James and John Ketchum's Monument located on the Rocker B ranch, at the location of the massacre. The Monument was placed by family members who visited the site some time after 1867. It has been there for many decades. The location of the grave site is about a half mile from the ruins of the Head of Concho way station of the old Butterfield Stage line. The ruins are located at Lat. 31.452758 and Long. -101.258725. - Source: Barry Spradling
This is the story of James (Jim) R. Ketchum and his brother John. Jim and John were the sons of Peter Reasor Ketchum and his wife Ann Burrell. Jim was born in Alabama in 1822 and John was born in 1850. Jim and John were the uncles to the infamous Black Jack Ketchum and were my 1st cousins 5 times removed. Peter's brother, Joseph, was my 4th-great-grandfather. (Joseph - John Jackson - James Alexander - James Isaac - Brooksie who was my grandmother).
in 1863 at the age of 41, Jim enlisted in the 31st Brigade Texas State Troupe in New Braunfels, Texas. On Jim's muster roll is is noted that this company was organized for local defense for a six month period. Jim had a rifle and pistol. It has been shared by other researchers that he had enlisted one other time as well.
In 1867, Jim and John were ranchers near San Saba, Texas. The following is a story written by J. Marvin Hunter, Sr. and published in Frontier Times Magazine, Vol 24 No. 12 - September 1947, pages 544-546. Website: https://www.frontiertimesmagazine.com/ Used with Permission
JIM KETCHUM'S LAST STAND
by J. Marvin Hunter, Sr.
Read Frontier Times' Blog post here: https://www.frontiertimesmagazine.com/blog/jim-ketchums-last-stand-j-marvin-hunter-sr
As excerpt from the "Fort Concho and the Texas frontier" pp.154-156 - J. Evetts Haley, San Angelo Standard Times, Copyright 1952:
"In spite of the proximity of the soldiers, herds were being stampeded and drivers killed on the Goodnight Trail in the relentless exposure of the open plains. J. D. Hoy from the San Saba country lost two herds to the Indians that year , while wagons were plundered and burned, men killed, and other herds stampeded and stolen.(5)
"In December, 1867, word came to Camp Hatch that several men of the James Ketchum party had been massacred at the head of the river. Lieutenant Thurston rode to investigate. With twenty-two men he left the post near noon on the 19th, and reached the old Overland Station at the head of the river "at sunrise on the morning of December 21st," after a march of fifty-five miles. A half-mile southwest at the base of a hill, he found the bodies of four men in the bend of a gully where they had taken refuge in the fight. "A fifth body was found lying in the chaparral, some fifty paces out."*
*The fifth man was Robert Compere, a native Frenchman who located in San Saba after the Civil War.
"James Ketchum had driven a herd from the San Saba and sold it in New Mexico. He and his party had reached this point upon their return when the Indians jumped them. Thurston suspected from the sign--the mocassin tracks, an Indian stirrup and the many arrows about the place—that the attackers were Kickapoos. Ketchum's body "bore evident signs of torture, being charred and blackened with smoke." And yet strangely the men had not been scalped. Fragments of twenty-dollar bills from the sale of the herd were scattered over the battleground.
"The soldiers dug a grave ten feet long and six wide. From left to right, they buried the Ketchum brothers, James and John, and their companion cowboys, William Truman and Thomas Darnell, in the order named, and placed a small stone at their heads. They turned over the fragments of money to a cowboy from San Saba. Then noticing the southwest course taken by the large attacking band, with its numerous horses, the soldiers swung northwest six miles to a bold spring which Thurston suspected to be the extreme head of the Middle Concho. They turned northeast to the head of the Kiowa, down it to the old Mail Road, and thence down the river to Camp Hatch to report.(6)
(5) Haley, Charles Goodnight, as cited, 148 ff (Charles Nauwald to N. S. Constable, October 27, 1872; Letters Received; Letter Book, Fort Concho, 1874. p.201
(6) Gorge A. Thurston to Capt. G. G. Huntt, December 27, 1867, Fort Concho Files.
Old Butterfield Mail & Stage Line route across Texas, showing the stations on the route, including the Head of Concho station near Mustang Crossing where James R. Ketchum, John Ketchum and three other companions were killed. Station location is very near the present county line between Irion and Reagan Counties, about 20 miles NE of Big Lake, Texas, and less than a mile from ruins of the old Butterfield Mail and Stage Company station known as the Head of Concho station located at Latitude 31.452758, Longitude, -101.258725. Source: Barry Spradling
My name is Vicky, and after researching my family history since 1999, I have found amazing stories that need to be told. I hope you enjoy them as much as I have!