Private Westley Nicholson

Private Westley Nicholson

Texas Rangers, Texas

End of Watch Friday, November 10, 1837

Westley Nicholson

An eighteen man company of Texas Rangers were trailing a band of about 150 Indians driving a herd of stolen horses. First Lieutenant A. B. Vanbenthuysen, Second Lieutenant Alfred H. Miles and 16 ranger privates reached a rock formation in the hills near the headwaters of the West Fork of the Trinity River that was known by the Indians as the “Stone Houses.”

The Indians on horseback charged the rangers who sought protection in a ravine. About 50-60 of the Indians were armed with rifles and the rest with bows and arrows. The combat was at close range and many Indians were killed along with Privates Joseph Cooper, Alexander Bostwick, Dr. William Sanders and William Nicholson.

The Indians set the prairie grass on fire and charged the 14 remaining rangers. Lt. Vanbenthuysen decided the only escape was through an open prairie. The rangers left on foot because their horses refused to go through the smoke. Second Lieutenant Alfred H. Miles and Privates Lewis F. Scheuster, James Joslen, James Christian, Jesse Blair and Westley Nicholson were killed while trying to escape the burning field.

Only eight rangers escaped, and three of them were wounded. The rangers reported to have killed about 50 Indians. Without horses, food or provisions, the men walked for 17 days through the wilderness to a settlement.

Miles was a veteran of the Battle of San Jacinto in 1836 and was involved in the capture of Mexican General Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna. Christian and Sanders were also veterans of the ranger service. Nothing is known about the other men.

The Texas Historical Commission has placed a marker at the site of the Battle of the Stone Houses recognizing the sacrifice of these early day Texas Rangers. The rock formation is located about 10 miles south of Windthorst on Highway 61 in present day Archer County.

Bio

  • Age Not available
  • Tour Not available
  • Badge Not available

Incident Details

  • Cause Assault
  • Weapon Edged weapon; Bow and arrow
  • Offender Not available

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