27th Annual OIW Assembly
September 28-30, 2006
Texas Forts Trail Conference
From James Bowie to "Cump" Sherman, by way of Ranald Mackenzie – that's the promise of the 2006 annual assembly of the Order of the Indian Wars. We’ll see Forts Concho, Richardson, Griffin, Phantom Hill and McKavett. You can stand in the very doorway that Jim Bowie stood in as he carved his name – still visible – after an incredible fight with Tonkawa Indians. We'll visit the site of the Warren Wagon Train massacre, which brought on the Red River War of 1874.
Michael Hughes calls this "... the most dangerous prairie in Texas." Both the Chisholm Trail and the Butterfield Stage Route crossed the Salt Creek here. In a ten-year period, the Elm Creek Comanche Raid, the battle of the Little Washita, the Little Salt River Fight, the Salt Creek Fight, the Rock Creek Station Raid, Britton Johnson's Turtle Hall fight, all took place here.
In addition to Neil Mangum, we had Greg Michno as a tour guide. Michael O'Keefe related the tale of "Humpy" Jackson who got on the wrong side of Ranald Mackenzie. Speakers included Sandy Barnard, Michael Hughesand Bob Bluthardt, director of Fort Concho. We had a grand eveningin the Frontier Texas Museum of Abilene. This twelve million dollar sate of the art facility was host to us for a private tour of the museum, drinks and dinner.
We stayed at the MCM Elegante Suites in Abilene a true suites type hotel -- each suite consisted of two rooms and included a full breakfast and happy hour cocktails every evening.
There was an optional informal tour on Sunday, October 1, 2006, taken in private cars. South of Abilene about 50 miles is Fort Chadbourne which is in the midst of being restored by a private foundation. There was much to see and we had a personally guided tour.