Henry Robinson, Settler, Scout and Indian Fighter
Henry M. Robinson was born in England in 1811 and it seems that he came to the New World alone. In October 1834 he married Evaliza Christine “Cherokee” LaGrone. Their first child, Elizabeth, was born in Alabama. Their second child, John F. was born in 1837 in Sabine County, Texas. Of their nine children, the seventh child Andrew Henry, was born in Uvalde County, Texas November 24, 1850, to be followed by William Harrison and Ann.
It seems that the family arrived in Texas in time to be part of the Texas Revolution. At the request of Houston, his friend, Henry did his part at Goliad and helped in the evacuation of Texas during the Runaway Scrape. He was rewarded a head right of 1180 acres.
At one point during their migration, the family lived in Waresville, a small settlement south of Utopia, Texas.
In 1856 while still in Waresville, Henry accompanied the posse of John Leakey, Gideon Thompson and Sebe Barrymore in the pursuit of the Lipan Apache that had raided the Anglin ranch in the Sabinal Canyon. This was the battle where John Leakey almost lost not only his gun but his life.
The Lipan came from the south stealing horses and cattle along the way. Their first raid was the Finley ranch, then the Thompson place and last the Anglin ranch. It just happened that John Leakey was looking after the place while Arron Anglin was away. After they hit the Anglin ranch, John, well known for his temper, formed a posse to catch this band that was raiding and stealing the settler’s livestock.
Henry Robinson was witness to Leakey’s tirade on the mountain. Leakey fell for the trick that the Lipan used to get the posse to pursue them up the hill. Robinson soon realized it was a trap and turned back but Leakey with a new fangled borrowed gun felt sure of himself and kept moving up the mountain. Soon Leakey realized he was trapped and the gun and its new mechanism was more than he could figure so he tossed it aside. However the Lipan who picked up the rifle knew how to use it. Makes one wonder how he knew, but the game changed.
The shooter shot at Thompson, hitting his hat. The bullet traveled on, hitting Barrymore in the hip. Then everyone witnessed Leakey flying through the air from atop the bluff. After his landing, those below just knew he was a goner. The witnesses said that Leakey had so many arrows in him that he looked like a pincushion as he flew through the air. With Barrymore wounded and Leakey dead, the situation was tense. Then, from the direction of Leakey’s landing, came a string of cuss words. The Indians wanted nothing more to do with this bunch and quickly left. Barrymore and Leakey survived.
The Robinson family eventually settled in the area of Chalk Bluff on the Nueces River north of Uvalde, Texas. The land was beautiful but very unsettled.
March 13, 1861 proved to be a tragic day for the Robinson family. Indians ambushed and killed Robinson and a neighbor, Henry Adams as they made their way to Camp Wood. The Indians did not stop with the death of these two. They considered Robinson a trophy and before they left the bodies they took the scalp and beard of redheaded Robinson. They proceeded to the Robinson home to continue their carnage.
Mrs. Robinson was at the Casey homestead not far from their home and that left most of the children at home when the Indians arrived. The Casey’s daughter had walked to the Robinson home to visit her new friend, Amanda Robinson. When the Indians arrived, the children went into escape mode. George, a son of about sixteen, came out of the house with shotgun in hand. He wounded one Indian before an arrow hit him in the arm. His sister, Amanda and her new friend began to run. The Casey girl fell and was immediately attacked by the Indians. The Indians shot her with arrows, lanced, scalped, left her for dead, and yet she didn’t die. George, screamed to his mother, “What do we do?” His mother, as she was throwing rocks at the Indians, screamed back, “We fight till we die!”
Could it have been the bravery of Mrs. Robinson that caused them to leave?
Before they left, the Lipan tossed a boot towards her. The boot that they had removed from Henry’s body, a message to her that her husband was dead.
But yet this was not the end of the family tragedies. In 1865, Billy and Henry, younger children of the family had taken their wagon to gather firewood. Did they venture too far from safety? The Lipan captured Henry while Billy ran for his life. Billy did escape but sadly a neighbor found Henry’s body. Billy went on to serve as a cowboy on the trail drives and as a Texas Ranger.
Henry Robinson, frontier scout and Indian fighter, definitely left his tracks in the soil of Texas.
Linda Kirkpatrick is a ranch real estate agent, author and Texas Hill Country historian