Jack County Towns

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Gertrude/Gertrudes
1857-1926

Marker picture sent in by Andy Cost andrew.cost@intertek.com
He writes 'I went down Old Gertrudes road which is also known as Caldwell Road. 
I found this marker in a field about ˝ mile down Caldwell Road traveling West from FM 1191.'

Some Other Information About the Cambern/Mason Indian Attacks
 and the Cambern Cemetery is Below

Cambren CemeteryJack County Cemeteries by Paul Smith

Jack County, TX - History - Cambren-Mason Massacre

*************************************************************************************

Cambren-Mason Massacre



Wise County Messenger Decatur, Wise County, Texas



August 31, 1894



The last week in May, 1858, in Lost Valley, Jack County, Indians

massacred the Mason and Cambron families. These families had settled

there several years previous to the incidents mentioned, some distance

from the settlements at that day, had built comfortable log cabins, had

opened small farms about one mile distant from and adjacent to each

other and were very respectable cattle raisers. Hearsay had it that

Cambron had $600 in gold in his house at the time of the massacre. They

settled on a creek bordering the northern part of the valley afterwards

called Cambron's creek. Corn was growing on the little farms receiving

the second plowing.

 

Mason was comparitively a young man, his family consisting of himself

and his wife. Cambron's family consisted of himself, his wife, two boys

and two girls. The youngest girl was an infant girl two years old. The 

other girl was about five years of age.

 

One Isaac Linn brought the news of the massacre to the settlements. He

had purposely gone to see his daughter and son-in-law, Mr. and Mrs.

Mason; but on reaching Mason's house found him and his wife dead, the

house plundered and feathers from the bed ticks scattered in every

direction. He proceeded to Cambron's house and found the family all

killed except the two little girls, the house plundered and feathers

from the ticking scattered and clinging to trees in the yard in all

directions.

 

Upon receiving the news in the settlements a company of 60 men was

organized from the counties of Wise, Jack and Parker. One of the number,

viz., Calvin Gage, was elected captain. This took about two days before

convening at the scene of the massacre for the purpose of taking the

Indian trail. Meantime a runner was detailed to Ft. Belknap for soldier

assistance. They responded by sending a scout of 100 dragoons under

Lieutenant Fiffer. The men and soldiers met at the scene of the

massacres as soon as possible. They found the two small girls in the

house of the murdered Mr. Cambron, where they had been living on clabber

and sugar. The dead were buried without coffins as soon as possible.

Cambron and his two boys were put into one grave; Mason and his wife, in

one grave. Mrs. Cambron had been taken by the Indians about one half

mile north from the hosue across Cambron's creek upon a high mountain

where she refused to go further and was there killed and left. She was

scattered where found without a coffin and covered with blankets. The

older of the little Cambron girls directed where the body of her mother

could be found.

 

The Indian trail was taken and followed from there by the men and

soldiers, and they pursued the trail northwest, crossing the Little

Wichita, Big Wichita, and Red River, and thence into the Wichita

mountains. After several days of fruitless reconoitering in the

mountains, the buffalo having gone and the trail having become dimmed,

the buffalo having gone and the trail having become dimmed, the

expedition terminated, there being no rations and it being several

hundred miles to any settlement.

 

[transcriber's note: The name of the family was Cambren and the creek

where they lived near by was Cambren creek. Some confuse this massacre

with the Lost Valley Massacre, but the Lost Valley Massacre occurred in

1875. Dorman Holub, Chairman, Young County Historical Commission]

 

 

Birth:

unknown

Death:

Jul. 12, 1874
Jack County
Texas, USA


On May 2, 1874, the Frontier Battalion of the Texas Rangers was created to defend residents against Indian raids. On July 10, Major John B. Jones joined with Captain G. W. Stevens of Company B and moved with them to a camp in Young County. The rangers received word that a band of Comanche had attacked the Loving Ranch and killed cowboys on May 20 and July 10. On July 12, a detachment of about 30 rangers followed an Indian trail for 15 miles into the Lost Valley between Belknap and Jacksboro in Jack County. Unknown to the rangers, they had picked up the trail of a band of 50 Kiowa led by Chief Lone Wolf and his medicine man Maman-ti. Lone Wolf had been fighting off and on with U.S. troops since 1856. His son and nephew were killed by troops from the 4th Cavalry on December 10, 1873 in Edwards County.

Some Comanche's joined the Kiowa and the group grew to about 150 warriors. The Indians ambushed the rangers, wounding Privates Lee Corn, George Moore and William A. "Billy" Glass. A sniping battle ensued with Glass lying in the open between the two sides. Glass called out, "Don't let them get me. Won't some of you fellows help?" Several rangers ran out and brought Glass back to the gully they were firing from. Glass died from his wound. The wounded rangers were calling for water, but the nearest stream was a mile away. Private Mel Porter decided to ride to the stream and Private David W. H. Bailey volunteered to go with him. The rangers could see Bailey seated on his horse covering Porter while he got water. About 25 Kiowa moved in on them. Bailey called to Porter to flee. The two rangers took off in different directions. Porter barely escaped.

Bailey, however, was cut off, surrounded, and levered off his horse with a lance. Lone Wolf himself chopped his head to pieces with a brass hatchet-pipe, and then disemboweled him. Satisfied with revenging his son and nephew's deaths, Lone Wolf ordered his band to depart. At 3 a.m. the next day the rangers and army troopers returned and recovered Bailey's horribly mutilated body.

After evading federal troops and conducting several more raids, Lone Wolf surrendered to the U.S. Army at Fort Sill, Oklahoma, on February 26, 1875. He died soon after his release from prison in 1879.

There is very little personal information about these two rangers. Both men enlisted in Company B in Wise County on May 16, 1874. Glass had an earlier enlistment for four months in the Wise County Rangers from November 26, 1873 until March 26, 1874. Both men were buried in Cambren Cemetery in Jack County, but the Glass family had him re-interred in the Glass Cemetery in Wise County.

See headstone and Glass Cemetery in Wise County on page https://wisecountytexas.info/cemeteries/glass.htm

Thanks to Dorholub #47220553 for the following:

This grave is not located with the Cambren families - its about 50 feet from that location.

 

Burial:
Cambern Cemetery
Jack County
Texas, USA

 

Birth:

Jun. 27, 1857
Jack County
Texas, USA

Death:

Sep. 19, 1857
Jack County
Texas, USA


Infant daughter of James Bascom and Margery (Bell) Cambern.

On 12 Jan 1858, Margery (Bell) Cambern wrote a letter to her brother's family back in Tyler describing their surroundings as very promising, that they had already harvested a crop of wheat, and that "we have good land, good range, timber enough and good water." She goes on to say that she had seen only three white men since last August, and finally, to direct their letters to her family to Weatherford.

Margery says "we had a daughter born the twenty-seventh of last June [1857]. Her name is Flora Alice. She was a beautiful child, but alas death, that cruel monster, laid hold on her and tore her away from us. She died September the 19th. But, we do not morn with those who have no hope, for we know we have a child in Heaven." Though the letter had been written in January, there had been no chance to mail it. (This letter was found in the Cambern home by relatives, after most of her family had been murdered by white men and Indians on 18 Apr 1858.)


Family links:
Parents:
James Bascom Cambern (1823 - 1858)
Margery Carolyn Bell Cambern (1828 - 1858)

 

Burial:
Cambern Cemetery
Jack County
Texas, USA

 

Birth:

unknown

Death:

Apr. 18, 1858
Jack County
Texas, USA


Infant James Bascom Cambern, Jr. was a babe in his mother's arms when the band of Indians and three white men killed Mr. Cambern and the two oldest children, Luther, twelve years and William eleven years in a field close to the house. After they killed them, they raided the home then took Mrs. Cambern, the infant James, nine year old Tom, seven year old Mary and three year old Dewitt ‘Witt' out on a hill not too far from the house. The spot could not be seen easily because of the many trees. The Indians started to tie Tom on a mule and Mrs. Cambern began crying and pleading. They then killed her and the infant James then finished tying Tom on the mule. The group then rode off taking Tom with them but leaving little Mary and Dewitt.

Margary (Bell) Cambern and her Infant son, James Bascom Cambern, Jr. were buried together on this hill where they died and a tombstone is erected in their memory.



Family links:
Parents:
James Bascom Cambern (1823 - 1858)
Margery Carolyn Bell Cambern (1828 - 1858)

 

Burial:
Cambern Cemetery
Jack County

 

Birth:

1823

Death:

Apr. 18, 1858


JAMES BASCOM CAMBERN was the son of Ignatius and Sarah (Bell) Camborn/Cambern. James attended Centre College of Danville, Kentucky and was well educated. Around 1835/6, James left his home in Lebanon, Kentucky, traveling down through Tennessee, spending time with the Bell (his mother's) family and made plans to travel with them on their emigration to Texas. [Thomas Mage Bell (relative of – possibly a brother to Sarah, James' mother) left Maryland for Tennessee where he married Mary McFalls around 1802.] In December 1837, James Cambern, Thomas & Mary Bell and all but two of their children (including Daniel and Mary (Bell) Kutch, Jacob and Virginia (Bell) Mathews and his future wife Margery who was only about nine at the time) started to Texas on the steamer "Black Hawk". On December 27th the steamer exploded and the families lost all of their possessions including the life of a small daughter, possibly the daughter of Virginia (Bell) Mathews.

Margery Bell and James B. Cambern married in Shelby County, Texas in 1844, then settled in Smith County, Texas. Children soon followed, Luther born 1846, William born 1848, Tom born 1849 and Mary born 1851. In 1855, James and his family moved to Jack County settling near the Keechi community where Dewitt was born in 1855, Flora was born 1857 and the baby James, Jr. was born 1858.

Margery's sister Mary (Bell) and her husband Daniel Kutch also settled at Keechi. Their sister Virginia (Bell) and her husband Jacob Mathews settled nearer to the Fort Worth (Benbrook) area.

1857 James and Margery Cambern filed on two surveys about 15 miles Northwest of Jacksboro. On 12 Jan 1858, Margery wrote a letter to her brother's family back in Tyler describing their surroundings as very promising, that they had already harvested a crop of wheat, and that "we have good land, good range, timber enough and good water." She goes on to say that she had seen only three white men since last August, and finally, to direct their letters to her family to Weatherford. Though the letter had been written in January, there had been no chance to mail it. (This letter was found in their home by relatives, after most of her family had been murdered by white men and Indians on 18 Apr 1858.)

On April 18, 1858, a band of Indians and several white men, later identified as W. E. Willis, Isham Tipton, W. C. Jones and W. B. Morrison, went to the home of James Cambern. James and his two oldest boys, 12 year old Luther and William, about 11 years, had been working in the field and were preparing to unhitch the team before going home for dinner. Some Indians appeared in the field but since Indians were still on the reservation, they supposed they were friendly. Two, however, dismounted, jumped over the fence and one killed James Cambern with an arrow that entered his left side and exited his right side. The other Indian shot and killed the oldest boy, Luther and then shot William, who was nearer the fence and managed to get over the fence before he died. While this was going on, the white men went to the house, took Margery (Bell) Cambern and the younger Cambern children out into the yard, guarding them while other robbed the house. There was a red-headed white man who dictated the affair, and whom little Mary Cambern watched closely. This red-headed murderer sent six or seven Indians over to the home of Tom Mason, about a mile away, to kill and rob them. The Mason family were eating dinner. Just what commenced no one knows, as the oldest child, Alexander (Tobe) was not quite three years old. Milton, the youngest, was ten months of age. Mason and his wife were killed a short distance from the house. The little boys were not harmed.

After the bunch at the Cambern home had robbed the house, they took Margery and the four little children, Thomas, 9, Mary, 7, Dewitt, 3 and the infant James, Jr. upon a high hill out of sight of the home. The Indians from Mason's joined them on the mountain where they prepared to tie Thomas on a mule. Mrs. Cambern began pleading and the baby James began crying where upon the Indians killed both Mrs. Cambern and the baby. They rode off leaving little Mary and Dewitt by their dead mother and brother.

The next morning, April 19th, there was an emigrant train in the area that was bound for California. After breakfast two young men told the train that they were going to take a circle to the north to hunt for deer and would meet them later. They got about a mile away when they discovered the Indians coming with some loose horses. They hastened back to the emigrant train, corralled the wagons, got three more men, and started after the Indians, leaving the other men to guard the women and children. They crowded the Indians so closely that the one who now had Thomas shoved the boy off his horse. The men rode after the Indians but could not over take them so they turned back. The men picked Thomas up and took him back to their wagon. Concerned about his condition, they sent a courier to Ft. Belknap for help. A body of soldiers was dispatched from the fort to lead the train into Ft. Belknap.

Little Mary and Dewitt Cambern, not knowing where they were, stayed on the mountain beside their dead mother and brother until almost sundown. Luckily, when Mary started leading her brother down the mountain, their home came into sight. As she passed her dead father, she stopped and took hold of the arrow that was in his body, pulled it out and hid it under the fence. She took Dewitt into the house, closed and barred the door. The children remained there until about three o'clock the next day, April 20th.


"A History of Texas and Texans" by Frank W. Johnson
Historical and Biographical Record of the Cattle Industry and the Cattlemen of Texas and Adjacent Territory by James Cox; and a written document by one of the Grandchildren of Dewitt 'Witt' Cambern.


Family links:
Spouse:
Margery Carolyn Bell Cambern (1828 - 1858)

Children:
James B. Cambern (____ - 1858)*
Luther Cambern (1846 - 1858)*
William Ignatius Cambern (1848 - 1858)*
Flora Alice Cambern (1857 - 1857)*

*Calculated relationship

 

Burial:
Cambern Cemetery
Jack County

 

Birth:

1846

Death:

Apr. 18, 1858


On April 18, 1858, a band of Indians and several white men went to the home of James Cambern. James and his two oldest boys, 12 year old Luther and William, about 11 years, had been working in the field and were preparing to unhitch the team before going home for dinner. Some Indians appeared in the field but since Indians were still on the reservation, they supposed they were friendly. Two, however, dismounted, jumped over the fence and one killed James Cambern with an arrow that entered his left side and exited his right side. The other Indian shot and killed the oldest boy, Luther and then shot William, who was nearer the fence and managed to get over the fence before he died.

While this was going on, the white men went to the house, took Margery (Bell) Cambern and the four younger Cambern children, Thomas, 9, Mary, 7, Dewitt, 3 and the infant James, Jr. upon a high hill where Margery and baby James were killed.

The Indians took Tom (who was soon released) and left little Mary and Dewitt by their dead mother and brother.

James and his sons, Luther and William were buried where they died.




Family links:
Parents:
James Bascom Cambern (1823 - 1858)
Margery Carolyn Bell Cambern (1828 - 1858)

 

Burial:
Cambern Cemetery
Jack County
Texas, USA

 

 

Birth:

1828

Death:

Apr. 18, 1858
Texas, USA


Margery was the daughter of Mage Thomas and Mary (McFalls) Bell. Siblings: 1. Sam and Louisa (Bell) Nelson; 2. Cyrus Bell; 3. Frank and Matilda (Bell) Duncan; 4. Jacob and Mary Virginia (Bell) Mathews; 5. Daniel and Mary (Bell) Kutch; 6. John and Nancy (?) Bell; 7. Hannibal and Mary ‘Amandy' (Hart) Bell; 8. Columbus and Amanda (Harris) Bell; and 9. Franklin Washington and Sarah (Bell) Bell.

Margery was only about nine years old when she travelled to Texas with her parents, older siblings and [future husband] James B. Cambern on the Steamboat Black Hawk when it exploded on December 27, 1837. (James Cambern was related to the Bell's, his Mother's maiden name being Bell.)

Margery Bell married James B. Cambern and they had seven children together.

Five members of the Cambern family were killed by Indians (and several white men) on April 18, 1858. James B. Cambern and sons Luther and William were killed in a field. Their graves are marked by the etched sandstone. Margery and infant son James, Jr. were killed on top of a hill and their graves are marked by the monument. Baby daughter Flora Alice died several months before the Indian raid and her body was moved to the site of her father and brothers grave. Children Tom, Mary and Dewitt "Witt" survived, Tom dying in his early twenties.
(bio by: Eva Whitehead)

Family links:
Spouse:
James Bascom Cambern (1823 - 1858)*

Children:
James B. Cambern (____ - 1858)*
Luther Cambern (1846 - 1858)*
William Ignatius Cambern (1848 - 1858)*
Flora Alice Cambern (1857 - 1857)*

*Calculated relationship

 

Burial:
Cambern Cemetery
Jack County

 

Birth:

1848

Death:

Apr. 18, 1858


On April 18, 1858, a band of Indians and several white men went to the home of James Cambern. James and his two oldest boys, 12 year old Luther and William, about 11 years, had been working in the field and were preparing to unhitch the team before going home for dinner. Some Indians appeared in the field but since Indians were still on the reservation, they supposed they were friendly. Two, however, dismounted, jumped over the fence and one killed James Cambern with an arrow that entered his left side and exited his right side. The other Indian shot and killed the oldest boy, Luther and then shot William, who was nearer the fence and managed to get over the fence before he died.

While this was going on, the white men went to the house, took Margery (Bell) Cambern and the four younger Cambern children, Thomas, 9, Mary, 7, Dewitt, 3 and the infant James, Jr. upon a high hill where Margery and baby James were killed.

The Indians took Tom (who was soon released) and left little Mary and Dewitt by their dead mother and brother.

James and his sons, Luther and William were buried where they died.



Family links:
Parents:
James Bascom Cambern (1823 - 1858)
Margery Carolyn Bell Cambern (1828 - 1858)

 

Burial:
Cambern Cemetery
Jack County

 

 

Bailey,W.A., Pvt.

May 20, 1874

 

Cambren, Margery Bell, Mrs.

1828

Apr 18, 1858

Cambern, James Bascom

1823

Apr 18, 1858

Cambern, Luther

1846

Apr 18, 1858

Cambren, William I.

1848

Apr 18, 1858

Cambern, Flora Alice

June 27, 1857

Sept 19, 1857

Cambren, James B., Jr.

Apr 18, 1858

 

Heath, John H.

May 20, 1874

 

Wright, James K.P.

Oct 20, 1845

May 20, 1874

 

Gertrude Massacre

Back to Comancheria Forts

April 18, 1858; Jermyn, Texas: In April 1858, about a year after Jack County, Texas, was organized, a band of Indians, joined by several white bandits, raided a settlement in the northwest section of the county, murdering several residents, The community, located a few miles north of present-day Jermyn, on the north end of Lost Valley, was then known as Gertrude. The creek flowing through the valley is now called Cameron Creek -- also spelled Camberon, Cambren, and Cambern -- after the Cambren family, the victims of the most vicious of the attacks.

On the morning of 18 April, James B. Cambren and his two oldest boys, Luther and James Jr., were working in the field. The boys' mother, Mary, had just called her family in to dinner when they noticed Indians approaching, but they thought little of it, as friendly Indians lived nearby on the Lower Brazos Reservation. Without warning, the Indians attacked, sending an arrow through the senior James's torso, bringing down Luther with a bullet, and shooting the younger James as he clambered over the fence. White bandits grabbed Mrs. Cambren and the children and restrained them while other raiders ransacked the cabin. One of the leaders, a red-haired half-Indian, sent half a dozen raiders over to the Tom Mason homestead, about a mile away, where the Masons were eating dinner. The raiders killed Tom Mason and his wife, Mary, leaving Tobe, age three, and Milton, age ten months, alone.

The raiders stole the Cambrens' money box and other items, then, kidnapping Mary Cambren and her four youngest children, headed to a hill a few miles away. When the raiders stopped to tie one boy, Thomas, onto a mule, Mary and her youngest boy began crying and screaming. At this disturbance, the bandits shot Mary several times and ran a spear down the child's throat. The younger Mary Cambren, age seven, and her five-year-old brother, Dewitt, were left behind with their dead mother as the raiders rode off with Thomas. Mary later reported that she and DeWitt stayed by their dead mother until nearly sundown, at which point she led her little brother back to the house.

As the raiders were making their getaway with Thomas, they were spotted by some mounted men who were riding with an emigrant train on the Marcy-California Trail. When the men rode over to investigate, the bandits pushed Thomas off the mule and raced away.

The next morning, Isaac Lynn, father of Mary Mason, rode to the Mason homestead to visit his daughter. He was horrified to find her and her husband dead and their little son, Milton, crawling in his mother's blood. Lynn then hurried to the neighboring Cambren house, where he discovered a similar scene. "Is there anyone alive here?" he called out, and Mary Cambren answered, "Me and Dewitt are here."

Lynn took the two Cambren children and his own two grandchildren back to his home on Lynn Creek, then rode to Jacksboro with the news. A posse formed up and sped out, but the men were much too late to do anything but bury the bodies. Nevertheless, they got a remarkably detailed description of the raiders from young Mary, and based on this, the posse members thought they knew who the culprits were.

While the Comanche raiders were long gone to Indian Territory, it was believed that the white bandits had headed south. The posse, which included W. L. Lasater, William Kutch, John Taylor, Bryant Herrington, and Oliver Loving, followed a trail through Palo Pinto County to Comanche County. Locals reported seeing four white men riding through, and the chase continued. The Texans caught up with their targets in Lampasas County, and brought them back to Jacksboro for trial. When Mary Cambren saw them, she exclaimed, "There is the man who killed Ma and took Pa's money from the trunk!"

Incredibly, in Jacksboro, the defendants were released on some technicality, but their luck did not last. As one account explained: "Judge Lynch's court settled the affair near Austin, Texas."

Forgotten Fights by Gregory F. Michno

The story above is from this book. Click to purchase.