Shot Of The Century; Legacy Of Forgotten Panhandle Town Revisited
The Texas panhandle has more than its fair share of ghost towns, almost-ghost towns, historical sites, and frontier legends. Tucked away in the wide open spaces of the panhandle are many somewhat forgotten places of great importance.
For instance, there's the ghost town and battle site that gave us what is referred to as "The Shot of the Century."
A Trading Settlement Meets An Explosive End: Adobe Walls
Since I wasn't there when it all started, all I have to go off of are the legends and the history you can find scattered around museums and the Internet. By most accounts, things started off pretty well for Adobe Walls.
The settlement supposedly started out facilitating trade with Native Americans. As things progressed, the trading site went from being a log cabin to being an adobe fort.
Things went well until, according to legend, some livestock was killed by the natives. William Bent allegedly blew up the fort over the slaughter. The story goes that all that William Bent left behind were the crumbling adobe walls...wink, wink.
A New Settlement, And The Start Of War
A new settlement wound up getting started north of the blown up fort, which was old Adobe Walls. Not to be confused with the then new Adobe Walls.
There were two battles at Adobe Walls, ten years apart from each other.
The first one was in response to Indian raids on settlers. The story goes that Kit Carson led several hundred men against thousands of warriors near the abandoned Adobe Walls site. The intention was to stop the raids.
Somehow, in that battle, both sides wound up claiming victory. That was in 1864.
A Second Battle And The Shot Of The Century
In 1874, buffalo hunters had set up shop near Adobe Walls. As you could probably guess, nearby Indian leaders weren't too fond of the buffalo hunters. Especially when you consider that the buffalo herds were already thinning out by that time.
A battle ensued, and it was during this second battle at Adobe Walls that Billy Dixon supposedly pulled off the shot of the century.
Legend has it that the Indians were positioned on top of a hill overlooking Dixon and his people. Dixon pulled out his rifle, lined up a shot, and felled an Indian from almost a mile away.
As you might expect, this inspired the Indians to rethink their course of action and they retreated.
At least, that's how the legend goes.
It would also be the spark that started the Red River War, and the eventual relocation of the Southern Plains tribes to Indian Territory. Today, we call that Oklahoma.
Adobe Walls Today...
...is pretty much nothing more than some historical markers out in the middle of nowhere. Hence the reason why, when the name got brought up recently, nobody in the room really had any idea what it was.
There was a town for a bit called Adobe Walls. It had a post office and everything. Dixon even served as postmaster for a bit, supposedly.
Up until about 1970, the population was allegedly somewhere around 15.