While researching my earliest ancestors in Texas, I discovered a series of letters in the
archives of “The Center for American History at the University of Texas at Austin.” The
first letter was from Lewis Jones of Independence, Missouri to Angelina D. Smith in
Austin. The long letter written in the beautiful cursive hand of Lewis Jones was dated
September 17, 1842. It read:
Your son Fayette arrived here yesterday under the care of Mr. Peter Duncan under
whose charge he was placed by John Rowland of Taos, New Mexico-to be placed
under my protection at this place.
Fayette gives the following account of himself- Jones wrote a long narrative of the
stories Fayette Smith had told him, about his capture by Comanche Indians on the
banks of Shoal Creek in Austin. Including his eyewitness account of his father James
Smith’s murder and scalping. The good Samaritan assures the widowed mother
Angelina that Fayette will be taken care of until they can be reunited.
Lewis Jones was one of the founders of Independence and built a hotel and a home
that still stands and is on the National Registry of Historic Places. Jones was known for
being a saddle maker and early outfitter of wagon trains on the Santa Fe Trail. Few
knew of his care and compassion for a young boy captured on his ninth birthday by
Comanche Indians who murdered his father.
Read the story of Fayette’s adventures in Comanche Trace, Book 4 of the Westward