Twin Oaks

Historical Period: Frontier Texas (1865-1900)
Historical Topic: Frontier Settlements
Species: Texas Live Oak (Quercus fusiformis)
County: Hamilton
Public Access: Yes

On Christmas Eve, December 24, 1866, a young man named William Willis was riding a mule from his father's ranch to attend a dance in Hamilton.

About a mile from town, a party of about 13 Indians attacked him. He set his mule at a gallop, but his escape route was cut off when the Indians began circling. Willis dismounted to present a smaller target to their arrows and used his mule for protection. As he neared the home of Judge James Monroe Rice, the judge's daughter and a friend, both about eight years of age, were outside playing when they heard the shooting. They saw Willis and his mule surrounded by the Indians and ran in the house to get their parents. Meanwhile, the Indians mortally wounded the mule, and Willis dashed for cover behind these twin live oak trees.

After an arrow hit Willis in the back, he drew a bead on the chief and nearly unseated him with a single rifle shot. The braves promptly abandoned their attack, went to aid their chief, and then rode away. About nine o'clock that night, word of the attack reached the Pearson Ranch. Pearson's oldest son and a hired hand set their dogs loose and headed for Hamilton, where about a dozen others joined them in the hunt for the Indians.

The north wind was getting colder and sleet began to fall as Pearson and his party followed a blood-spotted trail. When dawn arrived, ice was everywhere and trailing became impossible, so they returned home.

Willis was taken into Hamilton to Dr. W. S. Walker's home, where the arrow was removed from his spine. He lived for about three weeks. His was the last death caused by Indians in Hamilton County.

The trees are located at 222 Baker St., in Hamilton. Please respect private property when viewing these trees.