Murder of the Dollahites in Blanco County
Allie B. Jenkins, Austin, Texas
as published in the Frontier Times

    "Hear the children gaily shout, Half past four and school is out"

    McGuffy couldn't know that in years to come gayly shouts of "half past four and school let out" would be turned into cries of anguish and bitter woe.
    There  lived  in a  particular  section of  Blanco county, Texas, a well known family by the name of Bird, of  whom  Rev.  Joseph  Bird  was  the  head.   He  was  fatherly,  he  was  kindly.   His  home  was a sort of charity  hospital;  it  was  a  sanctuary;  it was a fort in time of Indian raids; in fact,  it was  an  all  round,  all  purpose shrine.
    From  the  name  of  Bird  the  village  of  Birdville  came,  but  later  known  and  even   to  this  day it is sometimes  referred  to  as  Birdtown.        However,  in  the  Post  Office  Department  it  has  always  been known  as  Round Mountain,  so  named  from  a small  round  peak  which is about two and one half miles from the colorful little mountain situated on the rugged stream of Cypress Creek.
    Back in 1870,  when  the  memory  of  the  Civil  War days were still fresh in the minds of children, J. C. Dollahite was engaged to teach a little school at  Birdtown,  thus contributing his aid to the reconstruction of patriotic Texas.  Just back from the battlefield,  he was  still  bemoaning the Lost Cause, but his sense of patriotism and duty led him to the little red school house.    This school house - rather a little log cabin, for it was nothing more - was situated at the foot of the peak known as Round Mountain.
    "Brother Daniel!   Brother Daniel!   I  fear  something  terrible has happened to your friend Dollahite."  These were the words uttered by  Mrs. Jake Roberts  as  she  alighted  from  her  horse  and sped  into  the dining  room  where  Captain  Dan Roberts was just  finishing his breakfast.  Quickly rising and facing the speaker Captain Roberts inquired of her the cause of her alarm.
    "Last night," said Mrs. Roberts, sister in law of Captain Roberts,   "I dreamed  that  I  saw  the  body of your  friend,  J. C. Dollahite,  lying on  ice caked ground, and round it danced three black crows.  Brother Daniel,  this  was  not  a  mere  dream.     I  tell  you  I  know  something  terrible  has  happened  to  James Dollahite."
    Capt. Roberts  was  not  superstitious  in  the  least,  and  treated the matter lightly, and tried to calm the lady, telling her it was only  a dream.    But  at  that  moment  a  messenger arrived and reported that J. C. Dollahite had been slain the previous afternoon by a band of Comanche Indians.

    It  was  half  past four  and   school  was out.  The children had started happily on their ways homeward, with  never  a  thought  of  the  harrowing  scenes to follow.    A Mr. Jordan,  who  lived  a  short way back of   the  school  house  had  that  day  butchered  a  yearling,   and   as  a   special   act  of  courtesy  to   the  popular  schoolmaster,  tendered  the  whole  of  a  quarter of  beef.   Dollahite had fastened the beef to the saddle  on  the  horse  his  ten year old son, Sammy, had ridden to school.   The Dollahite family resided on the  Louis  Green  ranch,  about  three  miles  north  of  the school, and in the neighborhood of Pecan, near Pecan Springs.
    Mr. Dollahite  and Little Sammy had not yet mounted their horses, but were walking and leading them.  They  had  turned  into  the  roadway  and  were preparing  to mount, when the Indians suddenly swooped down upon them.    Some of the school children saw the  savages  coming  and  ran  to   conceal  themselves behind fences, trees, rocks, stumps, or any place that  offered refuge.   Thad Crownover scaled to the forks of a giant oak, carrying with him his  tin dinner pail;  Henry  Wells  made  the  supreme  dash that carried him far beyond his home, and he never returned until next day at noon.   A  few of the children made their way to the village and gave alarm.
    Among  those  yet  living  who  registered  as  present  that  day  are:   Mrs.  Mary  Price  Dodgen,  Mrs. Amanda Price Galloway, Mrs. Mary Glass Crider, Mrs. Sue  Bird  Wolf,  and  Mrs.  Docia  Bird  Collins.  Mrs. Lizzie Dollahite Wagnon and  Mrs.  Alice  Dollahite  Lovelady had always been regular attendants at school,  but  on  that  particular  day  Providence  intervened,  it  being  extremely  cold  and  raining  they remained at home.  Had they gone to school probably they would have met the  same  fate  as  their  father and  little  brother,  as  possibly  would  have  Miss  Docia  and Susie Bird, who contemplated spending the weekend  with  their  school  girl  friends.   Others  who  were in attendance at the school, but whose given names could not be obtained  were:   Crownover  boy,  Rucker boy,  Kemp girl,  and  two  Kemp boys, two  Shugart boys and a Shugart girl, two Bird boys, and several others.
    Those  who  occasionally  reminisce  the  incidents  connected  with the tragedy are:  Sue Ingram Sharp, Mary  Price  Didgen,  Emil and Charles  Klett,  H.  Glass,  Bill  Wolf,  and  our  old ex-ranger friend, J. A. Patton.
    It appears that  Mrs. Dollahite  had  a resentiment  that some sort of calamity would befall her husband, for she insisted that he take with him his gun.   This he did, not that he apprehended any danger to himself or little Sammy,  but  to alleviate  the  fears of  his wife.    While  the  pistol  contained  only  three  rounds  of, taking to the ammunition, he told her he thought that would be amply sufficient.
    A  woman  living  alone  with  two  little girls near the school house saw Dollahite trying to rescue Little Sammy, when he himslef was shot in the  wrist  by  an  arrow.   This disabled him to such an extent that he did  not  even  have  a  chance  to  empty  his  gun  of  its  three rounds of ammunition, though in the attack seventeen shots were fired.  Mr. Dollahite fell and died in a very few minutes.
    Joe  Shugart,  a  tall,  well  built  young  man,  living  within  one  mile  of  the  school house, hearing the commontion, hastened on foot to the scene of action.  He had  no  weapon,  and  in  order  to  ascertain  the number  of  Indians  and the direction in which they were traveling, he crept cautiousl near behind a stone wall.   As  soon  as he felt that he was reasonably near, and yet distantly safe, he  and raised up and peeped over the wall.   The Indians  spied him and probably believing that a large number of other  men  where at hand, hastily departed.
    The Indians caught Dollahite's horse; Old Morgan,  an iron gray,  which they  found they could not lead in a run, but the  little black pony,  on which  was tied  the quarter  of beef, could  not be caught, so he was shot to death.   The  Indians had secured a number of horses in this raid, among which Shugart recognized two as belonging to J. A. and C. C. Patton.
    The Indians  moved rapidly  and in a  northeast direction,  skirting the site of what is now Marble Falls, from where they followed a course of the Colorado river and into the vicinity of Morman Mills.
    A  man and  his wife,  whose names  cannot be recalled, were in the lot attending the cows and calves.  It was  about  dusk.    His  ear  caught  the  sound  and  clatter  of  horses' feet,  and presently he saw what he thought  was a band of Indians driving horses.  He told his wife to climb over the fence and  hide  behind  a brush  heap,  while  he  went  to  the  house  and  brought forth two revolvers and a shot gun.  He returned through the gateway, leaving the bars down purposely, and concealed himself in a fence corner.  Just as he hoped  for, the  horses headed  for the pen, and as they entered, he sprang from his hiding place and began and shouting and shooting.    This had  the  desired  effect, for  it not  only scared and scattered the horses, the  full  intention,  but  made  the  gathering  darkness  so  dense  with  powder smoke  and  dust  that  the Indians were deceived  into  believing  that  a  large  force  of  white men was attacking them.  Leaving the herd of stolen horses, they made a complete get away, taking to he hills and cedar brakes.
    In this same hour and in the twilight gray  another scene  was being enacted.   The news of the Dollahite murder had been carried to the villages.  In haste men gathered and went  to the little cabin school.   With his revolver lying nearby, Dollahite's body was found.   He was partly stripped of his clothing, but so eager were  the  Indians  to  escape  they  did  not  linger  to  scalp  him.  It was found that only two rounds of his ammunition had been discharged.
    Mrs. Dollahite  and  her little daughters had the table set and a steaming hot supper ready to be served, awaiting the husband - the father and son that never returned.  The rumble of wagon wheels over flint and limestone rocks attracted  their attention.   The  sound came  nearer.   The wagon and its occupant made a distinct silhouette, for the moon was now shining  almost as bright as  day.   The wagon rumbled across the little stream  and  up the rocky hill.   A sudden stillness prevailed.   It was Rev. Rucker,  a Baptist minister who conveyed the sad news to the murdered man's family.  He took Mrs. Dollahite and her children to the home  of Rev. Joseph Bird,  where  grief  held sway.  Little Sammy had not been found, although a diligent search had been made for him.   The  only  conclusion  was that he  was captive in the hands of the Indians. After  taking  Mrs. Dollahite  and  her  children  to  the  Bird  home,  Rev.  Rucker went to the scene of the tragedy and conveyed the remains of Dollahite to the home of Rev. Bird.
    The morning following the Dollahite murder, and before it was yet daylight, men went to dig a grave for the murdered school teacher, near the school house, and there at early dawn they stumbled upon the body of  Little  Sammy  Dollahite,  lying  face downward, with a poisoned arrow sticking in his back - there only two  hundred  yards  from  where  his  father  fell.    The  other  victim  was  carried to  the Bird home, and prepared for burial, and from there the remains of the father  and  son  were  conveyed  to  the  new  made cemetary, and both were buried in one grave.
    Almost  at  the  same  hour  on  the  day  Dollahite  was  killed, J. C. Tate and C. C. Patton of Llano and  Burnet counties, started on their return from Austin with a load  of lumber.   They were returning by way of old Mormon Mills, and after traveling throughout the night, reached that place early the next morning.
There at Mormon Mills they learned of the tragedy that had taken place at  Birdville, and there, too, by a singular coincidence, they recovered the  stolen  horses  which  Shugart  had the  day before recognized as belonging to the father of C. C. Patton, as mentioned above.
    In the  middle  of the  week following  the burial  of the Dollahites, Wesley Dollahite, brother of the slain man, went to the Louis Green  ranch and  found the  home just as Mrs. Dollahite had left it. - table set, and supper ready to be served.   He gathered  the kitchen  utensils,  furniture, and  all belongings, loaded them into wagons and returned to the  Bird home,  where he  picked  up the  Dollahite  family, and it became his sad task to convey them to Lockhart,  where for  a short  time they  made their home with relatives.   They never returned to Blanco county.
    Many  years after the episode the US government fully reimbursed Mrs. Dollahite for the loss of the two horses.
    The logs of the little school house have long since  decayed,  but the  mouldering rock foundation, partly submerged by the sod around it and partly overrun by ivy vines and sumach bushes, reposes silently in the
midst of a cluster of saplings, with here and  there a moss  draped oak  as a sentinel stands  gaurd.   Only a barbed wire fence separates this remnant of early education in Blanco county from the grave of him whose life was given for the beginning of that education.
     When  Stephen  F.  Austin  settled  the  first  colonists  in  Texas  it  was  estimated  by  the  U. S.  Indian Commissioner that number of Indians in Texas was 45,000, two-thirds of whom were Comanches.