Today in Texas History – January 24

JOHNSON, BRITTON | The Handbook of Texas Online| Texas ...

From the Annals of the Llano Estacado – In 1871, former slave Britton Johnson was killed by a band of Kiowa who attacked his wagon train. Johnson had been a slave of Moses Johnson, but was treated more like the foreman of his ranch and allowed freedom of movement and to raise his own livestock.  In October of 1864, Indians killed his son and kidnapped his wife and other children in the Elm Creek Raid.  Johnson pursued his relatives and became somewhat legendary for his exploits across the Llano Estacado that eventually resulted in the ransom of his relatives. After the Civil War, Johnson worked as a teamster hauling goods between Weatherford and Fort Griffin.   On the fateful trip he and two other black teamsters were ambushed by a band of about 25 Kiowa four miles east of Salt Creek in Young County.  A group of teamsters from a larger train of wagons discovered the bodies and reported that it appeared that Johnson died last in a desperate defense behind the body of his horse.  Other teamsters who found the mutilated bodies of Johnson and his men counted 173 rifle and pistol shells in the area where Johnson made his stand. He was buried with his men in a common grave beside the wagon road.

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