David Mark called, “Let’s go to Adobe Walls.”
“OK.” He’s the only brother I have left. I’m going to do about whatever he says. “Isn’t that up by Cairo, Georgia?”
“No,” I could hear Dave over the phone shaking his head at my geographical shortcomings, “It’s closer to Stinnett, Texas, high up in the Panhandle.”
“Uh….refresh my memory a little; what exactly is inside these walls?”
“Nothing, I don’t think they exist anymore. But there were two big frontier fights at this place; one in 1864 and again in 1874. Lots of history, I was thinking about leaving Monday.”
I didn’t have time to Google it. “Cathy, we’ve got to do some quick packing. Dave and I are headed to Adobe Walls.”
Her only remark was, “Is that in Georgia?”
We drove through rain, wind, floodwater and some kind of cowboy parade in Lawton, Oklahoma. We only turned aside twice on the trip out. Once near Liberty, Mississippi—Amite County to be exact—to see where Jerry Clower first saw the light of day. And we swung by Ferriday, Louisiana, to get a piano-jumping feel for Jerry Lee Lewis’ hometown.
I spent the ride through Texas, Oklahoma and into the Panhandle marveling at the wide open spaces and counting cows, oil wells and Mexican restaurants.
We read six hundred historical markers till we got to the right one halfway between Borger, Texas, and Stinnett. It referenced the fight in 1864 between Col. Kit Carson’s troops and the Kiowa, Comanche and Plains Apache tribes. It also outlined the 1874 skirmish where 700 handpicked Comanche warriors, which included Quanah Parker, attacked 28 buffalo hunters holed up inside Adobe Walls.
My eyes kept going back to first line on this metal information sheet, “Fifteen miles east of here…..” Are they telling us fifteen miles is as close as they can get to this Adobe Walls place to erect a marker?
Stinnett was one step above a wide spot in the road. It had no information center, not one historical sign or even a picture of an old adobe wall painted on the side of an abandoned building. It could have been a ghost town on this Saturday morning. And we’d already traveled way more than fifteen miles…..
Undeterred, David drove on.
We turned off SR 207 and took a chance on Road F. Not a U. S. Highway or a State Road mind you….just Road F. But the good news was we began to see lots of signs, like Private Property! No trespassing! Keep out! Property of Turkey Track Ranch. Stay on the main road!
The main road was actually a path! And then came the most superfluous sign ever perpetrated on a traveler, “Pavement ends.” WE COULD SEE THAT! My mind went to wandering, a lot of these Texas fellows are big and surly……and carry guns!
Cows stopped eating and gawked at the car. They obviously hadn’t seen a vehicle this far out since 1984. Another ten miles and they didn’t even bother with a fence……the cows couldn’t go anywhere!
We slowed to a halt when the road wouldn’t go any further. “Whew, am I relieved,” Dave deadpanned, “I thought it might be a tourist trap!”
It was a beautiful spot with high bluffs across the way, the Canadian River bounding one side. You could almost see the Indians coming down the valley. One stone monument and a couple of grave sites was all that was left of Adobe Walls. Our imagination had to do the rest.
You could feel the authenticity of the place. This wasn’t some Hollywood concoction. American blood was shed here on American soil. It was Kit Carson’s last fight. And even as the Indians stood their ground, time—and numbers—were not on their side.
I spent one of the best hours of my life here.
It was amazing that any Indian, army Calvary scout, buffalo hunter or store keeper could have found this place 150 years ago. And they did it twice!
It was time to go. You wouldn’t want to be caught dead out here after dark. I was satisfied and told Dave we could start home in the morning.
“Not so fast. I think I can find Stinking Springs. It’s twenty-four miles east of Fort Sumner, New Mexico. It’s where Pat Garrett captured Billy the Kid in December of 1880. It’s just a little ways off US 84, we’ll need to turn to the right, down Black Hat road……”
Kes and David Mark