Battle of Village Creek

The Battle of Village Creek occurred on May 24, 1841, on the embankments of Village Creek. The battle, which evolved into a running gunfight between the Republic of Texas militia and the Village Creek tribes, was attributed to the increased Indian raids on Anglo settlements in the Red River counties.[1]

Battle of Village Creek
Part of the Indian Wars
DateMay 24, 1841
Location
32°43′19″N 97°11′6″W
Result Texan victory
Belligerents
Republic of Texas Militia Caddo
Cherokee
Tonkawa
Commanders and leaders
Edward H. Tarrant
John B. Denton
Henry B. Stout
James G. Bourland
Strength
Approximately 70 Village Creek consisted of three native tribes with approximately 1000 warriors
Casualties and losses
1 fatality; 9 wounded 12 fatalities; significant number of Village Creek inhabitants wounded
Village Creek Battlefield
Location within Texas

Village Creek

The Village Creek area is a stem of the West Fork Trinity River. The water stream routes southwest from Arlington, Texas, and tapers just south of Cross Timber, Texas.

The Trinity River tributary, which extends 23 miles to the south of the West Fork Trinity River, provided a sanctuary for many Indian tribes. The Caddos, Cherokees, and Tonkawas established a series of habitats or villages along the banks of Village Creek.

Village Creek conflict

On May 14, 1841, General Edward H. Tarrant organized a company of about 70 volunteers from the Red River counties at Fort Johnston.[2][3] The Republic of Texas militia had scouting detachments which were commanded by Captains John B. Denton, Henry B. Stout, and James G. Bourland.[4][5][6]

During the morning hours of May 24, 1841, the militia force encroached the Village Creek area from the south in the vicinity of Cross Timber, Texas. After capturing a native inhabitant who provided locations of the area villages, Captains Denton, Stout, and Bourland led scouting units north toward the West Fork Trinity River. The militia volunteers carried out the command of burning huts along the creek banks.

As the scouting detachments progressed north, the command encountered larger villages and an increasingly stronger tribal force. Captains Denton and Stout were wounded near thickets bordering the Trinity River. Captain Denton was the only fatality, while Captain Stout and eight of the militiamen were wounded.

The Village Creek tribes had twelve fatalities, while many of the inhabitants were wounded during the conflict.

Bird's Fort treaty

On September 29, 1843, the Treaty of Bird's Fort was agreed upon at Fort Bird between the Village Creek tribes and the Republic of Texas, which opened the Red River counties for settlement by frontier pioneers.

Archeological research

Archeological excavations have been conducted within the Village Creek area. Prehistoric artifacts have been discovered which date back around 9000 years, indicating a culture of food-gatherers, hunters, and village inhabitants.

Today, much of the Village Creek conflict site is beneath Lake Arlington, which has a surface area of 1,939 acres and was impounded in 1957.[7]

Historical record

The Village Creek battlefield received a historic marker in 1936.[8]

The Village Creek area was recognized as an archeological site and received a historic marker in 1980.[9]

References

  1. Frazier, Donald S.: Battle of Village Creek - TSHA Handbook of Texas Online
  2. Edward H. Tarrant - TSHA Handbook of Texas Online
  3. Britton, Morris L.: Fort Johnston - TSHA Handbook of Texas Online
  4. Hoole, W. Stanley: John B. Denton - TSHA Handbook of Texas Online
  5. Miller, Aragorn Storm: Henry B. Stout - TSHA Handbook of Texas Online
  6. McCaslin, Richard B.: James G. Bourland - TSHA Handbook of Texas Online
  7. "Lake Arlington". TSHA Handbook of Texas Online. Retrieved October 20, 2013.
  8. "General Edward H. Tarrant - Arlington ~ Marker Number: 2127". Texas Historic Sites Atlas. Texas Historical Commission. 1936.
  9. "Village Creek - Arlington ~ Marker Numer: 5654". Texas Historic Sites Atlas. Texas Historical Commission. 1980.
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