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Teacher Ann Whitney's Murder Near Hamilton, Texas

The following happened in Hamilton County, Texas. After the Civil War, Texas was still plagued by Indians; however, with cattle roaming free on the range, many were willing to take their chances with the Comanches. Men began to flock to the area, seeing fortunes to be made by rounding up beef and driving them north.

It was perhaps this very thing that was at least indirectly responsible for the success of one of the most frightening Indian attacks in the history of Hamilton County, Texas.

The day was Thursday, July 9, 1867, the time 2:00 P.M....just another school day for the children who attended what was called a border school on the Comanche/Hamilton County line.

The schoolhouse was a one-room log house, the logs unchinked with the spaces between them left open so that a least some breeze might find its way through the spaces.

It was an easy matter for someone to look inside the building from the outside...or shoot inside for that matter. There was also one very small window cut into the north side of the building.

On this hot afternoon the young daughter of Alex Powers walked to the door of the schoolhouse which faced south; as she stood there, she saw a party of men on horseback riding rapidly toward the school. She called to her teacher, Miss Ann Whitney, that she could see Indians riding toward them.

Miss Whitney, who believed that the men were rounding up range cattle, told the girl to return to her seat. The Powers girl took one more look out the door, and crying out that it was indeed Indians bearing down upon them, grabbed her little brother and the two of them went out the back window.

Miss Whitney then ran to the door and seeing Comanches racing toward the schoolhouse, she quickly shut the door and began to help the children escape out the back window. Soon painted red skins were looking in through the spaces between the logs, and Ann Whitney could read her future in their faces.

It is thought that the leader of the group had at least some white blood in him, but this may have been an assumption since he knew some broken English. He said to the teacher, "Damn you, we’ve got you!"

According to a student who had hidden under the schoolhouse, Miss Whitney began to pace the front of the room, begging the Indians to kill her and let the children go. The leader then held up three fingers and the Indians began to shoot through the cracks, riddling her with arrows.

At this time there were still three children inside with the teacher: Mary Jane Manning and two small sons and a daughter of James Kuykendall (Coo Ken Doll).

The Manning girl refused to let go of her teacher’s skirts as Miss Whitney paced up and down the room bleeding profusely and pleading for the lives of the children. When the Indians began to break through the schoolhouse door, the teacher helped the two girls through the back window. However, the little Kuykendall girl was shot in the back as the Comanches managed to get into the schoolhouse.

This left Ann Whitney and the two small Kuykendall boys in the room; as the Indians gained entrance to the school the brave Miss Ann Whitney fell dead, leaving two little boys alone with the savage Comanches.

For reasons no one understands only John Kuykendall was kidnapped by the savages. One Indian found some of the children hiding under the floor of the building and pulled out a little girl named Olivia Barbee, intending to steal her. However, one of the other Comanches called out to him and while his attention was diverted, the girl escaped into the woods. It would be many months (Some accounts say two years.) before young John Kuykendall was rescued.

Both Comanche and Hamilton Counties lay claim to this brave schoolteacher. Miss Whitney taught for several years in Comanche County where the rest of her family lived. I assume that she was in Hamilton County only to teach this summer session; however, I could easily be wrong about that.

The marker on the Ann Whitney Elementary School in Hamilton, Texas reads: “…Pioneer schoolteacher of Hamilton and Comanche Counties…”

To get the rest of the story and what happened to the others, be sure to watch the videos on Amanda Howard and Margaret Massey. The stories of these young ladies will captivate you!

Views: 279

Tags: Ann, Attack, County, Hamilton, Indian, Texas, Whitney

Comment by Gay Mathis on January 24, 2012 at 11:23pm

Fascinating and sad story rolled into one..Two of the children listed Mary Jane & Louis Manning were the children of Ezekiel Manning & Nancy Moore who had moved to Texas from Perry Co, MO..Ezekiel was the 1st sheriff of Hamilton Co, TX..

Viewed the video and listened to the song "Ride Amanda Ride"..Excellent..

Comment by Fredda Davis Jones on January 24, 2012 at 11:41pm

Thank you for the additional info!! Finding Mr. Massey whose grandmother was in the school was a major find. I hope you were able to view his story.

Comment by Gay Mathis on January 25, 2012 at 1:32pm

Fredda, yes, I did view his story about his grandmother..Great that you found him and recorded  that story..

Comment by Gay Mathis on January 25, 2012 at 6:04pm

Fredda, if you go to this website, there are a couple of photos of Louis/Lewis Manning, etc..

(Manning Family Website)

Comment by Fredda Davis Jones on January 25, 2012 at 6:27pm

Gay, this is just wonderful! I do a lot of writing about this part of the state. May I include some of this if I give you the credit? Also, I think we would love to have this in our local museum, which is really good for a small town museum. Even though this happened in Hamilton County, Ann Whitney left Comanche County only to teach that term in the valley and, of course, her family died here.

I do believe it was the Warlene Valley and not Wartime, right? Did any of your family gather any other info from him?


Can you tell I get really excited when I find a new "bone"???LOL

Comment by Gay Mathis on January 25, 2012 at 8:20pm

Fredda, that is not my website..I just found it..Contact the owner of the site..I am related to some of these same Manning lines that came out of Maryland to etc.."Maryland Catholics on the move," but not this one that I know about..

Far as I can tell, it's "Warlene Valley"..

Comment by Gay Mathis on January 26, 2012 at 2:10pm

An interesting book written by Elias L. Deaton (E. L. Deaton) first published in 1894 that can be accessed online, if one wants to read the whole book chapter by chapter..

"Indian fights on the Texas frontier. A true account of the last exciting encounters with Redskins in Hamilton, Comanche, Brown, Erath and adjoining counties as recorded by E.L. Deaton, a Texan of pioneer days"

"A School House Tragedy-Miss Ann Whitney Meets Her Doom--Nancy Martin, author of the preceding narrative, was an eye witness. She is the daughter of John and E. Baggett"

(Portal to Texas History Website Book Link)

Comment by Fredda Davis Jones on January 26, 2012 at 4:05pm

I actually have the manuscript of that book, given to me by a descendant. I also have as many as I've been able to find that were written by those old timers. I love to read the same incident in every book because according to whoever wrote it, the hero of the story always changes!! LOL

Comment by Gay Mathis on January 26, 2012 at 4:11pm

God bless them for at least putting these stories down on paper even if may vary a bit....:)

Comment by Fredda Davis Jones on January 26, 2012 at 4:17pm

Aren't we fortunate that they did? I get so excited every time I find a new one that I nearly dance a jig!! And on a very, very serious note, I do not know how they did it, especially the poor women.


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