Archive for August, 2008

Liberty Hill’s Own Indian Fighter

Tuesday, August 12th, 2008

 

            In the 1920s Andy Mather sat in a ladder-back, rawhide-bottomed chair on the front porch of his town home in Liberty Hill, Texas reading the Williamson County Sun newspaper.  He spoke to the few folks passing in buggies or the new fangled Model-T Ford cars, while getting all the news of the day.  Most people called him Uncle Andy, but he was really Capitan Andrew Mather, retired Texas Ranger and Indian fighter. 

 

   He leaned the chair back and hung his spurred boot on the banister, his black Stetson shading his face from the morning sun.  His saddled horse was tied to a limb beneath a live oak tree just west of the house.  He was ready to ride if the need should arise. 

 

            But the need rarely came any more.  On these quite mornings the old Indian fighter’s mind drifted back to the days of action, when this area was hot with outlaws, renegades, army deserters, and Indians on the warpath.  One encounter came fresh to his mind when he was a young sergeant in the Rangers.  He and an Indian met face to face on the trail and both emptied their guns shooting at each other.  The Indian wheeled his horse and headed for high timber with Andy in hot pursuit.  Andy roped the fleeing Indian with his rawhide lariat, jerked him from his pony, killing him in the fall.  But another vision of other days crowded the roping incident from his mind.

 

            When Andy was only 12 years old on August 15th 1863 the Woffard Johnson family had been making syrup at a neighbor’s house near Hopewell, and returning home just at twilight, were attacked by a band of Comanche Indians led by Chief Big Foot.  The family raced for home.  The father and their son were killed quickly.  The mother, with a daughter riding behind her and a baby in her arms was mortally wounded.  The girl slipped off the back of the horse and fled into the cedars, making her escape.  The mother, in desperation, tossed the baby into a clump of low cedars.  The mother died soon after.  The older daughter made it to Capitan Jeff Maltby’s house and spread the alarm.  At daylight the posse began tracking the band of Indians.  They found the baby, scratched, frightened, but alive and returned her to a neighbor’s house.  The wily Big Foot made good their escape.

 

            When Andy came of age, he joined Capitan Jeff’s Ranger company and began his colorful career.  Nine years later, Capitan Jeff Maltby, sergeant Andy Mather and the Ranger company tracked Big Foot way out west, past Brownwood, in Runnels County.  A fierce battle ensued with the Rangers killing Big Foot and all his band of Indians.

 

            Today you can see Capitan Andy Mather’s newly remodeled town house, on the south side of Ranch Road 1869, just east of the railroad tracks in downtown Liberty Hill.  And while you are downtown, stop by Troy Joseph’s Information Center and see a 1908 painting of Capitan Andy Mather sitting tall in the saddle.  If you are lucky, as I was the other day, you may get to meet James Mather, a Great, Great, Grandson of Uncle Andy.

Monday, August 4th, 2008

Chris, thank you for all the work you have done.  I will mess with the different things I can do with this format.  Any suggestions will be welcomed.

The picture is of Alice and I were dating in the early 50′s

I also need to know who and how much I need to pay.

This is my first  post as you can see, so away it goes…

Hollis