North Texans, however, saw things a little differently. Raids and attacks between settlers and Native Americans were on the rise, and
federal Indian agent,
Robert S. Neighbors, seemed to favor Comanches and Tonkawas more than the white men (he was eventually
murdered for protecting Comanche bands against Texans by bringing them into Indian Territory). Neighbors, who oversaw the Brazos
Indian Reservation,  believed the reports of misdeeds against the whites to be exaggerated, and he based his views on reason, too.
Texans, he knew, had an almost puerile hatred against Indians. In Jack County, for example, locals published a newspaper called "The
White Man" in which reports of Indian attacks were often overblown or completely made up. Some of the supposed raids might have
actually been perpetrated by Anglos who wanted to spur either the extinction or removal of the Native Americans at the Brazos Indian
Reservation. Sam Houston even called these perpetrators "white Indians," a nod to the derogatory use of the word "Indian."

The "depredations" were finally acknowledged after the Civil War, when the US would use the "Indian menace" as an excuse to force all
Native American tribes onto reservations so that the country could expand unhindered. The attacks on settlers became fodder for the
"Quaker Peace Policy" (a pejorative used to describe the
Medicine Lodge Treaty).

Following are a few examples of the depredations in North Texas that were used as evidence to change federal policy towards the
southern Plains Indians.
Depredations, the Civil War, and Indian
Policy on the North Texas Prairies
J. W. Wilbarger's book, "Indian Depredations in Texas" (1890)
chronicles and condemns the raids against white settlers. In a drawing
accompanying the book, white child captives are rescued by yelling
"We are white children!" (courtesy Texas State Library and Archives)
Laymen tend to argue that southern states seceded from the Union in 1860 and 1861 because the Confederacy
was defending its respective states' rights, but that's not the whole picture. In reading the
original secession
documents, it becomes clear that southern states were galled that the Union wasn't enforcing, and in many
cases allowing northern states to supersede, federal laws such as the fugitive slave acts. Most southern states
actually demanded a stronger federal government that would protect their right to keep slaves. So, the "states'
rights" is a double-edged sword of an argument. But there was a whole 'nother agenda that one particular
secession document addressed as well.
Warren Wagon Train Raid - Young County
William Tecumseh Sherman, who had once trained at Camp
Cooper in Thorckmorton County, visited Texas in 1871 to
witness these so-called "depredations." A day after he traveled
on the road from Fort Griffin to Fort Belknap, Kiowa, Apache,
and Comanche warriors from Fort Sill ambushed a wagon train
on that very road, killing six men. Sherman decided that the
men responsible for the raid should stand trial for murder. This
decision changed Indian Policy, as raids had been previously
viewed as acts of war, not as crimes. Satank, Satanta, Big Tree,
and Skywalker were arrested at Fort Sill and brought to trial in
Jacksboro (Satank was killed in an escape attempt on his way to
Jacksboro). This raid brought an end to the "Quaker Peace
Policy" and immediately impacted the
Red River Wars.
Texas argued in its Declaration that the US was not doing enough to protect the slave system, or defending civilians against Indian
depredations. The "frontier" - an imaginary boundary where Anglo settlements collided with Comanche and Kiowa territorial claims - was
a dangerous place, with very few forts built for protection and too friendly an Indian policy, so Texans claimed. Many Texans even
resented the fact that they were not allowed to settle inside Indian Territory - it was, they claimed, as if the United States liked Indians
better than its white children!

The Texan "whine" regarding what was fair was not very palatable (especially to those whom Anglo Texans were unfair to), but the
Declaration of Secession did have a point: raids on settlements and homesteads were not uncommon, but the United States Army lacked
urgency to build more forts. In fact, the few federal, antebellum
forts that had been erected tended to act more as places where supplies
could be bought, troops could be mustered to build roads and serve as guides, prostitutes and card sharps could ply their trades, and
the occasional peace be fostered. Very few problems between settlers and Native Americans seemed to arise, so the government in
Washington just didn't see the need to build a line of forts along a relatively peaceful frontier. (Oddly, the same argument of "lack of
protection against Indians" was raised by colonists against the British before the Revolutionary War).
Warren Wagon Train Raid site on the Salt Creek Prairie, Young County
Robert S. Neighbors was born in Virginia but sought adventure as an Indian agent in the "old southwest" of Louisiana, Texas, and Indian
Territory. His dedication to protecting Native American tribes was punished in 1859, when Edward Cornett, a white settler, shot and killed him.

The inscription on the marker reads:
Major Robert Simpson Neighbors
Who served in the army of Texas, 1836 * Captured by General Woll, 1842 * U.S. Indian Agent, 1845
* Born in Virginia, November 3, 1815 * Died September 14, 1859.
Erected by the State of Texas, 1936
Elm Creek Raid - Young County
in 1864, Kiowa and Comanche warriors descended on settlers
near Fort Belknap, where they scalped a young woman, killed an
enslaved boy, and kidnapped the Fitzpatrick and Johnson
families. Several settlers, soldiers, and warriors were killed in
rescue attempts following the ambush. Comanche Chief
Asa-Havey, of a different Comanche band, brokered peace by
ransoming  the captives and returning them to their families
(legend has it that Britt Johnson, an enslaved man, rescued
both families instead).
Lost Valley Raids - Jack County
In the 1860s and 1870s, several raids took place between Kiowas,
who had been forced onto reservations in Indian Territory, and
Anglo settlers. Many of the attacks focused on stealing or
spooking cattle. Texas Rangers tended to patrol the valley.
Flag Springs - Young County
The first permanent Anglo settlement in Young County was also
home to various Indian tribes, as the springs provided a steady
supply of water. Several raids took place around Flag Springs in
the 1860s and 1870s, including a raid on horses and cattle.
You may ask: Why did you put quotation marks around the word "frontier"? I did that to show understanding that the word has some
contentious history: the idea that a line separated "civilized" Americans from "savage" Indians is rooted in racism.
Questions or comments? E-mail me: robin@redriverhistorian.com
Pioneer cabin in Bryson, Jack County, Texas