SCALPED

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A dramatization of a true Texas frontier ghost story. A surveyor-scout, Josiah Wilbarger, and his party are attacked by Comanche at present day east Austin after, unknown to him, his sister, Margaret Clifton, dies the day before near St. Louis. One is killed, one escapes and Wilbarger is scalped and left for dead after killing the lone brave on foot that surprised them earlier whom they had back tracked unsuccessfully to prevent him from raising a war party. The escaped surveyor takes refuge in the cabin of Wilbarger's friend and closest neighbor, William Hornsby, several miles away on the Colorado River and reports all but him were killed. Margaret appears to her naked and badly wounded brother who had crawled about a half mile towards the Hornsby cabin about midnight and assures him that he will be rescued and will survive. Shortly thereafter she causes Hornsby's wife to dream repeatedly that Wilbarger is alive and exactly where he is. Despite great resistance she succeeds in getting the men and her son to organize a successful rescue party. Wilbarger lived to raise crops and beeves to supply Sam Houston's revolutionary army, build and operate a grist mill and cotton gin, and tell the most fantastic and well document of all Texas legends.

Submitted: June 03, 2011

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Submitted: June 03, 2011

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SCALPED!
A Hair Raising 10 Minute Dramatization of a Frontier Texas Tale
By Nadia Jean Private
Copyright © 2010, Nadia Jean Private, all rights reserved.
In memory of Marjorie Hyden who first encouraged me to write.
ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
I am indebted to J. Frank Dobie for his account of the Wilbarger Legend in Tales of the Old West and to Lee Paul for his Internet account, The Legend of Josiah Wilbarger.
DRAMATIS PERSONAE
Josiah Wilbarger … 31 years old, 5’ 9”, athletic build
Reuben Hornsby … 37 years old, 6’ 1”, athletic build
Sarah Hornsby … 33 years old, average height and build
William Hornsby … 14 years old, average height and build
Maggie Hornsby … 6 years old, average height and build
Haynie ...47 years old, 5’9”, wiry
Strother … 40 years old, 6’ doubles as Rogers big boned
Joseph Rogers … 40 years old, 6’,big boned 40 years old, 6’, doubles as Strother, big boned
Doctor … 45 years old, small doubles as narrator, average height and build
Margaret Clifton … 30 years old, small height and build
Husband of Margaret … 31 years old, small height and build, doubles as Wolf Paw
Lone Cloud … 23-30 years old, 5’ 4” – 5’ 8” height and athletic build
Running Deer … 45-50 years, Leader of Comanche war party, 5’ 4” – 5’ 8” height, athletic build
Wolf Paw … 30 years old, Comanche warrior; doubles as husband, height and build as above
STEPHEN FULLER AUSTIN – TIMELINE
(Father of Texas)
Born November 3, 1793 in mining regions of sw Virginia
June 8, 1798 moved to lead mining region of Missouri
Graduated 1810 Transylvania University, Lexington, Kentucky
Missouri Territorial legislator
Penniless after Panic of 1819
Acquired property near Little Rock, Arkansas
His father Moses received an empresarial grant from Spanish Texas allowing 300 Americans to colonize Texas
1820 ran for congress, placed second
Judge of First Circuit Court
November, 1820 moved to New Orleans, studied law
June 10, 1821 father died leaving grant to his son
Mexico declares independence from Spain making Texas a province
Governor Antonio Maria Martinez reauthorizes grant
December, 1821, first U. S. colonists arrive in Brazoria County; farmers got 177 acres, ranchers 4,428, and the head (husband) of a family with wife and two children 1,280 acres at 12.5 cents per acre.
Agustin I of Mexico refused to recognize the land grant authorized by Spain
Austin persuades junta instituyente in Mexico City to authorize head rights of 4,605 acres and he became an empresario to promote immigration, receiving 67,000 acres for each 200 families he introduced.Immigrants refuse to pay Austin.
Emperor Agustin de Iturbide abdicated in March 1823 and the law was again annulled.
April 1823 Austin induced congress to grant him a contract to bring 300 families into Texas—honest, hard-working people.
Coahuila y Tejas legislature passes law continuing system of empresarios and granting each married man a league of land, 4,428 acres for 30 dollars to be paid within 6 years.
Late 1825, Austin brings 300 families to his settlement and obtained further contracts to bring an additional 900; Austin had civil and military authority over the settlers.
November 1827 the American like law, Constitution of Coahuilla y Tejas was agreed upon.Austin organizes informal armed groups to protect the colonists that evolved into the Texas Rangers.
Austin helps suppress the Fredonian Rebellion of Haden Edwards.
1832 colonists chafe at Austin’s cautious cooperation with Mexico and Mexico’s enthusiasm for colonization wanes.
1830 Mexico attempts to halt colonization but Austin gains an exemption for his colonies giving 640 acres to husbands, 320 to wives, 160 for every child and 80 for every slave.
Convention of 1832 advocates compensatory rewards to colonists after Austin successfully supported Antonia Lopez de Santa Anna giving resumption of immigration, tariff exemptions, separation from Coahuila and new state government for Texas.
Convention of 1833 repeated them and Austin traveled to Mexico City on July 18 and secured reforms and lifting of the immigration ban but not separate statehood from Vice President Valentin Gomez Farias.
After the Disturbances at Anahuac and Velasco in summer of 1835, Santa Anna prepared to remove the colonists.
October 12, 1835 Austin commanded Texas forces against Santa Anna during the Siege of Bexar.
October, 1835 Gonzales started the Texas Revolutionary fighting.
December 1835 Austin was appointed commissioner to U. S. by provisional government of the republic.
March 2, 1836 the constitution of the Republic of Texas was adopted.
April 21, 1836 Sam Houston beats Santa Anna at San Jacinto and captures him the next day.
June 10, 1836, while in New Orleans as commissioner, Austin learns of Santa Anna’s defeat by Sam Houston.
August 4 Austin announces his candidacy for President.
August 20 Houston enters the race.Houston won by a landslide.
Houston appoints Austin first Secretary of State.
December 27, 1836 Austin dies of pneumonia.His last words were, “The Independence of Texas is recognized; don’t you see it in the papers?”
Houston orders the proclamation, “The Father of Texas is no more; the first pioneer of the wilderness has departed.”
Originally buried in Brazoria County, in 1910 Austin was reinterred in the Texas State Cemetery in Austin, Texas.
COMANCHE HISTORY
The Comanche bands were offshoots of the Wyoming Shoshone in the middle of the last millennium. They expanded into Kansas and eventually south to the Hill Country of Texas.They averaged in height only 5’ 6” so had low centers of gravity on a horse.They were athletic and muscular.They first tamed and bred mustangs and introduced them to other Indians.They seemed to have a natural affinity for the horse and were the best horsemen of any people.
In their expansion they displaced other tribes and bands, killing anyone that entered their (new) territory.A warrior not only served that purpose but to protect his band’s food supply as well as territory.They were expert traders—holding an annual trade fair in Santa Fe New Mexico.They had money and fine European clothes.Their dress in the earlier 1830’s was buckskin as well and European clothing.What they sold was often stolen, including women captured from other Indians whom they returned for ransom at the fair.
The Texas Rangers drove them onto a reservation in north east Texas during the Republic era and Lamar, who did not like Indians at all in Texas, drove them into Oklahoma Territory.The last band of horsemen under Chief Quanah Parker were pursued into Palo Duro Canyon in the Panhandle by McKenzie of the U. S. Calvary who massacred men, women and children and burned their food stores and tee-pee’s indiscriminately.In the Palo Duro Canyon he ordered 1,400 of their horses shot and their way of life ended.The chief led about 400 survivors to surrender at Ft. Sill in Oklahoma.
CHARACTER DESCRIPTIONS
Josiah Pugh Wilbarger—male, young adult, born in Bourbon County, Kentucky in 1801, school teacher, joined Steven F. Austin’s colonial effort in Matagorda then moved to La Grange.Finding teaching too tame, he became a scout and surveyor for Austin’s second colonization effort--building a stockaded cabin on the Colorado River east of present day Austin about 10 miles north of present day Bastrop.He joined a head rights surveying party on August 10, 1833 and was ambushed and scalped by Comanches.Wounded by a bullet that pierced his neck, he was temporarily paralyzed and scalped by the Indians, who thought that he was dead, and stripped--except for one sock.Rescued as in the story of this play, he recovered in his nearest neighbor’s house on Hornsby’s Bend about six miles downriver on the Colorado.About six weeks later after he was well enough to be moved back to his cabin, he received a letter giving notice of the death of his Missouri sister and her last words the day before he was scalped.He built a grist mill, raised beeves, and supplied Sam Houston’s Revolutionary army with provisions.His wife made skull caps out of her silk wedding dress that he wore all of the time and when he went outside he wore a fur cap over the skull caps.An infection ate through the skull bone, exposing his brain, and he died of a brain infection after hitting his head on a low beam of his cotton gin/house after surviving for 11 years.Always on the cutting edge of his time, he was building a belt and pulley motor/generator at the cotton gin.His wife remarried and lived to a ripe old age.In 1932 the State of Texas reinterred the couple in the state cemetery surrounding the Capitol building in Austin.When he first built the cabin in the neighborhood of where he was scalped, that location was at the extreme western edge of the Texas frontier.His favorite sound was of his grist mill and cotton gin running.His last words were, “This is as far as I can go … .“His headstone will read, “Here lays a man who survived being severely wounded and scalped but continued on the cutting edge of agriculture and nation building.”St. Peter will greet him with, “Josiah, you were a hard man to kill; watch out for low beams in your next life.”
Reuben Hornsby—male, located and farmed the rich little valley across the Colorado River from present day Del Valley.His home was known for Christian hospitality—always welcoming travelers with news from the east.His favorite sound is the cool breeze at night.Tall, thin, hospitable, energetic, his headstone will read, “Big of stature and of heart, helping forge a new nation and state, he always remembered his heritage.”St. Peter will greet him with, “That was a nice little farm you ran along a slow patch of the Colorado.”
Sarah Hornsby—female, wife of Reuben, known for her kindness to strangers.Intuitive, sometimes able to see what will happen in the future.Stubborn and persistent; does not give up when men do not believe in her.Her favorite sound is fish frying that her son William has caught in the river.Her headstone will read, “No more Christian woman existed on the Texas Frontier.”St. Peter will greet her with, “You were caring and that is the true essence of spirituality.”
William Hornsby—male, teen son of Reuben and Sarah, always ready to take on the responsibilities of a man.His favorite sound is his baited fishing hook hitting the water.As an adult becomes a Texas Ranger.
Maggie Hornsby—female, young child daughter of the Hornsbys, hangs back but learns quickly.Fearful of the Indians.Picks up bad language from her brother.Her favorite sound is of bacon frying at breakfast time.Quick to discern what not to do and what she can get away with.
Haynie—male, although not as educated as Wilbarger, wiley.Best shot on the western frontier.He is courageous but knows when to walk away from a fight.A surveyor by trade.He survives an ambush and leads a rescue party towards the surviving Wilbarger and dead Strother while on a head rights survey with them just east of present day Austin, Texas.Wary after unsuccessfully trying to track a lone Comanche with whom they have had a shooting encounter earlier, he stakes his still saddled horse instead of hobbling it like Strother and Wilbarger—facilitating his successful escape when ambushed by Comanches. His favorite word is “land.”His headstone will read, “Not big of stature, he was brave in efforts to get land in the card game of life and knew the right time to fold.”St. Peter will tell him, “You saved yourself and, not knowing it, by doing so saved Wilbarger.”
Strother—male, big, burly, surveyor.On surveying project with Haynie and Wilbarger, he hobbles his horse while eating lunch even though they have had a shooting encounter with a lone Comanche and unsuccessfully tracked him earlier.When a Comanche war party ambushes the survey party while they are eating lunch, he is shot dead, has his throat cut and is scalped and stripped.He is strong and manly but the last piece of clothing the Indians remove from his body is a pair of lady’s bloomers.His favorite sound is the tinkle of coins in payment for his surveying.His headstone reads, “He took his secret to his death,” and St. Peter will greet him with, “Don’t worry man, Cary Grant will have your fetish also.”Doubles as Rogers.
Rogers—male, a downriver neighbor of the Wilbargers and Hornsbys in a more settled part of Steven F. Austin’s Texas colony.Living in an older part of the colony, he respects and helps the new settlers.He is summoned by William to join a search and rescue party after Wilbarger and other members of a head rights surveying party are ambushed by Comanches.He rides with William to the Hornsby cabin where Haynie, who escaped, has taken refuge, and goes on the search party.When Wilbarger is found alive, Rogers is sent on to the site of the ambush by Hornsby to bury Strother’s body.His favorite sound is a boat docking bringing him company.His headstone will read, “He helped settle Texas, and after his head right was secure, helped other newer settlers.”St. Peter will greet him with, “You helped save a man worth saving.”Doubles as Strother.
Doctor—male, attending Margaret (Wilbarger’s sister near St. Louis), pronounces her dead upon her death and helps her husband carry her off stage on a stretcher.Older, doubles as Running Deer.Black or salt and pepper or dark brown hair, brown eyes.
Margaret Clifton—female, sickly, dies in Farrisant, Missouri the day before Wilbarger is scalped.She thinks of him while speaking her last words.She appears to him the night of his scalping and reassures him that he will be rescued.She then drifts off toward the Hornsby cabin despite her brother’s pleas for her to stay until help arrives where she touches Sarah’s head and eyes causing her to know Wilbarger’s condition and location.Her favorite words are of the doctor telling her that she is “better” today.Her headstone reads, “Sickly unto death, she saved her brother after it.”St. Peter would welcome her into heaven saying, “You thought of your family up to the last moment.”
Husband of Margaret—male, attends Margaret at her death and helps the doctor carry her out on a stretcher after she expires.Doubles as Wolf Paw.Black hair, brown eyes.
Lone Cloud—male, younger, stumbles upon a surveying party made up of Wilbarger, Haynie and Strother.He was born on a clear day with only one cloud in the blue sky.He hates the white man catching fish from his waterways.He stumbles upon the survey party and shoots his bow at Wilbarger and Haynie shoots his pistol at the Comanche, but it misfires.Excellent at evasion, he is not as good as others with his bow.He escapes backtracking and guides a war party to ambush the survey party.This time he is killed by Wilbarger but not before shooting him in the legs with arrows.He is active, bright, agile, capable and persistent.His favorite words are being told that his arrow is right on target.If he had a head stone it would read, “Young and brave, but immature, both with his bow and his mind, he died defending his band’s territory.” The Great Spirit would say, “Welcome; you were fast on your feet but sorry you died before you could fulfill your destiny.”Native American.He has black, long hair.
Running Deer—male, older, carries a musket and bow.When he was born the first thing that he saw outside of the tipi was a deer running by the village.He leads the war party that finds the surveying party and ambushes them.He learns and moves quickly, physically and socially—advancing to Chief of his band in his old age.He hates the white man entering his territory.He shoots Strother dead and wounds Wilbarger in the neck with Strother’s shot gun (temporarily paralyzing him) and strips Strother with the help of Wolf Paw and scalps him.He is careful, meticulous, thorough and brave.His favorite word is “Chief.”If he were to have a headstone it would say, “Here lies a big Comanche who fought for his land and eventually died a Chief.”The Great Spirit will welcome him into the hereafter by saying, “Thank you for caring for Mother Earth.”He doubles as the doctor.He has black or salt and pepper or dark brown long hair and brown eyes.
Wolf Paw—male, mid aged brave, part of war party that ambushes the surveying party.As a teen he stumbles and catches his hand in a white man’s trap--permanently injuring it so that he cannot hold a bow.But he can shoot a pistol.To get out of the trap he howls like a wolf until his band hears and rescues him.He hates the white man killing his game and injuring him.He shoots Wilbarger in the hip with his pistol and helps Running Deer strip Strother after Running Deer scalps him.Then when Wilbarger is shot in the neck he helps scalp him and he and Running Deer strip him; he finishes the job of stripping Josiah, leaving one sock, while Running Deer drags Lone Cloud behind the tree on which Strother’s scalp is hung.He hates the sound of a steel trap springing.Comanches do not have head stones or go to heaven but his would say, “Here lays a warrior, noble and capable even though wounded while young.”In the hereafter the Great Spirit will say, “It’s hard to keep a good brave down.”Doubles as husband.Black or dark brown, long hair, brown eyes.Doubles as Doctor
SCALPED
Storyline
May 28, 2010
Prolog
Born in 1801 in Bourbon County, Kentucky, Josiah Pugh Wilbarger had a sister, Margaret, who married into the Clifton family.On August 9, 1833 she died in Florissant, near St. Louis.Josiah joined Steven F. Austin’s second Texas colonization effort at Matagorda and taught school there and at La Grange.Soon disenchanted with teaching, he built a stockaded cabin about 10 miles north of present day Bastrop east of present day Austin, the Capitol of Texas, on the extreme Western frontier.His closest neighbor, who arrived thereafter, was Reuben Hornsby who built a cabin on Hornsby’s Bend on the Colorado River across from present day Del Valley.On August 10, 1833 Josiah joined one of Austin’s head rights surveying parties and the rest is one of the most incredible of all Texas legends.
Margaret, Josiah Wilbarger’s sister, is on her death bed in Florissant, MO (near St. Louis), August 9, 1833.She says to write Josiah and tell him that she loves him and to be careful on the Texas frontier.The doctor listens to her heart, takes her pulse and pronounces her dead.He and her husband carry her out.
A Comanche on foot comes upon a surveying party of two men whom Josiah has joined on Walnut Creek east of present day Austin, at mid morning, August 10, 1833.The Indian shoots his bow and one of the surveyors, Haynie, misfires his pistol.They unsuccessfully back track the Comanche and are ambushed on the Pecan Springs Branch at the present location of 51st St. and Old Manor Rd. in present day Austin.The lone Indian and two others attack the survey party while they are sitting on some rocks and leaning against a saddle, eating a lunch of jerky and biscuits, at noon.They kill Strother and wound Josiah.The leader cuts Strother’s throat and scalps him; they strip him.Haynie gallops off in the direction of the Hornsby cabin (across the river from present day Del Valley east of Austin).One Indian is shot and the leader drags him off into brush in a rapid exchange of pistol, rifle and bow and arrow fire.Wilbarger tries to rescue Strother—dragging him after Haynie--and yells for Haynie to wait.He is shot again and temporarily paralyzed; he is scalped behind some rocks, stripped to one sock and left for dead.
Meanwhile at the Hornsby cabin, closest neighboring head right to Wilbarger at Hornsby’s Bend across the Colorado from present day Del Valley east of the city of Austin, Sarah, Hornsby’s wife, has a premonition of the attack and after dreams describes it in detail.Her family chides her about her prophetic visions.
Wilbarger wakes up covered with blood near dusk, shot in the hip and neck and arrows in his legs, and becomes very thirsty at nightfall.He crawls to a spring, eats some berries, bathes his head in the water and puts the sock on his head.He props himself up against a large, straight oak tree and goes in and out of delirium.
About the same time, Haynie arrives at the Hornsby cabin at suppertime and tells of the attack, confirming Sarah’s premonition.He is invited to eat and spend the night after he tells the story over and over.
Just before midnight, Wilbarger’s sister Margaret appears in the night gown that she died in.She tells Josiah to hold tight and rescuers will come.She glides off in the direction of the Hornsby cabin.Josiah pleads for her to stay.
In the Hornsby cabin, Sarah and her husband are asleep in bed.Margaret touches her head.She awakens shortly after midnight-- saying in a loud voice that she dreamed Josiah leaning against the tree, wounded and alive.Haynie and her son and daughter come in from another room--Haynie carrying a coal oil lamp.Haynie and her husband reassure her that it was just a dream and that the Indians would not leave a wounded white man alive.They say that they will go look for the bodies in the day time.Margaret touches her eyes and she awakens again--describing the place where she saw Josiah in detail; finally Hornsby agrees to send his son downriver in a boat for help and go searching for Josiah at dawn.At daybreak, William leaves with Reuben’s prized Hawken Frontier rifle, and Sarah asks her daughter Maggie to get two sheets and a blanket from chest to put around Josiah and wrap the body in.Josiah asks Haynie to stay with Sarah.
William borrows a neighbor’s horse and arrives back home with Joseph Rogers.The men and boy leave the cabin and find Josiah exactly as described by Sarah.Reuben and William wrap Wilbarger in a blanket and suspend him between them on a sheet—carrying him to their horses.
Epilog:
In six weeks Josiah recovered enough to be taken to his cabin north of present day Bastrop. About that time a rider delivered a letter postmarked August 10, 1833 noting Margaret’s last words to Josiah and death the day before. Josiah recovered and raised crops and livestock to supply Sam Houston’s revolutionary army, built a grist mill, and partially built a motor-generator to run a cotton gin—always wearing a fur cap outside over the silk skull caps made from his wife’s wedding dress.He struck his head on a low cotton gin house beam and died in 1844 of a subsequent infection to his brain.This is one of the best documented legends of Texas history and Josiah told the Texas Ranger Big Foot Wallace the tale personally two years after the scalping at the cabin of a settler named Woods.His last words were “This is as far as I can go.”In 1932 he and his wife were reinterred on the State Capitol grounds in Austin.
HISTORY OF MUZZLELOADING FIREARMS TO CARTRIDGE INVENTION
Introduction
Guns and brain injuries are topical with the recent shooting of Congresswoman Giffords.Josiah Wilbarger was scalped and lived 11 years afterwards, but a bone infection ate through to his brain and he had to wear a silk cap made from his wife’s wedding dress at all times.When he went outside he wore a fur cap.In 1844 he hit his head on a low lying beam of his cotton gin house and the resulting infection killed him.
Since America’s bicentennial hunting and shooting matches using muzzleloading black powder rifles has emerged as a thriving sport.Cap and ball rifles, and even flint locks, are used at Confederate War reenactments to the delight of children and history buffs.One can buy preloaded black powder 10 gauge shot gun blanks at the local gun store. The inconvenience, relative to cartridge firing rifles, of flint locks, and to a lesser degree the ball and cap rifles, not only is tolerated but is embraced by history buffs enjoying being true to firing true reproduction firearms of the early 1800’s.At the same time contemporary advances in metallurgy make the parts stronger, safer and more enduring, such as stainless steel nipples and vent hole screws.
Rifles
Rifles are constructed such that down the barrel are a series of grooves separated by raised spirals of steel called lands.The lands and grooves constitute rifling, hence the name of the firearm.The lead ball is forced down the barrel from the muzzle with a patch of lubricated cloth between it and the powder charge and between it and the lands and grooves.The clots grips the lead ball imparting a spin to it as it travels out of the barrel and the spin stabilizes the flight of the ball making the firearm much more accurate than a smooth bore musket.
The first rifles used match locks, similar to flint locks except that the jaws of the cock held a smoldering cord called the match.When the trigger was pulled the ember on the end of the cord was driven into the priming powder in the flash pan, it ignited sending flame through the touch hole into the barrel and igniting the main charge.The black powder was loaded into the barrel through the muzzle and a piece of cloth served as a wad.The lead ball was driven down the barrel with a ram rod.The matchlocks were unreliable are relegated to museums.
Next came the wheel lock.The cock and match were replaced by a metal wheel with pyrite embedded in the rim.A spring was wound and when the trigger was pulled the wheel spun such that the rim was in contact with a piece of steel over the flash pan and sparks were generated, igniting the priming powder in it.It loaded like the match lock.Wheel locks were also unreliable and are also relegated to museums.
In the flint lock, that loaded like the two rifles above, jaws on the hammer like cock grip a piece of flint.A piece of leather is placed between the metal jaws and the flint protecting it from cracking and gripping it tightly.The flash pan is covered by a hinged metal frizzen to keep the priming powder from spilling out and there is a vertical piece of steel attached to the frizzen that the flint strikes when the trigger is pulled.The flint creates a shower of sparks as it scrapes against the steel and pushes the frizzen up. The sparks fall on the priming powder igniting it as above.
An improvement leading to the self contained cartridge that holds primer and bullet was the cap and ball rifle.A nipple with a hole in it was screwed into the vent hole in the barrel and it makes a right angle turn.A small cup of brass called a cap holding fulminate of mercury is placed over the nipple.When the trigger is pulled a hammer strikes the cap the primer, which is very unstable, ignites and the flame travels through the nipple into the main charge in the barrel as with the rifles above.
The metal plate holding the cock and frizzen, the frizzen and cock springs, and a tumbler on the cock and a sear rotated by the trigger comprise a unit called a lock. In colonial days almost any mechanical device was referred to generically as a lock.The lock plate is case hardened steel and the colors on the steel caused by the fire are considered beautiful and are generally not passivated such as by chemical bluing.This adds individuality to each muzzleloading firearm.The lock and barrel are cleaned with hot soapy water, rinsed, dried and oiled after each firing or series of firings, such as at a shooting match.
In the stock, to which the lock and barrel are attached, is a trigger plate and one or two triggers.They are covered by a trigger guard.A hard pull on the single trigger removes a point on the sear from a notch in the tumbler and the cock falls, firing the weapon.The tumbler is made so that the sear seats in a notch at a half cock position.In that position pulling either trigger or the single trigger, or pushing on the cock does not cause it to fall on the frizzen.The two triggers are called double set triggers.When the cock is advanced to the fully cocked position, the firearm can be fired.A hard pull on the rear trigger of the two trigger set “sets” the front trigger and a hair pressure on it then fires the weapon.Some double set triggers have double action on the front trigger and a hard pull on it without first pulling the rear trigger will fire the weapon but the hair trigger pull results in a more accurate shot.
An American term for “completeness” is “lock, stock and barrel.”A “flash in the pan” is a misfire where the priming powder ignites but does not ignite the main charge in the barrel.As is currently apparent in the political arena, many of the strongest and most used idioms come from early firearms use in America.
Pistols
A muzzleloading pistol is merely a shortened version of a rifle held in one hand.More modern pistols did not have a wood stock and evolved into the revolver with cap and ball technology and then into the modern cartridge revolver like the Peacemaker.
Shotguns
The precursors of shot guns were fowling pieces and they were similar to rifles, usually had larger bores, were smooth bore like muskets, and were loaded usually with bird shot.There were both flint lock and cap and ball shotguns before the breech loading cartridges were invented.
Possibles Bags
An often overlooked craft of Native Americans besides pottery and basket making is bag making.Bags of specialized shapes and sizes were made of diverse materials (rawhide, buckskin) specialized to carry everything needed for a particular day. A very specialized bag to carry arrows is called a quiver and is analogous to a golf bag.By the time of the mountain man and the trapper and trader era, Native Americans had begun to fit everything possible that was needed for a day into a larger, general purpose bag—hence the name.The bag could be plain or highly decorated with painted Indian designs or bead work.The mountain man—the quintessential essence of rugged individuality, adopted these bags (they serve the same purpose as a lady’s purse).Pants and shirt pockets, and in contemporary times, the back pack, have replaced them for the he men of today but a variety of bag like carriers can be seen on the belts of soldiers and law enforcement officers who may also carry a back pack in military services, search and rescue teams and fire and HASMAC operations.
The black powder muzzleloader requires a more or less standard set of accessories.Prominent is the powder horn, usually carried by a strap outside the possible bag.A powder measure, called a grain measure (a grain is the weight of a kernel of wheat and is 1/7000th of a pound), a loading tube with a conical tip that swings out of the way for filling (when pouring powder into the muzzle you do not want to accidentally set off all of the powder in the horn), a primer powder carrier (primer powder is usually a finer granularity and burns faster than the main charge powder) with a spring tip that dispenses about 3 grains of powder to the priming or flash pan), a cleaning jag that allows a patch soaked with soap, rinse water or oil to be drawn back and forth the length of the barrel on the ram rod), specialized scrapers, wire brushes and cotton swabs for cleaning and oiling, a cork screw like patch remover and a wood screw like ball puller that fit into a female screw hole in the tip of the ram rod are typical accessories.One may also have a small pouch for lead balls, pipe cleaners for the vent hole, cleaning and oiling patches, oil, screwdrivers, a knife for cutting patches, a ball starter with a short ram rod piece to start the ball into the muzzle and a longer piece of ram rod to force it in several inches (after which ramming it home is easier) and everything “possible” that might be needed are included.For cap and ball firearms a supply of caps is included and for target shooting, targets, pins to put them on a target background and a cap holder with several rows for 5 caps each fired in a typical competition round for one target are common.A pick to clear the vent hole is almost a must.
Safety
Always treat a gun, even if it is a cap firing or non functioning replica (model) as if it were loaded.(The ram rod can be marked for the distance to the breech of an unloaded gun and for the depth that it can penetrate the barrel when the gun is loaded).
Never point a gun at a person; on the stage off point it about 20 degrees when firing blanks, even caps.
On the firing range always keep the muzzle pointed down range or in the air, or if the gun is being handled, down.
Obey the orders of the gun wrangler or stage manager on stage or the range officer on a firing range.These people are absolute dictators and must be obeyed.
Use separate measures for loading powder into the gun.
Keep black powder in metal or horn containers.
Never smoke around black powder; it is an explosive.
Do not fire priming powder as the main charge; it could burst the barrel and kill people.
On stage, use cream of wheat as a wad so you don’t have to chase down burning patches.
On stage, keep all guns in a locked box under the absolute control of the gun wrangler or stage manager until needed.
Take the guns out and load them only when needed and then return them to the locked box.
Store powder and unloaded guns in separate places--preferably under lock and key.
Never transport a loaded gun in a motor vehicle.
When hunting with a loaded gun, keep the cock or hammer in a half cocked position.
Load the gun with the frizzen up and the hammer in the fully uncocked position with the stock between your feet and the barrel leaning slightly away from you.
The barrel length of a Kentucky or Pennsylvania long rifle should not be such that in the loading position the muzzle is above your chin.
When the fire arm misfires or hang fires, wait a minute before taking the gun off target and taking remedial action.
Seat the ball with the fingers on the side of the ram rod as opposed to the palm on the end to avoid shooting the ram rod through your hand.
Shooting is a buddy sport for safety; have a friend with you.It is thus a very social sport and muzzle loaders are generally very friendly, sharing and fun people.
Have fun, but always be careful.An automobile can kill and so can a gun.
Summary
Be safe, and don’t go off “half cocked.”
Lots of toys for big boys.And female spouses and individual women shooters are not uncommon.Reproduction black powder muzzle loader rifles are available in kits and fully finished.Finishing and individualizing the stock, passivating the metal parts by browning (controlled rusting) or bluing, finishing the brass “furniture” on the stock, and making your own gun, napping (sharpening and shaping the flint) as well as shooting the rifle are part of the hobby.Authentic period guns sometimes are in safe working order, but even those that are not are prized collector’s items worth sometimes thousands of dollars.
Because of the danger in colonial and frontier times and in the Old West, almost everyone had to have a gun, and the right to bear arms is written into the Constitution.The gun truly shaped our history--nevertheless citizen gun ownership is a controversial topic today.
Although the scalping, skull and brain infections eventually killed Wilbarger, brain injury due to gunshot wounds is topical today with the psychotic attack on Congresswoman Giffords.May she recover fully.
CENTRAL QUESTIONS
What motivated Wilbarger to survive until help came?Why did his friends mount a rescue instead of a recovery search?Are para normal experiences real?What are American collective and individual frontiers today?
THEMES
The primary theme is survival on the Texas frontier.A second might be para normal experiences, and a third Indian-settler conflict.
Discussion topics (for children):
Did children enjoy “Scalped?”Is it too “old timey western?”
What were children’s thoughts, feelings, impressions?Did they learn anything?What?
What is the difference between the way the children react to news and events in this story and the way the adults do?What do you think of that?Is it realistic?
Was Haynie a coward?Why or why not?
Discussion topics cont’ (for adults):
What is your belief about ghosts/visions or dreams (eternal life)?
Why/how do you believe that both Wilbarger and Hornsby’s wife both envisioned Josiah’s sister Margaret at exactly the “right” time?
What relevance does a frontier story have to us today?If none, why?
Did you enjoy the play?Was it entertaining?Did you find it “Different?”
Did you have any “problems” with the play?How would you have improved it?Have you seen the 10 minute genre before?
What relevance does “Scalped” have to religions such as Christianity?If none, why?
What do you think of the struggle in the Old West between the Indians and the settlers?
For those with Christian backgrounds is the idea of ghosts disturbing to you?
What is the American frontier now?What is the individual frontier?Is it special, emotional, spiritual, physical or intellectual, or some combination of all of these?
What are head rights and their significance to Texas and American history?
Is this dramatization politically correct?What would be the Comanche point of view if they were interviewed about this event?
What are the principles, values and characteristics of the Texas frontiersmen depicted in this play?
What is unusual about the scalping of Wilbarger?
What are the implications of flint lock weapons in the ambush of the colonials?
INCIDENTAL SEATING, BACKGROUND AND EXITING MUSIC
Deep in the Heart of Texas—Hank Thompson
The Yellow Rose of Texas—Conway Twitty & Loretta Lynn
Don’t Fence Me In—Gene Autry
Down in the Valley—Gene Autry
Home on the Range—Ian Tyson
Red River Valley—McGuire Sisters
Sun Dance Song – Pow Wow Sing—Native American Indian
San Antonio Rose—Roy Rogers & Sons of the Pioneers
Tumbling Tumbleweeds—Roy Rogers & Sons of the Pioneers
Texas Fight Song—Longhorn Band
Cool Water—Roy Rogers & Sons of Pioneers
The Last Roundup—Gene Autry
Happy Trails—Dale Evans and Roy Rogers
Pistol Packin’ Mama—Bing Crosby
Oh My Darling Clementine—Connie Francis
Cotton Eyed Joe—Doc Watson & Merle Haggard
Soundtrack from West Texas—Friday Night Lights
The Texas Ranger—Marty Robbins
Bluebonnet Girl—Roy Rogers, Gene Autry
Back in the Saddle Again—Gene Autry
Tom Dooley—The Kingston Trio
Luchenbach Texas—Wayland Jennings
TECHNICAL NOTES--AMBUSH SCENE ACTION
The back stories of the characters, the nature of the flint locks and the state of the survey party horses require exact knowledge of sequences, actions and consequences.
Lone Cloud—stumbles upon survey party in action, shoots his bow (no real arrow) and misses.
Haynie—Shoots his pistol; it misfires.
Ambush:
Wolf Paw fires his flint lock pistol (replica, sound effect) off stage UR hitting Wilbarger in the R hip and then enters UR.
The surveyors bold for their horses behind the UC curtain toward the URC exit.
Lone Cloud enters URC.
Lone Cloud—shoots Wilbarger in R calf with an arrow and proceeds R.
Running Deer—enters from audience, shooting Strother in the back R temple with a rifle as he tries to run UC with his saddle.
Lone Cloud—shoots arrow into Wilbarger’s L calf with pretend arrow.He continues behind the UR rocks.
Wilbarger drags Strother off stage and shoots his pistol (sound effect) killing Lone Cloud from behind the UC curtain.Lone Cloud falls behind a tree R.Wilbarger comes back on stage URC and toward Lone Cloud UR.
Wolf Paw—puts his pistol in his waist and draws his knife CLC.He proceeds to the URC exit.
Running Deer— lays his rifle down, picks up Strother’s shot gun and shoots Wilbarger in the neck with Strothers’ shot gun (contemporary single shot with fake flint lock).
Wilbarger falls with his head behind the UR rocks.
Running Deer lays the shot gun down, draws his knife and he andand Wolf Paw cut Strothers’ throat, scalp him and strip him behind the UC curtain, throwing his (extra) clothes and scalp out onto the stage.
Running Deer and Wolf Pay exit URC and scalp Wilbarger, taking turns cutting silver dollar sized pieces of scalp with tufts of hair from his head and throwing them on the stage.The strip him throwing (extra) clothes on stage after slipping off his boots and one sock.
Wolf Paw gathers up the clothes.
Running Deer hangs Strother’s scalp on the tree R and gathers up the weapons.
The Comanche exit UR; Lone Cloud exits under his own motive power.
GROUND PLOT (SEE PICTURE)
Note:not shown in ground plot: chest of drawers
Note: The props and other properties are simplified for the staged reading.
PROPERTIES
Weight bearing
Two fiberglass rocks
Bed
4 chairs
Rocker
Saddle
Stretcher
2 sheets, one heavy muslin
Gun rack
Non weight bearing
Chest of drawers
Table
Hat rack
Fire place
2 trees
Moon
Top of straight oak tree
5 columns
Bush with berries
Weapons
2 bows, Lone Cloud and Running Deer
Hawken Frontier flint lock rifle reproduction for Running Deer
Wilbarger carries Kentucky Crocket flint lock pistol reproduction
Flint lock pirate’s pistol, non firing, for Wolf Paw
Flint lock single shot pistol replica, Haynie
Contemporary 12 guage shot gun with fake flint lock, Strother
2 hunting knives for Running Deer and Wolf Paw
Flare projector and 10 gauge black powder blanks
Primer detonating fixture
In Hornsby house, replica double barrel cap and ball shot gun, replica flint lock cap pistols, replica Kentucky cap and ball rifle that William carries down river
Miscellaneous
Bible
Eggs, bacon, biscuits, tri tip, potatoes, greens, bread, jerky, walnuts, apples
5 settings Silverware
5 napkins
2 wigs, one large center cut out for Strother, one 3 silver dollar sized tufts cut out for Wilbarger, gum arabic
Stage blood
Black powder in 5 powder horns
Canteens
2 flint lock pistol hangars
2 scabbards for hunting knives
Wig for Margaret/Sarah
kerosene lamp
LED votive lights
Candle holder and candle
Surveyors chain, elevation rod, sighting vane and compass on tripod
Yellow and pink gels for cabin interior
Blue gels for center night
Wampum
Clip board and pencil
Stethoscope
Cork pop gun
Pitcher of water
Water glass
5 plates
5 sets of silverware
Ring clamps to hold gels
C clamps
14 pieces 4’ x 8’ 5/8” good grade plywood for stage floor
2 pieces 4’ x 8’ x 3/4" good grade plywood for extension
4’ x 8’ 1/8” lauan in front of R back exit
Hooks to hold curtains
1-3 Flat frames and stands to hold curtain
Sand bags
Gaffers tape
Spotting tape
Hat rack
Hair
COSTUMES
Outerwear
Boy’s coat, coats for Rogers, Reuben.
Hats for surveyors, Rogers, Hornsby, William
Dress coat for doctor
Shirts
Western shirt for William
2 long sleeved white shirts with black sleeve holders for husband
4 plaid or western style shirts for surveyors, Reuben and Rogers, extra matching shirt for Strother
Shoes
Sandals or loafers for Maggie
Plain black dress shoes for doctor and husband
3 pair loafers, boots or bhrogs for surveyors, extra matching footwear for Strother
Brown or black nurses or teachers shoes or ladies sandals
Pants
2 slacks for doctor and husband
Black jeans, khaki and corduroy for surveyors and Rogers, William; extra matching pants for Strother
Overalls for Reuben
Nightwear
Long white nightgown
Dresses
Long dress for Maggie
Long ante bellum dress for Sarah
Underwear
Natural color long John’s for Wilbarger
Bloomers for Strother
Extra pair socks for Strother
Comanche dress (or 3 loin cloths from chamois)
1 Loose fitting single piece shirt
1 Loose fitting trousers
1 light blue hip boots
1 European style outfit
7 feathers for hair
Indian jewelry if available
(LIGHTS 000: Dim to 20%.)
{PROJECT 000: “SCALPED!, By Nadia Private,” [The Scalping of Josiah Wilbarger], [Reuben Hornsby], [Hornsby’s Bend], [Surveying Party], [Bow and Quiver], [Pecan Springs Tree], [Scalped Frontiersman], [Big Foot Wallace], [Modern Comanche], “This professionally staged reading contains loud noises and flashes of gunfire and some profanity.” looped as slide show”}
(PROJECT END 000}
{PROJECT 099: [ PROLOG
Josiah Pugh Wilbarger was born in 1801 in Kentucky and moved to Missouri where he met Stephen F. Austin and enlisted in his plan to colonize Texas.He taught school at Matagorda and La Grange in Texas.Wilbarger’s sister Margaret married into the Clifton family.Soon disenchanted with teaching, Wilbarger built a stockaded cabin on the extreme western frontier about 10 miles north of Bastrop east of the present day Capitol, Austin. Reuben Hornsby built a cabin downriver on Hornsby’s Bend on the Colorado River across from present day Del Valley, becoming his closest neighbor.Margaret was sickly and on August 9, 1833 she died in Florissant, near St. Louis.On August 10, 1833 Josiah joined one of Austin’s head rights surveying parties and the rest is perhaps the most incredible of all Texas legends.]}
The unit set has a tree and two rocks R, tree and stream C, and house/cabin L abutted to left wings.There are two rocks DR.There is black muslin screen UC for actors to enter from and exit to behind and in front of the doorways to the back (front of theatre) exits. There is a black muslin screen between the Hornsby cabin and UR.
(LIGHTS 001: Blackout.)
Note: the epilogue is printed in the program and projected after the play is over.
{PROJECT 1101: [ EPILOG:
Six weeks after the scalping, after being moved back to his cabin, Josiah received a letter telling that Margaret had died on August 9.His wife made silk skull caps out of her wedding dress that he wore over the bare skull bone.He wore a fur cap outside over them.He was able to farm and raise cattle.He built a grist mill and supplied Sam Houston’s Texas revolutionary army with provisions.He partially completed a cotton gin motor/generator.A bone infection ate through to his brain.Eleven years after he was scalped he hit his head on a low cotton gin house beam and he died from the resulting infection.Wilbarger told this tale to Texas Ranger Big Foot Wallace in 1835 at settler Woods’ house.His last words were, “This is as far as I can go.”]}
SCENE--Margaret is on her death bed wearing a white night gown in Florissant, MO (near St. Louis), attended by the doctor and her husband.
TIME—daylight, August 9, 1833.
{PROJECT 000: “Clifton cabin, Florissant, MO, August 9, 1833.”}
(ENTER L 000: Margaret, husband, doctor.)
(ENTER ULC 001: Wilbarger, Haynie, Strother)
(LIGHTS L 100: Come up to cabin interior.)
Margaret Clifton is in bed in a white night gown under a sheet attended by a doctor and her husband.With C lights off, Wilbarger, Haynie and Strother are surveying and pantomiming dialogue as follows the in beat below.It is daytime.
MARGARET
(To husband, before making a death rattle.)
I love Josiah, write him in Texas to be careful of the Indians …
(Makes death rattle.)
{PROJECT 101: HAYNIE (Pantomiming)
“Josiah, you wuz a school teacher afore now; what caused you to settle this fer west?”}
HAYNIE
(Mans tripod, motions for others to move D.)
DOCTOR
(Listens to chest with stethoscope.)
She’s gone.
WILBARGER
(Moves his end of the chain D and Strother follows with the elevation rod.They stop when Haynie motions them to.)
HUSBAND
So like her to think of her family at the last.
{PROJECT 103: HAYNIE (Pantomiming)
“Land.”}
(Motions Wilbarger and Strother to stop.)
DOCTOR
I’m sorry that she passed before her time.
(They roll her U, place a stretcher D of her, roll her back D on it, carry her out.)
(EXIT L END 000: Doctor, Husband, Margaret)
(LIGHTS L END 001: fade to black.)
(ENTER L 100: Reuben, Sarah, William, Maggie.)
The cabin is reset during the following as the Hornsby cabin. Sarah is in a rocking chair; Reuben, William and Maggie sit at a table on chairs added D of the bed pantomiming playing dominoes in the dark, fanning themselves in the August heat.
{PROJECT 200: “Walnut Creek, Texas, mid-morning, the next day.”}
(LIGHTS C 200: Daylight general wash.)
STROTHER
Haynie, are you scared of Injuns?
HAYNIE
Well you ain’t, you’ve hobbled your horse.
(Records his readings on clip board.)
WILBARGER
(To Haynie)
Like a newcomer, yours is ready to ride—saddled and just staked.How’s your head rights search coming?
HAYNIE
I’m lookin’.
(ENTER ULC 200: Lone Cloud).
LONE CLOUD
(Enters unseen behind the surveying party dressed in shirt, breeches and moccasins, lets out whoops, shoots his bow.)
Ra, rah, raaaahh!
(Runs off UR.)
(EXIT END 200: Lone Cloud.)
WILBARGER
Gaawdd damn, a Comanche!
(Shoots rifle; it misfires.)
(SOUND 200: Rifle shot.)
Missed him!Do we bolt for my stockade?
STROTHER
We’d better back track’m and kill’m or he’s likely to bring a war party.
HAYNIE
Git your horses and lead ‘em afoot; ‘tween the three of us ought to follow his sign good.
(EXIT ULC 001: Haynie, Wilbarger, Strother.)
The surveying party mimes leading horses R carrying surveying equipment ducking behind the curtain ULC and emerging UC.
(ENTER UC 201: Haynie, Wilbarger, Strother.)
{PROJECT 200: “Noon, Pecan Springs Branch.)
WILBARGER
The brush is too thick.We lost him.Let’s rest on these rocks and eat.
The survey party stops, takes their horses off stage UC, returns and sits on the rocks to eat, except for Strother, who brings his saddle, puts it on the ground and leans up against it.Com- anches attack in loin cloths, war paint, and feathers in hair.
COMANCHES
(Give “Ra” war whoops throughout this beat.)
(ENTER UC 300: Lone Cloud.)
WOLF PAW
(Wolf Paw fires his pistol off stage R.)
(SOUND 300:pistol being fired.)
WILBARGER
Ambush!Indians!Owwww, they shot my butt.
(Grabs his hip, retreats behind the rock.)
LONE CLOUD
(Shoots an arrow into Wilbarger’s R calf.)
Raahhh.Quit catching our fish.
(Josiah reaches down and clutches his calf.)
HAYNIE
(Runs off UC behind curtain.)
We’ll all be kilt.I’d better git to Hornsby Bend.Thank god I staked my horse.
((EXIT END 201A: Haynie.)
(ENTER from audience 301: Running Deer.)
STROTHER
(Gets up, grabs saddle and runs after Haynie, moans, falls R, mortally wounded with rifle by Running Deer.)
RUNNING DEER
Ra, rah.Leave our territory.
(Shoots Strother in back R temple.)
(SOUND 301:Musket being fired.)
LONE CLOUD
(Shoots arrow into Wilbarger’s L calf.
WILBARGER
(Clutches L calf, drags Strother UC.)
Owwww.Hold up, Haynie!
(EXIT UC END 201B: Wilbarger, Strother going behind curtain.)
(SOUND ULC 302: Horse galloping away.)
(Fires his rifle behind curtain at Lone Cloud who falls, a ball through his forehead.He staggers onto stage, retreats back behind the rock, falls to his knees.)
(ENTER R 302: Wolf Paw.)
WOLF PAW
Quit killing our game.Raahhh.
(Draws and brandishes his knife.)
(SOUND 304: Rifle shot.)
(ENTER UC 303:Wilbarger.)
WILBARGER
I got one.My god, they’re cutting me to pieces.
RUNNING DEER
(Picks up Strother’s shot gun and shoots Wilbarger in his neck.)
(SOUND R 305: Rifle shot.)
Wolf Paw and Running Deer strip Strother after Running Deer scalps him and cuts his throat behind the curtain, throwing his clothing out onto the stage. Running Deer hangs the scalp on a tree.They strip Josiah except for one sock. Wolf Paw cuts circles in his scalp as Running Deer pulls three tufts of hair off of his head.Running Deer drags Lone Cloud behind the tree.
(SOUND R 306: Pop gun with each tuft of hair pulled.)
(EXIT END 300, 301, 302: Comanches exit R.)
(SOUND 306: Horses hooves galloping off R.)
(LIGHTS C END 200: Fade to black.)
(LIGHTS L 400: Daylight interior of Hornsby cabin.)
{PROJECT 400: “Hornsby Cabin, 3:00 PM August 10)
SARAH
I feel cold.
WILLIAM
Mamma, it’s hot as hell.
REUBEN
Watch the cussing son; it’s OK to say “Hades.”
MAGGIE
It’s hot as Hades.
SARAH
I feel something bad is happening—somebody’s in trouble.
WILLIAM
You think Mamma’s a prophet, papa?Can she know what will happen ahead of time?
REUBEN
It’s the heat, Sarah; the sun’ll set soon.
MAGGIE
(Maggie pours a glass of water from the pitcher on the chest and gives it to Sarah.)
SARAH
Thank you, Maggie dear, but someone’s been killed, hurt bad.
(LIGHTS L END 400:Fade to black.)
The Hornsby table is set for supper and the family members take their places at the table and are eating in parallel with below.
{PROJECT 500:“Dusk, on Pecan Springs Branch, present day Old Manor Road and 51st Street, and at Hornsby cabin.”}
(LIGHTS C 500: General wash, dusk, come up from black.)
(SOUND 500: Flies buzzing, creek water running.)
For the last see Scalped part 2.


© Copyright 2018 Nadia Jean Private. All rights reserved.

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