On the morning of June 27, 1874, seven hundred picked warriors of the Comanche, Kiowa and Cheyenne tribes charged upon the Adobe Walls and the twenty-eight men and one woman in the three buildings that constituted the trading post.
On the morning of June 27, 1924, more than two thousand people, residents of every state in the Southwest, in high-powered automobiles, in air planes, on horseback and wagons and buggies charged upon Adobe Walls to do honor to the men and women who so nobly defended the fort against the onslaught of the savage horde fifty years ago.
Airplanes hovered about the place where a half century ago Indians with bows and arrows, spears and lances, in full war paint mounted on their fastest horses circled about the Adobe Walls in a vain effort to dislodge the inhabitants.
Two of the men who participated in the battle remain to tell the story. They are Andrew Johnson of Dodge City, Kansas, and Fred Leonard of Salt Lake City. Johnson was present and was able to draw for the assembled hundreds the contrast between the Panhandle of today and the Panhandle of fifty years ago.
Citizens of the Southwest, realizing that the Adobe Walls battle was not only a desperate one but a great one, under the leadership of Mrs. Olive Dixon, widow of William Dixon, who participated in the fight, F. P. Reid of Pampa, Mr. and Mrs. W. T. Coble, owners of the ranch on which the battle ground is located and others, began two years ago to solicit funds with which to erect a suitable monument on the ground. Their efforts were crowned with success and fifty years after the great battle the monument was unveiled.
The Panhandle-Plains Historical Society became interested in the work and through its president, Thos. F. Turner of Amarillo and other officers had a great part to play in making the anniversary celebration a success.
The festivities started with an inspection of the battle ground early Friday morning by Andrew Johnson, Bill Tilghman, J. Wright Mooar, J. A. Cotten, Jas. H. Cator, Mrs. Olive Dixon, J. E. McAlister and many other pioneer citizens who were familiar with the events of the battle.
At noon a free barbecue was served to more than two thousand people at the Turkey Track ranch headquarters, one mile and a half north of the battleground.
Following the dinner, the band of the West Texas State Teachers’ College rendered several selections, F. P. Reid of Pampa called the assemblage to order and the celebration was on.
Judge J. M. Grisby of Perryton delivered the invocation. Thos. F. Turner of Amarillo, president of the Panhandle-Plains Historical Society, was the first speaker. He told of how the committee in charge of raising funds for the erection of the monument had met with enthusiastic support from every source. He told of how the business men of Amarillo had aided in the work by the donation of material and money. He explained the work of the Historical society and urged all citizens of the Panhandle to co-operate in the work.
F. P. Reid gave a brief history of the work and complimented all those who had participated.
Mrs. Olive Dixon, wife of Captain Billy Dixon, hero of the Adobe Walls battle, expressed her thanks to everyone who had aided in the work.
"Had it not been for the work of J. Lindsay Nunn of the Amarillo Daily News, through the columns of his own paper and in securing the interest of other editors of the Panhandle, I am sure that our work would not have succeeded," said Mrs. Dixon, who thanked Mr. Nunn and all other newspaper men for the interest they had shown in the work."
Mrs. Dixon declared that contributions to the funds used in erecting the monument and in marking the graves had come from practically every state in the Union. She declared that the work of making the grounds of the Panhandle had just commenced and that the Panhandle had a real history that should be compiled while those who made that history are here to relate the true facts.
Prof. L. F. Sheffy, of the department of history in the West Texas State Teachers’ College, made a short address telling of the work of the historical society.
Andrew Johnson, of Dodge City, Kansas, survivor of the battle, then told in detail of the incidents of the fight.
Following his talk, J. A. Cotton, of Snyder, Texas, made a short talk telling of the work of the soldiers in his section following the Adobe Walls fight. Mr. Cotton was a member of the Eighth Cavalry.
The battleground has been marked with concrete markers at each corner of the six acre plot deeded to the Historical society by Mr. and Mrs. W. T. Coble. The corners of the buildings have been marked and the graves of the two men killed in the battle are marked with simple granite monuments.
The monument erected to the memory of those who took part in the fight is about ten feet tall. On the eastern face is inscribed the
names of the men and the woman who participated in the battle, the fact that the grounds were marked under the direction of Mrs. Dixon and Mr. Cator and an acknowledgment of the donation of the land.
The names on the monument are: Jas. Hanrahan, Bat Masterson, Mike Welch, Shepherd, Hiram Watson, Billy Ogg, Jas. McKinley, Bermuda Carlisle, William Dixon, Fred Leonard, James Campbell, Edward Trevor, Frank Brown, Harry Armitage, Dutch Henry, Billy Tyler, Old Man Keeler, Mike McCabe, Thos. O’Keefe, Mr. and Mrs. William Olds, Sam Smith, and Andrew Johnson.
The hundreds of visitors spent a large part of their time Friday and today going over the battleground, visiting the nearby foothills and other points of interest. Many arrow heads and bullets used in the battle were found by them.
A rodeo performance and horse races staged by Emmett and Orin Thompson was presented Friday afternoon and today.
A large dance platform was erected at the ranch headquarters and dances were given Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights.
Pioneer citizens spent their time in visiting with each other, relating incidents that occurred many years ago.
The celebration was pronounced a great success by all who attended and Mr. and Mrs. W. T. Coble were given the thanks of every one for the hospitable manner in which the crowd was entertained.
—Staff Correspondent, Amarillo Daily News.
The Oklahoma Historical Society hopes to have its collections housed in a building especially erected for library and museum purposes in due time. It has been suggested that such a building should have a foyer, or entrance court, the walls of which should be faced with dressed stones taken from the ruins or foundations of historic buildings or other structures from various parts of the state, such as missions, trading posts, tribal schools, academies or seminaries, Indian agencies, military posts, piers of bridges on military roads, steamboat landings, etc., each stone to bear an inscription, either directly or on a small inset tablet. The honor of sending in the first stone for such a purpose belongs to a troop of boy scouts of the town of Fort Towson. This contribution is in the form of a stone from the ruins of the old military post of the same name, which was established in May, 1824, just a few months over a century ago. It is to be hoped that their example may be emulated by residents of other centers of historic interest in Oklahoma, who may wish to aid in the effort to blend such mementoes of local history into a most unique composite memorial in the architecture of the proposed edifice.
The recent destruction of a portion of the building in which was housed the library of the School of Field Artillery, at Fort Sill, serves to emphasize anew the importance of having all library and museum collections installed in fireproof structures. Of the books destroyed in this instance, most unfortunately, it will be nearly if not quite impossible to replace many if not most of them. Among others, was a complete file of the Army and Navy journal, which was especially rich in the amount of historical material pertaining to the states of the region west of the Mississippi during the quarter of a century immediately following the close of the Civil War. If it is worth while collecting such a library, surely its installation should be in a building that is as nearly fireproof as it is possible to make such a structure.
Susan Jane Johnson was born at Tyrington, Massachusetts, March 16, 1831. She was reared on a farm near Stockbridge, in Berkshire County, in the same state. She was educated in the village schools at Stockbridge, with two years in an academy at Lansingburg. Without the means to enable her to continue her own education, she sought and secured a position as a teacher in a village school. During the second term of her work in the school room, she received a call from Rev. John H. Carr, the founder and superintendent of Bloomfield Academy, who was in quest of teachers for his school in the far-away Indian Territory. She came to the Chickasaw Nation in 1852 and took up her work at Bloomfield, where she was an educator for twelve years. At the outbreak of the Civil War, Miss Johnson did not leave the Indian Territory and return to the North, as most of the other mission teachers from that section did. On the contrary, she remained at her post, tenderly ministering to Mrs. Carr, who was an invalid, and also conducting a neighborhood school for Indian children, and this without any remuneration whatever. Just before the outbreak of hostilities, she wrote to her father, stating that, though communications between the two sections would doubtless soon be cut off, she felt it to be her duty to remain and continue her labors among the Indian people. She was married to Rev. John H. Carr, August 20, 1866. Two years later, they settled at Paris, Texas, where they made their home until his death, nine years later. With her two children, she then went north to be near her own relatives for a time. Subsequently, she returned to the South and lived again in the Chickasaw Nation. Her last years were spent in Los Angeles, California, where she died, November 8, 1920.