Private David Clark

Private David Clark

Texas Rangers, Texas

End of Watch Saturday, January 7, 1837

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David Clark

In late 1836, the Republic of Texas ordered the creation of three ranging companies to protect the inhabitants living on the frontier from marauding Indians. Company B of the Texas Rangers under the command of Captain Thomas H. Barron was stationed at Fort Milam near present days Falls County. A scout reported Indian tracks about 12 miles from the fort. Sergeant George B. Erath led 10 rangers and three civilian volunteers who located the Indians camped on high ground at a bend of Elm Creek, not far from present day Rosebud, in Cameron County. As daylight approached on January 7, the rangers left their horses tied and crept to within rifle range of the Indian camp. Erath counted about 100 Indians. When a camp dog wandered toward the rangers, Erath decided to attack. The initial shots killed or wounded several Indians, but the Indians soon discovered they had numerical superiority and moved to out flank the rangers. Private David Clark and volunteer Frank Childers were wounded. During the battle Sergeants Erath and McLochlan found the wounded Clark. McLochlan’s gun was broken and Clark offered him his gun. McLochlan refused and ran up the gully towards the other rangers. Erath stayed a little longer with Clark who was then sinking, but he left as he saw a dozen Indians approaching. When the rangers returned later they found that Clark had been scalped and his hands cut off. The body of Childers was found sitting against a tree, dead from a gunshot wound. This incident was known as the “Fight at Elm Creek.”

David Clark enlisted in Colonel Burleson’s Ranging Corps of Mounted Riflemen, serving in Captain Hill’s company, on July 3, 1836 and served until September 11, 1836 when he transferred to Captain Barron’s Company B. Clark was reportedly from Lincoln County, Missouri, son of Captain Christopher Clark. Erath described Clark as an “elderly man.”

Private Clark was survived by his wife and son.


  • Age 40
  • Tour 6 months
  • Badge Not available

Incident Details

  • Cause Gunfire
  • Weapon Rifle
  • Offender Not available

Most Recent Reflection

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I am the 3rd great-grandson of David Clark's brother, James. It is an honor to be descended from such a great pioneer family.

Trussell Rick

November 8, 2021

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