portions of the state, besides town property in Mineral Wells. Securing his land when nearly the entire country was open for selection, Mr. Slaughter had one of the most desirable locations in the country, and prized it more highly in remembrance of the hardships and dangers attendant upon
its settlement. During the first few years of his residence of Palo Pinto county the Indians were very troublesome, and Mr. Slaughter could relate many incidents of border warfare from the standpoint of an eye-witness and participant. In 1864 he had a skirmish with seven Indians on Cedar Creek, in Palo Pinto county, several shots were fired, but the Indians were finally frightened away. Three years later the Indians made a raid on his ranch and stole all the horses, and John Slaughter, a son, received a bullet wound in the breast. Skirmishes with the redskins were then of too common occurrence to attract much attention beyond the immediate neighborhood. The entire Texas border was a battlefield, and those who lived on the upper Brazos had to guard themselves the best they could. In 1866 Mr. Slaughter was driving a small bunch of cattle on Dry Creek, near Graham, when he was attacked by thirteen Indians, but his carbine and revolver proved too much for their courage and they retreated after he had wounded one of their number. In the month of April, 1869, a bunch of Indians surrounded and massacred thirteen government teamsters near Flat Top Mountain, in Young county. Mr. Slaughter was within two miles of his place, camped with fourteen men, holding 800 head of cattle which he had gathered. The Indians attacked them, and they only escaped through strategy. Six of the men were sent with the cattle in the direction of Sand Creek, and the remainder of them, including Mr. Slaughter and his son, C. C. Slaughter, made a breastwork of the horses and awaited an attack. Profiting by a deep ravine at hand, some of the men crept cautiously away, and suddenly appearing at another point, made a charge upon the Indians, who supposed there were more re-inforcements coming, and beat a retreat.
Mr. Slaughter was an earnest worker all his life, and few men proved themselves so useful in so many and varied capacities. He was for many years a minister of the Baptist church. During his ministry he baptized over 3,000 persons and ordained more preachers and organized more churches than any other person in the state of Texas. When Rev. Mr. Slaughter first came to Palo Pinto county, in starting out to fill his appointments as minister, he would saddle his horse, fill his saddle bags with provisions, take along his picket rope and arm himself with two six-shooters and his trusty carbine. The distance between the places where he preached being sometimes as great as sixty miles, it was often necessary for him to camp overnight by himself. Twice he was attacked by Indians but escaped uninjured. On one occasion, while he was preaching in the village of Palo Pinto, the county was so filled with hostile Indians and wrought up to such a pitch that Mr. Slaughter kept his six-shooter and his carbine at his side during the sermon, and every member of his congregation was likewise armed.
He never permitted business or fear of the Indians to interfere with his pastoral work, and always made it a point to keep his engagements.
He first united with the Methodist church in 1831, but in 1842 joined the Baptist church and in 1844 was ordained to preach. He studied and practiced medicine, and was for a number of years the only physician in Palo Pinto county. It would be impossible to overrate his usefulness during those long years when the citizens of the northwestern counties were practically isolated from the world and dependent upon each other for comfort and aid in times of extremity. Ever thoughtful and kind, Mr. Slaughter gave freely of his time and money to the poor of his community.
Eleven children were born to Mr. and Mrs. Slaughter, six boys and five girls. Seven of them are still living, as follows: C. C., Peter E., W. B., Fannie, Sarah, Jane and Millie. Mrs. Slaughter died on the 6th of January, 1894.
He died at his home, six miles north of Palo Pinto, Texas, at 11 P. M., March 19, 1895. During his last illness he had the consolation of having with him his three sons, C. C., J. B., and W. B. Slaughter; his three daughters, Mrs. Jennie Harris, Mrs. Millie Dalton, and Miss Fannie Slaughter, and also his long cherished friend, Rev. Rufus C. Burleson, of Waco, and a number of neighbors and other friends. His end was peaceful and in keeping with his Christian life. Just before he died, he expressed his willingness to obey the summons, his trust in God, and his belief in a happy immortality.
THOMAS M. PEELER Thomas M. Peeler was born November 15, 1848, in Kosciusko, Mississippi. He came to Texas when about eighteen years of age, and from Texas went to Idaho and
Wyoming and spent eight years on ranches there, then came back to Texas and lived on the Irvin & Millet ranch in Baylor county until that ranch was sold to Simpson. Then Mr. Peeler settled in Atascosa county in 1882 and lived there until his death May 18, 1897. He was married January 21, 1880, to Miss Alice Jane Irvin, and to this • union were born seven children, five boys and two girls.