Captain John B. Denton

Taken from Loose Leaves of the History of Lamar County
Article appeared in The Paris News on Wednesday, July 6, 1921

If the information which the Lamar County Historical Society has is correct, Captain John B. Denton came to old Pecan Point during the year of 1817. He was not only a brave man and a hardy pioneer, but he was also a very brilliant scholarly and eloquent man. He did some very excellent service in protecting the early settlers in that locality from the frequent Indian forays. In fact, he became so proficient and successful there that his services were much in demand in other outposts. It was in one of these that he lost his life and thus became one of the martyrs whose life blood won the soil of Texas from the dominion of savagery and presented it duly consecrated by the blood of American manhood to those who now enjoy it in peace and perfect freedom.

In 1841 the Indians had given the settlers in the vicinity of old Fort Inglish (Bonham) so much trouble that it was deemed advisable to follow them and administer a chastisement which they would not soon forget.
One of those chosen for that expedition was no other than the celebrated pioneer preacher, lawyer, and Indian fighter, John B. Denton. He went out as a captain under the command of General Edward Tarrant. After the first main onslaught in the famous Village Creek Indian fight and the Indians had been put to flight, Colonel Jim Bourland and Captain Denton, each at the head of a company of picked men, had started out to mop up, as the maneuver is expressed, in the parlance of the world's war veterans, and after hunting out the bottom on one side of a creek they came together and were in the act of fording the stream when they were ambushed. The very first volley fired by the enemy Captain Denton was killed. The shot which hit him was so deadly and well directed that he did not at once fall from his horse. His gun was in shooting position and gradually his muscles began to relax and his gun came down and his comrades hastened to his side and lowered his body to the ground, but every spark of life had fled. They were determined that his body should not fall into the hands of his enemies to be scalped and mutilated; so they bore him away to a place of safety until the skivinis was ended, and they wrapped the body up and put it on one of their gentlest horses. That night they camped near where Fort Worth now stands. Next morning they started in the direction of Bonham and at about midday they found a suitable place to bury the dead hero. But his venerated dust was not destined to remain in that wild and romantic spot. Some years afterward John Chisum, who knew and loved Denton down in the old Red River District, disinterred the remains and buried them in his own yard at Bolivar Point where he could jealously guard the remains of his loved and venerated friend. But as the years swept by John Chisum, who by the way was also a son of Lamar County, was swept on toward the West with his vast herds of cattle, and the grave of Captain John B. Denton was again in danger of neglect. This time he was moved by those who acted largely by patriotic motives.

The State of his adoption, appreciating the costly sacrifice he had lain upon his country's altar, named Denton city and county in his honor. The people from Denton County came and tenderly gathered up all that was mortal of the old hero and tenderly laid them in the court house yard at Denton and have erected a suitable monument to mark the spot where he sleeps, and they and their children and their children's children to remote generations will keep vigil over his sleeping dust. The old Red River district does not begrudge Denton County the sacred treasure over which they cannot outstrip his own home people in their patriotic devotion.

 


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