Mark in Texas History: Killough Massacre Historical Marker

Updated: Oct. 4, 2020 at 11:24 AM CDT
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CHEROKEE COUNTY, Texas (KLTV) - Monday will mark 182 years since 18 people disappeared in the Killough (Kill-oh) Massacre. But who is to blame has been debated, and historians say even the historical marker has it wrong.

On October 5th, 1838, the Killough homesteaders began clearing land for crops and home, unaware the area had been set aside for the Cherokee.

Fearing unrest, the group fled to Nacogdoches but returned to pick their crops with assurance of safe passage from Indian leaders.

“They had a peace treaty with the Cherokee Indians and they didn’t bring their guns with them to collect their crops, thought it was peaceful.”

But that October day, someone dressed as Cherokees attacked the group, killing or abducting a total of 18 men, women and children.

A historical marker erected in 1965 tells a different story and blames it on the Indians.

Killough Massacre Monument
Killough Massacre Monument((Source: KLTV))

The Cherokee Indians were accused of the attack and were retaliated against by the Republic of Texas Army.

“They finally had a battle at Kickapoo and they killed Chief Bowles and carried the Cherokee Indians to Oklahoma.”

But some historians believe it was a setup to get the Cherokee out of the area.

“What they were trying to do and they wanted the Cherokee Indians out of the county, out of this part of the country.”

While the attackers identities are questioned, there isn’t a doubt who the victims are.

Killough Massacre Monument
Killough Massacre Monument((Source: KLTV))

Bodies were buried at this location, where a stone monument built in the 1930s commemorates the event.

The Killough Monument is located outside Jacksonville on County Road 3411.

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