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Re: Tommy Str. vs Two Braids
Posted by: Jeanna Hobbs-Snell Date: January 10, 1999 at 21:08:10
In Reply to: Re: Tommy Str. vs Two Braids by Christy Gibson of 429

This is excerpted (is that a word?) from "On the Watershed of the Ecleto and the Clear Bank of the Sandies" by Karen MacSmith. (Dad is in the middle of brand inspecting and fall cattle sales and hasn't gotten back to me on the Real book.)
Has genealogical info too.

.......Then I remembered that Rudelle (Mills) Davis had once written that her uncle and aunt the Thomas Stringfields (he was son of Milton Str. and Rhoda Rhodes), had been murdered by indians. I called Rudelle in El Paso and she sent me material from "Captured by the Apaches - Forty Years with this Savage Band of Indians: A True Story by Two Braids" (Tommy Str.) who was taken captive in 1870, and liberated in 1909. She also enclosed with her mailing an account of the death of Mrs. Ida (Str.) Hatfield from Marvin Hunter's "Frontier Times" and genealogical data relating to the family of her paternal great grandparents, James C and Malinda (Moody) Mills. Briefly, Nancy Ann Mills m Talman (Hugh) Hobbs, Sarah Jane Mills m Thomas Stringfield, Ara C Mills m John Bradford Burris, James K D Mills m Sally (Bailey) Hill and Alexander Worth Mills (Rudelle's grandfather) m Polly West. Rudelle's father and Ida were first cousins.

According to the account in the Frontier Times, in Sept of 1870, Thomas Str. with his wife and three little children {Ida - 8, Dolphus - 6, and Tommy - 4} were attacked by a band of about fifty men, Indians and Mexicans, while going from Pleasanton to their home in McMullen county. The parents were killed; the little girl was horribly lanced with spears, thrown into a patch of prickly pear, and left for dead; and the boys were carried away.

Rudelle's personal account is "When I was about 12 yrs old, Ida Str.-Hatfield came to see us and stayed several days. She told us of the massacre, showed us her wounds, and was very bitter about the Indian "Two Braids" who had come to live with her for several months, claiming to be her long lost brother Tommy. She felt that he was simply gathering information to write his book and make some money. She did feel that since he knew so much about the family that he had known her brother somewhere and had heard from him various facts about the family. My father, Van Mills, and I telephoned Sadie Hatfield [daughter of Ida] at College Station in the early 1970's and had a long talk with her. She knew very little about James C Mills and Malinda. She did say that her mother, after Two Braids arrival in Texas, made a trip to Oklahoma and found his Indian wife and the wife said he was born and raised in Oklahoma. My grandfather (according to my father) said that Tommy Stringfield had blue eyes and Two Braids had brown eyes."

She goes on to say that she has an picture post card of Two Braids in which, though dressed in Indian fashion, he looks more white than Indian. {I have that picture and one of his daughter as well. They look Indian to me.} .......

.......In the 18 chapter book, from which Rudelle sent me only a typed sampling, Two Braids recounts his version of the Str. massacre and the Indians killing of little Dolphus {he was found along side the trail a few days later by the tracking/resecue party}. There's also his story of life with the Indians, huis escape when Geronimo was captured, and after his learning that he was a white captive, his searching for and his discovery of his origins. He gives the date of birth for Thomas Wesly Str. (father) as 16 Oct 1837 in Springfield IL, and says the family came to Texas about 1848 {and if he was taken when he was 4, how would he know these things without some else prompting him? I know when I was 4, I didn't know Dad's full name or his birthday!}

There is contained in Two Braids book an affadavit executed by Ara (Mills) Burris to the effect that she was convinced that he was indeed her cousin Tommy Str. Two Braids goes so far as to say that Mrs. Burris recognized him when he was performing at a circus at which she was a spectator in San Antonio."

This is a great book for genealogists and people interested with the history of the San Antonio area and surrounding counties. I will do look ups gladly. In addition to the anecdotes, it also has census(es), 30-odd graveyards and their residents (small private/abandoned ones off the beaten path), church marriage records, a little of everything!


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