Garrison Interview

Story as remembered by Hilton McLaurin

From Folklife Festival
Early Days in Frio Canyon

Interview with: Lora B. Garrison
Interviewer: Esther MacMillan
Date: August 7, 1983
Place: Oral History Office, ITC

LG: I was Lora B. Davis before I was married. I am from Utopia, Texas. I actually live 10 miles West of there. On a ranch.

EM: Still do, eh?

LG: Well. not still.

EM: I thought you moved.

LG: I was born and raised there and when I married, my husband was called into the service three months after we were married. He spent thirty years in the Air Force and i followed him around all over the world. I was a camp follower. And after he retired from the Air Force in 1971, we went back out there. I had inherited land from my parents.

EM: That's how you got there!

LG: So we went back. And I'm living within a mile of where I was born and raised.

EM: You've been there over ten years now, haven't you?

LG: Twelve years.

LG: But I made a list of all the people I could think of and anybody that I talked to that would tell me names. These were actually first generation children to the early settlers of that area.

EM: What is the date there? The early date?

LG: Frio Canyon was late in being settled. I think this was the last area of Texas to be settled.

EM: Was it?

LG: The first families went there in 1852. Before that time - it's a remote area. Of course, we've got highways now, but back in those days it was very different to get in there. Really, you'd go in on the river at the lower end of the canyon and you'd have to come out at the northern end of it. To get over those mountains was pretty rugged. People just didn't do that. It was very hard to get in there; very hard to get out.

So this became the last stronghold of many of the Indians. We had the last Indian raid in Texas in the Frio Canyon, just above Leakey, in 1882. That was the McLauren Massacre. There are historical markers on it up there. Mrs. McLauren and the Leach boy, with her at the time, were the first people that were buried in the cemetary at Leakey. So this is the reason it was late being settled.

And also a lot of the old outlaws hid out there. I'm convinced that this is where Sam Bass went after he pulled his bank robberies and train robberies. They never knew where he went but he always would disappear.

From the Uvalde Leader News: Catherine R. McLauren 1849 - 1881

Story by Hilton McLaurin, from various sources

I visited the McLauren Massacre site years ago. It was a hot and dry spring. The surrounding country is a river valley. The valley was the light green color of drought. Texas Ranch Road 336 a two lane black top meanders along the Frio River. 5.5 miles North of Leakey Texas, there is an historical marker along the road. We stopped to look around. I crawled between the Barbed wire fence strands with my wife Barbara and our children Patrick and Sarah. We immediately heard the Frio River about 100 yards East. The terrain was flat yet sloping to the river, tall trees, low shrubs and vines. We did not stay long as the heat was unbearable.

We then traveled back South into Leakey, Texas to visit the Area Museum. In we went and right there on display was Catherine McLauren's Diary and some of her other possesions. What a surprise.

The Ranch house at Buzzards Roost was uphill from the river, with the garden between. Kate McLauren and the 3 small children along with a 15 year old boy Allen Lease who lived with them, were working in the garden. It was around two in the afternoon of April 19, 1881 and Mrs. McLaurin heard a noise in the house. She thought it was their hogs. They could easily get in the house thru open doors and windows. But, It wasn't. It was Lipan Apache on a raid, plundering her home. Allen was shot investigating the noise. A wounded Kate McLauren was left for dead.

The children were unharmed and Maud 6 years old got a pillow from the house to place under her dying mother's head. She then went for help. Her father John McLaurin was gone to court Bandera, Texas with several of his neighbors.

Help came at sundown, Kate was barely alive, she asked for some water, which was given. She died within minutes. Allen Lease was still lying at the foor of the hill where he fell, but the hogs had eaten his face off. The bodies were taken into Leakey, A group of settlers met a John Leakey's and under the leadership of Captain J.J.H. Patterson chased the indians for 70 miles south, toward Mexico.

From Fort Clark, the 27 Seminole Negro Scouts commanded by John Lapham Bullis were sent out in pursuit. They crossed the Rio Grande April 30 into the Sierra del Burro Mountains of Mexico. The next evening they found the Lipan Apache camp. At daybreak of May 2, they attacked killing several braves. They found a woman and a boy, as well as twenty-one animals

John McLauren and neighbors returned to Fort Clark to identify their property, even the clothing of Kate McLauren.

This was the last Indian raid in Texas

I will add details, and make corrections to this tale, as more research is done.

Southwestern Historical Quarterly January, 1962, "Real County" by Chiodo
The Lonely Sentinel, Eakin Press, Austin, Texas, by Pirtle and Cusack
Why Stop, Historical Markers of Texas, Leakey, Real Co.

Kind Regards
Hilton Lamar McLaurin
2209 22nd Street
Lubbock, Texas 79411
806-744-9747< BR> cotmall<

-- Hilton Lamar McLaurin Celtic Designs 2209 22nd Street Lubbock, Texas USA 79411