Hood County Texas Genealogical Society
THE ROZELL MASSACRE OF 1872
Transcribed by James T. Sears
March 18, 2000
Again, the year 1872 was one especially replete with alarms and depredations, attributable to Indians, but circumstances rendered the character of the perpetrators questionable...A serious affair occurred in the fall of this year of fitful alarms on Robinson Creek. On one Saturday, G.B. (Greenberry T.) Rozell moved to a new place on a branch of Robinson creek, where C.W. Baker now lives, and went into camp, expecting to put up a cabin the following Monday.
His family, besides a number of small children, consisted of his son, George, and two widowed daughters, Mrs. Bowen (correct name was Sarah Rozell Bone) and Mrs. McGee (Elizabeth Rozell McGee), whose husbands, it seems, had separated from them. On the Sunday following, George went to meeting on Kickapoo, when the elder Rozell with his gun went out upon the range, leaving the camp in possession of the women and children.
George Rozell, returning about sundown and securing his horse to a tree, was there but a few moments till a party of some nine or ten warriors made their appearance, and as he had no arms, he seized a stick which he presented for a gun, but they soon discovered the ruse and charged upon the camp, when George hastily mounted his pony and loosing him after mounting, sped away pursued by several of the warriors, others attacking the women at the camp. They fired a pistol up into the air, then leveling it at Mrs. McGee, shot her dead, and shot Mrs. Bowen (correct name Bone) with arrows, leaving her for dead. They punched some of the children, but made no attempt to kill them, and as for Mrs. Rozell, she at the first alarm ensconced herself in a brush pile, where the Indians passing almost in touch of her, seemed not to notice her presence. Those who went in pursuit of George R. pressed him so closely that, running into the nook of a ravine, there seemed no chance for his escaped, and the burly warrior at his heels, as he prepared to use his spear, gave a grunt of satisfaction, when Rozell reaching the margin of the gulch, said to have been near twenty feet wide, spurred his pony and with his rider, the agile little Spaniard cleared it with a bound and was soon carrying his rider safe beyond the reach of his pursuers, who dared not attempt the same leap.
Rozell soon met one of the Helms boys returning home, and told him of the affair. Young Helms reported it at once to his father, T.P. (Thomas) Helms, who family had already witnessed from their house not too far away, the Indians in pursuit of Rozell. Soon the Kickapoo and Robinson creek settlements were apprised of the matter and a party got upon the trail of the departing savages, who, circling towards Redbanks, crossed the Kickapoo and went out westward without doing other injury than to shoot arrows into some horses as they passed them. It being night, they got too far in advance to render further pursuit on the following day reasonably hopeful of overtaking them.
On Sunday evening just prior to this attack, Mrs. Helms was at Rozell's camp, spending the greater part of the evening and left with her little children just before the Indians came up, narrowly escaping them. Dr. A. E. Hanna extracted the arrow from the breast of Mrs. Bowen (Bone), who died some ten days afterward from the wound.
It is generally believed that the perpetrators of this crime were white men painted and disguised as Indians, though moccasin tracks had been seen at the same time on Crockery creek not far from the scene of this killing.
1. Hood County (Texas) History by Thomas T. Ewell, 1895, Pages 107-109.
2. Correct surnames taken from Family Tree Maker Use Home Page-Ancestors of Judy Arlene Strahan.
3. Martin Cemetery in Hood County, Texas is thought to be the burial site for both ladies.
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2000 HOOD COUNTY TEXAS GENEALOGICAL SOCIETY