146 Years Ago, A Battle Broke Out In Lubbock
Lubbock is full of history, but how many actually know the history of Lubbock and the surrounding areas?
Saturday marks the 146th anniversary of a battle that took place in Mackenzie Park. But unless you've done your own research on the history of Lubbock, you may not have heard about it.
The Battle of Yellow House Canyon occurred on March 18, 1877. The battle, according to the Texas State Historical Association ended an Indian uprising that was known as the "Staked Plains (Hunters') War". It's also known as the final fight with hostile Indians on the High Plains of Texas.
Take a drive through the Canyon Lakes System in Lubbock and you will notice signs that detail sites of the battle including the Indian camp ground where in the early morning hours of March 18, 1877 over forty buffalo hunters attacked a Comanche camp in retaliation against the Indian raids on their camps.
But the lead up to the battle goes back to December of 1876 when a group of Quahadi Comanches led by a Comanche was chief known as Black Horse, left Fort Sill to hunt buffalo. According to the Texas State Historical Association, Black Horse also wanted to "make war on any White hunters they saw". This lead to the the death of a buffalo hunter named Marshall Sewell. Those who witnessed the murder and scalping of Sewell rode back to then Rath City, which was close to present day Albany, to tell others what had happened.
The battle that began in the early morning hours of March 18, 1877 began near what is now East 19th Street and Canyon Lakes Drive near Mae Simmons. According to the Texas State Historical Association the battle continued north through modern day Mackenzie Park.
During the early hours of March 18 they reached the canyon fork (in present Mackenzie State Recreation Area), mistakenly followed the north fork, then turned south to the Long Water Hole (where University Avenue in Lubbock now crosses the canyon). Moving west, they found Black Horse's camp in "Hidden Canyon" (now the site of Lubbock Lake). The day was advanced, but the buffalo hunters decided to attack. They divided into three groups. Smith and Campbell each led mounted men onto the plain on the sides of the canyon, while Freed took the dismounted men along the creek in the center. When they were within rifle range, Campbell ordered a charge. The Comanches, frightened momentarily, started for their horses, but quickly discovered their attackers were a small force, and rallied. Indian women ran toward the charging horsemen firing pistols, while the warriors took a defensive position on a slope northwest of their camp.
Take some time one day to drive through the Canyon Lakes and read about the history. You can also read, "The Battle of Yellow House Canyon March 18, 1877: Buffalo Hunters and Bad Guys".