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Redbone Feuds & Fights


REDBONES

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BLOODY BATTLE

FOURTEEN MEN KILLED AND TWO OTHERS MISSING

LAKE CHARLES, LA.,   AUG 5, –About  twenty miles northwest of Lake Charles is a logging camp owned by Locke, Moore & Company, mill men, and they have a tram railway about twenty miles long, running from Tidewater, on the Calcasien river, out into the pinery, the outer end of which is near Beckwith creek.

Along Beckwith creek there are some citizens who, it is said have Indian blood in them, and they are called ” Red Bones.”  The men who are employed on this loggery and the  “Red Bones” from some cause hated each other, and several times fights have occurred, but nothing serious until last Sunday.

It is told here and is perhaps as near correct as we can get, that on Friday the “Red bones” ordered one Morris, on the tram road, to leave.

On Sunday, about 10 o’clock a.m., some of the tram road boys went to a whisky shop about two miles from the road.  There they met several “Redbones,” and Jesse Ward, of the tram road, shot and killed Dyson, a “Red Bone.”

Ward then was killed by the “Red Bones,” and firing became general.  Marion Markle and Lee Perkin, of the “Red Bones,” were killed, and Willetts, Dupree and Lecombe were wounded.

In the afternoon more men from the tram came out and the fight was renewed.  This time Swan, of the tram boys, and Owen Ashworth, of the “Redbones,” were killed.

Dr. Meyers and his brother, who had come to attend the wounded, were fired on by the tram boys but were not hurt.  Every thing now is quiet.


KILLED IN A FREE FIGHT

A BLOODY BATTLE TAKES PLACE NEAR LAKE CHARLES, LA

Railroad Employees Get on a Spree and Raise a Disturbance Which Results in the Killing of Several Men and the Wounding of Many More–Friends Who Come to Attend the Wounded Fired Upon.

Lake Charles, La., Aug . 5. –At the logging camp of Lockmore&Co., near this place, a free fight occurred.  Some of the men employed on the little railroad running to the lumber camp went to a whisky shop where they met several ‘red bones’ or half-breeds.  Jesse Ward, one of the railroaders, shot and killed a red bone named Dyson.  Ward was then killed by the red bones.

Firing then became general and Lee Perkins and Marion Markley of the redbones were killed and Willets Dupree and a man named Lecomb were wounded.

Later on the men from the tramway came out and the fight was renewed.  This time Swan of the tram boys and Owen Ashworth of the red bones were killed

Dr. Meyers and his brother, who had come to attend the wounded, were fired on by the tram boys, but were not hurt.


Lafayette Advertiser
8/19/1891

The grand jury at Lake Charles found bills of indictment for murder against ten persons implicated in the “Redbones” riot and killing, near Lock, Moore & Co.’s lumber camp, some six weeks ago, to-wit; Josh Perkins, Dempsey Dial, Austin Ainsworth and Louis Dupre, of the Redbones, and G. Hooker Morris, Rufus Mouton, Olly Gleason, Jesse Hilton, Wm. Yellat and Jame Bagget.




BLOODY BATTLE

FOURTEEN MEN KILLED AND TWO OTHERS MISSING

LAKE CHARLES, LA.,   AUG 5, –About  twenty miles northwest of Lake Charles is a logging camp owned by Locke, Moore & Company, mill men, and they have a tram railway about twenty miles long, running from Tidewater, on the Calcasien river, out into the pinery, the outer end of which is near Beckwith creek.

Along Beckwith creek there are some citizens who, it is said have Indian blood in them, and they are called ” Red Bones.”  The men who are employed on this loggery and the  “Red Bones” from some cause hated each other, and several times fights have occurred, but nothing serious until last Sunday.

It is told here and is perhaps as near correct as we can get, that on Friday the “Red bones” ordered one Morris, on the tram road, to leave.

On Sunday, about 10 o’clock a.m., some of the tram road boys went to a whisky shop about two miles from the road.  There they met several “Redbones,” and Jesse Ward, of the tram road, shot and killed Dyson, a “Red Bone.”

Ward then was killed by the “Red Bones,” and firing became general.  Marion Markle and Lee Perkin, of the “Red Bones,” were killed, and Willetts, Dupree and Lecombe were wounded.

In the afternoon more men from the tram came out and the fight was renewed.  This time Swan, of the tram boys, and Owen Ashworth, of the “Redbones,” were killed.

Dr. Meyers and his brother, who had come to attend the wounded, were fired on by the tram boys but were not hurt.  Every thing now is quiet.


KILLED IN A FREE FIGHT

A BLOODY BATTLE TAKES PLACE NEAR LAKE CHARLES, LA

Railroad Employees Get on a Spree and Raise a Disturbance Which Results in the Killing of Several Men and the Wounding of Many More–Friends Who Come to Attend the Wounded Fired Upon.

Lake Charles, La., Aug . 5. –At the logging camp of Lockmore&Co., near this place, a free fight occurred.  Some of the men employed on the little railroad running to the lumber camp went to a whisky shop where they met several ‘red bones’ or half-breeds.  Jesse Ward, one of the railroaders, shot and killed a red bone named Dyson.  Ward was then killed by the red bones.

Firing then became general and Lee Perkins and Marion Markley of the Redbones were killed and Willets Dupree and a man named Lecomb were wounded.

Later on the men from the tramway came out and the fight was renewed.  This time Swan of the tram boys and Owen Ashworth of the red bones were killed

Dr. Meyers and his brother, who had come to attend the wounded, were fired on by the tram boys, but were not hurt.


Lafayette Advertiser
8/19/1891

The grand jury at Lake Charles found bills of indictment for murder against ten persons implicated in the “Redbones” riot and killing, near Lock, Moore & Co.’s lumber camp, some six weeks ago, to-wit; Josh Perkins, Dempsey Dial, Austin Ainsworth (Ashworth) and Louis Dupre, of the Redbones, and G. Hooker Morris, Rufus Mouton, Olly Gleason, Jesse Hilton, Wm. Yellat and Jame Bagget.


The Historic Red-Bone Riot at Ten Mile, Calcasieu Parish, On Christmas Eve 1881

By L.L. Harris, as told to him by Mrs. Isles, the mother of his wife, Eliza Isles Harris, and daughter of Joseph Moore, Sr.

     Anyone who does not believe that extremity develops outstanding character rather than defeating progress never came in contact with frontier Louisiana.

     Along in the early 50’s, a son of the house of Moore, County Mayo, fled from the wrath of an Irish nobleman, whose dog he had killed. Shipping aboard a freighter, he worked his 3 week passage to America as a cabin boy, and in time became a citizen of Rapides Parish, Louisiana.

     About the same time, a young doctor suddenly left one of Virginia’s best homes and sought safety in that same isolated section lying between the Calcasieu and Sabine Rivers. Here, the culture that both had known drew the fugitives together and their common interests multiplied.

     Up from the South had drifted the more venturesome, more nomadic sons of the descendants of Acadia and here they had lodged along the creek banks and developed under the horny handed nursing of the frontier into hard riding, hard fighting, self-reliant men. Out of the West had come Alabamas, Choctaws, and Coushuttas, bringing as their contribution toward the making of this strange part of the State of Louisiana the stoicism, the cunning, the vindictiveness, and the smoldering, sensitive pride of the Indians.

     Unique to this section of Louisiana and the by-product of its conglomerate ingrredients, there sprung up and persisted a clan through whose veins ran the blood of Spanish and India, into which had seeped the traces of outlaw and renagade element that for generations had nested up in the rough hills, but ever and above every other racial heritage, the Indian prevailed and the traits and character of the Indian predominated. These people were known as “Redbones” and- always ready and quick to fight and kill- their resentment flashed most fiercely at the merest suggestion that anywhere in their past had Negro blood played a part in shaping “Redbone” tradition.

     The vast unfenced, unclaimed area of Southwest Louisiana afforded range for the thousands of head of cattle and sheep and the scattered settlements afforded domicile for the types of men who follow the calling of the open range. Factional friction and strife fomented like home brew in this new country where the laws were largely to meet the conditions that each day brought forth and wee enforced by the men who made them- or died in the attempt.

     As a young man, Joseph Moore, the young Irishman aforementioned, had taken a school in this section, made one of the best teachers west Louisiana ever knew. Then came the Civil War and his enlistment with the Army of the South. During his period of service he swam the Mississippi River at Vicksburg in the discharge of his duties as a Confederate spy. On his return to civilian life he followed merchandising in severa localities, until the winter of 1881 found him in partnership with his early friend, the young Virginian, Dr, Hamilton, and serving a scattered population for a large, weather-browned store called Westport, but better known and generally spoken of as “Ten Mile”.

     Near this store was a settlement called “Rawhide” where dwelt a considerable number of Redbones. Back in the early 30’s bad blood had led to a deadly fight at Rawhide between the Redbones and the white settlers in which the mixed bloods had been victorious by virtue of their overwhelming numbers. All during the half century that followed hatred between these rival factions had smoldered like a sleeping volcano, ready to burst into a violent eruption at the slightest provocation. At a community-wide meeting during harvest time Gordon Musgrove who was present, and who possessed a bitter and caustic tongue, stoked the fire by leaving the meeting-house suddenly with the remark, “The smell of nigger always did make me sick”.

     But it was at a mid-winter horse race at the finish of which it was quite generally accepted an unfair decision had been given, that furnished the tinder on which the friction of a slurring remark started the flame to flickering end which later burst forth in the famous “Ten Mile Fight”.

     Sympathy and money of the white men had followed Buck Davis’ horse in the race, but a contested decision had favored the animal ridden by Henry Perkins, a Redbone. The rivalry was keen, arguments were ugly, and no one knew just how the actual encounter was averted, but the day ended and the factions drifted apart, glowering at each other, finally leaving for their homes, bristling and snarling, but with no hair in their teeth.

     On the night of Dec, 23rd, a week after the horse race, the Redbones from miles around gathered at a big dance at Bob Wray’s house for which the renowned fiddle of old Uncle Rube- a darky- supplied with the electromotive force. A rough board dance in those days could no more be held without “red licker” than it could without a fiddle, and “red licker” could not course down congenial throats without their feudal grievance welling up to possess heart and soul of vindictive men spoiling for a fight.

     An inverted dry-goods box occupied one corner and thereon sat enthroned 2 kegs, 1 of wine, and 1 of whiskey, and beside the box next the fireplace sat Old Uncle Rube with his fiddle- joint rulers over the conviviality of the throng of merry makers. As the evening advanced the leaders gradually assembled around the box throne partook freely of its libations, and drifted inevitably into the topic of threatened hostilities. Simon Miracle, prominent and influential among the Redbones, habitual dispenser of the festive fluid, and representative of the “Big Store”, as Moore’s store was called, in that lucrative capacity, diplomatically discouraged the plan or plot which involved an outbreak at Ten Mile, as that would jeopardize the cherished source of income. Instead, he proposed and advocated the plan of waylaying their enemies at Chincquapin Gully, as nearly all of them including the Musgroves, the Davis’ and the older and younger generations of Lacaze passed the Gully on their way to the Big Store. This plan, Simon pointed out, was far better as the victims could be shot from ambush without danger and no one would know who did it.

     Freely and confidently they talked, all unmindful of old Uncle Rube who was sawing valiantly on his fiddle and beating time with his feet, apparently oblivious to everything but his own paramount part in the success of the evening. But if the solemn faced old darky, eyes closed and swaying to his music, missed a word of what passed at the throne that night it was nothing more potent than an order for drinks. His best friends were of  the opposing faction an while the faithful old fiddler and his lame mule were seen to jog sleepily in at their sagging gate and out to the grass-thatched lean-to stable half an hour after the strains of “home Sweet Home” had sobbed from his weary fiddle, none saw them slip silently through the gap into the woods behind the lot, and none saw them slip stealthily back in again after the 10 mile circuit just as the sun broke over the trees a couple hours later.

     So it happened that however many skulking forms may have lain under cover of brush piles or crouched behind tree trunks the next morning, no shots were fired at Chincquapin Gully  and the customary Christmas Eve crowd straggled in by various neighborhood roads and trails leading to the Big Store. No place in the world ever knew nerves to be tuned like fiddle strings with less evidence through and about the Big Store that day. As was their custom, a few Redbones had come in and they hung around near the hitch rack or leaned against the trees in the midst of which the Big Store had been built. Occasionally one would come in quietly and make a purchase.

     About 10 o’clock Gordon Musgrove rode in, tied his horse at the hitch rack, and sauntered up the steps of the wide gallery, passing a cheerful greeting to Buck Davis who stood leaning against one of the posts chewing tobacco. The talk of the 2 men soon turned to the horse race and whether by design or chance it was as Marion Perkins, older and larger brother of the erstwhile rider of the winning horse, stepped out with a new cattle whip in his hand, that Musgrove said, “You won that race clean, Buck, and if I’d bin ridin’ instid of you, I’d a-had that money or I’d whipped Henry Perkins”.

     It was a straight challenge and Marion Perkins did not hesitate. Tossing his cattle whip to the floor, he faced Musgrove and said, coldly, “mebbe you want to whip his brother now”.

     Like a pair of 5 point bucks, the men charged at each other. The hatred of generations put fury and force into every blow that left the shoulder and few failed to find solid targets. It was a man’s fight with no rules, science or quarter. Each man sought to keep his back toward the building and each instinctively circled when driven toward the open front door of the Big Store; the crafty, crouching, cat-like movements of the Indian contrasted with the lighter, fleeter bolder attach of the fighting French timber-jack.

     A solid blow to the face sent Musgrove crashing against the wall but as if bouncing back from the impact the agile, well-knit form leaped into the air and launched a slashing kick which landed squarely on the unguarded jaw of the heavier man, Marion Perkins.

     Staggering from the terrific force of that driving force, Perkins yielded himself to its impact and dove toward the nearest post as if to leap to the ground, but catching a brace against it he drove himself back toward Musgrove, ducking under a savage swing and grasped the Frenchman about the waist, lifted him off his feet and hurled him to the floor, driving his own head into the pit of the under man’s stomach as they fell. With the breath knocked out of him by the fall Musgrove was unable to retain the hold he had secured around Perkin’s neck and the larger man lost no time in taking full advantage he had gained by gripping his prostrate opponent between his knees and driving his heavy fists into the unyielding face pillowed on the rough floor.

     Just as Musgrove’s vicious kick landed, a rangy horse jogged around the front of the Big Store and the steel gray eyes of John Watson, it’s rider, took in the situation at one flashing glance. Seeing nothing alarming in the fight at that stage, he had wheeled his horse casually toward the hitch rack, not however, without permitting a move to escape him and when, in the next instant, the 2 men crashed to the floor Watson leaped clear of his saddle, throwing his reins to a popping-eyed Negro lad as he snapped- “Heah, boy, hold my horse.”

     Bounding up the steps in 2 jumps, Watson reached the gallery and strode up to the men where even Redbone stoicism failed to conceal the exultant brutality of Perkins.

     If there was a “best man” in all the reaches of that rough and tumble country, it was John Watson. Tall and rangy like the horse he rode, broad of shoulders and narrow of hip, with muscles bulging across his back with every panther-like move of his synchronized body, he seldom wore a coat and carried about him the air of always stripped for action. From the Calcasieu to the Sabine rivers, there was not one boy who had reached the age of 10 years who had not heard with awe of the quick, deadly accuracy of John Watson’s heavy single-action. 45.

Intoxicated with the joy of the killer Perkins saw nothing but the battered, blinded face beneath him.

Watson, not failing to sense in full the mercilessness of the victor in his victory, saw no silk glove case before him. Gauging his stride, he swung a kick that lifted Perkins clear of his victim and slammed him against the corner post of the store gallery. Before the man could gain his knees, Watson seized him by the shoulders and hurled him sprawling into the dust half-way to the hitch rack. Before attempting to rise, Perkins looked dazedly about to see what Goliath had stormed so disastrously into his hour of glory. Watson stood idly by at ease on the edge of the gallery, but there was no mistaking the incisiveness of his tone as he drawled, “you stay tar till I tell you to git up”.

As Perkins landed in the open roadway, Joe Moore came from the store and bent over the quivering form of Musgrove. Turning to Watson he said, calmly, “looks as if that fall had knocked all the wind out of Gordon”.  Then addressing Davis, he said, “Buck, get a horse and ride over to Dr. Hamilton”.

     Although the whole encounter had been crowded into 3 or 4 minutes of time, every man about the place was on the scene as Musgrove began to get his breath and staggered to his feet. Just then Doc Hamilton rode up to the west door of the Big Store, returning from a country call made in Vernon Parish. Having seen the Dr. approaching, Moore and Watson had gone to meet him as he entered the back door of the store, for they realized that it was time for straight thinking and steering a steady course. Outside, only the fact that Perkins was under orders of

John Watson saved him from mob violence, but the actual presence of that cold-eyed executive could have added nothing to the inviolate status of the still prostrate Redbone.

     Ten minutes later the 3 men walked out to where Perkins still lay unjurt where he had fallen. A circle opened for them as Moore said, “get up, Marion, and go inside.” Looking quickly at John Watson, Perkins made no move until Watson nodded his approval, and no man spoke as the 4 disappeared through the doorway. Leading the way to the back of the store, Dr. Hamilton turned to Mr. Perkins and said, “go upstairs, Marion, and keep quiet and  don’t show yourself. We will see that you are safe.” Again glancing at John Watson, Perkins caught the quick nod, and did as he was told.

     Half an hour later, old Bob Perkins, father of Marion and Henry, rode up to the Big Store and walked in. He had heard of the fight and that his boy was held prisoner inside. His face was tense and set as he approached Joe Moore. Dr. Hamilton, suave, courteous, cool, moderator of all the back country, a fair man and of unflinching courage, beckoned to old man Bob to follow him into a quiet corner. There he laid the situation briefly but squarely before the aggressive father. As he did so he poured a glass of his best wine and extended it to old Bob as he said soothingly, “Mr. Bob, we have assured Marion we would see that he is not harmed, and now that you have come and can go with him, we will send a boy for his horse and keep the crowd occupied in front while he slips out the back door and gets away. Where shall we say that you will meet him?”

     Pushing back the glass of offered wine, Old Bob straightened up and with all the cold arrogance of his ancestors replied; “Doc Hamilton, this is no time for drinking! My boys has done run away for the last time. Nothin’ but a Rawhide fight will do now”.

     Turning on his heel, he strode swiftly the length of the store and out to his horse, mounted, drove his spurs viciously into the horse’s flanks as the animal wheeled from the hitch rack, and dashed through the trees to where a group of his kind awaited the outcome of his interview. There he ordered a runner to take all speed to the Miracle settlement with the inflaming report that the white men wee holding Marion a prisoner in the store and were going to kill him; that they should gather all their forces and guns and ammunition, and come at once to fight it out. Little did the men at the Big Store suspect the lurid lie that old Bob had sent back to his people and the sinister program that he had inaugurated. Even when the approaching cavalcade of Redbones was reported to them they continued unperturbed in the casual, carefree ways of the Holiday season. It was only when the yapping babble of high-pitched female voices grew plain did the gathering menace compel recognition of the fact that the Redbones had taken to the warpath.

     The Redbone women remained in the background hiding behind trees and keeping up a continual turmoil Most of their men, likewise, kept within shelter of the grove, dodging about from tree to tree. A few of the bravest, however, rode boldly up to the hitch rack and advanced to the building on foot. All were armed and all were fighting mad.

     Simon Miracle, Bob Perkins and Matt Dail disarmed suspicion by climbing the steps and approaching the door as though on a peaceful mission. But as Louis Lacaze stepped out of the store door behind Joe Moore and started towards his horse, Simon Miracle instantly threw his gun on him, and was balked in his purpose only by Moore’s quick action in springing between and shouting, “for God’s sake! Simon, don’t do that.”

The esteem and respect in which Joe Moore was held by the community, white, black, and mixed, saved the life of Lacaze. Miracle lowered his gun and Louis re-entered the store. As Moore followed a roar went up from the disappointed Redbones. The store doors were slammed shut and barricaded. All this transpired with such swiftness that several white men were caught and kept outside.

     Those inside the Big Store at the time and upon whom devolved its defense, were Joe Moore, Dr. Hamilton, John Watson, Louis Lacaze, Sam Nolen, Hugh Saunders, and Moore’s 3 sons- Mayo, aged 15; Dan, aged 13; and young Joe, aged 11 years. Young Joe was later in life to become District Attorney for Southwest Louisiana, and later, still, Federal District Attorney for all the Western part of the state. The Big Store was the supply base for a large territory in the way of arms and ammunition, so the little garrisons did not lack for means of support.

     Marion Perkins had been watching developments from a window upstairs, and at the first outbreak he came down into the main store. Moore immediately unbarred the back door and allowed him to go unmolested.

    The first shot fired that day was fired by Marion Perkins and that immediately after his peaceful release from the protection of the white men. That shot killed a quiet, inoffensive non-participant in the race riot- a man named Dikes, who had come- innocently and unarmed- to the Big Store to do his holiday shopping. After Perkins had shot and fatally wounded the man in cold blood, Dikes fell sagging and groaning against the side of the building, and in that condition and over his pleading that he was already a dead man, old Bob Perkins beat him over the head with his gun.

Young Joe Moore, crouching against the inside of the wall, plainly heard the man pleading and the attack by old Bob, and announced to his co-defenders that Mr. Bob had killed a man. This ghastly outrage was the casting die in favor of a fight to the finish without quarter and as old Bob gloatingly returned to the front of the store he was filled with buckshot from the men in the store. The penalty he had earned was paid while his hands were still hot with its earning.

     Gordon Musgrove was another who failed to get inside before the doors closed and during Marion Perkins’ mad rushes he came upon Musgrove and shot him several times and left him for dead, lying in a pool of his own blood on the ground. After Perkins had hurried away in search of other victims on whom he vent his murderous wrath, Matt Dial, coming across Musgrove perceived signs of life and fired a shot into the prostrate form after which he seized a piece of rough scantling and beat the helpless body until he was sure that no life remained.

     During a lull in the fighting, Joe Moore peering cautiously through the side window thought he saw Musgroves’ eyelids quiver and on the chance that life still lingered he risked the life of his 13 year old son, Don, by sending him out to investigate. The plucky boy returned and reported that the man still breathed. The defenders immediately sent out 2 of their number, under cover of a terrific volley of shots, and brought their comrade inside. In spite of the desperate condition in which his assailants had left him Musgrove eventually recovered- a worthy example of the wonderful hardihood of the men who shaped the destiny of that rough frontier.

     Through the hours that the fight lasted Mayo, Dan and Young Joe Moore stood valiantly by their elders, loading guns, drawing and carrying to the men at their stations upstairs and down whatever they desired from the stores of ammunition, cherry bounce, cider or whiskey. Just as Young Joe stooped before a barrel to fill a glass of cider, a bullet crashed through the window, whizzed over his bent body and embedded itself in the wall beyond.

     Simon Miracle, openly embittered at having yielded his chance to kill his man early in the conflict, stealthily ranged from one vantage point to another, seeking a chance to retrieve himself. Seeming to feel that his comrades had outdone him he became bolder and less cautious until, in a reckless effort to place an effective shot, he exposed himself to the quick aim of Louis Lacaze, the man he had tried to kill on the gallery, and as he himself fell dead his shotgun exploded, tearing a big hole in the ground as it fell from his lifeless hands. And the treachery which he had planned the night before had earned its swift reward.

     With this loss, the 2 bravest men of the entire Redbone clan were gone and with them the boldness and aggressiveness of the besieging forces. From this time on none of the attacking party showed himself in the open, but a constant bombardment was kept up from behind nearby trees, Even a shadow passing across a window drew a volley of shots from the alert gunmen.

     The leading spirit of this typical Indian warfare was Hiram Miracle, the blustering bravery of Marion Perkins having waned with the unexpected death of his father and the too evident fact that the notches were not all to be cut out on the Redbone guns.

     With the fighting concentrated on the east side of the Big Store, Jeff Davis, brother of Buck who had lost the horse race, thought his chance to escape had come and dividing his attention between running and looking back for the pursuers he feared might follow, he was retreating westward when he bumped into a sturdy sapling with a glancing blow which crushed a bottle of whiskey in his hip pocket. Just at that moment a volley of shots put more speed into his heels. Feeling the flask’s contents trickling down his leg- and thinking it was blood from a wound- he forgot caution and hung all his faith on speed. Shaping his course like a bee to a his hive, he burst the half-open gate from its leather hinges as he fled into the house yard of Doc Hamilton, yelling, “I’m kilt! I’m kilt!” But Mrs. Hamilton knowing well the danger which would accrue if he were seen taking refuge in her house, refused him entrance and urged that he continue his flight into the adjacent swamp and lie down behind a large log that had fallen close to the hog trail below the lot.

     When it became evident that the tactics of Hiram and his followers meant a long-drawn out fight, the straight line of John Watson’s lips and his steel-gray eyes narrowed and he took his stand by the broken window upstairs looking out over the infested grove. Soon a shirt sleeve showed for an instant at the side of a tree. Instantly, his big .45 barked and a chip flew from the bark of the tree while the smoke of the shot half concealed the darting form as it sought shelter behind a larger tree almost in line and a rod further from the window whose defender needed no further identification. Another crashing report; another flying chip; another retreating form.

     After the advance firing line had thus been dislodged, man by man, some with punctured hat brim and some with creased skin, Hiram Miracle feeling the importance of silencing that deadly window, risked a lightening quick shot whose aim had been carefully gauged before his intention and a narrow slab of his side were revealed. But he was not quick enough for when he snatched himself back into his shelter it was with the stinging sensation that told him he was hit. And only with the greatest difficulty did he keep his feet as he backed, slowly backed away, keeping his tree carefully in that unerring line of fire.

     Steadily the retreat continued and the shooting abated. Shortly the clatter of hoofs told that the fight for the day was over. As soon as they could be reasonable sure that no skulking Redbone lurked for a final shot, the men came cautiously out of the Big Store.

     Dr. Hamilton sought out Uncle Rube and instructed him to saddle his mule and take a roundabout route to the Stevens’ house where he could secure a fast horse; then as soon as he felt it was safe to do so to push on to Sugartown and summon reinforcements in anticipation of renewal of the fight the next day.

     The call was answered by William Iles, Kid Singleton, Jess Iles, John Neely, and Bill McDonald who rode through the night and immediately on arrival relieved the exhausted garrison and continued on guard all day Christmas.

The night after the fight passed without incident. The Big Store and all its approaches were picketed while day was breaking. Early in the morning a plan was adopted for forestalling a possible renewal of hostilities. The situation was serious. The white settlers were scattered; the roads and trails were for the most part through timbered country and a guerrilla warfare could soon wipe out every white family in the outlying districts. In all the territory lying between the Calcasieu and the Sabine there was no man who had earned the fuller respect of all men for deliberate thinking and whose decreas were known among whites, blacks, and Redbones to carry up true and accurate to the letter of their making than those of Soulange Lacaze, father of Louis, Belezaire and Joe. When the rugged pioneer’s word was given for the fulfillment of an obligation, or for the enforcement of an agreement, no man had ever known Soulange to depart a hair’s breadth from his promise. And so it was of unanimous vote that the white men on this Christmas morning chose him to carry the flag of truce into the insurgent camp of the Redbones.

     Riding calmly up to the home of Hiram Miracle without a glance to the right or left, Soulange called upon the men to come out. The men did not come out, but after a brief interval during which the lone rider sat motionless and waited, the women came slowly from the house, saluted their visitor respectively and reported that the men were all away from home.

     Not deining to dispute their statement, the ambassador replied coldly and clearly so that his voice could be heard throughout the house behind them, “as you like. I will tell you then my business”. Leaning forward slightly in his saddle he continued slowly in a voice that was deep and quiet- “I warn you all now, that if a hair of a white man’s head is hurt anywhere in these settlements, as long as I am here we will make a black burn of you.”

     Wheeling his horse toward the gate, he tapped his broad chest with the butt of his whip, and continued in a tone of the very mildness of which told every one of his hearers how deadly earnest he was: I will see to it that there isn’t seed of a Redbone left this side of the Sabine River”.

     The women shrank closer together as their eyes bulged and remained fixed on the stern face above them. Then after 2 attempts to speak, one of the women faltered out: “M-Mister Sou-lange, w-w-we don’t want t-t-trouble. We wa-want peace.”

     Without moving a muscle or letting hi piercing gaze release his transfixed listeners, the stately horseman answered with the ring of chilled steel in his voice, “We want peace- and we’re going to have peace!”

     After a few seconds, during which it seemed that even the dark green leaves of the big magnolia above his head dared not move, Soulange Lacaze pressed a knee gently to his horse’s side and without further sign, wheeled and rode down the grass-grown trail and into the shadows of the trees that seemed to close behind him.

     And while the old man lived his peace was never broken.