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Monday, August 6, 2007

The Night They Drove The Settlers Down To Waxahachie And How Soap Creek Got It's Name

--------------SOAP CREEK------------------

Ok, the title is stretched to try to match the classic song by The Band. But one day in early Ellis County History half the settlement near Alvarado fled to Waxahachie. The new settlement was made up of Ovillians who decided to start there own community. Rev White was a resident of Ovilla at the time of the evacuation but was asked to come teach in the new community for the Summer. My guess is that the event happened in the 1850's. Seeing that the Rev started living in Ovilla around 1850. This event also gave Soap Creek it's name. Which it still holds today. The above picture is where 67 goes over Soap Creek. Which might have been where they crossed Soap Creek during their evacuation. They could have crossed further south because the story says the end up on a high point south of Waxahachie. Soap Creek follows VV jones road for awhile and ends just south of Midlothian. I thought it interesting how the Rev White shrugs off the danger but still evacuates because he wants to visit a young lady in Waxahachie. I wonder if the young lady he wanted to visit was his first wife? Anyway read his recount to find out the reason for the evacuation and then what was the true story behind the bru-ha-ha. The incident is referred to as Mitchell's War.

Here is the recollection Of Rev. R. M. White:
"a report was circulated that the Indians were coming in overwhelming numbers, killing people along their route and devastating the country. They had taken the forts, so it was said, and were marching along in triumph. A courier was sent from Waxahachie notifying us of our danger and requesting us to be at that town before nightfall, for safety and defense A council of war was called to meet at the school-house, and after discussing the matter it was very much doubted whether the Indians were on the war-path; yet, as a matter of courtesy to the "Waxahatchets, combined with a faint probability that the report might be partly true, a rendezvous was appointed at the corner of Captain Bache's field. About one hour by sun the entire settlement had arrived in their wagons, with wives and little ones and such household goods as they could bring under the circumstances. The order being given to march, Aunt Susie Billingsly mounted a rock and called the assemblage to order. She then referred to their bravery and heroic conduct in Tennessee, Arkansas, and other sections where they had settled new countries; where they had fought and driven out the Indians, and now when they were more numerous and with no Indians within a hundred miles, they would flee from their homes and all they held dear! " Where, O, where," said the staunch old lady, " is your heroism of former days?" She then avowed that she could and would whip all the Indians that came; that they could do as they pleased, but that she, like Joshua of old, was going back home and would sleep soundly under her own roof. Thereupon, about one-half of the party returned to their homes, the others taking up the line of march for Waxahachie, I among the number, not that I believed the report, but I wished to come home any way to see friends, and especially a certain young lady. This I could consistently do, as I would have but little school where half or more of the children were gone. So, on we traveled, the wagons squeaking, as they were the wooden-axle sort, and no grease upon them. I and the young ladies put in the time singing and laughing to drown the noise of the wheels and the discordant jingle of bells, which were numerous. One good old sister called us to order, saying she thought prayers would be more appropriate to the occasion, as we did not know what moment we would be killed. I replied that if we had not prayed before, it was too late now, and that scared prayers would not avail much, if anything. On we went until finally reaching a creek, the largest one in the valley between Alva-rado and the Ovilla settlement. Going down the bank of this stream, which was steep, the goods of Mr. John Balch burst the front end gate of the wagon bed and the contents of the wagon, among which was a half barrel of soft soap, were spilled into the creek. I exclaimed, " Soap creek," which name it bears to this day. The damages being repaired as well as we could under the circumstances and the goods placed in the wagon, we moved on, reaching the top of the eminence south of the city of Waxahachie before daylight; then on to the houses of friends, and especially to the domicile of my dulciana. The Waxahatchets had gathered into the town and put out guards, some of whom were still at the ford or bridge of the creek south of the town. Seeing something in the distance they imagined that they saw a vast body.of Indians approaching the town. They gave the alarm and scouts were sent out to reconnoiter, when they discovered the visitors to be a herd of cattle that had stationed themselves on the eminence, as is their custom, to rest and ruminate. Day arrived and it was learned that the foundation for the alarming rumor was that a man had gone out to trade with the Indians and had taken too much of the devil's ale with him, which the redskins drank freely. The trader thought that when he had gotten them under the influence of the liquor he could cheat them more easily, but they caught him at his tricks and were about to get in their work on him, when he fled, and spread the report as stated above. Peace being restored, the settlers returned to their homes, doubtless wiser from their experience."

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