JOHN BEEMAN, Bird’s Fort Defender

In the fall of 1841 the families of Hamp Rattan and Capt. Mabel Gilbert, with a few other men, reached Bird’s Fort (near present day Arlington), and a little later the family of John Beeman.

Beeman's Sought Bird's Fort Shelter

Beeman’s Sought Bird’s Fort Shelter

Late in November, 1841, a wagon left Bird’s Fort and was sent back to Red river for provisions. It stayed so long that three men were sent to find and assist it, if necessary. These men were Alex W. Webb  (yet living near Mesquite, in Dallas county), Solomon Silkwood and Hamp Rattan. On the east side of Elm fork, about a mile and a half southwest of where Carrollton is.

While cutting down a large ash tree to get the honey found to be in it, and on Christmas day, 1841, Rattan was killed by a small party of concealed Indians. Webb and Silkwood killed one
Indian and escaped to reach the Fort.

The snow was six inches deep. It was intensely cold, and so remained for several days. Silkwood, from the exposure endured, sickened and died. A single man was again started to meet the relief
wagon. He succeeded, and on the 30th, five days after the killing, the wagon reached the scene.

The body of Rattan was still guarded by his faithful dog. The remains were conveyed to the Fort, and there, in a rude coffin made of an old wagon body, committed to the earth.

His brothers, John and Liddleton Rattan, had been in the fight of Village creek, in the previous May or June, when Denton was killed. He was also a brother of Mrs. A. J. Witt, deceased, of Dallas county, and Mrs. J. W. Throckmorton and Mrs. Wm. Fitzhugh, of Collin. He was a neighbor in Illinois of our esteemed old fellow-citizen and pioneer of Dallas county, Elder John M. Myers, of Carrolton, (so near the spot where he was killed) who assures me that he was a worthy man.

Courtesy History of Dallas County by John Henry Brown, printed in 1887.  Photo: James, half brother of John Beeman. Courtesy Lakewood Advocate, November 29, 1916.