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Arts & Culture

How A Battle In Kendall County Changed The American West


A pivotal historic event happened about 40 miles north of San Antonio, and odds are you’ve never heard of it. It’s called the Battle of Walker’s Creek. Historian and author Sam Gwynne (he writes as S.C. Gwynne) describes it this way.

"It was a major change in the way that Indian warfare was conducted," Gwynne said. "And the story behind it is one of the great stories of the American West."

As he details, that story centers around Texas Ranger Jack Hays.

"Before Jack Hays men came into the American West on foot carrying a Kentucky long rifle, and after Hays they came on a horse with a six gun," Gwynne said.

That Battle at Walker’s Creek pitted a group of Texas Rangers against a much larger contingent of native Americans and Rangers’ use of multiple shot revolvers against them was devastating. Gwynne explained why that was important.  

“That sort of technological shift, which sort of altered the balance of power in the West every bit as much as the Comanche acquisition of the horse much earlier,” he said.

“Is it too much to say that something that happened in an obscure corner of Kendall County changed the entire American West?” I asked him.

“What you said is absolutely accurate,” Gwynne replied.

The Kendall County Historical Commission has decided to shine a light on the battle.

“It’s the 170th anniversary, so we’re having an event, Sunday, June 8," said Kendall County Historical Commission member Paul Barwick.

"It’s going from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. We’re going to have numerous authors there selling books," Barwick said.

Gwynne will be there, along with many others.

"We’ll have some Texas Rangers re-enactors from the old west Rangers," Barwick said.  "All kinds of firearms displays, Texas history, archeology, we’ve got some storytelling going on in the dance hall."

The family-friendly event will be held at the dance hall in downtown Sisterdale, which is pretty hard to miss.