Parker County Today August 2016 - Page 86

our past: FRONTIER TALES The Raiders of July While settlers celebrate Fourth of July 1869, painted marauders plunder and kill across the county BY MEL W RHODES AUGUST 2016 PA R K E R C O U N T Y T O D AY O n Mary’s Creek Mrs. William R. Rider and her 11-year-old daughter Annie gazed in wonder at the beauty of a rainbow cast by the sun gleaming through the last of the rainclouds drifting out of the area. The tranquil prairie seemed pristine, peaceful, a harmonious symphony of nature — evidence of God’s greatness. Picking up her Bible Mrs. Rider read to Annie the story of the rainbow and its significance — a promise from God.  Having finished her reading the thoughtful mother again raised her eyes to the prairie where she noticed something was wrong, dreadfully wrong. It took a few moments for her mind to register just what had changed. Then all became clear: 11 Indians chased from Tarrant County moved along the ridge line in an ominous parade, one on the heels of the other. Annie bolted from the house 84 toward the Indians for a better view, seemingly unaware of the danger posed by the feathered strangers. Four of the riders peeled off and galloped toward the house soon reaching the creek in front of the Rider home. They threatened Annie with their bows and arrows, their baleful faces screwed up beneath slopped on war paint. The young girl fled inside the house where she and her mother gasped at the horror etched into each other’s faces. They looked at the gun on the wall then back at each other. Neither knew how the thing worked. Worst of all, Mr. Rider had traveled north to look in on his cattle on the Wichita River. They were on their own. Mother and daughter cast their eyes about the place, trying to decide what to do, how best to escape the unspeakable, finally deciding to climb up to the loft and