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2010-04-21 / Viewpoints

‘Tomahawks at Twilight’ describes American Indian attacks in East Texas

TOMAHAWKS AT TWILIGHT

Authors Bob and Doris Bowman have completed a new book on Indian attacks in the eastern half of Texas.

“Tomahawks at Twilight” deals with some of the most famous massacres in the area, including the Fort Parker attack in 1836 near Groesbeck and the Killough massacre in Cherokee County in 1838, but also describes lesser-known attacks in East Texas.

The Bowmans, who live in Lufkin, spent three years on the 330-page book, traveling throughout Texas and Oklahoma for research, interviews and photographs.

The book is the 43rd written by the Bowmans and includes stories from Angelina, Burnet, Bowie, Cherokee, Delta, Fannin, Franklin, Freestone, Houston, Jack, Lamar, Limestone, McLennan, Montague, Nacogdoches, Panola, Parker, Polk, Red River, Rusk, Robertson, San Augustine, Smith, Titus, Trinity, Van Zandt and Young counties.

With the establishment of the Republic of Texas in 1836, thousands of new families poured into Texas with intentions of acquiring land, building homes and shaping new futures.

Coming largely from the Old South, the new settlers found an impediment many had not expected: native Indian tribes who saw the settlers as intruders on lands they and their ancestors had occupied and hunted for centuries.

The Indians had no concept that land could be owned by anyone; the land, in their minds, was owned only by “the Great Spirit.”

Texas, as a new land, wasn’t always prepared to protect the settlers. The Republic’s army was inadequate to deal with the Indians because Texas was a huge territory.

Also, the Indians knew the land better and where to lose their pursuers.

They also knew when the white men were vulnerable. Many attacks, for example, occurred at twilight, the time between full night and sunrise or the time between sunset and full night – times of the day when the settlers did not normally expect attacks.

“Today’s Texans have little understanding of the hardships, dangers, and privations to which the early Texans were exposed,” the Bowmans said.

“For a decade, they contended with the Mexican nation on the west and bands of fierce Indians on the east and north.”

“Tomahawks at Twilight” is available from Best of East Texas Publishers, 515 South First Street, Lufkin 75901.

Orders can also be made by telephone at (936) 634-7444 or via e-mail at dbowman@ consolidated.net. The cost is $36.00.

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