The Comanche Chief, Comanche, Texas, 16 September 1882

Reminiscences of the Old Setttlers of Comanche County and The Adjacent Country.

No. 2

Narrative of Mrs. Elizabeth PENNERY

Editor of the Chief – In answer to your request of the old settlers to furnish you their autobiographies, I send you a few incidents in my life’s history. You will discover I am an April fool. But I hope you won’t pronounce me a natural fool. I am a Baptist in my religion, but not bigoted, nor do I expect to get to Heaven on a long, solemn face. Being informed that you are a genial old gentleman, with a face beaming with kindness, suggests the above remark. So here is a kind "how-dye" to you for better acquaintance.

My maiden name was Elizabeth HANSON, and I was born April 1, 1797, in Pendleton District, South Carolina. My father was a native of Scotland and my mother an English woman. I was married to John PENNERY in Rabun county, Georgia, in 1815. He is still living and is just one month older than myself. We have had seven children, four boys and three girls. All of them were raised to manhood and womanhood, except one.

We arrived by steamboat at Jefferson, Texas, on the 4th of March, 1852, and lived three miles west of that place until 1856. My husband, being a blacksmith, plied his trade there, and ever since until within a few years back, when he turned his attention to farming.

In 1856 we immigrated into Erath county and settled where Stephenville now stands. There were then only five families in the county. Ten years ago we moved into Comanche county where we now live, four miles southeast of De Leon.

I was in Stephenville, when the Indians on the reserve gave much trouble to the whites. These were the Comanches and the Caddoes. I remember when Peter DAVIDSON and party killed nine Indians for refusing to go to their reservation. Of DAVIDSON’s men, Sam. STEPHENS was killed and John BARNES wounded. The latter afterwards died of his wounds.

I was in Stephenville when the Indians killed Bill WOOD’s wife and one of the LEMLY girls and captured two other LEMLY girls. These women were killed and captured while trying to run to a neighbor’s house, about two hundred yards from the house they were in. This occurred about the head of Bosque creek, about fifteen miles northwest from Stephenville. After taking the entire scalp off of WOOD’s wife, and stripping both corpses of all their clothing, they took the other two LEMLY girls to the head of Alarm creek, about eight miles southwest of Stephenville. They there stripped them of all their clothing, and after horribly outraging them turned them loose. The murdered women were buried at Stephenville. I witnessed the heart-rending scene, when the two LEMLY girls were brought in by some white men, to the graves of their butchered sister and companion, and re-united to their heartbroken mother.

I also saw little Peter JOHNSON brought into Stephenville a living skeleton. His father had been murdered at Johnson’s Peak, fifteen miles west of Meridian. Little Peter was taken prisoner and kept several days after which he was turned loose in severely cold weather in January. He was picked up by a man named BUFF, who was afterwards killed by the Indians in 1868 or 1869, while keeping cattle for Dr. TUGGLE out on the Colorado River. Ben. SMITH of Brown county was killed at the same time.

Little Peter JOHNSON, as I call him, was horrible to look at when he was brought in, but is a large healthy man now and lives nine miles east of Comanche. For a particular statement of the horrible butchery, he witnessed, you should apply to him.

In those dark and bloody days I have sat at my loom weaving with a loaded gun at each end of my batton to protect myself against the Redskins.

I lived in Georgia when the whites were having trouble with the civilized Indian, at present living in the Indian Territory. I passed many an anxious day and restless night there during Indian troubles as well as here on the frontier of Texas.

You see from my date of birth, I am now 85 years old. But I challenge any woman in Texas to ride with me a long journey or a rapid ride with horses of equal speed and strength. I can stay on a bucking pony in his playful antics as long as an average cowboy.

I have practiced midwifery for fifty years, and have been present at 550 births ("frolicks" as we old women say) and never had but two still births. In addition to this number, I want to be at fifty more. I have set my megs at six hundred, and when I reach that number I am willing to resign the business into the hands of those who may be more able to do the necessary riding.

Mr. Editor, if you see fit to publish this, I hope it may be the means of drawing out some of the life history of many more of the old frontier matrons, from whom I would like to hear. These are Grandma MARTIN, Aunt Lucy NABORS [since dead. Ed.] Aunt Susie CUNNINGHAM, Aunt Elizabeth BEGGET, Aunt Betsy CARNES, Mrs. Mary LOGAN and Mrs. C.C. CAMPBELL. Come now old sisters, let’s write our own obituaries. I would like to see published the incidents of your lives…….

Farewell, Elizabeth PENNERY

Local Matters

J.W. GREENE has put an extension to his store house.

The YATES livery stables in Comanche and DeLeon are offered for sale at a bargain. See notice.

The stock of cattle formerly owned by Sheriff YATES, 125 in number, brought $16.00 per head.

Mrs. W.J. POINER sent in a fine specimen of apples, raised on her farm in Comanche county, this week.

J.G. BRAZIER and John MOORE are announced as candidates for constable of Precinct No. 1. Both good men and would fill the office with credit.

Taken to the Asylum

Jim FREE, the poor unfortunate lunatic who has been confined in the county jail here for several months, was taken to the Asylum at Austin, by Sheriff WILSON, on Monday last.

The First Bale

Messrs. HILL, MOORE & Co., bought the first bale brought to Comanche this season, on Saturday last, for 11 cents per pound. The bale was raised By B.F. MARTIN, and weighed 517 pounds. It was ginned at McGUIRE’s gin.


T.C. HILL has gone to Galveston on business connected with his house.

Thomas LEE, of Colorado City, was in town this week visiting relatives and friends.

Mr. and Mrs. A.L. FORD returned from San Augustine where they have been visiting their son, on Tuesday evening.

F.E. WILSON and A.L. HAMILTON, went to Austin this week on Business connected with the deficiency of Sheriff YATES.

Mrs. J.H. SHORTRIDGE and her daughter, Miss Isla, have moved back to Comanche to live. Their many friends here are glad to have them back.

Dr. S.H. STOUT, editor of the Chief, has been off all the week on a trip to Cisco. This accounts for the shortcomings in the paper this issue.

District Court

W.W. CHALK vs. A.M. JACQUILIN, trespass to try title. Dismissed at plaintiff’s cost.

S.L. DAVENPORT vs. R. HOLLAND, note and lien. Dismissed at plaintiff’s cost.

State vs. Henry LITTLE. Judgement Ni si made final for $1.00 and cost. Three other cases dismissed.

J.W. CRISSMAN vs. C.A. CRISSMAN. Divorce. Granted.

J.W. BARBER vs. Calvin LACY, Debt. Judgement for plaintiff.

State vs. C.L. DENTON. Violating Sunday law. Dismissed.

State vs. James CARNES Jr. Appeal from Justice court. Dismissed and writ of procedendo ordered.

G.N. GENTRY vs. W.H. COUCH. Dismissed at plaintiff’s cost.

T.B. GENTRY vs. W.H. COUCH. Suit to reform deed. Dismissed at plaintiff’s cost.

State vs. Henry DICKERSON. Disturbing religious worship. Mistrial.

State vs. H. JONES. Theft of cattle. Mistrial.

State vs. F.M. EASTERWOOD. Theft. Bond forfeited.


MARTIN – At his residence six miles north of Comanche, on September 10th, 1882, Henry MARTIN, Sr. Age 82 years.

The deceased was born April 16th 1800, in Edgefield, S.C. Came to Texas in 1853, and settled in Comanche county in 1854. He was one of our best and most highly esteemed citizens and beloved by all who knew him. Next week the Chief will give a full history of the venerable old man’s life.

©2004 Judith Michaels.  This transcription is the generous work of Judy Michaels taken from microfilm held by the Newspaper Collection of the University of Texas at Austin with a microfilm copy at Comanche Public Library.  The information may be used for personal research only and not for commercial purposes without specific permission.