Private Abram Trigg Smith

Private Abram Trigg Smith

Texas Rangers, Texas

End of Watch Thursday, August 5, 1841

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Abram Trigg Smith

Ranging companies were established after Texas gained its independence from Mexico in 1836 to protect citizens from raiding Indians and lawlessness. On August 5, 1841, Ranger Captain Eli Chandler, like the other commanders on the northern frontier of the Republic of Texas, believed there was a major Indian village somewhere on the upper Brazos or Trinity. Chandler's Robertson County Rangers met the Milam County Minute Men, led by Captain George Erath, at the lone village Captain Chandler had just discovered. The Rangers moved up the Brazos River, but they found no trace of any Indian settlement or camp, and the expedition camped on the upper edge of the Cross Timbers, their supplies exhausted.

During the wait, Indians were seen near the ranger camp and Captain Erath. Twenty men went to track them. He split his party into two squads, and one of them soon picked up a fresh trail. Following these prints, Captain Erath came upon a party of either Cherokee or Kickapoo, who opened fire at close range from atop a rock cliff, killing Private A. T. Smith, and grazing several other men. Ranger sniping killed two Indians and may have wounded others. The other ranger squad arrived, having heard the shots, and shortly reinforcements came in from the main ranger camp. A ranger charge carried the cliff, but the Indians slipped away in the woods, taking their dead and wounded.

Private Smith’s brother and nephew served on the same expedition and carried his body away from the battlefield to bury him in an unmarked grave. Smith had enlisted on Aug. 2, 1841 in the Milam County Minute Men and served only 3 days before being killed. He was survived by his wife, Elsie Parks Smith, and six children.

In 2005, Texas Rangers and family members honored Private Smith's service to the state with a memorial ceremony and marker at the Fort Belknap Cemetery in Young County near where he was buried in 1841.


  • Age 43
  • Tour 3 days
  • Badge Not available

Incident Details

  • Cause Gunfire
  • Weapon Rifle
  • Offender Not available

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